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March 2019 RNA Board Meeting

Meeting Notes – Thursday, March 7th, 2019

  1. Attendance
    1. Governing Board Attendees

                                                              i.      Mike Stroz - presiding

                                                             ii.      Doug Purington

                                                           iii.      Michael Babian

  1. Board Members at Large + Additional Attendees

                                                              i.      Dan Baigelman

                                                             ii.      Brett Tolpin

  1. Absent

                                                              i.      Justin Kee (w excuse)

                                                             ii.      Jean Meier (w excuse)

                                                           iii.      Katie Alland (w excuse)

                                                           iv.      Jeff Stern

                                                             v.      Ed Kugler (w excuse)

  1. Guest Attendees

                                                              i.      Matt Horne;

                                                             ii.      Kitty Horne;

                                                           iii.      Jeff Levin;

                                                           iv.      Kirk Samson;

                                                             v.      Peggy Laemle;

                                                           vi.      Lisa Temkin

  1. 7:10pm – Call to Order (NO QUORUM)
  2. Report from City HP Representative in lieu of President’s Report (Drew Awsumb, in absentia)
    1. 11 vacancies in RNA Business District
    2. Ginny Glasner – Chamber CEO

                                                              i.      Any ideas the chamber wants to promote

                                                             ii.      When they do the benches, store owners put something out

                                                           iii.      Kurt – The ART Center provides benches – contest

                                                           iv.      Dan Baigelman – bench

1.  Status of the bid process for the purchase and installation of the street lights.

The bid opening was coincidentally this morning. The City received two bids, from Lyons Pinner Electric and Utility Dynamics Corporation. The lowest bidder was $1.5m for the base bid, and an approximate $600,000 additional for all alternatives. As we’ve tried to communicate during the engineering work since last autumn, with the trend in infrastructure and construction work pricing in the last 18+ months, we’ve seen prices increase. That said, they are in-range sufficient enough to determine next steps and identify how to still complete this project. We need to update some budget calculations for FY19, including forecasted revenue. And we will want to discuss the approach with the RNA for your input and consideration. I will follow up on this item and hope to have more to share, but again, we just opened the bids this morning and I’m out sick.

 2.  Will there be any funds left over for the acquisition of benches and waste receptacles?

In 2019 and 2020, no it doesn’t appear so, based on these bids and initial reaction. Within the life of the TIF district, yes, of course. It could even still be within the next 2-3-4 years, depending on decision-making and approach. Again, these are decisions about trade-offs we want to continue to include the RNA and public input into those choices.

 3.  With the advent of spring and a new agreement with Ravinia Festival, what will the City and the Police be doing to alleviate congestion and illegal parking in the Ravinia area during heavy draw concerts, please note the specific areas of concern: Very good detail here. I informed the city manager’s office and the Chief of Police. This is being reviewed and I will have a formal response. Unfortunately, I do not have that available yet.

  • the parking lot on St John's across from First Circle Architects. There is a posted sign saying No Ravinia Parking but there is no uniform officer stopping illegal Ravinia Festival parking, nor no enforcement. 
  • the parking lot on Dean Ave. There is a posted sign but there is no uniform officer stopping illegal Ravinia Festival parking, nor no enforcement.
  • the parking lot on the east side of the Ravinia Train Station. Cars enter from the south side illegally. Please note that except for an officer on the west side of the Ravinia Train Station, there does not seem to be any assistance or enforcement and Ravinia Festival employees deployed to the area have been instructed not to direct traffic since the City Police force has claimed rightly that this is their responsibility but have provide no staffing.

4.  Status of Al Klairmont building permits and when will demolition commence? And who is the final arbiter of the construction of the covered bike structure that his development company will be providing funds for in exchange for the granted zoning variances? 

The project is waiting to close on the property sale of the parking lot. That was delayed unfortunately by the federal government shutdown because although we had HUD’s approval in Washington, D.C., we needed them to execute some paperwork. Since that’s been in process in February, locally we are working on finalizing all documentation recorded with Lake County. Everything has approvals, but it’s this finalization of all documentation and records. We anticipate this will be completed by spring.

 Mr. Klairmont applied for building permits in 2018 and went through review, revisions, and approvals. The project and permits are approved. He can start demolition at any time but has indicated to the City he prefers to wait until everything is finalized and he can start construction too. We anticipate both demolition and construction to commence this spring.

We have started discussions regarding the covered bike rack structure. Simply, the City (Public Works) will approve both the structure itself and its location, although we are in discussions with both Union Pacific and Metra because it may be near the station but on their right-of-way property. Understanding their approval will help select the final location. Community Development is advising on the covered structure, so it meets the streetscape program and is high-quality. I can share information when we have more details to share.

 Here are the relevant provisions from the Development Agreement:


5.  We are apparently losing two design businesses to the neighborhood this month/quarter. Frankly there are more empty storefronts that there are occupied ones. What is the City staff doing to "market the area" to merchants, what can the RNA do to assist?

The City maintains a list of available properties on its website and staff provides site selection assistance.  If the available space in Ravinia meets the criteria of a business looking for space we provide the description of the space, why it would be a good location, and a referral to the broker or property owner. Those services are operated and managed in the city manager’s office, and they coordinate frequently with Community Development.

Many property owners do not actively market their properties, or have no intention of leasing or selling them at this time. Unfortunately, this approach by private actors limits the City’s ability to influence investment and redevelopment. The RNA often asks about the cleaner’s property, which has had significant interest, but the property owner does not respond to the City.

Vacancy in these types of districts is also seen in Winnetka, downtown Northbrook, and Highwood. One of Community Development’s official Major Projects for 2019 is additional subarea planning for the Ravinia District, beyond the streetscape, and we anticipate commencing this work in either Q2 or late summer in Q3. This would be a good topic for a follow-up in-person meeting.

As to what the RNA can do to help, supporting local businesses and promoting the stores, shops, services, and restaurants that are in the District today definitely helps. Shop local and other neighborhood programs help. Beyond that, your continued input and contributions to planning in the District is a big help – again, we have a Council approved Major Project to continue looking at the district and what would attract investment, in addition to the streetscape and lights, including addressing parking, zoning, and other amenities.

6.  What if any plans are in the works to use the installation of the street lights to use Jen's Jensen park later, i.e. extending the Food Truck event times, or other events that could go later due to lighting.

Although the intent was to install the street lights in the spring, due to event planning and budgeting simultaneously, the food truck event had to plan to operate in case the lights were not available this summer. i.e. budgeting for generators, etc. But yes, with the lights, the food trucks could potentially go later into the evening. The City and SSA will consider extending the hours for 2020.

The event season dates are not being extended because 112 school is in session and they need the parking and traffic flow on Dean for school events.  Also, extending the dates would increase costs for music and staffing.

7.  What plans are in the works for marketing the Food Truck Thursdays and the Farmer's Market this year?

The City has already started marketing the Food Trucks along with Bensidoun. The City promotes the Farmers’ Market on Facebook and in the Highlander. We also include it, as appropriate, in print and other online media.

8.  Is there any movement on providing minimal lightening for safety on the Greenbay trail between the Ravinia Train Station and the Ravinia Festival? How can the RNA assist?

City staff is in ongoing, active discussions with Ravinia Festival Park regarding this work. There has definitely been some progress. In 2019 Public Works will contract for preliminary engineering design and generate a project cost estimate.  Once this work is completed, the City and Ravinia staff will further explore the feasibility of the project, including funding. The RNA and the neighborhood’s interest and support for this project seems beneficial in its recent movement, and continued support is a positive thing. Right now, there’s nothing formally needed, but if the RNA still supports the project, I can share that with the City and the Festival leadership.

  1. Michael B. – Treasurer’s Report
    1. Activity

                                                              i.      Checking balance: $4,470.29

                                                             ii.      CD balance: $5,423.28

                                                           iii.      Total balance: $9,893.57

                                                           iv.      Payments over $50 issued: none

  1. Publicity/Membership Report
    1. Spring Newsletter: Content due March 15th with ads due March 22nd
    2. PO Box due
    3. New ad campaigns
    4. Brian Taylor RBC owner: what’s in mind for the area opposite Walgreen’s parking lot?
    5. Newsletter

                                                              i.      Streetscape

                                                             ii.      TREK Bike giveaway

                                                           iii.      Food Truck Thursdays – Doug

                                                           iv.      Historic Ravinia – Lisa

                                                             v.      Alchemy and Cloth opening – Doug

                                                           vi.      Hub & Spoke – Katie

                                                         vii.      Farmer’s Market – Peggy Laemle

                                                       viii.      Fully Circle/Dan B. Bio – Dan B.

                                                           ix.      Doug will be working on ad sales

  1. Approval for social media publicity for Jeff Cohen Photography and Other Businesses
    1. Consensus is to do this – follow with a VOTE via email
    2. Request that board members should be responding and making efforts to reply to board member emails to acknowledge receipt.
  2. Discussion of Ed Kugler’s Proposal for Thursday Evening Farmer’s Market
    1. Request a VOTE for Ed’s Thursday Evening Market
    2. RNA sponsor fills out, Taste Marketing provides insurance.  Have discussed this before.  Hang-up was liability.  If we were a non-profit, we would manage.  Payments flowing to us.  Too imbedded with a business, but the numbers are so low.  Brett, Mike S. and Dan are for it.  School Board with RNA.  Mike B. is for it as long as Taste Marketing is running.  Doug is in favor but suggests free ads.  Does Ed clear up?
    3. Ed to produce a copy of insurance
  3. Historic Ravinia 2019 Plans (Lisa Temkin)
    1. June 2nd, Wright Ride

                                                              i.      3 homes in HP, 7 homes in Glencoe

                                                             ii.      Docent: Patrick Schwartz

                                                           iii.      Need a low-investment event.  Meet at RBC @ 11AM Sunday.  Patrick will talk for 30 minutes with map of route. 

                                                           iv.      Lisa will send Doug information to blast to Facebook

                                                             v.      Ask: $500 contribution for RNA brochure, poster.  Our logo on all new material.  Brochure: We will take none of the excess.

                                                           vi.      Mike S., Mike B., Doug and Dan in favor.  Brett in favor but starting on Roger William and ending at RBC.

                                                         vii.      Mike S. to create internet VOTE

  1. Ravinia Candidate Night Update
    1. Will be discussing more to determine if we will proceed hosting the event this year
    2. Poll candidates, if interest
    3. Mike S. looking for volunteers to help plan March 21st or March 28th
  2. RNA Participation in 4th of July Parade: Yea or Nay? – Doug
    1. RNA discussed plans to participate this year to celebrate 150th anniversary of HP
  3. New Meeting Venue Urgent Need: Discussion & Plan of Action
    1. Discussion on new meeting venue since we will not be able to meet at Full Circle starting in April.  Discussed meeting in various locations in Ravinia and will be providing new location before next meeting.
  4. Vote on adjusting July and August Board Meetings: July 11th and August 8th
    1. Need a VOTE?
  5. Other Business/Additional Comments or Concerns from Members and/or Residents
    1. Carolyn Hersch should be able to advise on vacancy owners
    2. Brett – How many businesses work out of a house?  Jenny G. knows about home businesses
    3. Jeff – Ice cream place would be great
  6. Items from Previous Meetings
    1. Any questions following Katie’s edits to Ed’s Farmer’s Market survey?
  7. 8:45pm – Adjournment (Next Board Meeting: April 4th, 2019)