SRG Board Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at Soulard Station
Meeting started at 6:58 p.m.
Members present: Nancy Kelly, Beth Bennett, Sean Cochran, Luann Denten, Jackie Parker, Steve Parker, Michael Pastore, Alicia Stellhorn and Jill Weissgerber.
Members absent: Jeremy Mehrle and Mike Ziemann. (Ziemann was to attend via Skype but a connection could not be made.)
Brian M. Minges, owner/general contractor/design consultant of Advantes Development
Michael Baalman, architect/president of Confluence Design Group
Jim Price, Soulard Business Association president.
Apartments at Lafayette School:
Minges and Baalman presented a proposal for apartments at the old Lafayette Elementary School, 815 Ann Ave. They said that they have done a successful rehab of a school into apartments at the old Hope Lutheran School, 5320 Brannon Avenue in south St. Louis.
Among highlights of the Lafayette School proposal:
· 47 to 52 apartments over three floors.
· Most would be one-bedroom units.
· Rent would be $850 per month and up.
· Basically utilizing an old classroom per apartment unit.
· Units will be all electric, individually metered. No gas.
· The integrity of the main staircase will be maintained.
· The gym would be converted into covered parking.
· Parking on the current lot on the east side.
· Solar-energy car ports.
· Parking translates into little more than one space per unit
· Significant green space, including the west side of the building.
· A contract with St. Louis Public Schools was submitted Feb. 19, 2015, with a 120-day closing period.
· The project should be completed within a year and a half once construction begins.
· There would be no third-party management and renters would undergo a “rigorous application process.”
· The rental target will be young professionals.
Michael Pastore asked if “young professionals” equals “transient.” Minges answered that the minimum first lease would be for a year. He said he wants tenants to be part of the community.
The city will require the water main to be replaced.
Pastore asked if asbestos removal would be significant. Baalman replied that the building dates to 1908 and predates asbestos. He said the SLPS already had to mitigate what little asbestos was later used there.
Pastore noted that the renderings call for entry to the parking lot to be limited to the alley on the north side. Baalman said they would inquire with the city about parking entry from Seventh Street or Ann Avenue but that he doubted it would be approved. Minges said that if the SRG pushed for that, it might help persuade the city.
Nancy Kelly said the Board would consider their proposal later in the meeting.
Slide the City:
Jim Price presented a proposal from Slide the City for an event in Soulard on July 10-11. Price said it would be a great family event. He invited people to visit the slidethecity.com to get more information about the group.
The proposal calls for:
· A 24-foot by 1,000-foot slide on Russell Boulevard.
· The street would be closed between South 12th and South 8th streets with barricades similar to those used for neighborhood runs and bike races.
· The event would run from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, July 10, and that night would be limited to ages 21 and older.
· The event would run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, and would be for all ages.
· The slide would be gone by midnight and Russell would reopen by 8 a.m. Sunday, July 12.
· A maximum capacity of 6,000 tickets would be sold for Saturday, attracting between 6,000 and 10,000 people to the neighborhood.
· The only vendors allowed would be restaurants and businesses. The SBA and SRG could operate beer booths or bars.
· In exchange for allowing the event, CBS Radio will grant free advertising for Soulard events, including Bastille Day, the Garden Tour and the Parlour Tour.
· Water from the slide would come from hydrants and would be pumped back and recycled for continued use.
Price said Slide the City initially wanted the event to be held on Market Street. He said Ann Chance of the city Department of Public Safety Special Events office suggested Soulard, and noted that Market Street’s slope was inadequate for the slide.
Luann Denten said the cost would be $15 for one slide, $30 for three slides and $50 for unlimited slides.
SRG Board members questioned whether free advertising was sufficient compensation for the disruption to the neighborhood.
Board members also questioned if the event might encourage drinking and unruly behavior rather than family friendly fun. Price said event organizers have “no control over who buys drinks or comes.”
Nancy Kelly asked about liability risk. Price said the neighborhood could get with the city and be named as additional insurers.
Price said Chance had brought the proposal to him and said it was pretty much rubber-stamped. Kelly said that incoming Alderman Jack Coatar had many questions about the event. Alicia Stellhorn said that Coatar was not alone in being concerned. Stellhorn said that many more steps of city approval were needed.
Kelly said that many Soulard residents get upset with street closings of just a few hours for runs and bike races, and that closing Russell for more than a day is likely to upset people. Other Board members were concerned about losing access for emergency vehicles. Price said it would be easy for cars to navigate around Russell.
Price said the SBA approves of the event.
Luann Denten said that VIP tickets would be sold for Friday’s portion, and that the slide would be limited to VIPs from 5 to 6 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to midnight.
Beth Bennett questioned whether the noise at midnight would be a problem. Jill Weissgerber said that she lives by where the slide would be located and that the noise level would probably be no different than a normal bar night.
Michael Pastore questioned whether the event met with the Soulard Alliance’s goal of a family friendly neighborhood. He wondered whether Friday’s adults-only slide would dissolve into a drunken affair. Price said the photos on slidethecity.com don’t indicate that excessive drinking is a problem.
Steve Parker asked if Slide the City pays fees in other cities. Price said he didn’t know. Denten said that the SBA asked Slide the City what they would give and that they responded with the offer of free advertising. Price called the advertising valuable.
Nancy Kelly said the Board would discuss the matter later in the meeting.
