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AGENDA & MINUTES January 11, 2011

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AGENDA

6:00 – 6:15 pm:  OPEN MEETING, WELCOME
o   Introduction, Board of Directors
o   Audience Introductions
6:15 – 6:45 pm:  GUESTS
o   Ed Whitley, Deputy Director of Neighborhood Services for the City of Springfield, speaking on the Mayor’s Strategic Plan.
6:45 – 7:00 pm:   OFFICER’S REPORTS   
o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)
o    VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Tony Anthony)
o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens & Elizabeth Lederman, admin staff)
§  Minutes of December 14, 2010 meeting
o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Marianne Winters):
§  Monthly financial report
7:00 – 7:30 pm:  NEW BUSINESS — Open to the floor
7:30 – 8:00 pm:  COMMITTEE REPORTS – Any committee updates (5 minutes each)
o    Youth (Jesse Lederman)
o    Public Safety (Walter Kroll)
o    Housing/Code (vacant chair)
o    Communications (Marianne Winters)
o    Finance & Fund Raising (Marianne Winters)
o    Good Neighbor (Ceil Lewonchuk)
o     
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS:
o    Mason Square Library (Liz Stevens)
o    Rail trail/RJS playground (Liz Stevens)
o    Health & Green Space (Katie Foster)
  
8:00 pm – Close Meeting

MINUTES

McKnight Neighborhood Council Minutes

Board Meeting: January 11, 2011

Meeting Called to order 6:10 p.m.:   (WK verified quorum present)
Board Members Present (8):  Walter Kroll (Pres.), Tony Anthony (VicePres.), Liz Stevens, (Clerk/Secy.), Marianne Winters (Treas.),(arrived later during meeting); Ben Swan, Jr, (Asst Clerk/Secy.),  Gregory A Hession, (Asst. Treas.),  Ceil Lewonchuk, Denise Moccia, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.
Board Members Not Present (7):  Frank Buntin, Katie Foster, Chip Gorra, Arthur Jones, Donna Jordan, Ed Kelly, Jesse Lederman
Neighborhood Members Attending:  Kat Wright, Lisa Gaudreau, Jim Boone, Ed Whitley
Guests:  Charlie (Jose) Ramos, Delania Barbee
Welcome by WK; board member introductions; audience introductions.
GUEST PRESENTATIONS
Ed Whitley, Deputy Director of Neighborhood Services for the City of Springfield, spoke on the Mayor’s Strategic Plan.  Copies of the DRAFT document were distributed to the board and the audience.  Mr. Whitley explained that it was a four-year plan targeting five priorities for developing and sustaining a vibrant community:  public safety, education, economic vitality, healthy neighborhoods, and fiscal and operational excellence.
Mr. Whitley answered questions about how the plan was developed and who had input into the process.  He explained that input from the public was being accepted until January 19, and that the plan was available on the City website for review and comment; and that feedback could also be submitted to him directly.
Delania Barbee, Community Engagement Coordinator for Access Springfield Promise Program, shared information on the purpose and goals of the Access Program which assists high school students in finding money for college.  A free service available to both traditional and non-traditional students, the program offers on site advising to students, assists in locating potential funds, and provides hands on assistance in filling out forms.
Ms. Barbee answered questions about the program’s outreach and networking efforts, and expressed a desire to work with the Youth Council.  The possibilities were discussed of offering a workshop at the Mason Square Library when it reopens and adding a link to the MNC website.
 
