December 10, 2015

General Membership Meeting Minutes 12-10-2015

December 10th, 2015, 6:30 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.

East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address:
 Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
cpass@runboxcom, 612-280-8418

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

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Laura Dale, Shawna Dillon, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Margarita Ortega, Carol Pass.
Board Members Present: Laura Dale, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, (Rosie Cruz, and Margarita  arrived 7:40 pm.)
Board Members Not Present: Jenny Bjorgo, Shawna Dillon,

EPIC Members: Brad Pass, Karen Clark, Natalie Sanchez, George Kennedy, Carol Hill-Kennedy, Michael Green, Angela Cruz, Margaret Kirkpatrick

Guests: Shirley Heyer, Mike Nelson

6:45     Introductions:

·       Greetings and Introductions.
·       Approval of Agenda
·       Approval of Minutes from December 10th, 2015

6:55     Announcements:

  • EPIC Board Meeting, East Phillips Park, Sat, 10:00 am, January 9th,2015.
  • EPIC Membership Meeting, East Phillips Park, Thursday 6:30 pm, January 14th, 2015.
  • 40th Anniversary Party for the Alley News at the Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave. Wed. Dec. 16th, 5-8 pm. Holiday Refreshments.
  • Read the Alley Articles – EPIC posts in every issue.
    • If anyone wants to write an article about East Phillips news, send them over to EPIC & the Alley.
    • If you want to write a general article, contact Harvey Winge at

7:00     Report from Karen Clark
Reported on the school board meeting - there was much testimony about the effect of violence on school children riding buses. Looking for funding to run a small demonstration project to train Minneapolis parents or other adults to become bus monitors on buses. Because of the violence that happens to school children, recommend that bus monitors be hired. This is the result of two years of work using a grant for WEI, Little Earth and the East Phillips area. Karen requested that Carol bring a letter of support from EPIC to the school board appealing for support for a partnership between Little Earth of United Tribes and WEI for funding from MN DOT grant for Safe Routes to School.  It was at the last minute that Karen found out about the meeting, but the turnout was good and the different speeches were very impressive.

Report from Karen on Roof Depot of Site   
Meetings with Council Members: Chair Barb Johnson, CM Blong Yang, CM Lisa Bender, CM John Quincy, CM Cam Gordon, and CM Andrew Johnson,

EPIC’s motion and letter was very helpful in facilitating discussion with the city council. They took the roof depot eminent domain off the Ways and Means and City Council agenda, since this threat brought the buyers to the table. If you would like to participate in future activities related to this subject, contact Karen Clark or Shirley Heyer. Shirley Heyer said that there should also be an environmental impact study on the city’s proposal.

MOTION: EPIC will begin the process of considering an environmental assessment worksheet that will be submitted to MN PCA in order to hold the city accountable for the impact of pollution that would result from their proposal for the water yard. (KC, GK; passed unanimously.)

Karen also announced that the Foundry’s permit must be renewed soon and the public could weigh in at that time. Carol pointed out that the zoning has change there from heavy industry to light industrial, so the Foundry needs a conditional use permit as well as a renewed permit. Karen pointed out that this may subject them to the law requiring a cumulative impact study regarding the pollution if one has never been done.

7:18     EPIC Infill Campaign Housing Program
Mike Nelson from Habitat for Humanity passed out plans to complete the effort to fill all vacant lots in EPIC
with new construction.
Mike passed out colored elevations, floor plans, site detail and a diagram of the proposed lot split. Theses were explained and discussed.
  • The continuation of the Village in Phillips Project       
  • 2435 16th and 2441 16th Ave. Habitat for Humanity added to PRG, 2424 and 2422 16th Ave.
  • Lot split and add each part to the other lot to produce two new larger lots, House moved closer to sidewalk and garage closer to alley to produce larger backyard.
  • Request letter approving purchase by Habitat on these three properties to build two new homes (4- and 5-bedrooms).
  • Goal is to purchase by March and build in 2016. Will be affordable housing, preference to current residents; competitive process as there are a lot of families in need and a lot of interest in purchasing in this area.
  • Contact Mike or Chad if interested.
  • Asked habitat to send us the “criteria” for qualifying so we can distribute to membership.
  • Families selected must put in 300-500 hours “sweat equity”.
  • First time home buyer program; must attend 10 classes.
  • Will take about 6 months to get the house done.
  • Financing is done through habitat. Pricing of homes: as builder and lender, FMV based on an appraisal done by a 3rd party. Similar homes recently built and sold in St. Paul for around $210,000.
  • Requested that Habitat for Humanity come back to the community for feedback on the exterior color.
  • Habitat agrees to maximize exterior lawn space.

