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December 2014 RNA Board Meeting


Ravinia Neighbors Association General Meeting
Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The meeting was called to order by Carolyn Cerf at 7:04 in the offices of Full Circle Architects at 737 St. Johns Avenue. In attendance, besides Cerf, were Mike Babian, Ray DeLong, Amy Lohmolder, Jean Meier, Doug Purington, Jeff Stern and Lisa Temkin. Also present were host Dan Baigelman and guests David Greenberg and Al Klairmont.

In her President's Report, Carolyn Cerf talked about the positive response to RNA's invitation to a holiday party December 11 at Shelton's at 481 Roger Williams Avenue, noting there had been 234 "likes" on Facebook. Later she said 51 people had signed up on line for the party, talked about the progress that had been made in preparing for it, and called for further donations of food and other help to make it a success.

Cerf also reported on the December 1 City Hall meeting where a plan was aired to pave the Highland Park portion of the Green Bay Trail, which proponents say would reduce maintenance costs. She said a majority of emails from area residents opposed the plan, which would be financed 70 per cent by the state and 30 per cent by the city.

Cerf said she and Doug Purington met with the publisher of what could be a new magazine focusing on activities in Ravinia and Fort Sheridan that would be aimed at 2,200 families in the Ravinia area. The idea is still in its formative stage.

Treasurer Mike Babian said RNA currently had $5,939.85 in its checking account, $5,230.61 in a CD, and $101.05 in a Paypal account. He was looking into a new CD offered by State Farm Bank that would provide 2.25% in interest compared to the miniscule amount offered by the existing CD. He also talked about the complications involved in providing RNA with 501 (C) 3 charity status.

In his Ravinia Metra Train Station report Jeff Stern said the city recently completed restoring the interior of the station with a new wood floor, replacing the old one that had buckled. The inside walls, doors and window frames were repainted, and a cracked mirror in one of the washrooms was replaced. According to the Department of Public Works, Metra is scheduled to replace the roof and paint the exterior next spring.

Regarding membership, Purington reported receiving $420, which included dues for nine new members and five renewals. Since the last meeting individual membership has risen from 460 to 470, while households increased from 284 to 292. Purington said he is working with Karlson Rapp to improve the functioning of the Website. Doug will take over management of the site to post notices of upcoming meetings and maintain the business directory while Karlson will handle technical aspects of the site.

Al Klairmont, of Imperial Realty, was asked to discuss his plans to develop the property at 515-555 Roger Williams Avenue on the site of the old 7-11 store. He talked about the need to turn the entire Ravinia Business District around to make it more vibrant, and considered his plan, now approved by the City Council and other agencies, a step in the right direction, while lamenting the lengthy and complicated process it took to get there.

Klairmont said architects Fitzgerald & Associates are expected to complete their plans for his building in January, and present them to the City Council. As currently designed, the building will have retail space at street level with from one to six shops. Above it will be three floors of rental apartments consisting of 18 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom units. Of the 30 units, five will be what the city deems to be "affordable" housing for lower-income residents. Plans for 53 parking places include 14 under the building at street level and the rest on city property to the north. Klairmont expected ground to be broken next spring and for construction to be completed in a year.

Ray DeLong asked to revise the Minutes from the October 16 meeting, saying he expected to need fewer than the 450 copies of the Newsletter ordered for the last edition. He set the last week in March as the deadline for the next edition, and asked for more commitments for articles. He also said there was still no ad salesperson. Purington offered to assist until a salesperson could be found.

Under Other Business Purington said the Happi Sushi Restaurant at 561Roger Williams was closing temporarily due to family considerations, but that friends of the family that owns it were expected to take it over and reopen it soon.

Cerf set goals for what still needed to be done to prepare for the RNA's Holiday Night Out party at Shelton's, including further cleanup on December 9, decorating the premises December 10, and getting someone to sign in guests that night. Jean Meier and Amy Lohmolder then volunteered for that role. Cerf said Jeff Cohen would open his nearby photo studio if extra space was needed to handle any overflow of guests.

Dan Baigelman presented a list of proposals by the Ravinia Business District for events to attract attention to the district in 2015. The list included a Thursday "Ladies' Night Out," a "Design and Dine" highlighting the area's home improvement businesses, and possible historical tours relating to the Ravinia Festival and historic homes that could involve tram rides to facilitate travel between the RBD and the Festival.

There being no further business, Cerf adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m.