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AGENDA & MINUTES December 13, 2011

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.
Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, December 13, 2011:  6-8 pm
Rebecca Johnson School, Music Room
55 Catharine St., Springfield MA
AGENDA
6:00 pm – Open Meeting
 Welcome from McKnight Council President Walter J Kroll
Community Pot Luck & Social
Dinner is Served
6:45 pm – Community Service Award Ceremony
The McKnight Neighborhood Council is pleased to honor the following individuals for their consistent and generous service to the neighborhood and greater community.
·         Jim Boone, long time McKnight realtor whose work with historic preservation is known throughout the city 
·         Ronald Harrell, owner of Harrell’s funeral home in the McKnight neighborhood, known for his dedication and untiring work with the Boy Scouts of America
·         Lt Colonel Stephen White, another long time McKnight resident, recently retired from the service  is being honored for his extensive service to country
Two sets of individuals are being recognized for their work and dedication on the completion of projects this year that truly enrich McKnight and the broader community.
  • Sonja Wall & Darlene Arthurfor their contributions to realizing the dream of the Rebecca Johnson Park which was dedicated on October 21
  • Elizabeth Stevens & Kathryn Wrightwho fought and won an eight year battle to win back the Mason Square Library which re-opened to the community on April 13
7:00—7:15 pm:                  Introduction of the Board of Directors
                                Audience Recognition                    
7:15—8:00 pm:  Year End Reports
OFFICER’S REPORTS  
o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)
o    VICE-PRESIDENTS REPORT:  (Demetrios Panteleakis)
o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Ben Swan, Jr  & Elizabeth Lederman, admin staff);
§  Approval of Minutes from November 08,  2011  meeting
§  Approval of Minutes from November 29, 2011 meeting
o    TREASURER’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens)
COMMITTEE REPORTS
  • Standing Committees
·         Rail Trail (Liz Stevens) 
·         Public Safety (Walter Kroll)                                                       
·         Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis)
·         Good Neighbor (Ceil Lewonchuk)
  • Ad Hoc Committees
·         Community Center (Demetrios Panteleakis)
·         Debate (Jesse Lederman)
7:50–8:00 pm:  Wrap Up—Final Business, Open to Floor
8:00 pm – Close Meeting
Next McKnight Neighborhood Council meeting:       Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 6:00-8:00 pm    
  Rebecca Johnson School, Music room
Approved January 10, 2012
McKnight Neighborhood Council Minutes
Board Meeting: December 13, 2011
(Annual Community Holiday Pot Luck Dinner took place from 6-7 p.)
 (Annual Community Service Awards Ceremony included presentations to Jim Boone, long time McKnight realtor whose work with historic preservation is known throughout the city; Ronald Harrell, owner of Harrell’s funeral home in the McKnight neighborhood, known for his dedication and untiring work with the Boy Scouts of America; Lt Colonel Stephen White, another long time McKnight resident, recently retired from the service was honored for his extensive service to country.  Two sets of individuals were recognized for their work and dedication on the completion of projects this year that truly enrich McKnight and the broader community—Sonja Wall & Darlene Arthur—for their contributions to realizing the dream of the Rebecca Johnson Park which was dedicated on October 21; and Elizabeth Stevens & Kathryn Wright—who fought and won an eight year battle to win back the Mason Square Library which re-opened to the community on April 13.)
(Approximately 60 people in attendance—including Ward 4 Councilor Henry Twiggs; Denise Jordan  and Daryl Moss from the Mayor’s office; television news coverage present, and a reporter from the Springfield Republican.)
Business meeting called to order 7:00 p.m.:   (WK verified quorum present)
Board Members Present (7):  Walter Kroll (Pres.), Ben Swan, Jr , (Clerk/Secy.), Elizabeth Stevens (Treas.), Ceil Lewonchuk (Asst Clerk/Secy);  Frank Bunton, Donna Jordan,  Jesse Lederman,  {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.
Board Members Not Present (7):  Demetrios Panteleakis (Vice Pres), Katie Foster,  Gregory Hession, Arthur Jones, Ed Kelly, Stephen Thibeau, Corey Singleton
Neighborhood Members Attending:  (Too numerous to list, see sign in sheet.)
