November 12, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
November 12, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Meg Forney, Kathy Cobb, Ian Kees, David Rhees, John Abraham-Watne, Mary Underwood.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  April Courville, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Abraham-Watne

The Council gave its sincere congratulations to Meg Forney on winning an at-large seat on the Park Board.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that the NRP balance remains the same at $1,562.93 and there is a $9,410.19 balance in the NCEC account.

Secretary’s Report:  The minutes of the October 8 Board meeting were approved as read.  Rhea brought up the topic of a newsletter.  We will wait until we have news, probably before the Polar Plunge.  David said that he believed The Bakken could provide an article on the history of the house where the museum is located.  ACTION ITEM:  Rhea will put the topic of the newsletter on the January agenda.  She will also put together a publication schedule.  

Polar Plunge February 28:  Ian Kees reported that he had just learned that fireworks are not an eligible expense for NRP or CPP funding.  However, we could make a donation to the event towards equipment and labor, so that we could say that a portion of the event is being sponsored by West Calhoun Neighborhood Council.  We can also set up a kiosk and include information about the neighborhood.  The fireworks would be at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 28.  They will be launched at Thomas Beach.  The event organizers are asking for a $7,000 contribution.  David Rhees proposed that The Bakken could possibly host a post fireworks party with apple cider or hot chocolate and cookies.  We would need to find the funds to pay for food.  Another possibility is that folks could view the fireworks from The Bakken’s terrace.  Yet another option would be to invite Bakken donors and members.  

Ian made a motion that we agree to donate $7,000 to the Polar Plunge event on February 28, 2014 contingent on approval from NCEC that it is an eligible expense with funding coming from NRP or CPP funds.  The motion carried.  ACTION ITEM:  Ian will contact Jack Whitehurst to find out the best way to fund the event – from CPP or NRP funds.

Midtown Greenway Coalition:  Aaron Shaffer reported that he will continue as WCNC’s representative to the Midtown Greenway Coalition through the end of the year.  Regarding the Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis, Aaron said that the MGC has been lobbying to get information on the height of retaining walls.  They were also concerned because none of the preliminary designs had turf tracks.  There is a new plan for full size light rail on the Greenway.  The MGC is very concerned about this new development.  

Boat Parade:  Aaron Shaffer reported that he found battery-powered lights for the Night Light Boat Parade.  Concern was expressed that the Park Board does not allow boating at night for safety reasons.  It may make more sense to plan the event for during the day.  It would be good to find a partner like the Aquatennial to help sponsor the event.  It was also suggested that we may want to have movie night during the Aquatennial.

2014-2016 CPP Application:  Our goal is to have our CPP Application completed to review at the January WCNC Board meeting.  Kathy mentioned that Richard would like to see more signs in the neighborhood.  This could conceivably be part of our Neighborhood Priority Plan.  We also have $15,000 in a Crime and Safety strategy in our NRP plan.  We need to allocate CPP funds for staff.  It was suggested that we budget $10,000 per year for staff.  ACTION ITEMS:  Rhea will find out if we are supposed to budget for the next three years or just next year.  Kathy will continue to work on the application.  The discussion was tabled until December when we will have more information.

Lighting in the neighborhood:  Jennifer Swanson let us know that there have been five 311 complaints about lighting at Abbott and Excelsior Blvd.  Bill Prince from the City Traffic Department determined there was enough light at that location.  If property owners are interested, Bill can create a petition for the impacted properties along that street to get their support for new pedestrian lighting that would be 100% assessable.  In other areas, neighborhood associations have contributed towards street lighting if they are deemed a priority.  There are other areas that need more light.  One is on West Calhoun Boulevard where the lights are dim and are located on the park side rather than where the sidewalk is.  Richard Logan had the idea for a Safety Walk for West Calhoun.  The Board would like to ask him to organize a nighttime Lighting Walk to look at lighting issues in the neighborhood.  We would like Linea Palimisano, our City Council Member Elect, to attend.  The idea would be to end up at Wakame.  Meg noted that WCNC has paid for lighting in the past.  ACTION ITEMS:  Rhea will ask Richard (on behalf of the Board) if he would organize a Lighting Walk.   John will talk to Bill Prince to find out more about installing new lighting.   

Logo Discussion:  Kathy Cobb brought an option for a new West Calhoun logo that features three brightly colored windsurfing boards on the lake with the sun in the background.  She showed a number of examples of how the logo could be used – on totes, t-shirts, on the website and on our neighborhood signs.  It will cost $350 to install 7 signs at the entry points to the neighborhood.  The City has to approve the design.  Printing is $35 each plus a set-up charge.  The logo design itself will be $500.  Board members and visitors gave feedback.  The consensus was that windsurfers are not the only people who use the neighborhood.  There are also bicyclists, runners and walkers.  ACTION ITEM:  Kathy will ask the designer to modify the design to keep the water and add a trail or path with a biker and perhaps a runner.  

Ward 13 City Council Candidate Forum:  John Abraham-Watne reported that approx. 160 people attended the forum.  Four candidates participated.  Each candidate asked a question of the others and each neighborhood association had a question in addition to audience questions.  John said that he hasn’t received an invoice yet for expenses incurred.  There is a cost for the use of the school space and for the League of Women Voters facilitator.

Southwest LRT:  The FTA has funds for transit-oriented development.  Meg Forney and Kathy Cobb reported that some development on public land has been planned for West Calhoun.  West Calhoun will be a Tier 1 neighbor-hood.  We are unaware of what the development is.  Recently, Governor Dayton put the brakes on the SW LRT.  They are going to be studying various things, including freight rail routing options and further analysis of the shallow tunnel.  The Met Council will hire a consultant who will get the study done by January.  Meg said that the MPRB has hired an independent consultant to look at the effect of the shallow tunnel on park land.  We should keep informed about funds for development.  We need to consider what we can do to leverage the new development and how we can improve the community.     

Access Point Sign:  John Abraham-Watne reported that Simon Blenski from Public Works will be gathering cost estimates for the access point sign.  He should have more information at our next meeting.

Meeting Length:  The reality is that we need two hours to do our business.  We will now plan for a 5:30-7:30 p.m. meeting.

Museum in the Streets:  The Lake Street project was very extensive.  They put up 60 plaques.  It took 3 years to do the research and cost $142,000.  They use it as a walking tour.  What we have in mind will be on a smaller scale.  We could contact the other neighborhoods around the lake and ask for their participation.  David Rhees suggested that we wait for the West Calhoun walk (sponsored by the Linden Hills History Study Group) this summer that Peter Sussman is leading to consider where signs could go.  Could they go on park land?  Meg suggested including a photo of the Armistice Day blizzard.

Curious Calhoun Conversations:  It was noted that winter would be a good time for these programs.  ACTION ITEM:  David and Meg will meet to discuss how to organize these events.

Neighborhood Fundraising:  Meg encouraged the Board to do something to raise money that can be spent on food.  Ideas include: 1) 1% day at Whole Foods that we could promote in the newsletter, 2) Chili Cook Off where attendees vote on the chili offerings using Ranked Choice Voting, 3) Sell tickets to the wine tasting that Hennepin & Lake Liquors sponsors each fall.  ACTION ITEM:  Kathy will contact Hennepin & Lake Liquors.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, December 10, 2013.  

The meeting was adjourned at 7:37 p.m.