January 2015 Minutes


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Historical Society Museum



Frank & Erin Adame, Chris & Karen Bach, John Boline, Bill Briska, Barbara Evans, Tom & Moe Lee, Matt Martin & Christen Sundquist, Dan & Pat Miller, Mark Preradovic, Doug Tomsha, Roy & Linda Voss, Deidre White and EPD Officers Robert Engelke & Mark Root


R.O.P.E. REPORT (Officer Engelke)

All is quiet in our “hood.” Likewise, with the exception of retail theft, which does not involve our area, crime in Elgin decreased in 2014. Among those working to continue this downward trend is our area’s beat cop Mark Root, who stopped by to assure us of this.


GUEST SPEAKER: Deidre White, Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Executive Director

An enthusiastic promoter of Elgin’s downtown business district, Deidre was delighted to inform us that she’d just been notified that it is now on the National Register of Historic Places, an honor that will be officially announced/celebrated during National Preservation Month in May.

If you’d like to be better informed about downtown, you can arrange for a tour of it by calling 847.488.1456 or stopping at DNA’s office at 10 N. Spring St. (above the Blue Box Cafe). To keep updated on all that’s going on downtown, check DNA’s website at www.downtownelgin.com and/or “like” Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin IL on Facebook.

Deidre’s presentation to us was an overview of all the venues and events downtown that are contributing to the fact that Elgin is quickly becoming “a destination city,” one, she added, with plenty of parking available! That downtown merchants reported from 25 to 100% increases in their sales last year attests to this.

Questioned about the status of the Tower Building, Deidre noted that it is under contract to a development group that intends to create between 40-45 living units, including four on the first floor, which, with its tall windows, makes it undesirable as retail space. TIF has been set aside for it; however, these funds will be in jeopardy if the businessman who is opposed to what is planned files a law suit. If/when public support is needed for the plans, Deidre will let GPA know.




Approval of Minutes and Treasurer’s Report

Because a special event was substituted for the November meeting, the minutes that were approved at this meeting were those from the October meeting.

Also approved was the treasurer’s report. Currently GPA has a total of $104,354.39, $23,347.94 of which is in checking and the rest in four CDs.


2015 Offices and Appointed Committee Positions

President – Dan Miller

Vice President – Bill Briska

Treasurer – Pat Miller

Secretary – (usually) Barbara Evans

Past President -Karen Bach

At Large: John Boline (1) and Mark Preradovic (2)

Membership: Moe Lee

Housewalk: Bill Briska

Historic District, Program & Public Relations Chairs: Still needed


Historic District Committee  (Dan Miller)

Once again Dan is appealing for someone to step forward to become chair of this committee, which in essence means spearheading the creation of projects that improve and enhance the positives in our neighborhood and eliminate the negatives. To make the position more tempting, Dan noted that the chair is on GPA’s Board of Directors! To the suggestion that it might even be more tempting if The Gazette were removed from this committee’s duties, Dan said that he’d be willing to continue being in charge of it. It was also suggested that it become a part of Public Relations.

Get-togethers are also part of this committee’s work, which does not involve much work because members volunteer to host them. Kudos to Roy and Linda Voss for hosting our well-attended Christmas party as well to Karen Bach and Glenna Preradovic, who helped set up the food tables.

The Historic District is missing five street signs, which can be replaced by the city at no cost to GPA or by the sign company that created our existing signs at approximately $300 a sign. The only reason to consider such an expenditure is that the city’s signage is the plain rectangular style seen around town, not the decorative-edged the signs in our district. In response to a complaint that the original signs were next-to-impossible to see at night, Karen Bach suggested that we ask the company that made them if this could be corrected. Dan agreed to email photos of the city’s and the district’s signs so that all could see the difference and thus be better informed before voting on the matter at the February meeting. Post-meeting note: Dan directed us to note the plain-style sign the city had put in at S.Porter St./Chicago St. Alas, however, it, too, is now missing. 

Dan will inform us via email when the applications for the Architectural Rehab Grants are available, which should be soon.

Also soon to come out is another addition of The Gazette. That 401 people have subscribed to it online is encouraging. If you have ideas for the content of future publications, let Dan know.

Dan also presented a tentatively updated version of the new GPA membership brochure that had been designed by his new neighbor Laura Meyer. Comments/suggestions are welcome. Dan also hopes to be able to reproduce the walking tour brochure of the district.


Housewalk  (Bill Briska)

The steering committee met on Jan. 8 to discuss possible neighborhoods for this year’s walk. The northeast side neighborhood around Cedar Street and the Lords Park neighborhood are two strong possibilities. Dan Miller will be meeting with homeowners in those areas, so if you are one/know of one whose home would be a good candidate for the walk, let him know.

The next meeting of the steering committee is Monday, February 16. There are jobs left to fill, so if you would like to be a part of this committee, come or, at the very least, let Bill know.


Membership (Maureen a.k.a. Moe Lee)

GPA now has 81 who are members, including six new ones: Miranda Lake, 517 Wing Park Blvd.; Karen Ordoqui, 457 E. Chicago; James & Kelly Langenberg, 582 Park; Stephen & Tammy Schrey, 433 DuPage.

Excluded from paying dues are the following: 1) new members in their first year (six in 2014), 2) special members, including City Council, top city staff, neighborhood groups w/ which GPA has a reciprocal arrangement (13 in 2014) and 3) Behrens Award winners (22 as of 2014).



  1. Salvage Update: A huge thanks goes to Monica Smith of the Housing Authority for facilitating the salvage of 132 S. State. Thanks, too, to the 65 who participated. $1,285.50 was grossed and the net proceeds were divided between GPA and the Housing Authority.

Among the things salvaged from 132 was limestone from the foundation, which will be used to rehab the porch at 70 S. Chapel. All the moldings were purchased as were all 8 fireplace mantels and the newel post and balustrade.


The kitchen cabinets that were donated to GPA and also sold yielded an extra $600.


  1. November’s Special Event: In place of the regular meeting, GPA had a reception at Old Main for the Lost Elgin art exhibit. Thanks to John LaFleur, Karen Bach, Glenna Preradovic, Bill Briska, Dan Miller, Doug Tomshaw, Steve Stroud, Tim Solaris, Bill Briska, Liz Marston and the Historic Society’s staff for working to make the evening a success.

Attending were 30 people, some of whom came from other communities. Of the 14 pieces made out of salvaged porch slats, seven were purchased, adding $1,150 to GPA’s coffers. The general consensus is that monies earned from these sales should go toward a project benefiting the arts. If you have an idea for one, contact Karen Bach.

Those who haven’t yet seen the works, which were on public display the night before the housewalk, can view them at the Historical Society, on Facebook at Lost Elgin Opening Reception or at Gail Borden library in May.


  1. Code Violations? Call 311: Because the Code enforcement officers and support staff have been cut from 14 down to six, the department is often unable to address issues its officers encounter. Rather, it is complaint driven via 311 or a phone message directly to a code officer.


  1. Feb. 19 General Membership Meeting: A presentation will be made about the use of a phone app to expedite a walking tour of the Elgin Historic District, something 10 other districts in the U.S. use. Because it would be costly, please try to come so that you can voice your opinion about investing in one.


Submitted by

Barbara Evans, Secretary (usually)