Native American Heritage; Historic Merrill Spring
At the recent Spring Harbor Neighborhood Association all-neighborhood meeting, we heard a report on the efforts of Friends of Merrill Spring (FMS) to protect and maintain the historic spring and to raise awareness of the Native American spiritual significance of Merrill Spring. Thanks to Alice Erickson for her report. See the November 2020 SHNA newsletter for more information about FMS.
We were also reminded that November is Native American Heritage Month and we learned about the act of writing a land acknowledgement. If you are interested in learning more about this expression of gratitude, here are some resources:
Thanks to Faith Fitzpatrick for sharing this information with us
Urban Forestry Task Force Report
In summer 2019, the City of Madison Urban Forestry Task Force (of which our Alder, Keith Furman, is a member) submitted its report, after almost two years of study and deliberation. One of the findings of the task force is that, in Madison, trees cover roughly 23% of the city’s land area, while the national average is 27%. Threats to city owned trees, including the Emerald Ash Borer, affect over 40,000 street trees and trees in parks, in addition to ash trees on private property. Many other trees are lost to development. In our neighborhood, with its many oak trees, we have lost a number of those beautiful large trees to oak disease. About 85% of Madison’s tree canopy is on private property, including front and back yards of neighborhoods like ours, which represent 30% of the city’s land area. The task force’s recommendations include some which would encourage more tree planting on private residential and commercial property under redevelopment. At the time of this writing, the report is going through the city approval process, with final action by the Common Council in October. If it is approved, the city will establish a staff team early next year to review its recommendations and timelines for implementation of possible inclusion of first steps in the 2021 city budget. This report presents an exciting opportunity for the Spring Harbor Neighborhood to cooperate with the city in adding more trees to our corner of Madison. For example, can we help to identify locations for new trees on public land such as parks, greenways and terraces and use some of our budget to leverage city funds? How can we encourage preservation of existing mature trees on private property? The task force called for more public education around the importance of our urban forest. How can we help with that?
The SHNA board has been asked by interested neighbors to establish a new committee to work on recommendations and goals for our neighborhood in cooperation with our Natural Resources Committee, Planning Committee, and the Spring Harbor Watershed Work Group, as well as the city. If you would like to be a part of this committee, please contact Faith Fitzpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sally Miley at email@example.com.
Spring Harbor Park - Monitoring Well
Madison Water Utility now has a project page (Road Salt Study at Well 14) dedicated to the series of studies into road salt impacts on Well 14 – the well that serves the Spring Harbor neighborhood. The webpage describes the results of the Borehole Investigation and Chloride Source Assessment, which were completed last year.
In December, two shallow monitoring wells were installed in Spring Harbor Park to assess impacts of storm water drainage on water quality at Well 14. Monthly chloride and sodium testing is planned through June 2019. Results will be posted on this project page. An alternatives analysis study is also planned for late 2018 and 2019. This study will evaluate potential treatment options and their costs to mitigate chloride contamination at the municipal well.
In conjunction with the launch of this project page, we have created an e-mail distribution list that will be used to update neighbors and interested stakeholders on our activities, test results, significant milestones in our studies, and the outcomes of our work. Anyone can sign up directly from the project page.
Water Quality Manager
Madison Water Utility
UNIVERSITY CROSSING: OPEN FOR BUSINESS
[Posted November 2013]
Three new University Crossing buildings are complete and are being occupied. UW-Health Digestive Health Center opened in April and is now fully staffed. The 3-story office/retail building at the corner of University Ave and Whitney Way opened in September along with a 4-story apartment building behind it. The apartment building with 118 rental units is in the shape of a horseshoe with a roof garden in the middle that covers a parking garage underneath.
A new street called University Row serves the entire building complex. Surface parking for UW Health with 230 spaces is located back from the street and yet close to the main entrance. The apartments are served with an enclosed parking garage recessed under the roof garden with approximately 300 spaces. Part of the parking structure at street level is open to the public to serve shoppers and visitors. Some street parking is also available next to the main buildings.
Early occupants of office and retail spaces include Associated Dentists, Potter Lawson Architects (the firm designing University Crossing), and Energy Center of Wisconsin. EVP Coffee and Sandwiches is located at the ground level of the apartment building facing UW Health. Snap Fitness Center is next to them.
An open lot of approximately 5 acres at the back of the complex remains unbuilt. It is steep and highly eroded—scheduled to be turned into a grassy field for the coming 2-3 years until future construction takes place. UW Health earlier this year purchased the 5-acre lot as well as the clinic building and surface parking lot. It means more health-related facilities can be expected to be built in the future.
University Crossing has changed the neighborhood. Population is increasing with the addition of new apartments. Traffic on University Ave is more intense. Runoff is impacting Spring Harbor and city well #14 across the avenue. New businesses and coffee shops are welcomed, but some changes have surprised the neighborhood. For example, when UW Health installed a large highway-sized clinic sign, it was powered with hi-tech LED/HD filaments that cast irritating laser-like light beams three blocks into the neighborhood. UW Health, in response to neighborhood protests, finally installed filters that dimmed the lights by 30%.
The good side of University Crossing is its energy efficient designs and tasteful setback from the street that avoids the stack’em and pack’em effect now popular in many developments. The campus layout also eliminates the strip-mall arrangement that used to dominate University Ave, the result of approving one building at a time each with its own driveway. University Crossing can now become part of what is shaping up to be the Hilldale/Hill Farms City Center-West.
