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Minutes March 9, 2010

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Approved April 13, 2010

McKnight Neighborhood Council
Board Meeting: March 9, 2010
PRESENT: *Gregory A Hession (Pres.), *Katie Foster, *Donna Jordan, *Ed Kelly, *Walter Kroll (VicePres.), *Jesse Lederman, *Ceil Lewonchuk, *Denise Moccia, *Liz Stevens, *Ben Swan Jr. (Clerk/Secy.), *Marianne Winters (Treas.),Stacey Drew, Sandra Hession, Elizabeth Lederman, Demetrios Panteleakis, Kat Wright (*Members of the Board)
Meeting called to order 7:05 p.m. 11 Board members present; Board members not present: *Keith Bozeman, *Jeri Gardiner, *Chip Gorra, *Arthur Jones
Guests: Demetrios Panteleakis, Re: 52 Westminster St.
 Special CDBG grants – 2 applications were submitted: (1) To rehab 74 Yale St ($195,000), and (2) To increase organizational capacity ($58,687); Decision date is unknown, but is expected before start of next fiscal year, July 1, 2010.
 501(c)3 Status – Several inquiries were made; there is no answer as yet, status not yet secured.
 Mason Square Health Task Force – Liz attended meeting; deadline for grant application for FY11 has not yet been set.
 McKnight Community Center – Discussed by Executive Committee at March 1 meeting; consensus was not to take an historic home out of our housing stock, and to look for a more commercial property through process of intense evaluative effort over time; winning the organizational grant would allow hiring a project manager to oversee site selection process.
 Minutes of regular board meeting of February 9, 2010, and special meeting of February 24, 2010: WK moved to approve both as written; LS seconded. Motion passed.
 Period street lights at triangles, terrace and magazine parks: BS will ask Rep. Swan if there might be state or federal funds available; noted that the city estimate was $10,000 per light, including installation.
TREASURER’S REPORT (Marianne Winters, Treas.): MW presented monthly financial report
 Made note of need for board to vote on budget changes before end of this fiscal year,
 Noted rail trail committee decided to use the money set aside for stipends to instead pay a person (to be named) to focus on the fund-raising part of the project.
 If the two grants are awarded, the nature of this organization will change, with staffing; praised work of board members to write good grant proposals
 JL moved to accept the report; LS seconded. Motion passed.
PRESENTATIONS: – Demetrios Panteleakis : Comes before MNC to request a letter of support for his bid to renovate 52 Westminster Street as a single family home in accordance with Historic District guidelines; This in response to City of Springfield RFP that includes $100,000 grant for exterior rehabilitation of the house.
a. Mr. Panteleakis is a McKnight Neighborhood resident, at 126 Clarendon St. Professionally, he is a property development expert and attorney; His plan is to rehabilitate the property to its original profile on an 18-month schedule, and hold it until the market improves to the point where it will reach its true value (possibly up to 5 years); Plans to use as many local craftsmen and workers as possible; He has already done one home renovation on Westminster St.
b. Deed to single owner comes with a lien: the $100,000 grant from federal funds is to be forgiven 50% at time Certificate of Occupancy is granted; then at $25,000 per year; if buyer reneges, lien goes back and DP is still liable. DP noted other bids are for conversion to multi-family or condo.
c. DM noted although 70% of homes in McKnight are single family, only 40% are owner occupied; MNC needs to advocate for increasing the number of single family, owner-occupied homes.
d. MW moved the MNC write a letter of support to Mr. Panteleakis for his renovation plan as a single family home, noting he lives in the neighborhood, has a track record, will hold property for 5 years if necessary, has shared interest in stabilizing the neighborhood; LS seconded. Motion passed. GAH will write letter addressed to Maria Lopez-Santiago, Chief Procurement Officer, City of Springfield.
HUD / CDBG Special 5-year grants: Two grant applications were submitted to the City on March 1, 2010; required attachments included 4 policies approved by the MNC Board of Directors; such policies were submitted by executive committee and now need to be ratified by the full board; Pres. GAH read the policies one at a time; They are:
1. Fair housing: (See APPENDIX A) BS moved to approve; LS seconded. Discussion: JL offered a friendly amendment to add ‘sexual orientation’ to non-discrimination list, amendment accepted by BS. Motion passed.
2. Drug-free workplace: (See APPENDIX B) BS moved to approve; DM seconded. Motion passed.
3. Non-discrimination and non-harassment: (See APPENDIX C) LS moved to approve; MS seconded. Motion passed.
4. Equal employment opportunity: (See APPENDIX D) LS moved to approve; DM seconded. Motion passed.
2010 ANNUAL MEETING & ELECTION PLAN: KW reviewed schedule requirements (per MNC by-laws) for setting both events, and for appointing an Election Commission and a Nominating Committee.
1. Annual Meeting and Election Day: DM moved that Tuesday, May 11, 2010, regular MNC meeting date and time, be designated MNC Annual Meeting, and that Saturday, June 19, 2010, be designated MNC Election Day, in conjunction with MNC Neighborhood Block Party at Thompson Triangle Park; LS seconded. Motion passed.
2. Election Commission & Nominating Committee: Pres. GAH asked that members submit to him by email suggested names for appointment. Both bodies will be announced at next regular meeting; Chair of Election Commission must be elected by the Board of Directors.
WMECo property on Bowles at Bay Street: There are 2 or 3 empty lots, plus the paved lot on the corner, where WMECo still has a utility box; WMECo has in the past indicated they would be willing to discuss a potential use for the whole property; WMECo might donate and MNC might acquire, or facilitate ownership; Suggestions include a bus stop, sitting park, and community garden; KF will contact garden people and can have a soil test done; MNC will ask WMECo to at least remove their equipment; BS will contact WMECo and will report back.
380 Bay Street, status: DM reported this former car repair garage is still stuck in land court, has environmental issues (ground contamination) in front and behind building, soil will have to be tested, shacks in back need to be removed; MNC needs to know City’s plans for this property; possible conversion to a community farmers’ market (with shared parking worked out with Mt. Zion Church, which has 2 large lots adjacent).
