Nah. Just let me do what they want. They are going to anyway. We might as well just make Fordam Ave. the city center for everything:
Neighbors who got wind of Occupy Madison Inc.'s plan, even before knowing a purchase of the building was imminent, were upset they were not apprised of the project.
"Our concern is with the process and the quiet way they have gone about this," Mike Kenitz, executive director of Center for Families, wrote in a Dec. 18 email to Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, who is the alderwoman for the area. "They must be assuming opposition and therefore trying to fly under the radar."
Rhodes-Conway herself was not contacted, as is traditional for these kinds of projects. She says the first she heard about it was when the group presented its site plans to the city's Development Assistance Team, which reviewed the project for code issues since the office building would now be used for housing.
"In some ways I feel like my support is assumed even though I haven't offered it," Rhodes-Conway says in an interview.
Kenitz was not just concerned about transparency, however. Center for Families is an umbrella organization for four groups including the Respite Center, which provides care to children and families under stress.
He told Rhodes-Conway his organization is not against services to homeless individuals, who are also served by his agency. But, he added, "We serve hundreds of vulnerable small children and many parents and need to know more about what is being proposed to move next to us."
Shannon Barry, executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, which is converting the old Sears warehouse at 2102 Fordem Ave. into a new shelter for abused women and their children, also expressed concerns to Rhodes-Conway.
"I am really surprised and disheartened that no effort was made to engage and dialogue with the neighborhood — especially two other nonprofits who serve vulnerable populations."