For questions or comments, contact:
SHNA Planning & Development Committee
Herman Felstehausen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Flambeau /University Avenue Safety Improvements
Traffic and safety improvements at the intersection
of Flambeau and University Ave were discussed with Madison Traffic Engineering at a meeting arranged by Shary Bisgard and Herman Felstehausen of the SHNA Transportation and Planning/Development committees. The Flambeau intersection generates regular user comments because of its large open design inviting multiple vehicles to enter, wait, and make turns all at the same time. Interactions are further complicated by a bus stop, two pedestrian crossings, multi-use path, and several commercial driveways. Moka Coffee drive-thru has also increased intersection activity. SHNA committees are recommending additional signage and pavement paint as a way to further define user space and improve safety. Traffic Engineering is considering the following actions:
• Post ‘No U-turn’ signs facing east-bound traffic with an additional ‘No U-turn’ sign on the median facing the Moka exit driveway to
discourage Moka vehicles from immediately making a U-turn upon exit. Repainting the pavement bars on the west crosswalk so paint stripes line up with the crosswalk landing on the Moka side of the street. The neighborhood also requested widening and extending
the highway median on the west side of the intersection—current
median has a sub-standard pointed nose. While wider medians improve safety, this adjustment will require funding approval which
can be expected to delay the work.
• There have been numerous complaints that bikers—and sometimes skate-boarders—traveling at high speed down the multi-use
path from the east create close calls with turning vehicles. The bikers have the right-of-way, but it is difficult for drivers to make turns while keeping multiple sides of the intersection in view. Traffic Engineering will consider posting “CAUTION—Watch for Turning Vehicles” signs next to the multi-use path.
Information about Coyotes and Foxes in the Neighborhood
There have been a number of coyote and red fox sightings in the neighborhood this winter. Unfortunately, coyotes have attacked some neighborhood dogs. Wildlife experts say coyotes are likely here to stay in urban areas. Removing the animals is not an option because more coyotes would simply move in. Instead, said Doug Fendry, a wildlife specialist with the DNR, residents can take a number of steps (described below) that will reduce run-ins with coyotes. Russ Hefty also said coyotes are a beneficial part of the urban ecosystem because they help keep populations of everything from feral cats to rabbits and even pesky wild turkeys in check. Fendry said attacks on people are extremely rare and added that he knows of none on record in Wisconsin.
Foxes are usually shy and wary, but they are also curious. Foxes may be active night or day, and sightings at dusk or dawn are common. They do not hibernate. They are opportunistic feeders and their primary foods include small rodents, squirrels, rabbits, birds, eggs, insects, vegetation, fruit and carrion. Foxes can thrive close to humans and can flourish in suburban and urban areas. If you want to make your property less attractive to these animals, you should follow these basic practices:
DON'T FEED COYOTES AND FOXES. Keep wild things wild! With feeding they can become more habituated to humans. Foxes that rely on foods in the environment remain wild and wary of humans. Be sure to feed your pets indoors instead of outside, which can attract many wild animals.
KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE. Experts say to keep small dogs and cats restrained at all times. Keep livestock such as rabbits and chickens in secure enclosures that prevent entry from above and below.
DON'T LET COYOTES AND FOXES INTIMIDATE YOU. Don't hesitate to scare or threaten them with loud noise, bright lights, or spraying from a hose.
SECURE YOUR GARBAGE. Foxes will raid open trash materials with tight fitting lids and keep in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost in secure, vented containers.
KEEP BIRD AREA CLEAN. Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts many small mammals foxes prey upon. Remove feeders if foxes are regularly seen around your yard.
CLOSE OFF CRAWL SPACES UNDER PORCHES AND SHEDS. Foxes use such areas for resting and raising young.
CUT BACK OVERGROWN HEDGES IN YOUR YARD. These areas provide prime cover for foxes and their prey.
SPRING HARBOR PARK VEGETATION RESTORATION PLAN
Buckthorn Removal – The Spring Harbor Park Vegetation Restoration Plan Phase II is complete. A heavy covering of buckthorn was removed in fall 2014 from the hillside near the dog park by contractors, Micheler and Brown, LLC. Thanks again to SHNA and Indian Hills Garden Club for sharing the costs for this work. City Parks Department has no funds for invasive plant removals thus Spring Harbor Neighborhood Association paid $2,353 and Indian Hills Garden Club paid $3,353 for this incredible job. In the winter, through an individual neighbor donation of $250 and an additional $200 from Indian Hills Garden Club, seed mixes from Agrecol Nursery (Evansville, WI) of “savannah woodland edge”, “native slope stabilization” and June grass (Koileria cristata) were seeded in some of the steeper bare sections. Additional seed of Golden alexander and Eupatorium purpureum were donated and spread amongst the oaks. We’ll need additional oak savannah seed mixes to spread and will be seeking additional cash or seed donations in upcoming months. We’ve received many compliments about this space since it is in such a high visibility area.
Thanks also to our arborist neighbor Joe House (http://www.treehousearbor.com) for his volunteer time doing cleanup work in the Phase I ravine woods and other volunteers last fall that continued to remove regrowth of invasive shrubs and trees, as well as garlic mustard that has been crowding some of the 2013 tree plantings in the ravine woods. Please email Faith (email@example.com) if you have questions or if you’d like to help with invasive removal in the park. We will need continued volunteer help to keep the invasive plants from taking over again. Get involved in the spring neighborhood cleanup and garlic mustard pulls or do some on your own. Every little bit helps.