Board Members Not Present (6): Frank Buntin, Katie Foster, Chip Gorra, Arthur Jones, Donna Jordan, Ed Kelly
Neighborhood Members Attending:Mary Kirby, E. Henry Twiggs, Karen Twiggs, Cathy Paquin, Kathryn Wright, W Clark, Stephen Thibeau, Deborah Albury, Steven Gray
Guests: Allan Chwalek, Spfld DPW, Charlie Ramos
Welcome by WK; board member introductions; audience introductions.
WK presented Ben Swan, Jr with a memorial clock in honor of his long term service to the neighborhood, serving in the past as MNC president, and presently acting as assistant treasurer and serving as neighborhood liaison to the Police Beat team.
oWard 4 Springfield City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, introduced Al Chwalek, Director of the Springfield DPW.Council Twiggs explained that they had been working together on DPW related issuesthat will help to improve safety in the McKnight neighborhood. Director Chwalek went over a list of suggestions that had been submitted by residents and outlined the actions to be taken.
·Pat Sullivan in the Parks Department has been sent the items involving lighting issues and mowing in triangle park areas; also requests for historical lighting around the parks, and for ornamental trash receptacle surrounds.
·Items submitted to the Traffic Commission:requests for stop signs on Buckingham and Sherman as they intersect Clarendon Street;more speed limit signs on St James Avenue;request for “Slow, Children” signs around the parks; and crosswalk markings.
·Discussion of traffic light at St James & Dartmouth;one of the oldest stop lights in the city which residents want to keep; request made to paint it because it is rusty.Also discussion of the need for “No Right on Red” signage.
·Street maintenance and traffic line repainting:Repainting of traffic line markings to begin in July.Pothole repairs ongoing with average 3 day turnaround; call 311 to report.
·Street light outage, report to 311; WMECO responsible for changing; 3-4 day turnaround time
·Rusted street light poles; DPW will look into repainting.
·Discussion of traffic snarls around State Street, Bay, and Magazine intersection; also on Bay and Catherine intersection; will pass on to traffic commission to look into.
·Question of how to advocate for historical lighting in entire McKnight neighborhood; question to be directed to community development department.
oDeb Albury presented information on the new Fit Plus program that she will be offering to neighborhood youth.Program is developed with grant funds from Partners for a Healthier Springfield, and directed to McKnight youth as well as those children who regularly play at Magazine Park who are ages 10-17.Deb outlined the program the goal of which is to engage kids in 60 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days per week.One ongoing activity will involve developing a “Ten Thousand Steps” walking route from the Primus Mason lot to Thompson Triangle and then Magazine Park.Other program components will include 6 six one-hour activity sessions at Magazine Park.Some youth will be compensated with stipends from the grant for their work in the program.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Marianne Winters)
oMW presented the budget for the period March 1-31, 2011, along with proposed budget amendments which included:
·Fit Plus grant monies in the amount of $2000, with $1800 going to program expenses as per FIT Plus budget; and $200 to MNC for grant administration
·Donation to provide start up costs forhouse plaque program
·Audit costs of $1500
·Proposed monthly bookkeeping expense of $435 (for 4/1 to 6/30 @$35/hr for 4 hrs per month
·MW explained that hiring an outside bookkeeper would provide financial stability and continuity which would make the position of treasurer more viable for a volunteer board member, providing both sustainability and transparency for MNC as an organization
·GH observed this would be a recurring cost @$35/hr for 4 hr monthly, amounting to $1680 annually
·BS asked if this could be done more cheaply
·MW reported that this figure was a quote from accountant Amy Grabowski, who was experienced in doing accounting for non-profits, and was a good candidate for the position
·BS questioned whether this position should be put out to bid and that perhaps a less experienced accountant might charge less
·LS observed that it was crucial to maintain accountability as many grants stipulated that recipient must have yearly outside audits; and that a professional funds handler with credibility was a necessity
·BS allowed that the accountant must be capable, and that he was simply concerned about the cost.
