Thank you to East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) for being a long-term and loyal partner of re:TH!NK. ECWRPC has done a lot of work with re:THINK’s Active Communities and Social Connectedness teams, especially in our latest project. ECWRPC staff Tyler DeBruin and Ashley Tracy from the Safe Routes to School program helped tremendously to make the pop-up crosswalk happen on 5th Avenue and Knapp Street in the Sacred Heard Neighborhood of Oshkosh. Tyler also co-presented at the 2019 Wisconsin Public Health Association conference about re:TH!NK’s whole experience with the pop-up crosswalk project. His technical expertise was a tremendous asset and contributed to the success of the project.
Big kudos to Alana Erickson for taking the lead on coordinating several community book reads throughout Winnebago County! So far, there has been a community book read in Neenah with 8 participants, Winneconne with 7 participants, and Oshkosh with 6 participants. re:TH!NK is still interested in hosting a discussion in Menasha and Omro. (If you want to partner email: firstname.lastname@example.org). re:TH!NK has received 30 donated books and has had 38 requests to borrow the book! Through the 3 events hosted so far, there has been 22 attendees at the book discussions. re:TH!NK has five major partners involved in the book reads and is currently looking for more!
Through the events so far, 14 of the event attendees stated that they met at least one new person at the event, so we’re actively building social connections! If you missed it, the featured book was Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg. The book introduces the notion that shared spaces can improve our health and happiness, and are vital to communities. The goal of the community book reads is to raise awareness about the concepts and work of the re:TH!NK Social Connectedness Team right here in Winnebago County. Thank you Alana for your work with the Team and taking time to organize the book reads!
Learn more about the book reads here!
A temporary crosswalk has “popped up” at the corner of 5th Avenue and Knapp Street in Oshkosh. A pop-up is a resident-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost and scale-able interventions to catalyze long-term change. Residents of Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association have identified this intersection as sometimes difficult and unsafe to cross. This intersection is close to Franklin Elementary School, Stoegbauer Park and St. Jude Catholic Church, places where children and families frequently go.
The goals of this temporary demonstration project are:
- Hear from residents about the real-world use of streets and public spaces
- Engage community members in activities that impact issues they’ve identified
- Test aspects of a project before making large financial investments
- Encourage people to work together in new ways, strengthening relationships between residents, non-profits, local businesses, and government agencies
Did you experience the pop-up crosswalk? Share your thoughts about it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/popupcrosswalk
The pop-up crosswalk will only be up through May 8, 2019 so make sure to check it out next time you’re out and about. Search #reTHINKcrosswalks on Facebook for additional project info!
This project could not have happened with out so many community partners combined efforts. Thank you to Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association, St. Jude the Apostle, East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Safe Routes to School program, Art City Wraps, Uptown, Oshkosh Storm Companies, Growing Oshkosh, UW Oshkosh Sociology and Geography Departments, and the City of Oshkosh.
Jackie and Michele are rockstar leaders in the Sacred Heart Neighborhood area of Oshkosh! We first got to know Jackie when she began working with the re:TH!NK Social Connectedness Team to strengthen and build neighborly relationships in their area. As they worked with their neighborhood they learned more about what residents cared about and a specific challenge emerged. They heard concerns about children being able to safely cross Knapp Street on their way to school each day. Residents felt that cars were moving too fast, parking on both sides of the street made drivers seeing children and children seeing cars difficult, and the cross walk was not well defined. Michele, Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association core team member and St. Jude Parish (on Knapp St) staff, connected to the work of the neighborhood and joined Jackie in working to get safer crossing for children going to school and to church functions.
And idea to try out a better, safer, more visible type of crosswalk was imagined in late 2018 and Jackie and Michele have been important members of the project’s planning team since the beginning. They connected with residents and parish members to let them know about the project, called upon local businesses to be a part of the project, engaged youth and students in different tasks, and helped install what became a “pop-up crosswalk” on the corner of 5th Ave and Knapp St. in late April 2019.
We would like to offer a huge shout-out and thank you to leaders like Jackie and Michele for making our community a better place to live, work, and play!
In 2018, re:TH!NK updated the mission statement and logo, worked on Safe Routes to Parks audits, educated youth about healthy food choices, partnered with the Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association, conducted Festival Scans, and finally reached its goal of tobacco-free parks in Oshkosh!