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MHCA Area Director's meeting minutes

June 2016 Area Directors' Meeting Minutes

jgchipault Tuesday 16 of August, 2016
Midvale Heights Community Association Board Meeting
Tuesday, June 28th 2016 – 6:45 p.m. – Sequoya Branch Library

Area Directors present: Denise Lamb, Ed Rogers, Jenny Chipault, Steve Fitzsimmons, Jonn Lager, Gregory Fischer, Jim Thoreson, Tom Jarvis, Gary Poulson, Ron Rotter, Paul Haskew

Other neighbors present: Cathy Rotter, Randy Peterson, Carousel Bayrd (Dane County representative, Van Hise PTO), Dave Blouin (Westmorland neighborhood association), Gretchen Bourg (Madison Ballet, Westgate Mall), Maurice Cheeks (Alder)

  1. Call to Order & Introductions - E Rogers
    1. Introductions were done.
  2. Prior Minutes Review/Approval - Board
    1. E Rogers notes that the April minutes numbering system seems incorrect
      1. J Chipault will check on that and correct
    2. Motion to approve the April minutes
      1. Motion passes
    3. Motion to approve the May minutes
      1. Motion passes
  3. Treasurer’s Report - R Rotter
    1. R Rotter passed out hard copy of ledger. T-ball money is coming in and going out. R Rotter has 780 history books to sell yet. The group reviewed how much money MHCA has given to local schools over the years.
  4. Legislative Reports - Carousel Bayrd
    1. Carousel Bayrd says one of the biggest things that the county is working on right now is homelessness; they have a proposal for a fourth location for a day center. It is important to have a space for people to be during the day, especially because the rules for where people can be during the day have changed (e.g., capitol and city buildings now restricted). Fourth location is close to the capitol and resources such as bus lines but not near residential areas. Another thing the county is working on is criminal justice reform, e.g., the setting of bail;if you don't have money, a house, or a car then you will sit in jail. There's a study ongoing. Looking into alternatives to incarceration because many programs are one strike and you are out and many people have issues that cannot be fixed at the drop of a hat. How realistic are these programs if they have zero tolerance? Also working on a separate mental health facility so that police officers do not have to walk away from people with mental illness or take people to jail because the hospitals do not take them. We do have a strong program within the jail for mental health but it is still jail and if you're in a mental health crisis then jail might exasperate that mental health situation. There are conversations about what this separate facility looks like and the county is looking into funding options.
  5. Van Hise/Hamilton Playground - Carousel Bayrd
    1. Carousel Bayrd is on the Van Hise Elementary School PTO and is one of two head playground fundraiser coordinators. Van Hise is the elementary school that represents half of our neighborhood; border is Piper Drive. Everyone on the Segoe Rd side of Piper Dr goes to Van Hise. There are a couple of problems with the Van Hise playground. The equipment is old so kids get concussions and cut themselves. There's a water mitigation issue that causes the play area to turn into an ice rink in the winter such that part of the playground can't be used in the winter months. There's also an issue in that the middle school students come to use the elementary playground. Building a tree-lined walking circuit because that's what middle school students want, to walk and talk. New playground project has 4 phases: 1 - take out equipment and replace with nature-based play; 2 - water mitigation, build a dry creek and bridges; 3 - putting in new equipment; 4 - install the walking path and trees. The total cost is $120,000 and they have raised about $40,000 through PTO fundraisers over the past 1.5 years. Asking MHCA for a contribution.
      1. Is the school district contributing?
        1. They may for the water mitigation, but Van Hise isn't on the list of schools that needs immediate repair. They agree that it is outdated and they have nurses' reports indicating that the rate of injury is high. Also, the playground is not fully accessible for children in wheelchairs. Schools Foundation is a group that will allow applications, but proposals are only funding if the school is close to their goal already. Foundation for Public Schools mission is to fund innovative things that otherwise wouldn't be part of the school.
      2. Do you have sponsorship levels?
        1. They have been talking about installing etched bricks for certain levels of funding. All the teachers donated summer experiences and they raised almost $10,000 doing that.
      3. Do you have a sense of how much each phase will cost?
        1. Phase 1 is about $40,000 and the plan is to start this summer. The best scenario is Phase 1 and 2 would be done before December. Water mitigation is $17,000. New equipment around $60,000. For Phase 4, they will meet with Hamilton Middle School to see about working together.
      4. R Rotter suggests we put information in the MHCA newsletter to help raise money. School is an important part of the community. Could ask our neighbors to pitch in and match up to $5,000.
