Noveber 2012 Board Minutes

November 2012 Board Minutes


Dates to remember:

Thursday January 17                                                               Monday January 14
General Membership Meeting                                                Housewalk Planning meeting
355 E. Chicago (U-46 Administration Building)                   Elgin Historical Society
Room 239                                                                               7:00 pm
Guest speakers from the Charter School initiative
and St. Mary’s school

Gifford Park Association
Board meeting
November 26, 2012

Attending:  Karen Bach, Bill Briska, Tony Sanchez, Moe Lee, Dan and Pat Miller, Dorie Alpha, Tom Lee

Christmas Party
Karen reported that we will have the annual GPA Christmas party on Sunday, December 16 at the Voss’ house at 440 E. Chicago starting at 5:00 pm.  Those attending are to bring their own booze.  Dorie asked if it was going to be a family oriented party.  Karen suggested we have an activity besides just mingling.  Dan suggested a Trivia contest.  Pat suggested singing Christmas carols or charades.  Bill suggested we just drink.  Karen suggested that we collect food for the Emergency Food Pantry or the Crisis Center.  She also suggested that we might think about having our party at the Crisis Center for the people living there.  Bill added that we probably could not do that because of confidentiality rules.

Christmas Window Decorating

Karen reported the she and Glenna were  going to decorate the window at the Ravenheart coffee shop and that they have agreed to partner with us.  This year the theme  is “win this window.”  It is sort of like a giant raffle.  A dollar donation gives you a chance to win the basket in the window.  Twenty five groups have signed up to decorate windows.  Our basket will have a Twelve Days of Coffee theme.  The contents of the basket will be a Ravenheart gift card, and various coffee related food items.  John Lafleur has volunteered to donate some books and stuffed animals.

GPA Goals

Karen suggested that we work at getting new members and redo our By-Laws.  “We need to have some direction.”  Bill suggested that we look at our financial liabilities.  For instance, we are spending $1800 a year to have the pocket park and corner plantings maintained.  We are underwriting people’s personal landscaping.  We need to encourage the home owners to take over the maintenance of the corner plantings.

We need to have some direction.

Bill Briska reminded the group that that we need to look at our liabilities and that we need to  have some direction.  For instance, we are paying $1800 a year to maintain our corner plantings and pocket park.  We are underwriting individuals personal landscaping.  We need to encourage homeowners to take over the maintenance of the corner plantings in front of their house.  We need to phase out subsidized corner plantings.  If we keep the pocket park we should add some type of interpretive signage.  We need to make it clear that even tho it is private property, the police are welcome to come in to monitor it.  We need to keep it clean.  Karen added that it should be our goal to get rid of the pocket park.

Bill added that our spending has morphed into being a charity rather than the typical spending of a neighborhood organization.  We are not a charity by charter.  We need to spend money on Preservation “Awareness and Community advancement.  I don’t have a problem with our spending money but it should be thoughtful.  We have been drifting off course.  I don’t think we get the most bang for the buck with corner plantings.  We should do things like a lending library, infrastructure improvements and hard capes.”

Karen suggested that we have more volunteer days to give neighbors a chance to get involved.  Bill added that we need more neighborhood enhancement ideas.  The new Historic District signs are a good example.  We need to talk to more people and offer events that are appealing to people to get more to come to ur meetings.  We should have home repair seminars.  We need to make people aware of the huge library available to them on our web site. Perhaps we should hold a seminar to show people how to navigate thru our web site.  Dorie suggested that we have the city advertise us more.  Bill added that we need a strategy for building membership.  Pat added that a program schedule is crucial to getting membership.  If nothing is going on, people are not going to come to meetings.  Bill added that he feels we have three tiers of members:  Active members, subscribed but not active, and sympathetic.  We need to reach in to pull the last two categories into the first.  We need to offer activities that these people might be interested in.  An example is the recent Preservation Forum that the Historical Society hosted.  There was a great turnout.  The museum might offer us help in offering relevant programs.  Pat added that those things need to be planned way ahead.  They need to be advertised and on our calendar.  We need to get people to see what is happening.  Bill mentioned that the Historical Society plans their events a year in advance.  Some of the speakers are paid.  They have a total budget of $1000 for programs.  They have twelve major and six minor programs per year.  They piggyback heavily with the city during Preservation Month.  GPA needs to look for ideas.

Bill added that we should get involved with more hardscape improvements and less landscape.  We need to promote a sense of place and give our neighborhood an identity.

Historic District Signs

Dan showed the group  the prototype of our sign that was made by the sign company.  Tony received a huge round of applause as he designed the sign. It is beautiful.  Pat voiced her concern for the stripes on the sign.  It was explained that they don’t really appear when they are on the street and that they are a part of the required reflectivity of the signs.  Dorie suggested that we order five extra sings in case some get ruined.  She also reminded the group that our current interpretive signs need maintenance.  Pat reminded the group that the huge interpretive sign in Channing School park was stolen many years ago.

Moe Lee mentioned to the group that she has been in Elgin for nine years.  She and her husband have been in an old house for six years.  She attended our housewalks even before she moved here.  She added, “Don’t ever get rid of the Housewalk!”   She likes the signs as it informs people where they are when they drive thru and it reminds that that this is a special area.  Moe said, “Dan Miller is the best ambassador for Elgin.  He told us things about hour house shortly after we moved here.  He handed out membership info.  The sense of community that I felt in this neighborhood brought me in.  We can see all of your dedication.”

Bill mentioned that we received a request from the City to fill out a form regarding the amount of hours our volunteers spend on projects.  He will get together with Karen to fill it out.  “It is a formidable task.”

Dan Miller motioned to adjourn.

Dorie Alpha seconded the emotion.

The motion passed unanimously.