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February 2020 RNA Board Meeting

P.O. Box 1123 Highland Park, IL 60035-1123


Meeting Notes – Thursday February 6, 2020

Ravinia Neighbors Association Board Meeting

Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 7:00 p.m. - Jeff Cohen Photography, 485 Roger Williams Avenue

Governing Board Attendees Brett Tolpin, VP

Doug Purington, Membership, PR Beth Grey, Recording Secretary

Board Members at Large Attendees Jeff Levin

Justin Kee Jeff Stern

Absent Board Members Mike Stroz, President Mike Babian, Treasurer Ed Kugler at large

Paul Silverman at large

Guest Attendees Gidon Berman Tamar Berman Arthur Feldman

Alexandra (Ali) Freundlich Scott Freundlich

Ben Johnston Elliot Miller Ryan Moran Shruthi Potocek

I.  The meeting, held at Jeff Cohen Photography, was called to order at approximately 7:10pm.

President Mike Stroz was absent. VP Brett Tolpin ran the meeting.

II.  Residents’ Time.

RNA welcomed new faces at the meeting, including Gidon and Tamar Berman, owners of Ravinia Tutors, and Shruthi Potocek, who is organizing a summer Ravinia neighborhood garage sale.

Shruthi explained that when she first moved here, there was a community-wide Ravinia garage sale, so she and her friends want to resurrect and spearhead the project. Using technology, they are researching which days would be best for the sale, based on weather and other factors. PR possibly will include newspaper ads and going door to door handing out flyers. Participants will need to obtain permits which are available online. The garage sale should be added to future RNA meeting agendas. Ideas regarding ways in which RNA can support these efforts, cost estimates, and PR and fundraising ideas for RNA should be emailed to Doug Purington.

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

  1. New members.

RNA has two new members including recording secretary, and one renewal, so $150 is going to the Treasurer.

  1. Newsletter.

Kim Stroz is inclined to continue as editor of the 2020 RNA newsletter which will include three issues per year in April, July, and October. The tentative deadline which can be flexible is March 15th for ads and articles. We need to think about content. Issues are sixteen pages in length with five to six ads. Anyone can write an article regarding, e.g., the garage sale, tutoring company.

IV.  Ravinia district.

  1. Hunan Pearl, now ten vacancies.

Hunan Pearl restaurant closed for reasons unknown. It has been located on the south side of Roger Williams for many years, and reportedly will be repurposed by the Ravinia Brewery Co. for carry-out business. There are now ten vacancies in the Ravinia Business District.

  1. Klairmont project.

The new retail/residential Klairmont development on the corner of Roger Williams and Burton is going up quickly despite bad weather. Hoping to be habitable by November 2020, with 5700 sq ft of retail space.

  1. Street lights, streetscape.

Street lights from the City will help make the area more viable and attractive. In 2005 Mayor Belsky’s TIF was used for financing bike racks, benches, and pennants supplied by the City (not on every post but spaced out so not overdone). The hope is that additional streetscape improvement will attract more entrepreneurs. Jeff Stern thinks the lighting is a bit much, a bit close together. New residents Scott and Ali Freundlich said it was dark when they moved in, and they like it brighter. RNA has a say regarding how TIF funds are used because there is no Ravinia chamber of commerce and the RNA is the closest thing to a chamber. RNA’s role here was years in the making. RNA was formed in late 1998, when the main issue was the

new Walgreens. Members lobbied for more prairie style architecture. Doug Purington and Jeff Stern were involved at that time.

V.  Previous Action Items.

  1. Report on benches for the Ravinia Train Station (Jeff Stern).

The existing benches don’t belong in the historic Ravinia station which dates from 1889. It is the oldest in the system. The Glencoe station has the appropriate type of benches -- wooden with wooden legs that will not scratch the floor. Jeff Stern has been in touch with a female Metra staff member who handles historic buildings and the Metra architect project manager is also involved. The staff member is checking into the need for comfortable, new eight-foot benches with armrests in the middle to avoid attracting vagrants. We have agreed to provide up to $500 from the TIF or RNA which could possibly provide a certain amount of the funding.

  1. Fire station (Jeff Stern).

The Ravinia fire station is now 90 years old and is the next major City project. Redesign at the current location would add more space between engines which are now much larger, and more space for training. Will provide update on timeline, etc.

  1. Ravinia Brewing Co. (Brett Tolpin).

Owner Brian Taylor was planning to locate new Witty’s Refresher restaurant opposite Walgreens. Taylor decided to build elsewhere after the tussle with Ravinia Festival. Brett Tolpin is the attorney for the company.

VI.  New Business.

  1. RNA Involvement with the Clavey Road Construction Project

The Clavey intersection on 41 was the most dangerous intersection in the country. Once a year, explosions could be heard from major truck accidents. In the 1980s the City got funding for an overpass and reconfiguration, eliminating the stoplight on the highway. Doug Purington said that the RNA may consider the Clavey Road petition after we see what’s involved. The Clavey Road area is not totally out of RNA purview. Anyone who is interested can email Doug Purington or the RNA about the petition and Project.

  1. Lakefront high water issues, using boat area.

Ben Johnston talked with the Rosewood Beach engineer after a presentation at a Park District meeting two to three weeks ago. The Park District reloaded Rosewood Beach with $315,000 of sand because the beachfront eroded under buildings and other structures which are located too close to the water.

There was a two-month emergency shut down of the beach in October. After the City brought in more sand, a giant storm washed away the sand and it looked like the sand was gone. The engineer and Park District don’t know where water levels are going. There are short- and long-term trends, and the presentation showed that the erosion is not unprecedented—it happens every 15-20 years. Because the weather’s been warmer this winter, protective ice dams have not formed.

The Park District didn’t plan for such erosion, and now the Park District will have to allocate additional funding to ameliorate the problem. Appropriation and political issues also impact the Highland Park boat ramps, with a renovated beach barge costing millions of dollars. Now boaters will have to find outside funding because Rosewood, with a lot more users than other projects, will take priority. The funding problems are very disappointing for large boat owners.

Options for Rosewood include (1) doing nothing; (2) extending break walls at $6 per linear foot, because big gaps exist so there is nothing to break or reduce the force of waves; and (3) adding barriers underwater at the bay openings and/or at the back of the beach, which would remove some of the force of the waves, but would not save the sand. Rosewood includes three bays, an interpretive center, showers, a

volleyball net, and play structures. The southern bay never received sand so the erosion goes under the boardwalk and the volleyball net is now underwater. Sand by the play structure is completely eroded with exposed cement and there’s now a fence around the slide. Swimming may not be possible. No decisions were made at the meeting.

VII.  Other business.

Anyone who wants to be a board member at large, please let us know. Jeff Cohen, thank you for hosting the meeting.

VIII. Motion to adjourn at 8:00pm. Next Board Meeting: March 5, 2020. Location to be determined.

Nice job on the Minutes.

Jeff Stern