Residents invited to neighborhood planning meeting

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Stacy Vogel
Saturday, May 3, 2008
— The Look West and Fourth Ward neighborhoods had their own improvement organizations for several years, but in 2006 they decided to combine their resources.

“We realized we were battling the same problems,” said Margaret Delaney, a Look West resident and co-chairwoman of the combined Neighborhood Action Team. “Why battle them in two separate places?”

Now, the team is hoping to draw the entire community into the battle.

The team and the city of Janesville will host a workshop Wednesday to talk about problems and goals for the Fourth Ward and Look West neighborhoods.

“This is inviting the rest of the neighborhood who don’t sit on the committee,” Delaney said. “We’re looking for them to come and share their viewpoint.”

The city wants to create a plan to guide improvements and redevelopment in the neighborhood. Topics to be addressed Wednesday include:

-- Crime and safety.

-- Traffic problems.

-- Landlord/tenant relations.

-- Housing conditions.

-- Parks and recreation programs.

-- Historic preservation.

Landlord/tenant relations and crime are the big items on the list as far as Jana Vegge, Delaney’s co-chairwoman, is concerned.

The neighborhoods have a lot of problems with landlords because they have so much low-cost rental housing, she said.

Landlords often own several buildings in both neighborhoods, and they don’t always take care of them, Delaney said.

“I’m not sure the tenants know what’s out there for help,” Vegge said.

Vegge said she has been encouraged by improvements in communication between police and residents.

“We’ve had great help with (Janesville Police) Chief (Neil) Mahan,” she said. “He’s walked our neighborhoods; he really wants to get his hands dirty … and come up with some solutions for problems that our neighborhoods are facing…

“People in general are working with the police now instead of against the police.”

The Neighborhood Action Team has worked on bringing residents together with events such as movie nights in the parks, large-item garbage pick-up and an annual bike rodeo at Wilson Elementary School, Delaney said.

Delaney and Vegge hope a lot of residents come to the meeting to show their solidarity and make an impression on the city.

“If you want to make a difference and have your voice heard, this is the time to do it,” Vegge said.

What: Look West and Fourth Ward Neighborhood Plan Visioning Workshop.
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Wilson Elementary School, 465 Rockport Road, Janesville.
More information: Call Kelly Lee, (608) 755-3052.

Last updated: 9:14 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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