MHCA Area Director's meeting minutes

August 2016 Area Directors' Meeting Minutes

jgchipault Sunday 25 of September, 2016
Midvale Heights Community Association Board Meeting
Tuesday, Aug 23rd 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, Paul Haskew, Tim Trapp, Kay Reuter-Krohn

Other neighbors present: Cathy Rotter, Randy Peterson, Nan Lager, Lorie Raihala (new co-director with Tom Jarvis), Erica Throneburg (Westmorland Board and Midvale school playground group)

  1. Call to Order & Introductions - E Rogers
    1. Introductions done.
  2. Prior Minutes Review/Approval - Board
    1. J Chipault will change Randy Peterson's last name from "Petersen" to "Peterson" in the June minutes.
      1. June minutes approved
  3. Treasurer’s Report - C Rotter
    1. C Rotter filling in for R Rotter today. C Rotter passed out hard copy report. Cap City Tree Experts have cashed our check and injected trees in Segoe Park. All musicians for the summer concert series have cashed our checks. We sold 15 Midvale Heights history books during this membership drive.
  4. Legislative Reports - Carousel Bayrd/Maurice Cheeks
    1. M Cheeks says since he last saw E Rogers, he met again with developer for Westgate.
      1. E Rogers explains that a few weeks ago there was a meeting with the developer for Westgate that was hired by Hy-Vee and he came loaded with a history of the property and vision for the future. They are looking at the fact that there is a mall there that is not getting much business. Hy-Vee is just a grocer so they hired R.H. Johnson as developer and R.H. Johnson is trying to bring more business. Hy-Vee owns Tokay to Odana, Whitney Way to Odana School Park and Epic. They are not without constraint; they have inherited the property but also the leases. The prominent lease is TJ Maxx, with more than 10 years left on their lease. As R.H. Johnson contemplates what the next move is, they have to do it with TJ Maxx in mind. We have a neighborhood plan that was submitted to the city in 2009 and the city wants to advocate on our behalf. Hilldale is an example of a good development: street-level glass, parking integrated, pedestrian street in front of the stores. Sequoia Commons is another good example. If we stand behind our neighborhood plan, that's our strongest form of self-advocacy. The developer is looking at the fact that TJ Maxx might not want what matches the neighborhood plan. Their current thought is to tear off the front of Westgate so that it's more pedestrian and opening up the gap to Tokay. No plans for vertical integration. Possible small restaurant (e.g., Milios). Not changing parking available or putting buildings that obstruct view of TJ Maxx from the street.
        1. D Lamb says neighborhood plan calls for first floor retail, second floor offices, and a few stories of condos or apartments that would actually look out at the park. If they can't do anything cool, why bother?
      2. M Cheeks says at the end of the meeting with design professionals they decided they might have to do this in stages. From Hy-Vee's perspective, they own a property that doesn't produce much revenue. Right now it's about break even. Hy-Vee is a grocery store and they aren't in the business of taking risks on property. They are looking at the lowest risk approach to turning a profit, not ambitious or fancy. But the city and M Cheeks believe there's a disconnect between turning a profit on the plot of land and doing what is the highest and best use for a plot of land. That spot is really prime real estate for the whole city of Madison. Potential for doing some good development there has potential to spur another generation of good development there. Supports Research Park and increases property value. This is a big opportunity. Madison's Urban Development Commission is not interested in encouraging an underwhelming development. They did remind the property owner that they own the property, but our local governmental structure and the UDC has the right to give feedback and right now the not ambitious plan doesn't look like anything the UDC would support.
      3. Selling didn't come up? J Thoreson would think there would be people that have been doing projects with shops on the ground level and condos above all around town. Seems there would be a buyer.
        1. M Cheeks, property manager, city planning, and E Rogers were all in the room at the same time. At this stage, seems like multi-story, mixed-used would be a hard thing to do from their perspective.
      4. This is a transit-oriented property because it is near the West Transfer Point.
      5. P Haskew asks if Research Park was represented at the meeting? P Haskew is on their design and review board and he has brought up that we could cooperate on this gateway project.
        1. M Cheeks says that's a good reminder that they should be at future meetings as the talk expands.
      6. D Lamb says that in Iowa the Hy-Vee in West Des Moines is part of a nice mall and she wonders what the rental/ownership situation is there.
      7. J Thoreson also asks about including Epic in this conversation.
      8. C Rotter brings up issue with affordable housing units, which makes a ton of sense for this development given the transit situation.
