September 2006

GPA General Meeting
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Members present:  Dan and Pat Miller, Sue Awot, Sally Wilson, Doug Tomsha, Bill Briska, Joe Kjellander, Greg Hagen, Paul Durrenberger, Chris and Karen Bach, Glenna Preradovic, Jeff Jacobson, Alicia Lykins, Elisabeth Carrrel, Lois Charlton, Barb and Tony Sanchez, Jennifer and David Williams,  Deborah Allan, Rich Miller, Dave Mendiola.
Members introduced themselves.
Dan passed around recent articles from the newspapers that pertain to our neighborhood.  The secretary wasn’t really paying attention and so cannot elaborate on what these articles were.
Dan introduced new neighbors Jennifer and David Williams who moved into 141 Hill.  Jennifer is a soon-to-be graduate in Historic Preservation.  ***Jennifer and David would like to meet more neighbors and show off their “new” old house.  They have invited everyone to a party at their home on Friday, October 21, beginning at 5 pm and ending at ????  Please plan on attending and extending a warm, Elgin greeting to our newest friends.  (We’ll consider them our friends at least until the beer runs out.)
A motion was made by Glenna Preradovic to accept the July minutes and was seconded by Jeff Jacobson.
The Treasurer’s report by Glenna stated that we have $28,350.24 in our checking account and 5 CD’s of $10,000.00 each.
Committee Reports:
In Fran Cella’s absence, Bill read the Housewalk report she had written.  It’s reprinted here in its entirety:
Despite the fact that it was not a big money maker, the tour was highly successful.  All of the houses showed beautifully.  Many people stated that this was their favorite tour.  People loved the houses and the non-traditional blend of architectural styles.  Many commented on the friendliness & competence of the docents.
Approximately 200 people attended the after party organized by Karen Bach.  Praise for this event was abundant!  I think it will be difficult to return to our buffet format next year.
This is the first year I have ever received thank you e-mails from docents. This is really important because the docents are such a critical part of the event and if they are not enjoying themselves this will trickle down to the tour goers.
We had 288 docents this year and to my knowledge, only 2 people “made things up”.  The most outrageous incident was at 570 Lillie where a docent started the rumor that the kitchen closet was the former secret staircase to the servant’s quarters.  This got passed on to at least one other shift.
Attendance was down to approximately 1600 participants.  Weather may have been a factor but we don’t really know.  Attendance has been gradually declining for awhile & several possible reasons for this have been discussed over the years.  Although smaller crowds make for less income – it does make the tour a more quality experience for those who do attend.
On Tuesday September 26, there will be a wrap up meeting to discuss what we learned from this year’s tour and to make recommendations to next year’s house tour committee.  The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the DNA offices, 2 N. Grove.  Anyone interested is welcome to attend.    Fran
Dave Mendiola gave the ROPE report:  The neighborhood has been pretty good.  There were problem tenants on Tennyson Ct. who are moving and will be someone else’s problem!  The National Night Out event in August that Dave organized was well attended and fun was the main agenda.  Dave was told be a few city officials who attended multiple events that ours was by far the best.  Way to go Dave!
A team of officers will be working in the parks for the Day of Caring in September.  Channing school is in intersession and the ROPE soccer league is wrapping up.  In October, ROPE will be sponsoring their pumpkin picking party.
Jeff Jacobson reported on the first Historic District committee meeting.  The group was small but mighty (Jeff and Pat Miller).  They discussed trash cans in the parks, burnt out street lights (e-mail Jeff at [email protected]“>[email protected] with any outages on your block), missing street signs, corner plantings, possibly starting up an e-mail neighborhood newsletter, and the pocket park.  Jeff is also looking for ideas on how we could improve the appearance of some of the more run-down houses in the neighborhood.
THE NEXT MEETING FOR THE HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMITTEE IS THURS. OCT. 5 at 7 p.m. At 576 PARK STREET.
Dan got on his soapbox (he carries it with him everywhere) about the garbage cans in Gifford Park.  He has gotten the city to agree to replace the green plastic bins with nicer metal receptacles.  He also brought up how First Congregational Church is remodeling both the interior and exterior of their classroom building.  He was very excited about their wonderful plans to match the new addition with the existing church.
Pat Miller spoke about the Membership Committee.  Pat stated that there were two new memberships.
Dan was scrounging through GPA archives and unearthed a stack of our old “Attaboy” door hangers.  We had used these in the past to give neighbors a pat on the back when they made a visible improvement to their property.  If you would like a few to spread goodwill on your street, contact Dan Miller.
Bill Briska had flyers for the Cemetary Walk which is a fundraiser for the Historical Society.  He also talked about the Brass Band Concert which will be Oct. 21 at First Congregational Church.  Contact Bill to purchase tickets for this event which always elicits rave reviews.
Sean Stegall e-mailed Dan with an update on the Channing Y site which is reprinted here:  Dan, here is an update on the Channing YMCA Project.  The City Council gave a preliminary non-binding direction for the staff to proceed with Channing Partners on the development of the project.  Before negotiations on a development agreement can commence, the developer has to go through the normal planning process and they are developing a concept plan and developing a formal site plan and elevations for review by the planning department.  In addition, I would respectfully request that GPA appoint a small committee (3 people or less) to assist staff in our review of the project for later reviews by the heritage commission, the planning commission, full GPA membership, city council, etc.  Sean Stegall
Dan Miller brought up the many toddlers in GPA and asked if there was any interest in starting a play group again.  Years ago GPA moms got together in their homes one morning every other week to talk, eat, and let the kids play.  If you’re interested in starting a new generation II playgroup, email Dan Miller at [email protected]“>[email protected] of call him at 847-697-3370.
Make a Difference Day is October 28th.  If you have any project ideas or want to volunteer your time, email Dan.
Dan opened the floor to other concerns:
Glenna Preradovic brought up the dentist’s office at 15 N. Geneva.  They did exterior work without a COA.  They are now going before the design review subcommittee.  Dan encouraged Glenna to attend the meeting.
Joe Kjellendar brought up neighborhood street signs that have the wrong street names listed.
Glenna talked about a team building exercise she thought would be cool for GPA to do with GPS thingamajigs.
Pat Miller stated that we did not apply for a neighborhood grant last year which is just throwing bazillions of potential dollars down the drain.  We should be applying every year, so start thinking of ideas for next March (We need to match the grant with labor or money.  There is a $15,000 limit to the grant.)
At this time the secretary must’ve gotten high on a sugar buzz from the treats that were being passed around because she cannot make heads or tails of her notes from this point on.  There’s something about Paul Durrenberger talking about highlighting notable properties in the district and something else about money for projects for problem properties.  Sometimes the secretary becomes so absorbed in the conversation, she forgets to write.  (Please do not suggest a tape recorder because that would be too much like work.)
The meeting ended with lots of pictures.  We watched Fran Cella’s stellar TV performance discussing Housewalk.  We also saw a slide show of the work at St. Joe’s rectory and the ROPE summer camp.