A city is only as strong as its neighborhoods, a fact that strikes me as obvious as I peruse a pre-press copy of "An East Side Album: A Community Remembers," a project of the East Side History Club commemorating the inauguration of the Goodman Community Center (formerly Atwood) in its new home on Waubesa Street.
The conversion of the one-time Kupfer Iron Works site into an impressive community complex received citywide support, but the project got its start and sustenance in the area neighborhoods that participated in the One Family Campaign to raise the considerable funds the project required. The album is a compilation of memories, vintage photographs and recipes from the folks who went to school, grew up, loved and lived in the Atwood area. They retain a strong loyalty to the particular place no matter where, in or outside of Madison, they live now.
Neighborhood power is not a revelation to us at Isthmus; witness the latest addition to The Daily Page, Neighborhood Guides. We started running these guides at TDP on Sept. 1 in a rotating feature accessible from a link on the top left of our daily offering. The link takes you to a landing page for Neighborhoods that lists the five guides currently completed: Bassett; Downtown Middleton; Dudgeon-Monroe; Schenk-Atwood and Williamson-Marquette. Tenny-Lapham is in the works.
These sites have a dual purpose. The first is as a resource for the neighborhood itself. The second is as a mini-tour for parties thinking about relocating to the neighborhood or simply curious about it. So far the guides, which are works in progress, have a number of features in common. Each is launched by a descriptive piece written by an Isthmus staffer that gives a general sense of the uniqueness of the neighborhood. There's a locator map that outlines the area's boundaries. There is a list of neighborhood resources, including the local police newsletter, schools, open houses and a link to the neighborhood website, if it has one, and the neighborhood newsletter, if available. There's also a news feed, linking to stories about the area that have appeared either in Isthmus or on TDP.
We plan to continue to launch new Neighborhood Guides, fully realizing that we will be at this for a long time. There are a lot of neighborhoods in Madison, over 100, and we also plan to get to the outlying areas of greater Madison. We're linking to the community forums at TDP and are encouraging input from denizens. The landing page has a link to allow you to communicate with TDP staff. Suggestions and comments are welcome.