March 12, 2015

General Membership Meeting Minutes 03 - 12

March 12, 2015, 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

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Ali Micalin, Carol Pass, Earl Simms
Board Members Present: Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Jenny Bjorgo, Carol Pass, Rosie Cruz
Board Members Not Present: Ali Micalin,  Jean Howard, Earl Simms,
EPIC Members: Dave Moore, Michael Green, Dana Dewilde, Harold Dewilde, Lee Samuelson, Clara Emma, Carla Scala, Kyla Sisson, Maggie Ewing, Patty Zanski, Ben , Carol Hill Kennedy, George Kennedy, Brad Pass, Will Gilman
Guests: Shirley Heyer, Carrie Day Aspinwall, Richard Aspinwall, Aisha Gomez, Jason ?, Dean Dovolis,

6:35     Introductions

·       Greetings and Introductions, share your “spring fever”

6:50     Agenda
·       Approval of Agenda: Agenda was accepted by consensus.

6:55     Announcements
  • Flyer: Next Financial Literacy Class in SPANISH, March 17th at 6-7:30.Next EPIC Board Meeting, April 4th (10 am)
  • Next EPIC General Membership Meeting, April 9th (6:30 pm)
  • Annual Meeting, April 25th, 2015 at 9:30 am
    • Elections; there are positions open for board members.
·       Flyers: Crime and Safety maps are available.
o   Our crime prevention specialist is Don Greeley, 612-673-3482
·       Tamales Y Bicecletas is holding a 2nd meeting
o   Saturday, 9-10:30 am at Open Arms on Bloomington Avenue.
·       Flyer: The right Medicine at the Right Time (StarTribune, this week)

7:00     Minutes
·       Minutes for February 12th were approved with the correction to attendance: Jenny Bjorgo was present at the February meeting.

7:05     Two problems wedded together: introduction by Carol Pass

7:10     PowerPoint presentation

MOTION: Establish a Clean Air Task Force to repurpose the heavy industry areas of East Phillips to the goals of transit oriented residential housing, to disallow any further introduction of heavy industry and ultimately eliminate heavy industrial polluting enterprises from within the boundaries of East Phillips.

7:25     Discussion of Possibilities for the Asphalt Plant, Foundry site

Dean Dovolis presented an overview of what is represented on a Primary Zoning & Industrial Employment Districts map. This corridor (Hiawatha) used to be primarily a heavy industry area, and housing grew up (for workers) behind and around it. Now, most of these industries have moved out of this area. There are basically only two of these sites left.

The issues of the water works and the foundry in this are not separate from each other. This is basically trading one for the other. There is a bill going through the legislature now, which needs support. Karen Clark initiated this bill which will go before the environmental committee and others.

The city water works needs only about half of the Roof Depot building/space. DD threw out a proposition: if you want to add something, you have to take something away. We could say to the city of Minneapolis:

1.     City give access to half the building/site for community use.
a.     You will underwrite indoor agriculture, for example.
2.     City support our environmental bill in the legislature (to change zoning to industry neutral).
a.     The city of Minneapolis has quite a bit of strength and influence in bills before the legislature.
b.     Karen’s bill is really significant as it has the possibility of really changing the use of this land from heavy industrial. It needs to be supported.
3.     Clean up and make room for additional multi-family housing.
a.     If very costly, ask the legislature for clean-up funds.
b.     The best option for returning this site to residential is to push for clean up, and build 3-4 story residential.

Part of the fight is the facts and figures. Part of it is the vision…”what if…” (see bullets above.) The bullets above can lead to “big ideas” that could create new clean industries, changing this area for the better, creating local jobs, and enhancing local business. It is not just taking out industry, but bringing in new clean industry and jobs.

Painting an image. Now you have a very compelling plan that is unique and the city will be interested. Then Karen Clark and others can say “if you want this, then give us that.” DD thinks we have a great opportunity here.

7:45     Roof Depot site – Discussion of the questions

How might we use the site/building? This building can be put to good use – it has been well maintained. It would be expensive to take the building down that may be counterproductive since housing doesn’t pay the same rate of return – there would have to be a heavy subsidy required for housing to cover this cost.

Richfield is working on a project involving urban agriculture and this might be a good fit.
We can ask the city/state/feds to move the entrance from 26th street to 28th street to move it away from housing.

Aisha – update from city meeting
  • Roof Depot’s tenant - the lease is coming up in June or July of 2016.
  • There is a similarly sized property with appropriate zoning located in NE Minneapolis.
  • CM Cano discussed possible community benefits agreement.

  • Solar power – used to help local low income residents nearby. Excel has money to do 400 projects and they’re not doing much in the city.
  • Bike shop and café
  • Farmer’s market stalls
  • Historic building/glass walls onto the greenway
  • Maximum people to enjoy natural beauty, health, agriculture, building restoration, and solar power.

