SRG Board Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 at Soulard Station, 1911 S. 12th St.
The meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m. by President Mike Ziemann.
Members present: Mike Ziemann, Beth Bennett, Bill Clendenin, Sean Cochran, Luann Denten, Jackie Parker, Steve Parker, Gary Toribio
Members absent: Jeremy Mehrle, Alicia Stellhorn
Oktoberfest Oct. 9-11:
Ziemann reported that Fundraising Committee Chairman Rick Dungey had signed an Oktoberfest contract at the request of organizer John McKinstry. Ziemann said the SRG beer booth will be located in a high-traffic area. He said the vast majority of sales this year should be cash sales. 64 wrist bands have been requested for SRG volunteers. Recruitment of volunteers is running behind schedule.
Q in the Lou Sept. 25-27:
Recruitment of volunteers for this event also is running behind schedule. (In response to an inquiry, Billy Tomber texted during the meeting that signup sheets would be going out Sept. 17.)
Trops has hired uniformed security guards for weekend shifts. Ziemann said the owners appeared to be trying to address neighbors’ complaints but that “their learning curve seems to be very steep.”
Jackie Parker relayed that Jeremy Mehrle had said that after 10 p.m. some Trops patrons are looking for a fight. (During the SRG Board Meeting, multiple police cars responded to a fight utside the establishment.)
There was some discussion about whether Trops was in violation of the Occupancy Code and whether its customers are parking illegally. There was also discussion about whether Trops can be held responsible for what its patrons do outside the business. Bill Clendenin noted that the liquor licensing procedure does grant more weight to the concerns of nearby residents.
Gary Toribio said that people with concerns about Trops should voice them to the alderman and the excise commissioner. Mike Ziemann added that if someone sees a law being violated, they should call the police. Luann Denten noted that no one has come to the SRG Board asking for any action regarding Trops. She said that Board members should individually drop by Trops to let them know we are aware of the establishment and that we are keeping an eye on it.
Offer of Queen of Hearts Statue for Pontiac Square Park:
Luann Denten said she had contacted the City Cultural Resources concerning an offer to donate the Queen of Hearts sculpture to be placed in Pontiac Square Park. (At the August SRG Board Meeting, some members questioned whether the “modern art” statue was appropriate for the park.) Denten produced a letter from Betsy Bradley, director of the City Cultural Resources Office, in which she said that because of the statue’s “sexual nature” she would not approve it at a staff level nor recommend it to the Preservation Board for approval. Denten said that she would send the artist a copy of Bradley’s letter and a letter from the SRG Board thanking the artist for the offer but declining it.
President-Elect Bill Clendenin will preside at the Oct. 7 SRG General Membership Meeting in the absence of President Mike Ziemann.
The SRG Board Meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Soulard Station, a day earlier than the normal third Wednesday of the month meeting date, because four members have other plans.
Parlour Tour Happy Hour:
Ziemann reminded Board members that they are invited to attend an SRG Holiday Parlour Tour informational happy hour at Fleur de Lilies on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Soulard Station Upgrades:
The Board discussed bids for two Soulard Station improvement projects: an extension of the concrete sidewalk and an improved air-conditioning system. The sidewalk proposal was tabled so that three bids can be sought. The air-conditioning proposal was tabled so that Jay Morris can answer Board questions about its capacity, duct work and any additional work that the installation might cause (i.e. painting.) Board members are to be provided copies of bids before the next Board meeting.
Work should begin soon on gates and fences at the Soulard Market Park bandstand, intended to discourage homeless people from gathering there.
All ash trees in Soulard Market Park will be removed in the next few weeks because of the presence of the ash bore beetle, which destroys ash trees. The trees will be replaced with other varieties. The City Parks Department has asked for help in making the public aware of why the trees are being removed. A notice went out in the Blaster Sept. 16.
Dirt and mulch supplied by the Parks Department was spread around the base of the gazebo in Aboussie Park to hide its footings.
An auction of art produced during the Soulard Garden Tour will be held Oct. 2 at Soulard Station. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the auction starts at 7 p.m. Sean Cochran will be the
Code and Zoning:
Renovations are taking place at an apartment building at Russell Boulevard and S. 9th Street.
