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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 06/14/16

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Board Meeting:  June 14, 2016

Approved July 12, 2016

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting called to order by President Lamont C at 6:00 pm

Board Members Present (12): Lamont E Clemons, (Pres), Lloyd A Creswell, (Asst Sec/Clerk), Tawreak Eddington,

(Asst Treas), Brandi Gamble, (Sec/Clerk), Art Jones, Walter Kroll, Bryan McFarland, Elizabeth O’Gilvie, Damian Phillips, Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Elizabeth Stevens, Ben Swan, Jr

Board Members Not Present (1): Paul Swenson

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman

Neighborhood Members:  Giselle Vizcarrondo, Yoruba Vizcarrondo, Lorenzo Gaines, Vic Deanocco

Guests:  Arlene Smith, Joe Asselin

Pres Lamont C welcomed those attending the meeting; Board and audience introductions followed.



  • Nick Cocchi—Candidate for Hampden County Sheriff (unable to attend, to be re-scheduled)



  • PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Lamont Clemons)
  • Reported on block party held June 11, and praised Chair Walter Kroll for a successful, well-managed event despite the rainy weather. Walter acknowledged Rep Elizabeth S for getting the food donations and spending a lot of time helping to pull together details, and Rep Synthia S for coming to the rescue with tents when the rain set in.
  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble)

Sec Brandi G submitted minutes of May 10, 2016 Annual meeting and minutes of June 1, 2016 executive Board meeting for review.

MOTION: (LAC moved) to accept as presented; (TE seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
  • Asst Treasurer Tawreak E reported 4th quarter expenses to date which included Moe’s Hot Dog vendor at block party, web hosting, the newsletter, and food for the block party. Remaining bank balance to date is $3646.95.   $171.84 was reallocated within the CDBG budget from bookkeeping expenses to communications.

MOTION: (BM moved) to accept report as presented; (LAC seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Treasurer Elizabeth S requested approval for Rep Walter K (who remains the only other Board member authorized to sign checks) to sign a check to her reimbursing her for the food costs at Big Y which she purchased on behalf of the Council for the block party.

MOTION: (BG moved) to authorize Walter K to sign check as detailed above (LAC seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.



  • Patrick Asselin—Request for Recommendation for used car lot at 145 Armory Street
  • Follow up to Mr Asselin’s appearance at May meeting. Board to vote on request.
  • Patrick was not present. His father Joe Asselin appeared on his son’s behalf to answer questions.  He stated that Patrick is currently employed at the insurance agency he owns, is a solid experienced employee, and has not owned his own business before.
  • His application to the City Council has been currently tabled until they hear from the neighborhood Council.
  • Patrick asked him to convey his commitment to working with the Council, and to respect the adjacent rail trail path that will run along the side of the business property at 145 Armory. Rail Trail Chair Elizabeth S said that her concerns had been addressed at the May meeting, and she did not have any objections relative to the lot’s impact on the rail trail; and was confident the Council could work with Patrick.
  • Rep Synthia S asked for details of the plan submitted with the MNC application. Mr Asselin said the permit would allow for 22 cars maximum, and that Patrick would be starting out with 4 or 5 cars, and adding more cars as he built his business.
  • Discussion about the impact on traffic—not thought to be significant, and the intersection is controlled by a traffic light. Customer parking will be at the front of the lot, one handicapped and two other spaces.
  • Rep Walter K asked if Patrick had developed a formal business plan with an operating budget. His father said he does have an overall sense of the numbers involved for rent and acquisition of stock; however since he is using his savings and not financing his business through a bank, he has not developed a formal plan on paper.
  • His father emphasized that Patrick has acquired a good working knowledge of the used car business in working with dealers and brokers in his insurance business, and knows what he is getting into and what will be required in the short and the long run—knows how many cars he needs to sell each week and how to move forward in building up his stock.
  • Rep Brandi G asked about repairs that may be required of the cars—no repairs will be done on site, Patrick himself is not a mechanic and he is exploring connections with local repair shops. Rep Lloyd C, who has extensive experience in car sales, has offered to assist Patrick with finding local resources in the future should he need some help.

MOTION: (BM moved) to approve Patrick Asselin’s application for recommendation to open a used car lot at 145 Armory Street; (LAC seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Yea—11; Abstention—1.  Motion carried.



  • Board Review & Approval of Executive Board Vote for CDBG grant
  • fy2017 Scope of Service
  • Rep Synthia M recommended adding Springfield Partners and Springfield Food Policy Council as partners on Objective #1.

MOTION:  (SM) move to add partners as detailed above.  (LAC seconded); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Further discussion on whether to make more changes to the scope of service, including reviewing the 2008 Revitalization plan. Consensus reached to table further changes and discussion of scope of service for future consideration; and that the Board needed to ratify decision made by Executive Board at June 1 meeting for the purposes of submitting the CDBG paperwork which was due on June 9.

