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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 4/14/15

i Jul 12th No Comments by

Board Meeting April 14, 2015

Approved May 12, 2015

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting Called to order 6:15 p.m.

Board Members Present (10): Walter Kroll (Pres), Elizabeth O’Gilvie (Vice Pres), Brandi Gamble,

(Secy/Clerk), Lloyd Creswell (Asst Sec/Clerk), Jack Dubose, Tawreak Eddington , Damian Phillips, Elizabeth Stevens, Ben Swan, Jr, Paul Swenson, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (4): Colin Kirby (Treas), Greg Gavin, Bryan McFarland, Donna Jordan

Neighborhood Members: Talib Toussaint, Carrie Russell, Susan Roche, Stephen Gray, Jesse Lederman

Guests: Daryl Moss, City of Springfield, Mayor’s office

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



  • PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
  • Target Improvement Grant—Proposal for repairing the dry bridge on St James was prepared, however the Planning Dept ruled that it did not qualify for the program because it was a repair of an existing structure and not a new project. Will pursue the repair through the State.
  • Keep Springfield Beautiful clean-up May 02. McKnight is partnering with Bay to clean up the dry bridge on St James above and below, where there has been a lot of dumping and people living under the bridge. KSB will be providing a clean-up detail from the Sherriff’s department and the City will bring some equipment.


  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble-Lucas)MOTION: (EO moved) to accept as presented; (BS seconded); (WK called); Unanimous vote.
  • Lloyd C submitted the minutes for February 10, 2015, and March 10, 2015 for approval.
  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Colin Kirby)
  • Colin K reported a current balance of $786.23. 1st qtr reimbursement has been approved but check has not been received. Colin to provide budget update for February, March and April at next meeting, with individual copies for each Board member to review. Some difficulties with Freedom Credit Union in account setup. Walter K to assist in clearing up problems.


  • Daryl Moss, aide to the Mayor, brought updates on crime in the City and the ongoing measures to combat it.
  • Mason Square Initiative is now two years old. Created to increase communication between the police, neighborhoods, and City departments; and to increase resident participation in identifying, reporting, and resolving crime. Difficult to engage residents, but there are now a number of committed participants.
  • City entities also include the Mayor’s office, the district attorney’s office.
  • Six neighborhood walks have been conducted over the last year and a half, going door to door to talk with residents and provide information about how to contact the police and other departments, info about youth programs and services available.
  • Lighting campaign in partnership with WMECO to replace burned out street lights; trees cut back by City to increase illumination. The Clean Cities program has cleaned some lots, and volunteers (not city workers) have cleaned five vacant lots in the Mason Square area. Key commitment to improving conditions in the neighborhoods which is a fundamental component of reducing crime.
  • Ordinance squad from the City has been vigorously monitoring empty houses in the area. Residents urged to call Daryl Moss directly if they observe any activity on vacant properties. Two houses have recently been cleared out that gang were using for a base of operation.
  • Mason Square area is currently a hotbed of activity. Sycamore area has been cleared out, but there are at least five new groups forming. These are not new people from out of town, but members from other groups that re-form and move their activity to different locations in the City, as gangs compete for the heroin trade.
  • There are currently no funds available for street work and intervention, but there are committed volunteers who have been out working and talking to the young kids on the street corners and at the parks. The goal is to monitor activity and potential fights before they get out of hand and lead to more violence. Also there are opportunities to point these kids in different directions, and get them into programs before they end up in more serious trouble. More funds are needed for this outreach.
  • Important city-wide public safety meeting coming up on May 6 at Central High School to inform the public of all of the public safety initiatives in place, and make sure all of the neighborhoods are aware of these programs; and get an overview of the current situation in the City. Also will cover the Police Review Board and its role and responsibilities. Will discuss police and resident interactions, what avenues are available for communication and collaboration, complaints and resolutions.
  • Mason Square Initiative Task Forces meets twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday—at 1100 am on the 2nd Tuesday at the Deborah Hunt Center on Catharine Street; and 530 pm on the 4th Tuesday at AIC.
  • Final Message: The Mayor’s intention is to get residents and neighborhoods and responsible adults involved—the answer is not just the police.
  • Board members Jack D and Lloyd C expressed the opinion that the police do not engage residents easily, seem remote in McKnight, and disinterested when a crime is reported; with little follow up. Daryl M acknowledged the frustration, but commented that this still goes to stressed resources and personnel, and that resources are being focused on the hot spots in City.
  • Damian P asked about instituting a curfew for young people to help reduce the late night violence; Daryl M responded that most shooters are in their twenties and thirties
  • Walter K pointed out that McKnight still has a quality of life officer assigned to whom residents can communicate directly; he commented that residents are overwhelmed with all of the initiatives and need more information about the process of “getting things fixed”. Daryl M encouraged everyone to attend the May 6 meeting which will in part address that problem and provide a much needed overview.
  • Talib Toussaint from Gardening the Community explained the fresh food programs available to the Mason square neighborhoods.
  • Upcoming garden workshops are available to teach gardening skills for free to local residents.
  • Plant sales scheduled on Saturday May 09 at the GTC lot at 256 Hancock Street
  • GTC Eats! Food shares of fresh local vegetables available weekly from June 17 to October 28. Different size shares available for purchase and food stamps can be used. Delivery available within the Mason Square neighborhood.

