May 2001 Membership Meeting

Gifford Park Association General Membership Meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2001

Present: Joe Aguinaga, Karen Bach, Joe Becerra, Jean and Paul Bednar, Mark and Pat Billings, Angela and Rork Coon, Paul Durrenberger, Mike Kramer, Dan and Pat Miller, Brigitte Nobs, Mark and Glenna Preradovic, Pat Segal, Kevin Sosnowski, and Brian Stark

The meeting was called to order by Paul Bednar at 7:12 PM.

March Minutes

Dan Miller made a motion to approve the minutes from the March general membership meeting. The motion was seconded by Joe Becerra, and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

May Board Meeting Summary — Paul Bednar summarized the discussions that took place during the board meeting on May 3, 2001.

Community Cleanup

Kevin Sosnowski reported that he had been in contact with the community restitution representative. This person commented that for Saturday, during the Great Unveiling, they were busy and would not have resources to offer for community cleanup efforts. He did state that they might be able to help out tomorrow, Friday the 18th.

Great Unveiling

Dan Miller reported that two homes would be unveiled in the neighborhood this year. The addresses are 133 Hinsdell Place and 480 Division Street. The Unveiling will begin at 8:00 am this Saturday, May 19th. Paul Bednar asked if there was a better tool to use for removing asphalt siding. Dan replied that a flat bar works best. It was stated that the Herald and the Courier both have run ads on the Great Unveiling. Discussions took place regarding the distribution of the checks to the homeowners. Dan added that GPA will be compensating the homeowners and will be reimbursed by the City, as the City will not be able to prepare the checks by Saturday. It was decided that the checks would be distributed at 12:00 during lunch at Joe Becerra’s home. Joe Becerra asked if an enlarged mock up of the check could be generated and presented. Pat Miller agreed to take care of this, as it had been done in the past.


Joe Aguinaga reported that additional porches are still needed. Paul Bednar commented that GPA should probably get another pamphlet out. Paul Durrenberger asked how many people were confirmed. Paul Bednar replied that there were 2 confirmed and 3 possibilities. Joe added that he has distributed pamphlets to all of Park Street, Porter Street, and Chicago Street. Dan Miller stated that he would be happy to help out if Deb Aguinaga would like to contact him. Glenna Preradovic asked if there was going to be an architectural treasure hunt. Paul Bednar ended by stating that maybe Deb should hold a meeting.


Dan Miller reported that right now we are in a dilemma because there are only 7 homes confirmed. Dan asked the group for their opinions as to whether or not we should go with just these locations. Karen Bach asked if the 7 were a good representation of the area, and if there was also a public building. Dan Miller replied that there is a Sears house, which could be considered an 8th site. Only the outside of this home will be on the tour. Rebecca Hunter has agreed to do a Sears display, but has an issue with having her materials outside. Possibly if she is given a tent, this display could be coupled with the exterior of the Sears home. Dan commented that we can go with the 7, say yes to one of the alternates, or look for more. Dan added that he does not believe that there are currently other possibilities, as he has already approached 32 people. Angela Coon replied that she would prefer to see the 7 homes with the Sears home as the 8th site, and Washington School as registration. Joe Becerra agreed with Angela’s response. Brigitte Nobs asked if there was a church that could be added. Dan added that there is one on South Jackson , but it is out of the way. Dan Miller asked that all input be given to the Housewalk Committee.

Gifford Park Improvement Day

Mark Billings reported that within the next few weeks Jerry Pasque and the Parks Department would like to call a meeting between OES and GPA. The topics to decide will be who will bring the food and organize the tasks. The date is scheduled for July 21st with a rain date of July 28th. Mark asked if somebody would be willing to speak with Bill Witte regarding a meeting date. There are currently signs up at the Park which reference the improvement day date. Jean Bednar asked if we should have the signs printed in Spanish also. Paul Bednar added that Channing School will be handing out fliers, in English and Spanish, prior to the end of the school year. Mark Billings commented that 50-100 people will be needed to handle tasks such as fine tuning the landscaping and putting wood chips in place. Paul Bednar asked if a Night in the Park will be held in conjunction with the activity. Mark replied that this is one of the details that will be ironed out at the meeting. Paul Bednar asked Karen Bach to talk to Mark about organizing the Night in the Park.

St. Mary’s

Dan Miller reported that at the direction of the Heritage Commission, City Staff wrote a new legislation regarding temporary structures. One of the things that needs to be done yet by St. Mary’s is to hold a new public hearing. Karen Bach commented that the priest at St. Mary’s is leaving in 3 weeks. This might hinder some of the current plans. Dan Miller stated that City Council has approved the changes at St. Mary’s, there are just a few more details to be completed yet. Paul Bednar asked if it was safe to say that the City took some of GPA’s recommendations. Dan replied that he believed so.

