October 2016 Minutes

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, October 17, 2016 – 7:00 p.m., Fuller Park

Board members present: Dan Williams, Justin Wills, Lauren Anderson, Briana Daymont, Joy Gottschalk, Kathy Kornblum, Ryan Fisher, Mary Jane Mitchell, Dick Fiala

Board members absent: Sandra Bartsias, Eric David, Dick Wager, Steve Bieringer, Andrew Buss, Joy Glasser

Also present: Robin Faust (resident), Denis Houle (NCE)

Called to order: 7:11pm

School Crossing Safety on Wentworth
Neighborhood resident Robin Faust related her concerns about traffic and street crossings near Washburn and Ramsey schools. The new principal at Ramsey has changed dropoff/pickup location to 49th Street which has significantly increased traffic there. Drivers also often fail to stop for stop-signs along 49th. This combined with the increased traffic and lack of any marked crossings on 49th Street pose a danger to the many children who walk to school along Wentworth Ave.

A City of Minneapolis traffic engineer has stated in the past that a crosswalk would create a false sense of security for pedestrians and thus cause them to be more likely to be hit. Ramsey could also supply crossing guards but this is unlikely. Robin has spoken to Anna Hansen (the policy liason for Ramsey and Washburn) and this is a big concern of hers too. Anna has spoken to Councilmember John Quincy about this as well, but hasn’t received a reply yet.

Furthermore, there are no crossing signs or clear crosswalks at the Rustic Lodge and Wentworth traffic diamond just south of 49th Steet. There are some traffic signs for cars at the diamond but the traffic pattern is not clear and creates confusion for pedestrians.

Some options include turning 49th into a one-way street going easy from Pleasant to Nicollet. Ryan suggested that TNA could help support a traffic study financially; TNA cannot dictate solutions but can help fund solutions the City deems acceptable. Justin suggested funding signs, while Lauren suggested calling 311 to request another study as traffic patterns have changed due to drop-off location changes.

Denis Houle noted this isn’t an isolated issue, his neighborhood tried to get a crosswalk at 57th and Penn but received the same reply about a false sense of security for pedestrians.

Kathy will contact John Quincy and cc Robin Faust and Anna Hansen from Washburn.

Officer Reports:
Secretary – A motion to approve the September 2016 minutes was made, seconded and approved.
Treasurer – 2016 (for fiscal year ending May 31) taxes are filed. We still haven’t requested reimbursement from 2015. Justin talked to Stacy and Joy and previously we believed the annual report was required to do file for 2015 reimbursements, but it actually isn’t. Justin’s plan is to have this done by late November and 2016 reimbursements done in January.

Denis Houle
Denis represents District 2 on the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) and is President of Armatage Neighborhood Association. NCEC is an advisory board to the Minneapolis City Council on neighborhood issues. They also handle mediation issues between neighborhood residents and boards and are looking at neighborhood CPP plans.

Neighborhood board funding is largely from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue generated by downtown Minneapolis developments, due to requirements in state law. The TIF structure ends in 2020 at which point the funds will no longer be required to fund neighborhood boards but will go into the City’s general budget. NCEC thinks neighborhoods will be competing for money from the general fund instead of having a defined funding source, and they are advocating for neighborhoods to show the City why funding should continue as it has for the past few decades.

The City council appears divided into three groups, one opposed to continued neighborhood funding, one for it, and another group that may simply not be aware of the neighborhood accomplishments. NCEC is raising this issue now in preparation for council elections next year. They have established a sub-committee called Neighborhoods 2020 and are developing an inclusive plan to help neighborhoods advocate for continued funding from the City. Neighborhood 2020 committee minutes are also available on the City’s NCR website.

Denis also brought up some ways neighborhood boards could improve. Some residents think that community organizations (non-profits, organizations focusing on specific issues, etc) better represent their neighborhoods than the boards do. Some boards are also not representative of their residents either ideologically or racially; some neighborhood elections are much more contentious and contested than TNA and it’s not always possible to make boards representative through elections.

