Column: OMNA updates members toward its goals

4:38 PM, Mar. 5, 2013  |  Comments
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Many of us might feel that winter has overstayed its welcome, but Old Main Neighborhood Association, or OMNA, members didn't let it interfere with gathering on a Sunday evening for the February meeting.

Just as the first robin sighting signals that spring is around the corner, new faces at the meeting gives hope that OMNA is moving forward toward its goals for the year.

Members listened to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Student Government representatives Seth Hoffmeister and Ryan Specht along with student/landlord David Brant report on the student housing project.

Information was shared about the creation of a UWSP website that will be a resource for students to search for off-campus housing. The website also will allow students to advertise for openings or subleases and to provide resources and general information regarding off-campus housing. Brandt said the site will offer students information on city of Stevens Point ordinances of which student renters might not be aware.

Members of OMNA are eager for the future ownership of the Emerson School property to be determined. We are encouraged that Mayor Andrew Halverson would like to see the property become a true central city park. OMNA would like to be involved in the possible future development of the Emerson grounds, if obtained by the city.

Some OMNA members offered suggested improvements, such as plumbing and electrical accessibility as well as new play equipment and a small open shelter area to enhance the usability of the area. Overall, members would like the space to retain much of the property as open green space in order to accommodate the flexibility and variety of activities it currently allows.

OMNA will look at obtaining updates from UWSP regarding changes to the original UWSP Master Plan of 2007. Areas of interest include: Lot X redevelopment and the loss of available parking, a proposed parking structure in Parking Lot T and the development of University owned property on Briggs Street. Currently UWSP owns six of the 12 houses in the block.

OMNA was approached by a landlord that owns property within the OMNA area and asked for a few OMNA representatives to meet with him in regards to forming a landlord/homeowner coalition. The committee met with Al Thompson, UWSP vice chancellor of Student Affairs, and will tentatively meet on a quarterly basis.

OMNA board member Rick Whipp is working on a collaborative effort with the UWSP SGA and Farm Shed to have the documentary film "Betting the Farm" shown at the UWSP movie theater in the Dreyfus University Center. Tentative agreements have been set up; SGA is on board and fully supportive of the project, as is OMNA. Possible dates for showing the film are the third week of April, "Earth Week." The film is about the organizational efforts of a group of Maine organic farmers. A brief trailer for the film was shown at the OMNA meeting.

For a closer look at the faces of OMNA and discover why we love our neighborhood, go to We were fortunate that a UWSP student created a few interview videos for us, and they are proudly displayed on the website.

Maureen Pogorzelski writes a monthly column on behalf of the Old Main Neighborhood Association.

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