The Blog

McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 04/11/17

i May 18th No Comments by
Board Meeting: April 11, 2017                                                                                                                                                             

Approved May 09, 2017 

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting called to order by President Walter K at 6:00 pm. Board and audience introductions followed.

Board Members Present (11): Walter Kroll, President; Bryan McFarland, Vice-President; Elizabeth Stevens, Treasurer;

Damian Phillips, Asst Sec/Clerk; Tawreak Eddington, Asst Treasurer; Lamont Clemons, Art Jones, Elizabeth O’Gilvie, Lorenzo Gaines, Giselle Vizcarrondo

Board Members Not Present (4): Lloyd Creswell; Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Secy/Clerk; Nick Panteleakis, Ben Swan, Jr, Paul Swenson

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman

Neighborhood Members & Guests who signed in: Karan Parkin, Marianne Winters, Steven Howard, Stephen Gray, Alan


Guest Presentations: Melissa Nazzaro, Director Springfield Police Dispatch; Tyrra Minto and three youth representatives,

Gardening the Community


  • Gardening The Community—Tyrra Minto and youth representatives
  • GTC plants, harvest, and sells food grown by youth volunteers who train and work the year round, learning the skills of urban agriculture. GTC focuses on building a healthy and equitable Springfield, which means meeting residents at the level of their needs, and includes accepting WIC vouchers, EBT, and offering discounts to seniors.
  • This summer GTC will be participating in the new EBT health incentives program, which will reward rebates to customers on their EBT cards for every dollar they spend on produce.
  • GTC offers the following programs for the purchase of produce—GTC Eats, which offers farm shares in partnership with a local farm, and begins Wednesday, June 14; the regular GTC market is open on Thursdays, and begins on May 13; and the City Soul farmers market is open each Saturday beginning on June 17.
  • In 2016, GTC grew 3,000 lbs of produce, and sold a total of 23,000 lbs of produce in conjunction with local farms, for revenue of $32,000, serving 450 families and several local restaurants.
  • In addition to learning the skills of urban agriculture, including water management, composting, and solar applications, youth participants are trained in resume writing, help with fundraising, public speaking, and learn how to network in the community. Youth deliver farm shares on bikes to some residents participating in the farm share program.
  • GTC will be having a Plant Sale on May 13th at their Hancock Street garden.
  • Melissa Nazzaro, Director of Springfield Police Dispatch
  • The department has hired six new dispatchers which will bring staffing to 100% by mid-summer. A second quality assurance person has been hired. Their job is to review all complaints about the department’s service response, and to proactively monitor dispatch performance and offer feedback, with a goal of monitoring .5 percent of all calls that are handled. The City has been asked for two additional supervisors, one for the evening and one for the night shift. Current staffing of dispatchers includes 5 on the night shift, 6 on the day shift, and 6 on the evening shift.
  • The City has implemented the Smart 911 program. A resident can sign-up at and fill out a profile and provide details about any special circumstances that apply to family members living at their residence, such as a special needs child, a family member with special medical needs, or an elder member with dementia. If dispatch receives a call from that registered number this information is immediately on hand for dispatch to see. The profile needs to be updated every 6 months. The program is available in many languages.
  • Discussion about previous problems residents have had with calls that are not followed up on, and calls being closed out with no response. Ms Nazarro said this problem had been addressed with dispatchers and that currently they are not having any problems reported with this. She also observed that the police have been dispatching additional help if the regular officers in a particular sector are tied up, and acknowledged that sometimes it does take a long time for follow up, but that all calls are now followed up upon before they are closed out.
  • Rep Elizabeth O discussed how the incident with a shooting at the Rebecca Johnson school playground last summer was handled. She observed that the dispatch and police response was unacceptable, and that she had subsequently written several letters to Ms Nazzaro and other officials with no follow up. She asked for and was given an apology by Ms Nazzaro, who noted that she did follow up on the incident and that there was an investigation by the police department in which she participated.
  • Rep Lorenzo G inquired if there was any data on how often police are sent to the wrong address by the shot spotter system, recounting an incident on Girard Avenue. Ms Nazzaro indicated that the police would have that data, not Dispatch. He also asked about how the Dispatch dealt with the problem of similar street names, and Ms Nazzaro indicated that it is a serious problem and that multiple measures are in place to address it.
  • Rep Lamont C asked what metrics are in place to help the department measure its performance. Ms Nazarro reported that the department receives 89,000 911 calls annually, and an additional 450,000 non-emergency calls. All calls are recorded, and of these calls, .15% are monitored through a quality assurance review. Calls which go to court, typically those related to violent crimes, receive a special review. The department uses a quality assurance program called Power Phone Total Response to evaluate service delivery. The Commonwealth requires that 90% of all 911 calls be answered within 10 seconds.   The department is currently meeting that metric.
  • PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
  • Pres Walter K observed to Board representatives that being on time for the beginning of the meeting is important, especially because guest presentations take place first. He noted that the meeting time can be adjusted if that would be helpful to solving the problem of late arrivals.
  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Synthia Scott-Mitchell, absent)
  • Asst Sec Damian P submitted the minutes from the 3/21/17 Neighborhood meeting, the 3/22/17 Special meeting, and the 3/28/17 Executive Board Meeting.
  • MOTION: (BM moved) to accept as presented; (ES seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
  • Treas Elizabeth S distributed copies of financial report dated 4/11. Current bank balance is $1, 125.60.
  • Second quarter reimbursement from City has not yet been received.
  • Rep Lamont C expressed the concern that CDBG funding may be cut for the next year. Treas Liz S said that Ed Whitley from Neighborhood Services keeps the Council informed about what to expect. Discussion about the how Council activities are reported to the City, as performance is evaluated for funding levels. Rep Elizabeth O requested a copy of the previous CDBG activity report to review.
  • MOTION: (EO moved) to accept the treasurer’s report as presented; (DP seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.

