August 2017 Minutes

GPA General Membership Meeting

August 17, 2017

Attendance:  Dan and Pat Miller, Chris and Karen Bach, Edmund Zebrowski, Paul Durrenberger,Bill Briska, Officer Ramirez, Paul and Sue Kuester, Tom and Moe Lee

Dan Miller started the meeting with introductions since a new neighbor was in attendance.

ROPE Officer Update:  Officer Ramirez said there were 273 calls of which 58 were traffic stops, 13 loud music and parties.  There was a home invasion of July 30th in the 300 block of E. Chicago St which was a domestic kind of thing and a stolen vehicle in the 300 block of Park St which also had questionable circumstances.  There has been an arrest on last month’s shooting, a suspect was found with a loaded gun matching bullets from the shooting.  Officer Ramirez also reported that the city had its first homicide on the far west side on August 12th.  Suspects were apprehended.  Seems to be a lover’s quarrel gone very bad.

Officer Ramirez continued to say that the monthly Chief’s meeting will be the 11th or 12th of September and that there will be a Spanish conversation meeting in Wing Park at 1pm on August 27th.  The police are starting to have these meetings in an effort to engage more effectively with the Hispanic community.

A conversation about parking ended Officer Ramirez’s report.

Tom Lee made a motion to approve the minutes from our last general membership meeting.  Moe Lee seconded.  The motion passed.

Treasurer’s Report:

Checking           $13,345.80
CD’s                   $81,470.95

Total                   $94,816.75

Pat Miller further reported on recent expenditures including $5,000 towards the Sears Gallery restoration, $300 to Rope Camp, mowing the pocket park for $130, and replacing a Housewalk link banner that has gone missing.  On the plus side, Housewalk sponsorship has raised close to $4,500.

Historic District Report:  Kudos to Rebekah Berry who has adopted a corner planting at Fulton and Channing which is looking lush and mah-velous darlings!

The home at 600 E. Chicago is undergoing a color change.  This is the home that was one of the first in Elgin to use a lavish color scheme thus bringing the “Painted Lady” movement to our city years ago.

Dan told us that the Landmark Preservation Council and the city were having a meeting on August 22nd to discuss and get advice on professional plans for 105 N. Gifford. (The old Bowes Nursing Home.)

Housewalk Report:  Pat Miller stated that plans have included lots of trouble and that is an omen of a great year for our annual Historic Elgin House Tour!  They are currently wrapping up docent staffing.  There had been 304 positions to fill this year.  Subs are still needed.

The tour booklet is looking good and will go to print soon, docent speeches have been written and are being checked. We are trying placards and a video instead of docent speeches this year at the Wing mansion.  Tickets are with our local vendors and Paul Bednar is still looking for a few more people for poster distribution.

Ten lucky people were winners of our online ticket giveaway.  Congratulations!

Membership Committee: GPA membership stands at 182 individual members.

Other issues:  Paul Kuester reminded us to call in code violations to 311.  They will give you a tracking number to monitor the progress of your complaint and you can ask for a call back to inform you of the results of your complaint.

71 S. Gifford had been up for auction after the owner was located due to neglect issues.  Ultimately the bank foreclosed on the property.  Rumor has it that there was one interested party who has since backed out.  Habitat for Humanity was contacted about undertaking the house as one of its projects but they turned it down primarily for its lack of yard space.  It is in a repair or demolish status now with the city.

An old ROPE house at Fremont and Hill was also demolished.

Paul Durrenberger started a lengthy group bitchfest concerning the extremely strong urination smell at the Chicago Street train station, the need for public restrooms and a possible kiosk bathroom being installed downtown.

One source of the problem could be that since the closing of Nick’s Liquors, many of their patrons have shifted to JJ Peppers which is near the bus station.  Officer Ramirez talked about a new nuisance ordinance to help with problems.  This allows the police to maintain an offenders list of people who are banned from the downtown area mostly due to public drinking at the station and the surrounding area.  The police have been pro-active by also handing out pamphlets listing free services instead of just an offense ticket.  The helping hand attitude has garnered some success stories.

Pat Miller encouraged people to talk to DNA about this and Officer Ramirez reminded us to bring up these kinds of issues at the Chief’s meetings.Tom Lee made a motion to adjourn and Sue Kuester seconded it.  The motion passed and the meeting zoomed to a close.

Respectfully submitted by

Karen Bach

Karen Bach, GPA secretary