RNA Meeting Minutes – November 2017

Board members present: Laurel Bryant, Jeff Bentley, Sue Ekstam, Mike Brothers, John Melton, Jim Lohmeyer, Nancy Brown, Peggy Wise, Jeff Barber.

Others present: Ruth and Robert and Briggs, Nancy Evans, Chuck and Pat Johnson, Ginger Cook, Robert Keys, Officers Schlup and McIntyre, Brandan Braun and Tyler Wayt from City Utilities.

Approval of October Minutes – Mike Brothers motioned to approve; Sue Ekstam seconded.  The minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s report – No expenses but have some deposits. More membership checks expected to come in. Now at $2,064.12.

PAR officer report – 801 S. Weller has had some complaints. It is vacant right now and Officer Schlup said they will at getting the city to board it up more securely. Vacant homes do attract homeless individuals and squatters as well as criminals. There is another house at the corner of Delaware and Cherry with many, many vehicles parked outside. City has notified them and they have about a week to get the issue remedied. Package thefts are an issue at this time of year. Laurel noted that she has been contacted by a security company about hiring for patrols. We have had this conversation before but it’s expensive, and there are liability issues if an altercation might occur. Would more lighting help? Jeff Barber explained that it might be hard to put in some due to mature trees, and the fact that some property owners simply like the darkness.

Steve Proffit of The Potter’s House – Steve was not present. Laurel said he had contacted her about holding an event in the future.

CU pipeline upgrade project questions/updates – Tyler said they could break ground as early as next week to facilitate work by the contractor. CU will be doing this work and then the contractor would take it from there. Would be at Madison and Kentwood, and this would be close for about two weeks. Another location is on north Delaware just south of Cherry under the railroad tracks in a green space, not in the roadway. This work will take about two weeks; the contractor will take over in late December. Conklin Excavating has the project. CU reps say they have a good reputation for being both diligent and quick, and responsive to CU inspectors as well. CU will try to replace things as they were, and try to respect the property. It was noted that gas lines are fairly shallow (current standards are 18 inches below the surface) and so there will be some small equipment and even a fair amount of hand digging with shovels done when replacing these lines. We will be getting more fire hydrants. Current standards are every 500 feet. Nancy has done a walk-through with the CU reps and will be trying to contact neighbors individually as well. Total trees lost will be about 15; but they will be saving a few dozen by going under sidewalks and taking the route they did on Madison. Other routes would take out even more trees.

Cherry Street update – A different ownership group is now under contract for the Spanish Mission structure and five adjacent homes. The new owners are the family that owns Hogan Land Title Company. (The previous potential buyer was Say U Can, which had proposed the Pickwick District development.) They would like to meet with RNA. Jeff Bentley wants to make sure we are focusing on the steering committee and plan review update process and not appearing to be striking deals or agreements with individual developers. Jeff Barber and Laurel believe it’s good to simply have open lines of communication. The intent would be to meet and let the new owners know where the neighborhood plan review update process stands right now and direct them to the end of the delay in March 2018.

Neighborhood Plan review update – The City is still negotiating with a consultant to help with this, but Jeff Bentley said he thinks one will probably not be able to be hired. Therefore it will probably continue to be handled entirely by city staff and the steering committee. In the meantime, we are pushing ahead quickly with the same timeline in hopes of finishing the work before the delay expires on March 23.

There will be a city-led meeting at 7 p.m., Dec. 6 at Rountree Elementary School, for homeowners and business owners along the Cherry Street corridor, including the Cherry and Pickwick node. The meeting will members include members of the steering committee and is open to anyone. The neighborhood plan update is the main deliverable. Zoning changes would draft off of that and would come later. Still, this is a huge opportunity for us as a neighborhood to have a great deal of input on a template for potential new zoning definitions that don’t currently exist in Springfield.

New Business

Board officer nominations – We need to gather a nomination committee to pull together a slate of officer candidates. Sue, Peggy and Mike will do this.

City Council – Laurel thanked three board members for attending City Council to speak in support of the rental registration bill pending.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 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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