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April 2020 RNA Board Meeting

P.O. Box 1123

Highland Park, IL



Ravinia Neighbors Association Board Meeting

Meeting Notes – April 2, 2020 – VIRTUAL MEETING

I. The meeting was called to Order at 7:03pm.

Governing Board Attendees

Mike Stroz, President

Brett Tolpin, VP

Mike Babian, Treasurer

Beth Grey, Recording Secretary

Board Members at Large Attendees

Justin Kee

Ed Kugler

Jeff Levin

Paul Silverman

Jeff Stern

Absent Board Members

Doug Purington, PR, Membership

Guest Attendees

Shruthi Potocek

Ann Christoff

II. President’s Report (Mike Stroz).

No report from Mike who was absent at the last meeting.

III. Residents Time: Address Items Not on Agenda.

No comments.

IV. Treasurer’s Report (Michael Babian). 

Checking Balance $3611.75; CD Balance $5524.50; Total Balance $9,136.25 

Payments issued over $50: $99 Survey Monkey; $118 USPS PO Box Annual Auto Renew

Doug has keys to PO Box

V. Publicity/Membership/Ravinia District Report (Doug Purington)

a. Spring 2020 Newsletter suspended until further notice.

Doug was absent, not a lot of ads because most companies are closed due to the lockdown. Possible new communication platforms suggested such as Nation Builder and Constant Contact, with discussions about the need to ramp up content and usability and avoid passwords and keys, and concerns about costs and learning curves. Also discussed possible new survey platforms and costs. Mike suggested we table the discussion.

b. Ravinia Business District.

Mike asked Brett about Ravinia Brewing Company developments. RBC is extending into the Chinese restaurant’s old space to increase take out and kitchen capacity. Paul says slated to go live in June/July. Brewery was renting kitchen space in Northbrook but wanted to integrate space into HP business. Chinese restaurant left around January and renovations already started on that space. Yanna, one of the barbers, is relocating, splitting with Tanya who had invited Yanna into the business and has renewed her lease. There is another barber opening near Central uptown. Let’s hope these businesses can survive.

VI. Previous Action Items.

a. E-Mail voting process for pressing matters between meetings, including approval of minutes (Mike Stroz).

Mike promises will have email voting next time.

Paul moved to accept minutes from prior meeting, Ed seconded, unanimous vote to accept minutes.

b. Status of Survey Monkey.

Action item: Justin, Brett and/or Mike will contact Doug to suspend Survey Monkey because it is silly to be paying the monthly fee. Need to determine if need a letter by May 1st. Mike can send an email suspending (not terminating) month to month payments for Survey Monkey (until figure out what to do going forward). Payments are on an RNA credit or debit card.

c. RNA Involvement with the Clavey Road Construction Project? (Mike Stroz).

Mike wants to go on record that he hopes that the RNA will get involved with the Clavey Road Construction Project. He has a personal reason because he lives closest to Clavey but all of us use it. And remember that RNA has members who live west of Green Bay Road who do not support what is proposed. RNA should at least hear their side.

d. Ravinia Farmers Market Relationship with the RNA (Ed Kugler).

Ed thinks there will still be a farmers market two months from now and perhaps people would have preorder capability with curbside pickup. There is 10 foot space between vendors anyway. Ed is still soliciting vendors, still has online capability. Hasn’t submitted application with $200 fee for permit-expense for RNA-with $2 million liability insurance required, has permission to use RNA logo, with RNA booth each week. When RNA does business with the city, RNA doesn’t pay a fee so fee waived for 4th of July parade. An email should go out to Jennifer Dodson on the fee waiver.

Action Item: Brett will send email to Jennifer Dodson asking for fee waiver for RNA with Farmers Market.

Brett made a motion for the RNA to pay $200 if fee not waived by city, Paul seconded, unanimous vote in favor. If cannot get waiver, ask if they can give us last year’s price.

VII. New Business.

a. Virtual meetings. Ed’s motion: that due to the government shutdown, conference calls should constitute official meetings and that any actions taken by Board should be valid. Jeff Levin seconded. We don’t need to amend by-laws because the government is requiring us to avoid in-person meetings. There was a unanimous vote in favor, measure passed.

b. Proposal to publicize local food merchants’ specials via email. Received email from Ravinia Brewery asking if we might do something to help promote merchants who are still operating. Mike would not send out unedited emails. Ann Christoff lives on Roger Williams, attended January meeting about beer fest, thinks there is no difference between emails about merchants and spam, gave her email to RNA with the understanding she wouldn’t receive unwanted commercial emails. Mike says she can opt out and not receive RNA emails. Ann says there are long-time members who are not happy with RNA’s pro-business turn. She says RNA needs to address concerns of residents and not just businesses. Justin asked if we should survey members’ feelings about commercial focus, Ravinia events such as walking tours, architecture tours. Ann says there has to be conflict of interest from board members who represent Ravinia businesses. Justin says membership want to hear more about businesses and the health of business has been part of RNA’s mission for some time. Brett says it is a core mission of the RNA to protect and promote Roger Williams business corridor. This is our moment—we’re fighting virus and businesses are on life support. Businesses in the district were already hurting before this—a lot of vacancies, problems retaining quality businesses, especially in food and beverage realm. If businesses need our help, especially commercial members, we should be here to help. Shruthi said we can use a listserv to opt in. Justin thinks we should survey members to gage interest. Survey must be done quickly, task force formed with Ann, Shruthi, Justin, and Jeff, with survey to be completed quickly, circulated to board by Justin and Jeff Levin no later than Monday, with board responses no later than Wednesday, and then Friday virtual meeting. Ask 10-15 questions, complete in 5-10 minutes.

Action items: Mike will get Justin membership list and Survey Monkey credentials.

Motion to have meeting Friday April 10, 2020, noon, to discuss results of survey and action plan. Same call in number. Unanimous vote in favor.

Action item: Mike send out notice about next Fri meeting.

VIII. Other Business/Additional Comments or Concerns from Board Members

  1. Garage Sale. Good chance garage sale may not occur.

Action item: Mike reach out to Shruthi to change date of garage sale.

  1. 4th of July parade: probably not happening.

Action item: Ed will email Jennifer to get 4th of July permit just in case.

  1. Discussion of succession/continuity plans. • What happens if an officer is unable to continue, especially the Treasurer and the Publicity/Membership Director?

Mike says board members at large should consider being backup to board members who have specific jobs, e.g., for Treasurer, Jeff Levin would be good because he has a background in finance; Justin backup to communications; secretary, treasurer backup volunteers can talk with Mike privately.

Action item: Jeff Levin is comfortable being backup Treasurer. Call or email Mike. Brett and Mike need to have a conversation with Doug making sure he’s in the loop on all of this, and someone else on board needs passwords and key.

IX. Adjournment 8:59pm (Next Board Meeting: May 7, 2020, 7:00pm, Virtual Meeting).