March 2001 Board Meeting

Gifford Park Association Board Meeting
Thursday, March 1, 2001

Present: Joe and Deb Aguinaga, Jean and Paul Bednar, Mark Billings, Angela and Rork Coon, Edwina and Tony Little, Dan and Pat Miller, and Jason Musser

Paul Bednar called the meeting to order at 7:13 PM.

Pat Miller suggested that the annual award recommendations should be added to the agenda, as there was only 1 more general membership meeting before the Potluck. Pat also suggested that street cleanup and Channing mobiles be discussed.

433 DuPage Street

Mark Billings introduced Tony and Edwina Little. The Littles recently bid on 433 DuPage Street. Their offer was not accepted. The Littles wished to express their concern with how the sale of the property was handled. They have put in a complaint with the Northwest Area of Realtors, but wanted members of the neighborhood to know the problems that they experienced. Some of the items that the Littles felt were causes for a complaint were: the property closed for $6,000 less than what they offered, the buyers agent worked for the sellers agent, they were asked for an additional $4,000 down with no stipulations that was non-refundable, they were told that the house was not being shown yet when in reality the property had been shown already, and their lawyer has not been supplied with a reason as to why they lost the property. Mark Billings agreed to review the information presented, and determine if GPA has just cause to add to the complaint the Littles have already submitted. Mark will forward his findings to the board through email. Jean Bednar asked who had purchased the property. Tony commented that he believed it was an investment group as the closing had already taken place. His thoughts were that the only people that would be able to come up with the capital that quickly would be an investment group. Paul Bednar provided the Littles with a list of addresses of different properties in the district that they might be interested in.

Top Ten List

The board reviewed the first seven of the top ten list. Following are the comments presented.

Overcrowding

The City has addressed some of the ideas in this area by increasing the deconversion incentive funds. The City has also helped with the Home Marketing Program Grant. In general, the group felt that there have been improvements. An area yet to be targeted is education of realtors on historic home marketing. It was suggested that the City should have a seminar. Pat Miller added that GPA should also support point of sale inspections.

Neighborhood Plan

A city wide comprehensive plan is in the works. Consultants will be in town during the next few weeks to talk to the individual neighborhood groups.

Street Lights Maintenance Program

Jason Musser commented that he called the City and requested that they take care of a few lights that were out. The issue was addressed the next day. Dan Miller noticed that a contract for painting streetlights was approved, and recommended that someone check into this. Paul Bednar added that the block between Geneva and Villa still needed to be completed. The replacement of cobraheads at corners and the outdated lights in front of St. Mary’s has yet to be addressed.

Signage

The street name signs have been completed. If additional work in this area is requested, it should consist of requesting that these signs, and the wood marking signs, be maintained. Paul Bednar asked if replacement of signs, such as the one at Channing Park, needed to be funded through the Heritage Commission. Dan Miller did ask Sarosh if this could be handled under the Heritage Commission Funds. Dan asked if GPA should handle things such as sign painting, or should the City. The consensus was that the City should handle this.   Inappropriate advertising signs are still considered an issue. Pat Miller commented that she would not be surprised if this was addressed under the comprehensive plan. Work towards getting brown signs on Route 20 and the tollway to direct people to the historic district, as well as signs on Liberty has yet to be done. Pat Miller stated that this has been looked into in the past. If signs are on a state highway, they must be approved by the state. The group agreed that the replacement of traffic signs throughout the district that are in poor condition is still necessary. Dan Miller suggested that a message should be sent to Dave Lowry, and copied to Joyce Parker, regarding this issue.

Park Improvements

Improvements to Gifford Park are already in the works. Improvements in parking, drainage, equipment, and landscaping, to Channing Park are still desired. It was mentioned that this would probably need to be a partnership between the City and the school district. The City is already working to spruce up Davidson Park. Pat Miller added that she would like to see a light for the statue there. The group agreed that we should push for the purchase of the Grandview Property again.

Streetscape Improvements

The items under this heading include the repair of curbs, storm drains, and street tree plantings and maintenance. GPA should still push for overhead utility lines to be buried. Pat Miller suggested that the City should have a policy that states, where possible, all changes to utility lines should be put in the alley or rear of the property line.

Traffic

The outdated traffic lights at Channing and Chicago, and Gifford and Chicago have not been replaced. It was stated that something needs to be done at the intersection of Channing and Division. The timing of the lights at Channing and Villa and Chicago and Liberty is off. Dan Miller commented that an email should be sent to Dave Lowry and Joyce Parker in order to get these items taken care of. Jean Bednar added that something should be done about the sidewalks that are covered with snow during the winter months. Mark Billings commented that maybe these numerous issues will help support that we need a traffic study. Pat Miller stated that she is concerned with the street closure at Gifford Place.

The remainder of the Top Ten List will be discussed during the next board meeting. Mark Billings added that he likes Dan Miller’s idea of attacking small things at a time. He believes that it was too much to bring the whole list forward at one time. Paul Bednar replied that the Top Ten List was started so that the City and Council could have a list in front of them, so that they could be held accountable.

Neighborhood Improvement Grant

The deadline to apply for the $15,000 neighborhood improvement grant is March 30th. Betty Skyles had requested assistance with improving the landscaping and trees at Old Elgin High School. Dan Miller asked if maybe we could replenish the City rehab grant. Pat Miller added that the previous tree-planting grant was good, but maybe a stipulation could be added about maintaining the tree. Paul Bednar added the idea of funding events for the neighborhood. Mark Billings commented that he would vote for anything at Old Elgin High in order to continue the efforts that were started at the last Make a Difference Day. This strengthens relationships with Old Elgin High, and other neighborhood groups. Another benefit is that it ties in with the Gifford Park Improvements and the Villa Court median. Paul Bednar concluded by stating that the consensus was Old Elgin High and streetscape trees. He will put a draft together.

Great Unveiling

The comment was made that we need to think about getting a flier out. Paul Bednar asked if Dan Miller would be willing to work with Jean Bednar to get a flier out.

CDBG

Mark Billings updated the group that he hasn’t received any feedback yet, he should hear back in March. Pat Prestige is making use of the deconversion funds at 140 N. Gifford. Now that he has to do all this work, he says that he will be asking $200,000 for the property.

Meeting Place

Channing School is unavailable in March. We will be checking into an alternative room at Old Elgin High School, and also Elgin Academy.

Home Marketing

The information presented on the Crain’s advertisement during the last meeting was incorrect. The ad placed is very nice, just not as large as originally planned. Next month’s issue will feature Jarrig Visser’s house. Mark Billings has also talked to Jarrig about helping out with an open house. Mark is still looking into other publications such as the Herald and the Tribune. Paul Bednar mentioned the Kane County Chronicles as a possible source. Mark Billings has also been trying to keep in contact with reputable real estate agents.

Potluck

The awards were discussed, as they should be finalized by the April board meeting. It was stated that the Chuck and Audrey Behrens award does not have to be given out, but it has never been skipped. Mark Billings suggested putting out an email to the general membership for suggestions. It was also suggested that a list of the smaller awards from the past be distributed. Examples of such are: rookie of the year, take the ball and run with it, golden pro, and salesman of the year. Jean Bednar agreed to send out a list of past awards.

Ideas for the potluck program were discussed. The Community Energy Group, Mike Alft, Jerry Turnquist, John McKnight, and the Watch Factory documentary were all brought forth as possibilities.

Point of Listing Inspection

A meeting is scheduled to discuss the point of listing inspection. Paul Bednar asked for approval to make a statement supporting the ordinance.

Adjournment

Dan Miller made the motion to adjourn. Jason Musser seconded the motion.