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Civil Society in Riverwest

by Tess Reiss

A fresh new year has just begun. Let’s pause for a moment to take a glimpse back as, at the dawn of 2002, a group of would-be writers and supporters are getting together to plan the very first issue of the Riverwest Currents. Skip to summer, when Riverwest had its first ever concert series in the newly-renovated Gordon Park. Center Street was re-paved and folks threw a party to celebrate. Spring Clean-up, Locust Street Festival, Fourth of July Parade, Gardeners’ Market in Garden Park, Artwalk, planning for Kilbourn/Reservoir Park and bike trails along the Milwaukee River…a rush of activities! Some you went to, others you missed — the year passes by in blur. Ring out the old, ring in the new! You may wonder, how is it that all these things happen in Riverwest? How is it that we have this rich and full civil society? If you’re an old-timer, it would be inconceivable if the Fourth of July Parade or the Locust Street Festival just didn’t happen one year. If you’re a new-timer, you may be delighted to know that your community has so much to offer. So how does it all happen? The answer, of course, is that there are many Riverwesters committed to improving community life. Riverwesters who choose to generously give of their time, energy, ideas, and good old-fashioned sweat to make it happen. As the old saying goes, “the more, the merrier.” A beer afterwards never hurts, either. Opportunities abound for Riverwesters to partake of community life. In any given month throughout the year, there is a virtual kaleidoscope of festivals, neighborhood meetings, benefits, music, and art happenings. Neighbors may meet socially at a benefit for the Riverwest Co-op at Falcon Bowl or by getting involved in a community issue like preserving green spaces. Every year we parade down Locust Street for the annual march to Gordon Park for ice cream, flags, and music. Every second Sunday in June, rain or shine, the Locust Street Festival gets off to a running start with the Beer Run followed by dancing in the streets. Every fall as the leaves come tumbling down, folks come tumbling into Riverwest for Artwalk. As a fresh new yearbegins, fresh faces and fresh energy are always welcome. If you’d like to engage more fully in community life, consider getting involved this year: be informed, communicate, partake, dive in. Take the plunge, get involved, see what the year reaps in satisfaction, in knowing that you made a difference in the place where you rest your head every night. And to help us all get started, we have a Riverwest round-up of events, groups, organizations, causes, and celebrations that are on the books or in the works for 2003. Enjoy! Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 1 – January 2003
by Tess Reiss