I so agree with the “pros” you listed regarding why it was a great decision to buy in this neighborhood. I have to admit that, until the neighborhood meeting, I had no idea the students at WLC were such a problem for our neighbors. Having had lived on the east side for 10 years, I find no comparison. As example, since living here I’ve not had to deal with anyone urinating on the side of my home, cars parked across my driveway entrance, nor continuous loud drunken parties. My perception of WLC students has been very positive. Heck, if I could afford it I would love to finish my degree there instead of having to take college level courses piecemeal at MATC. But I am happy to know that there are as many young people fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study at WLC that the need to grow exists. I truly am!
I agree that incorporating service learning as well as inviting residents in the immediate neighborhood to WLC events would be a positive step toward establishing and growing good neighborly relations. But I just don’t see WLC as a negative. Although I did recently take a long, leisurely walk through the WLC area and agree that the properties are in very serious need of basic maintenance. It’s too bad, as a lot of the issues could be so easily and cheaply addressed. I mean, one doesn’t need to go all out and invest in new windows, but a putty knife and a can of window glazing could go a long way to give the appearance that one cares about appearances, not to mention heating costs of one’s tenants. November is also much too late to have old beaten up air conditioners still sticking out of windows. Learning that those properties don’t contribute to the tax levy doesn’t sit well with me, either. It’s great for the organization that they get to play the non-profit card, and they are providing an excellent education for future contributors to society. But with that should also be a response of appreciation, paying it forward, and providing some TLC back into the community.
I am right there with Helena on her observations of the neighborhood meeting! I must say that I was quite embarrassed in the knowledge that while Alderman Murphy and the Milwaukee Police Department deal with extremely complex socio-economic issues such as poverty, escalating violence, and blight on a daily basis, our neighbors chose to present our issues in a way that kinda made us appear as a mob of entitled brats. Safety is definitely a concern, as is the upkeep and sustainability of the neighborhood. Presentation of an issue is key to how those who have the power and resources to affect change will respond. I was surprised and saddened to hear so many jumping on the idea of restricting street parking to such an extreme, without a thought as to how the rest of their neighbors might be inconvenienced. Some of the homeowners actually do use street parking, as do their visiting friends. And like it or not, the students of WLC and employees of MRMC are also our neighbors. Sorry, but I have to believe that diplomacy and give & take are a better option than making radical changes that create even more hostility and division. We came across as angry and impulsive, and the chance for an intelligent and constructive conversation was missed. I’m not saying our issues are not serious, but our presentation of the issues might have given that impression. As a result, I don’t know how serious our concerns were taken.
As home owners and contributors to our community, we have real concerns and were given the opportunity to discuss solutions with those who have the power and the resources to affect change.
If we get the opportunity again, I believe your contact at the Medical Complex should definitely attend. Their employees are extremely frustrated with the traffic issues, as well. But I believe management has missed a lot of opportunities. Have they worked with each other to consider such things as staggering shifts so everyone in the complex isn’t coming and going at the same time? Have they communicated with their employees about safe and courteous driving? My MCW oral surgeon got cut off and was given the one-finger-salute by a female co-worker one morning. One of the neighbors at the meeting told a story of getting cut off and threatened when she blew her horn (driver said he would shoot her). Is road rage a good way for healthcare workers to start their day? How much later will someone be for work after smashing into someone or finding themselves in an altercation, or stopped by police…and how’s the rest of their day going to go afterwards? I work for an organization with thousands of employees, and we have mandatory service talks regarding safety both on and off the job, on a very regular basis. I think there’s a lot more they could be doing to help both their neighbors as well as their employees, both now and in the future.
We live next to a booming medical complex and a college. They aren’t going away; they are growing bigger by the day. So we need to work it out and grow together by keeping communication and cooperation alive. I accept that we are in the midst of growing pains, to the extreme. But I am happy knowing that in regards to the Zoo Interchange project, our neighborhood’s interests have been considered and we have been kept in the conversation all along. This is not necessarily standard operating procedure when governments decide to impose their will on taxpayers. In my opinion, they’ve done a surprisingly good job of communicating in this situation. Having such a responsive and hardworking alderman is also something our neighbors might take for granted. It’s not the same story in every area of town. He deserves a bigger salary and to turn his phone off when he goes to sleep at night.
Call me an optimist, but I have been incredibly impressed with the development of the Zoo Interchange project and the work that has already been completed to date, and at the end of the day I believe the area will travel more efficiently and will ultimately be even more attractive. It’ll be an even more convenient, attractive place to live than when we started. And if/when any of us decide it’s time to move on, we shouldn’t have any problem selling our homes.
In the meantime, we will no doubt be inconvenienced, frustrated, and disturbed by what’s going on around us. Other than not being able to go north or west without a major plan, my biggest gripe in just getting out of the neighborhood is this: I am 5’2” “tall”, and I drive a little coupe. Although not quite yet in the elderly category, I continue to have an extremely hard time creeping out to look around the larger vehicles that are parked on Bluemound Road, and I’ve mostly given up even trying to travel in that direction. Hopefully our neighbors won’t mind just one more car driving down Michigan to 92nd Street so I can more safely turn at the traffic lights (or as they say in the neighborhood, the “stop and go” lights. LOL). Other than that, we’ll continue to keep watch and ask for help when we need it.