        1. E Rogers says we should be ready to offer the same thing to the Midvale School but a matching program sounds good.
        2. R Rotter says the meetings are the most important function of MHCA, also the crime watch, and helping schools and helping libraries are also functions that help our community.
        3. Who would be matching our funds? Hasn't the school already advertised?
          1. Maybe we could reach parents of alumni, or alumni, that are still in the neighborhood.
        4. Used to have schools as fundraising checkbox option on our MHCA membership forms but haven't had it there for a while.
        5. E Rogers says some Midvale Heights residents have given to this cause already; would someone who has already donated get duplicated?
          1. People who already know about the fundraising are the parents so there's a lot of other people who could donate, e.g., alumni.
      5. Let us think about it and we'll make a decision at our August meeting.
      6. Give D Lamb information for the newsletter by the August 15th deadline.
  6. Westmorland Fourth of July Celebration - Dave Blouin
    1. D Blouin sent around a flyer. Everything is progressing very well for the Westmorland July 4th celebration. Thanks to T Jarvis for allowing D Blouin to update the MHCA webpage directly. July 3rd picnic is coming together; the mayor has been invited but haven't heard back from his office yet. Probably ask Alder Gruber to stand in for him. Doing a short presentation between the two music sets that will be brief remarks and recognition of long-time residents from Westmorland and from other neighborhoods and a short history piece. For the parade on the 4th, the fire department will have one of their engines leading and will have vintage cars. If you know anyone with a vintage car, they'd love to have them. Have Westmorland walking band. Good opportunity for kids, strollers, bikes, etc. to dress in red-white-and-blue. Midvale Heights is the sponsor for the petting zoo. There will be signage recognizing MHCA for sponsoring that and for the overall event. There will be a dunk tank. Alder Tim Gruber has signed up. Still a bit short on volunteers. Historically, the last week going into the event is when volunteers pop up. Weather looks fantastic. Volunteer shifts are usually for just an hour or two. Need help at dunk tank, bounce house, and running carnival games. Can use responsible kids (8 years old and up) as volunteers, too. All volunteers get a free slice of pizza. Pizza, hot dogs, brats, chips, soda, and water available, plus a second food cart with 3-4 types of gyros and rice bowls with vegetarian options. Also, Chocolate Shoppe ice cream. Will pass out flyers at the MHCA picnic.
      1. Get in touch with D Blouin to volunteer?
        1. Yes. And he'll put up call for volunteers on our MHCA website soon.
  7. Legislative Reports - Maurice Cheeks
    1. Alder Cheeks would like to provide an update on Westgate Mall. It was in the State Journal that there were plans for redevelopment of Westgate, which has been being talked about for years. Alder Cheeks has been in contact with the architect and the property owner, they met about a month ago and he has met with them twice since. State Journal article was in response to their submission to the Urban Design Commission. They heard from Alder Cheeks and from others in the city that even the initial proposal was not thorough enough and they should be more responsive to things the city or neighborhood might want to see there. The plan has been pulled. Alder Cheeks is Trading emails with the architect and has asked him to engage with the neighborhood as early as possible. This is an important piece of land in the neighborhood. There will be public engagement. They need to prioritize traffic safety.
      1. S Fitzsimmons notes that he communicated with the city engineer and they are working on the traffic safety in that area with the city this year and next year.
      2. D Lamb says we have a neighborhood plan and Urban Design Commission seems to ignore it. Plan asks for mixed-use development. People living in new apartments would look at dog park. Traffic has said they won't put a stop sign.
        1. S Fitzsimmons says they are going to put flashing lights in.
      3. Alder Cheeks says the architect doesn't have a timeline yet but they probably will not completely set this project aside.
      4. E Rogers would like to be on emailing list that gets updates about this project.
      5. Gretchen Bourg is a Midvale Heights resident and Madison Ballet is nonprofit in Westgate 17,000 square feet on the second floor. Madison Ballet serves 1,000 families. She wants to say that there are more businesses than the national chains waiting for something to happen at Westgate; Madison Ballet has been on a month-to-month lease for 4 years. They would like a sense of the timeline. Madison Youth Choir also has space at Westgate. Another 17-18 organizations use that space. Madison Ballet is not just an office, they have specialized flooring, sound proofing, sound systems, pianos... so they want a heads up if they have to move. They know they'll be displaced for some time for renovations.
