January 21, 2016

General Membership Meeting Minutes 01-21

January 21st, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.

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

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Laura Dale, Shawna Dillon, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Margarita Ortega, Carol Pass.
Board Members Present: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Shawna Dillon, Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass.
Board Members Not Present: Laura Dale (E), Jean Howard, Margarita Ortega.
EPIC Members: Brad Pass, Michael Green, Nataly Sanchez, Nur Ahmed, Craig Seifert
Guests: Michelle Chavez, Matthew Bell, Rep. Karen Clark, Shirley Heyer. Jennifer Hager (Public Works), Jana Metge

6:45     Introductions:

·       Greetings and Introductions.
o   Riddle: what jumps up and down and always comes back around? Answer to be revealed later
·       Meet as Committee of the whole (MG, CP, approved.)
·       Approval of Agenda as amended by consensus.
·       Approval of Minutes from December 10th, 2015, with corrections (MG, NS, approved.)

7:05     Announcements:

  • Shawna Dillon reported that she is starting a soup kitchen at Little Earth; twice per month on 1st and last Saturdays (starting Jan. 23 at 11 am); board games; accepting donations of board games. Volunteers welcome. Call 612-886-4273 or email shawnadillon04@gmail.com.
  • THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & REGULATORY SERVICES COMMITTEE at 1:30 pm to discuss and vote on Green Zone Task Force
  • EPIC Board Meeting, East Phillips Park, Sat, 10:00 am, February 6th, 2016.
  • EPIC Membership Meeting, East Phillips Park, Thursday 6:30 pm, February 11th, 2016.
  • Valentine’s Day – February 14th
  • 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 www.alleynews.org.
7:11     Quorum achieved. Confirmed approval of the agenda and minutes. Approved.

7:00     Report on Roof Depot, Urban Farm concept and Green Zone Vote from Karen Clark

EPIC members should write and communicate concerns to the City Council about the impact of pollution on the community.
The issue of the Green Zone in general is something that is still just sitting there. Would the community want to ask the legislature to do something? Currently, there is room for the senate to raise this issue and it would give the community an opportunity to weigh in again.

Karen Clark and Shirley Heyer are working on writing a planning grant for funding to provide a structure for community members to have participation in planning this urban park/green zone and what it would look like.

CM Kevin Reich, 673-2201; members can write and request support for neighborhood impact on the green zone issues.

CP spoke with Barb Johnson and told her that there are a lot of other items connected with the green zone, not just the Roof Depot issue, and called on her and rest of the City Council to see this issue independently from other more controversial items and our neighborhood needs this zoning to help raise  funds and deals with the pollution issue.

Individuals and organizations can provide letters of support for the urban farm and green zone concept as they choose. They don’t need an okay from anyone. These are their elected officials. It is only the Board in its official capacity that needs an okay from the board to send an official letter on letterhead.

MOTION: EPIC will review what type of funding and what amount would be needed to fund creation of a business and community development plan specific to the urban farm/green zone concept; investigate what funding sources are available for funding such a project. (CS, NS, Approved.)

MOTION: The EPIC Board may generate letters in support for anything supporting the urban farm/green zone concept. (CP, JB, Approved.)

Michael Green asked how members can know when letters required by a motion are sent.
Response? Several people replied, just ask.

7:45     Great Opportunity: Professional Microsoft Training Program for MS Office Suite coming to East Phillips soon. Find out about a path to future jobs.

BP reported on efforts to provide classes that enhance job training and financial literacy. To make a computer lab functional for people to learn job skills, you have to have good software. Began negotiating with Microsoft to provide software for all parks in Minneapolis. East Phillips Park will be the first park to have the Microsoft Office Suite of software installed. This opportunity also provides training to “volunteer teachers” who can pass along training to others.

The class has a market value of over $1,000 and this “certification” class will be provided free for several volunteers. If you know someone who would be a good candidate for this training, contact the park director, or Brad Pass. Must be 18 years of age, and willing to give back to the community in return for the training. We hope to begin the program in about a month or two.

