Minutes from the February 11, 2008

Meeting of Martin Drive Neighborhood Association


Maggie and Tom were unable to be at the meeting but were gracious and committed enough to allow us to use their home for our meeting.  Thank you, Tom and Maggie.  About 15 people braved the sub-zero weather to attend the monthly meeting showing a representation from each street, except for Vliet Street and Highland Boulevard


We tried something different and offered each person 2 cent when entering the meeting asking neighbors for their 2 cent worth of information.  This phrase goes back to the time when, for many years, postage was 2 cent and this meant you could write a letter to the editor, to the president or to whomever you wanted to offer your opinion for a mere 2 cent. 


We asked for ways the neighborhood could be improved.  We learned that people liked the idea of continuing neighborhood walks.  Walks could be focused on walking to increase fitness, walking with dogs and walking with the police.  There is also a need for gatherings and for people to get to know their neighbors.  There was a feeling that people are getting sloppy about returning their garbage carts from the sidewalk to their proper placement, which by City Code needs to be done within 24 hours of pick-up.  Information on this code will be included in the newsletter. There is a need for general facade improvements to homes.   There was concern that more people and a more diverse group more reflective of the neighborhood should be attending the meetings and how could this be accomplished. 


There was a report about plans for a Farmers Market in Washington Park on the circular drive of the Senior Center.  A group of people including the Senior Center, Hmong American Friendship Association, rep from Washington Park Neighborhood, Martin Drive Neighborhood and an experienced Market Manager are working on this.  Local farmers (from our neighborhood) would vend the produce, and we would strive to have a flower, herb and honey vendor.  We would encourage booths of local businesses like the Amaranth Bakery and Eden Market and there would be hand craft vendors and artists.  While no decisions have been made as to the day of the week it would take place, we are leaning towards Sunday, as it does not conflict with other markets.  The date and time of the market is one of the most important decisions and can make or break the success of the market.  All initial conversations are very positive with buy in from all groups and from the County. 


There was also a report about the Community Improvement Clinic, which will be held on Saturday March 8th at the Washington Park Senior Center from 9 am to 11:30 am.  This clinic will be packed with information to help us grow and thrive in our neighborhood.  It is free and open to the public.  There will be demonstrations, info on crime prevention from the Police Department and City of Milwaukee, self-defense training and a talk about basic inexpensive security gadgets that you can easily install.  Someone from the city will talk about the City website and how to use the e-notify and e-services features.  Kids are welcome.  There will be a Kids’ Corner with games, crafts and martial arts demonstrations.  This has been planned in conjunction with the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association.  It will be worth your time and there will be tips for homeowners and renters.    


The last thing discussed was a Martin Drive Community Art Project.  It involves taking three or four of the larger planters on 43rd & Vliet and turning them into an art installation.  A very notable artist, Muneer Bahauddeen, would lead the project. He is the artist whose tiles adorn the Walnut Street Bridge over I-43 on the overpass to downtown.  He is very good at working with kids.   Muneer Bahauddeen is a Milwaukee-area artist who is well known for his work in ceramics. Muneer has taught ceramic sculpture at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, the University of Wisconsin-Madison at Rhinelander, and at the University School of Milwaukee. He has also participated in a number of area public art projects and has worked with Artists Working in Education, Inc. to bring art enrichment programs to children in Milwaukee.  I urge you to Google him or try this link for more information:  http://www.mchange.org/page.jsp?key=2bt  It would truly be an honor to work with an artist of this caliber on a public art project in our neighborhood. 


Muneer would fashion 3 or 4 sets of clay tiles painted and glazed with the words “Martin Drive Neighborhood”   These would be applied to each inverted planter.  Then a series of (3 or 4) 8-hour community sessions would take place at the Senior Center.  With the prep work to create and place the “Martin Drive Neighborhood” tiles & round out the planters so they are globes, being done in Muneer’s studio, it will take an additional 8 hours to complete each planter.    During each session, up to 10 children from the neighborhood would be instructed on how to break and place the ceramic into a mosaic to finish the planter.  Every person in this neighborhood could participate by stopping and placing one piece or by donating broken and chipped china and pottery.  Save your broken and chipped china and pottery.  Other supplies (thinset, grout, clay, glaze, concrete etching solution, and grout sealant) would be donated by Heritage West Properties.   When completed, the art signs would be placed at three or four locations in the neighborhood.  An excavator will donate his services to place the planters at the Senior Center and then in their new homes at the corners of our neighborhood. 


Input from you is always appreciated.  You can still offer your 2 cents worth, even if you did not attend.  Just reply to this e-mail. 


Remember the next meeting will be on Saturday, March 8th at the Senior Center in the form of the Community Improvement Clinic.  There will not be a regular Monday meeting.