April 2001 Board Meeting

Gifford Park Association Board Meeting
Thursday, April 5, 2001

Present: Deb Aguinaga, Paul and Jean Bednar, Mark Billings, Bill Briska, Rork and Angela Coon, Dan and Pat Miller, Jason Musser, and Glenna Preradovic

Paul Bednar called the meeting to order at 7:15 PM.

March Board Meeting Minutes

There is a correction to the March board meeting minutes. On page 2 the line stating “Pat Miller added that the previous tree-planting grant was good, but maybe a stipulation could be added about maintaining the tree”, was quoted incorrectly. Pat’s thoughts were actually the opposite, and encompassed the thought that areas in dire need of trees could possibly benefit from the tree planting program if this stipulation was removed.

A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dan Miller and seconded by Jean Bednar.


The annual awards, which will be presented at the membership potluck, were discussed and finalized.

227 North Street

The owner of 227 North Street is looking for a variance in order to continue to run an auto shop from his garage. There will be a public hearing to discuss the issue. GPA is in agreement to write a letter stating our opposition.

Neighborhood Grant

An application was submitted for 25 street trees to be concentrated around Gifford Park and Old Elgin High School. An additional $3,000 was also added for perennials that would be planted in Gifford Park. This is a topic that Original East Side Neighbors identified, so they were put down as co-applicants. Betty Skyles generated an application for S.O.S. Their application requests funds for additional landscaping at Old Elgin High.

Great Unveiling

A handout about the Great Unveiling will go out with the next Gazette. GPA will be reimbursed for $450 of the Gazette costs because of an article on Community Energy that is included in the Gazette. There are a couple of locations that are considering participating in the Great Unveiling. GPA members should distribute information to any that might be interested in the program.

Santa Claus

A motion was made to allow Glenna Preradovic to purchase a $50 gift certificate for Santa for his appearance at the Christmas party last year. The motion passed unanimously.

Neighborhood Cleanup

Garbage has been an issue that has been brought up during the last few goal setting sessions. Mark Billings had an idea to have a community restitution person work in the neighborhood at picking up trash, and would be willing to talk to the City about this. Mark also spoke with Angel Rosenthal about her experience with having a community restitution person work at the NHS building. Paul Bednar has talked to Kevin Sosnowski about doing this for the parks. This will be done soon. Pat Miller added that community restitution helped out with the super sweep that took place last year, and it worked well. Pat also stated that this won’t happen again unless we ask for it. Paul Bednar asked Glenna Preradovic to talk to Karen Bach and ask her to call public works about possibly holding this event again.

Historic District Signs

Pat Miller reported that last year GPA wrote a letter to the Heritage Commission with regards to repairing the Historic District signs. A response to this letter has not been received. Pat has heard comments about the possibility of replacing the signs instead of repairing them, because of the maintenance requirements of the signs. Pat commented that she believes the signs have held up well considering that they have been in place for 16-17 years. Dan Miller added that he has contacted someone about a bid to paint the signs. The Heritage Commission currently has money in their budget for this issue. Dan also added that he has two signs that need to be repaired in his possession, and he plans to handle the repairs himself. Pat recommended that we investigate having the repair work contracted out. Glenna Preradovic asked if the sign department at the City could repair the signs. Dan replied that the response that has been received is that this department is under-budgeted and under-staffed, and cannot handle the repairs at this time. Dan added that we need to remind this department of these signs prior to their next budget review.

Multiunit Database

As a part of the home marketing program, Mark Billings would like to have a database compiled which lists all multiunits. Bill Briska stated that he plans to contact someone at the City in order to get the information needed for this list. Mark added that this list would be helpful, as he is still working with the Littles. There also might be other people that approach GPA and would like to take advantage of deconversion funds. Pat Miller commented that the City usually doesn’t provide the numbers of legal units, which is what is really needed. Mark has contacted a few multiunit homeowners in the neighborhood. When asked if they would be willing to sell, they have stated that they would.

Home Marketing Program

Jarrig Visser has contacted Mark Billings with positive information about the last ad that ran in Cranes Chicago Business Magazine. Jarrig has stated that he has received several calls in response to the ad. Jarrig is now interested in holding an open house. Mark asked if members of the board would be willing to staff the event. The objectives of the open house would include having the multiunit home list available, as well as showcasing the house. Mark has asked for anyone interested in helping out to contact him. Mark distributed ideas for newspaper ads that he and Brian Stark created. Mark added that he is looking at color ads in the Herald and the Tribune. Mark is interested in receiving feedback on the ad ideas. In order to be reimbursed from the City for the camera and any home marketing ads placed, a receipt and a copy of the canceled check is needed. Dan Miller has agreed to provide the necessary information to Mark. Finally, Mark added that a lot of behind the scenes home marketing work has taken place on the website.


Deb Aguinaga reported that she is still arranging porches for Porchfest. Paul Bednar commented that we should start thinking about getting a flier out. Jean Bednar added that there is not an article about Porchfest in the Gazette, but it is mentioned on two occasions. Deb asked if handouts could possibly be available at the potluck. Several ideas were discussed regarding a theme, and locations for the event. One such idea was to try and cluster the porches.

433 DuPage Street

Mark Billings commented that the NW Board of Realtors has agreed to hear the Littles’ case. The Herald is also considering doing a piece on the topic. Mark is unsure of how they found out about the situation. Paul Bednar talked to Kevin Sosnowski who has met the new owner of the property. Kevin was told that the plan is to deconvert the home to single family.


Jason Musser reported that the updated website would be opened up to members in the next few days. Sean Freid would like for everyone to look at the site before it is opened up to the general public. If everything works fine, the site will be opened up globally. Jason added that he is generating a database that will dynamically update the calendar of events. Paul Bednar asked if pictures of past events could be posted on the website. Jason replied that if pictures and text are sent to he or Sean, they would be able to post the information.


Pat Miller sent out 381 membership letters. Of these, 140 were renewal letters. The remainders were to people who live in the Historic District, but are not currently members of GPA. About 30-35 were sent back as no such address. Pat has begun to receive membership renewals back. As of yet, no new members have replied. Along with the letters went invitations to the potluck and a calendar of events.

Hispanic Outreach

Deb Aguinaga asked for anyone that comes across a Hispanic homeowner in the neighborhood, who might be a potential member, to drop her and Joe a note. Joe can then talk to Pat Miller and work out some information to present to these people.

Community Block Grant Status

Mark Billings will report on this topic during the next general membership meeting.


The next housewalk meeting is scheduled for April 12th. Bill Briska reported that 9 homes are already lined up. Bill also reported that ABODE will be holding a tour, also on the near west side, on May 20th. The format for this event is a gimmick rally. Mark Billings added that there should be a promo piece on the GPA housewalk coming up in the Herald.


A letter was sent from GPA to the library board. Paul Bednar added that it sounds like the committee is open to asking for a new design.

Gifford Park

Paul Bednar reported that the bid for Gifford Park, including streetlights and pavers, is coming in under budget. Paul was contacted and asked for input from the group as to which type of pavers is preferred, Pinehall Brick or Brussells Block. GPA will need to discuss the issue and provide feedback.

Mayors Award

Dennis Roxworthy has recommended Brian Anderson for a Mayors Award for his work with GPA on 40N Gifford, and his many other contributions to the City.

Calendar of Events

May 17th, Thursday – General Membership Mtg., Gifford Street High School – 7PM
May 19th, Saturday – Great Unveiling
June 21st, Thursday – General Membership Mtg., Gifford Street High School – 7PM
July 1st, Sunday – Porchfest
September 8th and 9th, Saturday and Sunday – Housewalk