February 2013

Gifford Park Association
General Membership Meeting
February 21, 2013

In Attendance
Doug Tomsha, Pat and Dan Miller, Ali Hallock, Bill Briska, Mark Preradovic, Mary Ellen Barbezat, Dorie Alpha, Bill Decker, Christine and Warren Tejes, Tim Solarz, Officer Root, and Tom Hokenson

The meeting was called to order by Vice President Ali Hallock at 7:05.

Secretaries Report
Dorie Alpha moved and Bill Briska seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 17 meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report
Bill Briska reported that our accounts are basically the same as they were last month:
Checking $7,268.21
Money market $9,917.55
Four CDs $80,572.75
Total $97,758.55

ROPE officer report

Officer Root reported that statistics show that a majority of car break-ins are to cars that were left unlocked. The Chief of Police has started an initiative called “Lock it if you like it.” If your car was broken into when it was locked an officer will come out to investigate. If you car is unlocked and broken into the police will still investigate but ask that you report it on the Elgin Police Dept. web site.

Pat Miller asked Officer Root if the city was doing anything to proactively fight the theft of copper piping from our houses. Officer Root responded that they are trying to work with homeowners but foreclosed homes are often owned by banks that are not local. They are very difficult to get in touch with.

Pat Miller suggested the Police Dept. work closely with the salvage yards. Dan Miller added that the city has recently passed stricter laws for salvage yards. She also suggested that the Board of Realtors be approached about asking their members to be very careful about who they give out lock box combinations to. She reminded the group that we recently had the copper stolen from a house that was for sale. No forced entry was made so it appears the thieves knew the lock box code.

Officer Root reported that they have started a program where they study the recent crime stats to indicate Hot Zones. There are currently 115 such areas in Elgin and it changes every 180 days. Officers are then encouraged to show an increased presence in those areas. For instance if an officer has to sit in the car and write a report they are encourage to do so in one of the hot zones.

Membership Report
Dorie Alpha reported that we have received two new family memberships:
Craig Dresang and Joe Drozd
Scott and Sarah Fahringer

Dorie also reported that the Membership Plot Luck has been scheduled for April 19th at the Lord’s Park Pavilion.

Historic District committee
Dan Miller reported that he had nothing new to say.

Housewalk Committee
Bill Briska commented that the committee is off to a great start. Several people have stepped up to take on responsibilities. The next meeting of the Housewalk planning committee is March 4th at 7:00 pm at the Historical Museum. Everyone is welcome to attend. Bill added that he took the initiative to get GPA a new storage locker for its stuff – mainly Housewalk related. Our new locker is at ground level where a car can back right up to it and closer to home on Chicago St.

Preservation Month
Ali reminded the group that we need to be thinking about encouraging neighbors with substitute siding to remove it during Preservation month for our Great Unveiling program.

Tim Solarz added that Preservation Month will be used to kick off his latest program of decorating the porch skirting boards that were salvaged from the home demoed at Division and Center. Each artist decorating a porch apron board will be asked to go to a downtown business looking for an inspiration for the design of their board. He is turning salvage into art with an added bonus of building community.

Tim added that he is initiating Space Taste II where more Avon Decanters will be decorated and sold. The last round of decanters netted GPA’s sign project $275.

Bill Briska added that the Heritage Commission is working on a calendar of events for Preservation Month. Probable events are a Church Walk downtown, Youth History Fair, May 7th Mayor’s Awards, Green Expo, celebration of the arrival of the new Bison, Native American Art lecture at the Historical Society.

Candidates Forum
Mark Preradovic reminded the group that The Southwest Area Neighbors (SWAN) and Gifford Park Association (GPA) are co-sponsoring a Neighborhood Candidates forum on March 9th. The forum will feature the candidates who are running in the upcoming election for City Council seats. Questions will focus on topics and areas of concerns for both neighborhood groups.

Event Details: Saturday, March 9 at 2 PM, Zion Lutheran Church, 330 Griswold Street

Click here to go to the Facebook event page for the Forum.