Board Members Not Present (4): Frank Buntin, Katie Foster, Chip Gorra, Arthur Jones
Neighborhood Members & Guests Attending:Too numerous to list, see sign in sheets.Approximately 60 people in attendance.
6:00 pm—6:45 pm:Community Potluck & Social
°Aaron Williams presented an update on his video work in progress on the history of Mason Square.He explained the importance of not losing history, and how the identity of a neighborhood and community can be infused with the dignity and vitality of its past as it moves ahead and evolves into a more robust and creative future.He shared interesting facts about the Square’s history, took questions from the audience, and described his continuing work in putting together his current video work.He continues to welcome contributions of material from the community, and invites people to volunteer to help with the project with expertise, support and contributions.
(WK verified quorum present.)
oIntroduction of the Board of Directors
oRecognition to Ed Whitley from Neighborhood Services
oRecognition to Ward 4 Councilor Henry Twiggs and his wife—Councilor Twiggs praised the MNC Council and its work; mentioned that he and Rep Swan will be a holding meeting to provide FEMA information to homes and businesses in Ward 4 that were impacted by the tornado
END OF THE YEAR OFFICER REPORTS
PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Walter Kroll)
oRemarks on upcoming Block Party and Board Elections happening on Saturday June 18.Five individuals have turned in nomination forms.Some seats are still open, encouraged write in votes from interested persons; and the importance of volunteering your own particular talents and interests for committee work.
oAnnounced public safety meeting with police and fire officials to discuss numerous fires on Bowdoin Street for Tuesday June 21.
SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens, Elizabeth Lederman, staff)
oMinutes of Board Meeting, May 10, 2011, submitted for acceptance.LS called for corrections or additions.None offered.
MOTION: (MW moved) to accept as presented; (JL seconded); (WK call for discussion); (WK called); motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Marianne Winters)
oMW reported that accountant Amy Grabowski is finishing updating the books, and that the end of the year report will be posted on web site soon.Once the books are done, the Council will seek bids from accountants to handle the books on an ongoing basis.Benefits include a stable and sustainable financial structure, which will also free up the treasurer to concentrate on fundraising.
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
MASON SQUARE LIBRARY (Liz Stevens, Chair)
·LS reported that the Library successfully reopened on April 13 completing the work of this committee; and that she and Kat Wright were stepping back.A non MNC based committee directly associated with the library is now in the planning stages, and will include representatives from each of the surrounding Mason Square neighborhoods.
RAIL TRAIL/ RJS PLAYGROUND: (Liz Stevens, Chair)
·LS reported that steady progress has been made this year on the Rail Trail.Plans are moving swiftly toward securing the land appraisal, which will be followed by the environmental assessment and engineering survey.
·Councilor Twiggs providing letter of support for project, and in process of getting letter of support from State Street Alliance to submit to grant sources
·Need working group to regularly walk the trail for maintenance and clear
·RJS Playground almost complete; serves dual purpose of school playground and public park after hours; also has rail trail access.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
YOUTH : (Jesse Lederman, Chair)
·Call for members ages 13-18.See flyer in newsletter.
·Described completion of project to educate the public on the dangers of toxic incineration and the Youth Council’s work to help stop the biomass incinerator in Springfield—partnering with Stop Toxic Incineration, Arise, and neighborhood councils.Permit revoked by City Council on May 21.
·Currently working on idea to stage three-day concert festival at Thompson triangle in August.
PUBLIC SAFETY: (Walter Kroll, Chair)
·Recognition to Officer Charlie Ramos, Sherriff’s department liaison to Neighborhood Watch
·Reported on the strengthening of the communication network which has taken place over the past year between the Watch, the Sherriff’s Department, and the Springfield Police Department—which has created the fundamental groundwork necessary for being able to respond effectively to safety problems when they occur—an example being the upcoming meeting on the Bowdoin Street fires.
·Past year highlights included sponsoring the DA debates, participation in the Blue Knight programs and Safe Neighborhood Nights
·Two block party events, co-sponsored with Watch, have successfully brought neighborhood residents out to connect with each other and have provided visibility for both the Watch and the Council
HOUSING/CODE:(Walter Kroll, Chair)
·WK reported on continuing work of effectively funneling housing and code issues as they arise to the appropriate city departments so they can be addressed
·DM reported on the process of following tax title properties to auction, which has included properties at 62 Bay Street and 46 Welsley.79 Thompson and 74 Yale.380 Bay Street continues to be a problem; currently has 13 years of back taxes.
·Audience discussion on 69 Bowdoin Street, which the city has targeted for demolition.GH advises that city attorney Lisa Desousa is the person to contact for any discussion since the matter is now under the purview of the housing court.
COMMNICATIONS:(Marianne Winters, Chair)
·MW reporting that web site will be expanding and promoting business directory in coming year
·WK reporting that newsletters available at tonight’s meeting, were mailed out today to all neighborhood residents
GOOD NEIGHBOR:(Ceil Lewonchuk, Chair)
·CL reports that the welcome packet from Jim Boone continues to be given to each new resident
NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor
oBowdoin Street residents presented concerns about the recent series of fires on that street.Lengthy discussion on how to make the street more secure.Suggestions included erecting a blockade on the street restricting the flow of traffic—a solution described as successfully employed at Marengo Park in the Forest Park section of the city.DJ will confer with Marengo Park resident to learn specifics.JL expressed concerns about community perceptions and repercussions given the proximity of the adjacent housing project.WK observed that the situation required a patient examination of the various elements contributing to the problems the street was experiencing; and encouraged residents to attend the upcoming Tuesday meeting with police and fire department to discuss fires.
CLOSING BUSINESS & REMARKS
oCL reported on her very positive experience with the Lutheran volunteers who removed the overgrown wisteria from her porch as part of the Minor Home Repair Project on June 4.
oBS announced that MNC had received energy saving light bulbs from Weed & Seed which he would distribute to residents after the meeting closes.
oWK thanked everyone for coming and participating, and encouraged everyone to attend the spring block party scheduled for June 18.