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AGENDA & MINUTES January 14, 2014

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, January 14, 2014; 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—6:45 pm:  Guest Presentation

o    Michael Jachym, Department of Code Enforcement, discussing various problem properties in the neighborhood.


6:45—7:00 pm:  New Business—Board

o    Neighborhood Target Improvement Program Grant

o    City Council Committee Citizen Appointments


7:00—7:15 pm: OFFICER EPORTS  

o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)

o    VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)

o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble-Lucas)

·         Minutes of December 10, 2013  meeting (see attachment)

o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Elizabeth Stevens)


7:15—7:30 pm:  New Business—Open to the 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) 

·         Housing & Code (Colin Kirby)

·         Good Neighbor (Elizabeth O’Gilvie)

·         Communications (Ben Swan Jr)

o    Ad Hoc Committees

·         Food Access (Elizabeth O’Gilvie)

·         Debate (Ishaq Harris)

·         Community Center (Demetrios Panteleakis)


7:50—8:00 pm:   Wrap Up—Final Business, Open to Floor              


8:00—Close Meeting

Board Meeting January 14, 2014

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting Called to order 6:15 p.m.

Board Members Present (9):  Walter Kroll (Pres); Brandi Gamble-Lucas, (Secy/Clerk), Lloyd Creswell (Asst Sec/Clerk); Elizabeth Stevens, (Treas);  Tawreak Eddington, Greg Gavin, Donna Jordan, Colin Kirby, Elizabeth O’Ogilvie; {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (3): Demetrios Panteleakis (Vice Pres); Ishaq Harris (Asst Treasurer), Ben Swan, Jr

Neighborhood Members:  Ed Zuckerman, Jack Dubose, Lisa Gaudreau, Phillip Damien, Patty McFarland, Denise Moccia

Welcome by Walter K; board member introductions; audience introductions.


Michael Jachym, Department of Code Enforcement, discussing various problem properties in the neighborhood, originally scheduled to speak.  No show.


o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT:  (Walter Kroll)

·         Walter K gave a brief overview of the Neighborhood Targeted Improvement Program, a CDBG funded program open to all Springfield neighborhoods through an RFP competitive process.  Proposals can include beautification, lighting, signage, public space improvements, etc. Proposals will be judged on merit and monies awarded to a combined total of $150,000. Application deadline January 31, 2014.

·         General discussion of whether there was time enough to put a proposal together.  City gave short notice and narrow window of time to submit proposals.  Agreement that the deteriorated McKnight Historical District signs are in need of replacement.  Jack D expressed a familiarity with the RFP process and volunteered to help prepare the RFP and acquire the 3 bids that are required.

·         MOTION: (LO moved) to authorize the executive committee to put together RFP for neighborhood signage; (LS seconded); (WK called)  Unanimous vote. 

o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble-Lucas)

Secretary Brandi G, submitted the minutes of the Board Meeting December 11, 2013 for acceptance. Call for corrections or additions.

MOTION: (GG moved) to accept as presented; (LO seconded); (WK called)  Unanimous vote. 

o    TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)

Liz S  submitted copies of the current budget  for the second quarter to board members for review.

MOTION: (GG moved) to accept as presented, with the exception of actual to projected expenses for the year; (LC seconded); (WK called))  Unanimous vote.  Liz S to forward additional requested information by email to board members.


o    City Council Committee Citizen Appointments

Walter K led a discussion on the recent invitation to residents extended by newly elected City Council President Mike Fenton to serve as ad hoc members on the various City Council committees, and encouraged board members and other interested neighborhood residents to submit their resumes.  Emphasis on the value of relationship building and strengthening the neighborhood’s connection and communication with the broader City  government.

o    NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor

o    Patricia M raised concerns about the Faith Baptist Church at Clarendon and St James.  Problems with rodent infestation and mold persisting, with no response from City after numerous complaints.  Recently installed drainage pipe to drain flat roof is directing runoff to her property.  Oil tank recently remediated with a spill onto abutting property.  The building is reportedly in the process of being sold to another church organization.

o    Agreement to escalate the issue to Mayor’s office copied to City department heads requesting action.

o    Patricia M also reporting problems with threatening behavior from residents of group homes on St James and Westminster.   Group home cluster owned by same person, currently for sale.  Research indicates that any licenses the group homes have were issued years ago, and only issued to the owner’s wife, who is now deceased.  Concerns over future use of the properties once they are sold.

o    14 Lafayette Street discussed.  Owner claims property is not a group home, but neighbors report otherwise.  Website promoting residence as group home recently discovered.  Building has deteriorating roof and other upkeep issues.

o    Illegal boarding house at 184 Bowdoin Street still operating.  Mike Jachym indicated at the October meeting that this was in the process of being investigated and the City would soon be taking action. Owner reportedly trying to get approval to use it as a group home.

o    Agreement to ask Mike Jachym to Housing & Code meeting scheduled for this coming Thursday to continue fact finding about these properties.



o    Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens, Chair)

No new developments.  Feasibility study still in the works.

o    Public Safety (Walter Kroll, Chair)

Neighborhood Watch meeting and Police Beat meeting this coming Thursday.

o    Housing & Code (Colin Kirby, Chair)

Expressed the importance of wider, consistent messaging through outreach and social media, and face to face contact, to encourage the entire neighborhood to embrace neighborhood issues; and change the perception that McKnight is just the big houses on Ingersoll and Dartmouth. Need to engage with commercial business property owners to bring storefront presentations into harmony with historic surroundings.  Let owners know there is grant money available from the City for storefront beautification.

o    Communications (Ben Swan, Jr, Chair)

Walter K reporting.  Tawreak  E asked to take charge of keeping the McKnight Facebook account up to date, and to keep updated with relevant postings.


8:00 ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (LS moved) to adjourn; (BG seconded); (WK called); motion carried.