Janesville33.3°

Open house to address Old Fourth Ward concerns

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Ryan Dostalek
August 9, 2008
— Suggestions on how to address concerns in the Old Fourth Ward and Look West neighborhoods will be topic at a Tuesday open house at Wilson School, 465 Rockport Road.

Vandewalle and Associates, a Madison consulting firm, will join the Central City Neighborhood Steering Committee to address suggestions and receive feedback from neighborhood residents, said steering committee co-chair Margaret Delaney, a representative of the Look West neighborhood.


About 60 residents brought initial concerns to the committee’s May meeting and are especially encouraged to attend Tuesday, she said.


“They did the discussing; they need to see this,” she said.


“We need to know which (solutions) those people feel are the best fit for the neighborhood, and who better to do it than the people who live in the neighborhood?”


Those who attend can help rate solutions for the neighborhoods, she said.


The committee began at the beginning of this year to identify problem areas in the two downtown neighborhoods. In May, it heard from residents and determined areas needing improvement:


-- Absentee landlords, including lack of housing maintenance.


-- Drug sellers and users.


-- Improvements to the riverfront, bike trail and Monterey Park.


-- A community center.


-- Neighborhood programs for youth, possibly in the parks during summer.


-- Allowing parking on alternate sides of the street during plowing season.


-- Uncontrolled intersections.


Brad Cantrell, community development director for the city, hopes people take advantage of the opportunity to voice their opinions.


“Plans are successful when people are involved and the neighborhoods are involved,” he said.


Cantrell and Delaney wouldn’t say what suggestions will be presented Tuesday. They said they want people to attend to learn about the suggestions themselves.


The neighborhoods’ abundance of affordable housing, proximity to downtown and historic nature make them important, Cantrell said.


“The taskforce members and the city view that we have a great resource, here, and we just need to improve this resource,” he said.


Delaney agreed.


“It’s a good way to know the city of Janesville. We’re all under the umbrella of Janesville; if there’s a problem in one area there’s a problem with the whole city,” she said.


“When your neighborhoods are healthy you’re whole city is healthy.”


IF YOU GO

What: Open house to hear suggestions from Central City Neighborhood Steering Committee about Old Fourth Ward and Look West neighborhood revitalization.


When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday.


Where: Wilson Elementary School, 465 Rockport Road.


Who: All Janesville residents, particularly those who expressed opinions at the committee’s May meeting.



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