From Dreams to Reality – The Story of the Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association, DMNA
“It all started in 1972… No, it all started a year before that… No, it really began in the late 1960’s when… Pick your own version of the immediate roots of the Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association… Truth is…” The Dunn’s Marsh News, 1980 Propitiously, this story starts on Valentine’s Day 1973 when the DMNA was officially birthed at a meeting called by four women in the neighborhood, Linda Cable, Gale Schmiedlin, Jane Marquardt, and this reporter, Mary Mullen. They had laid the foundation by distributing an information packet to the entire area containing a neighborhood problem list and a “Dear Neighbor” letter inviting people to organize to accomplish their hopes.
Expressed positively, the problems encompassed nine general desires
- a permanent well-equipped neighborhood park;
- a community center;
- summer recreation programs for young kids through teenagers;
- year-round Bookmobile service to all parts of the neighborhood;
- all elementary and middle school students attending the same schools;
- better law enforcement cooperation between Fitchburg and Madison;
- improve street upkeep and repaving;
- bus shelters, all-day, prompt bus service; and
- renters to be treated as respectfully as homeowners.
Allow this incomplete list of DMNA accomplishments give you the flavor of the energy and abilities of the Association.
- Monthly meetings and monthly newsletter written by residents enabling people to know and respond to issues. (In the 1990’s the newsletter was published jointly with the Allied Community Association.)
- Annual summer picnics, spring garden/neighborhood clean-ups and community activities. Placed two Little Free Libraries in the Marlborough section of the neighborhood
- Putting neighborhood desires high into the consciousness of government staff and elected officials through constant communication, candidate forums, and neighborhood meetings.
- City purchase of the 19.3-acre Marlborough Park and acceptance of neighborhood desires for location of the shelter, bike path, “wild” areas, and the community gardens. Management of the Marlborough Park community garden. Planted a demonstration rain garden in Marlborough Park.
The force behind doggie bag stations at the entrances to Marlborough Park
- Intergovernmental purchase of a 1.28-acre buffer zone to Dunn’s Marsh south of Crescent Rd. (Lots 19 & 20, now Apache Pond) and County purchase of 24 acres of land south of Dunn’s Marsh. Participated in planning for the Apache wet pond. Better erosion control around Dunn’s Marsh.
- Improved bus service in the area. Successfully pushed for changes in the plans for the reconstruction of Verona Road/Beltline intersection. Served as the impetus for bike lanes painted on the frontage roads. Protection of Seminole Highway through designated bike lanes, bikeway only into Seminole Hills, and opposition to 4-lane road.
- Activism related to renter concerns, school attendance areas, commodity distribution, and law enforcement. Completely stymied three proposed liquor establishments.