November 14, 2013

General Membership Meeting Minutes 11-14

November 14, 2013, 2013, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address:
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers,
but most of all the world needs dreamers who do.”

Board Members Present: Jenny Bjorgo, Carol Pass, Mary Gonsior, Ali Micali, Linda Leonard
Board Members Not Present: Earl Simms, Sherdl Kordian, Aisha Gomez, Rosie Cruz
EPIC Members: Pat Fleetham, Brad Pass, Laura Dale, Carol Hill-Kennedy, George Kennedy, Naomi Mohamed, Kim Hayden, Kevin Lieder, Hannah Lieder, Julie Graves, Kathryn Sumaras
Guests: Lt. Mike Taylor, Glen Goldsby, Dean Dovolis, Shirley Heyer,

6:45            Introductions:
·      Greetings and Introduction
·      Approval of Agenda (CP, JB) passed.
·      Approval of October Minutes (JB, BP) Approved.
MOTION: Meet as a Committee of the Whole – (JB, LD) passed

6:55            Announcements:
·      Open House Monday Nov. 18th at Verdant Tea at 2111 Franklin Ave., 6:30-8:00 to present                new vendor space on East Franklin under the bridge.
·      Public hearing on Street car design Nov. 20 and Nov. 21. One of these meetings will be in the     Greenway at Colin Powell Center. We need a Bloomington/Lake stop. This is the final public     Meeting. The Bloomington station has been removed from the plan.
·      No parking signs will be installed on 24th St. It is illegal to park semi’s, commercial trucks, buses – on 24th Street.

7:00            SWIMMING POOL UPDATE: Dean Dovolis, DJR Architects

On behalf of the board of Minneapolis Swims, Dean wants to thank the neighborhood for all their help with this project. The Phillips Aquatic Center proposal to Mpls. Public Schools went out this month and looks very good. Minneapolis Swims still needs support from neighborhoods for financial support for the organization’s operations, So far, all the funds that EPIC has provided has gone toward capital expenses. They need funds for fundraising, attending meetings, creating brochures, and more. The pool has gone from a dream to a project and will be a great asset to the EPIC community.

A separate proposal is coming forward as a possible partner program to the Aquatics program, that will help the building become a real health center, so the neighborhood can have a wellness center.

MOTION: Quorum achieved. Meet as a quorum. (BP, JB). Passed.

MOTION: EPIC will provide funding of $10,000 to Minneapolis Swims organization for the purpose of facilitating the development of the Phillips Aquatic Center (CP, JB) Passed.

Kevin: MS will also be asking for money from Midtown; have 8 months to raise millions of dollars. Need this money to move forward. We are at a tipping point. What we have in the next few months to raise funds, will be reflected in the results.

Hannah: We would not be where we are right now, if it was not for EPIC and CP. Karen Clark was asked to write a bill from the legislature. EPIC put the first $25,000 into this project. Without these funds we would not have had the conceptual design. EPIC has led the way all throughout this project. MS is an all volunteer organization. This is now a facility that is bigger than EPIC, bigger than MS. We need everyone in EPIC to help, join the fundraising campaign, volunteer – we need this facility.

Shirley: Will these funds go toward salary for staff? Hannah: salaries are not on the horizon…these funds will be for basic needs.

Hannah will be interviewed on TV for ½ hour to talk about Swimming, Nov. 27 on a local station. Karen Clark is drafting a bill to require that all children receive swimming lessons in school. Hoping to get the Dept. of Health to support this too. This would make MN the first state in the nation to require learning to swim in school.

MOTION: Accept the actions of the committee of the whole (PF, JB). Passed.

7:15             Solar Garden Participation

Glen Goldsby presented a powerpoint discussion of how solar gardens can contribute to neighborhood well-being. Members of the community can come together to purchase together, parts of a solar garden. The power generated from the Solar Garden can benefit non-profit organizations like EPIC. EPIC could receive cash donations, or option for electric offset. Investors would recover their investment in estimated 6-8 years. What happens if people move, or pass away, there is an option to sell along with your property, or take it with you if you are moving to an adjacent property. What liability would EPIC have as a partner or sponsor in this project? Looking at writing a non-binding agreement to look at a possible partnership. EPIC would be one of multiple partners. While rates and other factors are being negotiated, this could take a while. Could happen as soon as January, but more likely about six months. So far, we have been told there would be no financial responsibility on EPIC’s part.

7:35             Public Safety, Lt. Mike Taylor.

Since the beginning of the year our number one focus area has been Chicago and Franklin. Another one the past two months is the Lake Street Corridor. A third are further south has experienced a larger number of burglaries than other areas, and we are focusing patrols there now. We try to utilize all of our resources, using squads, bikes, horses, foot patrols, etc. We are doing these things, but we don’t “advertise”. Depends on availability and staffing. Staffing is tough, and we try to utilize our staff strategically. Our crime prevention specialists do additional work including door knocking, meeting with various groups, receiving feedback. We also have problem property officers, we get these complaints and these officers go investigate. They will board properties, and deal with the problems, looking for strategies and solutions to eliminate the problem with these properties. We have undercover, plainclothes officers working around prostitution and drugs, and you won’t see them at all. We are the only precinct this year to have a steady reduction of crime in the city. Everyone else has experienced an increase. We credit this to our relationship with the community. LT. Taylor works the day shift and receives a lot of communication from the community about crime. Lt. Taylor’s desk phone: 612-673-5787. The police are very thankful for the partnership with the community.

For further discussion: Buyback hours;

2909 Bloomington, serious crime – residents are “preyed on.” The management company needs to put in cameras and lighting. Start with Don Greeley and get problem properties involved. Residents are afraid to call the police, would like the police to be more proactive.

Reported that Nepali residents exiting buses on Cedar are being mugged/attacked. They want to know what are the safest routes to get home from the bus, and what precautions they can take. TIPS: Don’t look at a book, your phone, the headphones, etc. Pay attention to what is going on around you. iPhones are one of the biggest items stolen like this. If it doesn’t feel right, follow your instincts. Take your phone out and dial 911. It is difficult for immigrants to give descriptions and locations. Police (Officer Alice White) want to work with neighborhoods to put together education piece to train elders, and they can work this down through cultural groups. Sometimes new immigrants don’t know the signs of trouble.

Immigrants are brought into our neighborhood all the time and given support for 3-6 months, but there is a lot of education that is left out. Can the Police help us? There are a couple Somali officers in this precinct. There is one downtown and another in the 2nd Precinct – that’s about it. There are only about 15 per training class, and we can’t keep up.

Pat said there is a county program to help immigrants assimilate. Linda pointed out that many immigrant children don’t know how to cross a busy street safely. Police will begin calling Counties and find out what resources already exist. Encourage EPIC to look there also.

Real problem blocks: request a lighting survey on the block (2900 block of 16th, for example.)

8:30             Phillips People’s well-being;

Running Wolf fitness center may be leaving the Philips Community Center and so a multi-neighborhood organization is forming to incorporate in order facilitate formation of a corporation (nonprofit) to ensure the future of a Phillips Fitness Center. Advantages include all the investment into the rental unit that was made to facilitate a fitness center; it would be a shame to lose this investment to a day care center.

8:45            New construction to fill vacant lots
Need some focus groups for Priority Plans
There are houses that could use rehabs; there aren’t foreclosures happening right now, so if you know people struggling with that let EPIC know about it. If there are vacant lots, we may be able to infill houses for about $15,000.

8:53             EPIC home loans

EPIC is looking into additional fees that applicants need to pay including $145 fee for closing the loan, $10 credit application and other fees as well. We will review the agreement we have with CEE.

8:55             Adjournment