The Co-Chairs' Column

February 6, 2020: What's in a Plan Anyway?
It's been a busy year of changes in the SNA (not only evidenced by our one-year hiatus from the co-chairs' column). The biggest buzz in our area is the Oscar Mayer Special Area Plan or OMSAP.

If you read our late January post to the main page, you'll see that we aren't exactly tickled about this plan. We have major concerns about what it does to our neighborhood's ecosystem and community feeling.

Biggest of all is our concern about the lack of consideration for us in the process. I've been struggling not to say it, but frankly dammit, we deserve a bigger role in this action. Except for a small outcropping to the east, the boundaries of the special area plan are wholly within our neighborhood association's boundaries. But does the city approach us about planning? No. Do they even acknowledge this? No. Instead, we regularly hear city staff talk about how our neighborhood ends at Aberg. It's all little, tiny, convenient ways to cut us out of the process and dilute our impact.

But then again, what's in a plan? It's a pretty document, certainly. Our experience with these documents, however, leaves us doubtful of what will actually come of them. Sure, they'll use it as a cudgel to block projects that we think are good (see Spa Woof's departure several years ago) because they "don't fit the plan." But they'll conveniently ignore it when they want to push something through (see bus barn, right now). The Northport-Packers-Sherman Ave plan has been around since 2007, and basically a big fat nothing was created from that plan, despite some of our neighbors' best efforts to make it happen.

So at the end of this all, perhaps we shouldn't be too concerned that we were summarily ignored in this process, treated as having no more of a say that anybody from any other part of the city. If they treat this plan like the last one, it'll all be scratch paper by the end of the week anyway.

January 1, 2019: Happy New Year, Sherman Neighborhood!
It's a winter wonderland today in Sherman Neighborhood, and we couldn't be happier to call it home.

From Renee: This morning, I put on my outside clothes to get to shoveling. Until a driveway redo this past summer, I was the proud owner of the actual Worst Driveway in Madison (I see you there, Willy Street Co-Op Driveway, and I stand my by statement), and so I haven't been able to use a snow blower for fear that one would throw hunks of broken concrete into my neighbors' windows, and that this wouldn't be much of a relationship-builder. Despite the new driveway last year, I still haven't bought a snow blower, and so as usual I trudged outside and made a mental note to call my chiropractor in the morning.

I'm out hefting snow and suddenly in the (near) distance, my neighbor comes trudging along with his snow blower. He motions quietly for me to move, and finishes the whole gross job for me, and for our next three neighbors down the block. Then he pulled the snow thrower back into his driveway, and headed into his yard. No "pleases," and only a "thank you" shouted over a gas motor. I'm pretty sure nobody tweeted about it after the fact, and there aren't any Instagram photos. It reminded me what I love so much about my neighbors: our generosity and care for each other isn't conspicuous or gilt. It isn't begging attention and often happens when nobody is the wiser. It's just what we do for each other.

November 23, 2018: Happy Thanksgiving, is back!
Googled by some, missed by a few, but never fear neighbors, the SNA blog site is back! The goal of is to be the aggregator for association announcements,  community info, and other need-to-knows for the slice of Northside heaven that we call Sherman Neighborhood.

Got a question on SNA history? Social events? Thoughts on how to make our neighborhood an even better place? Email us!

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