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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 01/13/15

i Jul 12th No Comments by

Board Meeting January 13, 2015

Approved February 10, 2015

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting Called to order 6:10 p.m.


Board Members Present (8): Walter Kroll (Pres), Lloyd Creswell (Asst Sec/Clerk), Colin Kirby (Treas),  Jack Dubose, ,

Bryan McFarland, Elizabeth Stevens, Ben Swan, Jr, Paul Swenson, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (6): Elizabeth O’Gilvie (Vice Pres), Brandi Gamble-Lucas (Secy/Clerk), Tawreak

Eddington , Greg Gavin, Donna Jordan, Damian Phillips

Neighborhood Members: Bruce Arnold, Stephen Gray, Reginald Harrison


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



    • PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
    • Main focus of January meeting is to reset initiatives for the coming year, and determine what resources the various committees need to accomplish their goals. City is in the process (at meeting across the hall) of developing 5-year plan for CDBG projects, seeking input from residents. Planning session to include what assets could potentially be provided through that avenue for some of the neighborhood’s needs.
    • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble-Lucas)MOTION: (PS moved) to accept as presented; (BM seconded); (WK called); Unanimous vote.
    • Asst Sec/Clerk Lloyd C submitted the minutes for December 09, 2014. Call for corrections or additions.
    • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Colin Kirby)
    • Current on hand balance is $2900. 1st quarter reimbursement still out. Budget summary distributed.
  • MOTION: (LC moved) to accept as presented; (PS seconded); (WK called); Unanimous vote.


NEW BUSINESS—Board—Year Forward Planning Session

  • Standing Committees
  • Rail Trail (Liz Stevens)
  • Feasibility study for Rail Trail to be presented to the City Parks Commission for approval at their next meeting, (date of which is yet to be determined). $4 million cost projected once approved. Next step planning grant, the funds for which will likely come from trail specific grant funds at state and national level. Liz says that CDBG money amounts would not be large enough for the funding needed, and should be sought for other purposes in the neighborhood.
  • Walter K commented it should still be on our list to the City, as one of our priorities, to keep in the dialogue.
  • As it moves forward, it will be Parks Department project, with the Council representing the public arena for interacting with residents about safety, design, and operating details. Liz has been communicating with residents throughout the process, and will continue to do so as project goes forward. Will specifically continue to build email list of interested residents; currently has a base list of 15 residents actively interested in the trail development.
  • Steven G suggested Liz contact other groups in town who are interested in the rail trail being developed throughout the City.
  • Public Safety (Walter Kroll)
  • Block Party—Walter would like to see more groups involved in the block party, as well as the churches in the neighborhood. Lloyd C committed to reaching out to the churches. Steve G suggested a trolley tour of the neighborhood to give out history of different houses and significant historical events that have occurred in McKnight; also suggested the possibility of horse drawn carriage rides; and period costumes for the police. Lloyd C suggested that we may want to consider moving the block party to Magazine Park if it gets bigger. June 13 established as block party date.
  • Neighborhood Watch Walks—Walter wants to reinstitute walks through the neighborhood which have helped to generate both good will, public awareness, and dialogue in the past. Possible ask from the CDBG fund pool—a permanent digital speed monitor for the neighborhood.
  • Damian P (absent, but submitted suggestions prior to the meeting)—wants to investigate installing
  • “divets” in the pavement of the neighborhood major streets; different from speed bumps, they are indentations which slow down drivers, as well as providing drainage. Also has initiated a dialogue, which he would like to see continued, with the ambulance company on St James about a plan to use alternate routes other than St James and Worthington, for non-emergency trips. Is continuing to pursue “round-about” with Traffic and DPW for St James/Worthington/Dartmouth intersection.
  • Bay Street Corridor Issues—Nathaly’s robbed last Thursday, recent high speed chase and crash on Bay, several abandoned houses, and drug houses; whole length of street has become a problem area. Walter is reaching out to the City for a collaborative meeting with housing/police/businesses to develop an overall strategy to get the situation headed in the right direction. Ben S says there was a UMass class several years ago that did a design project around the Bay Street Corridor. Will try to get the project material and plans that were developed.
  • Housing & Code (Colin Kirby)
  • Colin’s plans include increasing the Council’s use of social media in order to disseminate information more widely.
  • Group Homes—Council needs to develop a comprehensive list of the group homes in the neighborhood, and continue to be vigilant in engaging with would-be projects as the casino development in the downtown area begins to drive relocation efforts into surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Need to improve Council’s relationship with neighborhood businesses in order to address both public safety issues and the aesthetics of being located in an historic district in terms of color choices and signage.
  • Walter K had previously scheduled in the fall a presentation by Richard Griffin from City Planning to present the Storefront Improvement Program to local small business owners, but it was cancelled because of the McDonalds issue. Will rebook for February or March meeting.
  • Progress of rehab of the church at 217 St James Avenue—Colin states they have not been able to meet their timeline. On historical commission agenda for update this coming Thursday (Jan 15). Bryan M agreed to attend, Ben S and Colin will also attend if possible.
  • Good Neighbor (Elizabeth O’Gilvie, absent)
  • Jim Boone continues to include Council insert in his welcome package to new residents. Council   will invite him to be more involved.
  • Communications (Ben Swan Jr)
  • Ben sees the need to meet regularly with people handling different communication aspects within the Council to coordinate outreach.
  • Several suggestions about replacing Vonage service with either a Council cell phone, or Google Voice, Ben will look into. Jack D agreed to look into setting up and maintaining a Twitter account for the Council.
  • Ben will be updating business list. May consider establishing a business sub-committee. Sees the need to update the Master Plan developed several years ago, and establishing a business overlay district in the neighborhood in order to address issues such as signage and color choice. Would probably need an ordinance passed, but will check into this. Forest Park already has paint color requirements for their historical district.
  • Ad Hoc Committees


  • Food Access (Elizabeth O’Gilvie, absent)
  • Lloyd C suggests we include full service grocery store on our CDBG list as a continuing neighborhood need, since this has yet to be accomplished through Develop Springfield.
  • Debate (Paul Swenson)
  • Debate season will not begin until summer/early fall after the next Council elections. Walter K will partner with Paul S, to lend past debate organizing experience. Have standing partnership with AIC to sponsor debates. Will need to start early to book candidates and debate dates.
  • Beautification (Bryan McFarland)
  • Bryan had several suggestions, most of which could reasonably utilize CDBG funds.
  • Lamp posts in Thompson Triangle need electrical outlets
  • Historical lighting for the neighborhood—will begin to document the safety hazards at current poles and map the neighborhood for what needs replaced. Maybe able to begin instituting the historical lighting for those poles that need replaced.
  • Dry bridge at St James—needs rails and posts repaired and painted. At least we can paint it, if we have access to more funds we can actually see to its repair and restoration.
  • Proposal of a period style gazebo for Thompson Triangle. Could qualify for Target Improvement funds when they come up again. Project would fall under Parks Department for approvals. Will ready plans for approval of the board so the project is ready for submission when the opportunity arises.
  • Will continue to monitor street repair/sewer construction in the neighborhood.
  • Suggestions submitted Damian P—median strip constructed with plantings similar to Dartmouth Terrace on Dartmouth Street main. Also suggesting planting several evergreen trees in Thompson Triangle, (presently there are none)—would add greenery to the Park during the winter, and we could add lighting during the holidays if outlets installed near.
  • Community Center (Damian Phillips, absent)8:00 ADJOURNMENT:   MOTION: (PS moved) to adjourn; (JD seconded); (WK called); motion carried.