May 2003

Condos going up in Riverwest: the new Gordon Knoll condo development at 1220 E. Locust St. has some neighbors spitting mad. The four-story, view-blocking development will offer one-bedroom and two-bedroom units are priced at introductory rates starting at $179,000 to $299,000. Expected completion date is Summer of 2004.

Speaking of condos… Developer Andrew Busalacchi has assembled land and a building, the former medical storage building at 3029 N. Weil St., for development in a condo conversion project that is being called the HI FI Lofts. The land has been fenced and the building cleared and cleaned. The interior has been sandblasted down to the cream city brick walls and the large pine framing timbers. Plans for 41 condo units have been approved, including city permits. Busalacchi has put the building on the market for $2,200,000. (Yes, that’s $2.2 million). The new owner will not be bound by the design plans developed, but they are available. The property is being handled by Rand Wolf at the Polacheck Company.

The Beerline Bike Trail is closer to becoming a reality after the River Revitalization Foundation’s annual Earth Day benefit at Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden. More than 200 Riverwesters and others gathered to support the cause of a bike trail in our neighborhood and to hear the pleasant sounds of the Riverwest Accordion Club and Salt Creek bluegrass band. More than $3,000 was raised for the project.

The Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA) did not take a stand on the Park East development at the April meeting. There was not time to have a full discussion of the issue and it was tabled and put on the May meeting agenda. All but one e-mail response supported the coalition to require good jobs and affordable housing as part of the redevelopment of the Park East corridor. To review the issue, check out the April Further Down Stream.

Vital Source is teaming up with Danceworks to offer an exciting summer opportunity for Riverwest children: participation in Summer Creative Arts Camps and Workshops. Three full tuition scholarships will be offered, and applicants will be selected based on their drawing or essay on the theme: “What Summer Means to Me.” Children ages three to eight can create a drawing on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet and ages nine to 13 can write a 50-100 word paragraph or submit a drawing. Mail or drop off entries to: Bremen Cafe, Attn: Danceworks Contest, 901 E. Clarke St., Milwaukee, WI 53212. Winners will be selected by staff of Vital Source and Riverwest Currents. Submission of entry assumes right to republication, unless otherwise noted. Danceworks Sessions run from June 9 through August 31. Most camps are one week, for 2-3 hours per day for younger children and one to two weeks from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. for older children. Programs for young children use familiar themes like animals, colors, and letters to foster an appreciation of dance and art. Older students hone their skills in specific genres of dance (from ballet to hip hop), choreography, and performance. To learn more about Danceworks performance and education schedules, call (414) 277-8480, or visit their web site at

The Riverwest Neighborhood Directory is coming out in May! Keep an eye out at neighborhood locations for this comprehensive listing of neighborhood organizations and businesses.

A Landlord Training Program class will be held at the Gordon Park Pavilion on Humboldt and Locust on Wednesday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Class is FREE and includes a 100-page manual full of useful information for landlords. To register, call 286-2974. The class is facilitated by Karin Long of the Department of Neighborhood Services and a long-time Riverwest resident.

Congrats to Riverwest resident Bonnie Bruch, a staff member at Grand Avenue Club of Milwaukee. Bruch received the Professional Fair Housing Award at the 17th annual Fair Housing Conference & Awards Luncheon on April 4. The award was presented by the Wisconsin Fair Housing Network. Bruch has worked for six years at Grand Avenue Club, a community for adults who have experienced mental illness. Her work in finding safe, appropriate, and affordable housing for Grand Avenue Club members who have experienced mental illness earned her the award.

The Urban Ecology Center broke ground for its new building on April 26. The new building will feature a metal roof and many “green” features, including solar panels, recycled brick and lumber, and rainwater barrels. The building will move a little from its present location, taking a new position at Park Place and Cambridge Avenue on the tennis courts. The play area will also get an update, with a new habitat “eco-playground” to be built.

There will be a show at the Onopa Brewing Company Sunday, May 4, that features the work of illustrator and cartoonist Tea Krulos. Starting at 9 p.m. the Milwaukee Talkees, the Holy Mary Motor Club and i give up will play. Admission is $3 and includes a free copy of Riverwurst comics #2 which features work by more than eight local artists. There will be prizes and you must be 21 to attend.

State budget cuts are hitting Riverwest in several ways, and property tax increases could be one of them. According to Third District Ald. Mike D’Amato, the average property owner in the Third District, which includes parts of Riverwest, Shorewood, and the East Side, will see a tax increase around $150 per year.

There is a SUMMER of PEACE Youth Rally being planned for June 26 at Gordon Park: Milwaukee’s young voices will be heard! Help our city’s youth plan a day of Non-Violence, Awareness and Unity. The organizing group is seeking sponsors, special committee members, talented dancers, singers, poets, artists, drummers, dynamic speakers….and the list goes on. This is a youth-led initiative! One mission: to advocate for Peace in the streets of our city, our country, worldwide. To get involved contact .