MOTION:  (AJ moved) to ratify vote made by Executive Board to approve CDBG Scope of Service.  (BM seconded); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • fy2017 Budget
  • Pres Lamont C asked if there was any discussion before approving the executive vote to approve the CDBG budget
  • Treas Elizabeth S offered the clarification that the budget in question only applied to the CDBG grant funds, and not the total amount of money that the Council has in assets, or the total expenses that the Council pays for during the year; and thus the grant funds are only a part of the Council’s total budget.

MOTION:  (WK moved) to accept; (BM seconded); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Corporate Contract Authorization

MOTION:  (LAC moved) that the Board authorize the President to sign the CDBG contract when it is available; (BM seconded); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Bryan McFarland—Election Committee Report
  • Election Chair Bryan M reported the results of the Board elections held on June 11. Discussion followed about this year’s election process.

MOTION:  (BG moved) to accept election report as submitted; (SM seconded); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Disposition of District 1 seat terms—District 1 had two 2-year seats open, and one 1-year seat open due to a Board vacancy. Three candidates were elected.  Rep Ben S volunteered to take the 1 year seat.




  • Nominating Committee
  • Designate chairperson—Rep Art Jones agreed to chair committee
  • Review of duties and expectations
  • Rep Elizabeth S who has chaired the nominating committee in years’ past explained how the committee works. All Board members are surveyed as to their interest in holding an office, and a list of the interested candidates is provided to the entire board membership prior to the election.
  • Agreement at previous meeting that those Board members serving on nominating committee were not seeking officer positions.
  • Board member elect Giselle V, who was appointed as a neighborhood member prior to Board elections, was asked if she wanted to remain on the committee or wanted to run for an office.  She opted to remain on the committee.
  • List is due seven days prior to the meeting at which officers are elected—which would be July 5.

Committee will send list to admin staff for distribution to Board once it is completed.



  • Standing Committees
  • Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens)

No recent activity.  Will be meeting soon with Parks.

  • Public Safety (Walter Kroll)

Upcoming Sector F/Watch meeting on this Thursday, June 16.  Bowdoin Street demolition scheduled for next week.

  • Good Neighbor (Elizabeth O’Gilvie)

Rep Elizabeth O will be obtaining sign-in sheets to do outreach to neighbors who voted in the recent election in order to further engage these residents.  Also checking into language transcription equipment which the City may own for use at neighborhood meetings for non-English speaking residents.

  • Communications (Ben Swan, Jr)

Newsletter went out the first week in June.

O     Ad Hoc Committees

  • Food Access (Elizabeth O’Gilvie)
  • Reporting that the Springfield Food Policy Council has developed a relationship with Sodexo, the company which supplies food to Springfield Public Schools and that Sodexo has agreed to purchase at least 30% locally of the food they use. They have also added an additional nine locations to their summer food programs.
  • She continues to work with Rebecca Johnson students in their garden bed projects.
  • Springfield has received a large grant from Trinity Health Systems, which she helped to write; and McKnight will be benefitting with the addition of bike lanes on the major streets in the neighborhood and along the Walking School Bus route over the next five years.
  • Debate (Paul Swenson)

Committee members Walter K and Tawreak E reporting that the Sheriff’s debate for late July is in the planning stages, and will be held in the Rebecca Johnson auditorium.

  • Beautification (Bryan McFarland)

Upcoming projects planned for repainting and restoring the older street signs that remain in the neighborhood.  Will be posting video footage of the restoration process and then the completed projects.

  • Community Center (Damian Phillips)

Reps Damian P and Tawreak E developing a donation request to MGM and other corporate entities.  Rep Elizabeth O pointed out that the entire Board needs to agree as to which businesses are solicited before requests are made.

  • Bylaws (Ben Swan, Jr)

Bylaws committee has met three times.  Will be scheduling future meetings shortly.

  • Tourism (Bryan McFarland)

Planning promotional videos of some of the McKnight homes and historical assets in the neighborhood.




NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor

  • Rep Art J observed that there is a lot of activity at Magazine Park this summer. Parks department has groomed the baseball diamond, and there are organized baseball games twice a week which he has helped to orchestrate.    He has observed a fair number of adult loiters at the park, which is not unexpected since it is a public space; however, he is encouraging Board members  and neighbors to help keep an eye on activities at Magazine Park when they are in the area, and report any potential problems to the authorities.
  • Rep Elizabeth S requesting approval to donate leftover hamburger buns from the block party to the Loaves and Fishes Kitchen.

MOTION:  (BS moved) to accept election report as submitted; (LEC seconded); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Board member elect Giselle V reported that she has been involved in trying to help residents at Bergen Circle Apartments with rodent problems in the building, a lack of security, and problems with perceived harassment by police officers.  She requested that the Council take on solving these problems as a project.  The Board was agreeable to helping to address her concerns.  Rep Art J explained that as a District 3 representative, it was her own project to the degree that she wanted to take it on and engage with the residents and issues, and that she should bring information back to the Board as a body, which would then provide support as it determined appropriate through Housing & Code, Public Safety, etc.


  • Board members were asked to review and confirm contact information for the 2016-17 contact list.


7:45 pm:  Meeting adjourned.   MOTION:   (LAC moved) to adjourn; (TE seconded); (LEC called); Motion unanimous.


Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 07/12/16