RNA Meeting Minutes – October 2017

Board Members present: Laurel Bryant, Mike Brothers, Peggy Wise, John Melton, Jeff Barber, Jeff Bentley, Jim Lomeyer, Sue Ekstam.

Others present: Bruce Earnhart (candidate for Missouri 135th, Tyler Wyat and T.J. Whatley from City Utilities, Dawn Poindexter and Patti Penny from UHBC, Paden Chambers, Nancy Evans, and Megan Morris.

Approval of August minutes – Minutes were approved.

Treasure’s report – Peggy Wise reported 17 individual and/or household memberships were added this past month due in part to the cleanup. We had reimbursements for Light Up the Night flashlights and an expense for pizza for the MSU students who volunteered. We received $71 in straight donations during the cleanup. Peggy motioned that we use that money for seven new memberships for people who might otherwise not be able to afford membership. Laurel seconded. It was noted that this would be a good way to get some people involve who might otherwise not be able to do so. We will seek out these potential new members through word of mouth.

Fall Cleanup – We hauled nearly as much junk as in the spring, which was just five months ago. We would have been sunk without the help of the 15 or so MSU students. We will seek their help again in the future. Partnering with Delaware was a big success.

PAR Officer update – Officer Schlup gave an update. Not much new to report. Neighbors noted a vehicle that is driving aggressively at high speed through the neighborhood, including the school zone. We gave a photo of the vehicle and the plates to Officer Schlup. He will talk to the person who owns the car but there is not much they can do without seeing them actually driving the vehicle. Petty crime continues. There is a rash of bar burglaries going on right now. Sue asked if home video cameras helps. Schulp said it absolutely does help in identifying suspects if you can get a clear shot of them. Jeff Bentley noted that at Greene County sales tax is on the ballot Nov. 7 and it would help fund additional jail space and law enforcement support.

Utilities upgrade – T.J Whatley and Tyler Wayt from City Utilities gave an overview of some major utility upgrades happening across the neighborhood. They are updating water and natural gas lines. T.J. said for an example, they recently took out and replaced a water line near Cherry and Kimbrough that was put in place in 1892. The line along Delaware from Cherry to Grand has had 15 historic leaks in recent years. Natural gas lines are also being replaced. CU requires contractors to notify residents 24 hours in advance of any work that will take homes out of commission. If they are replacing a driveway approach, there is a 48 hour required notice. Most will be out for about a few hours. This is a very large “significant” project. It’s about two miles of pipe overall. Will be done in five phases. In old neighborhoods, there is not a lot of space to put new pipes. Ideally, it’s placed under greenspace. They generally stay out of the roadway due to cost and convenience. Next option is generally the sidewalk. Wherever there is a four-foot wide sidewalk, a five foot sidewalk will be put in; ramps will be made ADA compliant. If greenspace and sidewalk aren’t an option, then sometimes trees will have to be taken out. Sometimes they can be bored under the tree, but this is not ideal because of roots and because the lines are difficult to reach and service if needed. A few trees will be bored under during this project. Larger, older trees are more often bored under but younger trees are not often taken out. These are mostly new lines so that people will not have to be out of service for a long time and because many existing lines are under roadways, which is not ideal. Most of the area where trees will be taken out are where 16 inch lines are going along Madison between Kentwood and Fremont. Most are between Weller and Pickwick on the south side. Why not go down the road? There is a sewer line right down the middle of Madison and MDNR says water lines have to be a minimum of 10 feet from sewer lines. All trees are in the ROW and are city owned not private owned. But they will make an effort to contact nearby homeowners. They will be replacing all gas lines up to the meter. The water lines will be replaced up to the connecting line to the house.

This is about a $2 million project. The project bids on Nov. 2 and they can start 45 days after award. Contractor would likely start in January and have six months to complete this. A similar project was done on Elm between National and Kimbrough, which was torn up all summer long and pretty disruptive. However, if you drive that stretch today, the streetscape is very clean and put back together.

Bruce Earnhart, candidate for Missouri House District 135 – Mr. Earnhart spoke to the group. He complimented RNA on the organization and sense of community present in the board meeting. He spoke about the importance of the upcoming statewide vote to repeal Right To Work legislation. He also supports a higher minimum wage. He was a supporter of the Bernie Sanders campaign last year, which he says was the first time he had ever donated to a political campaign. He is running as an independent and says he would caucus with the Democrats. Contact: earnhartfor135th@gmail.com.

Neighborhood Plan steering committee update – Jeff Bentley gave an update. He said it’s still pretty slow going. The bid for the consultant is out, and five very excellent proposals were submitted. All five “really get it” according to Jeff and have good track records. But all five came in too high. City will attempt to negotiate the price down. There is a chance we may not be able to hire one. Jeff said some issues like buried utilities and changing the streetscape to a much more urban, walkable scale might not be within the scope of this project. Jeff said an adjustment to the zoning code would be the ideal outcome but it’s still not clear that this would truly be an option. Laurel suggested we write a letter of support for the “workable plan” for blight determination and tax abatements.

Cherry Street update – Jeff said Roza has completed razing two buildings on Cherry. They are using the rear alley entirely for truck access.

Halloween update –Rountree Special Events LLC has been granted the permit for the parade, and law enforcement and EMS have been secured. They anticipate having about 1,000 people once again. This event is separate and distinct from RNA activities. UHCB will provide parking for the Rountree Halloween parade. Entrance will be from Grand only, starting at about 4:30. UHBC is collecting cash donations and food donations for parking.

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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