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April 2017 RNA Board Meeting


Ravinia Neighbors Association Board Meeting
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lisa Temkin called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M. at Full Circle Architects

In Attendance: Lisa Temkin, Dan Baigelman, Carla Arnell, Justin Kee, Mike Babian, Doug Purington, Jeff Stern, Amy Lohmolder, Drew Awsumb (city of HP), Jeanne Vella, Jean Meier, Mike Stroz, Elliott Miller, Erica Weeder, Lena Kezdy, Dick Weeder, Peggy Laemle, Julie Malen, Hal Malen

Status of cell tower and building(s) at Ravinia Festival Site was given by Drew Awsumb (Some information was shared by Rob Sabo, who can also be emailed with questions). The cell tower at the festival grounds has been approved by city council. It was stated that this may improve service for some nearby residents (Delta, Carol, Iris, and Lambert Tree). The building west of track, for tower (telecommunication building), has not yet been approved. There is another building that will be built on east side of train tracks, a symphony education center. Dan attended a meeting to see plans for this building and did not see anything objectionable about it. Lisa asked Drew to keep us apprised of status and when various committees would review building(s).

Witty's Refresher is moving forward in the Ravinia business district as reported by Drew. The brewery that was originally planned by the same owner for the site owned across the street (south side of street ) will now be to the left of the Witty's building (former Ravinia BBQ). The two, somewhat separate entities will share a kitchen, which will offer efficiency. Witty's will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The brewery will serve lunch and dinner. The owners are looking at the possibility of a boutique hotel to see if that makes any sense for the space across the street (south, kitty-corner from Walgreen's).

The TIF and funds for lighting in the Ravinia Business District was reported on by Drew who stated that the city was ready to move forward on aspects of the streetscape which tie in with public works projects. There is roughly $1,000,000 in the fund to date. (They are expecting 3 million over 23 year life). RFPs will be sent out. This lighting will take the form of regular street lights, not lighting on buildings as previously considered. Lighting work is budgeted for 2018 construction. We discussed how it is desirable that poles match and blend with existing surrounds and character of Ravinia and allow for the hanging of banners. Drew said that the city was also looking at metered outlets on the poles which will be beneficial as power sources for festivals and such. Justin questioned painting of poles. IDOT will paint to standard on Green Bay and any upgrade will be city (TIF) responsibility. City meetings with further developments will be open to the public.

The bicycle pump amenity, once considered by the city was brought up by Jeff who stated that since the bicycle path upgrade (bypass of parking lot) has been achieved, and some bicycle stores that once offered pumps are no longer in business, it makes even greater sense now to provide a tire pump for those biking in and through Ravinia.

The lighted benches, designed by Dan of Full Circle Architects, were inquired of by Mike S. These are still being considered as unlighted benches. Dan explained that outlets on buildings might be prove spotty and thus lighting uneven. The addition of light poles as reported by Drew renders lighting element less crucial. Dan is happy to give the design to the city, if they want. This is something that the SSA (business owners) would pick up, and not the TIF fund. Drew stated that benches are generally considered an important element in a streetscape.

Food trucks will be the new event this summer as reported by Drew and Mike. The trucks will operated on Thursdays, June 1- September 14, 4:30 to dusk. There will probably be approximately 15 trucks on Dean (between St. John's and Roger Williams), the same area as the farmer's market w/similar set up as Harvest and Harmony event. All businesses in Ravinia have been invited to participate. Three weeks are offered free of charge to the businesses. Nonprofits, like RNA, can participate free of charge every week. There will be music near the corner of St. Johns and Roger Williams. The event falls on four RNA meeting dates. It is possible that RNA would take a couple of (workshop?) meetings out to the park and participate? Amy expressed some concern regarding competition to local businesses and hope that offerings be selected to fill gaps in what is currently being sold in Ravinia’s business district. Mike stated local businesses will be given first preferences. Doug offered that other suburbs (like Wheaton) which had hired Bensidoun (worldwide events and management company running this event) had been happy with their version of this event. Lisa and Mike B. wondered if they might stay open later than dusk. Mike S. did not think the plan was well conceived citing traffic concerns and competition with Ravinia Festival. Amy asked if biking could be promoted and extra bike racks added. A look at the Ravinia Festival website assuaged concerns as no big concerts will be held on the Thursday evenings in question. A guest offered that it should be SSA that comments on any issue regarding competition to businesses. Mike S. would like to make sure that Bensidoun hauls away the trash. Dan expressed interest in his company participating in the event. The food trucks were generally deemed to be a good development and RNA will likely participate in some manner.

