The Madison Police Department detailed their plans to discourage the Mifflin Street Block Party and their investigation into a series of vandalism cases at a Bassett Street Neighborhood meeting Monday.
MPD has been reminding residents the traditional block party is not a school-sponsored event and has been trying to rebrand it by discouraging any house parties and even stopped referring to it as a block party, MPD Lt. Kelly Donahue said.
“We are really trying to brand [Revelry] as the university spring party and are really trying to discourage any event on Mifflin Street,” Donahue said.
The Mifflin Street Block Party has always required a large police presence and police presence this year will continue to remain high and spread out, Donahue said. Staffing will begin at 8 a.m. as last year’s parties began around 9 a.m., which was much earlier than in previous years, she said.
Donahue said Mifflin Street residents will not be able to sign a contract with MPD like they were able to do last year, banning strangers from partying in the residents’ home without permission.
“This year is more of a no tolerance for illegal house parties,” Donahue said.
MPD will maintain an arrest-processing center to discourage any continuing misbehavior, Donahue said.
Donahue also responded to community members’ concerns that they had been shut out of planning for the block party by saying they have not deliberately attempted to shut anybody out of the planning. MPD had been waiting to see what was happening with the spring party to review how they would respond, she said.
Donahue also expressed concern over a rash of graffiti incidents in the 400 block of Bassett Street, with more than a dozen incidents since early March.
No arrests have been made yet, but some suspects have been identified as two were caught on video surveillance, Donahue said. Residents in the area have been shown the surveillance area photos of the suspects to see if they can identify them and to allow them to be alert for these people, she said.
The gang unit has looked into the graffiti incidents and there have been some different opinions on whether the graffiti is gang-related or not, Donahue said. MPD has also asked property owners to provide resident lists so the gang unit can look to see if there are potentially people living in the neighborhood that are responsible, she said.
“Now that the weather is turning, the graffiti will hopefully be a distant memory and not a recurring problem,” Verveer said.
The neighborhood association also heard about a project that would add a boat rental and caf? in the former Beach House in Brittingham Park on Monona Bay.
Tyler Leeper and Stephan Reinke, owners of Wingra Boats, are looking to expand into new waters with the creation of Brittingham Boats, a project that was presented at the neighborhood meeting.
“We want people to go out and explore and take a kayak out,” Reinke said. “That’s the great thing about Madison, you can go through all the lakes in Madison and be back in time for supper, or a grilled cheese.”