OFFICER REPORTS
{Note:  Officer reports for this meeting offered to update the community on accomplishments and activities that have taken place throughout the year.}
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
o   Offered brief comments on the list of Council activities that have served the McKnight community at large this year; and pointed to examples offered by this year’s award recipients of what can be accomplished when people are willing to really get involved and make their voices heard.
 VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)
o   Absent, no report. 
SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Ben Swan, Jr; Elizabeth Lederman, staff)
o   Minutes of Board Meeting, November 08, 2011 submitted for acceptance.
MOTION: (BS moved) to accept as presented; (CL seconded ); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried with 6 yea and 1 abstention.
o    Minutes of Special Board Meeting, November 29, 2011 submitted for acceptance.
MOTION: (JL  moved) to accept as presented; (LS seconded ); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens)
o   LS reporting the MNC has received partial reimbursement from the City for last year’s CDBG funds; and that she has resubmitted required paperwork for the remainder of the funds.
COMMITTEE REPORTS
RAIL TRAIL : (Liz Stevens, Chair) 
o   LS described the progress of the grant applications MNC has submitted for trail funds and answered questions from the audience about the trail.  
o   Storm damage from the October snow remains and efforts are being made to engage with the Sheriff’s department for workers to help clean it up.
o   Patricia M asked about whether an archeological survey had been done on the rail track and volunteered to organize some students from UMass to work  on this project
PUBLIC SAFETY: (Walter Kroll, Chair)
o   WK emphasized that the heart of public safety on a community level is knowing your neighbor and what is happening on one’s street.  He explained how the Police Beat meeting and Neighborhood Watch operate and encouraged participation—and talked about the Watch activities that had occurred during the year such as the Bowdoin Street safety walks after the arson incidents.
HOUSING/ CODE:(Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair) WK reporting:
o   Committee has been working on a master list of housing stock for research and follow up with the City on problem properties.
o   Collaboration with Councilor Twiggs underway to develop protocols for abutters to be given priority in purchasing city owned lots; as well as an RFP process when historical housing is being sold.
o   Brief update on 175 Bowdoin Street and proposed partnership between Southern Middlesex Opportunity Council and Sheriff’s department to house ex-offenders.  Since Council and resident intervention and dialogues with City officials—Sheriff has withdrawn from partnership.  Will continue to monitor situation and future development of the property by SMOC.
o   Denise Jordan, speaking on behalf of the Mayor’s office, explained that their office was unaware of the project on Bowdoin Street, had intervened and would be meeting with SMOC to discuss future development at the property; after which the Council would be able to meet with SMOC.
o   Councilor Twiggs further advised that the City Council had approved a resolution to look into the situation at Bowdoin Street, and the overall status of group home and half way houses in the neighborhood and the City—and committee hearings will be held to follow this issue of over-saturation and appropriateness.
GOOD NEIGHBOR COMMITTEE: (Ceil Lewonchuk, Chair)
o   CL reporting that she is sending out welcome letters to new residents this week—and has been keeping a list of properties that have new owners during the last year.
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
McKnight Community Center (Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair)  WK reporting:
o   Council is interested in the church property for sale on the corner of Clarendon and St James Avenue as a possible site. 
Debate Committee  (Jesse Lederman, Chair)
o   JL recounted debate activity for prior election season and observed that MNC has successfully established a respected position in the community over the last several years as a political event sponsor. 
WRAP-UP
o   JL gave update on his work on the biomass incinerator opposition with other organizations in the city and the current status of the project—the most recent being the State EPA decision to delay the air permit and hear the appeal challenging it; and the City Council’s appeal to the Zoning Board of the recently issued building permit by the City.
o   WK presented staff assistant EL with an incredibly large and lovely poinsettia on behalf of the Council.
o   WK thanked the board for their hard work through the year, and encouraged everyone gathered to stay involved, to attend Council meetings; and to work on the issues that they are passionate about. 
o   Stephen G lamented the loss of a house on Bowdoin Street that the city had begun demolishing.
o   Another resident asked about how to handle a problem with rats at the abandoned church on St James and Clarendon which were beginning to infest her property.  She was advised to call 311; and that the Council will follow up on it.
8:00 pm ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (BS moved) to adjourn; (JL seconded); motion carried.
Submitted by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 01/10/2012.

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