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Last RNA Meeting Minutes

Announcements: Saturday, September 18 from noon to 5 p.m., the Urban Ecology Center will hold their annual Ice Cream Social, including games, a rummage sale, free ice cream, and tours of the new building. Presentations: Steve Servais, a Riverwest neighbor, shared his experience and knowledge regarding rain barrels and water conservation systems. He provided a handout with background on Milwaukee’s waste water system difficulties and the benefits of rain barrels. He has experimented with other designs and has put together a 500-gallon capacity water storage system in his yard. His family uses the water for many needs, including watering outdoor gardens. A discussion followed regarding the amount of water that could be kept from the sewer systems during rainfall if a significant number of Riverwest residents began using rain barrels. Steve has offered to coordinate a movement in Riverwest to inform and promote water conservation. Keep reading RNAmail and the Riverwest Currents for updates. Darrell Smith from the Urban Ecology Center talked about a study being proposed regarding water conservation, storm water run off, and quality of water in the Milwaukee River. He is hoping to target an area of the city and may consider Riverwest. Later, Krista Chapdelaine of MMSD, stopped in and provided brochures regarding rain barrels. State Senator Gwen Moore stopped in during the meeting to explain her positions and answer questions. She is a candidate for 4th Congressional District, U.S. House of Representatives. Also with her was Lena Taylor, a candidate for the State Senate position which Senator Moore will vacate. Committee Reports Holton Street Revitalization Committeereport by Don Sargent/Jim WilsonLetters have been sent out to residents of the targeted Business Improvement District (BID) area. Meetings have been held and four businesses have signed on to form the BID, which will not affect individual homeowners. The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant (CMAQ) for Holton Street has been approved at the Common Council and has been sent to the State for final approval. Once that is accomplished the funds will be made available and bidding for work can begin. Groundbreaking will likely be Spring 2005. The grant includes bike lanes as well as other environmental enhancements along the southern end of Holton Street. This could include special street treatments or potentially adding a median. Judy’s Red Hots building site has not noticeably improved. At our last meeting we had emphasized that approval of their hours (which extend beyond midnight) would be contingent upon making obvious improvements to the business site. A letter will be written to the owners. Development Committee Report by Sonya Knauss There are some interested parties working on solutions to development of the contaminated Johnson Controls site, possibly a “Green” building. The discussion is preliminary. Guardians of Green Space Report by Vince Bushell Beerline Bike Trail progress is still hampered by the lack of any agreement from ReadCo regarding land swap with the County. All parties are quite frustrated. They may petition the City to take steps toward encouraging a decision. There are plans to restore the land along the entire bike trail/river. Garden Park has groundwater contamination. A plan will be developed with federal funds received by the City of Milwaukee to address this issue. There will be disruption of the space as some soil must be removed. A committee is forming to talk about this plan and about future use of the land. Milwaukee Urban Gardens (MUG) may be the ultimate owners of the land; they are asking for input and partnership with interested neighbors and the Gardener’s Market coordinators. Neighbors directly adjacent and across the street from Snail’s Crossing Park shared concerns regarding uncooperative dog owners who use the park to exercise their animals. Signage that indicates that “animals are not allowed” in the park is ignored. The dogs are most often off leash. The animals frighten children and leave their “litter” all over the playground, including on the play equipment. There was some discussion and it was decided that RNA would provide a notice in RNA mail to inform everyone of the regulations regarding dogs in city parks. The neighbors will be forming a Block Watch group soon. They have contacted Ald. D’Amato, who confirmed that dogs are not allowed in parks. Youth Issuesreport by Self Wise AllahSelf Wise is trying to build the committee and continue the work that was begun regarding a directory of offerings for youth in Riverwest. 5th District Update Report by Jim Wilson Lawn Signs reminding drivers to “Slow Down”are available for purchase from Jim Wilson The police say they will begin providing “real time” information on crime statistics through the web at www.citizenobserver.com 5th District personnel are working overtime to provide “saturation” of police presence in Riverwest, whether in squads, on foot, or by bike. They are concerned about the increase of burglaries, at all times of the day. They have received a Federal grant to cover overtime. Next Meeting: Election Day: Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 7 p.m., 604 E. Center St., YMCA CDC Riverwest