Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association helping to beautify bump-outs on Milwaukee Avenue
by BRIAN NADIG
Volunteers with the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association recently spruced up some of the landscaped pedestrian bump-outs along Milwaukee Avenue and are working on a beautification plan to bring regular maintenance and improvements next year to these roadside flower beds.
Association president Joe DiCiaula said that two bump-outs in the 5400 block of North Milwaukee Avenue recently were replenished with new soil and wildflower seeds. “Some of the old perennials there started coming back,” he said.” The idea is we start with (a few bump-outs) and see how it goes.”
The residents working on the bump-outs include Elizabeth and Fred Mina and Lori Bieniek, and WR Junk Removal and Hauling has donated soil.
“It’s really at a very beginning stage, (and) we are really experimenting,” Elizabeth Mina said. “We want to do a real plan … for next year.”
The goal is to have groups of volunteers in place for each bump-out to help with the watering, removal of litter and general landscaping maintenance. Businesses located near the bump-outs are being asked to serve as a water source, she said.
Mina said that sturdy native plants that can survive road salt and other negative elements should be given top consideration, Mina said. “The wind from the passing cars whizzing by is extraordinary,” she said.
There are about eight crosswalks along Milwaukee Avenue in the Gladstone Park commercial district that have landscaped bump-outs, which extend from the curb in order to shorten the distance pedestrians have to walk to cross the street, Mina said. In some instances there area drainage-related issues that need be addressed with the city, she said.
The bump-outs have been poorly maintained since they were installed about five years ago, according to area residents and merchants. In addition, there are several pedestrian refuge islands in the middle of the street, and in some instances trees on these islands have been damaged or destroyed by a vehicle hitting them.
DiCiaula said that the association is planning to start up in-person meetings in August and that working on a revitalization plan for these all-too-often neglected bump-outs will be a priority for discussion.
“I think we can really spruce it up. I’m a very optimistic person,” Mina said.