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AGENDA & MINUTES January 08, 2013

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, January 8, 2013; 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:  OFFICERS’ REPORTS  
o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)
o    VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)
o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)
·         Minutes of December 11, 2012, meeting (see attachment)
o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Elizabeth Stevens)
·         Monthly financial report
6:30—6:45 pm:  New Business—Open to the Floor
6:45—7:00 pm:  New Business—Board
·         Tax Abatement Discussion
7:00—7:30 pm: COMMITTEE REPORTS – Any committee updates (5 minutes each)
o    Standing Committees
·         Rail Trail (Liz Stevens) 
·         Public Safety (Walter Kroll) 
·         Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis)
·         Good Neighbor (Ceil Lewonchuk)
·         Communications (Corey Singleton. Ben Swan Jr)
o    Ad Hoc Committees
·         Food Access (Synthia Scott-Mitchell)
7:30—7:45 pm:  Wrap Up—Final Business, Open to Floor    
7:45 pm—Close Meeting

Approved February 12, 2013

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council
Board Meeting:  January 08, 2013
Meeting Called to order 6:10 p.m.:   (WK verified quorum present)
Board Members Present (7):  Walter Kroll (Pres),  Demetrios Panteleakis  (Vice Pres), Elizabeth Stevens, (Treas), Lloyd Creswell, Ed Kelly, Ceil Lewonchuk,  Ben Swan, Jr, Stephen Thibeau, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.
Board Members Not Present (6):  Jesse Lederman (Secy/Clerk), Brandi Gamble-Lucas  (Asst Secy), Corey Singleton (Asst Treasurer), Donna Jordan, Ed Kelly, Synthia Scott-Mitchell
Neighborhood Members:  Bokul Bhuiya, Luz Swan, Mordia Carter
Welcome by Walter K; board member introductions; audience introductions. 
NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor
o   Resident Mordia C, expressing urgent concern over the possibility of a dog park in McKnight, feeling that a residential setting is inappropriate.  Walter K responded that these are not uncommon in residential settings, and that there are others in the area.  Lloyd C responding that he had purposefully visited several, as well as one in New York City, and that the idea had positive possibilities and had actually enhanced the neighborhoods in which they were located.  Walter K offered assurances that the proposal would involve neighborhood meetings and opportunities for more input as it goes forward.
o   PRESIDENT”S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
·         Walter K reporting that MGM and Penn National will be presenting casino proposals at February meeting.  By agreement, questions will be coming from the board only.  Requesting board members submit questions to him prior to the meeting.
·         Time to start re-working 2008 Revitalization Plan—some items have been accomplished, particulars such as distressed properties need updated and prioritized.  Committee heads can help update corresponding sections in plan.
o   SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)
Secretary Jesse L, and Asst Secretary Brandi G absent; Walter K submitted the minutes of the Board Meeting December 11, 2012, for acceptance. Call for corrections or additions.
MOTION: (LC moved) to accept as presented; (ST seconded); (WK called 😉  Unanimous vote. 
o   TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
Liz S submitted treasurer’s report for review, which Bokul  B developed.  Still waiting for 1st quarter reimbursement—in process with the City.  Should be available shortly.  2ndquarter reimbursement report will be ready to submit for February 1stsubmission deadline.
 MOTION: (LC moved) to accept as presented; (ST seconded); (WK called 😉 Unanimous vote. 
o   Property tax abatement information provided by Stephen T.
·         Now is the time of year during which you can apply to the City for property tax abatement.
·         City does not use bank owned property sales for assessing values.
·         Provided selling cost details of 111 Dartmouth Terrace, $65,000.  Sale is significant because it is a non-bank owned property which can be effectively used as a bench mark for comparative values for purposes of requesting property tax abatement.
·         Provided details on how to research your assessed property value and how to apply for abatement.
·         Demetrios P contributing that the City does have a right to inspect your property if you apply for a tax abatement to ascertain values.
o   Stephen T pointing out that his research had turned up information that the convenience store, Cece’s , on Bay Street, is now owned by the City.  Also, 380 Bay Street may be in the hands of the City now. May be able to have it assessed as a Brownfield now.  Housing and Code to follow up.
o   Liz S reported information that the City is taking down condemned houses in Old Hill and offering the abutters’ first opportunity to purchase the vacant lots.  Walter K responding that the precedent is notable, and probably the fruits of labor from MNC’s work on this issue.  Hopeful that the City has now codified this practice into policy.
o   Demetrios P expressing concerns about a barn on Bowdoin Street that the City had turned over to a non-abutting resident on the street, who purported to be taking care of the property.  Again, there was no formal process exercised by the City to determine its disposition, or if the resident had a viable plan for the property, as well as the resources to complete it.  The barn and property remain in disrepair and it is now being used as a commercial storage lot for heavy construction equipment. Housing and code to follow up.
o   Stephen S reporting that during his Registry of Deeds research, he also saw documents filed changing 88 Monmouth from a single family to a two-family residence, listed as 88-90 filed on May 03, 2012.  Housing and code to follow up.
o   Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens, Chair)
·         Liz S reporting meeting with Parks Director Pat Sullivan and other interested City officials scheduled for Monday 01/14.  Will be planning meeting with Kevin Sullivan and Mayor Sarno for February or March. 
·         Phase I of the trail development is from the Rebecca Johnson School to the Dingle.  Later phases would take the trail forward to Union Station.
o   Public Safety (Walter Kroll, Chair)
·         Ben S reporting that December’s Sector F Police Beat meeting reported that violent crime was down, robberies up.  Overall improvement throughout year.  Still following up on speeding and drag racing problems. 
o   Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair)
·         Demetrios P reporting that he and Walter K have acquired 62 Bay Street and hope to have it completed by April.  Outstanding Housing and Code concerns previously determined being addressed will follow up on problems targeted at present meeting.
·         Walter K reporting on River Inn property on Bay Street.  City proposing to bulldoze the property—formal opinion requested to MNC from City attorney. 
MOTION: (DP moved) MNC approves the demolition of the River Inn with the caveat that  future development be subject to the review and approval of MNC. (LS seconded); (WK called for discussion 😉  Ben S thinks more information is needed to decide question—what other potential does the building have rather than being demolished?  Demetrios P saying that because of its cinder block construction, renovation potential is nil for any retail purpose, and not attractive to developers. Leaving it as is may well perpetuate another lodging house situation.  Razing it will make it more developable.  Walter K and Liz S feeling that eliminating the eyesore and history of the building and leaving a clean palette to build upon along with adjacent vacant lots will energize its future development.  (WK called question 😉 Yea 6; Abstentions: 1. Motion carried.
8:00 ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (BS moved) to adjourn; (DP seconded); (WK called); motion carried.
Submitted by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 02/12/13


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