Habitat Program;
  • Pamphlet – are you ready for a home?
  • Financial Guidelines
    • $26,000 - $52,000 for a family of four.
  • 180 individuals who have applied for housing, and who are housing ready. 60 of them are living in the EPIC or nearby neighborhoods.
  • Not accepting applications again until Jan. 1
    • New interest rates apply and will review with current applicants.
  • March – will work with other housing  agencies. All applicants must be recommended from these agencies. Encourage people to get n touch with the following organizations. The first steps are to determine if you are ready for home ownership. These organizations will help you determine this.
      • Neighbor Works Home Partners
      • PPL
      • CLUES
      • African Development Center
      • Neighborhood Development Alliance
      • Hmong American Partnership
      • LAO Assistance Center of MN
      • Build Wealth MN

DEC 2015 Board MOTION: EPIC will write a letter of support for Habitat for Humanity to purchase the lots from CPED and split them as advised by Habitat for Humanity “proposed site plan – lot split of Lot 42.” (LL, MO; Approved.)
Moved by GK; Approved.

7:45     Report on Roof Depot Site
Distributed a report that will be published in the Alley News. It states the motion made at the EPIC meeting of Article was reviewed by various people and copies of the article along with EPIC’s PowerPoint and additional documents were given to several city council members in conjunction with meeting with the city council along with Karen Clark.

7:50     Public Safety Issues: Problems and Solutions

Margarita reported on Speed bumps. EPIC received information back from the city – they monitored both 16th and 18th Ave’s were monitored for safety issues and both streets were approved. Now it is up to us to raise the funds. Each hump costs $7,500 each.

EPIC will establish two restricted funds in our account; 18th Av S – 25th St E to 24th St E (2 speed bump) and 16th Av S – Lake St E to 29th St E (2 speed bumps), and will solicit funds from the affected community members (individuals and organizations and businesses) as well as seek public funding for a small portion of each project. EPIC will set up a restricted account in QuickBooks. Rosie discussed fund raising.
Jean said we need to have two fund raisers, one for each fund.

Rosie and LD, who  will be the contact person for the 16th Ave. speed bump and and RC will co-chair.
MO will be the contact person for fundraising for the 18th Ave. speed bump.

Cameras. Two hot spots for locating cameras have been discussed in EPIC meetings over the years. Cost is estimated around $16,000-20,000 each. Police monitor these cameras, and they have been effective in solving crimes, and making community spaces safer. Ingebretson’s agreed to put a crime camera on their building. Cameras cannot be put on existing poles owned by city or Xcel. Cameras need to be on 2nd story.  Cecil Smith can guide us in seeking assistance from the Park Board to provide a pole for a camera at Cedar Field. Monthly cost: electricity, monitoring

MOTION: EPIC will purchase and install two cameras (one near 16th Ave-Lake St. and one at Cedar Field Park) and will authorize CP and MO to research the process on getting the pole that will hold the camera, and costs. (JH, RC; Approved unanimously.)

EPIC Ambassadors: This program did not get off the ground. It needs volunteers to take it on.

Bike Lanes on 26th St & Cedar: Traffic problems occur:
  • Yellow stripe looks white at night; people try to use it as a left turn lane.
  • A very tight right turn.
  • EPIC will write a formal letter to the city.
Bike Lanes on 28th & Cedar: Traffic moving east gets stuck and backs up because there is no way to make a left-hand turn as there is no lane and no error any longer.  East bound traffic levels prevent this. This then results in northbound traffic being held up by the left turns going through the red light. Add this to formal letter to the City.

8:30    City approval of floor plans for Welna/EPIC office. CP reported on the work EPIC had been doing regarding getting an office. She presented the Welna site and how the project was going. 
M. Green requested information on when EPIC learned that the space would not be feasible. Is this the only solution we have. Raised the issue of whether physical office space necessary?

CP stated that EPIC has investigated alternate sites for years as well as researched other neighborhoods’ response to their neighborhood needs and how well their various office choices have assisted them in serving them. EPIC has been motivated by criteria including accessibility and nearness to the neighborhood for a walking pedestrian community. Criteria has been discussed at neighborhood meetings over several years. We looked at offices within other organizations, we looked at purchasing property. Nothing had works. No suitable space has been found in East Phillips. A motion was requested to proceed with taking plans for an addition to the building to the City for development review.
An intense discussion ensued regarding how the plan to expand the Welna space occurred. This discussion also included the appropriateness of a letter of support to the School Board for the Native American and Phillips School Bus Monitoring project, since the board hadn’t seen the letter.  It was pointed out that the letter was requested at the last minute by Rep. Karen Clark on the same day it was needed to be presented. 
It was also claimed that the EPIC office had not been before the community, would cost money and that there was no transparency. Others voiced that they did not agree with these remarks. Carol pointed out this is not about committing money, only determining the feasibility and that it had been before the community.. Three members did not agree and left the meeting as they voted. The question was called and the vote was taken

MOTION: EPIC should bring the proposed office addition to the city to find out if , with the addition, it could be approved for use as an office space. (CP, LD; Approved: 7 in favor, 3 opposed.

9:03     Adjourn