SRG Board Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015 at Soulard Station, 1911 S. 12th St.
The meeting was called to order at 7:09 p.m. by President Mike Ziemann.
Members present: Mike Ziemann, Beth Bennett, Sean Cochran, Bill Clendenin, Luann Denten, Jeremy Mehrle, Jackie Parker, Steve Parker, Gary Toribio
Members absent: Alicia Stellhorn
Ziemann presented the report in the absence of Treasurer Alicia Stellhorn. He noted that the Tap ‘N’ Run check had finally arrived and revenue of $3,974 for the event is reflected in the report.
He asked that a formal agreement with Mad Art Gallery be drawn up outlining services that will be provided for the upcoming Vice and Virtues Ball.
Ziemann said he would notify Treasurer Stellhorn that several Board members had expressed frustration about her accessibility and the system of making deposits. As part of this conversation, it was agreed that all SRG Committee chairmen should have a code giving them access to Soulard Station.
Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Cheer Station:
President Ziemann thanked those who volunteered at the cheer station and handed out water. He said about 23 people took part and that the race organizer was impressed by the neighborhood’s showing.
Plaques for Planters:
Ziemann reported that he had some answers to questions previously raised by Board members about payment for plaques to go on sidewalk planters. He said that Gateway Greening had required the plaques as a condition of donating the planters to the neighborhood. That requirement wasn’t conveyed when a request for payment was made in June. Ziemann said he would move forward with payment of $1,045 from the SRG General Funds account.
Dates for January SRG General Membership Meeting and SRG Board Meeting:
The January SRG General Membership Meeting date already was rescheduled for Jan. 13 from Jan. 6 to avoid a conflict with the 12th Night Mardi Gras celebration. At Ziemann’s request, the SRG Board Meeting was rescheduled to Jan. 27 from Jan. 20.
3rd District Police Officers Christmas Party:
SRG will make a $500 donation.
Legion Flagpole Fundraiser:
SRG will donate $500 to American Legion Post 422’s effort to raise funds for a flag and flag pole at McKinley Public Classical Leadership Academy High School. Mr. Bill Wirtel, an alumnus and member of the school’s Executive Board, learned from Principal Steve Warmack that the school doesn’t have a flag or flag pole in front of the school. Legion Post 422 has started a fundraising effort to pay for a concrete base, 30-foot pole and 5-foot-by-8-foot flag. The estimated cost is $2,000.
Thank You Cards:
Luann Denten asked if the SRG routinely sends out Thank You cards to people who take part in the Holiday Parlour Tour or host socials after General Membership meetings or volunteer or donate in other ways. Sean Cochran replied that the SRG historically had done so but might currently be remiss. New stationary and cards will be purchased so that this courtesy can resume.
This conversation led to a question about whether proper appreciation had been expressed to Parlour Tour participants. Two Board members conveyed complaints about lack of house sitters.
Jackie Parker suggested that anyone with complaints should bring them to the entire Board. She noted, though, that the Parlour Tour had been a huge success with few glitches. Others said that anyone is always welcome to bring problems to the attention of the SRG Board. It was suggested that the Parlour Tour Committee have a post-tour meeting with the homeowners who participated.
At the November SRG Board Meeting, President Ziemann had asked members to come to the December meeting with suggestions on how surplus SRG funds might be spent. At that time, the surplus was about $71,000. It is now about $90,000. Board members briefly discussed how much of the surplus funds should be kept as a reserve. Establishing a reserve figure of about $20,000, plus or minus $10,000, Board members then presented ideas
The Board first discussed a proposal made on Nextdoor Soulard that funds be used to buy and display holiday banners, like some other neighborhoods have done. Board members expressed appreciation for the suggestion but decided not to act on it because banners would be a complicated undertaking. City permits would be required, and costs for purchasing banners, labor and storage would be substantial, members agreed.
This idea suggested on Nextdoor Soulard was deemed too expensive and not widely needed.
To this point, SRG has committed $10,000 to the Soulard camera system and has participated in other fundraising efforts for the system. There was general agreement that the SRG could commit more money for additional cameras but that the SRG should have a clearer picture of the costs of such additional cameras before committing. Ziemann said that in addition to the money previously raised, a couple business owners have pledged money to pay for cameras that would be located near their properties. In response to a question about license plate recognition (LPR) cameras, Bill Clendenin said that the first cameras that will be installed are not LPR cameras, If such LPR cameras are desired, such cameras would be donated to the existing city system and wouldn’t be operated as part of the Soulard camera system. The initial seven cameras will include one camera on the south side of Soulard. Ziemann said he is committed to seeing that additional cameras be placed on the south side of Soulard.
