January 14, 2014 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
January 14, 2014 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  John Abraham-Watne, Kathy Cobb, Ian Kees, Richard Logan, Haydee Peterson, David Rhees, Mary Underwood.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Louise Campbell, Allan Campbell, Aaron Shaffer, Rodgers Adams, Ken Dahler, Emily Ziring, Linea Palmisano, George Effrem

Midtown Greenway Coalition Report:  Aaron Shaffer reported that the City has signed a new contract for the blue safety phones on the Greenway.  Many of them were not working properly.  Eagan Electric will be responsible for maintaining them in working order.  He also reported that east of 35W there have been instances of people throwing things off bridges onto the Greenway, including a chair and a sandbag.  Aaron also brought up the issue of how to get anywhere safely from our Greenway access point.  Directional signs or painted bike lanes are needed.  If we can come up with what we want, Aaron can present it to the Midtown Greenway Coalition’s Improvement Committee for approval.  It could be a possible interim improvement before the LRT station goes in.  ACTION ITEM:  Richard Logan will work with Aaron on this and they will report back to the Board.    

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that the NRP balance remains the same at $1,562.93 and there is an $8,467.95 balance in the NCEC account.

Secretary’s Report:  The minutes of the December 10 Board meeting were approved as read.  

Logo/Logo Signs:  Kathy Cobb reported that the artwork for the logo signs is ready to go to the printer.  They will be 15 x 20”.  Kathy circulated a map of where the signs will be located.  

Hennepin/Lake Wine Tasting Fundraiser:  Kathy reported that she contacted Pat Fleetwood about the Hennepin/Lake Wine Tasting Fundraiser and asked that WCNC be put on the list for ticket sales.  We would sell tickets and help to staff the event.  The event is usually held before Thanksgiving.

Polar Bear Plunge:  Ian Kees reported that in November the Board approved $7,000 for a sponsorship of the Polar Bear Plunge.  After talking with Jack Whitehurst, we are proposing to lower that amount to $2,500.  We would now be sponsoring the JumboTron.  We will get most of the same benefits, including our name on the t-shirt and we can have a presence at the event.  Ian made a motion to reduce our prior board-approved sponsorship from $7,000 to $2,500.  The motion carried.  ACTION ITEM:  David asked that we get a written description of what we get for our sponsorship.  

David proposed that The Bakken would open up their Green Roof for community members and donors to view the fireworks on Friday, February 28 at 7 p.m.  They would likely start at 6:15 or 6:30 p.m. and serve hot cocoa and cookies before the fireworks.  We will include that information in the promotional post card.  Ian will ask Linden Hills to also publicize the event.  ACTION ITEM:  We need to decide if we want a table at the Polar Plunge on Saturday and what materials we want to have there.

2014-2016 CPP Application:  Rhea Sullivan explained the CPP application and what changes had been made since the Board saw the last version.  A motion was made to approve the CPP application for 2014-2016.  The motion carried.  ACTION ITEM:  Rhea will submit the CPP application and WCNC Bylaws to the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department.  

Council Member Linea Palmisano:  Council Member Palmisano reported that she was sworn in last Monday.  She gave an overview of her committee assignments, which include: Vice Chair of Transportation and Public Works Committee, member of the Budget Committee, Chair of the Audit Committee, as well as member of Public Safety Committee, the Airport Working Group and the Youth Coordinating Board.  She said she was working with Jim Tincher of Fulton to set up a coffee for neighborhood association chairs.  She introduced her two staff people: Emily Ziring (Senior Policy Aide) and Ken Dahler (Junior Policy Aide).  Emily will likely be our Policy Aide because of her background in Transportation.  ACTION ITEM:  We will plan to schedule the lighting walk in February.  We will propose three dates and follow up.  Also, in the Spring newsletter feature Linea’s staff and how to connect with the Ward 13 office.

