July 2015 Minutes


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Historical Society Museum, 360 Park St., Elgin


IN ATTENDANCE:  Catherine & Chris Arne, Bob Engleke, Barbara Evans, Moe & Tom Lee, Dan & Pat Miller, Mark Preradovic, Milan Shah and Laura Valdez-Wilson


The NEXT “MEETING” is the House Tour Kick-0ff Brunch, which is scheduled for 10 to noon on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Historical Society Museum. Special guests will be the homeowners.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP Dan Miller at [email protected].


R.O.P.E. REPORT  (Officer Bob Engleke)

  • From January of 2014 to July of 2015, crime is down in every category.
  • GPA was thanked for its $300 donation for the R.O.P.E. camp, which was attended by 30 children from Elgin, 13 of whom were from our neighborhood.
  • Illegal fireworks throughout Elgin were a problem over the Fourth of July this year even though every EPD officer was on duty. Because two officers are required to investigate every call, that Elgin is approximately 64 officers short of the two officers per every 1,000 residents that is the national standard is a problem.
  • Post-Meeting Note: Officer Engleke is hosting a neighborhood back-to-school event from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Ron O’Neal Elementary School (510 Franklin Blvd.) The purpose is to welcome the new principal Marcie Marzullo to the area. Games and entertainment will be featured and hot dogs grilled.


ELGIN 311  (Laura Valdez-Wilson, Senior Management Analyst for the City)

As of May of this year, a year and a half after which 311 was implemented, 100,000 calls have been made, averaging about 400 a day from the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. City numbers are being transferred to it, so if one calls the old City Hall #931-6100, s/he will get a 311 operator.

What is new is Elgin 311, a mobile app which can be downloaded free in either English or Spanish through iTunes and Google. Though operative only since April and still in a trial period, there have been approximately 1,000 downloads to date with 80% of them return users.  Designed to connect residents to the city in a comprehensive, multi-faceted way, with this app one is able to find out about everything from transportation to community happenings, as well as to submit 311 service requests. To be launched in the fall or winter is a water-bill-payment feature. To watch a short video of City Manager Sean Stegall’s explanation of this, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5dJACJF1Jo.

Questions about the privacy of one calling in complaints to 311 arose and were answered in detailed letter that Colby Basham, Citizen Services Director 311, sent to Dan Miller after the meeting. Dan circulated that letter, but those who missed it can read it at us-mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=4bajckuikgkpd&ufb=1#5403307209

Because the call volume is currently high, those who want to be called back to be informed about action taken on a complaint need to request it.



After being amended to include the attendance of Chris Bach at the June 19th general meeting, the minutes for that meeting were unanimously approved. Also unanimously approved was the treasurer’s report. (Currently, GPA has a total of $101,960.73.)



  • A person has been hired to take care of the pocket park on E. Chicago St.
  • Softweb Solutions, a firm on Randall Road has been hired to help with the website.

Constant Contact created a template for us which is now being used for all GPA emails, including these minutes.

  • Because the City had yet to approve the grant, Milan Shah could only announce that a GPA app was coming for the Housewalk and walking tour of the Historic District. When it is up and running, we can inform people of it on the City’s 311 app.
  • The City is funding 100% of the printing costs for the new Historic District brochure; GPA will match the City’s grant with volunteer labor.



To date, GPA has 115 confirmed members. Moe is working on updating the list of phones/email addresses for them. She is also pursuing the possibility of creating a directory of everyone who lives in Elgin’s Historic District.



  • GPA president Dan Miller thanked all who were involved in the Fourth of July parade: Liz Marston and Doug

Tomsha for distributing the save-the-date postcards for the house tour; Steve Thoren for providing his antique car and Bill Briska for driving it.

  • Postcards and posters for the house tour are ready. If you have a work place where they can be placed, call Bill Briska (421-4022) or Dan Miller (697-3370) to get some.



To get a definitive answer about a question about open burning/fires that was asked at the meeting, Dan called 311 and learned the following: “…that it is not unlawful for an owner of a residential property to burn or permit to be burned such substances as are reasonably necessary for the purpose of cooking food for consumption by his family and guests.”


The motion to adjourn was made, seconded and unanimously approved.


Submitted by Barbara Evans, GPA secretary