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Riverwest Neighborhood Association Report — July 2004 Meeting

Presentations Carrie Lewis, Superintendent, Department of Water Works, provided an update on the Reservoir. Currently there are two studies in process: one is research on ways to “mitigate the curve” on North Avenue, for which there is at least $300,000 in federal money available. Engineers are also developing a 3-D display and perspective drawings of the final plan. Once completed, these proposals will be presented to the Historical Preservation Committee (HPC). After they are approved, Lewis will schedule a public presentation for interested neighbors. Discussion ensued regarding the inclusion in the design of a way to ensure “connectivity” of the two sections of Kilbourn Park across both sides of North Ave. Neighbors also asked how likely it was they would be able to make changes to the plan after HPC approval. Lewis said it would not be too late for input and changes, and she stated she was committed to working with the neighbors. Ms. Devon Wichelt, a Riverwest resident, presented preliminary plans to open a bar on Center Street. She is prepared financially for this business venture and is seeking a building location. Her idea is to provide “subdued” live music, with smoking allowed. She envisions Center Street as a lively social atmosphere with a variety of venues. Concerns by those present included the feeling that there was a saturation of bars in this vicinity and that an establishment that served food would be welcome. She will return when her plans are more final. The issue of an application for extended hours to be filed by owners of Judy’s Red Hots (2860 N. Holton St.) was considered at this meeting. The owners must file an application with the City of Milwaukee, Utilities and Licensing Committee for license renewal due to their extended hours. This is not an application for additional hours of operation, but to approve their current hours of operation, which are: Noon to Midnight on Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m on Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. This license must be renewed annually. A motion carried stating the Riverwest Neighborhood Association supports the extended hours application for Judy’s Red Hots, contingent upon observable improvements to the building facade and overall cleanliness of the building environment prior to the September 2004 Common Council meeting. Discussion included concerns regarding the appearance of the building and its environment, the extent of the owner’s commitment/connection to the neighborhood, safety, and loitering. Ald. D’Amato said immediate neighbors were opposed to approval due to security, noise, and litter issues. Next on the agenda was Jewel Osco’s application for a Class “A” Liquor License application for the store at 1100 E. Garfield Ave. (The application was approved at a committee meeting but held until September at the Common Council meeting July 27.) Numerous representatives of the Jewel Osco store were in attendance, with attitudes ranging from friendly to hostile. Lauri Sanders, Marketing Director, made a presentation and answered questions from residents. Concerns that were raised included that several members present recalled an agreement between Jewel Osco with neighbors at the time of original licensing and zoning. The agreement allegedly ensured that there would be no liquor sales at the 1100 E. Garfield location. Documentation of the agreement was not available. Discussion also involved concern regarding security, types of liquor to be sold, Jewel Osco’s commitment to the neighborhood, management of the site, and the oversaturation of liquor outlets in the area, as well as concern about the effect on small local businesses. At the end of discussion, a motion carried that Riverwest Neighborhood Association oppose the approval of a Class “A” Liquor License for the Jewel Osco store. Committee Reports Holton Street Revitalization Don Sargent (Riverworks) reporting A map was distributed outlining the proposed area for a Business Improvement District (BID) managed by Riverworks. Although businesses in the BID area may be assessed fees for services, none of the private residences will be charged. Ald. McGee and Ald. D’Amato have been meeting with the Department of Public Works to finalize work being done for CMAC grant; bike lanes, and other enhancements along Holton Street. There will be a celebration when the work is completed. The target area is Holton Street between Reservoir and Locust. Guardians of Green Space Vince Bushell reporting The land currently owned by Melanec’s Wheelhouse is in the process of being sold. There may be an opportunity to turn some of that area into green space. Vince Bushell will be meeting with the McGee to move in this direction. There will be a report at the August RNA meeting. A brief update was shared regarding beerline bike trail progress (see cover story). Youth Committee Self Wise Allah reporting The Gordon Park 4th of July Talent Show was successful. Thanks to all who made it happen. Mayor Barrett has established a Youth Council to provide input from youth about city government. They are seeking nominations from each aldermanic district. Lorraine Jacobs urged everyone to think of candidates and connect them with Self Wise. It would be important for Riverwest to be represented. Nominees should contact the City Block Grant or their Alderman’s office for an application. Administration Nancy Centz reporting Tim Vertz has been in contact with the Volunteer Center at UWM. They are seeking our coordination in planning a work day for college students. They will assist those in need with house repairs, landscaping, etc. Contact Jim Wilson at 414/263-1380 with names of residents, especially the elderly and others unable to do the work themselves who would appreciate such assistance. The work day will be on September 11. District 5 Police Meeting Jim Wilson/Tim Vertz reporting Discussion took place regarding the homicide in the 3100 block of Pierce Street. The department is willing to set up a meeting with residents if requested. There was also some discussion of general safety, including setting up block watches. Next Meeting: August 10, 2004 A possible agenda item is a visit from MMSD and a tour of Stephen & Ellen Servais yard, which has samples of some of the recommended water saving strategies, including disconnecting gutters and using rain barrels.
minutes taken by Lorraine Jacobs