152 Shanley for sale (again)

What a time we have had with 152 Shanley: decades of neglect, attempted interventions by neighbours,  meetings with MHBPNA executive (both with staff and councilors) and many articles in the Record. And yet it still sits empty, quiet, derelict and with uncleared sidewalks, on the corner of Duke and Shanley.

The city attempted to sell the building in a tax sale. But it was unsuccessful partly because the municipal act tightly regulates sales and the city was required to ask the price of the taxes currently owing which is over 1 million dollars.

In April of 2018 the city organized a “charrette” to get buy-in and ideas from residents. This was well attended and well organized. City staff put together a draft “Vision statement” based on the ideas and comment at the charrette and released it in August. They then held another event in early September to get resident’s reactions to the Vision Statement. For those interested, it is worthwhile to read through many of the comments submitted about that statement.

Ultimately, Kitchener city council approved the Vision Statement on November 19 (despite a petition against it signed by over 20 people). This is the City of Kitchener’s statement: “Following an unsuccessful tax sale in 2017, planning staff developed a vision statement in collaboration with the neighbourhood surrounding 152 Shanley St. that clarifies expectation for redevelopment of the site that has been abandoned since 1990. From the engagement, what is envisioned is a building of up to six storeys that respects the site’s heritage and could permit retail/commercial (such as a coffee shop), personal services and community space on the ground floor and residential uses on the upper levels. The proposals should minimize the disruption to the neighbourhood, keeping parking underground or to the back of the building, provide for ample tree cover and contribute to an attractive streetscape.”

The latest news is there will be a new tax sale attempt in January of 2019. We can hope this is successful but it is impossible to please everyone. For some people the building is ‘historic’ and is a reminder of Kitchener’s manufacturing history. Others are angry it has sat there in a contaminated state for so long and believe the city should tear it down and clean up the contamination. Many who attended the charrette are happy with the city’s organization of that event and agree with the concept of a condo development. But not everyone is happy about a 6 story development and the increased traffic that would entail. And it remains to be seen if 6 floors and a reduced price (plus the Brownfield tax incentives that exist) are enough for a developer to take on the remediation and long term project management of the site.

At this point, all we can say is “to be continued”.

Ted Parkinson, Communications, MHBPNA

Newsletters, AGM

Newsletters are being delivered right now! If you did not receive one, you can pick one up at our notice board in the Breithaupt Centre. Or come to our AGM, 11 AM Saturday morning at the Centre and pick one up as you meet your neighbours!

 

MHBPNA Annual General Meeting, 2018

Announcing

MHBPNA 2018 — Annual General Meeting

Saturday, October 27, 2018 11:00 am Breithaupt Centre Room 207

Come out and meet your neighbours. Talk about issues in our area and ideas for building community. Have some free coffee and snacks. Elect our new executive. Plan for the future. Leave happy.

Election 2018 and candidate questions

On October 22, 2018 we will be voting for Kitchener and Waterloo Region politicians. The city of Kitchener’s site is here.

Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park is located in Ward 10 which has two candidates for Councillor: Sarah Marsh and Peter Meier.

Of course we also vote for Mayor and there are four candidates: Jiri Marek, Narine Dat Sookram, Myron Daniel Steinman and Berry Vrbanovic. All candidates (with their websites, if they have one) are listed on this page.

Waterloo Regional Council voting information is here. You can vote for four Councillors to represent Kitchener.

What would you like to ask the candidates for council and for mayor?

Please send your questions to mhbpna@gmail.com. We will compile them, send them to the candidates and then publish their answers to this Blog. This is your chance to get candidates “on the record” for issues specific to the Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park neighbourhood.

In case you are interested in history, we did this eight years ago as well, and here is an example of the candidate’s answers.

Workshop on Wheels was a success

The rain stopped, the sun came out and we had a great ride last night through Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park and then down Weber into the “mean streets” of downtown Kitchener.

Here is the “official” city of Kitchener picture at the start of the ride:

Here are Ted (MHBPNA-Communications) and Levi (MHBPNA-Co-Chair) before the ride.

Here are a group of cyclists waiting for the light at Guelph and Weber.

Everyone who participated had great insights into biking in Kitchener and Darren from the city wrote down what we said. We will be writing an article on this event in our upcoming September Newsletter!

Workshops on Wheels in Kitchener

The city of Kitchener says:

“Join us for a fun ride – or walk! Explore new routes. Share your ideas on how we can encourage more people to choose to walk or cycle as we create a new Cycling and Trails Master Plan for Kitchener. Each ride is co-hosted by city staff and a local resident. All skill levels are welcome to participate. Each ride is five to ten kilometres with lots of rest stops and fun conversation with your neighbours along the way.

No registration is required. Rain or shine. In extreme weather situations, please visit this webpage to see if the ride or walk is cancelled. Be sure to subscribe to Bike Kitchener email updates for cycling news and updates on the master plan.”