·MW suggested a middle ground of having Grabowski prepare last year’s books, and this year’s books, and handling the final three months of the fiscal year; and deciding what to do for next year—which would give an idea of the actual monthly time required and an opportunity to iron out any glitches.
MOTION:(MW moved) to accept budget amendment as presented.(LS seconded); (WK called for discussion);BS raised a point of order, asking if MNC had ever hired anyone without putting the job out for bid; and whether or not there was a CDBG requirement for such?BS withdrew his objection and offered an amendment to the motion, as follows:subject to the CDBG contract requirement; (WK called the question) motion carried unanimously.
MOTION:(BS moved) to accept treasurer’s monthly report; (JL seconded); (WK called the question); motion carried unanimously.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT:(Walter Kroll)
oReport on plans for Keep Springfield Beautiful Day, Saturday April 30, 8am to 1pm.Rail Trail clean up from Bay Street to the Rebecca Johnson School playground.MW and BS observed need for Rev Green (whose church owns part of the property) to be present or to provide a note of permission to cover liability.LS will handle; also flyering neighbors on Dawes Street to invite them to join in the clean up.
oSpirit of Springfield parade plans for Saturday, May 14.MNC will be participating with several vintage cars.Youth Council will be marching in the parade.
oBlock party scheduled for Saturday June 18.Plans for event and annual election continue.
VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (vacant)
°WK asked for interested board members to volunteer for vacant vice president’s position.
SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens, Elizabeth Lederman, staff)
oMinutes of Board Meeting, March 08, 2011, submitted for acceptance. LS called for corrections or additions.None offered.
MOTION: (BS moved) to accept as presented; (GH seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question);6 yea; 2 abstentions by members absent at last meeting; motion carried.
NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor
°SG raised the problem of the scheduled demolition of fire-damaged 69 Bowdoin Street.SG would like to save property and has materials to do so, but no cash.Says current owner is willing to transfer deed to him.Discussion around what it would take to save property.DM observed that city wants a concrete plan and GH observed that the city has issued an order of demolition.WK observed that MNC is on record as not being interested, but we could call the city and request a cease and desist.
MOTION:(BS moved) to request the city to postpone demolition; (LS seconded); (WK call for discussion);DM observed that the city will want money set aside and insurance; (WK called the question): 7 yea, 1 abstention; motion carried.
°BS reported that Weed & Seed had contributed a supply of energy saving light bulbs which MNC can give out at the June block party.
°JL proposed the idea that MNC consider the idea of having future MNC meetings in the community room of the newly reopened Mason Square Library.
°KWurged everyone to come to the Grand Reopening activities for the Mason Square Library on April 13, 14, and 15.Activities include ribbon cutting ceremony, reception, and sock hop.Also reported that the Advisory Committee to the library will be revived with a representative from each of the Mason Square neighborhood councils.
PUBLIC SAFETY: (Walter Kroll, Chair)
·WK reported that pipe thefts continue with abandoned houses being targeted; and gang activity and assaults have begun to increase as the weather improves.Important to be observant and report; and encouraged residents to attend Watch meetings and monthly Police Beat meetings.
YOUTH COUNCIL(Jesse Lederman, Chair)
·JL reported the latest developments in the biomass incinerator fight include the state air permit hearing which was well attended by opponents.City Council to review permitting in near future; hope to see project stopped at local level.
·Youth Council continuing work on summer concert series at Thompson Triangle.Looking for sponsors and local artists to perform.
COMMUNICATIONS(Walter Kroll, Chair)
·WK reported that he has been meeting weekly with Bob McCarthy and newsletter is now under way.Website is being transitioned to staff support EL from volunteer Karan Parkin.
FINANCE and FUNDRAISING (Marianne Winters, Chair)
·House plaques now available for purchase.
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
RAIL TRAIL/ RJS PLAYGROUND: (Liz Stevens, Chair)
·LS reported Mass Mutual is probably willing to fund rail trail grant; requested that MNC get support from project from the State Street Alliance first.Have requested to be on agenda for June meeting of that organization
·BS reported that he is eligible to receive a grant as a Mass Mutual employee to be given to an organization of his choice; will forward paperwork to MW and LS.