July 2013

Gifford Park Association
General Membership Meeting
July 18, 2013

People Present

Karen and Chris Bach, Mark and Glenna Preradovic, Dan and Pat Miller, Tom Hokenson, Bill Decker, Tom and Moe Lee, Carol Buczkowski, Ali Hallock, Joe Wars, Lucy Elliot, Dorie Alpha, Aloune Khotisern

President Bach called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.

Secretary’s Report

Chris Bach made a motion to approve the minutes of the June meeting and Moe Lee seconded it. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

Checking Account: $9,106.01
Money Market: $9,919.15
CD’s $80,577.84

Membership committee

Dorie informed the group that an e-mail was sent out to neighbors asking them to join. Five people did so from the note.

House Plaques

Karen reminded the group that GPA has started a program to pay half of the cost, up to $75, for homeowners in the Historic District to plaque their home. For a $50 to $100 fee, Steve Stroud ([email protected]), will do the research or you can do it yourself. The plaques cost $50. Go here to get more info on how to plaque your home.

Housewalk Committee

It was announced that the Housewalk kickoff pot luck dinner will be held at the Lord’s Park Pavilion at 6:00 pm on Friday, August 16th.

YWCA International Fest

Joe Wars, Lucy Elliot, and Aloune Khotisern were in attendance to tell us about the upcoming International fest and to ask our help. Sponsorships are available. They informed the group that the I Fest and parade will take place on August 31st. Much of the parade takes place in the Historic District so they want partners and participation. It starts at Gifford St. School at 11:00 am, goes to DuPage St to Channing St to Prairie to Grove to Festival Park. Joe informed the group that like the 4th of July parade they want friends and neighbors to come out to watch the parade and to follow it to Festival Park. Along the route will be people holding flags from different countries. As the parade passes them they will follow to Festival Park. On August 17th volunteers will walk the neighborhood to pass out info. Glenna suggested that we have a table at the festivities to hand out Housewalk info. The organizers are seeking entrants for the parade that hopefully have an international flavor. They want youth decorated bicycles with respect to a given country. Last year there were 31 groups that participated. High School bands will play this year. Lucy informed the group that there will be a tent called the kids zone. It will be educational with a variety of countries represented. Clothing, hats, and toys will be shown that are typical of a given country. If you know someone that would be interested in setting up a country table, please contact Lucy at ([email protected]). There will be international kite making demonstrations and flying with prizes. To volunteer to help with the festivities go to their web site at www.elginfest.com.

The card they passed out said that participants can also sample culinary delights from around the world, experience live music, family activities, martial arts, cultural dance and world market vendors.

Liberty Street truck problem

Bill Decker reminded the group that the Gifford Park Association had voted to support the efforts of the committee to eliminate truck traffic on Liberty St. If you would like to join the committee, contact MaryEllen Barbezat at ([email protected]). Bill handed out a summary sheet of the meeting the city held with IDOT:

Summary of Elgin Council’s Resolution re: Liberty St. to IDOT
In Bold in brackets are summaries of the responses we were told.

Our work with city leaders and staff culminated when on May 2, 2013, “to respond to citizen concerns of safety and quality of life,” the city of Elgin sent its request to IDOT for “the following community impact mitigation measures”:

A.Creation of a “No Passing Zone” from Bluff City Blvd. to Slade Ave., for improved safety •[the No-Passing striping is OK with IDOT]
B.Engine Braking Prohibition directed to excessive engine braking noise [the Engine Braking Prohibition is OK]
C.Permit for a Mid-Block Pedestrian Crossing in front of Ellis Middle School, for safer crossing •[the mid-block Ellis crossing is replaced by the present one at Laurel being made more visible/effective]
D.Traffic Calming Measures-Shoulder Lanes “slowing traffic speeds, improving turn radii at driveways and intersections, buffering pedestrians and cyclists, and keeping traffic away from the residential homes along Liberty Street.” These lanes will also “better accommodate cyclists and… connect to the existing east-west bike lanes on Bluff City Boulevard and a planned east-west bike route along Slade Avenue…”

Residents have been consistently concerned about speeding on Liberty St., with even the most recent IDOT study showing at the present posted 30 mph speed limit a violation rate of 66.9%. Residents have also suffered significant truck spills, vehicle/home collisions as well as vehicle accidents. •[the bike lanes are displaced by a center turning lane] (To which the Liberty St. Residents Group strongly object.)

E.Route 25 Reroute “onto West Bartlett Road, Illinois Route 59 and Illinois Route 72.” Doing this should reduce traffic volume on residential Liberty, bypass historic homes , historic districts including Gifford Park Historical District, and Ellis Middle School, all of which are vulnerable to the threats posed by the present heavy traffic.” The proposed re-route places traffic onto a multi-lane, higher speed, commercial corridor.” •[Rt. 25 remains the same]

Additional points that have become clear:

1.IDOT backed away from moving Rt. 25 because of all the necessary negotiating with other political bodies: Hoffman Estates, Bartlett, etc.
2.They will not help us with the trucks because of that 2010 state law allowing 80,000# trucks on all Illinois roadways. We, therefore, will have to work on the state level to get any change: rep., sen., gov., etc. (Rte. 25 is under IDOT’s jurisdiction, not Elgin’s.)

NHS of Fox Valley help program

Bill complimented NHS on their great program to have volunteers help out others with yard work etc. He had recently had hip surgery so NHS supplied 20 volunteers to do a service day at his home. They did a terrific amount of yard work. There is another help day coming on September 28th. The area they will be targeting is between the river, National St, Villa St., Cookane and Russell. For more info contact Mary L Seidel at [email protected]

Historic Home Marketing Committee

Moe Lee inofmred the group that she and Criag Dresang had recently met with Tom Krebsbach to discuss marketing homes for sale in our neighborhood. They are considering creating a fancy broche to hand out to people that would be changed regularly. Tom feels we should target perspective buyers. They discussed advertising in places like the Fox Valley Magazine, upscale Hispanic publications and the Gay community in Chicago. We need to advertise to a broader spectrum of people and perhaps plug into the national market. Moe asked if we should do just our neighborhood or the entire city and Karen responded that we should start here. Moe shared a story of how a neighbor wanting to refinance got ripped off by an appraiser not familiar with Elgin and old houses. Luckily he asked for another appraiser and had much better results. Karen suggested that we advertise our homes for sale at the Housewalk.

Dorie Alpha motioned to adjourn and Chris Bach seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.