April 2016 General Meeting Minutes


April 6, 2016 

Location: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 1919 S. 7th St.

The meeting was called to order by President Mike Ziemann at 7:11 p.m.

Board members in attendance: Mike Ziemann, Bill Clendenin, Sean Cochran, Beth Bennett, Luann Denten, Jeremy Mehrle, Jackie Parker, Steve Parker, Alicia Stellhorn, Gary Toribio
Board members absent: None 

Elected officials in attendance: Alderman Jack Coatar, Alderman Ken Ortmann

Guests: Laclede Gas representatives Scott Blumm, Brad Howard, Pat Mayfield, Alex Sammet

New Members
Brenda Switzer, who is retiring from Soulard Family Dentistry, introduced Dr. Azaryas Mandefro, who will be taking over the practice, and his wife Bethel. Two other new members introduced themselves. 

Board Elections:
The candidates introduced themselves. Membership Committee members distributed and collected ballots.

Secretary’s Minutes:
Minutes from the March 2 General Membership Meeting and the March 30 Board Meeting were approved.  

Treasurer’s Report: 
Treasurer’s Report was approved.

Laclede Gas Work:
Brad Howard, regional customer service coordinator, and Scott Blumm of Laclede Gas previewed a pipe replacement project that will be taking place throughout the entire neighborhood, perhaps beginning in June. They said that the entire system was being redesigned and that old cast iron pipe will be replaced with plastic pipe that is “more reliable, safer and allows for higher gas pressure.” The project is being done in phases. The phase near the Anheuser-Busch Brewery is near completion. All streets in Soulard eventually will be affected. 
Residents will receive a letter and question-and-answer brochure prior to the appearance of work crews on their street. Yellow tags will be placed on doors saying the work is beginning. An orange tag will be placed on the door of any home where work needs to be done inside the home so that the resident can call for an appointment.
In historic areas, like Soulard, gas meters that are inside the home will be replaced inside the home. In non-historic areas, the meters will be relocated to outside.
Backhoes and barricades will appear on streets when work begins there, and no-parking signs will be posted as needed. 
Blumm said repairs on street surfaces after pipes are replaced will follow City Street Department guidelines. The city does its own asphalt resurfacing, he said. In the winter, Laclede crews will fill holes with concrete to street level. In the summer, Laclede crews will fill holes with concrete to within two inches of street level, so that the city can asphalt over to street level.
Alderman Ortmann expressed his disappointment with the resurfacing that was done in the 9th Ward, near the brewery and surrounding streets, where concrete was filled to street level. He noted that city funds recently were used to repave South 12th Street. That repaving work could have been delayed, he said, if he had known of Laclede Gas’ intention to fill holes with concrete to street level.
Howard said he would set up a meeting with Alderman Jack Coatar to ensure good communications with residents before work starts in the 7th Ward. Mailings notifying residents that crews are coming will be done four to six weeks in advance, Howard said.
In response to a question, Blumm said he could not estimate how long the project will take. 
“We’re not talking years,” he said.

Police Report:
Officer Brian Min: Officer Min said March crimes included:
 Four assaults, including one murder. (In one instance, a neighbor confronted a suspect breaking into a car and had a gun pointed at him.) 
 Two stolen autos (One involved a pizza delivery in which the car was left running.)              

 Two burglaries
 Two robberies (One was a carjacking in the 1200 block of Ann Avenue in which a suspect with a dog indicated he had a gun and drove off in the victim’s car; an arrest was made. The other involved two juveniles with a BB rifle who attempted to rob the victim of her purse.)    

 23 larcenies, including 14 car break-ins.                                                                                        Three cases of property damage.                                                                                                   Officer Min said GCI Security wrote four summonses. 

Social House, 1551 S. 7th St., was issued a Cease and Desist Letter for nuisance activities. Alderman Coatar said the suspension of Social House’s 3 a.m. liquor license has expired. He said he doesn’t believe they are staying open to 3 a.m. most nights.

Officer Min said that so far in April, there has been one assault, two stolen autos, one larceny, two instances of property damage and one vehicle arson. He said an arrest was made in a car break-in in which $16 was taken, and the arrest was made in the carjacking involving the suspect with a dog. 

An arrest was made in the fatal shooting of a man March 3 in a parking lot in the 800 block of Geyer Avenue. Officer Min noted that the victim had a criminal record, including a drug arrest, property damage and assaulting a police officer.

Officer Min requested a neighborhood presence at a trial beginning April 11 for two Illinois residents who had robbed a victim in Soulard of a cellphone and wallet at gunpoint in September 2015.

Officer Min was asked what citizens should do when confronted by aggressive panhandlers. He said to call the police. 

Soulard Star Award for Tom Burnham: 
President Mike Ziemann presented Tom Burnham with a special Soulard Star Award in recognition of Burnham’s work as Shelter Director of Peter and Paul Community Services, a 501c3 nonprofit unaffiliated with Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church. After 25 years, Burnham is leaving that post and moving into a development position. 

Lisa Otke conveyed the well-wishes of Police Officer Tony Miller, longtime liaison for Soulard. Tom Burnham said he was surprised and honored to receive the award. He expressed his “very deep love of the neighborhood” and said he had “always thought of St. Louis as a suburb of Soulard.”

New Business:
Police Officer Appreciation Luncheon: 
The Police Officer Appreciation Luncheon will be April 7 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Ziemann said a couple seats at the SRG table were still available, and he offered them to members of SRG committees.