      6. Does HyVee still own the other part of Westgate Mall?
        1. HyVee owns the land but they have no interest so they hire R.H. Johnson to manage it.
      7. The other group to keep on the listserv is Friends of Sequoya Library because they have the used book sale there.
      8. The only timeline Alder Cheeks has heard so far is, in initial discussions, they said they would like to break ground before it gets cold. Alder Cheeks wanted us to know that the proposal has been pulled already and there's a document for rules and regulations for that piece of land that the builder would need to be mindful of and he also was provided links to neighborhood plan.
      9. R Rotter says it's one of the few commercial exits into the city, other than Park St.
        1. Alder Cheeks says it is the third most trafficked exit coming into Madison. Also, the TJ Maxx store in Westgate is one of the most successful in the country. And it is also near the busline's west transfer point. He talked with Planning about this property years ago to try to visualize what it could be. It's private land but what goes there is not going to considered lightly.
      10. D Lamb says Research Park complaint is that there's no hotel nearby. The dog park area is higher and the Epic building is higher so this building could go high without seeming out of place.
      11. Alder Cheeks reiterate that this will be a long process.
  8. MPD Support Lawn Signs - S Fitzsimmons
    1. There's a push to support the Madison Police Department. Meadowwood, Orchard Ridge, and other neighborhoods are buying a bunch of yards signs in support and we could too. S Fitzsimmons would like to advertise that people could get signs through the Midvale Heights neighborhood watch. The goal is to have thousands of signs on neighborhood lawns. S Fitzsimmons gets emails from people who want to join together to support the Madison Police Department. All he'd like to do is advertise. The signs say "We Support Madison Police" and there is a picture of a shield. He wants approval to advertise in newsletter or advertise to 550 people in neighborhood watch program.
      1. E Rogers acknowledges that of course many people want to show support and it is a privilege to live in a safe neighborhood. E Rogers wanted to see if there's any feedback from anyone at this meeting. There is a policy and procedures review that the Common Council has recently forwarded to the police department and it has gotten pushback from Police Chief Koval.
      2. Would we be sanctioning it as an association if we used our email listserv or advertised that signs are available via the newsletter?
        1. J Thoreson thinks the neighborhood watch is separate enough from MHCA.
          1. MHCA funds the neighborhood watch and S Fitzsimmons was appointed chair, perhaps it's not quite separate
      3. R Rotter notes that this is a controversial issue. The timing of it would indicate that we're taking sides. R Rotter thinks we should probably stay neutral on it.
        1. P Haskew agrees.
      4. J Thoreson asks if other groups promoting the signs are people or individuals?
        1. No other associations are doing it yet.
      5. Don't want to make the neighborhood watch into something political.
      6. C Rotter says we've shown support by a writing letter to support the building of the West police station and we have given funding to the canine unit and other speakers
  9. Ash Tree Adoption in our Parks - E Rogers
    1. E Rogers has 55.56% bad news: there are 9 ash trees in Slater Park and in a few years we'll have at most 4 trees. A representative from Parks came out and examined the eligibility for the adopt-a-tree program of the Slater Park trees. If a tree is not healthy for any reason then they won't do an expensive pesticide injection. There are five trees that are close to, and south of, the playground equipment and those were unhealthy. Silver lining is that there are 4 ash trees that are eligible to adopt and the quote he has comes in around $1,000 and we have the rest of the summer to gather that money and fill out paperwork with the city to adopt these trees. Parks has the ability to do contract purchasing of trees such that they'll fund the replacement so we'll probably get saplings in the place of the trees that will be removed and whenever we stop funding the 4 other trees and they succumb to Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) disease, then Parks would replace those too. Don't have any quotes or estimates for other parks in Midvale Heights. Piper Park has 2 ash trees that have been treated. There are 3 trees in Segoe Park that might be eligible. The group on Nextdoor.com is excited to engage in fundraising and adopt trees and are likely focusing on these 4 at Slater Park and they are asking the MHCA to help to what extent we can. If nothing gets treated then they will likely die.
      1. D Lamb brings up the concept of the hoards of bugs moving on eventually so could we outlast the bug?
        1. Michigan has been dealing with EAB for about 20 years now and still, if a tree is untreated, the bugs find it.
      2. We talked before about matching funds. We already have $290 in donations toward the trees.
      3. Does the treatment last for 2 or 3 years?
        1. City thinks 3 years will be ok but contractor talks about 2 years. Contractors might be servicing mostly private homes and maybe those treatments come with a warrantee. Parks is permitting agency.
