September 2003

Aldermanic candidates for Riverwest have been filing papers with the Election Commission in recent months. Riverwest, which is currently divided between the Third and Sixth Districts, will be almost completely in the Third District after the 2004 redistricting takes place. As of Riverwest Currents press time, candidates who had filed for the Third District aldermanic race were Alderman Mike D’Amato, Ben Hitchcock Cross, and Riverwest resident Timothy Vertz. Sixth district filers are Phil Anderson and George Sanders. Sixth District incumbent Marlene Johnson-Odom, who earlier said she would not run for re-election and then decided she would, has not yet filed papers. Aldermanic candidates have until early January to file and are required to obtain 200-400 signatures of support between December 1 and the January deadline.

Get dazzled at Center Street Daze on Saturday, September 20. The last street party of the season tips off with an Art Cart Race sponosored by the Riverwest Artists Association. Sporting types can also enter the Scavenger Hunt Bicycle Race sponsored by Breakaway Bicycle Courier or ride the boards at UPROC. Shimmy with the Belly Dancers at Jackpot where they’ll be giving lessons. Look for local street performers like Capoeira Batukue Street Roda, a form of Afro-Brazilian martial arts. Or try your hand at Uptowner’s outdoor Pool Tournament to benefit the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center. Live music all day at the River Horse, Onopa, Quarters, and Uptowner stages, plus local and exotic merchandise, and food galore. Call the Uptowner at 372-3882 or email Tess Reiss at for more info.

The Riverwest Coop hopes to begin its expansion and renovation into the garage space at 733 E. Clarke St. this fall. The space will include a bulk food section and a coffee/smoothie bar. To help keep costs down, they are looking for all the help they can get! If you are a skilled tradesman (carpentry, plumbing, electric, etc.) or are handy with drywall and tiles and have been looking for an opportunity for a one-time volunteer effort, now’s the time. Please come to an informational meeting Saturday, September 27, at 1 p.m. Questions? Call Vince Bushell or Wendy Mesich at 264-7933.

Flux Design is adorning its downtown location, Gallery 326 on N. Water St., with a Gateway Milwaukee sign for the week of the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Festival. Visible from the 794 Expressway, the building greets those headed to Downtown, to the Third Ward, the Summerfest Grounds, Walker’s Point, and the Lakefront. The sign pays homage to Milwaukee, the companies that helped build it, and the institutions that keep it going. Layers of imagery refer to Harley-Davidson, MasterLock, Miller Brewing Co., Midwest Express, Milwaukee Tools, and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava Expansion. “Our goal is to welcome people to Milwaukee and show them a city that is at once rich with history, sensitive to the present and excited about the future,” says President Jeremy Shamrowicz. Flux Design offers quality steel, concrete, plastic, wood, and glass design, fabrication, and installation. The Flux studio and fabrication facility is located at 811 E. Vienna Ave. in Riverwest.

Work on the renovations of Baby Park in the 3000 block of N. Bremen is progressing. Marina Lee has been spearheading the project, and recently met with nearby residents to gather input on park structures. Construction on the park will begin this month, with structures to be ordered within the next week. Any neighbors interested in supporting this effort can donate money to support playground equipment or tree plantings in the area.

Road builders are major campaign donors and carry huge political influence. The Story Hill neighborhood website ( continues to carry the best information for those interested in following the money and seeing how it affects our state and local governments. Here’s a website excerpt from some recent findings: “In the new state budget, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, ‘road builders and associated unions, who have contributed $2.05 million since 1993 in exchange for a road construction and rehabilitation program that has spent billions to lay and maintain new pavement, got an additional $77 million increase to about $1.8 billion over the next two years.'”

According to Mike Wisniewski of the Department of City Development, the City is planning to re-deck Humboldt Bridge in 2004 or 2005. The bridge structure is sound, but the surface needs to be re-decked. It may also be widened a little to make room for a bike lane. New lights will be installed and guard rails replaced. In other city development projects nearby, contracts were recently let for the pedestrian bridge near the North Avenue bridge that would connect the area west of the river to Caesar’s Park on the lower east side. Construction will start soon and should be complete in 2004. The City is also planning a low grass planting in the fall on the bluff along Commerce Street.

As part of its budget crunch this year, MPS has had to make cuts to its Driver’s Education program. According to MPS spokesperson Molly Barrett, the cuts are a result of state budget changes. “The state will no longer provide state aid for Driver Education,” she said. MPS currently receives $100/per student who passes the course. “Without this reimbursement we would not be able to afford offering the course for $175; the fee would have to be raised to $275 in order for the district to break even,” she said. Since the $275 fee is comparable to private providers, families that relied on MPS to provide cheaper drivers’ training may not be able to afford the program. MPS will weigh the options of providing the course at the increased price or working with private providers.

Milwaukee Makes Place needs your help collecting stories and photos about favorite places located in the City of Milwaukee’s diverse neighborhoods. They can be new or old, original or found, digital or print, but the content should be about a favorite place that has perhaps previously gone unnoticed – including parks, picnic spots, sidewalks, trees, fields, streets, sculptures, clouds, playgrounds, trails, gathering places, streams, benches, bus stops, resting places, places of worship, gardens, driveways, stairwells, sacred spaces, etc. Please mail or e-mail pictures and stories to or Milwaukee Makes Place, PO Box 324, Milwaukee, WI 53201. Include your name, contact information, and place location along with the photo or story. Original photos will be returned if the sender includes a SASE. Photos and stories will be accepted through September 30. Volunteers are also available to photograph favorite places, scan photos on-site, or conduct interviews to gather stories. To view favorite places already contributed, visit and click on the scrapbook.

Alderman Mike D’Amato is hosting an ice cream social at the Gardener’s Market on Sunday, September 21, from Noon to 2 p.m. Stop by and chat with the Alderman, spoon up some ice cream, or make a float with Lakefront’s famous root beer. Music by the Milwaukee Mandolin Ensemble in Garden Park on Locust & Bremen.

Check out our ongoing series to educate voters about mayoral choices next Spring. Last month kicked off our first “question of the month,” and this month mayoral candidates answered two questions about mayoral control of the school board and police shootings. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 9 – September 2003