  • Audit Report of 2015 Books—Marianne Winters
  • Marianne is a neighborhood Council member, who previously served on the Board and held the office of treasurer for several years. At the request of the Council she conducted a financial review of the Council books for the fiscal year 2015.
  • Marianne submitted a draft report to the Council which indicated that everything was in order. She also made several recommendations about bookkeeping procedure that are in line with best practices for a small non-profit.
  • Will submit final report along with meeting notes for final approval.

NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor
  • Stephen G reported the following problems. Magazine Park needs sani-cans; he has called 311. Reports that students from a nearby charter school are going into the basement of his apartment building. Also reported concern about a garage on Cornell Street with a badly deteriorating roof.
  • Steven H suggested moving the guest spots on the agenda to the 7:00 spot to allow for late-comers.
  • Rep Giselle V inquired about the Council’s support of Rebeca Johnson School reporting that the Parent Coordinator said she had not heard from the Council in the last year. Rep Elizabeth O will check in with Ms Norman to follow up.

  • Newsletter Ads--Reminder that Board representatives committed to raising $750 for the publication of the newsletter by selling ads. Reps Lis S and Lorenzo G have each sold several.
  • Block Party Planning—Rep Lamont C will finalize the amount of his commitment to help fund the block party with his other business associates. Discussion about pursuing other donations for food from Big Y and Stop and Shop

  • Bylaws Approval Process
  • Vote to designate May as a membership meeting
  • MOTION: (BM moved) to designate May as membership meeting; (TE seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • Decision on Annual Meeting date in June. Discussion included the possibility that the bylaws approval process might continue into the June meeting. Also if bylaws are approved in May, ratification of election results and election of officers could occur if the meeting were held later in the month.
  • MOTION: (BM moved) that the regular June meeting be held on June 27 as the Annual meeting; (TE seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • Election Commission
  • Elect Chairperson and appoint commission members.        MOTION: (EO moved) that Rep Ben S be appointed chairperson; (BM seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion  
  •        unanimous
  • MOTION: (EO moved) that all Board representatives not running for election be appointed to serve on the election commission; and that the following three individuals from the general membership be invited to serve—Todd Ostrowski, Ed Zuckerman and Sylvia Staub. (TE seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • Nominating Committee—Tabled
  • Community Service Awards—Tabled
  • Committee Reports--Tabled

Adjournment: MOTION: (TE moved) to adjourn; (DP seconded); (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.

Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 5/09/17