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August 2014 RNA Board Meeting


Ravinia Neighbors Association Board Meeting
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Carolyn Cerf called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. at FULL CIRCLE Architects, 737 St. Johns Avenue

In Attendance: C. Cerf, R. DeLong, A. Lohmolder, E. Tarm, D. Purington, R. Wolff, Mike Babian, Davis Schneiderman (*FT), Julie________(*FT), Kris_______(*FT) , Dan Baigelman (host & owner of Full Circle Architects) (*FT = first time attendee)

Board Members Absent: Lisa Temkin, Jean Meier

(R. Delong serving as secretary for first part of meeting in J. Stern’s absence, A. Lohmolder to serve for second half.)

President’s Report – C. Cerf stated we needed to review bylaws to make sure we held elections at appropriate time.

Treasurer’s Report - See separate budget numbers presented by Aaron Wolff.

Resignation & Election of New Treasurer Formal resignation of Ronnie Wolff and presentation of plaque to acknowledge his service.

Carolyn Cerf motioned that Michael Babian be appointed new treasurer, Doug Purington seconded, and the motion was unanimously passed.

Event recap – Carolyn Cerf reported that 8/7/14 Jens Jensen film in Jens Jensen park drew 150 people/ $715 in donation that offset approx. $900+ expense as movie screens etc are not customarily donated.

Newsletter update

Status of the proposed development of 515-555 Roger Williams was discussed. Doug reported from city meeting. Individuals who attended spoke for and against the plan. The split vote of 3-3 by the Design Review is considered a negative (not passing) going to City Council. The developer, Al Klairmont, may opt to resubmit to D&R or go straight to city council.

As prompted by a question by an attending new member, the process of the RNA was reviewed as it responded to a city request to give its position on the proposed development. It was clarified that the Board had voted to support with caveats set forth in a detailed letter prepared by C. Cerf with input from board members shared via emails. The letter was explicit in presenting positions as those of individual board members and not the membership at large, as the time frame for a response fell before the next scheduled meeting. The membership was informed of the development and position submitted by the board. Members who cared to respond shared views via email and at the next scheduled meeting. One member who strongly disagreed was given an opportunity to present a dissenting view on the front page of the next issue of My Ravinia. Upcoming city meetings and opportunities for members to share their own views with the city were publicized by the RNA.,/p>

The member asking for clarification (D. Schneiderman) urged that the RNA would be consistent in the process of how members were represented in official RNA positions citing the Rosewood Beach issue where members had been heard from prior to the announcement of an official RNA position. Discussion included general agreement that city processes moved slowing enough, and needed to move slowly enough to allow our own sound processing and that the RNA could better negotiate time required to submit official positions to the city.

A. Lohmolder made a Motion: that official RNA positions on developments in Ravinia would not be given prior to discussion at a regular meeting of the membership and without prior notice to the membership that the discussion was to take place. R. Wolff seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

Attendee, Julie _______ related her dissatisfaction that the building was proposed to be 4 stories high, which she feels does not fit with the smaller scale of the neighborhood.

C. Cerf read a statement prepared by J. Meier in her anticipated absence. The letter reflected Jean’s personal misgivings regarding the 515-555 development and suggested that the RNA rescind its declared position. Attending board members felt her misgivings had been put forth in the detailed letter submitted and that it was not appropriated to rescind the position given by the RNA board. It was agreed that going forward the RNA would continue to inform the membership of developments and their opportunities to express individual opinions to city bodies as the process moves forward.

Business District Liaison’s report was given by Eve Tarm. She explained that the actual gateway signage installation had been delayed until the spring of 2015, at least partly, due to city staff turnover. Considering this, Ravinia Business District Advisory Committee (RBDA) decided at its latest meeting that the first big marketing event for the general public by the Ripple marketing team hired by the city for the Ravinia SSA coincide with the launch of the new signage installation next spring to convey a strong marketing message. Disappointment was expressed by some that real action would not be seen sooner and that there also would not be a public event in the Ravinia business district this fall. Tarm further noted that the aim of the Ripple consultants marketing efforts would be to bring new business to the Ravinia business district from other parts of Highland Park and all other surrounding suburbs where awareness of its existence is very small. The goal also is to have Ripple help Ravinia business district merchants build good marketing strategies as a group and individually under the Ravinia District umbrella. Additionally, deciding upon the immediate course of action for Ripple, the RBDA considered that the 3-year SSA would yield only approx. 270,000 dollars total for all these merchant marketing efforts , so we have to carefully think through the sequence , timing and how we would get most impact. Asked if this money all goes directly to Ripple, Eve also clarified that the $90K a year put into the SSA funds each year for 3 years was not the “budget” for Ripple, but that Ripple needed to submit costs for proposed work/ actions which would then have to be approved. According to Eve, the RBDA felt that by moving the first large event in the district to spring 2015, Ripple would have enough time to prepare a well-marketed good-quality public ‘Big Launch’ event. In addition, Ripple would immediately get to work with preparing social media tools for the Ravinia District; establish close relations with merchants and work with them on helping build their marketing tools for promoting themselves and as a merchant group to enhance the whole business district; help to create further co-operation with Ravinia Festival through social media, web sites and otherwise. Ripple would also create a web site for the district.

Membership report was given by D. Purington who stated his spring membership drive had kicked off May 5th with a special mailing and concerted efforts to contact and regain past members. His spectacular results are reported as follows:

  • Individual mailings to non-members = 1,007
  • Number of streets represented = 46 in and around Ravinia
  • Cost of mailings = $705.00
  • Monies received from mailings = $1, 480.00
  • Total monies received during campaign = $3,680
  • Number of new members (households) = 44
  • Number of new members (individuals) = 70+
  • Number of renewals = 69 households
  • Number of 2014 members who haven’t renewed = 32 (Doug reports he’s still working on these)
  • Number of households still on database = 279
  • Number of individuals still on the database= 450
  • Number of email addresses (members = 228 (82%)
  • Number of email addresses (city officials) = 28
  • Total email addresses 256

Other Issues

D. Schneiderman related his experience as a residence on Broad Street where work is being done on sewers/ streets. He was concerned that city had contacted him stating that dye tests indicated that his downspouts were improperly tied to sewer. Upon hiring his own plumber on advice of neighbors, he discovered that 3 of his downspouts were perfectly good. Others were aware or suspected similar discrepancies and felt that it was advisable to be involved and questioning on these matters. C. Cerf related that the Director of Public Works, Ramesh Kanapareddy is a good person to contact with concerns as he is knowledgeable and respectful in his dealings with residents.

Meeting ended about 9:00 pm with many members staying to enjoy ice cream cake in celebration of the service given by our departing treasurer, Ronny.