Minutes from the July 14, 2008

Meeting of Martin Drive Neighborhood Association


One neighbor introduced himself as having lived here for five years but this was his first meeting.  It is a rare for us to have a meeting where no one is new to the group.  We try to be very welcoming to all.

Tony Shields, manager of community relations at Harley Davidson, provided the neighbors with an agenda for the 105th Anniversary of Harley Davidson and shared with us the excitement of this event.  You may find all this information on their website but will miss the enthusiasm of the speaker and the listener.  Many neighbors responded with gratitude that the company would include us in their celebration.  Two highlights will be:

Harley-Davidson Motor Company/Miller Party on Highland Avenue will be on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.  The time will be provided at a later date.  The traditional parade starting at Miller Park will go down Wisconsin Avenue on Saturday, August 30, starting at 9:00 AM.

We anticipated a delegate from the Milwaukee county board but moved ahead with the items of concern.  The conversation included the condition of Washington Park lagoon and the transit system or lack of a proper one.  The Urban Ecology Center is trying to motivate young people and others to pick up trash and claim ownership of the park.  A suggestion was made that people involved in the municipal court system be provided with the option of community service sentences.  These could be worked off by cleaning the park/lagoon.  We may need to contact the judges and request such a partnership.  However, that person or persons would need someone to confirm their completion of their sentence.  If such a volunteer is located, we will move ahead with the idea.  The owners of the paddleboat program are working with kids on the idea of keeping the park clean.  They reward kids with coupons for picking up the litter.  Their paddleboats are available on the weekends, Friday through Sunday, from noon until 7:00.  Be sure to check this out if it works for you and your family.  On the wish list of the Urban Ecology Center are trash containers that could not be moved and therefore would not end up in the lagoon on a weekly basis.  Members of the Student Conservation Corps are making their way through the different parks with the goal of improving the major heavy projects.  These young people are paid for their services.

As good and positive as this work is, it was felt that we still need to address a serious concern for the parks, jobs and the bus system.  These cannot be fixed by the band aid approach.  After some discussion, Al moved that we notify the County Executive and our county supervisor that we want the fall election to have on the ballot an increase of .05% sales tax for the sole purpose of supporting our parks and transit system with the money to be used only for that purpose.  The move was seconded and discussion followed.  (Unfortunately, the idea of this being on the county ballot did not take into account that the areas outside the city of Milwaukee generally do not feel committed to solving this problem.)

The next item of parking in the MDNA especially on 46th and 45th Streets encouraged discussion ending with inviting a person from that department to inform the neighbors of the possibilities.  Presently, the only item to be recognized is that the winter parking signs need to be removed partly because they are in poor condition and secondly may not address the present bus-less situation.

A neighbor questioned the method of contacting the proper city service about rubbish dumped at the curbs.  This usually happens when someone moves out or just thoroughly cleans out and leaves it sitting for several weeks.  We have also noticed branches/tree trimmings done by the owner and left to turn brown over months. One method of contacting the city on the Milwaukee.gov site and then using the e-notify about your concerns.  You are not required to be the landlord or the renter of the property.  It was also recommended to call Alderman Murphy’s office for assistance in this matter.

Once again, we encouraged people in attendance to consider the changing of the day, date, and time of our meetings.  The result was recognizing that many people plan their calendars around the second Monday of the month.  We also recognize that there will always be residents who are unable to come because of their schedules.  We hope to have more neighbors come as they realize an open date on their calendar and blocking it out.  However, by having several meetings a year at the Senior Center we hope to provide a larger facility that might appeal to the broader neighborhood.  The present home comfortably accommodates 25 people during the indoor months.  Our next meeting on Monday, August 11th, will again be in the driveway at 1219 N. 45th dependent on dry weather. 

Pat M. used a reminder notice to share with neighbors all the upcoming events.  She is looking for more writers for the newsletter, Martin Drive walkers will be doing the Brewery tour on Saturday, July 19,th  meet at 4124 W. Martin Drive at 10:30, AWE Art truck @ Urban Ecology Center on August 4th, National Night Out is Tuesday, August 5th, Washington Bark Dog Day is Sunday, August 10th – (they need help on the 9th setting up), Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 11 – 3:00 @ the Senior Center, Concerts @ Washington Park every Saturday at 6:30 and turning the neighborhood planters into neighborhood works of art will be Monday, July 21st, Wed., July 23rd, and Fri or Sat, July 25th or 26th.

Representative Tamara Grigsby came to listen to our concerns about the legislation required for raising the sales tax .05%, the formula causing Milwaukee Public Schools to fall short the children’s needs, the need to improve the standards and requirements for choice/charter schools including the education requirements of the teachers working in such schools. Rep. Grisby is in favor a referendum on the November ballot asking voters their position concerning the possible increase in the sales tax.  Rep. Grigsby is running unopposed this fall so she is out canvassing for the other party candidates.  She encourages any of you with questions to please call her.  1-888-534-0018 Do check her website to locate the government agency that you need for whatever your concerns are.  It was suggested that we invite Senator Coggs to a meeting.

Anyone experiencing a possible foreclosure on their home should call Pat M. for information of available help.


Submitted by Maggie Blaha     7/16/2008