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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 07/12/16

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Board Meeting: July 12, 2016                                                                                                                        Approved August 9, 2016

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

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

Board Members Present (15): Lamont E Clemons, Lloyd A Creswell, Tawreak Eddington, Lorenzo Gaines, Art Jones,

Walter Kroll, Bryan McFarland, Elizabeth O’Gilvie, Nick Panteleakis, Damian Phillips, Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Elizabeth Stevens, Ben Swan, Jr, Paul Swenson, Giselle Vizcarrondo

Board Members Not Present (0):

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman

Neighborhood Members: Brandi Gamble, Jesse Lederman, Emila Ponikiewski, Julius Dixon, David Spafford, Mark


Guests: Ed Whitley, Neighborhood Services; Demetrios Panteleakis, Laura Carr

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


  • PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Lamont Clemons)
  • Pres Lamont C thanked the Board for allowing him to serve as president for the last year. Reviewed Board accomplishments during the last year—two newsletters published, updating the bylaws which is still in progress, guests from the Police Dept and from City Housing informing the neighborhood on issues, the huge clean-up of the Rail Trail which Liz Stevens spearheaded, the work of the Beautification Committee, and an excellent block party. He valued the collaboration he was able to undertake with the leadership from the other Mason Square neighborhood councils, and hoped to see that collaboration continue. He also expressed enthusiasm about the increased voter participation in Board elections during the past two years; is enthusiastic about the progress made in the neighborhood, and excited about the progress that would continue in the upcoming year.
  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Lloyd Creswell, Asst Sec/Clerk)
  • Asst Sec/Clerk Lloyd C submitted for review the minutes of June 14, 2016 monthly Board meeting and June 28, 2016 executive Board meeting.
  • MOTION: (EO moved) to accept as presented; (ES seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question): Motion carried unanimously.        


  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
  • Treas Elizabeth S gave an informal report noting that the 4th Quarter CDBG reimbursement report has been submitted to the City and all FY2016 expenses have been paid. Reimbursement amount will be approximately $2000, and the Council has a current bank balance of approximately $2500.
  • Council expenses for this year exceeded the total amount of CDBG funding, and next month’s report will identify costs so the Board can consider how to use the funding more efficiently.
  • MOTION: (BM moved) to table financial report since there is not a written copy; (LAC seconded); (LEC called the question): Motion carried unanimously.


  • Pres Lamont C acknowledged and welcomed the newly elected Board Members—Rep Nikolaos Panteleakis from District 1; Reps Lorenzo Gaines and Giselle Vizcarrondo from District 3; and acknowledged the re-election of incumbent Board Members—Reps Lloyd Creswell and Benjamin Swan, Jr from District 1; and Reps Walter Kroll and Elizabeth Stevens from District 2.


  • Presentation of Slate of Officers by Nominating Committee—Art Jones, Chair
  • Chair Art J reported that the Nominating Committee met on July 5, 2016 and the following list of interested candidates was compiled based on a canvassing of all Board members prior to the meeting. The list of candidates was then distributed to all Board members via Council email.
  • President: Lamont Clemons, Walter Kroll
  • Vice President: Lloyd Creswell, Bryan McFarland
  • Secretary /Clerk: Damian Phillips, Synthia Scott-Mitchell
  • Treasurer: Elizabeth Stevens
  • Asst Secretary/Clerk: no interested candidates
  • Asst Treasurer: Tawreak Eddington
  • MOTION: (LAC moved) to accept nominating committee report as submitted; (TE) seconded; (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
  • Chair Art J conducted the election process following a motion approved by the Board:
  • MOTION: (EO moved) as above; (LAC) seconded; (LEC called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
  • Candidates were permitted to offer remarks prior to the vote; nominations from the floor were requested prior to the vote for each office; votes were by secret ballot; votes were tallied by Admin Asst Elizabeth L and neighborhood member Brandi G. Chair Art Jones announced results as follows:
  • President—Walter Kroll (Clemons 5; Kroll 10)
  • Vice-President—Bryan McFarland (Creswell 5; McFarland 10)
  • Secretary—Synthia Scott-Mitchell (Phillips 3; Scott-Mitchell 12)
  • Treasurer—Elizabeth Stevens (elected by acclamation)
  • Asst Secretary/Clerk—Damian Philips (nominated from the floor; elected by acclamation)
  • Asst Treasurer—Tawreak Eddington (elected by acclamation)
  • Outgoing President Lamont C passed the gavel to incoming President Walter Kroll and the meeting was re-convened.
  • Pres Walter K thanked the Board members who had served as officers during the previous year, and encouraged everyone to keep in mind that despite what office they may or may not hold—everyone serving on the Board of Directors has in common a real dedication and good intention to serve the neighborhood; and that is always the goal going forward in working together.


  • Abutter Applications and Rules for City-Owned Lots—Elizabeth Stevens
  • Rep Elizabeth S distributed a fact sheet on the rules for abutters acquiring city-owned vacant lots—to be used in the future when addressing requests for support when residents make applications to the City.
  • Rep Elizabeth O, who had herself acquired the vacant lot adjacent to her house through the abutter’s program, noted the affordability of the lot through the program; and that this is a positive for homeowners in the neighborhood and they should be encouraged to participate when the opportunity arises.
  • Pres Walter K observed that with the recent demolition of the property on Bowdoin Street, several abutters to the property have expressed interest in acquiring the lot, and may be coming forward to seek the endorsement of the Board; hence the Board should be informed in order to address these requests.
  • Community Preservation Act Ballot Question Proposal—Elizabeth Stevens


    • Rep Elizabeth S shared information about the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act—a program which is funded with a small portion of a community’s property taxes. The funds are used exclusively for the development of that community’s open space preservation, recreation, historic preservation, and housing.
    • It must be approved by the community as a whole through a ballot proposal. Springfield is considering participating, and a committee chaired by former historic commission member Robert McCarroll is helping to develop the ballot question and move the proposal forward. The committee intends to come to each of the neighborhood councils to seek input and support, probably in September.


