DISTRICT 10 COMO COMMUNITY COUNCIL BOARD MEETING
Historic Streetcar Station
1224 North Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul, MN55103
Tuesday June 15, 2010
Directors Present: Scott Baker, Chris Bedford, Pete Bolstad, Barbara Clark, Barbara Frick, Chris Harkness, Panod Klongtruatroke, Jon Knox, Mike MacDonald, Chris Martineau, Marcy Micek, Marsha Milgrom, Dolores Rufenacht, Matt Schmitt
Directors Excused: Monica Lofgren
Staff Present: Rhonda DeBough Insook
I. Knox called the meeting to order at 7:00.
II. Review, Amend, Approval of Agenda
Clark moved to approve agenda with changes to accommodate speakers in the order below, seconded by Martineau.
III. COMMUNITY SECTION
A. Board Chair Report
Jon Knox reported Matt Schmitt is moving to a new neighborhood and resigning from District 10 duties next month. Knox thanked Schmitt for many years of service. Schmitt had recently chaired Communications Committee, served as newsletter editor, and, with his wife Deb Robinson, has heavily contributed to the work of Environment Committee.
Knox mentioned a board letter to Semper Development following last month’s board meeting to express community and board sentiment as reflected by vote. Other updates since the May meeting include fixing of the Grotto sign and a revised plan for signage variance at Como Elementary.
Knox reported City grant agreements are signed and reimbursements underway.
B. Treasurer’s Report
Marcy Micek reported that the City has just notified us that the city grant applications have been approved. She will be working with staff to begin submission of expense reimbursement requests.
C. Sholom Home Update
Scott Baker reported that a meeting took place last week with potential buyers of Shalom Home: an offer was made and accepted. The process is in early stages and buyers would like to work with District 10 and neighbors. Preliminarily, plans call for between 100-130 rental apartments with possible retail facing Snelling Ave. Details to date are on the District 10 website. The buyers appear committed to providing adequate parking to match potential residents’ needs.
A. CWOC Presentation
Teri Heyer, chair of the Como Outdoor Woodlands Classroom Committee, shared a handout and history of the project. For about five years, community members worked to develop the area south of Horton, east of Hamline. The Classroom will receive new funding from State Legacy/Parks and Trail funds this year, which will all allow them to create posts among the various sections and direct teachers to additional curriculum. The City also supports the project through contributions of landscape architects and staff. Schools most heavily using the area include Como Senior High, with outreach to many schools of all grades within close proximity to Como Park. New trails plans are in the development process to provide handicap accessibility.
B. Solar Power Concept for New Como Pool
Bryan Murphy, who works for the City of St. Paul, discussed a grant application submitted to the State Dept. of Natural Resources (Legacy Funds) for the new Como Pool/Aquatic Center support facility complex. Murphy shared an example. One component will be educating the public on how the solar panels function. The use may be year-round in that some of the concessions areas may be open to service non-summer activity such as municipal athletics’ office. Community review – process has fast-racked. Murphy has requested a letter of support from District 10. He also suggests that under the “Current Progress” portion of the city’s website include more information to satisfy community interest.
Clark moved to send a letter of support for the project, seconded by Harkness. Approved unanimously.
C. Hmong Festival Update, Community Meeting
Jon Knox reported Lao Family applied for a variance to this year’s 4th of July festival. The variance will create a new standard for sound. The City Council will hear the variance request 6/16 at 5:30 in Council chambers. Last week, St. Paul Police Officers spoke about prior concerns at the celebration. There is a 24-hour number to call if residents have concerns. Changes this year include more overflow and shuttle options than in prior years. Community members discussed drop off locations. Changes will be outlined at the 6/16 meeting.
Community members mentioned difficulty with parking in alleys. Barbara Clark said the extra trash in the area as an issue; she encouraged educating persons to use appropriate trashcans. There is a separate number to call for excess litter: 651.315.5019. Dolores Ruefenacht suggested e-blasting the numbers and information as well. County Commissioner Janice Rettman spoke about the history of the Hmong Festival and need to report persons charging for alley parking, should that occur.
