SRG Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, June 13, 2015 at American Legion Post 422 at 2601 S. 11th St.

Meeting started at 9 a.m.

Members present: Mike Ziemann, Beth Bennett, Bill Clendenin, Sean Cochran, Luann Denten, Nancy Kelly, Jackie Parker, Steve Parker, Gary Toribio

Members absent: Jeremy Mehrle, Alicia Stellhorn


The Board voted to finalize the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget at its July 15 Board Meeting and to have it ready for distribution to SRG membership at the Aug. 5 SRG General Membership Meeting.

Old Business:

Tap ‘N’ Run Review:

Mike Ziemann said that Matt Roberts, executive director at JAM Active, wanted feedback on the Tap ‘N’ Run event in Soulard on June 6, 2015.

Ziemann said fliers informing residents were distributed too late and should have gone to more people. Beth Bennett suggested fliers go to the whole neighborhood.

Ziemann said that many of the designated pass-through points for traffic were not staffed. Jackie Parker said SRG’s Tap ‘N’ Run coordinator Billy Tomber had told her that there weren’t enough volunteers to have someone at all of the pass-through points.

Beth Bennett reported that volunteers at the starting line beer station where she worked were told not to drink Tap ‘N’ Run beer until the event was over, although two JAM Active workers drank beer. Board members noted that a large amount of beer was poured out at event’s end. Members agreed to tell JAM Active that volunteers should be allowed to drink beer as a benefit of working the event.

All in all, the event went relatively well, Ziemann said. Sean Cochran added that the event route was spotless afterward.

Parlour Tour Committee Report:

Beth Bennett asked for a short follow-up discussion of the Parlour Tour Committee’s appearance at the May 20 SRG Board Meeting. She noted Frank Reynolds’ posting on NextDoor Soulard in which he criticized Parlour Tour Committee Chairman Jeanne Kirby for a comment to the SRG Board. Kirby had said that it was unfortunate that some homeowners’ feelings were hurt but that the 2014 event was a huge financial success. Bennett said that the Parlour Tour Committee had alienated some people.

Steve Parker said that John Wallace had seemed sincere when he told the SRG Board that he regretted the way some communications were handled and had apologized to the homeowners who were upset. Bennett and Luann Denten said that the Parlour Tour Committee leadership’s version of events didn’t match reality.

Denten said that Frank Reynolds wasn’t the only person upset with the Parlour Tour Committee. She said three sets of homes had been recruited by SRG Board members after the Parlour Tour Committee said more homes were needed, only to reverse that later.

Nancy Kelly said that Neal Thompson of the Parlour Tour Committee had told her that he too felt bad about hurting the feelings of some homeowners. Kelly suggested the SRG have a liaison on the Parlour Tour Committee.

Mike Ziemann agreed to serve as the SRG Board liaison. He said Jeanne Kirby is the Parlour Tour Committee contact for the SRG.

There was mention that St. Louis Tours might be interested in including a house in Soulard on its holiday tour.

Mardi Gras Inc., Mardi Gras Foundation, Safety Cameras:

Gary Toribio said that the Mardi Gras Inc. Board knows nothing about how the Mardi Gras Foundation Board operates.

Mike Ziemann noted that with Anheuser-Busch InBev’s donation of funds to pay for the new entry markers, the grant from MGF to pay for that project might be taken back. It’s possible the money could go back into the pool for next year, he said. “For all the neighborhood goes through with Mardi Gras, we struggle to get a dime back.”

Jackie Parker suggested that either Jay Dinkelmann or Lisa Otke (Soulard residents on the MGF Board) come to the next SRG Board Meeting.

The SRG will submit a grant to MGF asking that the money appropriated for the entry marker project instead be used for security cameras in the neighborhood. Toribio said he thought the grant application deadline is mid-July.

As part of the MGF grant application, Sean Cochran suggested that the SRG could offer to allocate funds for cameras to partially match any funds granted by MGF. He said the SRG could also open a bank account with funds held in reserve to pay for a portion of the recurring maintenance and operation costs of the cameras.

Bill Clendenin said representatives of the SBA, SRG and Soulard Special Business District (SSBD) had met May 26 to discuss joint efforts to develop the security camera system. It’s expected that the SBA and SRG will be the primary applicants for the MGF grant. Clendenin circulated a draft resolution for the grant application.  He said another meeting will be held June 23.

Clendenin noted that the cost of cameras involves a capital expense for their purchase and installation, and a recurring cost for maintaining and operating them.

He said those at the camera meeting had expressed enthusiasm about the camera project in general and about applying for the MGF funds.  He said SBA President Dan Shields is supportive of the camera project.

Nancy Kelly suggested the grant application be accompanied by letters of support from the Aldermen, the Police Department, the Public Safety Office, the Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club, and others.

Kelly urged Mike Ziemann to meet regularly, perhaps quarterly, with leaders of SBA and SBD. Ziemann said it was a good idea.

Sean Cochran said the broader mystery of how MGF money is allocated is a conversation the SRG Board seems to have every year. Gary Toribio said the only money that MGF has to distribute is half the proceeds from the Mayor’s Ball during Mardi Gras. All other funds from Mardi Gras go into paying for MGI operations, including the event itself.

Ziemann said the relationship between SRG and MGI is one in which “the tail is wagging the dog.” He said SRG needs to hold MGI more accountable. With a budget of about $1.2 million, MGI provides only a few thousand dollars to the SRG, including sponsoring a stop on the Parlour Tour, beer booths at events and tickets to the Mayor’s Ball.

A suggestion was made that Tim Lorson and/or Mack Bradley be invited to a meeting of the SRG Board.

Mike Ziemann said that the conservation was becoming disjointed, bouncing back and forth between MGI, MGF and the cameras. He asked that we move on to the cameras proposal.

Bill Clendenin said that some residents are likely to be concerned that the cameras are an invasion of privacy and that effort will be made to limit the impact on the privacy of residents, both in terms of locating the cameras and limiting who can access video footage.

He said the Commissioners of the SSBD are generally supportive. Some Commissioners have expressed that they do not want the costs of the camera system to significantly impact private security patrols.  

Clendenin said there has been discussion on the camera locations, which would be at key neighborhood access points and hot spots. 

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed:

Mike Ziemann said that 5th District State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed has asked to address the SRG General membership so that she can give an update on her work on behalf of the neighborhood. Board members cited the SRG’s policy of not allowing meetings to become a forum for politicians. (Candidate forums usually are held after the SRG General Membership Meeting ends.) Others noted that Sen. Nasheed is the elected representative of our neighborhood in the State Senate.

The Board voted 7-1 to allow Sen. Nasheed to attend the July 1 SRG General Membership Meeting and to speak for no more than five minutes, with no question-and-answer session during the meeting.  If any members do have questions, Sen. Nasheed can answer them after the meeting or at the Social. Mike Ziemann will inform Sen. Nasheed that the SRG is a hyper-local organization. As such, we expect her to focus on matters dealing with our neighborhood


The meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.