Rehab work is planned for the building that houses D’s Place, 900 Barton Street, and an adjacent building. The project, which will result in six one-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units, is asking for tax abatement, which the Code and Zoning Committee opposes. D’s Place plans to put a patio behind the building.
The apartment building nicknamed “Soulard Hilton” at South 12th and Lami streets has been sold and will be renovated. A resident reportedly was told they have 10 days to move out.
Bill Clendenin asked for an explanation of the Code and Zoning Committee’s opposition to tax abatements in general. Beth Bennett responded that the committee doesn’t make the decision on abatements, that its opinion is merely advisory. She said the committee follows the thinking model established by former Alderman Phyllis Young. Mike Ziemann said that tax abatement for homeowners is generally OK, but that abatement for commercial rehab project isn’t. Tax credits, he said, are fair game for commercial projects.
Holiday wreaths can now be ordered online at soulard.org. A minimum of 40 wreaths must be ordered for the fundraiser to take place.
Volunteers are needed for the SRG beer booths at Oktoberfest and Q in the Lou.
Luann Denten noted the Renaissance article about the next Vices & Virtues Mardi Gras Ball and said that tickets will be offered first to those who attended the inaugural event.
An art class is being planned, perhaps for a Sunday evening. A membership drive is being planned, perhaps at Vincent’s Market, 2400 S. 12th Street.
The next Local Hour will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 at Twisted RAnCH, 1730 S. 8th St.
The new Soulard flags are available for purchase. They are $40.
New Soulard T-shirts are being ordered and offered to guests at the Holiday Parlour Tour.
Stone-washed T-shirts will be added to the inventory. A small advance order of stone-washed shirts, pictured in one of the Off the Island photos in the current Renaissance, sold out.
Soulard stickers or magnets might be purchased so they can be given to SRG members.
14-foot poles for the entry marker signs have arrived and installation will begin so that the signs can be posted as they arrive. The first signs should arrive in about five weeks. An entry marker sign will be pictured on the updated Soulard brochure.
Police Officer Brian Min will provide the music at the Sept. 18 American Legion Post 422
The Fall Safety Walk will be immediately after the Oct. 7 SRG General Membership Meeting.
We are awaiting word on the grant application for funding from Mardi Gras Foundation for security cameras in Soulard.
The 1860’s Saloon, 1860 S. 9th St., will hold a golf tournament on Monday Oct. 19 to raise funds for the security camera project. The golf tournament will be in Forest Park, with registration through 11 a.m. and a noon shotgun start.
Mardi Gras Inc.
Jackie Parker passed around a copy of the minutes from the MGI August meeting. She said that MGI Director Tim Lorson reported that the Aug. 29 Taste of Lumiere event was lightly attended.
Record attendance is expected at LouFest Sept. 12-13 in Forest Park. MGI made about $11,000 last year and is hoping to make that again. The Balloon Glow and Race in Forest Park is Sept. 18-19. MGI raised about $10,000 last year.
The Q in the Lou event Sept. 25-26 is being produced by Eximius Productions, the company headed by Lorson and Brian Wahby. It’s estimated that it will cost $250,000 to produce. MGI is to receive 15 percent of all sales. The SRG will receive 15 percent of sales at its beer booth, which is the same percentage we used to receive at Taste of St. Louis when it was downtown.
Joe Ambrose, First Bank’s Midwest regional president, will be Rex, king of Carnival, at Soulard Mardi Gras 2015. “All things sports” is the theme of this year’s Mardi Gras.
Luann Denten suggested a get-acquainted gathering Monday, Nov. 9, of members of SRG, MGI, Mardi Gras Foundation, Soulard Business Association. Soulard Special Business District and the Soulard Market Vendors Association. Denten said she would extend the invitations.
It was suggested that we ask Officer Brian Min to reach out to the Darkness Haunted House to request that their private security monitor parked cars in the immediate vicinity of the building. In both 2013 and 2014, Soulard experienced increases in larcenies in October, some of which may be attributable to increased Halloween-related activity.
The current issue came out Sept. 16. The deadline for the next issue, the Parlour Tour Edition, is Nov. 5.
The meeting adjourned at 9:49 p.m.