Riverwest Park Trust Selects Chairs–Plans for the Future

by Jay Kirk>

The Riverwest Park Trust, an organization that is forming to help govern and plan for changes in Kilbourn / Reservoir Park, selected two co-chairs last month: Beth Fetterly of the Urban Ecology Center and Becky Rabatin, a near neighbor of the park. In other business at the Nov. 4 meeting held at COA Youth and Family Centers, Tom Schneider, executive director of COA, reviewed the phases of the renewal of Kilbourn Park. The renovation phase has begun, with the removal of many of the retaining walls above Commerce Street and the grading of the steep slope at the south end of the Park. This phase should be completed in December. The second phase will add retaining walls and paths, renovate bathrooms, and create an amphitheater. The planting phase will consist of adding trees, shrubs, and grass, with completion anticipated by June 2003. The City will burn the grassed areas on the inclines, as is necessary to maintain them. The City has sent COA a first draft of a lease for the Park. COA and City representatives met to discuss the draft in early November. It was agreed that a close neighbor of the Park would be invited to this and all other meetings. Concerns about various aspects of the lease, including liability and cancellation portions, were expressed. The group then discussed potential members of the group — the Riverwest Park Trust — that will advise COA in regard to the Park. The following groups were suggested as sources for members: the Riverwest Neighborhood Association, neighborhood schools, the Urban Ecology Center, COA, the YMCA CDC, youth members, the Milwaukee Common Council, the County Board of Supervisors, the Rowing Club, near neighbors, and businesses in the area. Participation of neighborhood residents in the planning and maintenance of the Park is essential so that a landlord/tenant relationship is not created between COA and neighborhood residents. Near residents might have a different perspective regarding some of the plans for the Park. For example, issues such as the amount of lighting, the level of activity, and noise concerns may be viewed differently by near neighbors. It is important that a COA board member champion the Riverwest Park Trust, since the COA board is very interested in the cost of maintaining the Park and in enhancing the quality of life in the neighborhood. The next meeting of the Riverwest Park Trust is tentatively scheduled for December 9, at 5:15 p.m. Location will be announced. Issues to be considered at that meeting include what committees will be needed for the Riverwest Park Trust, the proposed bridge/staircase, Reservoir Park, and program ideas. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 11 – December 2002
by Jay Kirk