Alder Syed Abbas
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Abbas’ Blog
F-35, Parks and Street Safety
Truax Field F-35
You might have heard about the Air Force's decision to include the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field as one of the five candidate sites for the next generation F-35 aircraft. The Air Force has slowly been winnowing down its list and I have been informed will now be making a decision to eliminate one additional site in the coming year. A final decision on which airports will ultimately receive the new F-35 is not expected for a number of years.
During this time more information about the impacts to our community and specifics about what will actually be envisioned for the site will be detailed. I also anticipate opportunities for residents to engage within the process.
Tennyson Ridge Project Meeting
I will be hosting a community meeting on Monday January 9 at 6:00pm at the Lakeview Library to provide an update for the Tennyson Ridge multifamily project, including meeting the new development team. In addition, there is a request to replat some of the designated family home lots from Suburban Residential C-1 to Traditional Residential C-2 zoning.
I invite any interested residents to attend.
Pennsylvania Park Master Planning – Eken Park Historical Marker
Tonight I attended the Emerson East Neighborhood Association meeting which was mostly about "Pennsylvania Park" which is the greenspace adjacent to East Johnson Street from First to Second Street. Neighbors talked about their interest in improving the natural space that is there while creating a neighborhood focused space near Second Street and a bike station/bus shelter/neighborhood sign near First Street. Other ideas include adding art, focus on sustainability and ensure that there is sufficient noise insulation for residents on East Dayton Street.
In early 2017, city Parks staff will be working with residents to formalize these ideas into a new Master Plan for the park, and then some of the proposed ideas will proceed as neighborhood projects.
Last week, at the Eken Park Neighborhood Association, a discussion was held to discuss a historical marker project that will engage the northeast section of the park (North Street and Coolidge Avenue) which is typically not as used. The historical marker will provide for a new gathering space as well as a little history of the Eken Park neighborhood area.
Both of these projects have some basis in the Emerson East – Eken Park Yarhara (EEEPY) Neighborhood Plan. When adopted, federal HUD money became available to support these neighborhood-focused projects.
Goodwill Store Proposal Northside TownCenter
Goodwill has indicated an interest in occupying half of the former Kohl's Food Store in the Northside TownCenter for a retail store. The intend to make exterior changes including a new façade and a drop-off donation area in the parking lot.
They have not yet formalized the proposal and so I do not know any meeting schedules or have more information such as design concepts available but will share when they become available.
Urban Tree Alliance
I know that it's probably one of the furthest things from your mind, but I'd like to remind you about the Urban Tree Alliance, which is offering one or two free trees to residents in sleeted Madison neighborhoods, including Berkley Oaks, Carpenter-Ridgeway, Eken Park, and Emerson East. Now is the time to start planning for your 2017 plantings!
Street Safety Zone Ordinance
In 2015 a court ruling struck down a long-standing ordinance focused on prohibiting panhandling on Madison Streets. Over the next year or so more and more intersections became opportunity for individuals to panhandle. Many view this as a significant safety concern – most of this activity is on busier streets at intersections and we know that vehicles and the human body don't always interact well together.
The Mayor and several Alders have proposed an ordinance prohibiting people who are not in designated crosswalks to be physically present on arterial main streets. This would be for any reason, not just panhandling. Prohibited who be the firefighter's fundraisers, people reminding others to vote or just standing in a median.
Recently the City County Homeless Issues Committee requested several modifications of the proposal:
- Signage so as to inform individuals of these prohibited areas,
- Require issuing a written warning prior to citation, and
- In lieu of citations, escorting homeless individuals to the nearest legal spot.
I fully recognize the concern that people have about individuals panhandling on our city streets, especially given reports that some individuals may be organized to take advantage of the lack of enforcement and are operating for financial gain over and above what would normally be expected. However, as reveled in the 2015 court ruling, the city needs to apply caution to ensure this ordinance is written in a way that provides for increased safety along our busy roadways.
I would also like to remind everyone that the most effective way to assist individuals is to give directly to organizations that address homeless, veteran and mental health issues in our community.
As always, I look forward to your comments, questions or concerns! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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