Thursday, February 02, 2006

Improving UWO's neighborhood

As Frank Church noted, the recent imbroglio over unpaid taxes in Oshkosh brought out an interesting quote from one of tax-delinquent local student slumlord (he hasn't paid his property taxes on his $645,000 home): "A landlord . . . said he's run into hard times in filling University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh-area rental properties." Here is the story link.

It raises a long-standing complaint in my mind: that of the condition of the neighborhoods surrounding the university. It is painful to walk around east of campus and look at all the formerly beautiful victorians that have been sliced up into 4 apartments for students.

I know that there was some discussion in the past about having the university help transform these areas, but obviously nothing ever came of it.

It seems like a program to rejuvenate some of the property should be a bigger part of our campus plans.

Perhaps all the new apartment buildings across Wisconsin has shifted student demand and leaves an opening for university-driven redevelopment. I do not have an exact plan, but we should be thinking about how this could be done.

I would have bought a home closer to campus, even in need of renovation, if one had been in a neighborhood of professionals and faculty. Instead, the neighborhood is filled with run-down houses, piles of beer cans, and rowdy undergraduates.

Take some initiative and create a nice, livable community off campus to the east!


Bryan L. Bain said...

I agree. Below is information from the city's website on neighborhoods and initiatives. There's an opportunity to submit comments online for the first item.


Lake Winneblogo said...

Thanks for your comment Bryan.

I neglected to mention that there will be a public hearing soon to help improve the "Near East" neighborhood, which encompasses the area from downtown to Broad and from Merritt north to Lincoln.

This is another area that is in desperate need of help (though not as conveniently located to the university since there are no bike lanes)

Lammers said...

I, too, would very much like to see the area surrounding campus turned into an area of single-family homes owned largely by folks working at the university. I own a home east of campus (in an area with more business than rentals), and very much enjoy my 15-minute walk to work.

I wonder if the Foundation would have the resources to buy up houses from landlords, get them rezoned single-family, and sell them to university employees. Even if it took years to transform a large number of them, it would be a step in the right direction.

Lake Winneblogo said...

My impression is that there was some initiative in the past that did not develop. Does anyone know about it?

It would be a great project for the Foundation to undertake, in any case. If it were well done, it might even be a money maker for the university!