The Juana G. Vega Resource Center for LGBT and questioning Latinas and Latinos is holding a Cinco de Mayo celebration and fundraiser to benefit the center and the Juana Gloria Vega Scholarship for lesbian and Latina students at MATC. The benefit is Friday, May 2. All are welcome to come and enjoy Mexican delicacies and exotic drinks, a silent auction, and a dance program at 7 p.m. by Annabella Gonzalez, the critically acclaimed Mexican-born choreographer, dancer, and teacher. The event is being held at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center at 315 W. Court Street (between King Drive and North 4th Streets).

What other neighborhood holds a race where you get to run and drink beer at the same time? Now that the weather’s warming up, lace up your running shoes, grab a frosty mug, and get out there to train for the Locust Street Festival Beer Run! Register ahead of time, because the 600 spaces filled up fast last year. For more info and a registration form, call 562-2020 or 562-2440 or email Tess Reiss at . Get a 10 minute sports massage for $5 by students from the Milwaukee School of Massage. Proceeds benefit Woodland Pattern.

Good Greens celebrates four years of cooperative neighborhood spirit! Good Greens is an organic produce buying club with bi-weekly deliveries in Riverwest. Through wholesale purchasing and volunteer labor, 12 member families help provide each other with the freshest, cleanest most affordable produce all year round. Currently Good Greens has two openings for new members! Call 871-6782 for more information.

Gardeners Market returns to Garden Park on Sunday, June 15. Vendors wanted: arts & crafts, jewelry, clothing, flowers, herbs, body oils, soaps, candles, etc. For more info, e-mail Tess Reiss at or leave a message at the Riverwest Currents office, 414/265-7278.

The Riverwest Currents website is expanding! Check out our new discussion boards at

Do something good for yourself and help out a great neighborhood organization at the same time! Riverwest Yogashala is holding two “Yoga for the Community” classes in May to benefit local nonprofits. 100% of funds received will benefit agencies to support programs for children, families, social justice, the arts, peace, spirituality, education, health, and other missions. Give what you can, take a yoga class, and help the community. In May, all funds will benefit COA Youth & Family Centers. COA hosts free playgroups, parenting classes, art classes and much more. This month’s classes are on Sunday, May 4, 3:30-5 p.m.: Family Yoga, Peggy Hong; Sunday, May 11, 3:30-5 p.m.: Mother’s Day class for adults, Annie Melchior. Suggested donation: $3-15/person. Call instructors for more info or to register: Peggy, 961-2524 or Annie, 332-7635.

Burke Candy, Riverwest’s own “chocolate factory” is offering Chocolate Making Classes for Kids ages 10 and older. Up to 12 candy-makers can design and mold their own chocolate creations, with a great goody bag to take home afterward! Call Burke Candy at 964-7327 for more info about rates and dates. Designed for birthday parties and groups, the classes are a great time for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, athletic teams, and chocoholics of any age!

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission is conducting a study on expanding Chicago’s Metra commuter trains from Kenosha to Racine to downtown Milwaukee and the southern suburbs. At a recent meeting, residents expressed overwhelming support for the idea. Two more hearings are planned for May 1. If you’re interested in expressing support for the train line, you can e-mail SEWRPC at .

Seniors Active in a Gay Environment (SAGE) recently established an endowment with funds it received from a bequest in the will of the late Howard G. Beck. The fund will be managed by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and the annual income will help to insure the future of the organization. The fund’s title is Greater Milwaukee Foundation SAGE/Milwaukee Endowment Fund for LGBT Seniors. Since SAGE is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization, donations to the fund are tax deductible. For further information on how to donate, call (414) 224-0517.

Looking for young men and women interested in a challenge: The Milwaukee Rowing Club has openings for their Junior division. The Club’s mission is to provide the community the broadest possible access to rowing as a recreational and competitive sport. Junior team members practice 3 to 4 times a week. The Club is looking for high school age girls and boys interested in learning a discipline and competing in races. A new boathouse is being constructed on Commerce Street to house the Milwaukee Rowing Club. This is a great opportunity to get on the water and participate in a sport that dates back to the 1890’s in Milwaukee.

Call Mindy Semanko or Joe Spollenwork at 414-298-9865, for more information.

Next month look for the Riverwest Currents music-themed issue. While some Riverwest musicians aren’t moving too quickly (hint, hint!) to submit their information for our Riverwest music guide, we already have more neighborhood bands than the Shepherd Express listed in their music guide… so stay tuned.

The merger of the Parks Department and the county’s Department of Public Works has been tabled for the time being… Sup. Gerry Broderick says he doesn’t think it’s going anywhere until there’s been more time to get public opinion on the issue. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 5 – May 2003