August 2016 SRG Board Meeting Minutes

Date: Aug. 17, 2016

Location: Soulard Station, 1911 S. 12th St.

Officers and directors in attendance: Beth Bennett, Bill Clendenin, Luann Denten, Venessa Kobrin, Jackie Parker, Scott Plackemeier, Neil Putz, Christopher Schwarz, Gary Toribio, Wade Weistreich, Mike Ziemann

Officers and directors absent: None

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 p.m. by SRG President Bill Clendenin

Old Business - None

New Business - 1. 1400 Russell Apartments
Jay Gibbs was in attendance to convey the recommendation of the Planning and Review Team (PRT) regarding the proposed 1400 Russell Blvd. development. In addition to the most recent renderings, the same that were present at the open house and email to the Board in advance, Jay also discussed changes that are not yet reflected on the renderings.

Gibbs said that many citizens have taken part in the open meetings and the open house that was held regarding the proposed Russell development. In his 20-25 years serving on the PRT, he said that has not worked with a more amiable and cooperative group of developers. The paramount piece of any new construction in a historic district is the model example. The model example is an existing building in the district or neighborhood that serves as an existing example of the details and scope of the proposed development. In the case of 1400 Russell Blvd., the model example is the Hat Factory. The contractor and architect of the proposed development also served as the contractor and architect for the Hat Factory. The proposed development is not an exact replica of the Hat Factory but one can see obvious similarities in the brick work, overall height, windows and several other architectural details. The proposed aesthetics of the proposed development have evolved from the first version to the most current based on feedback from the PRT, SRG Board and citizens who have taken part in various feedback opportunities.

Gibbs stated that the proposed site itself, not the current structures, is “dismal.” There is a lot of traffic on the adjacent streets and, while the proposed project would not decrease traffic, it would create a sound barrier to highway noise and create a structured entry into the neighborhood. This is not a site conducive to single family homes and it is unlikely that people would spend $150,000 for the site for the purpose of building single family residences. The site is quite similar to the site of the Soulard Market Loft Apartments, 1531 S. 8th St., a development also highway adjacent and industrial in nature.

There is one occupied single-family home within the block. The owners of this home attended the open house and expressed concerns about the parking and traffic impact of the project.  The Board will recommend that the developers work with these residents toward an agreement to minimize the impact to their parking situation as this single family residence does not have off-street parking. There is precedent for this within the neighborhood where a resident leased parking for numerous years at a low rate. This is an option to alleviate the parking impact that would be felt by the established residents of the home. 

The current proposed development cannot be discussed without comparison to the South 7th and Victor project due to the recent neighborhood response regarding the South 7th and Victor project. Gibbs noted that going forward, it’s unlikely that the PRT will recommend projects that deviate from the 1-1 parking ratio for new construction or that do not include parking in the base rent (i.e. that charge a separate fee for parking).  This ensures that the parking lots that are required to be built to code are actually utilized by the residents as they were intended (e.g., to alleviate increased street parking).

As such, Gibbs strongly urged the Board to approve and support the proposed 1400 Russell Blvd. project.

Motion: Venessa Kobrin motions to accept the PRT recommendation and that the Board write a preliminary letter of support to the Preservation Board and Zoning Committee supporting the development at 1400 Russell Blvd. The letter would also make clear that the SRG does not support the demolition of the single family residence on Dolman Street and Ann Avenue.

Second: Gary Toribio seconds the motion.

Passed: 11-0.

2. LouFest Booth
Mardi Gras Inc. has presented SRG with the opportunity to operate a beer booth at LouFest.  A large booth requires 80 volunteers over a period of two days. The event is not in Soulard, but Forest Park. For such a large beer booth, the SRG would receive at least $4,000. Another option presented was for the SRG to help recruit volunteers for a smaller 6-8 person booth.

The Board discussed issues involved with participating in the event, including the fact that there’s been difficulty in fully manning events that are not located in the neighborhood, the fact that we would have to transport the volunteers to and from the event, and a lack of volunteer interest in beer booths as a method of volunteering in the SRG.

Kobrin recommended an administrative process over the next several general meetings to identify and create a volunteer database as well as an event to acknowledge and thank previous and current volunteers. This could address the shift in the volunteer base by commingling the established, new and potential volunteers while increasing neighborhood relationships. It was stated that this recommendation was not a good use of resources at this time.

Toribio asked for clarification regarding the budget and beer booths, specifically haw much of the budget was based on Oktoberfest and various beer booths. It is requested that the Treasurer review the budget and report the information at the next meeting. There are new fundraising events that will help in offsetting any income lost by lack of participation in beer booths (e.g., holiday wreath sales).

Motion: Wade Weistreich motions to forego the beer booth at LouFest.

Second: Kobrin seconds the motion.

