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AGENDA & MINUTES May 14, 2013

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting

Special Annual Meeting FY 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013:  6-8 pm

Rebecca Johnson School, Cafeteria

55 Catharine St., Springfield MA


 Welcome from McKnight Council President Walter Kroll

Community Pot Luck & Social


6:00—6:30 pm:  Pot Luck and Social

6:30 pm:  Walter Kroll, Introducing Guest Speaker, Jay Minkarah


6:30—7:00 pm:  Jay Minkarah, Director of Develop Springfield, presenting updates on the development of a full service grocery store in the Mason Square area, and plans for the former River Inn property on Thompson Street.


7:00 pm:  Call Meeting to Order

o    Audience Recognition

o    Introduction of the Board of Directors

o    Election Update—An Invitation to Serve on the Board of Directors


7:05—7:15 pm:  OFFICER’S REPORTS 

·         PRESIDENT’S YEAR-END REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)

·         SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)

§  Approval of Minutes from April 09, 2013  meeting

·         TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)

§  Approval of Treasurer’s Report

7:15—7:30 pm:  Community Speak Out—Open to the Floor



o   Standing Committees:

·         Housing/Code (Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair)

·         Public Safety (Walter Kroll, Chair)

·         Good Neighbor (Ceil Lewonchuk, Chair)

·         Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens, Chair)

o   Ad Hoc Committees:

·         Food Access (Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Chair)

·         Community Center (Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair)

·         Debate  (Jesse Lederman, Chair)

·         Communications (Ben Swan, Chair)

·         Block Party (Walter Kroll)


7:50—8:00 pm:  Final Business, Wrap Up—Close Meeting

McKnight Neighborhood Council Minutes

Board Meeting: May 14, 2013—Annual Meeting

(Community Pot Luck Dinner took place from 6-645 pm—approximately 20 people in attendance.)

Board Members Present (9):  Walter Kroll (Pres.), Jesse Lederman, (Clerk/Secy)., Elizabeth Stevens, (Treasurer), Brandi Gamble-Lucas, (Asst Clerk/Secy); Ben Creswell, Donna Jordan, Ed Kelly, Ceil Lewonchuk, Synthia Scott-Mitchell; {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}

Board Members Not Present (4):  Demetrios Panteleakis (Vice Pres), Corey Singleton, Ben Swan, Jr, Stephen Thibeau


Wanda Givens  from the Mason Square Health Task Force gave a history of food access in the neighborhoods, and the work that is culminating now in the plans for a full line grocery store.

·         Collaboration between the Mason Square Food Policy Justice and Partners for a Healthier Community

·         Described the phenomena of urban “food deserts” when convenience stores and bodegas are the main food suppliers, and the resulting absence of fresh fruits and vegetables

·         Significant groundwork laid in community outreach and information gathering through the Just Food Campaign about what residents want

·         Networked local officials with an innovative and successful urban grocery store chain in Philadelphia to show what was achievable

·         Plans include work force development from within the community

·         Now partnering with Develop Springfield to move forward to construction of the store

Guest Speaker:  Director of Develop Springfield, Jay Minkarah gave updates on the two major projects they are currently working on:  the grocery store project and the River Inn property.

·         Develop Springfield is an independent non-profit group dedicated to the revitalization of Springfield.  It is not a part of the City government.

·         Has currently acquired three of the four acres that will be required for the grocery store, the primary piece being the STCC parking lot in the area of Walnut, Oak, and Union Streets

·         Currently negotiating with an interested operator for the store

·         Anticipating having the property and financing in lined up by the end of 2013

·         Complex will incorporate additional retail space and a community room

·         Training of staff will occur in partnership with local educational entities

·         Develop Springfield has acquired the River Inn property from the City, along with two adjacent parcels on Thompson Street.

·         Plans are to demolish the building and clear the lot, and then market the combined parcels to an appropriate developer. 

·         Goal is to add value to the State Street corridor; perhaps an upscale restaurant rather than another convenience store

·         Walter K emphasized that  MNC wants to be involved in the discussions about any use of the property


·         Walter K announced the upcoming elections at the June 22 block party, and encouraged residents to run for the Board of Directors.

·         Recognized Ed Kelly who was recently honored at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept Annual Dinner for his work with the neighborhood Watch.


SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)

·         Minutes of Board Meeting, Apri 9, 2013 submitted for acceptance.

MOTION: (DJ moved) to accept as presented; (LC seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried.


·         Liz reported that MNC has used 78% of the CDBG funding to date.  Report details presented and submitted for acceptance.

MOTION: (JL moved) to accept as presented; (LC seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried.

·         Discussion of the need to have the web site rebuilt, as it is too complicated for most users and currently infected with a virus and unusable.  Jesse L presented a $400 quote from a web designer.

MOTION: (JL moved) to authorize payment in the amount of $400 for the web re-design;  (BG seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried.

Community Speak Out—Open to the Floor

·         Ward 4 City Councilor Twiggs addressed board and audience, saying that he hopes has represented the community well, and praised Walter K for his effective leadership.

·         Brandi G brought up the string of car and house break-ins in happening on Thompson Street.  Walter K said it is happening on other streets in that area as well and emphasized the need to be vigilant and share information.  Police are following situation closely.

·         Liz S said Gardening in the Community is looking for more gardening space


HOUSING/ CODE: (Demetrios Panteleakis, Chair) Walter K reporting:

·         City has finally adopted a formal policy on selling vacant lots to abutting home owners, this arising out of the ground work laid by McKnight on this issue

·         City moving to take 380 Bay

PUBLIC SAFETY: (Walter Kroll, Chair)

·         Walter K reported that the C-3 community policing initiative is coming to Mason Square.  Initially introduced in the North End, it involves connecting services together to network homeowners, business owners, neighbors, police.  It is not a para-military operation, but focuses on services to residents with police walking beats again.

RAIL TRAIL : (Liz Stevens, Chair)

·         The Rail Trail continues to be a major project for the Council.  The City is now moving toward investing energy and funds into a title search.  Vision is to connect the trail with the Connecticut River Walk.  New fundraising brochure printed to use for fundraising and promotion.

Debate Committee  (Jesse Lederman, Chair)

o   Jesse L reported that he will be leaving the Council to go to college and that the committee will need a new chair to carry on; MNC has established a respected position city-wide in conducting local political debates and that there are elections this fall for both at large and ward city councilors.


o   Last call for newsletter articles, deadline May 15

o   Everyone was encouraged to participate in the annual Block Party scheduled for June 22.

o   Discussion about whether to allow tag sales at block party, agreement to do so; discussion on charging for space;

o   MOTION: (JL moved) to charge $15 for tag sale space; (LC seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Yea 8, Nay 1. Motion carried.

8:00 pm ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (DJ moved) to adjourn; (LC seconded); motion carried.