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February 2005

ANNOUNCEMENTS Steve Servais announced the Board of Zoning Appeals approved his request for variance for his new home. DJ Burns introduced himself as a neighbor and partner in a development plan for the Johnson Controls site. Mike McInerney announced plans for a neighborhood clean-up on Sat., April 15, 9 am at the Holton Youth Center. Neighbors are needed to work as Crew Leaders to direct teams and point out needs of neighbors, especially elderly or disabled residents. Work materials will be supplied. On the weekend of April 23 the Kiwanis Club will sponsor a clean-up along the river. RNA is seeking volunteers to work in teams, especially in Gordon Park. The Riverwest Currents will celebrate their 3rd anniversary Sat. Feb. 26 at the Astor Theater on Brady Street, at 7 pm. Sally Nordstrom announced that the Peace Action Center is offering Conscientious Objector Clinics. There will also be a rally for the 2nd anniversary of the Iraq war March 19, at noon. COMMITTEE REPORTS Holton Street Revitalization Committee Jim Wilson and Don Sargent reporting Due to the original three-year revitalization grant closing, this committee will be restructured, with the Board making a recommendation at the March meeting. Mr. Singh will be proceeding with his facade grant application for the Midget Mart, but will not pursue a liquor license. He must move from the Holton Street business site due to inadequate building facilities, and Don Sargent and Jim Wilson are working with him. Jim Wilson mentioned the increased “tagging” on Holton and Center Streets and noted that he will contact police. Development Committee Chris Johns and Claudine Lienau reporting Welcome to new co-chairs! Thanks for stepping up. RoseMary Oliviera and Chris Johns are the RNA representatives on the City advisory committee for review of proposals for development of the Johnson Controls site. They reported the following summary: The site had been extremely contaminated with toxins and there is still some contamination of ground water. The city is interested in developing the site for a tax base and the Department of City Development appears to be sensitive to neighbor input. The land is not city owned, but the city is coordinating the match of Johnson Controls with a final developer. Ultimately, the lots will be purchased and the new owner will choose from several options of home styles offered by the developer. Once 3 or 4 plans are chosen, there will be a neighborhood meeting seeking input. Some discussion from those present included: a) insistence on well documented, written agreements regarding land use/development criteria, b) concern regarding the final quality of the land, c) questions about whether basements will be required, d) concern about the price and mixture of home styles. Nothing is confirmed at this stage of the process. Once the neighborhood meeting is held, the final choices for developers will be sent to Johnson Controls which has the ultimate decision. It will then go to various city committees and the Common Council for approval. Construction may begin in Summer of 2006. Guardians of Green Space Vince Bushell reporting The clean up of Garden Park land continues. The City received an EPA grant for remediation. Once completed, it will be turned over to a non-profit, ideally RNA, if it achieves non-profit status by then. Volunteers are needed to help manage Garden Market this summer. Please read the most recent issue of Riverwest Currents for an up-to-date summary of the Reservoir Restoration Plan. The plan still does not provide adequate connectivity between the two sides of Kilbourn Park at North Ave. Neighbors are encouraged to write to their Alderpersons about the situation. The RNA Board may write a letter comparing the plan to the RNA Position Paper. Plans are in the works for the city yards on North along the river toward Meinecke. Vince will update. Youth Issues Committee Self Wise Allah reporting The RNA Liaison with Neighborhood Schools, Suzanne Zipperer, plans to connect with Youth Initiatives, Inc. on Holton Street. She would like to interview the young people for a possible story in Riverwest Currents. The goal is to connect youth with RNA neighbors in a nurturing partnership. These young people have been in foster care, turned 18 and “aged out” of the system and are on their own, with few resources. The Gaenslen School pool will be open, starting in March, for family swim from 6 -8 pm on Tuesdays, March 1, 8, 15 and 22. If successful, with at least 20 people , it will expand offerings to include a Tiny Tot swim. The pool is warm and not deep. Suzanne Zipperer thanks all those who helped with ideas, input and lifeguard recommendations. Administrative Committee Nancy Centz reporting Tim Vertz gave an update on RNA’s non-profit status. He recently responded to an IRS ten point request for more information and is working to finalize our status. Lorraine Jacobs gave a summary of the RNA Board meeting on Jan. 18. First, due to closure of funding for the Holton Street INRS, the Holton Street Revitalization Committee will change focus. This will be discussed at the Board meeting in March. Jim Wilson requested initiatives with which he can help. The Board suggested neighborhood info “welcome” packets for landlords to provide tenants and for new homeowners. The YMCA has notified Jim Wilson that by 2006 they will probably not be able to support the Center Street CDC office. The Board will work with Jim to develop a fundraising strategy. The Board also initiated some changes to the format of RNA meetings, moving “Presentations” toward the last half so committee business takes place while everyone is present. There will be an announcement on RNA of the Board Members with contact information. The Board will be more visible at meetings. Future meetings will include a discussion of logo design for RNA. UPDATE FROM ALDERMAN D’AMATO Plans are underway to create an advisory committee, similar to the Johnson Controls site committee, for the development along the River/North Ave. The environmental clean-up that is occurring on the lot at Chambers and Humboldt is one of the most severe ever encountered in the City. The storage sheds behind the “Post Teledyne” building have been sold. Ald. D’Amato is working with the new owner regarding ultimate use of this property. The empty lot at Booth and Locust is another contaminated site. The City is investigating the mysterious noise along Keefe Ave. Ald. D’Amato will share findings when available. Read Ald. D’Amato’s newsletter for web sites of interest Ald. D’Amato’s office has received requests for liquor license renewals/updates, one is for a tavern/dance license at Club 99. Also, Wiskey Waters tavern license on Pierce and Locust is up for renewal and new owners. Contact his office with comments. DISTRICT 5 SAFETY MEETING Tim Vertz and Jim Martin reporting There will be representatives from the Department of Corrections/Victim Advocates at the March 3 meeting. Chief Hegerty will attend the May 4 meeting. Safety meetings are scheduled the first Thursday of the month, 5:30 PM, at the 5th district MPD station. Due to the Mayor’s initiative, there is increased support for a Block Watch development. There will be a city-wide council to coordinate this effort. Tim Vertz will keep us updated. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 8, with the agenda to be posted on RNA Mail.