8:55     Hi-Lake Interchange Study, Intro and Overview: Jeni Hager, Public Works will be with us to explain

MNDOT and Metro Transit have been conducting a study of the Hiawatha/Lake intersection. Responding to concerns about pedestrians and bicycles, the City and County agreed to fund the study. It is a technical study (no community engagement.) We are analyzing the data and will be presenting a report to the policymakers in about a month. Policymakers include Corcoran neighborhood who organized a walk with McLaughlan, Charlie Zellie, Commissioner of Transportation. In addition, this past autumn a meeting was organized by the Mayor, with the council member and various agencies.

Right now there is no “project.” The study has been tasked with presenting possibilities with related costs, from a “planning perspective.”

If policymakers decide to fund a project, Public Works will come back out to the neighborhoods to present and carry out the community engagement piece.

Jeni reported that the staff responsible for issues on 26th and 28th are aware of issues, and EPIC reported that we have written to request a representative to attend a meeting.

SH pointed out that some people would like to be engaged in the process of collecting the data.

8:10     Progress: Speed Bump project for 2400 block of 18th Ave & 2900 block of 16th Ave

There have been conversations between Margarita and others to fund speed bumps in the neighborhood, for those blocks that have received confirmation of need by the city. Would the community support providing a fund from which “first dollars in” funding could be used for approved streets?

CP would want to make sure any specific fund would have a “sunset” provision.
NS suggested that such a fund would provide a process that any block could apply to for other, different safety projects.

MOTION: EPIC’s board will work to develop a proposal for providing a funding process for blocks to receive funding related to safety, through a process that includes, but is not limited to speed bumps, lighting, etc., and which designates funds but also provides a “sunset” provision. (CS, RC, Approved.)

8:22     Progress: Crime Cameras

Julie Ingebretsen offered her building for the Lake St. camera. CP has the contracts and is working on getting approval for putting the post up that is needed for a camera in Cedar Field.

The cameras serve as a deterrent, but also help solve crimes. Only the police have access to video from the cameras.

8:28     Progress: Feasibility of EPIC Office at 2433 Bloomington Ave.

EIC has been working on finding an office for about 4 years. It is in our NRP Phase II Survey. EPIC needs to have an office if we are to hire staff. The EPIC Board and others have looked everywhere in East Phillips for suitable office space. East Phillips is a pedestrian neighborhood, and we want it to be walkable and located in the neighborhood. The Welna building is missing only one thing – an accessible restroom. We rented it, seeing we could fix the access problem with a ramp, not realizing the bathroom problem. Then we found that out. Also there was competition for the space. If we hadn’t rented it at that time, we would have lost this possibility for good. We are working hard to figure this out.

There has been some controversy about this – First there was no money attached to the motion of the last meeting. Looking back over all the minutes, EPIC has been discussing this specific property going back to mid-2014. At first, after resolving the ramp issue , we considered the addition of just the restroom, but then we thought we might also try to add a conference room. Initially we assumed we would have to use other non-City money. We thought we could we raise the money to do this. Mary suggested we use NRP dollars to make it go faster. We don’t know if this is possible. If we could use some EPIC money to do this, it would speed up the process. The EPIC office needs to happen soon.

We took the plan to the Development Review people of the city as authorized by the EPIC members at the last meeting. CP showed a picture of the plan. They said it was fine, very simple, no problems and ‘a piece of cake’. We need architectural drawings for the City Development Review. We have a pro-bono architect who could do these. EPIC will continue studying the feasibility of this project and try to figure out next steps.

8:25     Dur Dur Bakery

1522 E Lake St. has been doing business for 16 years. Nur Ahmed opened the store on Cedar and Lake in 2000, and then moved to current location. Nearest residential home to our business is Rosie’s house. Another neighbor near our parking lot. We have had good neighbor relations. Recently a new neighbor at 2931 16th Ave has been calling the city and making complaints about the store. The city has made many visits/inspections. Seeking advice/assistance with this problem. In December alone, 35 email complaints were made from one neighbor. CS will help with dealing with the city. JM suggested that if there are lots of “false reports”, keep a log of these reports.

8:35     Progress:  New Home Construction Habitat Purchase 

We signed the contract to sell the land (2444 16th Ave). 2441 16th Ave is on its way to the city council.

EPIC has a First Time Homebuyer loan ($5,000 no interest); Rehab Support Fund ($8,000 no interest);
Apply with Greater Metro Housing Corporation.

8:40     Annual Meeting

The annual meeting will be held on April 23 or 30; to be decided in February.

8:50     Adjournment