RNA Meeting Minutes – June 2017

Board members present: Laurel Bryant, Mike Brothers, John Melton, Peggy Wise, Jeff Bentley, Jeff Barber, Sue Ekstam, Nick Harper, Nancy Dornan

Others president: Angela Brooks, Ed Fillmer, Paden Chambers, Jennifer Leonard, Curtis Marshall, Jenny Maness, Patty Penny, Nancy Evans, Officer Zach Schlup

Call to Order – 7 p.m.

Review minutes – Jeff Barber motioned to approve, Jeff Bently seconded. The minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report – One expense for mulch, which was about $119, for the flowerbeds at Pickwick and Cherry. No new memberships taken in this month. Current balance is $2,293.85. Sue Ekstam motioned to approve, Mike Brothers seconded. The report was approved.

PAR Officer – Officer Schlup asked if we have concerns. Mention of a stolen bike. Neighbors relayed a story about a group of men snooping in a garage and when confronted said they were looking for work. Officer Schlup advised to always call the police when such questionable situations arise.

UHBC event – Patty Penny from the University Heights Baptist Church outreach task force addressed the group about an upcoming free event at the church – Movies Under the Stars at 7:30 p.m. on June 30 and July 28. They are seeking more membership by young families and are looking for good ideas. She discussed a few of those with the board. The group hit upon the idea of a block party-style event in September. It was also mentioned that neighbors can drop off unwanted items for donations at the church.

Boomertown Lofts – Reps from the project were not able to make the meeting. This project in the 800 block of S. National Avenue came back before LCRA and P&Z. RNA reps attended both. It’s already gone through the process once and it’s come back now for blight designation, which they did not seek the first time around. RNA opposed the blight designation and tax abatements, but the developers won approval of both. We presented concerns about water runoff infrastructure and traffic at both meetings. Laurel and Jeff Barber will have a meeting with a rep tomorrow afternoon and continue to bring up these issues. Jeff Bentley said if they are asking for a tax break incentive, the neighbors (taxpayers) should reasonably expect some concessions for that.

Pickwick District – Developer rep was invited by not present. He will hold a public meeting at some point in the near future.

Roza Homes proposal – Roza owns two properties at 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry. They met with the RNA board two weeks ago. They would like to take out the two existing homes and redevelop the combine property into two-story apartment buildings with front porches, parking in rear, driveways off the alley rather than Cherry, and ADA compliance. Two- and three-bedroom units. Hardy siding and/or brick and stone exteriors. They will be going for the blight designation and Chapter 99 tax abatement (10 years). Roza rehabbed and built similar homes on Historic Walnut Street. Roza is willing to give away the existing home at the corner of Cherry and Kickapoo if the new owner is willing to physically move it. Laurel Bryant and Paden Chambers noted the house is “architecturally significant” and would be worth saving.

Insurance quote – The quote is $852.90, which is higher than we thought. We will continue to explore options.

Pop-up traffic study – The temporary design was successful in slowing down traffic. Mostly we had positive comments. But some people don’t want to slow down traffic so a few weren’t happy. Some said traffic would just be pushed to Grand. Jeff Bentley noted that we all need to slow down regardless of the street. Laurel suggested that we all use the City’s service request channel to give some feedback on the project.

Safety – There is a neighborhood watch class happening July 17 and 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the south district police station. Laurel would like to alert our neighbors. Same class on two separate nights.

Bylaws update – Sue, Peggy and Jeff Barber have been working on the update. A hard copy strike-through version was passed out for all to read and give feedback next meeting. The bylaws mention the RNA boundaries. Laurel noted that the boundaries could change as a result of the current UCD review process.

Communications with the City during UCD review – The first meeting of the UCD steering committee is 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 27 at the Busch Building.

Other business – Jeff Barber updated the group on the 801 S. Weller house (the “bamboo house”). It could potentially be razed by the City soon. However, there is more than $130,000 in tax liens on the property so the prospect of someone buying and building anything there is pretty slim at this point.

July 7 is the Rountree neighborhood’s First Friday weekend downtown. Rusty Worley with the Downtown Springfield Association is inviting some RNA board members to man a booth that night, and the whole neighborhood is encouraged to come out downtown. An idea was floated to get lots of Rountree residents to bike caravan into downtown. Jeff Barber motioned to approve the purchase of a banner at a cost of up to $125 for this and various other future events. Peggy seconded. The motion was approved.

Nancy mentioned that the Springfield Art Museum is soon to solicit art from local neighbors for an upcoming exhibit.

Jeff Barber motioned to allow the newly formed Delaware Neighborhood Association board officers to be members of our Facebook page. Mike Brothers seconded. Jeff said he felt an open line of communication with the new association to our south would be wise. Members agreed that we want to work with them as much as possible given that their issues are largely going to be our issues, and vice versa. The motion was approved.

Jeff Bentley noted that Vogue Magazine has a feature story about taking a road trip through the Ozarks, and the Rountree neighborhood is called out specifically as a great place to visit.

Nancy Evans noted that is officially back in the neighborhood following a recent home purchase. Cheers were in order.

Sue Ekstam motioned to adjourn at 9 p.m.

About Mike Brothers

Mike is a Pickwick Person; husband to Maureen and dad to Vivian and Dorothy. He has lived in the neighborhood since 2011 and has lived in Springfield for over 20 years. He the PR director for Drury University. He was previously a communications specialist with the City of Springfield and the Springfield-Greene County Health Dept, and before that a features writer and music columnist with the News-Leader.
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