January 2018 Board Minutes

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, January 15, 2017 – 7:00 p.m., Fuller Park

Board members present: Dick Fiala, Dan Williams, Joy Gottschalk, Briana Daymont, Kathy Kornblum, Gabe Moreno,  Valerie Hurst, Justin Wills, Ryan Fisher, Steve Wohlford

Board members absent: none

Also present: Sally Bauer (TNA Executive Director), Annika Brankston (Superintendent – Water Plant Operations & Maintenance), Mary Johnson (resident), Dave Breeser (resident), Jennifer Ericson (resident)

Called to order: 7:02pm

Officer Reports:

Secretary – Gabe moved to approve the November 2017 minutes, Kathy seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Treasurer – Sally and Justin are meeting soon to discuss further updates to our financial protocols.  Justin is working on getting 1099s together for our 2017 contractors.  Tax implications for the recent change to our fiscal year will only require filing a short-period tax return (for June – December) and a note that we have changed our fiscal year.

Washburn Water Tower Landscaping

A resident contacted the Minneapolis Public Works Department (PWD) last year about the lack of tower grounds landscaping.  The PWD researched the issue and determined that they (through the Water Treatment and Distribution Service) are ultimately responsible for tower grounds and that staff currently perform some upkeep like mowing and trash removal.  PWD performed a site survey in mid-2017 and found overgrown plantings at base of tower.  The tower itself was restored in 2002 which is when the fence at its base was installed.  The tower hasn’t been used for water distribution for at least 15 years.  PWD is also investigating a long-term plan to turn the land over to Minneapolis Parks and Resources Board (MPRB), similar to what was done with the Prospect Park “Witches Hat” tower.

Based on the inquiry, PWD contracted Tangletown Gardens to develop a long term sustainable landscaping plan.  Total area to be landscaped would be around 2500 sq ft.  Tangletown Gardens recommended replacement of the subsoil in addition to plantings, bringing the total estimated cost to $43,000 for clearing, subsoil removal, new soil matrix, and over 400 plants.  PWD then re-evaluated the plan and discussed hardscape options but decided to partner with the neighborhood organization to help maintain and perhaps install plantings to reduce costs.

Kathy asked if there were other bids.  Annika indicated the procurement process is two parts, the first of which is a design bid (of which they received multiple responses) and second a bid for the actual construction. PWD is willing to commit the estimated $20,000 to prepare the site for plantings.  Plants and planting labor are each estimated at $12,000 for the initial plan which could be scaled down later. Dave asked how much the paver/hardscape option would be, which Annika replied would be about $10,000 for materials and labor above the aforementioned preparation costs.

The tower itself is listed on National Register of Historic Places, but this status doesn’t affect the grounds.

PWD is looking for neighborhood volunteer involvement for ongoing maintenance but no financial commitment from TNA or residents.  The PWD can help with spring cleanup via heavier equipment, but any landscape plan would require regular maintenance especially in the first three years.  Dick asked about irrigation which would likely be required during dry summers.  Volunteer commitment might involve a one-day spring cleanup every year plus a few hours every other week and occasional watering during the growing season.  If TNA were to partner with the PWD on this, they would like to help plan and participate in a kick-off event.

Sally proposed contacting neighborhood residents and adjacent property owners to gauge interest through email, flyers, possibly door knocking.  Annika is OK with delaying any decision until the February board meeting so the board can determine the impact of strategic planning on this proposal. Sally also asked whether any landscaping bid could include requirements of the contractor to help with education and continued involvement for at least the first couple years to help get the volunteer effort off the ground.  Annika indicated that it could.

Kathy and Mary suggested that PWD should look to lower the cost somehow.  Mary also suggested contacting schools to see if students are interested in volunteer opportunities.  Dick thought the tower is a unique aspect to our neighborhood and beautifying the tower should be something our organization and the neighborhood should get behind.

Hennepin County Equipment Grant

Rachel Hoben (Fuller Park manager) could not attend but asked the board to consider supporting her application for an equipment grant.  There are two grant cycles (spring & fall) that she can apply for, but applications must be done in partnership with another organization.  The next deadline is in February.  The grants provide up to $10,000 for infrastructure equipment like gymnastics equipment, soccer goals, facility improvements, etc.  Rachel indicated the most pressing need is new cabinets and countertops in the kitchen and preschool room.  The kitchen alone would be $2000 – $3500.  Other options could include wall safety mats and tumbling mats (about $1000), energy-efficient lighting ($2500 – $5000), or lawn games for the park.  

TNA would have to make a financial commitment of some kind, but grant guidelines say it “can be any amount; does not have to be half.”  Ryan asked if Rachel could instead come up with a single dollar figure to which TNA could contribute a set amount, and Rachel could then figure out which items to apply for within that amount.  Sally suggested we could vote at our strategic planning session in two weeks once we know more about our organizational priorities.

Sally’s understanding was that Rachel was looking for general interest from TNA to know whether to go ahead with research and grant preparation.  Sally will follow up with Rachel to determine priorities and investigate appropriate “match” amounts that TNA would contribute.  The board was in agreement that TNA would prefer sponsoring infrastructure improvements rather than specific equipment.

Board Recruitment

Now would be a good time to start thinking about who might be a good candidate for joining the board at our next annual meeting.  TNA bylaws allow for up to 15 seats and we currently have 10 board members.  Some members may leave or end their officer terms in the coming year.  Board members should start thinking about what roles they’d like to hold in the coming year.  Briana also noted that our strategic planning process may clarify what roles are available outside the board if a board member wishes to step down but still stay involved.

Steve would like to re-evaluate the bylaws and investigate staggering officer terms and potentially changing the number of available board seats.  Joy will send out an email to board members asking about levels of interest in various roles and time commitments.

Bylaws and Executive Director Review Task Forces

Joy proposed creating a task force to review and propose updates for bylaws.  Steve thought it would be helpful to wait until strategic planning was done since that might have an impact on bylaws.  Joy will send an email out after our last strategic planning session about this.

Joy also proposed creating a committee for our executive director’s six-month performance review in February.  Steve proposed the hiring committee should do this.  The board agreed.

Rebranding Task Force

The task force sent out an RFP and received nine responses.  The committee established evaluation criteria and independently evaluated the proposals and only after that evaluation then looked at cost.  They narrowed the selection down to four firms which they then interviewed, settling on two finalists.  Their recommendation is to move forward with Holland Wood whose proposal was lower-cost and who has done extensive work with Uptown Business Association and Uptown Art Fair.

Steve moved to accept the Holland Wood proposal with a budget of up to $10,000.  Kathy seconded.  Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Executive Director Report

Event Dates: Sally will send out an email with the date details for upcoming events.  Steve would like to suggest changing date of the garage sale to align with Kingfield’s as the traditional TNA date conflicts with other events.  Ryan said that the original plan was to stagger neighborhood garage sales so adjacent neighborhood sales wouldn’t be all at the same time.  Sally will investigate what dates of other neighborhoods are.

Email Blast: Gabe will be the featured board member.  Send other topic suggestions to Sally.

Spring Newsletter: Topics should include Washburn Water Tower landscaping, the TNA Annual Meeting, and strategic planning process results.

Availability: Sally is out of town Jan 19 – 26th.  She will set an out-of-the-office auto-reply for her staff email account and info@, though Ryan will still monitor info@.

Adjourned: 8:38

Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary