November 2006

Gifford Park Association General Meeting
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Members present:  Dan and Pat Miller, Bill Briska, Dave Mendiola, Greg Hagen, Joe Kjellander, Dave Bullock, Jennifer Williams, Roy Voss, Doug and Sue Tomsha, Jeff and Laura Jacobson, Deborah Allan who brought some great treats!


Guests:   Morris Mallory principal of Gifford Street School, new owners of 359 Park and 162 College.
Dan’s papers – Dan passed out pictures of the home at 328 Park which is scheduled to be torn down by Elgin Academy to add parking for their new perfuming arts center. Parking will be taken off of the quad to open that up as it was designed to be. Dan also passed around drawings of the new arts center/classroom building which is to be built north of Edwards Hall. The Academy has agreed to allow GPA to do an architectural salvage. Watch for the date.


Dan passed around The Economics Research Associates study entitled “Hemmens Cultural Center Market and Architectural assessment.” If anyone would like to see it, call Dan.  


Dan also passed around a request for new or gently read books for Pre-School and Grade School age children. The program is called the Community of Readers and is a business partnership between First Community Bank and School District U-46.   Books should be dropped off at First Community Bank at 165 S. Randall Rd.

Motion to approve minutes: Minutes from the October meeting could not be approved as a quorum of the board was not in attendance.
Treasurer’s Report – none was given as the treasurer was absent

Election of officers could not be held as a quorum of the board was not present

Slate of officers for GPA November elections:
President – Dan Miller Vice President – Deborah Allan    Secretary – Karen Bach Treasurer – Glenna Preradovic At Large – Joe Kjellander At Large 2 – Nick Lykins


Dan reminded the group that the new board has to select people to fill the following committee positions:


Historic District



Public Relations

Program Committee


If you have an interest in any of the above positions, call or e-mail Dan Miller.


Historic District Committee – Jeff Jacobson reported that he and Laura have been working at surveying the current street signs to see which ones are missing. Bill Briska added that in a recent conversation he had with the Mayor it was mentioned that they are not very visible and that the city is interested in at least replacing any broken ones with new and larger ones that are the same basic design but of flat metal not three dimensional like the ones we have now. Those types of signs can be made in house by the city.


Jeff informed the group that he surveyed the current condition of our historic street lights. He has given that survey to the city. They are going to replace all of the bulbs with better ones that do not change color with age.


Jeff has been discussing adding banners to our street lights.   The fee for brackets is $60 per pole.   Jeff said that the committee agreed that it would be great if we could put out a new Gazette. His goal is January. The committee is also finalizing plans for a progressive Christmas party on December 16th. Watch for details. If you would like to have your home be one of the sites, call or e-mail Jeff. [email protected]“>[email protected] or 847-558-4362

Deborah Allan would like to see a beautification project done for the tree bank at LaRocca’s which is currently mud. Perhaps a brick walk?

Christmas garlands will decorate our light poles if 20 people volunteer to help. The event is tentatively scheduled for December 3rd. E-mail Jeff at [email protected]“>[email protected] if you are interested in volunteering.


Dan informed the group that the city is asking us to put together a group of three people to discuss the proposed plans for the Channing Y site. They want a discussion with the developer to tweak the plans before they go to the public with it. If you would like to serve on the committee, call Dan. If more than three are interested, the Board will choose three.  


St. Joe’s rectory:   Dan informed the group that the City recently held a thank you breakfast for Toll Brothers and the volunteers that made the St. Joe’s rectory restoration possible. The Gifford Park Association was thanked for organizing the unveiling.   They saved Toll Bros. a great deal of money by doing the deconstruction. Slides of GPA members and St. Joe’s volunteers working together were shown.


Future Salvage: Dan informed the group that he recently viewed the home at 279 Spring which the city plans on demolishing. GPA has been given salvage rights. Watch for the date.


A motion was made and seconded to sponsor Rachael Jurina in the amount of $200 for her to attend a Junior National Leaders event. The motion passed unanimously.


Dan introduced Morris Mallory, the principal of the Gifford St. alternative school. He told us that he has been drawn to at risk students for his entire career. It is his “absolute pleasure” to find the position he has. He has introduced all school assemblies to the school, something others thought the students couldn’t handle. Morris feels you can get whatever you expect from kids. Through his leadership he has drastically reduced the number of fights that occur in school. There are basically six components of his school.

  • Adult Ed –GED,
  • Office Management – adult computer skills
  • Safe school program – for students that are placed there from an exclusionary hearing from another school,
  • Evening school,
  • Gifford St. High School which receives students from the five regular high schools in U-46 – students that have serious attendance problems or discipline problems,

       Summer school for kids that are behind in credits or that want to graduate early.

  • A middle School has recenlty been added to Gifford St. – For students that have to repeat a grade to prepare them for the next grade. In the beginning there were 23 teachers with 206 students.  

Several years ago there were 23 teachers and 206 students.   When the cuts were made in U-46 it was cut down to 9 teachers with only 4 of those who really wanted to be there.   Dr. Bradford retired and Morris Mallory was moved from Dean to Principal. He insisted on being able to hire teachers that absolutely wanted to be there. He was given his request and now feels that he has a very dedicated staff. There are currently 19 teachers, all of which want to be there. He has started a building mentoring program as so many students need a lot of personal attention. He stopped the practice of students standing on the corner of DuPage and Gifford to hang out and smoke. Many in the crowd thanked him for that. Mr. Mallory instituted a dress code for his students. They must wear purple, white or gray shirts with khaki, blue or black pants that fit with a belt.


There were 36 total computers at the school when Mr. Morris started. He worked hard to get 12 to 15 per classroom. A major goal of his is to get parents involved with their kids and the school. The school now has an active Student Council. Morris complimented GPA on its past and recent efforts at landscaping and signage for his building. A tour of the building was given and enjoyed by all.


ROPE Report – Dave said the neighborhood was doing well. Some vandals have been breaking car windows throughout the city. Some egg throwers were caught on Halloween and given community restitution work. The ROPE program is sponsoring a turkey give away where 100 needy families will be given turkeys. There will not be a Shop with a Cop program this year. The Kane County Sheriffs Dept. is doing one. The ROPE program is sponsoring a Christmas party at the Center. Dave asked neighbors to report any graffiti they see now as when the weather gets colder, the graffiti machine does not work.  


The meting was adjourned at 8:35.  

A huge thanks goes out to Pat Miller for taking minutes in Karen’s absence.
THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE January 18, AT 7:00 pm IN ROOM 239. 


An After Party was held at the Voss’ restoration in progress at 440 E. Chicago. Great food, wonderful conversation and a fascinating restoration in progress. It doesn’t get any better!