The ride for the Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park neighbourhood is on Wednesday, Aug 22 at 6 pm at the Breithaupt Centre.

Check out all the facts and updates on this page.

See you there on Wednesday!

Neighbourhood update, August 2018

Here are a few things happening in and around our hood in the weeks and months ahead:

The City of Kitchener is having several “Workshops on Wheels” to discuss the Cycling and Trails Master Plan. The event for Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park is scheduled for Wed, Aug 22, 2018 and starts at the Breithaupt Center. But anyone can participate in any of the rides. Just show up and talk with folks. Information is on the City’s website here.

The Guelph Street Community Garden hosts “potluck” dinners, every Wednesday Evening through July and August, 6 – 7:30 pm. For information on the garden click here.

There is a Sacred Heart School and Convent charrette proposed for this fall. This is after the model of the 152 Shanley Charrette.  That one was very helpful and well organized. It remains to be seen if the city will be able to sell the Shanley property, but some good ideas were generated. We hope the charrette for the Sacred Heart property goes ahead and leads to something productive being done with those historic buildings.

Most of our ‘hood is within a 15-20 minute walk to the Kitchener Blues Festival which is taking place August 9 – 12th. That is very soon! Personally, I’m not even a huge fan of blues, but there is so much great music over the weekend that it is always an amazing event and it is wonderful to see downtown Kitchener transformed into a space alive with music, people, food and good times. My picks this year are Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding (Friday) and the Last Waltz tribute (Friday). I urge everyone to check out the schedule, search for YouTube videos of interesting artists and get some rest so you can rock out!

Do you know of more events relevant to MHBP? Please email us at mhbpna@gmail.com.

Ted P.

Duke Street West Music Fest — 2018

For several years a few people on Duke St. West have been thinking about organizing a music event in our ‘hood. The Duke Street Playground seemed like a logical place because it has play equipment for kids and many green spaces for playing and several trees for shade. In fact, many people call it the “Duke Street Park” because it is so lush and green for most of the summer. There are several “Porch Parties” in Kitchener and Waterloo that show people love to play and share music. We decided the playground would have just one stage which made it easier to organize.

A small committee (Emily, Eli and Ted) was formed from the Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association to organize the event we would call the “Duke St. West Music Fest” (DSWMF). We decided on Saturday, June 23 as the date and started preparations a few months before by talking with the “Love my Hood” folks. We applied for a City of Kitchener grant to cover the Porta-potty rental, food and modest honorariums for the performers. Filling out this long form was the first test of our “team work” and after a few weeks we learned we had been approved!

We advertised on social media and our newsletter for musicians within our MHBPNA boundaries and received enough responses to fill the three hours! Our cool poster can be viewed here.

The day of the event we were threatened by rain and potential thunderstorms. We had to make a big decision about cancelling or continuing knowing that we might have to abandon the event if the thunderstorms materialized. Much time was spent on weather apps and websites!

We had several tents loaned to us by Extend-A-Family and neighbours. So we decided to go ahead, but then were informed by the city that we could not use power! This threw a wrench into things, but we agreed to go “acoustic” and moved the stage area to the front of the playground. The new location made it very inviting for people walking past to hear the music.

Ultimately some rain did fall but very little affected the performances and we were very happy. At one point I counted about 60 people listening to the music, talking quietly in the background, playing on swings and other equipment and generally walking around and enjoying the atmosphere. If you include all the people who came through, staying for different lengths of time, and those close by listening on their porches, we estimate around 130 people attended! We ordered two deliveries from the good folks at Planet Pizza on Breithaupt Street and they were will received by everyone.

We were very happy with the attendance and enthusiasm of everyone. It makes us excited to try it again next year. As Eli said “next year we will have sun and sound!”

Ted Parkinson

 

 

 

 

Duke St West Music Fest (Update)

UPDATE: The rain is going away, but there are safety concerns about running power. The rain might come back and the ground is wet as well.

However, we have three tents and a porta potty, plus snacks!

So we have decided to make the event acoustic and more of a “hang out” kind of thing. We hope everyone will still come to listen. We can even order pizza after 3.

We will see about re-scheduling the event with “amplified sound” later in the summer (with an alternate rain location).

We really hope we see you all there and will stick to the basic schedule as much as we can.

Thanks for your understanding.

Duke Street West Music Fest, June 23

Duke St West Music Fest Poster, June 23, 2pm-5pmThis year will have our very first Duke Street West Music Festival!

We have a great list of local neighbourhood musicians:

Buddy Choir
The Duke Street Alicorns
Bill & Allegra Bulmer
Jakki & Wayne
Rob Adlers
Ted Parkinson
Jesse Maranger
Edward John Barrington
The Duke Street Trio

Come by between 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, June 23 to enjoy the melodies and rhythms of the neighbourhood, some pizza and the wonderful Duke Street playground!