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City of Madison/Dane County Collaborate on Neighborhood Resource Center

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
Melanie Conklin (608) 266-4611

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/29/2003

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today praised a community collaboration, which has resulted in the opening of the new Southwest Resource Center at 6401 Hammersley Road.

The Southwest Resource Center will house City of Madison public health nurses, a Community Action Coalition housing counselor and a Dane County Human Services Department’s Joining Forces for Families (JFF) location.

“The opening of the Southwest Resource Center provides a convenient location from which residents of the area can access needed public resources,” said Mayor Cieslewicz.

The center is located in a City of Madison Community Development Authority (CDA) duplex. A Dane County Joining Forces for Families (JFF) site is also located at the center.

“Our JFF teams work to build stronger neighborhoods and families by partnering with other community groups to address the unique needs of the areas they serve,” said County Executive Falk. “This marks the first time, but hopefully not the last, that we can co-locate one of our successful JFF programs with a city resource center.”

Mayor Cieslewicz praised Ald. Cindy Thomas and city staff for their efforts to make the center a reality, “They heard the concerns of residents who wanted to revitalize their neighborhoods. Ald. Thomas worked dilgently with City staff from the Police Dept., Public Health Dept., Community Services, Building Inspection, and CDBG analyzing the area’s needs.”

The City then partnered with Dane County Human Services and other institutions working in the area to gain a more complete picture of the situation. In an August 2002 report, the Southwest Neighborhood Resource Team Workgroup articulated the emerging trends and issues in the area including:
· Increased tensions between renters and homeowners.
· Significant numbers of unsupervised or latch-key children.
· An increased need for bi-lingual and culturally competent service providers to alleviate language and cultural barriers.
· Changes in the number and types of social, health and law enforcement problems encountered.

Two key recommendations of the Workgroup were the creation of at least one public office space that could be used by City, County and State service providers and to increase the availability of public services personnel working in southwest Madison including neighborhood police officers, public health nurses, housing counselors, and social workers.

“This center is key to fulfilling the recommendations of the workgroup and strengthening this area of our city,” said Cieslewicz. The Madison CDA is providing the three-bedroom duplex, which houses the center.

“We’re excited to be working so closely with our city partners and others to efficiently provide quality services that strengthen families in the community,” said Falk.

In addition to the opening of the resource center, other actions have been taken as a result of the work of the Southwest Resource Center Workgroup:
-- Madison Police have assigned a full-time Neighborhood Police Officer to the area.
-- Funding and a half-time Housing Counselor have been provided to assist families and landlords on housing related issues.
-- Collaboration with school district staff to increase resident participation in existing school programs.
-- Increased lighting for the neighborhood.
-- Installation of a pedestrian island on McKenna Blvd to increase the safety of young children crossing a very busy street is planned.

Dane County has nine JFF teams operating in the City of Madison and 12 in surrounding communities. For more information on Dane County JFF, contact 242-6388.

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