RNA Minutes

by Jay Kirk Note: these minutes have been edited for length and have not yet been approved. They will be approved at the next meeting. 1. Invocation by Jan Christensen 2. Participants introduced themselves. 3. Minutes of the RNA Meeting of September 17 were approved as distributed. 4. Announcements: a. Tom Nehrbass provided maps of Reservoir Park on which he labeled the surrounding streets. b. The Riverwest Currents is sponsoring the grand opening of Nessun Dorma, a local restaurant and bar, Saturday, November 23. A $5 charge at the door will cover entertainment and food, and will go toward a Riverwest Currents fundraiser. c. The Riverwest Co-op will be having a potluck brunch on Sunday, November 3, at 10 a.m., the first anniversary of the opening of the Co-op. d. A Garden Park stewardship meeting will be held on Monday, November 11, at 7 p.m. at the YMCA CDC office. e. As a follow up to the Kilbourn/Reservoir Park design workshop held on October 9, the architects promised to return with a draft design for the park based on the input from the neighborhood. The meeting will be held Wednesday, November 20, at COA. 5. Mian’s Gas Station Update:Tess Reiss updated the group on the status of the renovation of Mian’s gas station at Holton and Burleigh. At the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA), RNA members and others discussed the planned renovation with Mr. Mian. After much discussion, he withdrew his request for a variance and will meet with Harambee and Riverwest neighbors to discuss the building plan. A meeting had been scheduled for the Monday following the BOZA meeting; however, Mr. Mian had personal business outside the country and requested that the meeting be delayed until January or February. The Harambee Ombudsman Project Incorporated (HOPI) strongly supports an open, walk-around convenience store. Jerry Patzwald, Chair, Development Committee, brought forward a motion by the Development Committee in regard to the Mian gas station: “The Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA) strongly encourages Mr. Mian to build an attractive new gas station at the corner of Holton & Burleigh. Doing this will improve perceptions of Holton Street and very likely will improve the revenue that he will derive from this location. New initiatives are in process on Holton including the renovation of the old Kohl’s store by Lena’s grocery. Further, the Integrated Neighborhood Revitalization Grant (see cover story) will provide funding for several initiatives on Holton. Mr. Mian will find that he is well positioned to reap the rewards of the continued revitalization of the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods and the increased auto traffic from the northern suburbs. In light of these developments, the Riverwest Neighborhood Association would be willing to support Mr. Mian’s future requests for zoning changes if the following conditions were met. • The building will use the same ration of rusticated block, brick and transparent windows as the station built by Mian Oil Corporation on Forest Home. • The canopy should mimic the canopy of the Mian Oil stations on Forest Home. • No public phones will be located outside the gas station. • The store within the gas station will be constructed in an open fashion so that customers may choose the food items they wish to purchase and bring them to the cashier for payment. The vending area should be open whenever the station is open. Further, no outside vending window should be created. • A landscaping plan that includes brick piers, wrought iron fencing, and plantings must be reviewed and approved by the Department of City Development after consultation with the Alderpersons from the 3rd and 6th Districts and area residents. The draft motion was passed and is to be considered for final approval at the RNA Meeting on November 18. 6. Where do we go from here? (Part 2) RNA co-chair George Singleton noted that during conversations with Jesse Greenlee, Director of the YMCA CDC, he discovered that funding for the Center Street office and for two part-time positions through March of 2003 is possible. If other funding sources were found, the funds would need to be distributed via an organization such as the YMCA CDC. Greenlee has offered to provide such assistance. Two foundations were suggested as possible sources of funds to keep the YMCA CDC – Riverwest open: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Foundation. These sources will be investigated. An Integrated Neighborhood Revitalization Grant has been received to revitalize Holton Street. Vince Bushell prepared the grant, which will fund various initiatives to renew the economic viability of the Street. Intersections such as Holton and Center have been targeted for commercial rejuvenation. The grant provides $110,000 to be shared with NMIDC. Guidelines and goals for the grant are still being developed. Postage or cash for mailings is still needed. Please forward any donations to Christensen. All recipients of mailed agenda have been contacted and asked to indicate if they could just as well receive an e-mail copy of the agenda or if they would like to continue to receive a printed agenda. Those individuals who do not respond to the request will be assumed to no longer be interested and will be deleted from the mailing list. The motion for RNA to seek designation as a non-profit organization passed at the last meeting was tabled. Further information needs to be gathered. 7. Reports from Committees: a. Singleton noted that more volunteers were needed for the Holton Street Revitalization Committee. b. Guardians of Green Space — Two articles on Garden Park were published in recent issues of the Riverwest Currents. The goal of these articles was to inform and to generate interest in the future of the Park. The City of Milwaukee has indicated that it would consider transferring ownership of the Park to another organization. A meeting to initiate planning has been scheduled for Monday, November 11, 7 p.m., at the YMCA CDC office at 604 E. Center Street. Interested community members are encouraged to attend. c. Development Committee — A written report of the Committee was distributed via e-mail. The primary action of the Committee was the creation of the Mian Gas Station motion brought to the RNA above. Action on the draft gentrification position paper was deferred to the next Committee meeting to allow time to work on the gas station motion. d. R.I.S.E. — • Brad Montgomery reported briefly on the Mayor’s Commission on Crime that had begun before the RNA meeting. Individuals from several agencies described their contributions to work in this area. Many strongly-felt concerns were expressed. • The Medical College of Wisconsin is gathering statistics on where firearm injuries and deaths occur. After gathering this data, the information will be collated and a plan to cope with the issue will be developed. • Regular meetings are held with the Fifth District Captain on the first Thursday of each month at 5:30pm at the fifth District Station. The group is asking for more current updates on the crimes in the neighborhood. • Montgomery is going door to door to increase awareness of crime related issues and trying to develop block clubs, if they do not exist. He is asking for others to participate in this activity. It usually takes about an hour. He plans to continue this activity Tuesdays at 5:30pm. Please contact him if you are interested. e. Bylaws — No report. 8. The next RNA meeting will be held at 7 p.m., November 18, at the YMCA CDC office at 604 E. Center St. 9. New Business – A question was raised regarding the timing of the RNA meeting and the publication of the Riverwest Currents. It would be useful to have the meeting agenda in the Currents so that the community would know what issues were being considered. To accomplish this the publication date or the meeting date would have to be changed. It was moved and seconded that the monthly RNA meeting be moved from the third Tuesday to the second Tuesday of the month. The motion was approved for this change to be voted on at the next RNA meeting. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 10 – November 2002
by Jay Kirk