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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 5/13/14

i Jul 12th No Comments by

Board Meeting May 13, 2014


Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Welcome by President Walter Kroll.

Community Pot Luck took place from 6pm to 630pm.

Meeting Called to order 6:30 p.m.

Board Members Present (6): Walter Kroll (Pres); Brandi Gamble-Lucas, (Secy/Clerk); Elizabeth Stevens, (Treas); Lloyd Creswell, (Asst Secy/Clerk); Tawreak Eddington, Elizabeth O’Gilvie, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (5): Ishaq Harris (Asst Treas),Greg Gavin, Donna Jordan,Colin Kirby, Ben Swan, Jr.

Neighborhood Members and Guests: Approximately 60 in attendance; too numerous to list.


    • Walter K presented Carlo Dizlia an award for his extensive work in historic preservation. Carlo lives on Ingersol Grove in a home he restored, and has completed projects at 94-96 Byers Street, 98 Amherst Street, 152 Westminster Street, and 1138 Worthington. He has received recognition for his work from the Springfield Preservation Trust.
  • Elizabeth S presented Lani Bortfeld the award for her work in the cultural arts. Lani’s contributions span 25 years as a teacher, training children and their parents in the Suzuki method of instruction on violin and string instruments, and enriching the community through concert offerings which showcase her students’ accomplishments and inspire others to enjoy and become involved. Lani lives on Ripley Place.
  • Elizabeth O presented Anne Richmond with the award for her extensive work in food policy and access. Anne lives on Buckingham, and is the Director of Gardening the Community. GTC provides gardening space, experiences, and food to the Mason Square area, with an emphasis on youth development and community involvement.


  • Walter K presented an award for Liam Kelly for his contributions to public safety. Liam is a youthful Clarendon Street resident, whose watchful eye and willingness to be involved have helped to keep the neighborhood safer. Ed Kelly, Liam’s father, accepted the award on his behalf.


President Walter K covered the highlights of the Council’s work in the neighborhood since last July, and upcoming events and developments:

  • The Council has partnered with the City Housing and Code departments frequently and handled many complaints this year around group homes, halfway houses, and illegal boarding houses.
  • Code Enforcement actions took place on Westminster Street following the murder that took place to investigate activities at problem properties reported by residents.
  • Council worked closely with Springfield police to solve the wave of car break-ins in McKnight; eventually the person responsible was apprehended.
  • Council partnered with AIC to host at-large City Council candidate’s debate.
  • Council has followed and supported developments for the full service grocery store in the works for Mason Square.
  • Winter newsletter went out to all McKnight households; Spring newsletter in the works.
  • Rail trail meetings continue with City; grant funds acquired for initial feasibility study.
  • Council applied in January for CDBG Neighborhood Improvement Grant funds—received approval for new historic markers and hanging flower baskets. Details are being worked out now.
  • Housing and Code closely following renovation of Faith Baptist Church on St James and Clarendon, meetings with property owners to assure compliance with abatement issues and historic preservation elements
  • Interventions by Council regarding proposed RMV relocation to Martone Place—Council position is that it is an unacceptable location
  • Keep Springfield Beautiful event in early May—Council helped clean lot by Children’s Study Home on Sherman, and removed rubbish from a vacant lot on St James Ave—City to follow up with fallen tree removal and mowing
  • Neighborhood Watch and Sector F Police meetings continuing throughout the year
  • Block party planned for Saturday, June 21, sponsored jointly by the Council and Watch
  • Council elections for Board will be held at June block party


Walter K introduced the Board of Directors in attendance, offered acknowledgements to the representative from the Mayor’s office, Daryl Moss; Ed Whitley, Deputy Director of Neighborhood Services; and Jesse Lederman; and presented the participants from the City for the Public Safety Forum: Christopher Cignoli, Head of the DPW; Springfield Police Department representatives, Deputy William Cochrane; Traffic Department Supervisor Sgt Stephen Wyszynski; and McKnight quality of life officer Sgt Reggie Miller.


Summary from Walter K’s notes:

  • Forum organized in response to residents who approached the Council with complaints regarding noise, speeding, car racing, poor police response to calls—along the Worthington/ St James Avenue corridor.
  • In an effort to try and come up with a more permanent long term solution to this problem, the Council gathered City representatives from the Police department, the Mayor’s office, DPW, and our Director of Neighborhood Services.
  • The discussion was very passionate. We had many neighbors come forth to present their experiences and complaints regarding the quality of life issues. The meeting did get a bit off track with complaints that were really emotional vents and expressions of frustrations rather than facts and potential solutions. However, there was some good information shared and I saw many neighbors come forward I had not seen either at the Sector F meetings or a council meeting participating and that’s significant.
  • Chris Cignoli told us the Worthington intersection was being considered for upgrade in the coming years and discussions were had about the possibility of changing it to a round-about, instead of a linear intersection to try and help prevent drag racing at the light and speeding through the intersection from Worthington Street (as is often the case).
  • The police deployed several speeding details along the two corridors along with the “Check your Speed Sign” in an effort to reduce speeding. Officer Steve Wyszynski shared some good statistics that came from the monitor information collected.
  • It confirmed much of what the neighborhood was saying and it gives the police hard data to help deploy traffic stops efficiently and effectively.
  • Since it appears to reduce people’s speeds (at least in the early months of deployment) and gathers traffic information, the Council is going to explore seeking funding for our own permanent sign, like the one across from Western New England College.
  • Police have scheduled follow up period of surveillance and ticketing to violators, and will then redeploy the speed monitor to evaluate effectiveness of intervention. Council will be kept informed.
  • Council committed to continuing to facilitate future solutions as neighbors bring forth requests. We ask that neighbors embrace the tools they have to report because it can only be fixed if you identify there is a problem.
  • Council will continue to work with Chris Cignoli regarding the Worthington intersection and look for public input as the development gets closer


  • Approval of minutes from March and April meetings and treasurer’s report tabled due to time constraints.