BOARD—New Business

  • Community Services Awards/Annual Meeting next Month
  • Nominations approved for Representative Benjamin Swan, Ceil Lewonchuk, and Alonzo Kenney.
  • Community Pot Luck scheduled
    • Approval of Board of Directors Annual Election Site and Date
    • MOTION: (BS moved) that annual elections be held on June 13, 2015 at the annual block party at Thompson Triangle; (LO seconded); (WK called); Unanimous vote.
  • Block Party


  • Walter K passed out a check list of preparation items which board members reviewed. Scheduled for June 13.
  • Neighborhood-wide Garage Sale
  • Scheduled for May 16, Liz O to handle advertising and signage; Ben S volunteered to help put up signs
  • Spring Newsletter
  • Email out to neighborhood requesting articles, newsletter will go out first week in June. Board members asked to contribute articles. Lloyd C volunteered to solicit ads.


  • Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens)
  • Liz S reported the feasibility study is going to be re-presented to the Parks Commission in May for the Mayor, and Kevin Kennedy from the Planning Dept. Proposal accepted by TIP—Transportation Improvement Program—which will rate the proposal and lead to funding options. East Forest Park has now expressed interest in trail extending through their neighborhood. To coordinate with Ed Whitley on networking with them.
  • Public Safety (Walter Kroll)
  • Walter K emphasized that despite neighborhood frustrations, residents still need to network at the Watch and Police Beat meetings, and continue to be active and vigilant in neighborhood incidents. Police are encouraging that residents make use of the “Next Door” Facebook program to share information.
  • Housing & Code (Colin Kirby)
  • Colin K reporting that specific properties are still being followed; but the primary problem with most of the code violations is that residents lack the money for repairs and painting. Need to locate resources for residents.   Continuing to put pressure on problem landlords. Will forward current list to board. Need to move forward on ordinance for choosing paint colors for business and residents.
  • Communications (Ben Swan Jr)
  • Ben S reporting that we need to really expand on email list. Suggests flyer campaign and a table at block party promoting website and email sign-up.
  • Debate Committee (Paul Swenson)
  • Walter K and Tawreak E volunteering to assist Paul S with upcoming debates. Four candidates now running for Mayor. Will need to engage early.


WRAP-UP—Final Business

  • Climate Justice Coalition request to fund position in City
  • City Council unanimously approved resolution for coordinator position. Mayor needs to fund position. Request for neighborhood councils to write letters of support
  • Board decided they did not have enough information to decide. Request tabled for next meeting. Climate Justice Coalition to be contacted to send a representative to provide more information.8:00 ADJOURNMENT:   MOTION: (BS moved) to adjourn; (BS seconded); (TE called); motion carried.