Alder Samba Baldeh,
Council Vice President
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Baldeh’s Blog
Library/Imagination Center & District Update
Dear Neighbors -
As the Labor Day weekend approaches and we anticipate the start of our public schools, I want to take this opportunity to share updates and thoughts about issues that concern our community. Please know that I am always happy to hear your thoughts as well.
The Reindahl Park proposed Community Center / Reindahl Imagination Center
Some of you may have recently read about the Reindahl library/"Imagination Center" in the media. One cannot underestimate the value of libraries in our communities. They bring more than just books and access to computers. Libraries are still places where individuals gather to explore, interact, and imagine, in ways that add value to our communities and serve as cultural centers for our residents. The city of Madison is growing fast and the north east side in particular is growing rapidly. The population is getting younger and is demographically diverse. City government is playing catch up to provide required services.
In 2015, the Madison Public Library was engaged in dozens of community conversations to come up with a framework for library growth. One such conversation took place at the founding meeting of the Greater Sandburg Neighborhood Association in November. In 2016, the library released the report, with a strong focus on equity and a strategic plan for a North East side library. The proposed Imagination Center would include a library, community center and a presence for other city, county and state agencies.
Community spaces and libraries can serve as catalyst for addressing social problems and boy, don't we have some of those. I see this center as a skills center for our youth and a public space for our seniors. Through collaborative programming and community engagement, the new center can provide some these services:
• Early childhood development • Youth and teen supports • Senior services • Lifelong learning opportunities• Health and well-being resources • Workforce development • Financial literacy and tax help • Information literacy and research • Community building and civic engagement • Recreation • Social forum • Entrepreneurial support • Safe space • Arts and culture • Technology access and instruction • and an outlet for our city government.
While I have been pushing for this since day one in elected office along with many of you, city and community leaders, department heads and neighborhood residents, we are far from the end yet. The city budget discussions begin in September and until the Common Council votes to pass the seventeen millions budget this still is a proposal. I will be sure to update you regarding the meetings where it will be important to advocate for our neighborhoods on this. I am also looking forward to the conversations we will have as neighbors about what the center will look like. This is public money, to meet public needs. It should not take shape without you.
The City of Madison Parks Division is currently working on a master plan for Patriot Park, located at 5333 Congress Avenue. As part of this process, city staff held a public input meeting on July 10th to discuss the Patriot Park Master Plan. Thank you to everyone who attended this meeting! If you have not received survey questions in the mail for additional input on the project, you can fill out the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PatriotPark
Surveys must be completed and received by September 1, 2017 to be considered with this planning effort.
For more information regarding the Patriot Park Master Plan, visit: https://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/projects/patriot-park-master-plan
Mayor's Neighborhood Roundtable
Mark your calendars for the mayor's annual Neighborhood Roundtable that will take place at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Saturday, October 7th from 8am to 12pm. Everyone is welcome to this free event. If you know about someone who wants to be more active in their neighborhood, meet community leaders, city officials and staff, and community organization representatives, or simply would like to get to know how the City of Madison or other organizations could better serve your community, please come and bring others to this event! There will be various workshops, networking opportunities and more. Last year at this event, the Greater Sandburg neighborhood was recognized for the work of forming a new neighborhood association. Let's continue the trend toward involvement!
For details visit: www.cityofmadison.com/neighborhoods or call (608) 267-8649
Adopt A Median Program - median located near 1144 Mendota Street
The City Engineering Division has an "Adopt a Median" program that is an opportunity for community members to make Madison more beautiful and promote the environment by maintaining and modifying medians around the City.
The neighbor who had been caring for the median near 1144 Mendota St., across from Sycamore Park is no longer able to continue doing so. City Engineering is looking for volunteers to adopt this median. Information about the program is available on the City web site: http://www.cityofmadison.com/transportation/roadworks/adoptamedian/
As I am sure you have noticed, there has been a significant increase in gun violence, shootings, and homicides. Even one of these incidents is too many. I am also sure you join me in extending concern and condolences to all of the families and individuals affected. While this is a very challenging situation to address, the Madison Police Department, the mayor's office and the Council is taking this very seriously, looking into all possible options to stop this madness. We are also partnering with community leaders and agencies. On August 10th, MPD Chief Koval made an announcement that they have identified a few dozen individuals whom they consider the main perpetrators of these crimes and have an initiatives to go after them. In relation to this, I know some people have expressed concerns about profiling or a "stop and frisk operation". The chief made it very clear that this is not a "blue blanket".
In the meantime, we also know that there has been an uptick in racial tension around the country. It is all of our responsibility to live and advocate for what makes this country great. I will always work for the values we all hold dear – freedom, justice, and equality.
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