October 2006

Gifford Park Association General Meeting
Thursday, October 17, 2006

Members present:  Dan and Pat Miller, Chris and Karen Bach, Dave Mendiola, Nancy Wolfe, Greg Hagen, Joe Kjellander, Fran Cella, Dave Bullock, Dave and Jennifer Williams, Roy Voss, Doug Tomsha, Jeff Jacobson, Nick Lykins, Mark and Glenna Preradovic, Paul Durrenberger, Jean and Paul Bednar, Deborah Allan, Mike and Tia Kramer.
Dan’s papers – Before most meetings, Dan bombards those present with a flurry of papers he’s gathered from his weekly reading and what-not.  This week’s papers included a notice of a zoning commission meeting on Nov. 1 for the guy running the homeless shelter out  ofthe church on Chicago and Geneva streets.  He is looking for approval for a permanent shelter at that location.
Motion to approve the spectacular September minutes was made by Glenna Preradovic and seconded by Jeff Jacobson.
Treasurer’s  Report – The checking account stands at $28,217.13 and we have 5 CD’s at $10,000.00 each for a total of $78,217.13 as reported by Glenna.
ROPE Report – Dave said the neighborhood was doing well with just one car burglary and some criminal damage.  The police have a kids soccer camp coming up.  They also had a successful outing in which they took 5-6 families to ROPE camp.  The police will increase their patrol on Halloween night to keep our little boos and ghouls safe.  Make a Difference Day project of October 26 will be building a playground on Clifford and Owasco.  Dave’s house has been undergoing some repair work thanks to some suggestive emails from Dan.  (No, not his usual suggestive emails!)
Committee Reports
Housewalk –  Fran  had a Housewalk Wrap-Up meeting whose results are reprinted here in their entirety:
2006 House Tour Wrap Up Meeting September 26, 2006
LESSONS LEARNED:
•   Reducing the ticket price did not increase attendance.
•  the “student” ticket price – which was introduced as an attempt to sidestep the question of when children should be charged for tickets – is no longer serving its ‘ purpose. Students of all ages are now purchasing these tickets.
•  some tickets were neither sold nor returned from vendors.
•   in case of rain – a system for delivering umbrellas from the front porch to the back porch is needed.  Several umbrellas were lost & have not been claimed.
•  it is critical that the link banners be claimed within 2 weeks of the date they are scheduled to be removed.  If not, they will be disposed of by Public Works.

IMPROVEMENTS FOR NEXT YEAR:
•   the possibility of changing the date of the tour has been discussed for the last couple of years.  Having ruled out the ticket price variable, there was consensus that the date should be moved forward rather than later in the year.  Rather than being the weekend after Labor Day, the tour will be the weekend before Labor Day .  The date for next year’s house tour will be AUGUST 25 & AUGUST 26, 2007.  Fran has temporarily reserved the Lord’s Park Pavillion for the night of August 26.

•     Tickets for children under 14 and adults over 65 will be sold at the same reduced price. These reduced rate tickets will only be sold at Registration.  They will not be available in advance.
•   The distribution of tickets to the vendors needs to be more carefully controlled.
•    Advertising & marketing need more intensive focus – particularly beyond Elgin & the adjacent area.  Karen Bach is interested in focusing on large corporations who promote events to their thousands of employees.  Fran is interested in targeting the Chicago area market.  More focus also needs to be given to the distribution of posters & postcards.  This should be part of adv/market.   It was also suggested that we advertise on Public Service Radio 104.3 which broadcasts from the Prairie Rock.  It gets great reception & is frequently heard playing around town. Another possibility is 105.5
•                      Open Houses – Historic homes for Sale ?
Fran
Note from secretary:  This is the second time that Fran has only allowed me to cut and paste her notes instead of creating a new document from her talk.  I’m going to get hurt feelings pretty soon.  Fran’s not the only one who can do bullet points, ya know.
…I’m better now.  I think I can continue…
Historic District – Jeff Jacobson reported the results of his Oct 1st meeting.  He is awaiting a response from Trish about the trash can situation in Gifford Park.  Jeff took a poll of all the street lights.  Of 257 lights (not including park lights), we have 4 lights out, 5 that are glowing green, 4 globes are broken but lit, and 12 are clear or the wrong globes.  Jeff is on top of this one, too!  Jeff is also checking on the street signs – which are green and which are brown.  He will make sure the city knows that we are committed to keeping the brown historic district signs.  Jeff talked about the committee producing a newsletter once again.  He would like to see the first issue out in January.  If you have any suggestions for the newsletter, shoot Jeff an email.  Next, Jeff told us how the Historic District signs can’t be put on Liberty since it is a state highway.  His committee thought of using pole banners on the light poles.  We could get banners that say “Historic District” or advertise the House Tour, etc.  BRIGHT IDEA – Jeff brought up an idea he had for a Neighborhood Beautification Program in which GPA would help people improve the exterior of their homes or even just restoring porches.  Perhaps this could be done in place of GPA taking on a whole house, inside and out and having to resell it.  This could possibly give us “more bang for our buck”.  Jeff finally finished his report.  Way to be an over-achiever, Jeff!
Slate of officers for GPA November elections:
President – Dan Miller Vice President – Deborah Allan    Secretary – Karen Bach Treasurer – Glenna Preradovic At Large – Joe Kjellander At Large 2 – Nick Lykins
Pat Miller made a motion to close the nominations and Chris Bach seconded it.
Joe Kjellander moved to accept the slate as read and Fran Cella seconded it.
Paul Bednar is doing volunteer landscaping on the street corners.  He is doing the spruce-up in conjunction with the Youth Leadership Academy.  Dan Miller brought up Mark Billings suggestion that GPA do yardwork at the two Larkin group homes that are in the district.  Dan also talked about the Division Street Drawing Guild Art Show and Sale on Nov 11th on the top floor of the Professional Building.  He also mentioned that the Crisis Center is having their annual awards ceremony at Villa Olivia on Nov 2nd.  They are giving GPA an award for the pocket park.
Other concerns??? Pat Miller asked if we want to install Christmas Garland on the light poles.  Dave Mendiola thought we could get community restitution workers to even help do the scary ladder stuff.  Paul Durrenberger figured we would need about 16 people to be effective.  Anyone interested in organizing this effort, please email Dan Miller.
After seeing an article in the newspaper about two hobbyists who dig for old privies, the Williams had the guys come out to 141 Hill.  Jennifer had an extremely interesting show and tell on what the experience was like and what they had found in their backyard.  Once the guys (who are electrical contractors in their real lives) identify a privy and dig it out, they continue the dig with kitchen knives so they don’t break anything.  (If they break something, do they say, “Oh, poo!”??)  Jennifer told us that in the days before city-wide trash collection, homeowners threw unwanted items down the outhouse.  Consequently, the Williams were able to retrieve a bazillion items from their old privy – from hair combs, to old bottles, dishes, and crockery.  The men conducting the dig ask to keep five items of their choosing and the homeowners can keep the rest.  I know you want to ask about the poo.  Sorry, over time it decomposes into dirt.  No smell either.  Don’t act so disappointed.
Fran Cella moved to adjourn which was seconded by Chris Bach.
Respectfully submitted  by Karen Bach, GPA secretary.
THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE NOVEMBER 16, AT 7:00 pm IN ROOM 239.  MORRIS MALLORY, THE PRINCIPAL AT THE ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL, WILL SPEAK TO US ABOUT HIS PROGRAM AND GIVE US A TOUR OF THE BUILDING.