October 2003

Riverwest will host the second quarterly all-city gathering and potluck Wednesday, October 29, from 6-8 p.m. at the Gordon Park Pavilion. Organized by the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance and members of the Riverwest Neighborhood Association, and sponsored by the Riverwest Currents, the potluck dinner offers a chance for community activists and neighborhood groups from around the city to share ideas. The first such get-together took place in June at the Vliet Street Commons, where several mayoral candidates and about 70 people active in various neighborhood groups met to talk, share food, and make brief presentations. If your group would like to have space at a booth or table, please contact or call 265-7278 and leave a detailed message. ……………………… In city government news… In its September 23 meeting, the Common Council passed, 11-4, a resolution sponsored by Third District Ald. Mike D’Amato that opposes the state bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons. The council also voted to allot up to $35,000 to allow Villard Library, which was scheduled to close in October, to remain open through the end of the year. Several other neighborhood libraries, including the nearby Martin Luther King Library, will be closed on Fridays. D’Amato, who is also a member of the Milwaukee Public Library board, said that other libraries may continue to close or consolidate based on how much they are used, adding that library cuts are a direct result of the budget cuts that come from lower taxes. “The people who say, ‘I’m willing to pay for services to improve the quality of life in my neighborhood,’ need to be heard,” he says. “I hear from some of them, but the resounding chorus is ‘lower taxes;’ it is not ‘improve services.’ You can’t have both. Anyone who tells you that [you can] is lying.” ……………………… Want to help a great cause? Select from over 2,000 handcrafted bowls — 500 of which were generously donated by Murray Hill Pottery works — and sample delicious soup and bread from local chefs while listening to live music at this year’s Empty Bowls project at MATC South Campus, 6665 S. Howell Ave, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., October 11. Proceeds from your donation ($12 minimum per bowl) will benefit food pantries in the greater Milwaukee area. ……………………… Baby Park, on the 3000 block of N. Bremen Street, will soon be getting new equipment and a new name, thanks to a $47,000 grant from the city. With effort and input from a small group of neighbors spearheaded by Marina Lee, who owns Beginning Dreams Forever across from the park, the park will take on a totally new look. It is to be renamed “Snail’s Crossing” and will feature mosaic tiles and landscaped play areas in the shape of a snail. The neighborhood group planning for the park would like to include more elements than the city’s money will cover, and is fundraising for trees, mosaic tiles, public art, and play equipment. For more on donating to this unique community service project, please see ad, page 10. A community tree-planting project will be held at the park in conjunction with Artwalk, from 1-5 p.m. each day on October 4 and 5. The Green Party, based in Riverwest, is having its annual fundraiser in the neighborhood on October 15 from 6-9 p.m. at the Gordon Park Pavilion at Locust and Humboldt. The Greater Milwaukee Green Party fundraiser includes a silent auction, beer, wine, finger food, music provided by Michael Bootzin, and lots of fun. A $5 donation is suggested. ……………………… September 15 – October 15 is National Latino Heritage Month. ……………………… La Escuela Fratney, in the 3200 block of N. Fratney and Pierce Streets, is moving ahead with a planned addition/expansion and renovation that will include a new gymnasium, new cafeteria, and space for artwork, music class, and a library. The first and second floor of the current school will be built out to the west; to the south, a two-floor gymnasium will go in. Behind that will be the new cafeteria. Principal Celin Arce says the addition should fit nicely into the structure of the building; care is being taken to make sure it is architecturally and visually appropriate for the current building. Staff and parents gave their input on the design for the new school building. The budget for the expansion and renovations is about $9 million, some of which will come from the MPS maintenance fund and some of which will come from federal grants for renovation and technology. While the start date may change depending on MPS contractors’ timelines, the project is expected to begin in April 2004 and be complete around June 2005. “We’ve been waiting eight years for this,” Arce said. Looking for a festival this month? The Wisconsin DNR, with the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail (FOHAST), is hosting a fall festival Saturday, October 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Klement’s Sausage Haus (Miller Park — East Parking Lot). Attendees can make nature crafts, identify birds, participate in archery and casting contests, and take a wildflower walk, as well as learn about the future plans for the development of the Hank Aaron State Trail. The trail will eventually cover about seven miles, linking the Lake Michigan shore to Doyne Park and the Oak Leaf Trail. The trail is expected to serve as a commuting corridor for walkers and bicyclists between downtown and the western side of Milwaukee. ……………………… Johnson Controls has been running tests on its vacant property covering the block between Weil and Bremen and from Auer to Townsend. The area, which formerly housed a battery-making plant for the company, will be developed as early as next Spring on the northeast portion of the property, where contaminant levels are too low to measure. For an extensive history of the property, check out the March 2003 Currents. Development on the property, according to Ald. Mike D’Amato, would be “neighborhood appropriate” — i.e. single family and duplex row houses. David Jones’ favorite place in Milwaukee is a house on Humboldt Blvd. It’s just one of many photos in an online scrapbook, Picture Milwaukee Places. The project is part of an ongoing effort to document the significance of Milwaukee’s spaces. “Riverwest is home to some of Milwaukee’s greatest undiscovered treasures. This project is our neighborhood’s time to shine,” says project organizer and Riverwest resident Jennifer Geigel. To peruse some of the project’s submissions, visit www.milwaukeemakesplace.org. The site will officially launch on October 15. Bob Monat, chief operating officer for the Mandel Group, Inc., developing the RiverCrest condominiums south of Jewel Osco on North and Humboldt (called “Beerline C”), says: “As a result of the feedback we received at the Public Information Meeting, we did in fact add a path from North Avenue that connects to the bike path, in order to ensure that there will be bike access from the top of the bluff to the bottom of the bluff.” This would also make the path wheel-chair accessible. The change was made in response to comments received at a public presentation at Lakefront Brewery. In an e-mail, Monat reiterated that the group wants to be responsive to any other concerns neighbors may have. Milwaukee Water Works commissioner Carrie Lewis said recently that the Water Works was completing its study on the Reservoir, which is encompassed by the large hill just north of North Avenue at Bremen Street. At an RNA meeting last year, Lewis asked neighbors for direction on the shape the city-owned land and park should take if the Reservoir were decommissioned. Neighborhood residents have been involved with planning for the park, taking part in design workshops to provide recommendations. Lewis says, “Our landscape artist is still working on a plan to incorporate the elements of the plans; he is very close. We’re optimistic about getting something out this year.” When asked about potential for a tunnel to go through the hill, straightening out North Avenue and allowing the park to directly connect to Kilbourn Park, south of North Avenue, Lewis said “He is actually working on a version of the tunnel — but it is too early to give any details.” ……………………… The River Revitalization Foundation, Mayor Norquist, and MMSD announced MMSD’s Greenseams program purchase of an easement on the Beerline Bike Trail. This is last money needed to pay for the land. The announcement was made at the trail head in Gordon Park on September 30. Read the full story in November. The City is considering four proposals that were submitted for development of the Post-Teldyne building just north of Locust on Humboldt. Two were for significant residential housing developments and two incorporated more mixed uses, including a consortium of businesses and non-profit groups. A decision is expected to be made in the next month.