Como Community Council – District 10
Board Meeting • May 19, 2015
7:00 P.M.

Historic Streetcar Station • 1224 N. Lexington Parkway • St. Paul, MN 55108

Respectfully submitted by João Medeiros, Secretary. Minutes approved at June 16, 2015 Board Meeting.

I.  Call to Order. Chairperson Ryan Flynn called the meeting to order at 6:59 p.m.

II.  Board Introductions.

Ryan Flynn, Chris Harkness, João Medeiros, Linda Hinderscheit, Debra Pursley, Kim Moon, Mary Michalski, Kevin Dahm, Frank Dolejsi, Bill Lipkin, David Sorenson,
Amy Perna, Tedd James
Alison Kirgis (Present)

III. Review, Amendment & Approval of Agenda.

MOTION: Approve the agenda (Moon – Dahm). Motion carried.


A.  Board Chair Report. Chairman Flynn reserved his report for the Executive Committee report.
B.  Open Treasurer Election. Amy Perna is absent but has been nominated and expressed interest in the Treasurer position. No other names were submitted from the community members or Directors present.
C.  Open At-Large Election. No volunteers or nominations from the community members or Directors present. Director Dahm suggested recruiting from local schools.
D.  2015 Hmong Festival. Tzianeng Vang spoke regarding plans for the Hmong Festival. This will be the 35th annual celebration and will take place at the McMurray Field in Como Park. The festival began in 1979 as a family picnic on Harriet Island. This is the 19th year that the festival will take place at McMurray Field. This is a local event but draws attendees from the international Hmong community. The entire community is welcome to come to the event.
E.  Como Regional Park Committee Update. Pete Bolstad reported that the Committee met on May 12, 2015.

1.  The natural resources unit is proposing to work with the University of Minnesota forestry department to study effective ways to regenerate the oak population. The study will take place near the Lexington & Como intersection. 26 plots of 6 trees each will be planted and subjected to varying conditions. After 5 years, the healthiest tree in each plot will be left in place and the remainder will be culled and studied.
2.  Como Dockside had a soft opening on May 5–6, 2015 and will have the grand opening on May 31, 2015. The owners are proposing additional work on the lakeside. As part of the agreement with the city, an advisory committee will oversee the quality and reception to Como Dockside, which is tied to bonuses for which the owners are eligible. The CRPC recommends that there be representatives from Districts 6 & 10 and the South Como Facebook Group on the oversight committee.
3.  Work on the pedestrian bridge renovation is due to be completed on July 31, 2015.
4.  Transportation projects at McMurray Fields and other locations in the park are still being examined.
5.  Major improvements are in the works for the Como Golf Course. The clubhouse was upgraded last year. Two tennis courts will be rebuilt.
6.  A drainage pond by the Como Pool is to be improved.

F.  Community Broadband Proposal. Tom Goldstein spoke regarding an initiative he is leading called “Connect St. Paul” that has the objective of advocating for affordable community broadband. He stated that at present, many residents do not have access to affordable broadband in their homes. He stated that the City does not presently have a plan to address this issue. In 2007, the city convened a task force to address the issue. Mr. Goldstein would like the city to (1) reconvene the task force; (2) inventory the city’s present broadband capacity to determine what infrastructure is already in place that could be incorporated into a community broadband network; and (3) adopt a “dig-once” policy, meaning that whenever excavation takes place, broadband infrastructure is laid so that future digging is not required to place such infrastructure. Director Lipkin pressed Mr. Goldstein to explain whether the campaign had a strategy to avoid the pitfalls that resulted in no action on the 2007 Task Force’s recommendations. Chairman Flynn explained that District 10 is unable to endorse particular outside groups, but could seek community input on the general issue of broadband access.

G.  Minnesota Voices. Sina Black spoke regarding Minnesota Voices. It is a strictly non-partisan organization involved in voter engagement work. The organization is part of a national network of 40 organizations known as “State Voices.” The organization encourages people to participate in democracy both through voting and civic participation. A particular focus of the organization’s work is with minorities and historically underrepresented groups. The organization motivates people to participate in the democratic process by helping them identify issues they care about and showing how participation and voting can help effect change on those issues. Beginning in June, Minnesota Voices will be conducting voter outreach in District 10, particularly in Subdistrict 4.

H.  District Council Board Overview. Diane Warner, St. Paul District Council Coordinator, spoke regarding the role of boards in the financial management of nonprofit organizations and about the fiduciary duties of directors.

I.  Como By The Lake. Janice Rettman, Ramsey County Commissioner, spoke about the situation at Como By The Lake, a senior residence apartment building. The owners have paid off the mortgage on the property, which required them to offer subsidized Section 8 housing. The owners intend to rehabilitate the building and are now suggesting that they will not offer Section 8 housing after April 2016. 57 units of affordable housing for seniors are affected. Commissioner Rettman is working on the situation, which is developing.


A.  Review, Amendment & Approval of Minutes & Financial Statements.

MOTION: Approve the minutes and financial statement (Moon – Dahm). Motion carried.

B.  Staff Report. Alison Kirgis reported that Amy Perna had agreed by text message to fill the vacant Treasurer position.

MOTION: Suspend the rules and reopen the Community Discussion Section and elect Amy Perna by acclamation to the position of Treasurer of the Board of Directors (Dahm – Dolejsi). Motion carried.

There is now a vacancy in Sub-District 1. The garage sale was a success, the weather held out and the District made $150. The Board Retreat will take place on May 26, 2015. Food will be barbecue rather than pasta (4–3 vote, with 2 abstentions). The Executive Committee discussed what should be done with COPP grants from Ward 5, this will be placed on agenda for discussion at the board retreat.

C.  Committee Updates

1.  Executive Committee. Ryan Flynn reported that the Executive Committee discussed Como Fest and the appropriate role for District 10 to play in the event, including concerns regarding use of staff resources and a lack of clear agreements controlling the event(s) making up Como Fest. The Committee approved a motion to send a letter of support recommended by the Land Use Committee on the variance request by the new owners of 801 Front Street. The Committee discussed the need to recruit for vacant board positions.

2.  Land Use Committee. Kim Moon reported that the Committee had approved a motion to send a letter of support on the variance request by the new owners of 801 Front Street.

MOTION: Ratify the decision of the Executive Committee to send the letter of support recommended by the Land Use Committee (Moon – Michalski). Motion carried.

3.  Dale Street Ad Hoc Committee. Ryan Flynn reported that the May meeting was cancelled. There is presently no co-chair from District 10.

4.  District Plan Ad Hoc. Chris Harkness and Ted Blank reported the District Plan was presented for community discussion on May 18 at St. Timothy’s Church. The next Committee meeting will be on June 8, 2015.

5.  Neighborhood Relations & Safety Committee. Mary Michalski reported that the target date for the second annual ice cream social is August 14, 2015. The Committee is open to having the event coinciding with the rededication of the pedestrian bridge—so long as the ice cream social gets top billing.

6.  Environment Committee. Frank Dolejsi reported that two students from St. Thomas presented on hydroponic-gardening research at Lake Como. It is hoped that the hydroponic gardening will reduce lake phosphorous levels. On May 31, 2015, the Sunday Series will be a presentation from Ramsey County master gardeners on home composting. Dr. Bill Toscano of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health will present on May 20, 2015 at the North Dale Rec Center regarding the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. Seven residents have volunteered their gardens for the annual garden tour. The tour will be on June 20, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

V.  ADJOURN. Ryan Flynn adjourned the meeting at 9:04 p.m.

PDF 801 Front Avenue Action Item   --  Approved action item regarding 801 Front Avenue Variance Request

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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