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RNA Minutes

by Thomas Durkin / photo by Tess Reiss

The July meeting of the Riverwest Neighborhood Association, with Jerry Patzwald serving as chair, was attended by 14 residents along with Sups. Willie Johnson and Gerry Broderick, YMCA CDC community organizer Jim Wilson, Ald. Mike D’Amato, and the Parks Department’s Tom Abraham. Abraham announced that funds have been secured to begin work on the a Babies Park upgrade. Preliminary plans for the park have been drawn up, and Abraham stressed that the Parks’ Department will work closely with community members before presenting final plans. A subcommittee was created to gather suggestions and offer ideas concerning these plans. According to Ald. D’Amato, it is hoped that work will begin as early as this fall. Several other topics, including a spate of suspicious fires, concerns about safety, and the possibility of the RNA applying for non-profit status, were discussed during the 90-minute meeting. Vince Bushell noted that a string of fires in a relatively small area occurred over a short period of time in the neighborhood. While residents should not jump to conclusions about the nature of these fires, Bushell did stress the need for residents to be aware of suspicious activity in the neighborhood. In addition, Sup. Johnson suggested residents who witness any suspicious activity should contact the Sheriff’s Watch Commander at (414) 278-4788. Local business owner Scean Rose expressed concern about the safety of his employees and patrons in light of some recent events on Center Street. He proposed a Riverwest Block Watch/Dog Walk, now called “Community Steps.” The goal of the program would be to reduce crime “by displaying an increased presence in the area.” Mobile units would provide patrons with foot patrols — volunteers accompanied by their own dogs and equipped with mace and cell phones to contact the police. An informational meeting was held at Onopa. If you have comments or questions about the initiative, please contact Scean at 264-4788. Jan Christensen suggested that the RNA apply for status as a non-profit organization. With the support of several residents, Christensen offered to begin the application process. This motion will be discussed in full at next month’s RNA meeting. Input from local residents is, of course, welcomed. During the course of the meeting, it was also noted that several block parties will take place in Riverwest during August and residents are encouraged to attend and support these events. Any questions or comments regarding agenda items for next month’s meeting should be sent to Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 8 – August 2003
by Thomas Durkin / photo by Tess Reiss