Many residents of Madison's southwest neighborhoods are fearful that certain blocks are sliding quickly toward trouble. In recent years, they say, criminal activity has increased, particularly in areas of high rental density to the west of Whitney Way on Hammersley, Russett and Balsam Roads.
Oddly, this area of the city is just a few blocks away from the Madison Police Department's West District Station on the south end of Elver Park. Still, residents have begun throwing around the term "the next Allied Drive" when discussing incidents like the recent murder of Kevin Cobbins on Loreen Drive just off Hammersley at the end of July. Allied, known for its high crime rate, is located just a mile to the east, providing a constant reminder of what happens when a neighborhood is allowed to deteriorate.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz will likely hear plenty of complaints from southwest Madison residents at a meeting with the Southwest Planning Steering Committee on Monday evening and again at a listening session with southwest residents on Wednesday evening. The Wednesday session will be held at the impressive St. Maria Goretti Catholic church and school complex in the middle of the elysian Orchard Ridge neighborhood. From there, southwest Madison looks pretty nice. But those living nearby feel strongly that the west side's reputation as an affluent area have led to neglect from city leaders when it comes to crime fighting initiatives.
The mayor might be better informed of the situation on Hammersley, Russett and Balsam by taking a short tour of those areas after the listening session concludes around 8 pm, when the sun starts to go down and drug activity allegedly ramps up.
MAYOR CIESLEWICZ WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Monday, August 6, 2007
9:00 a.m. Chief Noble Wray, Mario Mendoza, and Joel Plant
10:00 a.m. Policy staff meeting
11:00 a.m. Plan Commission agenda review
12:00 noon Brown bag lunch with new alders
2:00 p.m. Proclamation presentation to Bob and Mary Ellen Hanrahan
2:30 p.m. Ald. Zach Brandon
3:30 p.m. Mayors Innovation Project Steering Committee conference call
4:30 p.m. Scott Matthews, David White, Larry O'Brien, and Janet Piraino
5:30 p.m. Meeting with Southwest Neighborhood Planning Steering Committee members (Mayor's Conf. Room)
7:00 p.m. Speak at Madison for Edwards One Corps (Madison Public Library)
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
9:00 a.m. Brad O'Grosky, Mark Millman, and Enis Ragland 10:30 a.m. Mayor's Management Team meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room) 1:30 p.m. Capital Improvement Review Committee (CIRC) meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room) 6:30 p.m. Common Council meeting (CCB 201)
Wednesday, August 8 2007
10:00 a.m. Staff meeting
2:00 p.m. Jennifer Alexander quarterly meeting
3:00 p.m. Chris Laurent and Joel Plant
5:00 p.m. Speak at season kick off of Jazz at 5 (top of State Street)
6:30 p.m. Southwest neighborhoods listening session (St. Maria Goretti School Cafeteria, 5405 Flad Avenue)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
8:30 a.m. Ald. Tim Bruer, Greg and Candice McClenahan, and Joel Plant 9:00 a.m. Capital Improvement Review Committee (CIRC) meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room) 2:00 p.m. Marianne Morton, Tim Radelet, and Mario Mendoza 3:30 p.m. Chief Noble Wray monthly meeting 5:00 p.m. Northside Planning Council quarterly meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
Friday, August 10, 2007
9:00 a.m. Capital Improvement Review Committee (CIRC) meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
12:30 p.m. Friends of Troy Gardens "Savor the Summer" event (Troy Gardens, 500 Troy Drive)