      9. M Cheeks says the recommendation was to think harder about how they could be more ambitious.
      10. E Rogers wonders about tax incentives.
        1. TIF or other programs were shot down by developer. M Cheeks didn't follow why he seemed hesitant about that.
          1. Is TIF something we should be asking for if we're at a breaking point?
            1. M Cheeks says TIF can be used as a strategic tool. If TIF would be attractive to the developer and would be a good investment for the city, then he's not necessarily opposed to it.
    2. M Cheeks brings up another topic: he's in final stages of city budget listening session in early September. If the neighborhood would be willing to bring this to the neighborhood's attention via email, that would be useful.
      1. D Lamb could put it into the newsletter by the end of this week.
      2. M Cheeks think the session will be the week of or the week after Labor Day. The date isn't final yet.
      3. We could put something on the website
      4. M Cheeks says the city budget will be contentious so he wants to make sure he's listening to what people are prioritizing.
  5. Midvale School Playground - Erica Throneburg
    1. Last meeting, Carousel Bayrd talked to us about new playground equipment at Van Hise. They've also been working on getting a new playground at Midvale for 3 years. Bulk of Midvale's playground has been built. They raised $60,000 and got a $20,000 matching grant from Kiwanis ($20,000 to get this match). They have extended the match to September 30th. Playground before was very old, small, falling apart, and not accessible. The school district fronted the money to get the Westside Kiwanis Club match, but the PTO is hoping to pay the district back. The goal is to also add to the sides of the playground that is there now by adding natural play spaces (rocks, logs, etc.) to compliment. Also thinking about adding a mural. There will be a permanent sign on the playground for donors of $500 or more. Donor sign will be very visible and will be several feet tall by several feet wide and will match the feel of the signs by the rain garden. They are just a few hundred dollars short of the full Kiwanis match and then would need more money to do the natural parts. Might look into making a quiet space. Not sure about timeline of natural play space versus mural but hoping to have it done within the school year.
      1. E Rogers says we have not donated to either school in many years. When we talked with C Bayrd about Van Hise, we talked about a matching program but there is already a matching program in place here so it seems kind of hard to do a matching a program from one school without doing it for the other school.
      2. $100 per month suggested by R. Peterson
      3. J Chipault thinks $500 as a minimum so that we get our name on the sign.
      4. N Lager thinks that $1000 makes sense as a round number and because we haven't donated for a while. Also a lot of our funding comes from t-ball so what better way to give money back to the school.
        1. P Haskew suggests we give another $200 to Midvale finish off the match.
          1. That seems unfair to Van Hise; would be good to keep them the same.
      5. L Raihala asks if both co-directors from one area can vote
        1. T Jarvis looked into it and, according to our bylaws, only one votes technically, but our votes are usually anonymous.
      6. Motion to donate $1000 to Van Hise and $1000 to Midvale to help with playground construction.
        1. Motion passes.
  6. Membership Drive Update - T Jarvis
    1. T Jarvis showed a map of Midvale Heights Community Association members. We have 492 members; 6 new registrations since he sent the directory book to the printer. T Jarvis showed a graph of members over time for the past 6 years - very similar trends for each year. He looked at all the occupations provided by our members and retired is the biggest, followed by people who work at UW Madison.
      1. J Chipault suggests the data about occupations goes on our website and our Facebook page. It's very interesting.
    2. T Jarvis also showed the data of area by year and most areas are pretty close to previous years regarding membership. 488 people have paid, with fewer people using the online registration this year than last year. We received $2,860 in donations, mostly in the "miscellaneous" category, with saving the park's trees next. We have 22 block captains that are not members. 59% of the Neighborhood Watch members were members of MHCA within the past 4 years (according to emails).
    3. P Haskew took the directories and membership cards to the printer last week. Hopefully the printed envelopes and the membership cards that come in the same order. Anticipate getting them back tomorrow or Thursday.
    4. E Rogers says August and September are the months with the fastest rate of house closings in the market so don't forget about new neighbor packets to distribute.
  7. Annual Meeting Speaker Suggestions - Board
    1. October annual meeting is coming up but we don't have a keynote speaker lined up yet.
      1. D Lamb says we've talked about Sarah Day before and does American Players Theatre and Forward Theatre. Phil Pellitteri was entomologist from UW and it has been a while since he spoke so perhaps asking him back.