The Loppet:  The Board discussed staffing a table at the Loppet.  The Loppet hours are: Friday, January 31 from 5-9 p.m., Saturday, February 1 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday, February 2 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  We would likely be sharing a table with someone, possibly The Bakken Museum.  We discussed what to have at our table.  We will include copies of The Edge business directory, we could promote the Polar Plunge and could bring our maps.  Mary Underwood suggested that we make magnets with our logo on it and the website address.  She has done magnets before.  She will look into it.  Mary Underwood and George Effrem expressed willingness to help staff the table.  

Calhoun Conversations:  Mary Underwood and Haydee Peterson will meet with David Rhees to discuss the implementation of the Calhoun Conversations events.  They are looking to start the programs in the Fall of 2014.

Hill and Lake Press:  ACTION ITEMS:  Rhea will check in with Jean Deatrick about whether they have had a chance to consider including West Calhoun Neighborhood Council in the Hill and Lake Press.  She will also ask if we could include an article about the Polar Bear Plunge.  

Southwest LRT:  At a recent meeting, many St. Louis Park residents showed up who were very upset about the possibility of relocation of the freight rail.  The question came up of whether the trains are carrying hazardous materials.  Kathy Cobb reported that she is the WCNC representative for the CAC for Southwest light rail.  She reiterated that West Calhoun was chosen as a prime spot for development.  There is nothing concrete yet.  We have been in touch with Beth Elliott asking to keep us in the loop.  

Development Resolution:  Richard Logan proposed a resolution regarding development and urged that the Board register our concerns about development.  The resolution was:  “No more major development projects in CIDNA and West Calhoun along the Lake St. – Excelsior corridor until infrastructure  to make this  sustainable is in place.  By this I mean: a) Light Rail in place (or other sensible transit) and b) Dangerous Traffic density on Lake-Excelsior significantly reducedvia upgrades or rerouting of vehicles, or however.”  After some discussion, David Rhees said that it’s a question of what’s appropriate for this organization.  What is our best strategy?  It is likely that a resolution would not carry much weight.  In order to affect development, we would need to put together a small area plan.  David said that the resolution probably doesn’t make sense.  

Traffic Control:  Richard proposed five pressing traffic control issues that he feels should be worked on.  They are: 1. The urgent need for a left-turn arrow for eastbound Excelsior traffic turning left into W. 32d St.  2. Pedestrian crossing lights are not long enough on Lake St at Market Plaza, even for relatively fit people; as a result many residents avoid walking that intersection; 3. Left turns into Calhoun Commons from Market Plaza should not be allowed because of the traffic blocks they cause, all the more urgent because this is in front of the fire station. A central flexible-post barrier could be constructed.  Cars wanting to access Calhoun Commons from Excelsior have two entrances from Excelsior they can use, instead of turning into Market Plaza; 4. People do not obey the Do Not Block Driveway sign at the driveway for the rescue squad on Excelsior. Some much more dramatic signage is needed there; 5. The left-turn-on-green-arrow-only into Calhoun Commons from eastbound Excelsior seems superfluous and causes unnecessary delays and traffic back-up.  

Kathy Cobb cautioned about the left turn into Calhoun Commons from Market Plaza.  This was a subject of contention when Whole Foods was developed.  It’s possible that Whole Foods could break its lease if there was no left turn there.  

David suggested that we start a conversation with the Ward 13 Office about traffic.  We would ask “How would you suggest we work with you on these issues?” and ask them to suggest a process.  We need to redraft the language on the traffic control issues.  David said that he would like to funnel communications with the Ward 13 Office through him (as Chair).  ACTION ITEM:  David will send a letter to the Ward 13 Office about traffic control issues.  

Safety Whistles:  Richard Logan discussed the rationale for providing safety whistles.  It is a way to warn off criminal activity and to make residents feel safer in their neighborhood.  He made a motion to purchase 1,000 safety whistles for $600 and to hand them out to residences and business establishments.  Richard will personally distribute them.  The motion carried.  Rhea suggested that we use NRP funds from our Crime and Safety Strategy.  The Board would like blue whistles.  ACTION ITEM:  Richard will propose copy for the whistles via email.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 11, 2014.  

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