June 2003 Membership Meeting

Gifford Park Association
General Membership Meeting
June 19, 2003

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM by President Fran Cella.

Members present: Dan and Pat Miller, Fran Cella, Bill Briska, Deborah Allan, Mark Billings, Julie Schmitt, Kevin Sosnowski, and Joe Becerra

Approval of Minutes

Dan Miller moved and Joe Becerra seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May General Membership meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

3 CD’s @ $21,372.39
Checking               $37,177.44
Wayne Landers Acct.         $12,644.54

Festivities in the Park set for July 12

Mark Billings reported that we signed a contract for a sixty-five person band to play for us in the park at 7:00 PM. He has asked Jerry Turnquist to research other times that bands have played in the park or at Elgin HS to bring a historical perspective to the event. Key VIPs will get special invitations to the event. Public works has informed us that the streets will still be torn up but the park should not be affected. The Community Restitution people have agreed to clean the park before the concert. Kevin informed the group that different events are scheduled for the day starting at 1:00. There will be a bike rodeo with a motorcycle policeman leading a procession of bicyclists through the neighborhood. Kids events will go on until 5:00. A porta potty will be ordered and the police have agreed to help. There may be a dunk tank with Kevin being the main target. GPA is encouraged to have a table there to give membership information and perhaps sell housewalk tickets. The planners are looking for donations of food such as chips or popcorn. The Latte Dah Cafe will be selling baked goods etc. in conjunction with the concert. Those coming to the concert are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and mosquito repellent.

Kevin also informed the group that the Original East Side Neighbors have established a mission statement and will be distributing minutes in the future. They will be conducting a 50/50 raffle at the concert. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Contact Joe Becerra if you would like to buy a ticket beforehand.

Rope Officer Report

Kevin announced that the ROPE officers have been getting together to have what he termed a Directed Patrol in a given “hit area.” They concentrate in an area in their cars and on their bicycles. One of Kevin’s pet peeves that he has concentrated on is drinking in the public way. They also recently did a road block at Villa and Fulton. They directed random cars to the parking lot. He found six unlicensed drivers in an hour. He reported that they swamped the jailer during the four hours they conducted the roadblock. There were several people found not to have insurance. Fran complimented Kevin on his working on drinking in the public way as she is concerned with the number of bottles that are continually found in the street. Julie asked Kevin about fireworks. He responded that it is illegal to posses or set off fireworks in Illinois. If you hear or see a problem, you should contact him.. People can be given a ticket for setting off fireworks. Fireworks are confiscated from people and then destroyed later.

Kevin reported that four at risk kids will be taken to Lake Geneva to the Snake Road Adventure Center from June 30th to July 3rd for ROPE camp. He thanked GPA for their contribution.

Julie reported that her car was recently broken into in the YMCA parking lot. Her cell phone was stolen. Kevin added that he was told that another GPA member had his car rifled through but nothing was taken. People are reminded to let Kevin know of such things even if it has been reported to the police department. If he is not home please leave a message.

Kevin told the group that our beat officer from 3 to 11 PM is Jim Bisceglie in squad 832.   The beat officer from 11 to 7 am is Corey Johnson. Pat added that she is troubled to hear that cars are being broken into as we are being forced to park our cars in the street because of road and sidewalk work. She did add that Steve Pertzborn from engineering promised that there would be added police patrols during construction. Pat added that she found it interesting that everyone is finding a place to park even when restricted to only one side because of construction. Perhaps that indicates that some of our narrower streets could get permanent one side only parking.

Kevin added that kids under 17 have a curfew of 11:00 PM on weekdays and 12:00 on Friday and Saturday. Kevin reminded the group that his jurisdiction only goes as far east as Channing St. Dan complimented Kevin on putting together a Neighborhood Walk through our neighborhood. It was disappointing that more city staff were not able to attend.

Joe Becerra mentioned that he feels the new leadership from the YMCA should be invited to a meeting to hear of his visions for the building. A large tower addition has been mentioned to house a charter school.


Mark reminded the group that the annual housewalk kickoff pot luck is scheduled for August 15 at the Lord‘s Park Pavilion. It is a great chance to meet the homeowners and see pictures of and learn about their wonderful homes. Mark said that he is planning to do the presentation this year. He added that we have had one of our homeowners cancel as their house has been sold. More housecaptains are still needed. If you would like to volunteer please call Mark at 741-8399.

