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AGENDA & MINUTES August 14, 2012

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, August 14, 2012:  6-8 pm
Rebecca Johnson School, Music Room
55 Catharine St., Springfield MA
6:00 – 6:15 pm:  OPEN MEETING, WELCOME
o   Introduction, Board of Directors
o   Audience Introductions
6:15—6:30 pm:  GUEST
o   Melvin Edwards, Springfield City Councilor, candidate for State Senate.
6:30—6:45 pm:  GUEST
o    Gary Faiman, owner of 368 St. James Avenue.
6:45—7:00 pm:  OFFICERS’ REPORTS  
o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)
o    VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)
o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)
·         Minutes of July 10,  2012, meeting (see attachment)
o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Liz Stevens)
·         Budget amendment for insurance
·         Monthly financial report
7:00—7:15pm:  New Business—Board of Directors
7:15—7:30 pm:  New Business—Open to Floor
7:30—7:50 pm: COMMITTEE REPORTS – Any committee updates (5 minutes each)
o    Standing Committees
·         Rail Trail (Liz Stevens) 
·         Public Safety (Walter Kroll) 
§  National Night out event
§  Safe Park initiative at Magazine Park Aug 18                                                    
·         Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis)
§  Follow up on SMOC property on Bowdoin Street
§  Disposition of Peter Proud house on Cornell Street
·         Good Neighbor (Ceil Lewonchuk)
·         Communications (Corey Singleton)
§  Ben S reporting on Neighborhood Councils Collaborative
o    Ad Hoc Committees
·         Debate (Jesse Lederman)
§  Walter K reporting on State Senate primary debate
7:50–8:00 pm:  Wrap Up—Final Business, Open to Floor                         
8:00 pm—Close Meeting
Next McKnight Neighborhood Council Meeting 
Tuesday, September 11, 2012               6:00-8:00 pm             Rebecca Johnson School