      4. Have there been questions about pesticide and children?
        1. It's put right into the tree so, in theory, not exposing the kids.
      5. Will there be signage that these trees have been treated?
        1. We can put up signs. We don't have anything worked out with Parks at this point but it seems likely they would be receptive of us doing some signage to indicate what we're doing.
      6. J Chipault brings up that we could easily raise another $1,000 if we match funds. Do we need to save the 3 trees near the volleyball court? Maybe keep one along Tokay, but perhaps we don't need to save the other 2 because it could even be nice to have that area more open.
      7. G Poulson motions to support the tree near the playground with funds that were contributed already.
      8. R Rotter says there are only 3 trees in Segoe Park. Might as well put $1,000 to save these 4 trees.
      9. Trees have to be treated this summer. They don't do treatments in the cold season and by the time it warms up again there will be more losses and they will reevaluate. In theory some trees might survive another year but getting less optimistic.
      10. Could the trees be damaged between now and August?
        1. Once we get the evaluation then we could contract to get treatment for specific trees through the rest of the warm season.
      11. J Chipault says we need to decide whether we're fundraising
        1. J Thoreson says they told us before that they are chopping trees down if they come through
          1. E Rogers says these trees have now been marked as hold so they won't' chopped them right away.
      12. C Jenkins called and got evaluation done at Segoe Park.
      13. D Lamb says since the total for the 4 trees is $1,000, we could put in $500 and fundraise for matching .
        1. R Rotter says we should cut a check for the full amount now. R Rotter amends the motion and suggests we pay for EAB treatment on 4 trees in Slater Park now and fundraise to recoup costs.
          1. Motion passes.
  10. Westwood Church Community Garden - R Peterson
    1. There is a Thursday night food pantry at Westwood Church and R Peterson asked them to change mowed yard to garden. The new pastor is interested in this concept. Couldn't till the area because of wire so it would have to be raised bed gardening. Have to find funding to construct the raised beds. It's on private property. There's other public land near the dog park that we could perhaps use for community garden but it's on a hill so would still need to do raised bed there too. He's willing to step up and run a community garden. He and his wife are the people who did the plantings around the Midvale Heights neighborhood sign at Whitney Way and Odana.
      1. E Rogers says in the neighborhood plan that the slope at Odana School Park could be community garden. We've talked before and one of the challenges is having a coordinator because there are a lot of things need to be adjudicated.
      2. P Haskew says it takes volunteer work, but garden at Midvale school property started with 23 and is now at capacity with 45 plots and there's a waiting list to get a plot there. If announce it properly, perhaps it could be a condition of taking plot that you need to put in raised bed and then have them put it in themselves. Maybe give people the plot rent-free for the first year and they put in raised beds with that saved funding. It's $50 for 100 square feet at Midvale per plot per year.
      3. J Chipault brings up that part of Segoe Park has been considered for a community garden.
      4. D Lamb says with gardens at the church, could give extra produce to the food pantry.
      5. R Peterson says money raised could be used to pay for increased water bill and if people pay in then they'll have buy-in. Church has a big roof that could be used for rain catchment.
      6. Could make sure to get a mention in our newsletter. We could talk about this more at the August meeting if you need funding.
      7. Suggested to R Peterson that he sends an email to Charlie Romines or Laura Bower (West Parks).
  11. Summer Concert Series - D Lamb
    1. Still need one more act needed for the last Friday of the month. These will be Friday performances with rain date of Saturday. D Lamb needs help hosting. D Lamb will talk to T Jarvis about volunteers.
    2. We plan to buy an inverter as a neighborhood and the funds are already allocated.
  12. Garage Sale - E Rogers
    1. E Rogers proposed a hiatus for the neighborhood garage sale for this year because he figured we were too late to get a coordinator and still get the announcement into the Messenger. But then he did get in touch with the volunteer coordinator and Dianna is on board and has the materials she needs. So we'll go ahead with the garage sale as originally planned. Will have registration form in our upcoming Messenger. Dianna is also bringing forms to the picnic.
      1. Dozens of houses enroll in the garage sale and others do it but don't pay the garage sale fee.
  13. Announcements - Board
    1. D Lamb asks what we're doing about the membership drive. Should she just write what she did last year, that there's an extension and we will send out a postcards?
      1. J Chipault says we have learned in the past that the postcards pay for themselves with new members.
      2. T Jarvis to remove people already registered before compiling the mailing address list for those that need postcards but he will wait until the week we send out postcards before compiling that list.
    2. If there's rain on Thursday then there wouldn't be a picnic this year.
  14. Meeting adjourned 8:46
Notes recorded by J Chipault, secretary