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April 2016 RNA Board Meeting


Ravinia Neighbors Association General Meeting
Thursday, April 7, 2016

Carolyn Cerf called the meeting to order at 7:09 P.M. at Full Circle Architects

In attendance, besides Cerf, were Mike Babian, Dan Baigelman, Amy Lohmolder, Laura Saret, Jeff Stern, Lisa Temkin and Jeanne Vella. Also present were guests Phyllis Bagan, Carolyn Brusslan, Winifred Courtland, Jessica Hoyt, Lisa Keller, Melissa Rosenblum, Marnie Sperling, Gayle Taxi, Erica Weeder and several others who came to express their thoughts, mainly on the failed District 112 referendum.

In her President’s Report Carolyn Cerf said she had been approached by Amy Amdur of Amdur Productions to ask if we were interested in becoming involved with the Green Ribbon charity event that could provide participants with a percentage of receipts from an upcoming artwork sale.

Cerf said the city would soon be notifying Ravinia area residents about plans to build a sidewalk along the east side of Sheridan Road between Roger Williams Avenue and the roadway entrance to Rosewood Beach to improve pedestrian access to the beach. Jeff Stern said a gently declining pathway to the beach already existed from the Rosewood Park parking lot, making such a project redundant. It would also require removing many trees along Sheridan. Lisa Temkin said there would be public meetings before anything was approved.

Cerf said RNA was planning a “Ravinia Neighbors Night Out” event on June 17 involving a Bodeans concert at the Ravinia Festival. With some anticipated cost breaks, she was hoping to keep admissions as low as $22 per person.

Regarding earlier proposals to establish interest groups as a way of bringing area residents closer together socially, Laura Saret said RNA would send out a survey soon to find out what kind of groups people might be interested in joining. The plan was to start with one or two groups and expand from there.

Amy Lohmolder brought up the role of the Women’s Club in the development of Ravinia and its school, adding that she planned to talk about the club and other women’s issues at a History Symposium at the Lake County Museum on May 14.

In his Treasurer’s Report Michael Babian said RNA had $5,760 in its regular account and $5,237 in a CD, for a total of $10,997.

In the Newsletter report, Cerf said she, Jeanne Vella and Doug Purington had collected enough for ads to cover the costs of the upcoming edition, which they will print in color cut costs. Postage is expected to amount to $173.

Regarding Ravinia School and the rejection of the District 112 referendum on March 15, Cerf said no decision was made on a position RNA should take on the issue at a recent special meeting, which she felt required more community input. She thought one-on-one meetings with individual school board members might be constructive, and that RNA wanted to stress the importance of parents and the PTO in determining where to go from here. She said the community once had a strong relationship with Ravinia School and had actually helped raise the money to build it a century ago. She said RNA should help build bridges between the community, the school, parents and the PTO.

Lohmolder spoke of the earlier close relationship and said she had reached out to the new principal, noting that the original Village House was actually inside the school. She said local artists once exhibited their work at the school, which had been the center of the community. She believes the District 112 Board knows little about the history of this relationship, and that one of our tactics should be to continue having events in the school to demonstrate the importance of its connection to the community. RNA helped restore theatrical lighting recently in the gym, which she said was designed by local architect John Van Bergen.

Asked about the status of schools after the referendum’s defeat, Cerf said Ravinia, Lincoln, Green Bay and Elm Place schools are still slated for closure next year. She wants to keep RNA’s mission separate from that issue. At the recent District 112 meeting she attended, the board said the next step would be the creation of a citizens’ advisory group to come up with new proposals.

Lisa Temkin said anyone concerned about school issues should contact board members individually because the format at public meetings doesn’t allow for questions to be answered there or by email. Of immediate concern are certain fire safety features that will require $1.6 million to fix in schools that need them.

A lengthy discussion by up to two dozen guests and others followed on the most effective way to get the school board to listen to issues regarding Ravinia School. Cerf said one potentially effective way might be to get like-minded people to run for positions on the school board and improve the candidate selection process. She said RNA relies on volunteers to make things happen, that all schools are important, and that we should reach out to other communities to achieve what we are looking for since we can’t decide things unilaterally.

When a guest asked if there was historical value to Ravinia School, Temkin said the school board never mentions it and doesn’t have a plan for any of the buildings they propose to close, but added that they can’t just tear them down.

Guest Phyllis Bagan said she wants to host a meeting on April 14 at her home at 852 Judson to discuss ways to change the school district’s reconfiguration plans. She said such action was needed before the next board election in May of 2017.

Lydia Davis brought up issues involving the Ravinia Farmer’s Market. She said a public relations firm hired by the city wants to “jazz up” the market by changing it to Thursday nights, and bring in musicians to attract and entertain shoppers. She said the Wednesday market has been a 30-year tradition in Ravinia, and that vendors would pull out of the market rather than accept such a change. Cerf said documentation was needed to verify the city’s plans before RNA could act.

Dan Baigelman announced plans for a Historic Ravinia event on October 9 that would call upon participants to provide play houses, doll houses, or the like for judges to rate so they could be sold at a silent auction. Rules for the competition were being written and are to be made public by May 1. There is to be a tour of mid-20th Century Ravinia homes and speakers on subjects relating to the homes. A $25 entry fee was proposed, and donations from different companies and the Historic Preservation Commission were anticipated. RNA could provide funding for banners, while the city may cover the expense of a trolley to link the homes.

Owing to the late hour, the Membership/Publicity/Website Report was deferred until the next meeting. Cerf moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:27 p.m.