“Greenbush Resolution”

I am passing on the following message I received from John Lorimer. (I add my Cheers to the kids from Randall!). Post your comments, if you wish?

Chuck Radke
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Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 2:39 PM
Subject: Re: Greenbush Resolution

Three cheers for the kids at Randall!!!

John Lorimer Class of ’52
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Subject: Greenbush Resolution

Note: On Tuesday June 6 city council adopted the following resolution written by Room 208 at Randall School.

Room 208 at Randall School has been studying the Greenbush community since February 2005, first as 4th graders and now as 5th graders. Working with past and present community residents, local businesses and service providers, UW students and staff, community historians and archivists, and city agencies, we have researched the historic and present community that extends from the railroad tracks south to St. Mary’s Hospital, and from Mills Street east to Lake Monona. We have reviewed historic documents, interviewed local experts, conducted an extensive community survey, built 50 3-D models of historical buildings for display at Monona Terrace and Festa Italia, organized a one-day Greenbush Conference held May 2 at the Italian Workman’s Club, and are completing a substantial web site and a hand-held computer game to be played while walking through the community. We have learned to care deeply about the Greenbush. Therefore we ask you to consider our resolution.

1. Whereas the historic Greenbush was once Madison’s melting pot which welcomed poor people of diverse ethnicities and religions, becoming a great community known for its strong families, vital cultures, abundant gardens, small shops, and neighborliness towards everyone;

2. Whereas ethnic prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination led not only to attacks on the Greenbush in newspaper articles and Ku Klux Klan marches, but also to a belief that the community needed to be drastically altered; which led in turn to the Urban Renewal projects in the early 1960’s which destroyed the heart of the Greenbush, displaced some of Madison’s most vulnerable citizens, and led to psychological devastation similar to that documented by Columbia University psychiatrist Dr. Mindy Fullilove in Root Shock, a study of Urban Renewal projects in other American communities;

3. Whereas the Triangle area in the center of the historic Greenbush nonetheless continues to be a place which welcomes and supports new immigrants and people with low income and different abilities;

4. Whereas property values in this area are rapidly increasing, due to the expansion needs of the University of Wisconsin and Meriter and St. Mary’s Hospitals, and due to commercial and residential interests in this attractive area near downtown and adjacent to Monona Bay;

5. Whereas the City of Madison has been studying the Park Street corridor as part of its South Madison Neighborhood Plan and is now beginning to develop a plan for Regent Street (Park and Regent are the two major streets in the Greenbush);

6. Whereas in these circumstances it is critical that the City not repeat the mistakes of the earlier Urban Renewal era; indeed, there is a great present opportunity to redeem the vision and values of the historic Greenbush in the spirit of the City’s new Comprehensive Plan;

Therefore, the Madison Common Council:

1. Establishes an annual Greenbush Day on March 21 to celebrate both the past and present Greenbush community (the United Nations has proclaimed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination);

2. Determines that any future planning will consider the importance of the historic and present Greenbush, and not repeat the errors of the Urban Renewal era;

3. Commits the City to maintaining the Greenbush as a mixed use, mixed income, and mixed ability community;

4. Asks City departments and commissions to consider ways of restoring historic Greenbush values via proposals such as the following:

* Work with local organizations (e.g. Italian Workman’s Club, Meriter Hospital, Bayview Foundation, Greenbush Neighborhood Association, UW’s new Campus Information & Visitor’s Center next to Smith Hall) in developing a permanent exhibit on the history and present culture of the Greenbush;

* Reestablish easier access for Triangle residents to Brittingham Park by creating a stoplight with a crosswalk across West Washington Street (before Urban Renewal widened West Washington, this park was more widely used by local residents than it is today; a crosswalk with stoplight would be used more than the current overpass);

* Create a community garden at the northern edge of Brittingham Park (before Urban Renewal, Greenbush residents gardened every available plot; but the post-Urban Renewal developments in the Triangle were designed without private backyards, with only enough space for a small community garden and tiny kitchen gardens in front of Bayview apartments)

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