  • Rep Elizabeth S observed that rail trail funds could potentially come from this program.
  • Discussion About Board Representation at Public Meetings vs Speaking as a Private Citizen
  • Rep Elizabeth S raised the issue of Board members participating in public forums or meetings and the distinction of offering opinions on behalf of the Neighborhood Council, and offering them as a private citizen. Unless the Board as a whole has voted on and taken a specific position on an issue, Board members were reminded that they should generally refrain from identifying themselves as Board members which often implies they are speaking on behalf of the Council, and make it clear they are offering their own opinion only.
  • Rep Lamont C agreed, observing that this should also be a guideline when doing interviews with the media.
  • Board members were also reminded that the McKnight logo and letterhead is only authorized to be used in correspondence that has been authorized by the Board, and not individually by Board members.
  • General agreement that these issues should be addressed in the bylaws revision.
  • National Night Out—Ben Swan, Jr
  • The National Night Out Event, which has been planned through a collaboration by MNC, Old Hill, Upper Hill, and Bay, is scheduled for Tuesday August 02 at Deberry School Playground. The event includes a march through Mason Square, free food and drink, a DJ, and various tables from neighborhood organizations. Request to the Board to donate funds to purchase food.
  • Board agreed to donate leftover hamburger and veggie patties from the block party.
  • Rep Lorenzo G offered a motion that next year the hamburgers and hot dogs at the block party be free, noting that he had personally observed many children being turned away that did not have the money to purchase food, and that he was dismayed to see the Council now donating the leftover food to another event. The motion was not seconded, as Rep Art J observed that this was more properly to be discussed during next year’s block party planning.
  • Rep Tawreak E observed that Board members needed to be cognizant when considering the question of offering free food that the Council’s expenses were more than its income this year. Rep Elizabeth S observed that the leftover food was the result of the block party being rained out, and normally there is not an excess.
  • Rep Lamont C said he knew many food vendors, and he was confident that he could procure free hotdogs and hamburgers for next year’s event.
  • Returning to National Night Out discussion, the Board agreed to host a table at the event.
  • Discussion about the Council contributing money to purchase some vegetable to go along with the meat. Agreement that Food Access Chair Elizabeth O would purchase fresh vegetables to contribute.


  • MOTION: (AJ moved) to authorize the expenditure of $100 as detailed above; (BM) seconded; (WK call for discussion); (WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.


  • Chair Appointments/Committee Lists/Discussion of Committees and work for upcoming year


  • MOTION: (AJ moved) to table the committee work until the next meeting, giving the new president time to evaluate the current chairs and announce appointments, after which committee descriptions, member responsibilities, and planning can take place; (EO) seconded; (WK call for discussion); (WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
  • Committee Chairs will email Admin Asst whether they want to continue chairing their current committees.


  • Rep Elizabeth S invited all Board members to attend a meeting with Pat Sullivan of Parks at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, July 20 at the Parks Office in Forest Park.
  • Debate Chair Paul Swenson announced the Hampden County Sheriff’s Debate, co-sponsored with the Ward 4 Democratic Committee, will take place at Rebecca Johnson School Auditorium on Tuesday, July 26, at 6:00 pm.Other neighborhood councils will be solicited for questions. Rep Ben S suggested that the other three Mason Square neighborhood councils be invited to co-sponsor. Debate Chair will take suggestion under consideration.
  • Walter Kroll will be moderating, roles and responsibilities are in the process of being defined, the press releases have been sent. Questions have been solicited from the public and developed by the debate committee. Questions will be collected from the audience. Flyer will be developed to distribute in the neighborhood.
  • Rep Damian P asked Board members to continue to be observant about loiters gathering at the gas station across from Magazine Park. Police have been following up, so continued reporting will help to solve the problem and make the park safer.
  • Rep Art J was asked about the baseball program he had organized for youth at Magazine Park. He said the season was over and he would be following up with obtaining donations for memberships to the Boys Club for the kids who had participated. Rep Lorenzo G made a motion that the Council sponsor the memberships which cost $10 to $15 a year. Rep Art J said he thought he had this covered, but would get back with an update if it was needful.
  • Neighborhood member David Spofford, who purchased a house on St James during the last year, introduced himself. He works at National Ambulance in the EMT training program and is interested in being active in the neighborhood both personally and professionally.
  • MNC 2008 Revitalization Plan distributed to all Board members for review.
  • Board members opted to continue to use paper name plaques rather than purchasing metal name plaques.
  • Board members authorized the purchase of a new folding easel for meeting sign display, cost $25 to $30.  
  • Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 08/09/16
  • 7:45 pm: Meeting adjourned.  MOTION:   (EO moved) to adjourn; (LG seconded); (WK called); Motion unanimous.
  • MOTION: (AJ moved) to authorize easel purchase as described above; (EO) seconded; (WK call for discussion); (WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.

7:45 pm: Meeting adjourned.  MOTION:   (EO moved) to adjourn; (LG seconded); (WK called); Motion unanimous. 

Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 08/09/16