Police Chief, Water Works Head Meet with Riverwest Residents

by Lorraine Jacobs and Sonya Jongsma Knauss

At the Riverwest Neighborhood Association’s final meeting of the year, several city officials generously gave up part of their evening to answer questions from neighbors. First up was a presentation by new police chief Nan Hegerty, who was accompanied by Capt. James Shepard, Lt. Don Gaglione, and P.O. Bruce Scott.

Chief Hegerty, who has attended numerous neighborhood meetings recently, said she is developing a Business Plan for the department. She spoke about her goals for the department, including:

Examining current personnel assignments with the intention of deploying officers to more active duty on the streets.

Working with the community, feels there is a need “to work in a cooperative effort.”

Holding weekly meetings of the command staff at each district to review current statistics. This information will be shared at the monthly community district meetings. These meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is January 8, 2004, 5:30 p.m., at the 5th district station. Both she and the new captain promised more sharing and listening at these meetings.

Stepping up truancy abatement efforts. She encouraged neighbors to call the Truancy Abatement Office at 933-7402 to report young people out of school.

Improving assistance at district offices to avoid having callers transferred or given the wrong information.

Someone requested an explanation as to why there are several different officers who respond to the neighborhood calls, rather than the same officers who are familiar with the situations. It was explained that due to limited personnel, neighborhood officers may be involved in other situations when the calls come in and officers from other districts are sent to respond. When the position assessment is completed and hopefully more officers are “on the streets” this should improve. Also, there are currently many shift changes, and this will be reduced to just 3 in a 24 hour period.

Improving media relations, including possibly reinstating a Press Room at Downtown Headquarters. There will be a new Communications Officer announced soon as well.

Next, Carrie Lewis, Superintendent at Milwaukee Water Works, gave an update on the Kilbourn Park reservoir, located just north of North Avenue and west of Bremen Street. Based on engineering studies, the Water Works department is 99% sure that they do not need the tank in the hill. This means previous plans for the hill, which assumed the tank would remain, could be revised. Lewis pointed out that the planning process has hit some roadblocks because of changes in personnel at the Department of City Development (DCD). Lewis has been keeping their staff up to date on the status of the park and the tank. She suggested that clay models be provided to help new staff “see” the plans, and she recommended that any presentations or decisions on plans be put on hold until DCD staffing is more stable.

Lewis noted that there are valves currently being installed on the sides of the Reservoir. Their purpose is to be able to shut off the water to the tanks and thus determine if the system works without the tank.

Committee Reports

Holton Street: Maps and descriptions were provided by Dan Sargeant of NMIDC for review. This material designated the streets, properties, and known property owners.

Crime Update: Members are looking into funding for more lighting from Home Depot and WE Energies.

Guardians of Green Space:

Brownfield Grant Applications have been sent in by the city for 3009 N. Humboldt Blvd.

Vince Bushell, Tess Reiss, Ald. Mike D’Amato, Sup. Willie Johnson, and others have met to discuss the Beer Line Trail. The goal is to convince ReadCo to agree on a trade for property at North Avenue.

Snail’s Crossing reminder that donations are continuing to be accepted through the end of February (see page 21 for details).

COA management of Kilbourn Park is progressing. Some planing was done, new lighting is being considered, an endowment is being sought. Tom Schneider would like to start having meetings again of concerned neighbors, call him at 263-8383 if interested. See page 21 for an update.

Candidate Forums: The RNA and Riverwest Currents are co-sponsoring a candidate forum for the Third aldermanic district Tuesday, January 20, at Gordon Park Pavilion at 6 p.m. All are invited. The 6th Aldermanic District Forum will be co-sponsored with Harambee or Brewer’s Hill Associations in February.

Other Updates:

Street lights out in neighborhood over extended period of time, call 286-3481.

Jeff Barke would like the Association to discuss the feasibility of our joining the City Wide Housing Coalition. He will be attending their Dec 11 meeting and will report at the next meeting.

Adjourned to holiday treats!