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Minutes February 9, 2010

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Approved March 9, 2010

McKnight Neighborhood Council

Board Meeting: February 9, 2010


PRESENT: *Gregory A Hession (Pres.), *Katie Foster, *Ed Kelly, *Walter Kroll (VicePres.), *Jesse Lederman, *Ceil Lewonchuk, *Denise Moccia, *Liz Stevens, *Ben Swan Jr. (Clerk/Secy.), *Marianne Winters (Treas.), Sandra Hession, Stephen Thibeau,, Kat Wright (*Members of the Board)


Meeting called to order 7:05 p.m. 9 Board members present; Board members not present: *Keith Bozeman, *Jeri Gardiner, *Chip Gorra, *Arthur Jones, *Donna Jordan


Guests: Tony Taylor, applicant for beer & wine package store license, 487 St. James Ave.



  •  CDBG special 5-year grants does not, as previously thought, include MNC normal operating CDBG grant; it is for special larger, long-term projects; to be discussed in second half of this meeting; A SPECIAL MEETING MAY BE CALLED TO VOTE ON WHAT PROJECT TO APPLY FOR (Board vote is needed to make the grant application)
  •  GAH has not yet been able to set up a meeting with our City Development liaison, Ed Whitley to discuss CDBG special grants, however, noted informational meetings held by the City are scheduled on Feb. 17 and 18.
  •  Noted Historical Commission hearing scheduled for Feb. 18 includes applications for repairs to two houses in McKnight
  •  Tony Taylor is present, owner of Blue Fusion bar, who is applying for a license to sell beer and wine as a package store at 487 St. James Ave.; Mr. Taylor was informed that we cannot take up his request for presentation tonight, and that his establishment is in the Bay Neighborhood although McKnight does have an interest (members living in that area); Planning Board hears application on Feb. 17 at 6 pm, and License Commission on Feb. 25; GAH noted MNC is on record opposing new liquor licenses on St. James Ave.


SECRETARY’S REPORT (Ben Swan Jr.): LS asked for a correction to the minutes of Jan. 12, 2010, which was done; DM moved that the minutes of January 12, 2010, be approved as amended; JL seconded. Motion passed.


TREASURER’S REPORT (Marianne Winters, Treas.): Tabled until MW arrives.


PRESENTATIONS: – None scheduled




• COMMUNICATIONS (Marianne Winters, Chair): (Written report attached)
a. NEWSLETTER: KW reported decision on changes to newsletter publication: Publish quarterly with each issue having a theme (April 15 – Youth and Public Safety; July 15 – Environment and Health; Sept. 15 – Housing and Economic; Dec. 15 – Community and Culture); Every issue to have bulletins, preview, announcements, website info and donations form; no ads will be sold until a person is designated willing and able to take on the responsibility.
b. WEBSITE: MW arrived to explain changes to make website easier to update (via blog platforms) for Council matters, public safety, youth council, rail trail (already in place), Mason Square Library, and housing.


TREASURER’S REPORT (Marianne Winters, Treas.): MW now present, this report was taken up:
1. MW presented changes to original FY10 budget, MW moved to amend the budget to reflect those changes; LS seconded. Motion passed.
2. MW moved to accept the Accountant’s Compilation for FY 09; LS seconded. Motion passed.


REPORTS (continued):


FINANCE AND FUNDRAISING (Marianne Winters, Chair): Has not met.


YOUTH COUNCIL (Jesse Lederman, Chair): JL reported MNYC has met twice:
a. Biomass: Public health study being conducted; possible lawsuit by biomass plant contractor against MA DEP and Arise.
b. Public safety day-long event to be held Sat., May 15 or Sat., May 22; Planning meeting scheduled March 27; Looking to book 8 hour-long workshops with various organizations, have agreement from 3 so far.
c. Concern re impact of police brutality issues on anti-violence work of MNYC


• PUBLIC SAFETY (Walter Kroll, Chair): WK reported receipt of email from Paul Foster about City starting a CityStat program in McKnight, need to identify a street, will hold presentation meeting for neighborhood (about 2 hours); question whether it should be at regular or special MNC meeting (not resolved at this point); WK will ask Paul F about structure and format; Suggested streets to be studied – Catherine or Bay.


