May 2006

Gifford Park Association
Regular Membership Meeting Minutes
Thursday, May 18, 2006

Due to the blatant disregard of the GPA secretary who was willfully and quite thoughtlessly conducting her own personal business at the start of the meeting, minutes were first recorded by Pat Miller.
Members present:   Dan Miller, Sue Awot, Fran Cella, Sue Tomsha, Doug Tomsha,  Julie Schmidt, Barb and Tony Sanchez, Jeff and Alicia Lopinot, Linda Voss, Deborah Allen, Dave Mendiola, and Karen Bach.
Others present:  Donna Stefani, Rita Camacho.
Dan Miller started the meeting with introductions of those present.
Secretary Karen Bach entered the room with an attitude and no apologies for being late and began her duties of recording these scintillating minutes.
Dan gave the Treasurer’s report in the absence of Glenna Preradovic.  He stated that GPA has a total of $25,130.12 in their account.
Fran Cella reported on the progress of the Housewalk.  The walk will be September 9th and 10th. Nine houses in the Historic district were originally chosen to be on this year’s walk with a 10th house added a few weeks after this meeting.  The registration site will probably be at the U-46 offices located at 355 E. Chicago Street.  Special events are being planned for our 25th anniversary housewalk including a way-cool after party and a 25% discount on ticket prices.
Pat Miller spoke about the membership committee’s activities.  April was membership renewal time.  A mailing in March was sent to everyone from our past membership lists up to five years ago.  We currently have 54 households renewed and 52 not renewed from last year’s list.  The membership potluck in April was attended by about 50 people and included a wonderful presentation and slide show by Steve Stroud on his new book.
Historic District Committee – The Channing YMCA property was discussed.  Only two proposals have been submitted so far.  Neither proposal is what the city is looking for so they are continuing their quest for a quality project.   Julie Schmidt commented on the current look of the property and encouraged people to email the city about getting the site properly prepped.
The Channing School/Park proposal meeting was discussed next.  Pat Miller says the plans are to develop the NE quadrant with two tennis courts on an angle facing north and set back from its present location.  Closer to the school, there will be a nice playground and hard surface court.  There will be a walking trail and an upgraded running track with fine gravel.  There was talk about a bathroom and/or a shelter with port-a-potties.  There would also be a sheltered picnic area with tables near the playground.  Some of these things would be on the south end of the property which isn’t city owned but the meeting was well-attended by members of the Sharks track team who use the site for their events and have been pushing for further amenities.
Fran Cella talked about the grant for the neighborhood plan.  Fran is close to having a final draft to bring back to the group.  It  identifies the likes and dislikes of the neighborhood which was gathered from the survey that was sent to all households in our district many moons ago.  Some of the issues mentioned were noise, overcrowding, code violations, youth, and community building.  The next step will be to see where the biggest problems lie and how to address these issues.  Fran then taught Dan Miller a new word.  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Ruth Munson sent GPA a nomination form for an award from the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.  She suggested we nominate our house tour for the award.  Fran is filling out the paperwork.
This year the Great Unveiling will take place at 272 Division Street, St. Joseph’s rectory.  This building had yellow substitue siding which was being replaced with cedar siding.  The city stopped work on the building when they saw that the siding was being used with its rough side out.  St. Joe’s was reluctant to reverse the work it had already started so a team effort was launched led by our mayor, Ed Schock.  He appealed to Toll Brothers Construction who volunteered to help rehab the building.  Dan Miller wrote specs for an Italianate porch and a bay window.  Saturday, May 20th from 8-12 a.m. volunteers will remove the inappropriate wood siding  and also take down the porch rail and skirting.  Lunch will be provided.  This will be a good opportunity to not only rebuild the rectory but also rebuild community good will.
Members were then treated to a  slapstick comedy routine which started with Dan Miller making a weak joke about showing us his vacation slides from the Wisconsin Dells.  It then continued for an inordinate  length of  time as Dan tried to wrangle the computer into submission.  We would still be waiting if not for Julie stepping into the fray and helping Dan with his arduous task.  Question:  How many GPA members does it take to run a slide show?  Answer:  One, unless it’s Dan Miller.
While the above-mentioned buffoonery continued, our Resident Officer Dave Mendiola decided that this was a good opportunity to update us on the neighborhood.  He said that everything was looking good.  There had been a successful drug sweep and there will be a traffic check for seat belt violations coming soon.   St. Joseph’s Church was being plagued by car burglaries during their services.  Neighborhood complaints were centering on loud music.  Dave also asked GPA for a donation for the ROPE camp next month.  ROPE officers will be taking some of Elgin’s at-risk youth to Lake Geneva, WI for a camping trip.  By this time Dan had been able to subdue the computer and was able to make a motion to donate $200.00 to the ROPE trip.  The motion passed unanimously.
Dan then surprised us with no, not pictures of the Dells, but before and after slides of homes in our neighborhood.  Many of the before pictures were from 1981.  The slide show included many of our own homes, GPA rehabs, Old Main, Great Unveilings, the Channing YMCA, and the National Street Depot.
Motion to adjourn was made and seconded after the slide show.
Members then traipsed down the street to Paul Durrenberger’s apartment for the after party.  Paul’s beautifully decorated apartment, excellent treats and warm personality was the hit of the night.