August 2002

Garden Park at Bremen and Locust needs to form an official group to manage and lobby for long term ownership as a community run pocket park and market. NOW IS THE TIME. The city has determined that there is no identifiable individual or entity with legally enforcable ties to the lot. Due to subsurface contamination, the City is willing to consider foreclosure and tenureship by a community group. There are several possible land trust groups that could hold title to the land. It is up to Riverwest folks to make this happen. Call Vince at 263-1380 ext 13 and leave your name and contact information if you are interested in this venture.

Speaking of neighborhood park control, the COA and area residents are proposing a public-private partnership to operate and maintain the soon-to-be relandscaped Kilbourn Park and adjacent new park space. With this partnership, the City of Milwaukee, COA, and residents of the Riverwest neighborhood will operate and maintain this park as a vibrant new community resource and asset. (For more details, see our story on this project in this month’s issue of the Currents.)

In the 3rd District election on July 16, Gerry Broderick narrowly beat Mark Goff in a runoff to replace Supervisor Penny Podell. With a little over 52% of the vote, Broderick won voters’ approcal in the Milwaukee wards of the district, while Goff came out ahead in Shorewood. The Gordon Park Pavilion is the hottest rental site in the County, to the surprise of some county officials. “We budgeted for 29 rentals this year and already we’ve had 100 scheduled,” says Larry Kenny of the County Parks Department. “I was personally thrilled when I was there the other day,” he said during a recent heat wave. “There had to be more than 200 people there. I saw parents of all races sitting and talking and kids of all ages playing.” The Splash Pad has also been a hit, prompting the county to expand its hours to 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day. Attendance was also up at Gordon Park Pops in its second performance of live music at the outdoor pavilion. Riverwest’s outdoor music in the park features One Drum on Wednesday, July 31. Three other dates are scheduled before fall.

The Knowles Nelson Stewardship grant has awarded the River Revitalization Foundation (RRF)a grant for half the cost of purchasing the land (Chicago Milwaukee Corporation’s CMC rail road right of way) that will form a multiple use trail between Gordon Park and North Avenue. As reported earlier, CMC sold the land to RRF, a land trust devoted to preservation and public development of river lands. RRF is well along in its fund raising efforts to pay for the parcel. Subsequently the Milwaukee County Board voted to ultimately accept the land as additions to Gordon Park and to co-sponsor applications for federal transportation dollars to construct the trail. Someday you may be able to ride your bike from Riverwest to the Schlitz Park on an off street trail…and someday you may be able to walk on a trail system along the Milwaukee River from Gordon Park to the Third Ward.

The Riverwest Art Works, which is the gallery of the Riverwest Artists Association, has been closed for the last few months due to a water leakage problem. The building directly to the south of the gallery located at 2670 N. Holton Street, has been draining its roof onto the side of the gallery’s building for many years causing considerable damage within. After the winter months, this became a much more serious problem for the RAA gallery. Rather than risk any art work on display, the board of RAA decided to close the gallery until the problem is rectified. Unfortunately, after many efforts, the owner of the building to the south, Mrs. Krueger, of Krueger bakery fame, refuses to address the problem. The city building inspection office has proven just as difficult to work with, the association says, failing to cite Mrs. Krueger for a serious situation that has caused thousands of dollars in damage to a neighboring building.

Riverwest poet and Milwaukee Poet Laureate Antler is published in a new anthology — September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond, ed. By Wm. Hegen, Etruscan Press, Maryland. Jeff Poneiwiz and Antler’s 9-11 poems appear in the anthology. The men are in good company, with other contributors that include heavyweights such as American Poet Laurreatte Robert Prisky (ChecKK), Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and John Updike.

Local poet Charlesetta Thompson has completed and self-published her first book of poetry titled “Thoughts, Feelings and Dreams.” It is available at the Cultural Connections Book Store, 3424 W. Villard Ave., Reader’s Choice Book Store, 1950 King Drive, and Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust.

It’s not too late to enroll your child in Milwaukee Public School… the “Be in your seats when the bell rings!” MPS campaign offers enrollment from July 29-August 16. Contact 475-8448 for more information. The first day of school is Thursday, September 5 (after Labor Day and later than usual).

The new, improved Center Street, plus bike lane, is open. Not everyone seems to realize the significance of the bicyclists painted on the outside lanes, and neighbors are hedging bets on whether the recently laid-down sod will make it after recent hot weather, but Center Street is open for business!

The first weekend in October will be a flurry of activity in the neighborhood. Erik Peterson is coordinating a Center Street block party to celebrate the new, improved Center Street, bike lanes, sidewalk lights, greenery and all. Art Walk takes place the same weekend. The Riverwest Currents is sponsoring both events.

A new day care center is going into the Friends Meeting House at 3224 N. Gordon Place. Lifeways Early Childhood Center will provide care for children 4 months through 6 years. The center will open Sept. 9. It will accept W-2 and offer tuition assistance. For more information, please call Mary McConnell at 258-5792.

Plans aren’t firmed up yet, but some sources say a family health clinic may be looking at moving into the offices on North and Humbolt above Jewel Osco at the street level of North Avenue.

Mad Planet is ending its Teen Nite… starting Saturday, August 10, Saturdays will be 21 & over Dance Party and Ladies Night, with free admission.

Police investigating the condo fire along Commerce Street say they continue to be unable to determine the cause and source of the fire. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 7 – August 2002