Neighborfest Expo

Fran thanked Bill for helping her man the GPA booth. Regrettably, we had a poorly situated booth so few people visited us. One bright side is that we got one new membership of the new owners of the home at the SW corner of Channing and Fulton. They are moving here from Palatine. Their goal was to move to a more diverse neighborhood. Mark reminded us that the Little’s were introduced to our neighborhood and its possibilities at the same event. They since have done a wonderful downsizing on Rugby Place. The theme of the expo was establishing bicycle paths. Mark said that a survey was taken at the expo and that some ambitious plans are underway for establishing bicycle paths. Input from groups is being requested. Deborah mentioned that at a recent meeting with City Manager Dorgan he informed the group that six million dollars was spent in Tinley Park, under his direction, on bicycle paths. He is an advocate of bicycling and has been known to take his staff on bicycle tours to better get a feel for problems. It was suggested that we make some of our streets bike paths to get the excess cars off of them. Mark informed the group that he has applied for a $2500 grant for seed money to start bicycle paths in the he neighborhood. The issue of bike paths could be a rallying event to get people involved.

Neighborhood Improvement Grant

Fran informed the group that we did receive a grant of $15,000 for our pocket park proposed at the corner of Geneva and Chicago.

Grand View

Fran reported that a meeting was held with manger Dorgan, Mayor Schock, Lee Fitzsimmons the developer, and GPA representatives to discuss an alternative for the Grand View site. Nate Brooks drew up some fascinating plans for a large building emulating the original Grand View mansion to be placed at the top of the hill containing several condominiums. Some additional out buildings were also suggested. The plans were presented to the group but neither the city nor the developer saw the plan as fiscally viable. One concern was that so few condos on such a large piece of land would mean an unusually high condo fee.   Based on his experience, Lee felt single family homes could be marketed and sold much easier than condos.

The developers did bring a revised plan to the Planning Commission on Monday June 16th. The new plan does address some of the past concerns. Moving the driveway saves two of the significant trees, some more details were added to the houses and some additional parking was planned for. After much testimony the Commission did approve the plans unanimously. The plan now goes to City Council on June 25th for preliminary approval. It must then go back to the Planning Commission for final plat of subdivision approval then on to city council for a final decision.

Bus tour

Deborah informed the group that on June 28th there is an Elgin High School reunion taking place with a fancy bus tour planned. Jerry Turnquist will be conducting the tour. The bus will not be filled with reunion goers so they have opened it up to others. Call Deborah if you would be interested in going along. The tour is scheduled to last from 10 to 2.

Community Crisis Center

Dan reported that he received a letter from the Crisis Center updating us on their project and asking for our help. They have tuckpointed the building, cleaned the brick, and the glass brick windows are being replaced with historically accurate ones. “Both exterior and interior plans have been developed with the intent of contributing to our historic neighborhood and at the same time providing a more comfortable and efficient environment for the people we serve.” They informed us that their original goal of 2.5 million in cash and pledges to improve the building has been reached. However, this does not allow for completion of the exterior work. The plans not funded at this time, include replacing the bushes with an appropriate fence; further developing landscaping and the garden areas; improve lighting; and appropriate signage. To accomplish these things they are requesting GPA’s support. They are interested in a partnership…gift from GPA, a joint proposal for funding and/or a combined fund-raiser serving both organizations. Members of the Center’s Board of Directors are welcoming the opportunity to talk with us about these possibilities. They want to be a good neighbor. Any consideration we can give in support of the renovation project will be most appreciated. They closed saying, “Thanks you for your commitment to the neighborhood we share.”

Planters in the Park

Dan Miller publicly complimented Pat Segel, Pat Hill and Pat Miller for helping to weed and care for the planters in Gifford Park. Bill added that Pat, Pat and Pat deserve a pat on the back. Dave Segal and Dan Miller also helped. Pat Miller reported that the plants in the planters are drought tolerant plants. She feels that when they seeded the lawn some of that seed got into the planters and with the sprinklers on full force last year, the grass and weeds flourished creating a nightmare to weed this year. Every square inch in the beds is covered with a matte of grass and weeds thus starving out the good plants and making it very hard to separate out the weeds and the good plants. Even if the beds are weeded this week, they will be a mess again in a couple of weeks. Pat feels the beds need to be completely dug up allowing for the separation of plants and weeds. Then the plants could be replanted in the planters. Pat found the task to be very frustrating. Dan Miller added that we have done far too much landscaping in the neighborhood. We have not been able to maintain the plantings under the historic district signs, the roses at the corners or the beds in the park. The day lilies we bought and planted in the corners of the park were not maintained in beds so they have simply been mowed over. Dan suggest that we do not do any more landscaping in the neighborhood as we have created a monster. Pat reminded the group that Paul Durrenberger has done an assessment of the rose beds at the corners and that he and Pat and others have done some weeding of the beds. Much more is needed.

Dan Added that some nice permanent garbage receptacles are need in the park as people have to walk too far to throw things out so they end up in the lawn and play area. The current large garbage cans at the corners of the park are unsightly.

Fran informed the group that the next General Membership meeting is scheduled for July 17th.

Dan Miller motioned and Joe Becerra seconded to adjourn the meeting. Passed unanimously.

Summarized by:  Dan Miller