RNA Meeting Minutes

Holton Street INRS report by Jim Wilson, YMCA CDC — Riverwest and Don Sargent, NMIDC A copy of the Holton Street Corridor Revitalization Strategy plan was distributed. A copy of the plan has been provided to the Department of City Development. It reviews all businesses and buildings along Holton Street corridor (including intersecting streets). Recommendation is that Center Street business owners pursue an application to the “Main Street Program” for revitalization from Humboldt Boulevard west to Palmer Street. The presenters believe this has more potential than pursuing a “Main Street Program” for the “nodes” (intersecting corners) along Holton Street, which are scattered with sporadic vacancies. If approved, the revitalization of Center Street would spill onto Holton Street. Some discussion, with some residents objecting to the changed focus and advocating for more direct attention to the needs of Holton Street. It was noted that state funding has been received in the form of a CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) grant for a bike lane and related upgrade of Holton Street, which will provide some of the amenities that Center Street recently received from the city. It is hoped that this, along with the Center Street “Main Street Program,” will enhance a revitalization effect along the corridor. The “Main Street Program” is a competitive bid process through the City of Milwaukee. It would provide $75,000 the first year with reduced funding for successive three years. The funding includes salary for a coordinator who would work with the businesses and residents. The funds also would be used for improvements, such as plantings, facade grants etc., as determined by the businesses. Crime Update report by Jim Wilson, YMCA CDC — Riverwest Report from the 5th District neighborhood meeting, January 8. It was better attended than usual and offered more information than in the past. Summary of activity included some home burglaries on the east end of Riverwest, two arsons (a car and an empty apartment), some “smash windows” burglaries on Center Street businesses, a shooting/homicide at Burleigh Street and Holton Street with a known suspect. Policed recommend that residents install house numbers on alley side of garage, which is legally required. They are also requesting contact information for neighborhood groups and block club captains. Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the 5th District Station. Next meeting, February 5, will be attended by Police Chief Nan Hegerty if she is available. Alley Lighting Project report by Tim Vertz A committee of residents formed at the recent 5th District Meeting to develop a strategy for getting house numbers in alleys and more alley lighting. Tim has written a letter to the City requesting a lighting survey of all alleys in Riverwest. WE Energies has a program that provides lights installed on private property for a reduced fee and approximately $5/month. The group is also working with Home Depot for support. Development Group report by Vince Bushell RIC members continue to work every Saturday on the house on Holton Street. Update on Sign Effectz Building (Stanley Place): Most land for Beerline Bike Trail path has been acquired along the west side of the river along the railroad right-of-way, except for a section between Meinecke and North Avenue owned by ReadCo. Negotiations are continuing with the goal of getting ReadCo to swap a section of land they own for a wedge of county-owned land east of the old city yards. Due to a ReadCo development project in the Menomonee Valley, it is difficult to get them to focus on this; however, the bike path land deal is time sensitive due to deadlines on the use of funding. The plan for the Sign Effectz building, possibly condos, has not been finalized by ReadCo or the City. Keep in touch with the Alderman regarding City committee approval requests and agendas. Guardians of Green Space “Snail’s Crossing” report by Marina Lee A written report was distributed. Update on Grants activity. Received $10,000 from Milwaukee Arts Board for art projects. Have a commitment from Home Depot for materials. Discussion regarding possible fiscal receivers for this award. The energy and commitment continues among neighbors and friends. Donations can be sent before February 28 to Snail’s Crossing, COA Youth & Family Centers, 909 E. North Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212. Next RNA Meeting: Tuesday, February 10, 7 p.m. at YMCA CDC — Riverwest, 604 E. Center St. All residents and stakeholders in the neighborhood are welcome to attend. NOTE: RNA, with East Side neighborhood organizations, sponsors a County Executive Candidate forum Tuesday, February 24, 7-9 p.m., at the UWM Union Fireside Lounge.
by Lorraine Jacobs