Around the Neighborhood


Summer recap: Pocket park, Six Strings concerts, Run Tosa Run donation

Pocket park

The park at 69th St. and North Ave. is shown under construction in late August. Photo: David Paulsen

One of the most visible developments in our neighborhood this summer has been the construction of a pocket park at the parking lot next to Rocket Baby Bakery, at 69th Street and North Avenue.

The project is expected to be finished this fall, creating a unique gathering space at one of East Tosa’s most prominent intersections. Wauwatosa Now has reported the design includes a shade structure, string lights, tables, benches and a bike rack.

As part of this project, the vacant city lot behind Voline is being converted into parking spaces, so although we will lose the former parking lot, the project will end up with a net loss of only one space.

We’re looking forward to the opening of this fun new public venue, and we are sure it will be put to great use, from our Run Tosa Run in May to the Chili’n on the Avenue event in September.

Six Strings on Center

Ricky Ganiere performs June 9 at the first Six Strings on Center event at Center Street Park. Photo: David Paulsen

SIX STRINGS ON CENTER

Center Street Park continues to be a great gathering place for summers in Tosa East Towne, and this summer was particularly tuneful, with live music provided each month through the Six Strings on Center series. It was hosted by Friends of Center Street Park and spearheaded by resident Michael Phillips, who says, “the attendance has exceeded my expectations.”

Unfortunately, another popular Center Street Park event, Que & Brew, had a rocky second year. Organizers had to cancel this year’s July 4 weekend cookoff, partly due to issues with insurance coverage, but we hope to see the lineup of BBQ chefs at the park next year.

Run Tosa Run donation

TETNA board president David Paulsen on Aug. 17 presents a $5,000 check from Run Tosa Run proceeds to Ann Petrie, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin. Photo: Bridget Kesner

TETNA RUMMAGE SALE

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s neighborhood-wide TETNA Rummage Sale, another benefit of being an association member. Although rain dampened turnout on June 3, we had 50 participating households and saw a good number of deal-seekers traveling from house to house during the day. Thanks to Jill Stephany for organizing this year.

RUN TOSA RUN DONATION

Finally, we presented our $5,000 donation from Run Tosa Run to Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin at the charity’s Aug. 17 board meeting. Thanks again to all who made this year’s race a success. We look forward to seeing you at the starting line of next year’s Run Tosa Run, when the race date will be May 19.


TETNA budgets $500 for new neighborhood event, seeks ideas and organizer

Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association is all about highlighting the best that our East Tosa neighborhood has to offer, so it’s no surprise that some of the association’s most fulfilling work is the events we host, from the Egg Hunt, Run Tosa Run and Rummage Sale in the spring to Trick or Treat and Taste of East Tosa in the fall.

This year, your TETNA board has been sizing up our calendar of events and identifying successes to emphasize, as well as events that may no longer be worth bringing back. And we’ve been discussing ideas for new events to offer to the neighborhood.

The annual Egg Hunt, for example, has grown steadily in recent years, and we’re looking for a new coordinator to take that event over in 2018. (Email info@tosaeasttowne.org if you or someone you know is interested.) Our Neighborhood Block Party/Movie Night, on the other hand, has seen turnout diminish. We’ve decided to end that event while supporting the several other great events being hosted at the park by Friends of Center Street Park.

But we don’t want to reduce our lineup without trying to replace old events with new ideas that have potential to become annual favorites. That’s where you come in.

The TETNA board approved up to $500 in this year’s budget as seed money to create a new event, and we want your ideas and – just as important – your time and enthusiasm. Have you ever thought, “What this neighborhood really needs is an event like _________”? Let us hear about it. Pitch your idea to the board by emailing a concise paragraph or two to info@tosaeasttowne.org. Events preferably have a revenue stream to help offset the cost, but certain worthy events without revenue streams still may be considered if TETNA deems them beneficial to our members.

And if you have a great idea to pitch, we hope you are willing to help make your idea a reality. All of TETNA’s events are made possible by volunteers, meaning great neighbors like you.

At our February meeting, we conducted a brainstorming session to generate some potential ideas. If any of these interest you, let us know, or pitch your own idea:

  • Snow sculpture or snowman contest
  • A “Winterfest”-style event
  • TETNA roller-skating at Pius
  • TETNA movie night at Rosebud Cinema
  • Basketball tournament at Roosevelt
  • Kickball at Center Street Park
  • Outdoor live music
  • Cribbage nights and a neighborhood cribbage team
  • Casino night
  • Theater in the park
  • North Avenue bar crawl
  • Events to welcome new neighbors

David Paulsen is president of the Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association board. He can be reached at dmpaulsen@gmail.com.

