May 2013

Gifford Park Association
General Membership Meeting
May 16, 2013

Those in Attendance
Tom Hokenson, Tom and Moe Lee, Pat and Dan Miller, Bill Briska, Ali Hallock, Chris and Karen Bach, Mark and Glenna Preradovic, Officer T. Coffield

The meeting was called to order by President Bach at 7:05 pm.

Karen started the meeting by saying that some of the people that were given awards at the pot luck were not there to receive them. Tom Hokenson was not able to attend the pot luck but he was at the membership meeting so she thanked him profusely for his help with Constant Contact to put out the Gazette and for his mentoring Dan Miller with the GPA web site. Tom was given the Rookie of the Year Award.

Secretary’s Report
Chris Bach made a motion to accept the brilliantly written minutes of the March meeting and Moe Lee seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

Treasurers Report
Bill Briska announced that we have four CD’s, a money market account and a checking account with a combined balance of $96,679.96. He reminded the group that we have a commitment to the Summit Park Neighborhood of $2000 for tree planting. Sites and species have been identified.

ROPE Officer Report
Officer Coffield reported that our Current ROPE Officer, Eric Echavarria, is leaving the program and moving from 326 E. Chicago St. He will be there until June 29th. He went on to remind the group that the Police Department has an emergency telephone notification system called Code Red. It is an ultra high-speed telephone communications service for emergency notification and certain general notifications. For instance, it might inform you that there have been a rash of burglaries in your area, a crime trend in your area, a boil water notice, sex offender alert, missing person, or hazardous spill or reason for evacuation. You can enter your telephone number and e-mail into the database by going to this web address: There is no charge for the service.

Tom Lee asked if there had been a shooting at College and North. Officer Cofffield said that he had not heard of one and if they get a call about a possible shooting they canvas the area for casings or damage. The usual cause is fireworks.

Officer Coffield suggested that we use motion detectors on our outside lights and watch out for our neighbors. He reminded the group not to leave expensive items like a GPS visible in a parked car. The police Dept. has had nights where ten smash and grab thefts have been made from autos.

Membership Committee
In Dorie Alpha’s absence, Dan Miller reported that she has distributed several welcome wagon buckets including food items donated by Donna Leetz, a letter encouraging people to join, and the booklet summarizing 30 years of our neighborhoods accomplishments that was written for the 30th Housewalk. Dorie is also putting together a letter to be sent to neighbors encouraging them to join. Please notify Dorie at [email protected], if you have a new neighbor moving in.

Historic District Committee
Dan Miller reported that a new Gazette is going out soon. If you did not get one, e-mail Dan at [email protected] to be put on the list. (Secretary’s addition: If you would like to read it click here to view it from our web site.) You do not want to miss it!! Dan reported that the new Historic District signs are moving along slowly. The original mock up that was sent was very reflective and the lines in it were very distracting to the wonderful design. The sign company was asked to make a mock up of a non reflective one and they did so. The colors in the new mock up were not at all like the ones we so liked in the original signs. The sign company was sent the mock up that we liked and asked to duplicate it in a new mock up. We will have to live with these signs for the next 30 years and we are spending a lot of money on them so we want to be absolutely sure we are getting the best.

Pat Miller announced that she received a call that same day from a Herald reporter wanting to know GPA’s reaction to the proposed new use of the Bowes Retirement center as a Save-a-Vet facility. As an individual, not representing GPA, she raised questions about parking and maintenance of the building. As an aside, Pat stated that there have been many rumors regarding the Bowes property. She and Dan toured the building in late summer of 2012 when it was for sale. They witnessed no signs of water damage or vandalism in the main original structure at that time. She also stated that GPA has no official position regarding Bowes. GPA has not discussed the topic at a general or board meeting. (Secretaries note: Here is the Herald article that appeared the day after our meeting:

If you did not read it in the Gazette, go here to read Mayor Kaptain’s article on the project. The director of Save a Vet may be coming to our June meeting to discuss his plans so stay tuned.

Let Dan Miler know if you would like to host a porch party this summer.

Housewalk Committee
Bill Briska reported that he is very positive about this year’s Housewalk. The details of the homes and the owners are all fantastic. Dan Miller added that they are the best we have had. Karen reminded the group that Dan says that every year. Bill also reported that we are ahead of schedule with our planning. (Secretaries Addition: The Elgin Residents Guide was hand delivered to us on May 31’st. In it was a wonderful article written by Bill Briska about our Housewalk including a picture of each home to be featured. Watch for it. )

Corner plantings and the Pocket Park
Bill Witte has been commissioned to paint the fence and benches in the pocket park for a sum of $1700. He will maintain the park for a cost of $1200 per year. Bill Briska added that we wanted an assessment of the corner plantings before we proceed to hire Bill to continue to maintain twenty-three corners at a cost of $636 per year. Pat Miller visited all of the corners and said that she found that we currently have thirty corners with plantings in them. Many homeowners have done their own. She found nine that are in from good to great condition. The rose plantings seemed to survive the best. She has contacted many of the homeowners that have the corner plantings that several already take care of their own corners and will continue to do so, the remaining twenty corners are in poor to dead condition. Pat suggested that we no longer hire Bill to maintain the corners.

Meeting Location
Karen reminded the group that we need a different location for our meetings in the summer as we cannot use the U-46 Administration Building. Karen offered to check with St. Mary’s and Bill offered to check with the Museum.

Bill Briska made a motion to adjourn and Chris Bach seconded it. It passed unanimously.

Karen announced that she and Chris were celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary by attending our meeting.