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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 12/13/16

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Board Meeting: December 13, 2016                                                                                                         

Approved January 10, 2017

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Community Pot Luck: 600 pm to 6:35. Approximately 35 in attendance

Meeting called to order by President Walter K at 6:45 pm.

Board Members Present (11): Lamont E Clemons; Tawreak Eddington, Asst Treas; Lorenzo Gaines; Art Jones; Walter Kroll,

President; Nick Panteleakis; Damian Phillips, Asst Secy/Clerk; Bryan McFarland, Vice-President; Elizabeth Stevens,

Treasurer; Paul Swenson, Giselle Vizcarrondo

Board Members Not Present (4): Lloyd A Creswell; Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Secy/Clerk; Elizabeth O’Gilvie; Ben Swan, Jr

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman

Neighborhood Members & Guests who signed in:  Mike Stevens, Patricia McFarland, Rev Michael Devine, Todd

Ostrowski, Jesse Lederman, Demetrice Dawkins, Roberta Kilkenny, Brandi Gamble, Stephen Gray, Lamar Cook, David Gaby, Margaret Gaby, Rodrick Shubrick

Guest Presentations: Greg Ellerbee

Pres Walter K welcomed those attending the meeting; Board and audience introductions followed.

  • Greg Ellerbee—Primus Mason Credit Union 
  • Mr Ellerbee presented details of a credit union he is in the process of developing, the primary purpose of which is to bring economic development to Mason Square. The project is in its beginning phase. He is currently doing outreach to gain the support of neighborhood councils, businesses, and other community groups and members. He has not yet secured any investors. He is working with Tony Moore and Ben Swan, Sr. Goal is to open in July 2017.
  • The goals of the credit union which he outlined: financial literacy classes, support the Rail Trail with volunteer hours, hire employees from the community, open a student run branch that empowers them to have a clear savings plan, offer 592a counseling to parents so they can prepare for college planning, and micro loans will be offered to small business.
  • Mr Ellerbee circulated a petition at the meeting which individuals could sign indicating their support for the proposal. The goal is to obtain 5,000 signatures on the petition which will be used to help gain approval from the City for securing a municipal bond which would provide the working capital for the credit union. The City Council would have to approve the bond as a part of the budget.
  • Mr Ellerbee requested an endorsement from the McKnight Council which he said was also necessary in order to secure the municipal bond. The Council deferred making a decision on an endorsement until a later date.
  • VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Bryan McFarland)
  • Bryan recounted the highlights of accomplishments by the Council in 2016, including the Rail Trail clean-up in the Spring, the most vendors ever at the spring Block Party despite the rainy weather, the volunteers who helped to repaint the dry bridge, a rousing Sheriff’s debate, the special meeting on 1090 Worthington which helped bring the neighborhood together to voice their concerns, the third annual holiday decorating event at Thompson Triangle, and the holiday pot luck. His observation that this was a bright example of a diverse community working together was met with hearty applause.
  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Synthia Scott-Mitchell, absent) MOTION: (BM moved) to accept as presented; (TE seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • Asst Sec Damian P presented the minutes from the 11/09/16 Neighborhood Meeting and the 11/29/16 Executive Board Meeting for review and approval.
  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)MOTION: (BM moved) to accept as presented; (PS seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous. 
  • Revisited the question of who is going to do the informal audit of the books that was previously agreed upon. Does not have to be a Board member. Will solicit volunteers.
  • Submitted 1st quarter CDBG reimbursement request in November. Current funds on hand $1,113.65. Distributed a financial report for review.

  • Rail Trail—Elizabeth Stevens, Chair
  • City has allocated $300,000 from a Dept of Transportation to the Rail Trail. Funds to be used for continuation of feasibility study and environmental studies.  

  • Public Safety—Walter Kroll, Chair
  • SPD has now gone online with real time crime reports which can be accessed from their website. Still networking with C-3 and the other neighborhood councils to lay groundwork for addressing the Bergen Circle issues.
  • Housing & Code—Bryan McFarland and Synthia Scott Mitchell, Co-Chairs
  • Rep Bryan M reporting that the current focus is the former Laragione group homes, four individual properties located on Westminster and St James Avenue, now owned by JJS properties. Some renovations have taken place, and there have been some indications that the properties may be intended to be used as boarding houses or sold for group home use again. Patricia M shared information on these properties which she has been researching with the City. The City is scheduled to inspect the properties in the near future.
  • The sober houses operated by Able Place, Inc on Bowdoin and St James are under review by the City. The St James house opened in 2014 and had not gone through the required inspections. Also some questions have been raised as to their current non-profit status.
  • Community Center—Damian Phillips, Chair
  • Rep Damian P requested that the committee’s scope be expanded to include traffic and streets since there is no realistic path to a community center right now.
  • MOTION: (LEC moved) to expand the committee as requested; (BM seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • Damian asked if a special section could be set up on the website to post activities and take suggestions.   It was pointed out that committee blogs are already available; and Rep Bryan M suggested it might be better to set up a separate Facebook page for his committee, which would be linked to the main Facebook page.
  • Damian discussed the speeding on St James Avenue, and showed several speed bump examples that could be used in the area. Discussion followed about the most effective way to engage the City with a plan, and how to best solicit support from elected officials such as Congressman Neal. Committee will develop letter to begin the process.
  • Debate Committee—Paul Swenson, Chair
  • Rep Paul S reported on the Sheriff’s debate held earlies in the fall.
  • Bylaws Committee—Paul Swenson, Chair
  • Rep Paul S reporting that the bylaws revisions began in April with Rep Ben S chairing the committee, and were resumed in October when Paul volunteered to continue on as chair. Several meetings have taken place, and though progress has been slow the work is moving forward and will resume after January 1.
  • Dover Reform Committee—Ben S, Chair 
  • Roberta K reported that the newly formed committee will be meeting after the first of the year.

  • Demetrice D who lives on Grant Street said he would like to get involved in working with the Council and would be happy to volunteer on any committees that need help.Adjournment: MOTION: (TE moved) to adjourn; (BM seconded); (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 1/10/17