May 2003 Membership Meeting

Gifford Park Association
General Membership Meeting
May 15, 2003

President Fran Cella called meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. All present at the meeting introduced themselves.

Since the April meeting minutes were not distributed in advance, they will be approved at the June meeting.

Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS)

Rich Jakobs, Executive Director of NHS, attended the meeting to discuss the current status of the agency.  Rich thanked GPA for all previous support to NHS and distributed information on the agency’s role and various programs.

Questions were asked about the de-conversion program.  When will funds be available again to de-convert multiple family dwellings back to single family homes?  Per Rich, this year the City will administer the program. A start date has not been determined. It was suggested that the de-conversion program be expanded to include apartment buildings that have increased their number of  units beyond the original capacity.  Rich suggested that GPA send this recommendation to city staff person Mark Biernacki.

Questions were asked about the Community Reinvestment Act.   Rich explained the Act.  Local banks are fulfilling their obligation under the Act by doing 5 year assistance loans for 1st time home buyers.

At this time NHS is only doing one old house  rehab.   NHS will be developing a strategic plan to guide their future actions.

GPA expressed their thanks and support to Rich for assuming leadership of this important agency.

Neighborfest Expo June 7

Rich Jakobs discussed the Neighborfest coming up on June 7. The theme is bicycling to tie in with the city plans for a network of bike paths.  22,000 households will get a gold “wrapper” in their newspaper soon.  This wrapper will advertise the event and cover our neighborhood assets.  GPA plans to participate and needs volunteer(s) to staff the table between noon and 5 p.m. Some discussion among members concluded that we could hand out our walking tour brochures (may have to get more printed, Jean will coordinate) and Mark Billings will set up a power point presentation. We will need to borrow a laptop computer for the day.

City Council Representative

GPA welcomed newly elected Councilperson, Brenda Rodgers and expressed appreciation for her participation in the meeting.  Ms. Rodgers throughout the meeting and stated that she is always available to listen to concerns.   Ms. Rodgers thanked GPA members for their support during her campaign.

Grandview discussion

(Please see attached summary of the updated status of Grandview.)

During the review of this information, it was suggested the alternative concept may not have been clear to the city and that a more graphic presentation might be useful.   The idea of hiring an architect to do the design was discussed.

Proposed Tree Ordinance

Mike Noland presented his ideas about developing a tree ordinance for Elgin.  There is a tree ordinance on the books that was developed a number of years ago by volunteers like Mike, but the version that was approved is weak. Michael would like support from the neighborhood groups to propose a better one. One that addresses tree replacement, for every 1” loss there shall be a 1”gain with a new tree. Paul stated that such a requirement is not unusual to find in other town ordinances, especially ones that want higher standards, like the Council has stated in the past. The ordinance is more detailed than was mentioned here.

Michael would like comments from neighbors sent or called into him. Phone is 847/717-4500 . Michael stated that if this type of ordinance was in effect the Grandview outcome might have been different.

Michael also encouraged neighbors to begin photographing significant trees in the neighborhood – especially those that might be at risk.

Rope Officer Report

Kevin Sosnowski gave an update on crime within the past month. The police have been arresting people for loud stereos.

Kevin requested a donation from GPA towards the youth summer camp program this year. This is another program that is being effected by budget deficits.  Through this program, Elgin Rope Officers are able to take 4-5 “at risk” kids from each neighborhood to camp at $150 each.  The kids participate in traditional camp activities as well as activities that build self-esteem, leadership and cooperative skills . Kevin says he has seen the difference this camp makes in the kids’ lives as well as those of the parents. There was a motion for GPA to donate $600 towards the effort, and approved unanimously.

A letter was also received from the Fraternal Order of Police asking for a donation towards the annual Shop with a Cop program. There was a motion made for GPA to make a donation of $100 and approved.

Mark Billings and Kevin discussed a partnership for unity day. The food and fun will be during the day. A concert sponsored by GPA ($600) will try to be scheduled for that night in the gazebo.

Other New Business

Dan Miller sent John Loete, Director of Public Works a thank you for getting some requested street clean-ups done. Thanks.

Jana Frohlich is concerned about the homes in the Division/Porter area that have been converted to multiple units.  Some of these will be turning hands and remaining multi-units. She asked GPA to help. Members discussed the importance of the deconversion program which offers buyers an incentive to convert homes back to their original use.  As we heard earlier in the meeting, funding for this program has not yet been released.

In past years, GPA has had a  Dream Team Committee, whose role it is to find, rehab and sell projects.   Anyone interested in being involved with this team should please contact Fran.

Another way that GPA can help is to list the property on the Historic Home Marketing web site.

Pocket Park Proposal

GPA is awaiting the outcome of our proposal to develop the corner of Chapel and Chicago. Hopefully the word will come out soon. (NOTE: WE DID GET THE APPROVAL LETTER THE DAY AFTER THE MEETING)

Committee Reports

Historic House Tour – Mark indicated that many volunteers are still needed.  Anyone interested in helping should contact Mark by phone 847/741-8399 or e-mail [email protected]”>[email protected]

Treasurer’s Report

Dan gave the treasurers report. We have 3 CD’s for $21,183.54 each. We have $41,541.66 in checking and $12,640.39 in the Wayne Landers Account. The total is $117,732.67

Next Meeting is scheduled for June 19

Meeting adjourned at 9:15

Respectfully submitted by Paul Bednar