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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 03/21/17

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Board Meeting: March 21, 2017                                                                                                                        

Approved April 11, 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 (10): Walter Kroll, President; Bryan McFarland, Vice-President; Elizabeth Stevens, Treasurer;

Damian Phillips, Asst Sec/Clerk; Art Jones, Elizabeth O’Gilvie, Lorenzo Gaines, Giselle Vizcarrondo, Paul Swenson,

Ben Swan, Jr

Board Members Not Present (5): Lloyd A Creswell; Lamont E Clemons; Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Secy/Clerk; Nick

Panteleakis, Tawreak Eddington, Asst Treas

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman

Neighborhood Members & Guests who signed in: Todd Ostrowski

Guest Presentations: None

  • VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Bryan McFarland)
  • Google Voice Account is now operational, with a new phone number. Will phase out the old number over the next few weeks while the website and other public postings are updated. Agreement to cancel the Vonage at the end of April.  PayPal donation account is now functional, and the last steps to verify the bank account will be completed in the next few days, so that donations can be transferred from the PayPal account.
  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Synthia Scott-Mitchell, absent) MOTION: (BM moved) to accept as presented; (PS seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • Asst Sec Damian P submitted the minutes from the 02/14/17 Neighborhood Meeting and the 02/28/17 Executive Board Meeting.
  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
  • Treas Elizabeth S distributed copies of financial report. Current bank balance is $1,750.60.
  • The upcoming newsletter will cost $1500 to produce, and the budget has adequate funds remaining to cover the cost. Rep Elizabeth O asked how much newsletter ad sales produce to offset the cost. Past sales have brought in $350.   She questioned whether or not this was an effective use of $1500 to print a newsletter. Discussion tabled until later in the meeting.
  • MOTION: (EO moved) to accept the treasurer’s report as presented; (DP seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor
  • Todd O observed that the City had done a good job of plowing after the last storm.
  • Rep Damian P observed that David Gaby’s mother had died, who was a long-time McKnight resident. Rep Elizabeth S to send a condolence card.
  • Rep Art Jones let people know that the Boys Club is sponsoring a baseball team for boys 12 and under, which is free, and the training is taking place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Boys Club.
  • Rep Damian P expressed concern about people taking milk crates from the gas station across from Magazine Park and using them to sit on when they gather at the park. He suggested that the Council needs to ask the owners to secure the milk cartons to help discourage this activity. Pres Walter K said that the police and the Parks Dept are responsible for security at the park, and it can be addressed to them.
  • Rep Giselle V wanted to know if the Council wants to sponsor a 413 table at National Night out. The program promotes literacy in preschool children, and asks parents to sign up to receive text messages and information which will help prepare their children to learn to read. Pres Walter K said he would bring the proposal to the National Night Out planning meeting with the other Mason Square neighborhood councils. Giselle S will send him more information about the initiative.

  • Nomination to Community Preservation Committee
  • Nominations included Rep Elizabeth O’Gilvie, neighborhood member Patricia McFarland, and Rep Lorenzo Gaines. After discussion, the Board agreed to recommend Elizabeth O’Gilvie. She will follow up with her resume.
  • MOTION: (GV moved) to nominate Elizabeth O’Gilvie as the McKnight Council’s nominee for the Community Preservation Committee; (DP seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.

  • Block Party Planning
    • Pres Walter K and Rep Lorenzo G to co-chair Block Party Committee.

