Police, officials help neighbors prepare for a neighborhood

YOURCOUNTY
Jim Baumgart  Sheboygan County Supervisor

A few weeks ago this writer and my neighbors received an invitation dropped off at our door. It was to gather for a neighborhood meeting with the Sheboygan Police and local officials to find out how best to keep a positive neighborhood or improve it. Our meeting, called the Wildwood Neighborhood Meeting, took place on Monday, Oct. 14, at the VFW Post 9156 meeting room on Evan Street in Sheboygan.

I liked the idea of neighbors meeting neighbors. When I grew up many homes enjoyed the availability of a front porch where people could enjoy a summer evening and watch the children play with neighboring children. People would stop and talk, visit, and keep informed. While some of these contacts continue, many of us are spending more time in our back yard or inside watching television. Other then connecting with each other because of a neighborhood garage sales or gaining a few neighborhood friendships, neighborhoods are different then 30 or 40 years ago. We need to better connect or reconnect and this meeting was a positive step forward.

Officer Holly Kehoe directed the meeting. Her goal was to establish a contact list for the Wildwood neighborhood, list information on crime prevention, and provide an open forum for any concerns. She also offered to help set up a Neighborhood Association if there was an interest or concerns that might be best addressed by future meetings and discussions. These neighborhood gatherings are slowly taking place around the city to bring people together and to discuss the issues and concerns of those people living in these areas.

Mayor Michael Vandersteen was present, as was staff from the city planning departmen They offered encouragement and support to the 50 plus people present. One neighbor, a Sheboygan Firefighter supervisor, reminded everyone of the need to protect their home by insuring all home fire detection devices were in good working conditions, and that home furnaces should be checked before the onset of winter. Area alderpersons were also in attendance.

We were told that our neighborhood was considered a safe neighborhood. There was some theft, but if everyone remembered to lock their car, home (including both doors and windows), and close their garage doors, we would likely limit most of these from happening. And, leaving things of value in your car and available for someone to see was called a bad idea.

Keeping the neighborhood clean also promoted the look of an area well kept and safe.

Those in attendance were encouraged to discuss the Wildwood neighborhood. There were some issues including child care, dogs (barking and aggressive), unkempt property (including home foreclosures, grass cutting or snow removal), possible drug use concerns, police reaction to calls, and questions on how best to handle certain situations and who best to contact. It was a healthy and informative discussion.

We were reminded that in some cases, such as requiring a landowner to remove the snow from a property or encourage a landowner to remove an unruly renter, state law often requires certain time limits after an official notice. And, with a busy Friday or Saturday night in the community, the police will take care of high priority issues first. But people should call, record the information, such as a barking dog (which house, what time), loud neighbors (take license numbers if you can, time and house number), or other issues. What was made clear is that those with concerns should not be shy .Make sure the police follow up and listen to your concerns. It was a good meeting and one where we were able to work together as neighbors.


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