Passed: 11-0.

Committee Reports

1. Communications and Fundraising (Jackie Parker)
The Renaissance deadline for copy is Sept. 2. The paper will be released about   two weeks later. Residential Promotions has again been deleted from the meetings sections of the Blaster but Jackie Parker will ensure Residential Promotion meetings and  events are again reflected in the Blaster. This is especially important as the Blaster has been identified as the central repository for neighborhood information, news and events.

2. Beautification (Luann Denten)
The footings are poured for the Terra Madonna. Sometime in the next several weeks the statue will be moved to the raised bed on the west side of Pontiac Park. The footprint does not take away any existing space from the park grounds. Weed Warriors will meeting at Pontiac Park on Saturday for the sole purpose of cleaning up the bed in light of the Terra Madonna’s arrival.

3. Code and Zoning (Beth Bennett)
See previous notes regarding the proposed development at 1400 Russell Blvd.

4. Membership (Beth Bennett)
The Membership Chair position has, to date, not been filled. This position is vital to the success of the SRG. Please submit any potential candidates to or

5. Residential Promotions (Luann Denten)
Residential promotion is researching the process to list and sell merchandise online. It will not work for every item, but most. Having merchandise for sale online will allow customers to purchase Soulard merchandise from the comfort of their home as well as lessen the amount of merchandise that needs to be present for purchase at events.

The sign project is moving forward with specific actions taken to tailor verbiage, presentation, dimensions and materials to meet the requirements of Cultural Resources. Luann Denten met with Bob Bettis at Cultural Resources in regard to the project. No set template of requirements exists for a project of this nature. A template for the Soulard sign project will need to be created and submitted to Cultural resources for approval. Some requirements and restrictions were identified: the buildings need to be permanent, the buildings cannot be commercial, the signs can be attached to buildings in the mortar but not the brick, the sign must be visible to the public without entering private property, the signs cannot be embedded in the sidewalk, can be affixed to the building or a pedestal and the verbiage must read “circa” and not “built on.”

The materials options are varied in both aesthetic and costs. Potential materials are stainless steel, aluminum, bronze and zinc. Aluminum or stainless steel would be engraved while bronze or zinc would be cast. The advantage to zinc is that the zinc is lighter than the bronze which allows more options with mounting. The aluminum would be about $200 per sign.           Bronze or zinc would be about $800 per sign.

In keeping with limitations in the application of signs to buildings, the sign would be horizontal with the Soulard Star as a 3D effect. A border would serve to create a finished look. These are still preliminary plans that are being priced and worded. Limiting the verbiage to 3-4 sentences which would make interaction appealing to someone walking by on the street without being too wordy. It was recommended that the typography of the signs be the same as or similar the typography on the Soulard entry markers.

This is an effort to bring the history of the oldest surviving neighborhood in St. Louis to the current public and population.

Event Calendar for Residential Promotion
Residential Promotion meetings are held the second Tuesday each month at 2622 S. 11th St.

The “Art in the Garden” art auction will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 30, at Soulard Station. This event is the culmination of the Art in the Garden Tour. Each of the  tour gardens hosted an artist, who created an original piece of art within the garden. Each of the pieces is unique and influenced not only be the garden in which it was created but also by the neighbors and friends who enjoyed the gardens through the day. The art auction is your opportunity to own one of these beautiful pieces while supporting the SRG’s

6. Beautification Committee (Luann Denten)
Halloween Festivities will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 28, at B-K-Z American Legion, 2601 S. 11th St. Festivities will include the Decorated Gold Cart parade and costume contest and the kid-friendly agenda will culmination with Trunk-or-Treat. Adults are welcome to participate in the costumed pub crawl once the Trunk-or-Treat concludes. More information to follow.

Santa Comes to Soulard has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at Soulard Station. More information to follow.

Soulard’s Vices and Virtues Mardi Gras Ball will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 11, at the South Broadway Athletic Club, 2301 S. 7th Street. More information to follow.

7. Safety (Scott Plackemeier)
The camera project is coming together. The required 30 percent up-front payment is being made with the rest is to be paid upon completion of the project. Installation should commence in September with the first phase wrapping up in November.

National Night Out, held on Aug. 2, was a great success.

There have been two separate arrests for car cloudings that took place in the                       neighborhood.

8.. MGI (Jackie Parker and Gary Toribio) - No update at this time.

9.. Parlor Tour (Mike Ziemann)

Debbie Cope has volunteered to fill Jim Price’s previous position as volunteer coordinator for the tour. Denten and Bennett have provided names to the Parlour Tour committee as potential homes to open for the Tour.

10. Soulard Station (Neil Putz) - Updates held in executive session.

Adjournment: Toribio motioned to adjourn, Mike Ziemann seconded and the meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.