D. Community Discussion – none.
IV. BOARD BUSINESS SECTION
A. Review/Amend/Approve Minutes & Financial Statements
Milgrom moved to approve minutes, with corrections. Klongtuatroke seconded. Martineau abstained as he was not present. Minutes approved unanimously.
B. Staff Reports
Rhonda DeBough Insook reported that, as a first ever event, the Staycation has grown in a creative fashion. Partners include Chelsea Heights PTO, Parks/Rec., Java Train, Environment Committee and others. Most expenses are donated.
Community organizer’s summer hours are in effect for DeBough Insook (20 hours/week until Labor Day).
C. Bylaw Review Announcement
Panod Klongtruatroke prepared a summary document with request for feedback on the existing bylaws. He is seeking a small subgroup to work on a review to proceed over several months. This group would ideally include past district members or those with additional interest or history. There are many ideas for change; nonprofit best practices call for bylaws review every three years.
D. Committee Updates
a. Financial Development Committee
Chris Bedford discussed fiscal sponsorship options. Bedford offered a summary of a review of nine other councils, and discussions have occurred with five. Pluses and minuses of fiscal sponsorship are outlined. A small cash reserve is recommended prior to undertaking a potential sponsorship. Bedford would like to ask for a policy relating to sponsorship, although none of the district councils questioned had any policy, which could be in the form of guiding questions to determine criteria, risk thresholds, etc.
b. CRPTIP Ad Hoc Committee
Peter Bolstad reported at the most recent advisory committee (PAC) refined areas for focus, also outlined in CRPTIP committee minutes. Bolstad requested review of new questions to post to District 10 members. The goal is to present some concrete responses, which represent community opinion at the next PAC meeting. August 10 is the tentative date of the next open house from 6 to 8 p.m. A communications plan will utilize Staycation crowds among other tactics. This will be the final open house offered to the public.
c. Neighborhood Relations Committee
Chris Martineau reported that Senator Anderson attended last week’s meeting to discuss LCCMR (lottery) and other state funding; specifically Legacy funds. Questions centered on maintenance of parkland and not just new capital projects. Senator Anderson indicated that Legacy Funds to protect, preserve and enhance parks and trails may be a future source for maintenance of Como Park. Community members had expressed concern about lack of public involvement in determining funding use. One possibility is discussion with the University of Minnesota, which has a role in Legacy Funds planning.
Martineau showed a lawn sign sample, to encourage free shuttle use to use at West Como. Parks Director Mike Hahm has agreed the signs are allowed to be posted on Midway, at the discretion of Como Park. Michelle Furrer has OK’ed this use, and will pay for 10 signs.
d. Environment Committee
Mike MacDonald reported a Tree Trek and appreciation event the past weekend. A compost workshop was offered this past weekend. A garden tour will coincide with the July Staycation. Tree watering gators are available to help keep trees watered for trees two years old or less that are on boulevards or Como Park.
e. Communications Committee
Matt Schmitt said the committee is working on the upcoming newsletter, distributed by Midway Monitor. Communications is seeking a newsletter editor.
f. Neighborhood Safety Committee
Dolores Rufenacht said that break-ins have occurred and may have connection with solicitors. Residents should ask for ID’s and license information to demonstrate the right to sell door to door. The Safety Committee will compile a list of numbers and contacts. Rufenacht and Monica Lofgren attended the National Night Out kickoff. Rufenacht also attended a Paint-the-Pavement workshop. District 10 is eligible to participate if interested. The committee is also working on the Staycation event and sponsorship packages/communications. The board will approve via e-mail. Recommended actions include: using a template for soliciting donations, creating budgets and a workplans.
g. HR Work Group Update
Tabled until next meeting.
Motion to adjourn by Micek, seconded by Schmitt.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Marsha Milgrom