      2. E Rogers says Joe Parisi, County Executive has asked to speak with us.
        1. We should be careful not to show support for any particular candidate prior to an election.
      3. School Superintendent?
        1. We tried that last year and had a cancellation.
      4. C Rotter will ask Sarah Day who lives down the street from her.
      5. Date is October 25th, 6:30 to 8:30.
      6. D Lamb will look into getting both rooms in the library reserved.
  8. Summer Concert Recap - D Lamb
    1. Did four concerts. The first two were well attended, the last two were badly attended. She put up sign in park Friday morning. There were advertisements on Nextdoor, Facebook, and our website. First concert was 80 people, last was 15 people. One weekend, it was really hot. During MHCA registration, there were four people who volunteered to be on a committee for concerts next year so she will talk to them. Maybe next year just do two concerts and get bigger names and make them 2 hours. Maybe try going to Saturday night to get people out earlier, maybe it's hard to do on Fridays with kids that need to get to bed. 50-75% of the people who came had kids so we should make it a family night. Maybe add ice cream or something else to advertise. No rain date next year and maybe we could try to put up a tent. Maybe food carts but the fees were astronomical.
      1. R Peterson wonders about doing a BBQ and potluck.
        1. Might be too much fuss.
      2. It's hard to get food carts by the parks because the fee is crazy.
        1. M Cheeks will help us figure out who to talk to about that fee.
      3. Audio is great but two of the bands just played acoustically and the shelter kind of helps the sound.
  9. Announcements - Board
    1. R Peterson says his wife Dianna can no longer coordinate the neighborhood garage sale because she got a new job. She collected applications and checks and R Peterson brought them to turn in.
    2. T Jarvis creates a map but that's about all he has done in the past for the garage sale.
      1. One choice is to send our regrets to those that registered and return their checks. Perhaps we won't be advertising and marketing and sending a St. Vinny's truck around to get the leftovers.
        1. There's coordinating St. Vinny's, putting out sandwich boards, not much else, right?
      2. Only 13 people registered so there wasn't much interest.
      3. The State Journal newspaper wants to send someone to take a picture of something neighborhood related because they are doing a write-up about Midvale Heights and they were hoping to attend the garage sale.
      4. J Thoreson can put up sandwich board signs.
      5. T Jarvis can make a map.
      6. D Lamb suggests that we talk about partnering with Westmorland on their garage sale next year.
    3. R Peterson would like some funding to put more top soil around the Midvale Heights sign by Odana and Segoe.
      1. Motion to spend $25 on topsoil for plants around the neighborhood sign.
        1. Motion approved
    4. Regarding gardening at the church, R Peterson says the church wants him to put together a plot map of what a garden would look like, composting bins, etc. Also, he would like to look at using rain run-off from the roof of the church to water the gardens. Last time R Peterson talked with the MHCA board, we had thought of people putting in plots themselves in exchange for free rent for first year, but the church wants the plots to be uniform. He is hoping for $500 to put into demo plots and then once people start paying in rent, he would return those funds to MHCA.
      1. Neighborhood plan has vegetable gardens, but can we support putting them on private land?
      2. R Peterson pictures raised beds that are 3x10 foot wood boxes. His next step is to put together a prototype and then a plot map for the church elders. If it takes off, then the money is a loan but if it doesn't, then he won't be able to pay it back.
        1. The community garden by the DOT is out due to construction, the garden at Midvale has waiting list, so this will likely fly.
      3. $500 would be to build the first couple of raised beds.
        1. N Lager would like to know the cost of wood and soil for each raised bed.
        2. J Chipault brings up that it would be nice to have a budget with line items so that if it flops we know how much wood we have to do other things with.
      4. Suggestion that R Peterson shows elders a place where there are already built raised beds, or Google Earth images. Maybe do a neighborhood tour?
      5. MHCA decided not to give money at this point but they are still supported of the idea and would consider providing funds in the future.
      6. Is the church willing to give money?
        1. No, but they'll provide the space
    5. Wisconsin State Journal is going to be kicking off spotlight on Midvale Heights in a series of stories about neighborhoods. The journalist wants to get photographs of the neighborhood at an event. He has a deadline of August 31. One thing that he kept coming back to is that he's hoping to get a conversation with someone who is living in Midvale Heights as the first owner of their home.
      1. T Jarvis found people who were registered in 1955 and still are registered, 61 years apart.
  10. Meeting adjourned at 8:33 pm
Notes recorded by J Chipault, secretary