ROPE Officer’s Report

Kevin Sosnowski commented that he has been in contact with Marge Fostiack at Channing School. Channing plans to get another mobile this year, which they plan to put on the south side of the gym addition. Dan Miller asked when the new school would be completed and ready to take some of the pressure off of the existing structures. Paul Bednar commented that he believes that it will be built by this fall. Jean Bednar reported that she wrote a letter to Lalo Ponce asking if the mobiles will be removed from Channing, Garfield, and Sheridan, once the new building is built. Pat Miller added that the City does have an ordinance for temporary structures. These are only supposed to be in place for 18 months. A permit is required to put up a temporary structure. Pat stated that she believes that the community will need to review the ordinance and approach City staff with any concerns. Joe Becerra commented that maybe GPA needs to have Lalo come to a future meeting and clarify this, and where all the students will be coming from. Glenna Preradovic added that all of the boundaries will be redone with the new school. Pat Miller commented that the mobile can not take up one of the tennis courts because these are a part of the agreement from when the City gave the Park to U46. This was in response to Kevin’s comment that Channing would like to keep all of the mobiles together, which would mean taking out one of the tennis courts. Paul Bednar stated that there was talk at the last board meeting of sending a letter to Lalo, and asking him to attend the next meeting. Mark Billings asked if the timing would be right, or would it be too late, with school starting in July. Mark stated that he believes that some of the principals of the schools in the area see the neighborhood as an obstacle. Because of this, he believes that a facilitated meeting might be better than a letter. He added that a small meeting around the first of June might be best. Paul Bednar commented that he can do this, and also talk to the City about the temporary structure ordinance. Joe Becerra asked if the meeting should have both the City and U46 present. Dan Miller commented that if the structure is placed on the Channing Street side, it would be in the Historic District and would need to be brought before the Heritage Commission. Glenna Preradovic replied that the new gym, and behind it, is not in the Historic District, the old gym is. Paul Bednar asked that since there are a number of items to discuss with Lalo Ponce and Marge Fostiack, should a meeting be set up with Lalo, Marge, and the City for the next board or general membership meeting, or should the meeting be set up with a select group at a separate time. Joe Becerra recommended that a combined meeting be set up with the City and U46. Jean Bednar added that this would have been helpful for situations in the past. Paul Bednar commented that he is not sure that the City will state that the temporary structure is not allowed. Kevin Sosnowski asked if there is a different standard between public and private schools. The group replied no, St. Mary’s is in the Historic District. Pat Miller commented that one of the problems is the lack of ownership of the Park. The school says that the Parks Department is responsible, and Parks says the school district is responsible. Jean Bednar stated that she spoke with Lalo at the Potluck and asked if U46 would be willing to give Channing Park back to the City. Lalo thought it was a great idea and recommended that Jean write a letter. Pat Miller added that at one time, the City was not able to take care of so many parks, that is not the case now. Paul Bednar stated that because of all the issues, he will set up a meeting with both groups for one afternoon in the next few weeks. Dan Miller recommended that they be told the topics prior to the meeting.

Kevin Sosnowski reported that he is responsible for setting up the ROPE camp this year. Each ROPE officer will be taking 5 neighborhood kids to Lake Geneva from June 11-15th. The chosen kids must meet a long list of criteria.

Kevin commented that he received an email from Mark Billings regarding neighborhood parties. The question is whether or not several small block parties would be held, or a much larger party where streets would need to be closed. Kevin suggests that each street assigns a captain to do the paperwork, he will assist. In order to block a street, the neighbors must sign off that they consent. O.E.S. has plans for an activity at Holy Trinity Church on August 19th. Karen Bach commented that her block used to have 2 every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. They combined the activity with community cleanup. She added that it was a lot of fun, and enjoyed by all. Mark Billings stated that his idea was to be proactive to combat turnover. He believes that there is a lot of potential if this is done. The benefit to holding them all on the same night would be to cut down on the organization time. Jean Bednar asked if this could be held in conjunction with Porchfest. Kevin replied that he has some of the planning packages. They need to be completed 6-8 weeks in advance. The paperwork needs to be completed by all 8 City departments 3 weeks in advance. Paul Bednar asked if Mark Billings was in need of anything from GPA. Mark replied not necessarily. He added that his ideas go back to what Mike Alft stated on the neighborhood bus tour. “We need to be vigilante on our own streets. With new people moving in we need to be proactive and make connections.” Paul added that GPA funded snow cone makers and popcorn machines for Porchfest last year, we might be able to do similar things for the block party. Pat Miller commented that we should not jump to conclusions on the reasons for high turnover rates. It might be due to such issues as code cracking down. Unless we ask for a reason, we don’t know why people are moving. Dan Miller added that he views the sales as positive, as it is a chance to get new and good people into the neighborhood. Mark Billings replied that he is looking at this as a way for connectiveness. Jean added that if a lot of homes are for sale, we could go back to promoting homes outside of Elgin. Dan Miller commented that maybe we need a twist to Porchfest, and should persuade people to hold open houses.

Additional Items

Jean Bednar reported that she is about to have walking tour brochures reprinted. A lot of new pictures have already been taken. If you have any comments, please let her know. She will look into having it printing in color next time.

Paul Bednar happily reported that public works has finished the street lights downtown.

Pat Miller commented that GPA envelopes will need to be printed.

Jean Bednar stated that 3 people from last year’s house tour, the McCrackens, the Karakas’, and the Farnhams, will be getting Mayor’s Awards tomorrow night. Brian Anderson will also be receiving an award for his efforts at 40 N. Gifford, among other things.


The motion to adjourn was made by Jean Bednar and seconded by Joe Becerra.

Membership Renewal

Be sure to check the mailing label for this month’s minutes in order to verify through when your membership is current. Please contact Pat Miller at (847) 697-3370 to renew your membership or if you have any other membership questions. Reminder – if your membership expires this month, and you do not renew, you will not receive next month’s minutes.

Calendar of Events

June 20th, Wednesday – House Walk Mtg, 470 Park Street – 7PM
June 21st, Thursday – General Membership Mtg., Gifford Street High School – 7PM
– After party at the home of July 1st, Sunday – Porchfest
July 19th, Thursday – General Membership Mtg., Gifford Street High School – 7PM
– After party at the home of Dan and Pat Miller, 155 S. Gifford
September 8th and 9th, Saturday and Sunday – Housewalk