Rail Trail project, painting gas tanks: Tabled.
YOUTH COUNCIL (Jesse Lederman, Chair): JL reported
a. MNYC went door-knocking with a petition to oppose the City’s granting a package store license at 487 St. James Ave. (Blue Fusion site); WK reported he and JL attended meeting of Planning Board where application was heard, noted the site is not in McKnight Neighborhood but is proximate (in Bay Neighborhood), and that Planning Board had not received the MNC letter asking them to deny the license; GAH will hand carry the same letter to the License Commission for their meeting on the same application on Thursday, March 11.
b. MNYC wants to launch a ‘raise the flag’ initiative, designing and selling a McKnight Neighborhood “violence free” flag
c. Met with City Councilor Melvin Edwards, after which decided to scrap the May workshop idea for the time being and instead organize a larger city-wide community- building event in Court Square; scheduled next Friday to discuss with Mayor Sarno; Sat., June 12 is target date.
d. JL is now a member of the Mayor’s anti-violence task force.
COMMUNICATIONS (Marianne Winters, Chair):
a. NEWSLETTER: Next issue due out April 15, deadline March 19; Theme is combined “Youth” and “Public Safety”
FINANCE AND FUNDRAISING (Marianne Winters, Chair): No report
HOUSING (Denise Moccia, Chair): No report
a. Weekly updates from Library Dept. show that the Urban League has at last acknowledged they are aware they will have to move out in May.
b. LS is talking with staff at MSL about celebrating National Library Week in April (as MSLAC has done annually) with ‘celebrity’ readings inside the branch library.
McKNIGHT TRAIL / RMJ PLAYGROUND (Liz Stevens): The neighborhood trail group has not had a second meeting; trying to organize a walk on East Longmeadow trail and talk with them about how they got their trail established; met with Mayor on land acquisition.
TREE PLANTINGS: (Liz Stevens): Is compiling a list of planting sites for Spring planting, has talked to businesses and Cathedral Apartments on St. James Ave.; has asked Scott Hanson and Ed Whitley if trees can be set back where there is no tree belt; No date for planting has been set; KW will write press release asking for people who want a tree.
PUBLIC SAFETY (Walter Kroll, Chair): (Written report attached)
a. Scheduled meeting with Paul Foster to present CitiStat info on McKnight showing crime & housing hot spots, tentatively April 15, 6:30 pm.
b. Block party scheduled in June at Thompson Triangle; LS moved to hold it on the same Saturday (June 19) as MNC board election, KF seconded. Motion passed.
c. There has been significant increase in break-ins in McKnight (up 100% from last February), including a number of stained glass windows taken from empty houses.
DM moved to adjourn; DJ seconded. Motion passed.
9:20 pm – Adjournment.
APPENDIX A: McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. Fair Housing Policy
McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. does not discriminate in the sale, lease or rental of any housing which it owns or develops, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, sexual orientation or disability. It is committed to conforming to all Fair Housing Act provisions, as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
APPENDIX B: McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. Drug Free Workplace Policy
It is the purpose of McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. (the Company) to help provide a safe and drug-free work environment for our clients and our employees. With this goal in mind and because of the serious drug abuse problem in today’s workplace, we are establishing the following policy for existing and future employees of McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.:
The Company explicitly prohibits:
• The use, possession, solicitation for, or sale of narcotics or other illegal drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication without a prescription on Company or customer premises while performing an assignment.
• Being impaired or under the influence of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol away from the Company or customer premises, if such impairment or influence adversely affects the employee’s work performance, the safety of the employee or of others, or puts at risk the Company’s reputation.
• Possession, use, solicitation for, or sale of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol away from the Company or customer premises, if such activity or involvement adversely affects the employee’s work performance, the safety of the employee or of others, or puts at risk the Company’s reputation.
APPENDIX C: McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy
McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. is committed to a work environment free from all forms of discrimination and unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment. This policy applies to the working relationships between McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. employees and applicants, contractors, customers, vendors, and others with whom contact is necessary to perform company business.
APPENDIX D: McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. Equal Employment Policy
It is the policy of McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. to maintain a work environment free from discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, transgender, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other legally protected category with regard to any term or condition of employment. More specifically, it is the policy of McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. to make all employment decisions solely on the basis of an individual’s merit, qualifications and abilities, and without regard to an individual’s personal traits. This policy applies to all aspects of employment, including hiring, training, performance reviews, promotions, discipline and termination.
This policy also applies to all work-related settings and activities, whether inside or outside the workplace and includes customer sites, business trips and business-related social events. McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. property may not be used to engage in conduct, which violates this policy. McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.’s policy covers employees and other individuals who have a relationship with the company (including outside contractors, vendors, etc.)
 NEXT MNC MEETING: April 13, 2010; 7 – 9 pm; REBECCA JOHNSON SCHOOL (music room), 55 Catherine St.; Submitted by Kathryn A. Wright, Administrative Staff, 3/25/2010


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