March 2007

GIFFORD PARK ASSOCIATION
General Membership Meeting
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Secretary’s note:  Please excuse the Indiscriminate Capitalization that runs rampant through this document.
VIP:  Brenda  Rogers
Members present:  Roy and Linda Voss, Deborah Allan, Dan and Pat Miller, Fran Cella, Bill Briska, Sue Awot, Chris and Karen Bach, Dan Skaggs, Doug Tomsha, Joe Kjellander, Greg Hagen, Paul Bednar, Jeff McIntire, Jeff and Laura Jacobson, Paul Durrenberger, Tony Sanchez, Jennifer Williams.
Dan’s Papers:  Larkin Center brunch, Bluff City Fen work day, house for sale on Division, architectural salvage, Elgin Academy Fine Arts Center.
A motion was made to approve the minutes from the last meeting by Jennifer Williams and seconded by Bill Briska. The motion passed unanimously.
Treasurer’s report:  The GPA treasury shows a total funds of $77,586.79 which includes $26,416.44 in our checking account and five CD’s at $10,234.07 each.
No Rope Report:  We’ll assume that Dave is out doing important police stuff.
Neighborhood Plan:  Fran Cella and Paul Bednar gave the group a power point presentation of the Neighborhood Plan.  Now listen my children and you shall hear Fran’s background information on the project.  It all began with Elgin looking for a comprehensive plan for the city and wanting each neighborhood to have a plan.  GPA pursued grant money to accomplish this goal.  Our neighborhood is significant – it is the oldest residential neighborhood and part of the original 1843 plat.  We have a good mix of houses, but eventually many of the larger ones were torn down in the 1900’s and others were divided into apartments.  GPA was formed in 1979 to combat architectural and overcrowding issues.  We worked for historic designation and a preservation ordinance among other things.
To begin drawing up a neighborhood plan, we first got diverse groups together to brainstorm on neighborhood likes and dislikes.  Some consensus was reached and we began to develop a survey starting with common questions using an answer scale of 1-5 to determine the largest problems and the most liked aspects of our neighborhood.  The information was compiled and three focus groups were formed from those initially underrepresented – youth, Hispanics, and young adults.  Business leaders and the community as a whole were also consulted at open, advertised sessions.
Fran talked about the survey results and Paul talked about major issues such as rezoning, housing and property maintenance, parking and traffic circulation, parks and open spaces, communications, youth, historic preservation and aesthetics, community building and events.
We then called a time-out for the Historic District Report.
Historic District: Jeff finished the Gazette and needed 14 volunteers to distribute it to the neighborhood.  He talked about getting a trash can for the pocket park and keeping it clean (restitution people?).  Banners for the light poles are in the beginning stages of discussion and porch parties are being planned for every other Friday beginning May 4th.  The person volunteering for a porch party would be responsible for refreshments.
And now back to our regularly scheduled Neighborhood Plan presentation.
The group was given implementation schedules in a handy, handout form which we then reviewed.
Another time-out was called so Dan could talk about upcoming salvages and plead for volunteers.
We then returned once again to the Neighborhood Plan after a slight, insignificant software meltdown.
There was discussion as to additions and subtractions to the document presented to us.  Fran said that the final recommendations were going to the city on March 30.  She made an impassioned speech about the many weary years she has spent on this project, and as God as her witness, all comments must get back to her by March 19th via email so she can finally, happily, see the backside of this endless endeavor.
This concluded the Neighborhood Plan presentation.
Two committee Chairpersons were appointed, Fran Cella to the Membership Committee and James Halik to the Publicity Committee.  A motion was made to approve the appointments by Joe Kjellander and seconded by Jennifer Williams.  Motion passed.
Dan is still diligently searching for a Program Chairperson.
Calendar Project:  Sue Awot says the calendar is finished and she asked for advice on how to follow through with the project.  She was told to gather bids on producing the calendar and bring them to the group.
There were no other concerns brought to the attention of the group so Doug Tomsha made a motion to adjourn for the evening which was seconded by Laura Jacobson. The motion passed unanimously.
Submitted by Karen Bach, GPA secretary