In terms of the upcoming election, Denis thinks neighborhood funding and its future is a great topic to ask City council candidates about. Justin noted that he wasn’t aware of the activities of the board before he came to an annual meeting and that residents need more education about what boards do, which would help advocacy. Lauren noted the case of St. Paul where funding was cut to neighborhood organizations in the past and that made it hard for many to continue their activities due to grant-writing requirements and competition.

Briana asked what Armatage spends money on. Denis said they have the same issues TNA does with respect to finding passionate residents to drive initiatives using board funds. Armatage is currently trying to better engage youth, renters, and seniors. He also noted that restrictions on reimbursement for food from NRP/CPP funding is a problem, since food is often what brings residents together.

TNA Financial Review Meetings
The board held one meeting with Stacy from the City’s NRP/CPP program to better understand TNA funding structures and how we can better put our funds to use. Next meeting will be Thursday October 20th at Fuller Park. Joy hopes to come out of the meeting with an idea of what to put into our next CPP application, which is due Nov 18th. We don’t have time to notify neighborhood and solicit resident feedback, so will outline our plan at a very high level and in line with prior community surveys. In 2017 we plan to administer a neighborhood survey and determine specific funding categories/initiatives. At that time, we will do a plan modification to align all funds with the NRP/CPP requirements and neighborhood priorities. The 2017-2019 CPP applications due Nov. 18th is expected to secure $96,000 in neighborhood funds.

There are still housing requirements on the past unspent NCR funds, which have been dormant since we terminated the previous housing loan partner after they raised administration fees. Other neighborhoods switched to Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GHMC) which Ryan contacted, but they are no longer accepting new clients for housing loan administration. We would need a different partner to administer these funds.

Lauren noted the Fuller Park pool may be coming up for redesign soon and we should talk to the Park to see if there’s anything TNA can help with.

Google Drive Tour
Joy did a quick run-through of the TNA Google Drive, which Lauren initially created to collect TNA information somewhere everyone can access it instead of a single board member’s computer. All board members should already be invited. Mary Jane asked if we should put old stuff into the Drive that members might have; the board agreed. The Google Drive is currently owned by Lauren and shared with board members, but we will move it to a TNA-owned account very soon.

Newsletter Update
Newsletter went out a week late due to Tjody’s computer issues, but the postage has cleared and the newsletters are going out.

Leaf Raking
Kathy printed flyers for our leaf raking event and suggested that board members hand them out on Halloween to trick-or-treaters. Otherwise, planning for the event is going smoothly.

Coordinator Update
TNA is looking for a new coordinator. During the financial meeting, Stacy suggested our finances could support a 20hr/week position instead of the previous 10hr/week. Mary Jane suggested a half-time coordinator and periodic professional services hires for specific events or tasks like website maintenance. Joy suggested advertising a position for 10-20hr/week and see what we get back. We want board members to drive the overall goals but to ensure follow-through we’d like a very involved coordinator who can fill in the details. Joy thinks the posting could be more about getting the right energetic person instead of simply a list of qualifications. The City has a template posting that we’ve used in the past. We’ve previously tried to share a coordinator with other neighborhoods but that hasn’t worked well because people like the part-time aspect of the job. Stacy doesn’t know of any available candidates from her contacts.

We’d like the coordinator to go to periodic neighborhood coordinators meetings, and meet regularly with neighboring coordinators too. We could hire other neighborhood coordinators to help onboard our new hire. Mary Jane will coordinate scheduling the coordinator planning meetings. Lauren suggested more flexible communication and more interaction between the entire board and the coordinator. Lauren also said the previous coordinator hiring process was slower than we hoped and it happened about the same time of year. She posted on the Council of Non-Profits site, at colleges in the area, the City, etc. Candidates were interviewed over winter break and hired in early spring. Joy said when she went to the recent neighborhood coordinator meeting they suggested contacting PTAs and other community/school organizations.

Other Items
Lauren noted this was her last TNA board meeting. She will resign following this meeting as she is moving from the neighborhood.

Adjourned: 8:40pm

Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary