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June 2017 RNA Board Meeting


Ravinia Neighbors Association Board Meeting
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Justin Kee called the meeting to order at 7:05: P.M. at Full Circle Architects

In attendance, besides Kee, were Mike Babian, Dan Baigelman, Carolyn Cerf, Doug Purington, Jeff Stern, Mike Stroz and Jeanne Vella. Also present were Drew Awsumb, the City’s Deputy Director of Community Development, and Ed Kugler, the new manager of the Ravinia Farmers Market, and guests John and Lena Kezdy.

In his President’s Report, Justin Kee proposed that recently resigned RNA Board officers Lisa Temkin, Davis Schneiderman, Laura Saret and Carla Arnell should be recognized for their service, which was agreed to by voice vote.

Asked to provide an update on the City’s plans for new street lighting in the Ravinia Business District, Drew Awsumb said the current schedule called for securing bids for the work in February or early March, with construction expected to begin in April or May of 2018. The new lighting would be mostly on Roger Williams Avenue, and would be provided under a separate RFP from what would be used to cover related TIF projects, such as benches and additional parking. Baigelman stressed the need for benches early on. Awsumb said that could be done, and that the streetscape project was scheduled for completion in 2025.

Responding to the suggested need for lighting along the Green Bay Trail between the Ravinia Metra station and Ravinia Park, Awsumb said the TIF funds could only be spent in the Business District itself. He also encouraged residents and RNA to become involved in the steering committee that will be part of the planning process for the streetscape. Carolyn Cerf noted that a bike kiosk was to have been a priority in the Business District but had yet to be implemented.

Cerf called attention to the ravine cleanup that was held in connection with Earth Day, April 22, introducing high school student Lena Kezdy for special recognition and presenting her with RNA’s first “Earth Day Champion” award for her efforts in helping protect the environment and organize participants for the day’s events.

Regarding the Farmers Market, Ed Kugler, the new manager, said he had been involved with the first market 39 years ago, and that he aimed to open new doors to the community, such as bringing in kids from school science classes to teach them about growing things. He anticipated having 30 to 40 booth places available at the market, which would be held every Wednesday through October 25. He said RNA was welcome to have a booth there, and that he would be happy to help promote anything that was going on in the district.

Regarding lighting along the Green Bay Trail, it was revealed that the idea had been advocated by Kris Walker of Witty’s and Ravinia Brewery, and that Ravinia Festival’s Nick Pullia was in favor of the proposal, as were Council members Dan Kaufman and Kim Stone. Mike Babian suggested asking RNA members for their opinions on the plan, and believed that walking along the trail after dark without lights could be hazardous and dangerous. Kee and Baigelman offered to provide the wording for putting the question to members. The lighting issue was to be brought up at a mid-July Council meeting, and the plan being considered was to involve downward-facing solar lighting. Babian thought Ravinia Festival should finance the project since it would particularly benefit Festival patrons.

The revised Minutes from the May 4 meeting were approved, and a discussion was then held regarding three open RNA Board positions that needed to be filled; specifically those of two Board Members at Large and Recording Secretary

Stroz thought discussion at the last meeting showed the need for updating the by-laws. Babian recommended asking Catherine Vandenberg, who started a legal aid clinic in Highland Park, to review the by-laws over a period of time and make suggestions on changes that could be considered at future meetings.

Stroz also asked the Board to consider exploring the need for a cloud repository for documents, data and members’ participation. Regarding the Food Truck program around Jens Jensen Park on Thursdays through September 14, Stroz said he would do his best to participate on behalf of RNA, and would try to secure a credit card reader by next Thursday to use in signing up new members

Jeanne Vella said new articles were needed for the summer Newsletter. Purington said an 11th ad had already been purchased, meaning that five to six pages of a 12-page edition would likely be filled by ads. Amy Lohmolder, while not at the meeting, intended to write about the recollections of six to eight area residents regarding their experiences at Ravinia School in the 1940s. Jeff Stern said he would look into plans to build additional road access to Edgewood School to accommodate possible increases in enrollment and car traffic.

Babian said he would look into donations to Historic Ravinia as an arm of RNA. Kee said he would check on the legal status of the connection between the two. Cerf said she needed $100 to submit an application for RNA participation in the July 4 Parade, and would try to find a classic car for RNA to use.

Purington said he would provide a Treasurer’s Report at the next meeting. In a Membership Report he submitted in writing, he said seven new members had signed up since May 4, there had been 11 renewals, and that current RNA household memberships numbered 229.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 P.M.