City Council on June 6, 2006

On City Council

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Greenbush Community Survey

Design Principles for Greenbush

Greenbush Design Principles

    • Restore Greenbush dynamics, features, values (e.g. bocce ball court)
    • Ecological development—solar, “green” materials, etc.
    • Redesign Triangle as heart of the wider community, instead of isolated by traffic
    • Handicapped accessible
    • Diverse (families, disabilities, ages, incomes/classes, ethnicities, etc.)
    • Private backyards
    • Open space access to Brittingham Park—via a stop light on W. Washington
    • Affordable housing
    • “Row houses” (as distinct from single-family houses and tall apartment buildings)
    • Houses close to interior streets
    • Small businesses (shops with homes on top, or offices on 3rd floors)
    • Underground parking
    • Knowing neighbors (maximize social interactions between neighbors)
    • Sense of community
    • Greenbush museum

Madison Common Council Resolution

Elena’s Speech

We’ve been talking about how wonderful the past was but what’s happening today is also very important. Today many of the historical buildings outside the Triangle are still here, but the ones inside the Triangle were destroyed.

Neighborhood House moved to 29 S. Mills but more or less serves the same purpose. It has many activities for everyone. They are also very proud of their food pantry which many people donate to and are helped by.

I did research and looked at many newspaper articles on Longfellow School which is no longer a school but is still standing and is now a part of Meriter Hospital. In fact, part of the school is being used as a daycare.

Wonderful new buildings have been built and are being built. Bayview Community Center, for example, has many activities for both residents and non-residents. It is such an active place that kids enjoy being there.

We’ve talked to residents of the Triangle Apartments and it’s a really great place for people with disabilities. They have lots of activities and opportunities to get to know each other.

Village Co-Housing is fairly new.  It represents the old Greenbush in a way because they live so close, and they share a lawnmower and other things like that. For instance, when we went to visit a little while ago the common room was decorated because they’d just celebrated a birthday together.

Smith Hall will be ready this fall and they have plans for working with the community and doing services. It’s very convenient because it’s right behind Fraboni’s. Canollis, anyone?

Our class put together a survey for people in the Greenbush and put out almost 1,000 surveys and got nearly 200 back. Just to give you an idea of how much people like their neighborhood: on a scale of 1-5, 86% ranked it a 4 or a 5! That’s how much people love their neighborhood. Who knows if this survey had been done in the past if people would’ve ranked it higher, lower or the same.


To the question, “Are kids safe playing outside?” the community ranked it pretty high. They also said it is easy to get around. It must be very convenient because it’s safe for kids, the hospital and university are close by along with the lake and downtown. . . . I don’t think anybody, no matter what race or class, should be kept from living here.

Although many people said they really liked their neighborhood, not many people said the Greenbush has a sense of community. In fact people said they didn’t go to many of the old community centers and few people attend even the Triangle Ethnic fest! As in the past, it’s still a wonderful neighborhood, but unlike the past, it doesn’t have a sense of community.

I wonder if our planning for the future could increase the sense of community.

Micah’s Speech

“The Greenbush was a fantastic place. I would have loved to live there. But now, I don’t really want to. There are tall, ugly apartment buildings, and lots of noise from the surrounding streets. But for me, the biggest change was the gardens; they’re all gone. Before Urban Renewal, almost everyone in the Greenbush had a private vegetable garden. Now, nobody does. Gardens help bring out the culture in people.

To remember the Greenbush, our class thinks that there should be an annual Greenbush Day to help people learn about and remember the amazing history of the Greenbush. Another idea was a permanent Greenbush exhibit. I really liked that idea. Our class was so excited about that idea, that we created a model for a Greenbush Museum with architect Emily Ehlers.

The Greenbush did, and still does, hold people of many cultures. There was no racism, because everyone was the same. Simon Moss, a former Greenbush resident, said, “Maybe we got along so well because we were all in the same boat and that boat was poverty.”

The Greenbush is very valuable land. It’s near so much; the University, the hospital, the capital, and most of all, it’s right across the street from Monona Bay. Many large institutions would like that land. Our class thinks that the Greenbush should always be a place for people with disabilities, new immigrants, and low-income families. We want any future planning to be looked over for maintaining that type of neighborhood.

We don’t want to recreate the past, or keep the present the same, but we want to remember the past Greenbush as the wonderful place that it was. Houses can make a neighborhood, but people need to blend together in the right way to create a community.