 


Neighborhood residents invited to info meeting on solar power group buy

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a guest column providing our residents with information on an upcoming event. Although it is not a TETNA event, we are happy to share info on initiatives underway in our neighborhood.

Are you motivated to do your part to combat climate change? Are you motivated to save money on your energy bill? Then take your motivation to the first “Power Hour” meeting for SolarTosa Solar Group Buy at 6 p.m. May 17 in the Firefly Room at the Wauwatosa Library.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) and Milwaukee Shines are organizing a contract between a Solar Contractor and several (hopefully many!) home and business owners in the area for the financial benefit of buying in bulk. They have successfully orchestrated several other solar group buys in Wisconsin and Illinois, including in Shorewood and Bay View.

The group buy process relieves the homeowner of some paperwork, provides owner-specific energy-use analysis and helps ensure quality installation. The more local residents get involved, the cheaper your solar installation will be. Solar power has come a long way and the cost of solar panels has come down significantly. Add in a Solar Group Buy, and that cost comes down even more.

So tell your neighbors about this great opportunity to help the Earth and your pocketbook at the same time. There are still state and federal incentives for home and business owners who install solar. Now is the time to get involved with your fellow neighbors and take a stand against a changing climate! If you are interested or have questions, please ask, we want to hear from you.

For more information, visit SolarTosa.com or contact Peter Murphy at peterm@midwestrenew.org or 414-988-7963.

A second Power Hour is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 31 at Red Dot Wauwatosa, and other meetings will be advertised throughout the summer to provide information and allow home and business owners to ask questions. All are welcome.


Wisconsin Lutheran’s operator eyes St. Pius X for new boys’ high school

St. Piux XAfter a developer’s plans to create a 66-unit apartment building on the unused parking lot east of St. Pius X ran into a wall of opposition from some residents of our neighborhood, a separate proposal is moving forward to create a new high school for boys in the former Pius school.

The Lutheran synod that operates the existing Wisconsin Lutheran High School contacted Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association this month to invite our residents to an open house meeting about the proposal from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, at St. Pius.

“Our high school has been studying expansion efforts for a couple years now, as we are experiencing a higher demand for seats than we have available at our current location on 84th Street and Bluemound Avenue,” Kevin Festerling, Wisconsin Lutheran’s school developer, told TETNA.

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s plan is to sign a five-year lease for use of the former Pius school, and start with a founding class of 60 students in fall 2018. An additional 60 students would be added each year until the facility becomes a “fully operating high school” of up to 240 students that will be called Kingdom Prep Lutheran High School.

The school will draw students from 30 feeder schools around the Milwaukee area, Festerling said, “with a focus upon growing strong Christian male leaders for the community and the Church.”

The lease depends on Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod obtaining a conditional use permit for the property. A permit application has been submitted, but the timeline for approval wasn’t clear.

Festerling said the plans would include “some healthy improvements to the facility.” That may include the parking lot, though he had no specific details to announce.

The future of that parking lot, across the street from Roosevelt Elementary School, was a point of contention in the neighborhood last fall, when a group of residents formed to block plans for a apartment building, which was to be called The Gridley at East Towne.

The parking lot is mostly unused and deteriorating, and St. Piux X had been looking at redevelopment options. The Gridley was proposed by Cardinal Capital Management, and its design was similar to Cardinal’s earlier apartment development at North Avenue and 85th Street.

But Cardinal faced an uphill battle in receiving a zoning amendment from the city for the 1 1/2 acre-site. The property is in an R2 District, which means it is zoned for low-density residential use. The zoning limits homes on the property to single-family and two-family dwellings.

Opponents packed the developer’s open house in October at Pius, and they mobilized a campaign against the project that included yard signs, a petition drive and door-to-door appeals. The proposal was never brought before the Wauwatosa Plan Commission for consideration.


Join us April 8 for our Spring Egg Hunt, sponsored by Indulgence Chocolatiers

Egg Hunt 2016One of TETNA’s most popular events of the year is a great way for families to get outdoors as winter turns to spring. The annual Spring Egg Hunt draws dozens of young egg seekers to Center Street Park a week before Easter, and this year’s hunt is set for April 8 at 10 a.m.

Indulgence Chocolatiers logoWe were fortunate to have Indulgence Chocolatiers as sponsor of the event in 2016, providing chocolates to participants and a gift card to one lucky drawing winner. We’re happy to have Indulgence back again as sponsor of the 2017 event.

Facebook eventTo participate, just bring a basket and your smiling faces! All families with current memberships participate for free. If you are not a member, you may pay your $10 dues at the event.

And if you are available to volunteer to help with the activities on April 8, please email Kathleen Flanders at katflanders@yahoo.com.

Check tosaeasttowne.org and TETNA’s Facebook page for more details as we get closer to the event date.