Trops Liquor License: Paul Kjorlie requested a standing ovation for Billy Tomber, Jeremy Mehrle and Macy Mehrle for their work in “shutting down Trops,” (Tropical Liqueurs, 1800 S. 10th St.) 

Alderman Coatar then explained that while the City Excise Commissioner had revoked Trops’ liquor license on April 9, the business is appealing the decision in Circuit Court. The City Counselors Office is now representing efforts to revoke the license. The judge granted a stay of the liquor license revocation during the appeal process. The judge also ordered Trops to provide second security on weekends, midnight closings and no to-go cups. Coatar said Trops’ goal is to stay in business until it relocates, which it wants to do.

Delegate Selection:
Marty Murray, candidate for 7th Ward Committeeman, invited people to participate in the 7th Ward Democratic Party Delegate Selection Meeting at 7 p.m. April 7 at the South Broadway Athletic Club, 2301 S 7th St.  if they interested in being a delegate or helping select delegates for the 1st Congressional District Convention or Democratic National Convention. 

April Showers Girl Scouts Collection:
Karen Moske said that area Girl Scouts, including her daughter, would be placing April Showers collection bags on door knobs on Saturday, April 9, and collecting them Saturday, April 16. Small containers of personal care items are being collected.

Committee Reports:
Beautification: Richard Eaton said that the Beautification Committee is recruiting new members, and that volunteers can specialize in certain areas if they want (mulching, pulling weeds, etc.) On April 23, the committee will be working in Pontiac Square Park, starting at 9 a.m. The committee will be busy planning for the Garden Tour set for June 25.

In response to a question, Eaton said the committee would be assuming control of the Soulard Station gardens. Committee member Julie Dinkelmann expressed disappointment that, as a member of the committee, she didn’t know that decision had been made. Eaton responded that it was decided by a vote of the SRG Board. President Ziemann said the decision was explained in the SRG March 30 Board Meeting Minutes.

American Legion Post 422 Report: In Mr. Bill Wirtel’s absence, David Ulrey gave a shout-out to the Cod Crew for their work at the Lenten Fish Fries. Another will be held at the Legion April 15 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Ambucs tricycle program for disabled veterans.

Soulard Business Association Report: No report.

Mardi Gras Inc. Report: Gary Toribio said that the post-Mardi Gras public forum was held March 3, during which the MGI Board and staff heard comments about Grand Parade Day. He said MGI would be helping with the St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day. He said the roof on the MGI Building at 2200 Dolman St. will be replaced.

Communications: No report.

Renaissance: The deadline for the Garden Tour edition of the Renaissance is May 13.

Code and Zoning Report: Jay Gibbs said the Plan Review Team had met with the developer and architect of plans to renovate the site next to the Polar Wave Apartments. The plans — calling for 118 units in a four- or five-story structure with 0.75 parking spaces per unit — are much improved over an earlier version, he said. He said the Plan Review Team members indicated informal approval. The head of City Cultural Resources also was there.

Gibbs said the Board of Adjustment had ruled that only eight units will be allowed in a renovation of the boarding house at 2330 S. 12th St. The developer had requested 14 units (the boarding house had 31 units) and the Plan Review Team had given its okay. But neighbors were worried about a lack of on-street parking and the Board of Adjustment voted to adhere to the 0.75 parking space rule. Plans call for six parking spaces, so that translates to the eight units approved. Gibbs said he had not yet talked with the developer after the decision.

Fundraising report: Rick Dungey encouraged residents to attend the GO! Marathon and half-marathon cheer station at South 9th and Victor streets, outside the Good Luck Bar. Wear PJs and arrive about 7:30 a.m. Bring a canned good for Trinity Lutheran Church. The SRG will receive $750 from the GO! Marathon organizers for staging the cheer station.

Membership Report: The next committee meeting is at 7 p.m. April 14 at Soulard Station. The General Membership Party will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4 at the Great Grizzly Bear, 1027 Geyer Award. 

Tonight’s social being hosted by the Beautification Committee was to be held at the revamped Bandstand in Soulard Market Park but has been relocated to Soulard Station because of the cold weather.

Residential Promotion Report: Thanks to those who attended the Local Hour at Cat’s Meow, 2600 S. 11th St. The Fashion Show portion of Bastille Days will be at the South Broadway Athletic Club. “Royals” are being sought for next year’s Vices & Virtues Mardi Gras Ball.

Safety Report: Spring Safety Walk follows tonight’s meeting. 

President’s Farewell Address: President Ziemann thanked the Board and the SRG Membership for their help and support during his term as president. Jackie Parker presented Ziemann with a gift from the Board and thanked him for his service. Incoming President Bill Clendenin also thanked Ziemann.

Announcement of New SRG Board: Ziemann announced that Wade Weistreich was elected President-Elect, Venessa Kobrin was elected Secretary, Chris Schwarz was elected Treasurer, and Neil Putz and Scott Plackemeier were elected Directors. Ziemann said that outgoing Treasurer Alicia Stellhorn would continue to serve until June 30, the end of the Fiscal Year. Ziemann then called to the front of the room the other members of the Board who will continue in office: Clendenin, Bennett, Denten, Toribio and Jackie Parker. Photos were taken.

Adjournment: The meeting was formally adjourned at 8:29 p.m. by Bill Clendenin, the new president.