Board Consideration of Lafayette School Proposal:
Luann Denten said she would like to see a lower density. Concerns were raised over parking access. Michael Pastore said he was concerned about the apartments attracting a transient clientele. Other Board members said the proposed rent was high enough to prevent that.
Board action on the proposal was tabled until Michael Pastore sets up a field trip to see the quality of the renovation of Hope Lutheran School. (Pastore subsequently emailed Board members that a visit to the Brannon Avenue apartments would be at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 2.)
Board Consideration of the Slide the City Event:
Nancy Kelly again noted that incoming Alderman Jack Coatar was wary of the event. She suggested we might bring the matter before the general SRG membership.
Sean Cochran and Kelly again expressed concerns about emergency vehicle access. Alicia Stellhorn said there had been concern from the mayor’s office and the streets department. She said she had the sense that the city doesn’t want the event to happen.
Pastore said he thought residents would respond negatively to closing Russell. Rightfully or not, he said, the SRG would be blamed.
Jackie Parker noted that there’s a link for tickets on Slide the City website and that event is already listed despite its lacking formal city approval.
Luann Denten recalled that she had been surprised when she had received an email inviting her to a meeting at which only SBA members and Ann Chance were present. She said the event was presented as “pretty much a done deal.” Denten said she had asked about money for the neighborhood but that the ensuing conversation centered around alternate routes and beer booths.
The Board voted against supporting the event.
Square and PayPal revenues are still be to added.
Alicia Stellhorn suggested moving the Vices & Virtues Ball from the Beautification category and placing it under Fundraising. Approval was given.
Nancy Kelly said she would complete her research on the topic by the Board’s April 15 meeting.
Parlour Tour Update:
The topic will be on the April 15 Board agenda.
Luann Denten said Bastille en Vogue will be Sunday, July 12 at Franco. She said that on Friday, July 10 “we’ll be bringing back the gathering of the mob and the beheading of the king and queen.” It will start at Howards at South 13th and Lynch streets. The parade will move down Lynch, turn left on 11th Street, take a right on Sidney Street, move past Big Daddy’s (1000 Sidney St.), take a left on South 9th Street, proceed past the Good Luck Bar & Grill (2501 S. 9th St.) and D’s Place (900 Barton St.), and end with the beheadings in Pontiac Square Park. Chris Beyer and Mark Woerz will be the king and queen. Alicia Stellhorn offered assistance in applying for city permits for the parade.
Big Daddy’s tent:
Michael Pastore questioned why Big Daddy’s large, temporary white tent is still in place. Nancy Kelly suggested that the new Board take up the matter.
The Board unanimously approved donating $1,500 for the American Legion Post 422 campaign to raise money to buy tricycles for disabled veterans. A ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 21 at the Legion, 2601 S. 11th St.
Dog Poop Cleanup:
A group under the auspices of Margaret Schroeder will gather in Pontiac Square Park at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 21 to discuss how to address the problem of residents not cleaning up after their dogs. Plans included for the group to clean up messes in Pontiac Square Park and other parts of the neighborhood.
Jackie Parker will inquire about details of the next Tap ’N’ Run St. Louis.
She said the Go! St. Louis Marathon will be April 12. The cheer station will be at South 9th and Victor streets, which is at about Mile 10.25 on the race course. She said the Good Luck Bar & Grill can’t sell alcohol until 11 a.m., and that owner Patrick Lowry said he would not open early, so restrooms won’t be available there. She said she would check on locations for port-a-potties. Alicia Stellhorn said that the Go! St. Louis Marathon organizers had “good things to say about Soulard.” Jackie Parker said the neighborhood would again get $1,000 for having the cheer station. She said there’s an Event Page on Facebook. Runners will be moving through Soulard from about 7:40 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Sean Cochran said rentals are great. He said that the Boy Scout building a gazebo as his Eagle Scout project would schedule his work around events in the busy months of April and May.
Jill Weissgerber said the annual General Membership Meeting and Annual Party will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 at the Grizzly Bear, 1027 Geyer Ave.
Mardi Gras Inc.:
Michael Pastore said finances from Mardi Gras are still being tallied.
Some Board members requested greater transparency from Mardi Gras Inc., including easier access to financial information and minutes of meetings. Luann Denten asked for a report after Mardi Gras Inc. meets with the people responsible for the SoCo stages about unruly behavior and obscene language.
Luann Denten said that 12 of the historic Soulard tapestries are left and that an additional 20 are on order.
She said a switch to Left Hand Promotions, 1250 Gravois Ave., as the supplier of Soulard merchandise will result in cheaper prices. She is checking into offering Soulard flags.
The Garden Tour June 27 will be based at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th St. There will be art in every garden and the event is on track to have a musician in every garden.
Code and Zoning:
Beth Bennett said that she and Paul Kjorlie were the only committee members who opposed a proposal to tear down the two-story garage behind the Soulard Barber Shop, 1809 S. 7th St. She said the proposal calls for fixing up the barbershop and putting a fence to the south of it to prevent entry to a vacant lot next to the building.
Beth Bennett said the 3rd and 4th District Police Officer Appreciation Luncheon held on March 9 at the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza was a successful event.
She said the car clouting suspect who was arrested in December was released March 17. She said the sentencing hearing for Shaun Johnson, who was convicted of home break-ins, will be March 20. Soulard residents are encouraged to sit on the prosecution side of the courtroom.
There were some 400 police calls during Mardi Gras.
Outgoing President Nancy Kelly thanked the Board for its service. The meeting adjourned at 9:26 p.m.