Approved September 11, 2012
Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council
Board Meeting:  August 14, 2012
Meeting Called to order 6:00 p.m.:   (WK verified quorum present)
Board Members Present (9):  Walter Kroll (Pres), Demetrios Panteleakis  (Vice Pres), Jesse Lederman (Secy/Clerk), Liz Stevens, (Treas), Brandi Gamble-Lucas  (Asst Secy), Ceil Lewonchuk,  Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Ben Swan, Jr, Stephen Thibeau.  {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.
Board Members Not Present (4):  Lloyd Creswell, Donna Jordan, Ed Kelly, Corey Singleton (Asst Treasurer)
Neighborhood Members:  Elliot Stratton, Warren Clark, Liz Willis-O’Gilvie, Tim Kirk, Bokul Khuiya, Stephen White
Guests:  Paul Martin, Raymond Ray, Gary Faiman, John Wojcik
Welcome by Walter K; board member introductions; audience introductions.
o   Melvin Edwards, Springfield City Councilor, candidate for State Senate—standing in for Councilor Edwards who is incapacitated due to an injury, campaign manager, Paul Martin—who outlined the campaign issues and took questions from the audience.
·         Emphasized that this election is Springfield’s opportunity to gain real representation in the Mass senate from a Springfield leader who can adequately represent the city and its interests—the current senator and opponent is from West Springfield and has not provided vigorous representation for Springfield.
·         Candidate Edwards will not sit back and let things happen—has a real talent for coalition building—pointed to his work as the organizer of Keep Springfield Beautiful; the biomass incinerator opposition, and the foreclosure moratorium he helped sponsor at the city government level.
·         Received endorsement from the Sierra Club
·         Sees the homeless problem in Springfield as a local issue which can be solved at the local level by utilizing abandoned and unused property assets while assisting people to move into productive and independent lives
·         Neither opposes or supports the casinos—but if they are going to be built here should maximize the benefits
·         Sees job creation and economic factors as the basic underpinnings of the violence problem in the city.
o   Gary Faiman, owner of 368 St. James Avenue—presented information about the background of his purchase and attempted renovation of the property.
·         Realtor who sold the property did not inform him that the property was zoned for single family only.
·         City building department did not initially inform him that it was a single-family property when he pulled some of the permits
·         Has already completed the outside renovation, removed the front door and put in two separate entrances, and two electrical meters.
·         Has since been informed by the City that he cannot complete the renovation as a two-family, and is seeking support from the Council to be able to do so.
·         Board members questioned Mr. Faiman and established that he was an investor who was not intending to live in the house and an experienced contractor.  The prevailing opinion of the Board was that he should have done his homework, and recommended that he complete the project as a one-family in compliance with City zoning ordinances.
o   PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
Observed that the recent shooting death on Bay Street was of concern to everyone and that we would discuss it later in the meeting, along with general public safety issues.
o   SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)
Brandi G, in the absence of secretary Jesse L who had to leave the meeting early, submitted the minutes of the Board Meeting July 10, 2012, for acceptance. Call for corrections or additions.
MOTION: (DP moved) to accept as presented; (SS seconded); (WK called 😉 Unanimous vote to accept. 
o   TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
Liz S reporting that the bookkeeper had not forwarded the report she requested for the past month.
·         Also reporting that Fiscal Solutions has been notified that Bokul  K will be taking over the bookkeeping responsibilities.
·         IRS request for 2011 form 990—document being completed by the CPA who did the MNC audit in 2011.
·          Budget amendment submitted to Board to adjust insurance payment for the year from $700 to $737.
MOTION: (LS moved) to accept budget amendment as submitted; (DP seconded); (WK called the question); Unanimous vote to accept. 
NEW BUSINESS— Open to the Floor
o   Tim K reporting that he had received a notice from the City Election Office informing him that he had been moved to the inactive voter list—distributed a copy of the letter.  Had been dropped despite the fact that he has been an active voter and had filled out the yearly census form.  General concern that such letters may discourage residents from voting in the upcoming elections. 
·         Staff assistant to send out email to neighborhood alerting them to the situation, and to contract the City election office to register Council’s concerns about the situation; and what to tell residents to do if they are turned away at the polls.
·         Ceil L volunteered to follow up with the press to see if this is a widespread issue and bring attention to the situation.
o   Liz O  spoke on the following:
·         Has been working on a proposal whereby teachers could be attracted to the city by offering affordable home ownership through a partnership with the banking community  and the City—has contacted the School Dept and City Councilors with the idea.  Demetrios P requested that she outline the proposal on paper and submit it to the Council.
·         Vacant lot next to her house on Dartmouth and Bay—has been maintaining it.  Willing to buy it and donate it to Gardening in the Community, but that organization felt it was not viable for that purpose.   Looking for input on the use of lot—willing to partner with the Council for an appropriate use.
o   Elliot S spoke on the following:
·         Encouraging dog walkers to carry two bags—one for their dog, and another to put trash in as they go.
·         Has recently become involved with a community gardening project; interested in seeing McKnight becoming more involved so residents can help develop food security.
o   General discussion on the use of vacant lots in the neighborhood; WMECO lot on Bay and Bowles; lots on Westminster, and the lot on Thompson Street behind the River Inn.
o   Synthia S contributing that she is the head of the Food Policy Council and that a there is a lot of work going on with community gardening and food access.  Walter S appointed her as chair of a new ad hoc committee—Food Access.
o   Demetrios P submitted a draft proposal, re: Springfield Gaming Consideration, should a casino venue be developed in the city, outlining benefits to potentially accrue to McKnight to compensate for the impacts on the neighborhood—with the Council taking no position pro or con on supporting the casino.
·         Initial proposal including funding for a community center, completion of the McKnight Rail Trail, and an annual donation to promote and maintain programming for the benefit of the neighborhood.
·         General discussion on the asking points.
·         Additional suggestions to be emailed to Demetrios.
o   Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens, Chair)
·         Meetings with Pat Sullivan in Parks will be continuing.  Visited the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
o   Public Safety (Walter Kroll, Chair)
·         Discussed the shooting on Bay Street.  Started with a loud party.  Stressed the importance of calling in loud parties rather than waiting until they get completely out of control.  Encouraged everyone to attend the Watch and Police Beat meeting—more information should be available about the Bay Street situation.
o   Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair)  
·         Meetings will begin again in September.  Anyone interested please email Demetrios..  
o   Debate (Jesse Lederman)
·         Walter K reporting—Senator Welch unwilling to commit to proposed debate with Councilor Edwards.  Debate plans discontinued.
8:00 ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (BS moved) to adjourn; (LS seconded); (WK called); motion carried.
Submitted by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 09/11/2012


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