Aug 17, 2008

Dear Councilmember Rasmussen...

This is a reply to the message you left on my answering machine recently, asking how things were in the Miller area. I'm posting this on the Miller blog, and am inviting others to add their thoughts via comments (at the end of this post) or by contacting you directly.

Newer neighbors may not know that you took walking tours of our neighborhood on a couple of occasions, and learnt firsthand from the neighbors about all the issues that were associated with Club Chocolate City and Deano's Grocery Store on Madison.

As you recall, all of those issues went away overnight when the bar closed. We now know that there were indeed (as we long suspected) drug dealers operating out of the bar. The manager of the bar was also charged with selling cocaine in the bar, though I have heard no more about this.

Almost all the problems in the neighborhood vanished overnight. We also noted that the volume of trash that we picked up during our neighborhood cleanups decreased dramatically.

Developer Jim Mueller has now purchased Mr. Falls' Madison Street property, and is making great efforts to keep the neighborhood happy as he starts to develop his property on both sides of East Madison Street. Many neighbors gleefully supervised the demolition of the buildings on the site, and are awaiting Jim Mueller's promised neighborhood outreach efforts this Fall. Jim moved with commendable speed when the demolition efforts set a plague of rats loose on the area. This article from the Stranger's blog, and its many comments from readers, is a great summary of the plans and (some) peoples' feelings about them.

In brief, our neighborhood is now very peaceful, and we are awaiting such challenges as may come with the redevelopment of the Madison Street area. The developers active right now (Jim Mueller and Val Thomas) both seem very responsible and eager to work with the community, so we are generally optimistic about the area. Other developments are also starting: I've got a Google map that summarizes what's going on.

We noted that many of the crime issues that used to plague the Madison Street area have moved down to 23rd & Union. The Police Department GOTS outreach program, which you kindly helped to facilitate, has also moved to that area. I note that the (long dormant) Central Neighborhood Association is starting to revive: perhaps you'd care to go on a walking tour with them.

That's enough from me. I'll let the neighbors chime in with their views.

Thanks again for your concern, and for all of your help in the past.
Andrew Taylor

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