McKnight Neighborhood Council
Board Meeting: April 13, 2010
PRESENT: *Gregory A Hession (Pres.), *Walter Kroll (VicePres.), *Jesse Lederman, *Ceil Lewonchuk, *Denise Moccia, *Liz Stevens, *Ben Swan Jr. (Clerk/Secy.), *Marianne Winters (Treas.), Sandra Hession, Elizabeth Lederman, Kat Wright (*Members of the Board)
Meeting called to order 7:05 p.m. 8 Board members present; Board members not present: *Katie Foster, *Jeri Gardiner, *Chip Gorra, *Arthur Jones, *Donna Jordan, *Ed Kelly [Board member Keith Bozeman has moved out of the district & resigned.]
Guests: John Judge, Springfield Development Director; Darryl Moss, Mayoral Aide; Melvin Edwards, City Councilor Ward 3 and President of Keep Springfield Beautiful
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Pres. GAH reported
501(c)3 Status – Had telephone conversation today with IRS representative who said MNC’s 501(c)3 status has been reinstated, as of November 2009; MNC still requires a letter of confirmation and a certificate of the status in order to move ahead with fundraising and grant applications.
Proposed City Ordinance – Has written a draft, to be discussed later in the meeting.
52 Westminster Street proposal – Letter of support for Mr. Panteleakis’s project has been sent to him for inclusion in his application to the City.
SECRETARY’S REPORT (Ben Swan Jr.):
Minutes of regular board meeting of March 9, 2010: LS moved to approve; DM seconded. Motion passed.
TREASURER’S REPORT (Marianne Winters, Treas.):
Monthly report: No adjustments proposed today but will be proposed before end of FY10; last amendment was done in February 2010 and changes approved by Ed Whitley of Neighborhood Services; money is available to the end of FY10 for two newsletters, and both the June 12 and June 19 events; Weed & Seed revenue shows more received than initially stated, earmarked for Mason Square Coalition information magnets. Date in title line corrected from 2000 to 2009. LS moved to accept the report with corrections to date and W&S amount; DM seconded. Motion passed. Report attached.
McKnight Trail grant from Mason Square Health Task Force: Some money has been moved to pay a fundraiser for the Trail Project, Anne Richmond has taken on that role; MSHTF is now figuring out a process to go forward with all their grants, therefore there will be a gap in funding from July 1, 2010, until probably the second quarter, or perhaps not until Jan. 1, 2011; noting that the 7 years worth of money is in place to be dispensed, Treas. MW proposes to ask MSHTF in writing to extend our grant one quarter at a time so that we do not have to interrupt the Trail work and risk losing our consultant.
FY2011 Preliminary Budget for CDBG share and matching funds proposed: MW noted personnel changes to include an Administrator and add a Bookkeeper in order to stabilize the financial functions; has received an estimate from Amy Grabowski (a STCC business incubator graduate) to provide 3 to 5 hours average per month for $280/month; Added matching funds from other sources for Administrator position; noted both are as independent contractors, so no taxes or fringe benefit costs are attached; Reduced number of newsletters supported by CDBG funds to 3; possible fourth newsletter to be paid for from other sources (perhaps W&S). LS moved to accept the CDBG program budget for FY2011 as presented; WK seconded. Discussion: Some MNC items and activities will be built into an overall budget with other funding sources; CL offered council’s thanks to MW for a job well done. Motion passed. FY11 CDBG budget attached.
Scope of Service – MW presented FY2011 program plan based on the FY2010 Scope of Service, the MNC 2009 Strategic Plan and the MNC 2008 Revitalization Plan; Objectives and Activities updated to year two of implementing the plans. WK moved to accept the Scope of Service and submit it to the City with MNC FY11 application for CDBG funding; LS seconded. Motion passed. FY11 Scope of Service attached.
Status of CDBG grant applications to rehabilitate 74 Yale Street, and for MNC organizational development: No word yet. Guest John Judge said they are beginning to notify applicants of decisions in a couple of week.
GUEST: John Judge, Springfield Development Services Director, was introduced and described his department’s responsibilities, activities and projects in the city, and answered questions from board members. (Rough notes attached)
WMECo property on Bowles at Bay Street: BS, WK & Katie Foster met with representatives of WMECo at the site; WMECo shared copy of a report by Fuss & O’Neil who tested the soil, cement and a pipe and found no toxins except asbestos in the pipe; WMECo does not want to own the property, and are ‘waiting for an offer’ – MNC has to take the next step. WMECo is willing help volunteers clear the land. ME, of KSB, will look into it.
KEEP SPRINGFIELD BEAUTIFUL – MNC has chosen the following streets and lots for cleaning: Catherine Street, Monmouth Street, Bay Street, The Dingle and McKnight Trail from Bay to St. James. Guest Melvin Edwards gave some details of May 1, 2010 event: no dumpsters on site in staging areas (e.g. RMJ School), for gathering only. People bringing trash will be directed to Freeman’s business. There will be a dumpster at Clifford and Bay to collect trash and brush already cleaned from the McKnight Trail. Fundraising events, dinner and 10K race. KSB is working on ways to collect electronics, batteries, pharmaceuticals, mattresses – mostly later in the year.
McKNIGHT TRAIL PROJECT: LS reported on a successful clean-up of the trail from Bay Street to St. James Ave. on Saturday, April 10; Steve Gray came with his bobcat, 9 people worked. Report attached.
MASON SQUARE LIBRARY: KW took opportunity to ask City Councilor Edwards what can be done to get the Urban League to vacate the library building in time so repairs and renovations can be done; process seems to be dragging out, city could be more assertive but instead is now looking at charging “use and occupancy” fees after May 31 – a date by which the Urban League should already have left. CC Edwards backs our position but is frustrated over how the City Council can move the matter forward to the right conclusion.
PROPOSED NEW CITY ORDINANCE: LS explained her proposal that MNC advocate for an ordinance that would require any applicant for license, permit, zoning change or other city approval to prove all taxes are paid, all licenses and permits are in order and current, before such applicant will be allowed to petition before any board or commission of the city, and that neighborhood councils affected have access to the same information. Pres. GAH presented a first draft of such an ordinance; asked for ideas to improve the draft, offering an additional clause saying the Planning Board shall not approve any application not accompanied by complete information; MW asked if we could not use such an ordinance to increase neighborhood councils’ say, in that the Planning Board has to provide an explanation of its decision if it is different from the neighborhood council’s recommendation. Draft ordinance is attached; GAH tabled further discussion, asked that ideas be emailed to him.
REPORTS: All reports were tabled, considering the lateness of the hour. Housing committee report attached. Flyer for MNYC June 12 rally attached.
9:30 pm – GAH adjourned meeting
APPROVED MAY 11, 2010