A Plan proposal
  • Develop a master plan
    • Green
    • Protein farm
      • employment
    • Bike shop/café
    • Open space
    • Water works
      • employment
    • Manage truck traffic
    • Removing the grandfathered property/convert to multi-family housing

This is a gateway to the city, and could become something beautiful. This is the intersection of the Blue Line and the Green Line of the LRT system…because this section of the Blue line is running through an industrial area, it has spurred very little development. This is a prime development oriented transit site, and this could set the stage for revitalizing along this line.

8:30     A resolution?

Developing a master plan is a process, and then you might follow with a formal vote. It would be appropriate to make a motion to “form a master plan” with the points identified tonight as a sort of “skeleton” or starting brainstorm for the plan.

EPIC board on Saturday, allocated up to $10,000 from a fund that is already earmarked for this type of spending, for Dean to begin to work on a master plan, clearing the way for the community to meet Dean and hear his presentation.

Dean explained that there would probably be three meetings: Sketch/Plan, Refinement, Resolution. This could occur over two week increments, with intermediate drawings being available for use in lobbying the legislature.

MOTION: EPIC will support KC proposal for state law changes to deal with the “grandfather clause” regarding the heavy industry along with forming a master plan that we will produce, according to the presentation and discussion tonight with Dean Dovolis. This plan embraces the following:
  1. use of the part of the Roof Depot building un-needed by the Water Yard for Urban Agriculture and Green Jobs,
  2. a place for a bike and coffee shop on the southeast corner of the building,
  3. a solar array on the Roof,
  4. managing negotiations re: the truck traffic with the neighborhood, moving to the cleanest truck exhaust,
  5. City support for our environmental bill in the legislature and
  6. eventually the City help clean up and make room for additional multi-family housing on the Greenway.

            We also agree to an initial process, which would be consistent with a minimum of three meetings:  Sketch/Plan, Refine, and approve a resolution. This schedule of meetings try to could occur over two week increments,  We affirm the Board’s plan to use $10,000 for a contract with DJR Architects for this purpose.
            GK, CE, Approved unanimously.

8:40     Adjournment

March 7, 2015

Board Meeting Minutes 03 - 07

March 7th, 2015, Saturday, 10:00 am
East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center
EPIC web address:
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

The opposite of poverty is not wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice. -Unknown

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Ali Micalin,
Carol Pass, Earl Simms
Present board members: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass,
Absent board members: Jean Howard, Ali Micalin, Earl Simms
EPIC Members: Andrew Fahlstrom, Patty Zanski-Fisher, Kyla Sisson, Michael Green, Eric Immler, Brad Pass

10:00   Introduction:
·       Approval of March Agenda:

10:10   Conflict of Interest: Read and sign, some discussion

CP read Article VIII from the EPIC Bylaws, and board members signed this pursuant to a request from NCR. This signed document is to be made available upon request.

10:20   Financial Report: Applied for headwaters Grant for $10,000.  Have spent almost no money since last report.

CP reported that EPIC has applied for a grant to assist with the environmental issues we are trying to address. These funds are somewhat flexible, and EPIC may be able to use these funds in partnership with other organizations working on these same issues, using EPIC’s partnership agreement guidelines.

10:30   Office space: We agreed to put up money to create an office space for EPIC. Problems and opportunities.

MOTION: Rent the space at 2433 Bloomington for $400.00 per month up to six months as a repository (storage space) for EPIC documents while we work out a solution. (JB, RC, approved.)

10:30   Transfer of Home Loan Program – The company with whom EPIC had its Home Loan program is cutting back and EPIC elected to move our program a few months ago from Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) to Greater Metro Housing Corporation (GMHC). We need to make some changes since we are doing a contract amendment in any case.

MOTION: Approve the following changes to EPIC’s Home Improvement and Homebuyer Program: (1) Combine the Emergency Loan Program with the Rehab Support Program– efficiency and avoiding duplication. (2) Change the income cap to a generic $96,845 for all households up to 10 dependents, this is what MHFA uses and they will be offering combining loans, also efficiency. (3) They don’t do research to find other options, so we need to vote to accept that. (MG, JB, Approved.)

10:45   Land Use Plan: EPIC would work with consultant Dean Dovolis to create a Land Use Plan for the area that meets our needs and projects our future. Money set aside in our CPP grant for this kind of use.

MOTION: Allocate $10,000 already budgeted 2015 CPP dollars for Community Engagement to work with consultant Dean Dovolis to create a land use plan for the Cedar/28th St./Hwy 55 site we can rally around. (MG, JB, Approved.)

Discussion: public comment expressed a desire for community engagement to include participation by community in developing a process for identifying deliverables for the work done with the consultant.

11:17 Jenny had to leave.   
          MOTION to meet as a committee of the whole. MG, CP, Approved.