  • Discussion about budget for Block Party. Currently the budget does not have any funds to allocate to the cost of the block party. Rep Lorenzo G to contact Rep Lamont C about his previous commitment to fund the Block Party costs.
  • Todd O offered suggestions about using a sponsorship program as an effective approach to businesses when soliciting donations. He works with an organization which uses this approach very successfully in fundraising for specific events. Will forward the information on how this works to the Council.
  • Request for volunteers to serve as captains for table hosting, food and donations, music and entertainment, and set-up and clean-up. Suggestion that Rep Giselle V handle table hosting since it involves community engagement. Rep Bryan M volunteered to handle set-up and clean-up.
  • Discussion about obtaining food and donations included the fact that these need to be made early in the planning process. Rep Elizabeth O volunteered to contact Big Y about a donation, and to contribute salad to the event.
  • Rep Paul S pledged $25 to the cost of the Block Party and to work on food prep at the grill. Will need four to six people to cook and serve if the Council decides to serve food that way this year.
  • Some ideas for music and entertainment were discussed but no captain was named to organize this.
  • No captain was designated to specifically handle food and donations.
  • Newsletter Planning
  • Rep Elizabeth O expressed her concern about whether the cost of the newsletter is an effective use of the Council’s money since it costs $1500 and that it is a large part of the Council’s budget.
  • Pres Walter K observed that while the cost of the newsletter and the block party were the two most expensive undertakings of the Council, they were the two main methods of outreach and community engagement.
  • Rep Elizabeth O said she felt the money should be used for smaller projects, such as allocating money to the Community Engagement Committee—and offered the example of setting up a grill and serving hot dogs at the garden site at Rebecca Johnson while she is teaching a gardening class. She expressed the opinion that this was a measurable community activity which had a lot more value than printing a newsletter.
  • Rep Lorenzo G expressed the opinion that no one reads mail anymore and that they use digital communications. He agreed there should be a newsletter, but that the cost should be contained. He felt that offering people free food was a more effective way to bring people together to engage around a specific issue such as public safety, and that using the $1500 to purchase food for events would bring out large numbers of people.
  • Rep Elizabeth S reminded people that the $1500 under discussion is CDBG money and cannot be used to purchase food.
  • Rep Elizabeth O suggested that part of the money should be used for the newsletter, and that the other outreach ideas under discussion should be given further consideration in order to reach all of the different groups in the neighborhood. She said she would announce a raffle for a bike in the newsletter with a raffle ticket that could be cut out and used for the raffle as a tool to see how widely the newsletter is read. Rep Elizabeth S said she would contribute the bike.
  • MOTION: (EO) moved that the Council allocate $750 to the cost of the newsletter and that each of the Board members commit to raising the rest of the money through selling ads or however else they chose; (LG seconded); (WK called for discussion); Motion carried unanimously.

  • Bylaws Revision
  • The Bylaws Committee has completed the proposed revision of the current bylaws. The goal of the revision is to reflect current practices of the Council, improve the processes in use, build capacity, and to increase inclusiveness.
  • A special Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22. The purpose of the meeting is to review the proposed revision, agree on any changes, and approve the final document to be submitted to the general membership for a vote.

  • Rail Trail Committee—(Elizabeth Stevens, Chair)
  • The committee will meet with Pat Sullivan of the Parks Department on Thursday, March 23. .

  • Public Safety—(Walter Kroll, Chair)
  • Continues to be relatively quiet because of the winter weather. Series of small arson events in the Mason Square area; the police have arrested the man allegedly responsible. Rep Ben S reporting that he has been recommended for appointment to the Police Hearing Board and they are currently conducting a listening tour in the City.

  • Fundraising Committee—(Synthia Scott-Mitchell, absent)
  • Rep Elizabeth O volunteered to assist in fundraising efforts. She will get information on partnering with a restaurant for a fundraising event.

  • Community Center, Traffic, & Streets—(Damian Phillips, Chair)
  • Rep Damian P presented police logs for calls on St James Avenue and Worthington Street for the past three years. Proposed using information to help determine where crosswalks and other interventions are needed. Discussion about where crosswalks are needed on St James Avenue.
  • Food Access—(Elizabeth O’Gilvie, Chair) 
  • Rep Elizabeth O reporting that April is Public Health Month. Several events are planned which she will send out to the Council for distribution. The Food Policy Council is taking the lead on the initiative for establishing a grocery store in Mason Square. Farmers market will be happening again this summer on the corner of State Street and Thompson.

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


Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 4/11/17