• HOUSING (Denise Moccia, Chair): (Written report attached) DM reported
a. Two of the 3 houses DM’s crew cleaned up last spring have now been (bank) auctioned; kudos to clean-up crew
b. Last city tax title auction had in McKnight only lots for sale, went for very little cash, could have been community gardens; Suggests council develop a plan to buy empty lots; bidders need $5,000 available to attend city auctions
c. Houses in foreclosure, banks not keeping properties up, DM is monitoring them, some are not livable; such properties can be reported for code violations
d. Contacted Darryl Moss re garage at 380 Bay Street; no word yet; ST reported owner has sued City over permits
e. DM has asked Bob McCarroll of Springfield Preservation Trust if MNC can have CDBG money set aside to fix and sell 74 Yale, in partnership with SPT.
f. All stained glass windows from 188 Florida St. house have been removed (stolen?), including very large front window.

• MASON SQUARE LIBRARY / MSLAC (Liz Stevens, Chair): Library Department and City Architect met to determine time frame, Urban League to be out May 2010, MSL reopen in Nov. 2010; LS and KW receive weekly updates from Library Dept; relocation specialist was able to meet with UL only once in 4 month grace period between 9/18/02 and 1/18/10 (date UL should have vacated the building); LS has written to Rep. Neal to use his influence with HT; LS asks MNC reach out to people who have influence to use it; MSL will be subject of ‘Hello, Springfield’ program (Tony Anthony to interview MA Rep. Swan and Ida Flynn (past President, Springfield NAACP), LS and KW (Date tba)
• McKNIGHT TRAIL / RMJ PLAYGROUND (Liz Stevens): Planning group of about 10-12 met on Feb. 3, looking for more participants who live in the neighborhood and want to be part of making the trail happen; LS proposed MNC invite people from East Longmeadow, working on the trail there, to come to an MNC meeting for consultation (they are ahead of us in the process).


COUNCIL PRIORITIES based on 2008 Revitalization Plan and 2009 Strategic Plan, to submit for grant funding (HUD / CDBG special 5-year grants):

President GAH distributed RFP applications; reported City of Springfield will receive $4million overall; non-profit and for-profit organizations can apply for more than one grant each; list of project ideas was formulated and top 6 were selected (see below); City is offering two workshops for applicants, which MNC board members who want to write up the applications can attend (Tues., Feb. 16, and Thurs., Feb. 18); MW noted they are usually looking for budget detail in the first year only; MNC board must vote on project applications; Projects suggested are, by priority:

1. Housing rehabilitation – 74 Yale Street, top choice.
2. Organizational development – Need staffing in place to do whatever MNC takes on, an executive director, or volunteer coordinator, for example; should incorporate administrative costs with any proposal; would qualify under the Public Service area of the proposal; paid staff could leverage obtaining VISTA or other volunteers.
3. Community center – acquiring and rehabilitation thereof.
4. Rail Trail – Funds to do necessary tasks (e.g. a survey) not covered by current funding.
5. Land trust – Funds to buy and hold land for future private ownership or community use.
6. Historic street lighting – Each light fixture costs $10,000 to buy and install, according to Al Chwalek of DPW; suggested lights along St. James Ave. (about 50 lights), or to light triangle parks, Magazine Park, and terraces (e.g. Dartmouth Terr., where current lights shine above the tree canopy leaving the streetscape dark) (about 20 lights).
Other suggestions (in no particular order):
7. Pocket park – convert lot at Bay and Dartmouth (Mason lot).
8. Basketball monument in Mason Square
9. Community gardens on various empty lots in McKnight
WK moved to adjourn; DM seconded. Motion passed.
9:05 pm – Adjournment.





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