Newsletter update was given by Jeanne who stated that the immense service recognized by others (16 pages for the latest issue) is a joy for her. The larger edition was also made possible by Doug’s success in soliciting $810 worth of advertisements, some of which are new accounts and will run multiple ads. Because the latest edition was so thick, Jeanne and Doug opted to not fold. The idea of future, thicker editions being delivered by local school children was discussed. The next submission deadline for the summer edition is June 15th.

The Ravinia Farmer’s Market status was reported on by Mike B. who stated that Lydia and her son Edward expressed a desire to step down from running the market. Ed Kugler, who has roots in this field and in Highland Park, has come forward to run the market this season. (Same time and place.)

“Clean the Ravine”, Earth Day event in Ravinia, was presented by Lena Kezdy, a resident of Ravinia and Senior at HPHS. The event will take place Saturday 4/22 from 10 to noon. The rain date is to be Sunday 4/23. It is hoped that turn-out will allow for five Ravines to be improved by the removal of trash. Sponsors are needed by neighbors adjacent to Ravine so that larger items can be hauled away during the city pick up that will follow on the heels of the ravine clean up. Posters were given to those who could display and Doug offered to post on RNA website as well.

The Treasurer’s Report was given by Mike Babian. Account balances are as follows: $ 7, 458.80 - Checking $ 5, 257.81 - CD $ 518.88 - PayPal __________________ $ 13,235.49 TOTAL

Historic Ravinia plans for 2017 were presented by Lisa and Dan. Historic tourism is sought. September 24 event featuring slideshow presentation by Chris Enck of the Van Bergen house which was moved to site in Evanston will be a taste of the larger event to be held on October 22nd. Trolleys are popular and will be increased this year. The event will be more family oriented in’17, with a tour of Ravinia School (Ravinia Village House) and kids’ activity stations. Stations may teach on Jens Jensen, Ravinia Music Park and mid- century modern, for which material is readily available. Amy is to look for the telephone number for the gentleman who attended school in early 1940’s along with the many friends he brought to the centennial celebration of the Ravinia Village House.

The Ravinia Fire Station Expansion was discussed. The expansion, as proposed, affects a number of Ravinia residents, at least one of whom does not wish to sell their property as requested by the city. Some residents are concerned by the additional parking lot that will go up by their property. The large scale of the building was cited as possibly out of scale with other Ravinia business district elements. It is generally accepted that a larger facility is needed and accommodations for newer and larger equipment. It is not clear that the proposed addition of a third bay is necessary. The city is presenting that a meeting room is being added public use in Ravinia. It should be made clear that this was never requested by the RNA. We should be wary of expanding parking too greatly as this will not be as necessary in the future and compromises other more important features and needs of Ravinia. Attendance is encouraged for city meeting to be held at the Central Avenue firehouse facility on April 20th, 6:00 pm.

New Metra Train Station benches are in the works as reported by Jeff. Metra is looking into benches to replace the poorly sized and styled benches currently in the station. Jeff recommended that RNA make a financial contribution. It was generally agreed that RNA would do this, with the amount to be considered in light of other details. More details are needed so RNA can discuss an appropriate amount. Jeff Stern will get info to board when he has something to share.

“Committees within the Board of RNA” was an idea presented by Lisa (previously discussed with Laura). It was generally agreed that the preservation of institutional knowledge is desirable for RNA. Doug expressed a need to access the postal box for which we have limited keys. Mike and Doug have worked out a system to date for collection of mail and money. Lisa and Laura would also like access. Review of operations to be revisited. Respectfully Submitted, Amy Lohmolder, Secretary

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 P.M.