McKnight Neighborhood Council
Board Meeting: July 13, 2010
Called to order 6:10 p.m.
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.), Tony Anthony, Frank Buntin, Jr., Stacey Drew, Sandra Hession, E. Henry Twiggs (City Councilor, Ward 4), Karen Twiggs, Tricia Walsh, Kat Wright (*Members of the Board)
Meeting called to order 7:05 p.m. 11 Board members present; Board members not present: *Jeri Gardiner, *Chip Gorra, *Arthur Jones,
Guests: Urban Green Project: Megan Plante, Eric Kells, UMass; Michael Tully, Springfield Parks Dept.; Rich Veer, Bev Veer.
Basketball First Game Monument: Aaron Williams, John Doleva, CEO Basketball Hall of Fame. Petitioners re 118 Albany St: Wassim Elkadri, Omar Elkadri, Joe Martini.
Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept., Sgt. James Brown.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Pres. GAH reported
Noted letter of resignation from K.Wright, effective Sept. 30, 2010
Report of election taken June 19, 2010, is included in the agenda packet; Slate of Officers submitted by the Nominating Committee is also included in the agenda packet
Moved installation of new board members and hearing guests up on agenda.
INSTALLATION OF BOARD MEMBERS elected June 19, 2010: The following were installed and took their places on the board: Frank Buntin, Gregory A. Hession, Walter Kroll and Elizabeth Stevens. Installation conducted by Board member Katie Foster.
PRESENTATION: Urban Green Project, natural resources survey of urban trees being conducted by UMass, Springfield Parks & Arbor Allies. After slide presentation advocating for urban trees, presenters asked for neighborhood residents to participate by plugging in potential tree-planting location information to a GoogleMap site; Will hold a mapping workshop July 28 at RMJ school library; Also working on website and will share information, instructions, etc.
PRESENTATION: Basketball First Game monument update, Aaron Williams stressed his goal to create economic stream for the Mason Square neighborhoods and the city of Springfield. Plans for events on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010 – Nike is sponsoring the whole thing, and is in control of all the arrangements; Nike will ‘wrap’ the old firehouse, handle security, publicity, etc. as a preliminary to their “World Basketball Festival” in New York City later this summer. Mike Tully showed design & placement of the main monument at State & Hawley, and of smaller related monument across State at Sherman streets. John Doleva laid out the configuration of full-size courts, 3-on-3 courts, food & beverage area, special activities, and schedule for Aug. 8. TA asked about an annual event, asked for sharing of contact information for donors and vendors; JD said Nike might fund similar, smaller event for up to 3 years, is willing to share information. BS asked about abutting businesses, JD said Nike will control all food and beverages; negotiating with city and MassMutual for parking. AW noted there might be a need for volunteers to serve water.
INSTALLATION OF BOARD MEMBERS elected June 19, 2010: The following were installed and took their places on the board: Tony Anthony, Ben Swan Jr., Installation conducted by Katie Foster.
PRESENTATION: Used car sales & service at 118 Armory St.: Petitioner Wassim Elkadri asked MNC for a letter of support to be sent to City Council on his petition on two special permits – (1) to transfer ownership and operation of a used car sales and service business, and (2) on his petition to operate a motor vehicle service station (automotive repairs) at that location. It is noted the location is just outside the border of McKnight Neighborhood in Metro Central. Wassim Elkadri is a recent UMass graduate in mechanical engineering; his brother Omar Elkadri is a master mechanic; they live on Nottingham St. Location now has a 15-car permit for used car sales, can have up to 25 cars in the lot. Hours would be 9-6 Mon-Fri, 9-4 Sat. Plan no expansion. Will not offer towing, but will provide road service in neighborhood. Standard used oil collection in barrel that is removed by a service. Anticipates no problem with traffic. The City approved the layout plan submitted; City Council tabled application to give neighborhood council chance to review.
LS moved to support the business at 118 Armory Street and for the President to write a letter to City Council in support of both counts (both applications); JL seconded. Discussion: Question raised and debated on whether to vote on this petition today or to table it until MNC can review the plan, check on whether taxes are paid up, and whether there are any code violations. City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, present, explained the City Council places restrictions via special permits on how someone operates his business, not on the state of the building. City Council tabled this application to give the neighborhood council a chance to review. LS amended her motion to add, “contingent on obtaining information by Friday, July 16, 2010, that taxes are paid to date and that there are no code violations.” After much discussion among the board, LS called the question: Motion carried: Aye 12 votes; Nay 0 votes; Abstention 1 vote.
SECRETARY’S REPORT (Ben Swan Jr., Kat Wright, staff): Minutes of Board Meeting, June 8, 2010: JL moved to accept; TA seconded. Motion passed.
TREASURER’S REPORT (Marianne Winters, Treas.): No report this time. (See Finance & Fund Raising)
ELECTION OF OFFICERS: KF submitted Nominating Committee recommended Slate of Officers; there were no nominations from the floor. The 13 Board members present voted the following offices: President Walter J. Kroll; Vice President Tony Anthony; Secretary/Clerk Elizabeth Stevens; Treasurer Marianne Winters; Assistant Secretary/Clerk Ben Swan Jr.; Assistant Treasurer Gregory A. Hession.
MASON SQUARE LIBRARY (Liz Stevens, Chair): Springfield Urban League has announced they will leave 765 State Street on September 30, 2010, but are still negotiating the amount of the use and occupancy fee the City is charging. The Library Department is on schedule to re-open on November 1, 2010
RAIL TRAIL/ RMJ PLAYGROUND (Liz Stevens, Chair): LS led a group from Forest Park on a trail walk last week; is planning another walk next Saturday; Anne Richmond has reported on some excellent possible funding possibilities (to be announced later).
FINANCE & FUND RAISING (Marianne Winters, Treas.): This committee will meet and look again at the FY11 budget and restructure as necessary. MW noted that MNC finally received a letter from the IRS confirming MNC’s 501(c)3 non-profit status, which means we can now apply for grants and receive donations tax-free, and donors can claim a tax deduction.
YOUTH COUNCIL (Jesse Lederman, Chair): JL reported MNYC decided to develop a website on the history of McKnight neighborhood, hold a 1-year anniversary block party in August for young people, continue organizing against a biomass plant, and co-sponsor with MNC a debate of candidates for District Attorney.
HOUSING/ CODE (Denise Moccia, Chair): DM reported hearing a “general dissatisfaction” in the neighborhood that there are too many renters and “disappointment” that McKnight has not received historic style street lights.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs announced he is holding a public meeting to hear Ward 4 questions and concerns, 4 pm, Wednesday, July 22, 2010, at Highland House community room, 250 Oak Grove Ave.
Mr. Twiggs also asked that MNC consider using the SciTech jazz band for a fund raiser, and that he would be willing to co-sponsor such an event.
OLD BUSINESS: Authorization to sign contracts for MNC – GAH moved that Walter J. Kroll, President, be the authorized agent for McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc. to sign any contract, including the contract with the City of Springfield for CDBG funding; BS seconded. Motion passed.
8:05 pm – GAH moved to adjourn meeting; KF seconded. Motion passed.