May 2011

Gifford Park Association

General Membership Meeting Minutes, May 19, 2011

355 E. Chicago, Room 239

Attending: Jennifer Williams, Deborah Allen, Bill Briska, Pat Miller, John & Carol Anderson, Fran Cella, Donna Leetz, Barb Counterman, Tony Sanchez, Ali Hallock, Doug Tomsha, Dorie Alpha, ROPE Officer Eric Echevarria

Guests: Officers Pitec and Johnson


Meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m.


Handouts and Announcements:

Congratulations to Dan Miller on receiving the Artisan Award at the Mayor’s Awards on Thursday, May 5th.  The award is in recognition of his achievements recreating historic architectural details for homeowners throughout Elgin.

Congratulations to Doug Tomsha on receiving a Mayor’s Award in recognition of his volunteer contributions at the Elgin Area Historical Museum.

Congratulations to Heritage Commission member Steve Stroud, on receiving the 2011 George Van De Voorde Award for lifetime achievement in promoting Elgin’s historic heritage.

Congratulations to ourselves!  At a banquet on Saturday, May 7th, Gifford Park Association was given an award from the Garfield Farm Museum (west of St. Charles and Geneva) recognizing the GPA’s many years of work and dedication in the field of Historic Preservation.

The city’s Road Rally event, scheduled for last Saturday, 5/14 that they had asked GPA to participate in was cancelled due to low registration.

Thank you to John and Carol Anderson for hosting the GPA plant swap on Saturday 5/14. Thank you also to all of the volunteers who assisted.

The Great Unveiling scheduled for May 21 will unveil several historic homes around town.  While we do not have a participant house in our district this year, we do have a location just across the road from the district.  218 Villa will be unveiled.  Please wear grubby clothes, and bring pry bars, hammers, ladders, gloves and safety gear.  Work begins at 9:00 a.m.

The city’s annual Foxtrot on Memorial Day, Monday May 30th.  Volunteers requested to work the water station at the corner of Hill and Division.  Working the station is what allows us one free use of Lord’s Park Pavilion each year. (If you drive, be careful where you park!)  Please be there by 7:30 a.m. in time for the start of the race at 8:00 a.m.

Porch party season starts in a couple of weeks.  The first scheduled date is June 10, but we do not have a host home yet.  If anyone would like to host (or knows someone who might) on Friday June 10th (or Saturday June 11), please let David know ASAP so he can get the word out.

Thank you to the following individuals for their efforts, cleaning up the Pocket Park on Saturday, April 30th; Donna Leetz, Tony Sanchez, Barb Counterman, John & Carol Anderson.

Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley, in cooperation with a group of volunteers from Omron corporation in Schaumburg have begun renovation work on 140 N. Channing.  The work began with demolition on May 11-13.  Right now they are concentrating on demolition and will be meeting with city staff to determine the plans going forward once the structural condition of the building has been assessed.


Secretary’s Report:

Motion to approve the minutes of Marhy 17, 2011 by Barb Counterman, seconded by John Anderson. The motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report:

Pat Miller, on behalf of Dan Miller, reported $22,082.79 is in the checking account and $80,097.68 is in CD’s.


ROPE Officer’s Report:

ROPE Officer Eric Echevarria reported the following: a 30 day gang initiative to ramp up efforts to curtail gang related crime.  Remember to report crime online.

June 17 and 18 is the annual ROPE camp for at risk kids. Donna Leetz moved to donate $300 to the ROPE camp. Dorie Alphie seconded the motion. It passed unanimously. There will not be a block party this year, but Eric is hosting an end-of-the-year party at Channing Elementary. There will be a petting zoo, food, activities and a movie.

As always, if you ever have questions or concerns, you may contact Eric directly:

[email protected]

Or: (847) 354-3394


Standing Committee Reports:



Chair Dorie Alpha had no report at this time.



Chair Fran Cella reported that she has invited Mayor Kaptain to come to a future meeting.


Historic District

Chair Donna Leetz reported that replacing the historic markers with cast aluminum, black with gold letters, approx. 22” x 16” would be about $400 be sign. The district needs 40 signs.


Public Relations

Chair Barb Counterman reported the following:

The House Tour materials are in the works including a press release that will be sent to all major publications, key websites, etc. An announcement about tonight’s GPA general membership meeting was sent to the Chicago Sun Times and also to the Daily Herald.

We will have several opportunities to publicize GPA events as well as our organization in general at the Harvest Market at the DNA booth. The First Harvest Market will be held Thursday June 2, and every Thursday after that through October. We may also be able to offer a prize (free tickets to the House Tour possibly?) via one of the contests being set up by DNA at the Harvest Market.

If the GPA wants to be a sponsor for the Elgin 4th of July Parade, the deadline is 5/27. The lowest level of sponsorship is $250, which gives us: GPA name in all marketing promotional materials, GPA name on kickoff banner and DNA website. There are expected to be 12,000 spectators at the parade. I will be submitting our events to the DNA Top 10 eblast. Also putting our House Tour and other events on the DNA Master Calendar.



Carol Anderson reported that all the sites have been selected but a few sites still need to have visits done.


Salvage Committee:

Pat Miller reported that 27 people bid on items at house in Itasca. We split $695 with the owners.


Website Development:

Tony Sanchez reported that David Knorr has submitted a proposal for $1900 to design a new website and content management. Our hosting fee will only be $100 a year with this new system.  A maintenance package is a little extra.  A motion was made by John Anderson to spend up to $2500 for the new website. The motion was seconded by Dorie Alpha and passed unanimously.


Tree-for-All Committee:

Carol Anderson reported that 13 people have responded so far with a deadline of June 1st.  The next step will be to go door to door at houses that have not responded.  If there are vacant houses that need trees, the committee will contact the neighboring houses for assistance watering the trees. We have received preliminary word that GPA received a $4,000 Neighborhood Improvement Grant through the city.


Summit Park Neighbors and Tree Funding Proposal:

Fran Cella reported that the Summit Park Neighbors and Settlement have also applied for a Neighborhood Improvement Grant with the city but their treasury is very low.  After a brief discussion, Fran made a motion to donate up to $2,000 to Summit Park in matching funds to purchase trees. The motion was seconded by Donna Leetz and passed unanimously.


Other Comments and Concerns:

Fran Cella announced that the city is giving away free mulch with minor strings attached. Please contact public works if you are interested in a delivery.


Motion to adjourn:

Moved by Donna Leetz, seconded by John Anderson. Meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm.


The next general membership meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at location St. Mary’s Church, 397 Fulton St.


Recorded by Jennifer Williams, Secretary