11:18 Grievance: Current situation.  Four grievances need to be negotiated. NCR issues are completed. Concerns with the issue of grievances and Career critics. Chair’s remarks. Update on City’s Actions

We have concluded our work with NCR regarding the grievances. CP asked Minneapolis to help us find ways to address “career critics”. A log of just one of these critics shows 4 emails a day. Legally, responding to these demanding and time consuming claims is hurting the work of multiple neighborhood organizations, bogging down work and board members. Much of this seems harassing, and we are seeking legal advice regarding EPIC’s obligations in these situations.

We have a timeline for carrying out face-to-face negotiations regarding our current grievance issues, however, the deadline is not yet clear to us. NCR has not provided recommendations for mediators. LL was appointed by board to identify a qualified mediator, and schedule the negotiation meeting.

11:26   Michael Green - Grievance

11:28   The Disposition of the Roof Depot site, Removal of Asphalt Plant and Foundry and Environmental justice Issue (Discussion)

Where EPIC stands: Remarks by the Chair: This was a difficult time because a number of EPIC members felt left out of the process and are hoping that can change. EPIC would like to move in tandem with other’s concerned about these issues. EPIC has an environmental task force.

JoseLuis VillaSenor 's organization has taken on a big role in the fight against pollution and the effort to remove the asphalt plant and foundry and produce a more pollution-free future for East Phillips. EPIC welcomes his contribution to this effort. That other organizations also join in this fight in no way diminishes EPIC’s role and responsibility in any of this. Recall our motion passed in November, 2014.

Establish a Clean Air Task Force to repurpose the industrial areas of East Phillips (east of the intersection of Cedar and 28th Street) to the goals of transit-oriented residential housing, to
disallow any further introduction of heavy industry and to ultimately eliminate heavy industrial polluting enterprises within the boundaries of East Phillips.

This motion put EPIC on its own path. EPIC has been working since then and before, providing our residents with information, showing our power point, attending Government Pollution Control Agency meetings, planning with Rep. Clark and preparing for a long struggle. Many all over the neighborhood have now written letters to the City decision-makers and are ready and equipped with information to do more. They all need to know that we need and embrace everyone of good will for this work. It is too big for any group to not welcome help.

We also need to reflect that EPIC remains tasked by the government and by our commitment to this job entrusted to us to provide community engagement for East Phillips for all residents, understood inclusively, for situations such as this and to continue to look after this area and the well-being of its people. As usual, we need to get busy.


RC: we need to find a way to work together.
MGreen: Who are Karen Clark and Alondra Cano listening to for direction?
LL: If EPIC takes the lead in representing the neighborhood, we are likely to get lots of ideas from a wider community.
CP: What can EPIC do? What are we trying to change? This is what we can do. We can’t be opposing other groups
AF: I’m hearing turf war mentality. Jose and Tamales are neighbors…
LL: We got off to a rocky start. What do we do now?
·       We have passed a motion to hire a consultant to begin working on a land use plan
·       We need to ask questions, what is feasible? (Re: Tamales e Bicicletas…how do we deal with each other now, after we have had a difficult time?)
RC: We have to fix the problem
·       Do you want to work alone?
·       Do you want to work together?
KS: I have been working with JoseLuis/Tamales to improve communication and be part of the planning for the March 14th meeting.
PZ: It would be helpful to meet with JoseLuis/Tamales. It would be helpful to have guidelines from the board regarding the task force. I think we have the same objectives and goals. We need to be working together for efficiency’s sake.
LL and MG will work together to put together a task force charter.
Task force will report at the general membership meeting.

12:25   Bylaws Discussion

EPIC recognizes that EPIC bylaws require that the following individuals must be dropped from board membership:
Jean Howard, Ali Micalin, Cesar Prado

Nominations for new board members may be received from present Board members and the general membership by the Secretary (LL) two weeks in advance of a Board meeting. (Bylaws, Article VII, Section 10.)

EPIC will schedule a special board meeting to consider bylaw changes that have been recommended by members, and NCR. EPIC will establish an attendance sheet form to record board member attendance and easily facilitate compliance with EPIC bylaws.

Approval of the February 7th EPIC Board Minutes: Not approved.

·       EPIC General Membership Meeting, March 12th, 6:30 to 8:45 pm at East Phillips Park
·       Next Meeting Tamales Y Bicicletas, March 14th Saturday,  9:00 am at Open Arms
·       Next class in Financial Literacy will be in Spanish. Starts on March 17th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the                   Park and runs for 5 weeks.
·       March 16th CPED Community Planning Meeting where we can speak
·       IT Hub Meeting, March 27th
·       Opening of the Garden Meeting, Saturday April 11th, 10 pm at the Community Center

11:50   Self Evaluation

12:55   Adjourn