June 2007

GIFFORD PARK ASSOCIATION
General Membership Meeting
Thursday, June 21, 2007

Members present:  Jennifer and David Williams, Joe Kjellander, Greg Hagen, Dan and Pat Miller, Chris and Karen Bach, Bill Briska, Doug Tomsha, Jeff McIntire, Jeff and Laura Jacobson, Roy and Linda Voss, Margaret Keen, Glenna and Mark Preradovic, Dave Mendiola, Mike Burns, Rich Miller, Julie Schmitt, Jenny Myers, Linnea Carlson, Rich Hirschberg, Deborah Allan, Nel Hughes
Non-members present:  Jerri McCue
Dan’s Papers – Landmark Preservation brochure, Foxfire Fest looking for volunteers, Downtown House and Loft Tour, Herald article on Fountain Square condos, Fat Cat Guitars (owned by members Kate and Scott Darling/Bond)  article , Boys and Girls Club salvage thank you letters, Real estate transactions, Brook Street article, Cooper and Preston condos, Township Assessors list around Channing Y, and  Masonic Temple emblems article.
Treasurer’s Report – $29, 971.55 in our checking account and five CD’s at $10,000.00 for a grand total of $79,971.55.  Our CD’s just turned over and Dan thanked Glenna for tirelessly shopping around for the best deal for our bucks.  Good job, treasurer!
Secretary’s Report – Once again the secretary fell down on the job and did not submit minutes from the last meeting.  She should be retired, fired, horse whipped, tarred and feathered, and run outta town.
ROPE Report – Dave Mendiola reported that warmer weather means he’s busier.  He also thanked GPA for the ROPE camp donation.  Dave also talked about having National Nite Out in Gifford Park again this year.
Historic District – Jeff Jacobson said that the Gazette has been delivered and that some totally unselfish, dedicated volunteers stepped forward to tackle the daunting task of planting about nine corners in the District with gorgeous carpet roses.  Thanks to Joe Kjellander, Greg Hagen, Holly Mack, Pat Miller, David and Jennifer Willaims, Nick and Alicia Lykins, Jeff and Laura Jacobson, and Paul Bednar for an extraordinarily well-done job!  Now it’s up to Bill Witte, who we’ve hired,  to maintain those corners.  There is an upcoming porch party on June 29th at 137 N. Channing.  There are replacement street signs that are just sitting around waiting for the right colored poles to come in before they can be installed.  Trying to get banners made and installed in the Historic District is slow-going now.  No one from the city wants to answer Jeff’s emails.  The next Historic District meeting is Tuesday, June 26th at 576 Park Street.
Membership – Dan reminded everyone that the annual pot-luck dinner in April is the start of GPA’s “new year” when membership dues are due.
Neighborhood Plan – The city staff processing has been concluded and there should be a city meeting scheduled soon.
Housewalk – There can never be too many reminders that The Historic Elgin Home Tour is scheduled for Sunday, August 26th from 9 am to 5:30 pm.  Docents are starting to be called and a mail labeling party is planned for 7 pm,  July 6th at 2 N. Douglas.  This year’s tour features eight simply fantabulous homes on the near west side.  The fire station on Chicago Street is our registration site and there will be a trolley provided using a grant from the city.  Sponsorship space is still available in the booklet.
Salvage – The Boys and Girls Club salvage raised $1174.00 with a profit of $457.00 for GPA.  Thanks to our hardy volunteers, Deborah Allan, Pat Miller, Brian Anderson, Dave Bullock, and Roy Chapman for some much needed support.  You were great!
New Downtown Business – Jerri McCue and Nel Hughes are opening a spa and coffee shop on the corner of Chicago and Spring Streets in the old First Federal Bank building.  They stopped by to tell us all about their fantastic new business venture.  They are looking at a September 8th opening date.  Raven’s Heart Coffee is a “green” cafe and environmentally friendly and the day spa will be featuring massages, manicures and pedicures.  They plan on remaining true to the 1950’s architectural style of their building.  Welcome to the neighborhood!
Heritage Commission – Bill Briska updated us on the Masonic Temple.  The building has been purchased by a church group who wants to remove the Masonic symbols on the exterior of the building.  They approached the Heritage Commission’s Design Review sub-committee about removing the symbols because they find them offensive.  The sub-committee felt that the symbols should not be removed from the building, and suggested that the church cover them instead.  The church appealed to the Heritage Commission as a whole.  The church does not want to cover them because their members will know they’re still there.  Another suggestion was to possibly remove the symbols and store them for the future.
Channing Y site – It’s gonna be a battle of galactic proportions!  It’s a housing proposal vs. residential park!  In round one, the developer asked GPA for input into the housing sites.  In round two, Julie Schmitt started a grass roots movement for a park.  The fast-paced action has gone back and forth, and back and forth over the past year.  Sean Stegall has said absolutely no park.  A half park and half houses idea was half-heartedly bounced about.  There was a knock down in the number of houses on the site.  Julie spoke passionately about the lack of park space in the District and the additional density new homes would bring.  She also mentioned that the Elgin Parks Department had recommended this area for park space in the past.  Jennifer Williams also spoke eloquently about the unheard-of attention to detail that this particular developer is using on the proposed homes.  The action continued with many pros and cons spoken about by Bill Briska, Rich Hirschberg, Pat Miller, Jeff McIntire, Mike Burns, Laura Jacobson, Jenny Myers, Deborah Allen, Linda Voss, and Rich Miller.  Finally the referee, Dan Miller, called for an end since daybreak was approaching.  Stay tuned for further developments.  It’s gonna be a hot one, folks!
Dave moved and Mark seconded adjourning before any sucker punches were thrown!
Respectfully submitted by Karen Bach, GPA secretary