Luann Denten suggested having plaques labeling historic sites in Soulard, such as Pontiac Square Park. She said these could be used as a walking tour taking people through the entire neighborhood. She said that the city’s Cultural Resources office liked the idea. Steve Parker said that historical markers also were his top suggestion, along the lines of what one would see at a Civil War battlefield. He said businesses could have pamphlets describing stops on the walking tour, and that eventually it might grow into something like a Soulard Visitors Center. He said that Vincent’s Market, 2400 S. 12th St., a former movie house, might have a marker.
Beth Bennett suggested spending $5,000 for tree planting. She said we could plant about 50 trees a year.
Beth Bennett suggested that funds might be used for historic streetlights, like those on Cherokee Street. Sean Cochran said that expenses would be lower if the historic lights were attached to the current utility poles, but Bennett urged replacing them with historic poles. Jeremy Mehrle said he also favored spending for historic streetlights.
There was discussion of increasing the number of sidewalk trash cans.
There was discussion of improving sidewalks. It was noted that’s really the responsibility of the city or homeowner. There was brief talk of having homeowners match money from the surplus for sidewalks work. The question of getting grants arose but Ziemann asked that the current conversation focus on using surplus funds, not seeking new sources of revenue.
Jackie Parker suggested establishing a Soulard scholarship to be awarded annually to a student. She said requirements for applicants need to be determined. She said that one requirement might be volunteering with the SRG.
President Ziemann summarized the conversation and made some suggestions for next steps.
More specifics are needed before more money is allocated for the security cameras. Historical markers are a great idea and Luann Denten will get costs estimates. Planting trees is a good idea, though $5,000 might be high. Beth Bennett will do more research on the cost of historic streetlights. A Soulard scholarship is a great idea.
The city has given approval for the the Terra Madonna sculpture by Ureil Starbuck to move to Pontiac Square Park. (The sculpture currently is located at Unity Christ Church, 33 N. Skinker Blvd. The property where it is now may be sold and the artist wants to find a new home before the sale. The cost to transport and erect the 11-foot-tall and 5-foot-wide sculpture is estimated at $1,500. Durnell said that the funds would come from the Beautification Committee budget.
Starbuck, the artist, wants a plaque saying that the artwork is sponsored by someone to be determined.)
Three diseased trees will be removed from Pontiac Square Park.
The social after the April SRG General Membership Meeting will be held at the bandstand in Soulard Market Park to raise awareness about the bandstand and about the Beautification Committee prior to the committee’s fundraiser at Molly’s, 816 Geyer Ave.
The old Soulard Hotline phone number has been disabled.
The deadline for the next edition is Jan. 12.
Code and Zoning:
Beth Bennett says she submitted an inquiry to the city about whether the Polar Wave apartment project has installed metallic siding that doesn’t meet code. But she said the city canceled the work order because it didn’t contain a specific address. She has resubmitted it. She reported that the siding has been painted and isn’t unattractive. She said residents had told her the old building had metal siding.
Smarty Gras Trivia Night will be Feb. 20.
The social after the Jan. 13 SRG General Membership Meeting will be held at Soulard Station.
A Yoga get together is being discussed.
Julie Price has resigned from the committee.
Santa Comes to Soulard is Friday, Dec. 18, at Soulard Station.
Soulard Star magnets are in.
Our inventory of Soulard flags sold out.
$700 in merchandise was sold during the Holiday Parlour Tour.
Bill Clendenin, the SRG President-Elect, noted that he is in his last month as Safety Committee Chairman. He said Jim Rick and Scott Plackemeier will serve as co-chairmen.
Mardi Gras Inc.
Four to six volunteers are needed to work from noon to 4 p.m. at the family Winter Carnival on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Soulard Market Park.
The number of Krewes for the Mardi Gras Grand Parade currently is down about 20 percent.
MGI agreed to purchase a table at the Vices and Virtues Mardi Gras Ball.
A request for a Social House tent near the Soulard Coffee Garden was denied.
The MGI Board reapproved the formula for staff bonuses for outside events. 10 percent of all profits from outside events will be dedicated for community projects. Such funding was about $6,000 last year.
Luann Denten said she appreciated the improved communication between MGI and SRG.
The meeting adjourned at 9:46 p.m.