OFFICER’S REPORTS
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
o   WK observed that the Council as a whole is developing bandwidth and growing—the mark of which is that work is getting done even when people are not here.  Goals in the coming year include leveraging the website to greater effect; strengthening the Neighborhood Watch; stabilizing the newsletter; and encouraging people to contribute what they can in an atmosphere of friendly cooperation.  WK stressed the importance of staying consistent and building upon the previous work as MNC moves forward.
VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Tony Anthony)
                        Nothing new to report.
SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens, Elizabeth Lederman, staff)
                        Minutes of Board Meeting, December December 14, 2010, submitted for acceptance.
MOTION: (TA moved) to accept as presented; (GH seconded ); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
 TREASURER’S REPORT: (Marianne Winters)
                        (MW absent at time of report, Gregory Hession, Asst. Treasurer, reporting.)  GH presented financial report for December 1-31, 2010, and presented a recommendation for a budget amendment based a reassessment of income and expenses (see attached reports).  Cited increase in budget costs, re: audit expense; decrease in newsletter and supply expenses; and the end of Weed and Seed grant funds. BS thought Weed and Seed grant funds might still be forthcoming but had to be invoiced to receive; MW to be consulted.  Agreement to wait on voting on budget amendment until more board members are in attendance, and also because MW is absent.
       MOTION:  (BS moved) to accept financial report as delivered; (TA seconded); (WK called the            
       question);  Motion carried unanimously.
NEW BUSINESS
                        Kat Wright cited a potential public safety issue—a large commercial truck on Thompson Street unloading items to a smaller truck.  Called 311 and non-emergency police number reporting this suspicious activity.  Vehicles left before police arrived.  WK recommended calling the owner of the trucks if they are identifiable should a similar situation occur.
COMMITTEE REPORTS
GOOD NEIGHBOR—Special Report on House Plaque Project (Jim Boone, reporting)
                        JB gave some background on historical house plaques in the City which mark the year the house was built—explaining that a few houses in McKnight have bronze plaques from many years ago, but that these are very expensive.  Forest Park residents had tried using wooden plaques, but these do not last; and were currently using a composite material that lasted and was attractive.  JB recommended using the Forest Park design, since it provided consistency throughout the city, and would most easily be approved by the Historical Commission.
                        JB delineated costs for the plaques from the supplier currently used by Forest Park—Design Workshop in Indian Orchard.  Plaques can be produced at $20 each overall, but need to be purchased and base painted at a bulk cost of $600 plus paint cost.  Discussion took place around color choice, paint quality, how much to charge, and how to finance the initial order.  JB offered to front the initial cost to be repaid.  WK volunteered to donate $600 to MNC to get the project started.  Details for design, ordering, pricing, and distributing referred to committee.  (See attached report.)
PUBLIC SAFETY: (Walter Kroll, Chair)
o   WK reported that because of the cold, not so much external crime occurring, but that violent crime was also down in Sector F from last year.  GH questioned why—BS observed that Weed and Seed funds had financed extra duty pay, and WK observed that the Watch had also contributed to the decline.  Officer Charlie Ramos said the Text-a-Tip had also made a big difference but that people needed to be vigilant about reporting petty crimes.
o   WK reported that the Watch was now having leadership meetings two weeks prior to the public Watch meeting and would be strengthening and expanding its outreach by email to communicate with as many residents as possible. (See attached report.)
HOUSING/ CODE: (Vacant  Chair)
                        (Ceil Lewonchuk, reporting on Historical Commission Hearing.)  CL reported that the steel Quonset hut garage erected at 90 Clarendon Street had been declared unacceptable.  Owner must either remove it, or build an acceptable style shell around the structure.  Also discussed that the previously granted temporary waiver for front yard fence had expired on same property.  Owner to appear before Commission in February with proposed remedies.  If owner fails to appear, legal remedies will be immediately pursued with City.  Garage at 52 Westminster Street approved by Commission with addition of windows.  Original front door removed from 160 Buckingham Street to be reinstalled with new hardware by owner.
                        GH reported that the housing court had ordered that 69 Bowdoin Street be demolished because of safety issues.  Owner does not have money to save the structure.
COMMUNICATIONS/FUNDRAISING: (Marianne Winters, Chair)
                        MW reported on the January 5 meeting of the Communications Committee.  Will hire independent contractor to produce newsletter.  Residents can still contribute articles and board will have sign-off on final product.  Budget constraints may mean only producing two newsletters this year.  BS observed again that he believes Weed and Seed funds may still be available, and if so then three newsletters can be produced.
                        Will be cleaning up features on MNC website and bringing it current.  Plans to schedule spring drive with post card campaign and banners at Thompson Square to promote web site.  Will be using website and newsletter to expand marketing.
GOOD NEIGHBOR (Ceil Lewonchuk, Chair)
                        CL requested a better map of the neighborhood which WK said he would provide.  CL reports that she is investigating which stores may be willing to contribute coupons for welcome baskets for new residents, and made an appeal for other ideas from board members.
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
MASON SQUARE LIBRARY: (Liz Stevens, Chair)
                        Soft reopening of library now scheduled for end of February.  Grand opening in April to coincide with National Library Week. 
RAIL TRAIL/ RJS PLAYGROUND: (Liz Stevens, Chair)
                        LS reported that MNC had not been selected to receive the Mason Square Health Task Force Grant, and read letter of rejection.  Observed in the positive that the Rail Trail proposal was a strong one, and laid the basis for seeking other funding avenues.  LS currently investigating a grant program at United Bank; and that the fundraising committee will be continuing with grant searches.
                        LS also reported that EK had contacted Congressman Richard Neal to assist in acquiring Rail Trail funds, as he has already done successful fundraising for the rail trail in East Longmeadow.
HEALTH & GREEN SPACE (Katie Foster, Chair)
                        (Liz Stevens reporting on CDBG grant for trees.)  LS gave update on trees planted in 2009 and 2010 in the neighborhood. (See attached report.)
                        (Liz Stevens reporting on CARE planning grant from the EPA.)  LS attending initial steering committee meeting in response to invitation received from Springfield Partners for a Healthier Community and the Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition.  LS reports that this is a gateway grant to identify sources of toxicity in Springfield and to set priorities for addressing them.  MNC has opportunity to be part of the design team—project may lead to more grant money to actually clean up identified problems.  Two-year grant plan requires commitment to monthly meeting.  Lisa Gaudreau and Denise Moccia both expressed interest.
MEETING RE-OPENED TO NEW BUSINESS
Suggestion by MW (now present at the board meeting) to go forward with budget amendment motion so it can be acted upon during the coming month if approved.
MOTION:  (BS moved) to adopt budget amendment as proposed.  (MW seconded); (WK called the            
       question);  Motion carried unanimously.
8:00 pm ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (BS moved) to adjourn; (TA seconded); motion carried.
NEXT MNC MEETING:                    Tuesday, February 8, 2011
REBECCA JOHNSON SCHOOL, 55 Catherine Street
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Submitted by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 02/08/2011.

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