April 14, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  4/14/2009


Present:   Barb Stevens, Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator), Todd Wildermuth

Guests:    Rodgers Adams, Betsy Hodges (Council Member), Carsten Slostad (NRP Specialist

Absent:     George Effrem, Rosemary Lundell, Mari Taffe


Administrative Items


Secretary’s Report

  • Approval of the minutes of the February 10, 2009 meeting was tabled due to low Board member turn out.  


       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported that she has received our CPED grant for $2,000 and it has been deposited.  She also paid the insurance.  She reported a current balance of $2,156.66 for the NRP account and $481.09 for the development account.


Monthly Updates


Council Member comments

  • Council Member Betsy Hodges reported that she is proud that she has accomplished a couple of things that were of great concern when she took office.   Because of the concerns about infill housing, she worked to change the zoning code so that the size of the home is tied to the size of the lot.  She also worked hard to see that neighbors are notified when a demolition permit is applied for.  She also has closed the loophole that allowed builders to tear down most of a home and still call it a remodel.
  • Another item of great concern are the LGA cuts and the City’s obligation to pension and closed pension funds.  Betsy has been working on this every day.  The City has an obligation to two closed pension funds and the state wants us to take on a third.  The result of this would be to double residents’ property taxes each year.  She is working hard to resolve the anomalies about how the funds are dispersed.  For example, the payment amount is currently based on what people are now paid for the same work.  The City is proposing to merge the two funds with the state plan, which would help resolve such issues.
  • Xerxes Avenue, from Lake Calhoun to 50th Street, and West 44th Street (in Linden Hills) will be resurfaced this summer.   
  • A Citizen’s Advisory has been put together to discuss (over the next year) the options for food at the Lake Harriet Band Shell.
  • Betsy reported that she did get one call about skeet shooting at the Minikahda Club.  She will let us know how that conversation turns out.


Lakes District Council Update
  • Todd Wildermuth reported that he would attend the next meeting of the Lakes District Council.  He will send an e-mail to let folks know that he will need a replacement in the future (as he is moving out of the neighborhood in July).


Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Greg Benz is stepping down from his position as neighborhood representative to the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  Michael Wagner volunteered to replace him, but he was turned down because the Coalition is seeking to increase the diversity of their Board and would like to encourage women and minorities.  Todd suggested that if Michael is the only one interested in the position, that the MGC should come out and recruit someone themselves.


Other Business


Carsten Slostad/NRP: Review of NRP strategies and funding issues
  • Carsten reported that WCNC only has one contract open – contract 14728, which includes a number of strategies (a few of which still had funds remaining), including administrative funds (strategy 10), Trail Access Upgrade, Buckthorn Removal and Bus Shelter.  Barb recently submitted a CORF (reimbursement request) and Carsten audited the contract and found that it did not include enough funds to cover current expenses (about $2,700 short).
  • Carsten will be mailing a check for $5,559.31, which will pay up to the full amount of the contract, which is $109,251.  This leaves Strategy #10 $4,400.63 over budget and means that there is currently no other funding available for administration.
  • We need to clean this up by writing a plan modification and adding more funds for administration.  Carsten recommends closing some Phase I NRP strategies with smaller dollar amounts and evaluating all of the strategies that remain.  We also need to determine if we want to replenish the funds for any of the three strategies that he just depleted from contract 14728 (Trail Access Upgrade, Buckthorn Removal and Bus Shelter).
  • The plan modification can be approved by a Board vote if it is under $25,000.  He recommended that we extend the time to performance of the contract to the end of 2011.
  • Carsten also recommended that we review the needs of the neighborhood.  Are there issues we could address?
  • We should also consider Phase II.  In order to begin planning for Phase II, we need to have 95% of our Phase I funds contracted or have expended 85% of our Phase I funds.  We have currently expended 49%.  Phase II requires that 70% be invested in housing.  We could consider a home improvement loan fund, which would return program income.  We may want to consider meeting with the East Calhoun neighborhood (ECCO) who are now working on their Phase II planning.  Nancy Ward is the President.
  • Carsten mentioned that we still have $15,000 in funds in a Crime & Safety strategy.  Todd asked Betsy Hodges if she had any ideas about what is needed.  She said she would think about it and get back to us.
  • As soon as the Board is able to vote on what to include in the plan modification, Rhea will write a letter to confirm the plan modification and Carsten will make the necessary changes to the contract.


Earth Day Clean Up – Saturday, April 18, 9:30 a.m.

  • The Earth Day Clean Up is this Saturday.  Mari and Rhea will staff the table, and may also be joined by Mari’s husband, Kurt, and Rhea’s daughter Brianna.
  • Volunteers should show up at West Calhoun Parkway and West 32nd Street.  
  • Mari will handle picking up the donated refreshments and will find out if we need to pick up the garbage bags and gloves.


Lake Calhoun Ice Out Contest
  • The official ice out date for 2009 was April 8.
  • Meg Forney was the winner.  She was notified that she won a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake.  Other entrants were also notified.


Neighborhood Coordinator Updates
  • Rhea will contact Paul Domholt regarding the tree contract (which we have not seen yet) and Alexander Zachary about options for traffic calming at Lake Calhoun.
  • The next meeting regarding the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission will be held on Sunday, April 19 from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Northeast Armory.  Todd Wildermuth will check his calendar and try to make the meeting.  Rhea gave him the meeting materials.
  • Chris Lundeen from The Bakken let us know that we are confirmed for meeting space at The Bakken through the end of 2009.  


 MGM Liquor

  • Todd reported that MGM Liquor would be moving to their new location on either Sunday, April 19 or April 26, 2009.
  • MGM did not respond to Todd’s messages asking to write an article about the store for the newsletter.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.


The next WCNC Board meeting (our annual meeting and elections) will be held Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.  


Respectfully submitted,


Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator