June 2004 Board Meeting

GPA Board Meeting Minutes
DNA Offices
June 3, 2004

Present:          Bill Briska, Dan Miller, Paul Durrenburger, Mark Billings, Pat Miller, Pat Segel, Fran Cella, Julie Schmitt, Dave Berkey

Pocket Park Update

Paul Bednar is representing GPA at the Bike Path meeting & has provided the following report. Significant savings have been achieved in the area of park benches and pathways. Three old benches that were previously in Gifford Park are available for use in the pocket park. Historic pavers for the pathway are being donated courtesy of Kurt Kresmery and PAR Development. The pavers will be available as a result of the lower Wellington St demolition & redevelopment.

The original design for the park called for an entry structure that was not previously affordable. Such a structure may now be feasible in light of the above generous donations. Paul is still waiting for estimates on labor. Garden structures, e.g. paving, seating, fencing, etc. will take priority over landscaping (plants).

501c3 Update

Pat Segel received another request for information from the IRS . As our association does not fit neatly into any of their existing models, the agency is having difficulty understanding what GPA does. The most recent questions suggest they are trying to determine if we are like Habitat for Humanity. Extensive additional information was provided. A decision should be forthcoming.

132 N. Channing Update

Mark Billings reported that HVAC work began yesterday and should be complete by Monday (6/7).      This is a pivotal point for the subcontractors as progress has been on hold awaiting completion of this work. An independent contractor assessed both of the current furnaces as needing replacement. The two will be replaced with a single energy efficient furnace.

The immediate goal is to finalize the deconversion requirements. This means that the kitchen and both bathrooms must be operational for us to receive the grant money.

We continue to have problems with NICOR billing us for charges incurred prior to our ownership of the property.

A code violation was recently issued for the driveway approach in the front yard. The existing gravel apron resulted from city staff erroneously cutting the curb some years ago. GPA plans to remove the gravel apron and the city has pledged to replace the curb.

Some time was spent reminding ourselves of how important this project is for the neighborhood – despite the fiscal and emotional stress that comes with it. While board members remain concerned about the budget, all concur that the project was the right thing to do for the future health of the neighborhood.

Budget Status

Dan Miller distributed a detail account of expenditures on 132 N. Channing (1/1/04-6/04/04). Expenditures to date total: $84,989.73.   Anticipated upcoming expenses are $86,733.69. (This figure is inflated as it includes some work already paid for.) Our current account balance is $32,979.58.   Anticipated income from grants is $30,000. Additional private foundation grant money is available to us if we receive 5013c status.

Additional Great Unveiling

The house at 171 N. Porter was recently purchased. The new owner came to the Design Review subcommittee asking to replace her hail damaged aluminum siding with new vinyl siding which the insurance company agreed to pay for. The design guidelines do not allow that. Steve Stroud, Sub-Committee chair, suggested that the woman remove the siding and paint the existing clapboards. He and Bill Briska found an original picture of her home! The insurance company agreed to help pay for painting original clapboards, but does not want to wait until next year for the unveiling. The Heritage Commission budgeted $3000 for unveilings for this year, only $2000 of which was spent.   A great unveiling will be on Saturday, June 12 starting around 8:00. This will be a joint effort of GPA & ABODE.

Lovellton

A meeting with Brownstone Developments, the proposed developers of the Lovellton property, is scheduled for Thursday June 10 at 7 p.m.   Individual thoughts about the upcoming meeting and the recent tour of the site were discussed. All agreed that if the site is to be used by Walgreen’s (or another buyer) for a retail store, the design should be worthy of a historic site in a historic district. Dan suggested incorporating some of the surviving features of the mansion (e.g. the elegant doors) into the store entryway.

Historic looking modern store facades that have been found on line have all been in downtown areas and don’t apply to the Lovellton site.

As of the day of the tour, Walgreen’s had not closed on the property.

St. Joseph’s Church & School

St Joseph’s church has been seeking from relief from their severe overcrowding problem for several years now. Representatives of the church have appeared before the Design Review on previous occasions requesting permission to tear down buildings on their property. In the past they have been asked to present a plan for what will replace the buildings as well as for how the project will be funded.   No plan has been submitted to date. Most recently, the church has   asked to demolish 101 Center, 256 Division, and 260 Division. The intent is to use this space temporarily for parking and a playground and possibly for an addition to the church in the future. Permission was denied by the Design Review sub committee. The church is appealing to the whole Heritage commission at their July meeting. This will be the only opportunity for testimony prior to a decision being made. The question was raised as to whether GPA wants to take a position on this issue.

After much discussion, board members concurred that a long term plan addressing the architectural and business aspects of the project is essential before demolition should be allowed. A statement to this effect will be drafted for the hearing.

Directors &Officers Insurance

As a follow up to an earlier board discussion, Pat Miller met with GPA’s insurance agent to review and discuss the necessity of our purchasing this insurance. Information is still needed for us to make an informed decision. Fran will follow up on this at the NHS training this weekend.

Meeting adjourned 9 p.m.