Minutes from the September 13, 2010

Meeting of Martin Drive Neighborhood Association

The mission of the Martin Drive Neighborhood Association, through its programs and projects, is to embrace and foster a sense of belonging and common purpose, in order to create a neighborhood that is beautiful, diverse, secure, and fun for everyone!


Alderman Michael Murphy attended and discussed several city issues.  Mayor Barrett will present the budget in a few weeks and his goal is a 0% increase in tax.  There will be public hearings at City Hall where everyone has an opportunity to speak to the Common Council regarding the budget.   


It was reported prior to Alderman Murphy’s arrival that the convenience store will not open at 4315 W. Vliet Street.  It still being a concern, Michael Murphy spoke about the proposed convenience store.  This property is zoned local business and therefore a convenience store without alcohol and tobacco is an allowed use.  A liquor license is a privilege and Michael Murphy would not support additional license based on neighbor concerns.  The Association realizes that we need to work with the owner of the property, a long time investor in Martin Drive Neighborhood, to help bring a good business to the location.   


Michael Murphy acknowledged and thanked the police officers present for their hard work. He asked if there was crime related problems in the neighborhood.   Several neighbors offered addresses of problem properties and asked the officers to review these properties. The officers offered to do a knock and talk and noted there was aorm on the table that can be used for reporting drug houses.


Pat mentioned the improvements in the area around 46th and Juneau Avenue which were the result of a City property being sold to an owner who has made substantial improvements to the duplex on the corner of 46th & Juneau and to  the clean-up and landscape of the dead end area on Juneau.  There was concern for the landscaped area as this has been a space where snow is pushed in winter.  Pat thanked Alderman Murphy for the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative which made these improvements possible. 


A neighbor asked Michael Murphy about his rights and the responsibilities of the City in the matter of a neighbors tree which is hitting his property and rubbing on his roof.  Michael Murphy explained that this is a civil matter between the two property owners.  The City is not responsible for resolving the matter.  It must be dealth with by negotiations between owners or in Small Claims Court.    


Another neighbor expressed concern about water leaks laterals in the older neighborhoods.  Murphy is working with MMSD on voluntary inspections by a contractor of each home’s laterals.    Most likely the inspection would be free but repair of the lateral would be the homeowners responsibility.  Murphy explained that when a lateral leaks, the tree roots look for the leak and go into the lateral.   Many laterals are as old as the buildings.   Infiltration and outflow are a problem.  Even on dry days engineers see water entering the system.  Downspouts contribute the problem.


Murphy has been working with the large banks to make sure they maintain their portfolios of foreclosed properties.  It is a great time to buy property as some are selling for 40% of their original value.   A neighbor commented on what a great idea it was to sell a city foreclosed properties for $1 to flood victims who lost a home.   


Pat asked Alderman Murphy about the city budget and the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative budget.   In these times of furloughs and budgets cuts, an item like this is not certain.   


The Association talked about the convenience store not coming to 4315 W. Vliet St.  Permits were pulled but somehow the opening of the store was cancelled.   It is hoped to attract a business that matches the mission of the neighborhood association, while supporting other businesses on Vliet Street.  We talked about finding a tenant for the property and Pat talked about hard it is to make a go in small business.  40% of businesses close after the first year.  Alderman Murphy talked about several incentives for small business like the façade grant money which pays up to $5000 matching grant for façade improvements  and the Retail Investment Credit which credits a business owner for each full time employee hired.


A neighbor talked about how a crisis problem in the neighborhood should be handled.   Should there be a small 3 person committee that works on crisis situations or should they be handled by the current committees?.   Pat said it depends on the crisis.  This problem was handled well as Michael Murphy was involved, several neighbors called the owner, one wrote the owner and a resolution was drafted by the P&P Committee which clearly expressed to the building and business owner that the Association would never support a liquor license.  It also proactively addressed  concerns like signage.   A “convenience store” is a catch phrase for a small grocery-like store selling food and convenience products.  If such a store were to come to the neighborhood we would need to support the store.  It would be the only means of monitoring and controlling the items sold.  Many convenience store and small grocery stores don’t carry good, healthy products as there are few suppliers of this type of business.  Owners simply go to Sam’s club and buy the product. 


Pat talked about the Home Tour on October 2nd.  Pat said that most properties sold in the past year have gone to homeowners.   Pat asked for volunteers, and to help brainstorm ideas for the event.


Pat asked if there were ideas on making Martin Drive look better or on a community pride project. 


There will be some good entertainment at the farmers market in the next few weeks and chair massages.  On September 26th there will be a food fundraiser for the food pantry at United Methodist Children’s Services held at the market. 


Committee Reports

Halloween – Night Time Trick or Treat is October 29th.  Cost is $1 per child and a big of candy.  Pat asked for donations of candy from residents to be delivered to Heritage West Properties, 4303 W. Vliet Street prior to the first registration on October 20th.    Volunteers are needed.  Details will be in the newsletter.


Business & Finance -- There is $800 in the checking account.  Fundraising is needed.              


Garden Committee   Martin Drive Neighborhood was honored by being included in the Milwaukee Urban Gardens Fall Garden tour.


Community Pies – The idea was implemented on a small scale the first year but was a huge success.  25 Pies were made neighborhood children from fruit harvested in the neighborhood and park.  The pie was served at the Aug. 25 Washington Park concert free or for a donation.  $75 was made.    Community Pies hopes to expand next year.  The are gathering fall fruit.  Amy Peterson’s vision is to have a house with a nearby fruit orchard that kids can learn how to start a small business. Amy will send out an e-mail to the Martin Drive about future events.


Newsletter – A newsletter is being worked on for early October distribution. 


Projects and Planning – Future meetings will be held every other month on the second Monday at 6:30 pm.  The meetings will be heldin the months of January, March, May, July, September, November.     


Police Report - PO Duncan stated that suspicious activity should be reported to Milwaukee Police, 414-933-444. This the same number to call for youth truant from school. If a crime is in progress, call 911. It becomes a priority 1 when a description is given.


The meeting adjourned around 8pm