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AGENDA & MINUTES October 10, 2013

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, October 08, 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:  Guest Presentation

o    Sarah Concannon, a local Springfield artist who is embarking on a project to paint a portrait of a resident from each of Springfield’s 17 neighborhoods.  Once complete, the paintings will be hung together in a show which will share the title of the project: The People in Your Neighborhood.


6:30—7:00 pm:  New Business—Public Safety Discussion

o    Officer Reggie Miller, SPD, here to discuss public safety issues in the neighborhood in light of recent events on Westminster Street.


7:00—7:15 pm: New Business—Open to the Floor


7:15—7:30 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 September 10, 2013 meeting (see attachment)

o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Elizabeth Stevens)


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 Willis-O’Gilvie)

·         Communications (Ben Swan Jr)

o    Ad Hoc Committees

·         Food Access (Elizabeth Willis-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, October 08, 2013

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting Called to order 6:05 p.m.


Board Members Present (7):  Walter Kroll (Pres);   Brandi Gamble-Lucas, (Secy/Clerk), Elizabeth Stevens, (Treas);  Ishaq Harris (ClerkAsst Treasurer), Tawreak Eddington, Donna Jordan; Elizabeth O’Ogilvie;  {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (6):  Demetrios Panteleakis (Vice Pres); Lloyd Creswell Asst Sec/Clerk); Greg Gavin, Colin Kirby,  April Mitchell-Edwards, Ben Swan, Jr.

Neighborhood Members:  Madeline Kroll, Jennifer Diaz, Stephen Gray, Patricia & Brian McFarland, Maureen Greaves, Lynder Greaves, Bokul Bhuiya, Edwin Rodriguez

Guests:  Sarah Concannon, David Cotter, Reggie  Miller, Kathy Brown, Gil Perron, Marie Koski, Michael Jachym, Emmanuel Adero, Ceil Lewonchuk, Edmund Candelaria


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



o    Sarah Concannon, a local Springfield artist who is embarking on a project to paint a portrait of a resident from each of Springfield’s 17 neighborhoods.  Once complete, the paintings will be hung together in a show which will share the title of the project: The People in Your Neighborhood.

·         In process of obtaining funding from Kickstarter, a website that showcases projects to which friends and supporters can donate.  Project is almost fully funded.

·         Has identified a third of those who will be subjects for the portraits, and is seeking help in neighborhoods with which she is not familiar; the neighborhood councils do not need to chose someone, but she would welcome being shown around and introduced to people

·         Subjects have basically been chosen randomly, just by getting out in the neighborhoods and talking with people;  does not want to pigeon hole people or make assumptions about who characterizes which neighborhood

·         Will host a showing to which subjects, their families, and the public are invited; the goal is to help bring the neighborhoods together; and also to bring residents into an experience of the art world and the culture of Springfield that they might not otherwise seek out

·         She hopes to complete the project and stage the show by late 2014

o    Jennifer Diaz, a McKnight resident from Thompson Street, appeared to promote an upcoming rally at Magazine Park scheduled for Sunday, October 13. 

·         The rally is called Pick up the Mic, Put Down the Gunz. 

·         The purpose is to promote peace and combat violence by encouraging music and community. 

·         Proceeds will be donated to the families of the recent victims of gun violence in the city.  Hopeful that this can become a monthly event. 

·         Seeking donations of paper plates, utensils, garbage bags.  Food has already been donated.

o    Dave Cotter, Deputy Director of Code Enforcement for the City, and Officer Reggie Miller, from the ordinance squad of the Springfield Police Department, appeared to address public safety issues in the neighborhood in light of the recent shooting on Westminster Street.

·         Code enforcement office and ordinance squad are now both located in City offices at Tapley Street

·         The two groups now work side by side to address public safety problems by using a team approach

·         Code enforcement received 27,000 complaints last year—budget cuts have left 5 inspectors for a city of 164,00 people

·         City has 500 vacant properties itself with no money for upkeep and maintenance, along with 1400 foreclosures to monitor

·         Squatters proliferate and crime follows, so vacant houses are a priority to board up and monitor

·         Entire team now visits problem properties—ordinance squad officer, along with code inspectors, fire, electrical, plumbing inspectors and animal control to do a whole inspection at once—proving to be an effective approach, particularly with abandoned houses that have become gang hangouts.

·         Tough situation in the City that they are addressing as forthrightly as possible.  Working with the state, public health, DCF to solve real life threatening issues.  Willing to work until they get to the bottom of a problem.

·         Encourages the neighborhood councils to contact his office directly with problem properties and situations.

Committed to solving these direct referrals in seven days, 24 hours in an emergency.

·         Lengthy discussion with Officer Miller about police coverage in the neighborhood, negative attitudes from police dispatch personnel, slow or no responses from call-ins, and the types of crime and problems that are being encountered by residents.  Officer Miller talked about how police personnel are assigned, how to work more effectively with the department.


NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor

o    Lynder Greaves of 14 Lafayette Street stepped forward to introduce himself and explain that some of his neighbors were concerned that he is running a group home.  He explained that he is not running a group home; he is running an independent living program, and helping out people that need assistance for a short period of time until they can live on their own again, mainly people being discharged from the hospital who need short term help.  His mother and no more than four other people live at the house at one time.  Walter K commented that the zoning rule is no more than 3 unrelated people; and suggested that he might benefit from sharing information with his neighbors to dispel concern. 

o    Brandi G shared concerns about the lot behind Thompson Street being cleared.  She had obtained plans from the City which showed a retail space being constructed there, which faces State Street and has an access road which runs behind Thompson from State Street to Bay.  Developer to be invited to November meeting to elaborate on plans.



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

Secretary Brandi G, submitted the minutes of the Board Meeting September 09, 2013, for acceptance. Call for corrections or additions.

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

o    TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)

Liz S reporting that books still in the process of being transferred to the online Quick Books.  Submitted a copy of the MNC bank statement for review.




o    Public Safety (Walter Kroll, Chair)

Walter K reporting that the person allegedly responsible for most of the McKnight car break-ins had been arrested.

o    Debate (Ishaq Harris, Chair)

Liz S reporting that she and Keshawn Dodds from AIC had confirmed preliminary plans for October 30 debate for at large City Council had commitments from most of the candidates.  Walter K to go forward with Keshawn Dodds to develop the format and questions.



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