June 2015 Minutes


Thursday, June 19, 2015

Historical Society Museum


NEXT MEETING:  7 p.m. Thursday, July 16, Historical Society Museum 



Frank Adame, John Boline, Bill Briska, Carol Buczkowski, Bill Decker, Barbara Evans, Paul & Sue Kuester, Tom & Moe Lee, Dan & Pat Miller, Mark Preradovic, Milan Shah, Doug Tomsha, Roy & Linda Voss and EPD Officers Engleke & Echevaria


R.O.P.E. REPORT (Officer Bob Engelke)

While hosting a neighborhood Night Out party in August is not out of the question, it is more likely that R.O.P.E. will instead host a September event to welcome neighborhood children back to school.



Because there were no business meetings in April and May, the minutes approved unanimously were those of March 19.

Treasurer Pat Miller reported that GPA now has $19,278.15 in its checking account and $81,117.43 in four CDs for a total of $100,395.58. This report was also unanimously approved.



  • New Historic District Signs and Retaining Wall & Sign

The good-looking street name signs that were missing in the Historic District have all been replaced, thanks to Aaron Neal of the City, who was in charge of doing the job.

The retaining wall at the northwest corner of E. Chicago and N. Liberty streets has been rebuilt. Thanks to Pat Miller, who lobbied to save it, the old limestone is being used to reconstruct a porch in the 500 block of Douglas.

The City has asked for GPA’s input on what should be done to replace the larger Historic District sign at this corner. Many at tonight’s meeting liked Pat Miller’s suggestion that “Elgin Historic District” be done in separate metal letters inserted into but standing out from the new wall.

  • The Gazette

Dan thanked Tom Hokenson for putting together the neighborhood newsletter, which was just published online. If you did not see it go here:

  • Video Taping programs on Elgin’s history

The program Bill Briska presented at the April potluck on the effect the Gifford Park Association has had on Elgin is going to be video-taped and put on YouTube so everyone can enjoy it. So too will the program Jerry Turnquist has done on the history of the Elgin Watch Factory. Each will cost $250 to do, which everyone agreed would be money well spent.

Note: If you haven’t seen the video on the Elgin Historic District that the GPA also funded, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5_kxA7dI3A

  • Chicago Street Reconstruction Plan

Though Dan Miller alerted all to the open meeting hosted by the City to explain and discuss its proposed plan, he’d been informed of it only days before.  Because it was held during the day, it was not surprising that few were able to attend. Shortly after this meeting, Dan Miller emailed neighbors with his detailed notes about it, which included the note that the deadline for submitting written comments to the State was June 23rd. At tonight’s GPA meeting, Paul Kuester and Pat Miller—also among those who attended the City’s meeting—detailed their thoughts about the plan. Pat added that she’d sent City Engineer Joe Evers a note expressing her hope that the project wouldn’t be begun until after our 35th Historic House Tour, which will be in the Historic District.

  • Phone App

That this will be a good investment is suggested by the fact that the test footage of public historic properties that Milan Shah put on Facebook has already been seen by more than Elgin’s total population. This footage will also be on the app that will be integrated into his 4th of July parade app.

Post-meeting Update: The City has approved a Neighborhood Improvement Grant for this app as well as for one for the new Historic District brochure. 

  • New Historic District Brochures (hard copies)

The new brochure is being created by Jean Bednar, who also created the original in 1999. Thanks goes to Tom Lee for taking new color photographs of the homes to be featured in the walking tour brochure.

  • Web Site

After a lengthy discussion, Bill Briska moved that GPA allocate $400 to contract website help for July, August and September, with the provision that if an emergency arose and more was needed, Dan Miller would need Board approval for it. Seconded by Moe Lee, the motion passed unanimously.

  • Pocket Park at Chicago and Geneva

In the past GPA has spent as much as $1,800 a year to keep up this park and maintain the plantings on Historic District street corners. As we will no longer fund/do the street corners, this number will be approximately halved. Because Bill Witte can no longer maintain the park, Dan is looking for someone to replace him. Meanwhile, many thanks go Paul Bednar, Dan & Pat Miller, Erin Adame and Mike Kenderes for the work they’ve done to spruce it up this year.

Post-Meeting Note:  Paul has found and hired a contractor to maintain the park in the future.



The professional photos on the 2015 house tour brochures and posters were taken by Tom Lee, who announced that the homeowners were “a great group of people.” (That two households have new babies is a first.)

The kickoff brunch for the housewalk is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 27, at the Historical Museum.

Post-Meeting Update:  Recently you should have received a GPA Save the Date email notice. We hope you not only opened it but scrolled down to the bottom and clicked on the “Share” button, which links to a site providing blanks for others’ emails to which the notice can be forwarded. If you did not see it, go here: https://gpaelgin.org/wp-content/uploads/save-the-date-postcard.pdf



Dan Miller spoke for all when he thanked Moe, Dori Alpha and Bill Briska for all they did to make the April potluck a success.

As there is now no charge for membership, Moe has sent out letters to those not recently active in GPA asking for confirmation that they wish to continue to be members.  If you are not currently a member and want to be, go here:

Join the GPA



  • Bill Briska, seconded by Moe Lee, moved that GPA donate $300 to the annual R.O.P.E. Officer Camp, an event involving taking approximately 25 neighborhood children for two overnights at Lake Geneva. The motion passed unanimously.
  • GPA’s most recent salvage of a house on Standish St. behind the Walnut Inn yielded $1,200, which will be split with the property owner. The 85 winning bids came from many of the 40 who participated in it.
  • Spirited bidding for Dan Miller’s donated copy of A Guide to Chicago’s Historic Suburbs (1981 by Ira Back) resulted in $26 (from the winner Frank Adame) to the GPA treasury.


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


Submitted by Barbara Evans