March 2017 SRG Board Meeting Minutes

Date:             March 15, 2017

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

Officers and Directors in Attendance: Beth Bennett, Bill Clendenin, Luann Denten, Venessa Kobrin, Scott Plackemeier, Neil Putz, Christopher Schwarz, Billy Tomber, Wade Weistreich

Officers and Directors Absent: Gary Toribio, Mike Ziemann

The meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m. by President Bill Clendenin

Old Business


Elections will be held at the April General Membership meeting.

President Elect - this is a three year total commitment. One year as President Elect, one year as President, and one year as Past President. This commitment includes all general and board meetings. Wade Weistreich is the current President Elect, Bill Clendenin is the current President, and Mike Ziemann is the current Past President.

The current secretary, Venessa Kobrin, is running for the position of President Elect.

Secretary - this is a one year commitment. The position is up for election annually. This commitment includes all general and board meetings as well as minutes for each. This position results in one of the main communication tools for the SRG as a whole, meeting minutes. There is a time commitment outside of the meetings for preparation, review and dissemination of the minutes.

Treasurer - this is a one year commitment. The position is up for election annually. This commitment includes all general and board meetings in addition to an average of five hours per week communicating with committee chairs, paying bills cutting checks and monitoring the finances of the SRG. This position also includes the responsibility of taxes for the fiscal year that one is elected for.

Christopher Schwarz is the current Treasurer and will run for the position again.

Director (3 positions) - the Director positions are two year terms. The time commitment includes as general and board meetings. Gary Toribio, Luann Denten and Beth Bennett are the current Directors whose seats are up for election.  Prior to the meeting, Gary confirmed that he would not be continuing as a Director.  

Luann Denten, Beth Bennett and Steve Shuman are running for the positions of Director.

Proposed Mosque in McKinley Heights
    The McKinley Heights neighborhood association and the proposed mosque are in mediation. Jay Gibbs recommended that we compose but do not send the letter since the parties are in mediation.

Motion: Billy motions that we compose a letter of support defending the use of historic codes for McKinley Heights, and provide it only if the neighborhood association requests it.

Second: Beth Bennett seconds

6 in favor and 2 opposed


    Luann Denten indicated the important of spending time with the other non-profit groups within Soulard. A social will be arranged for members of the SRG/SSBD/MGI/MGF/SBA/CID after Mardi Gras.

    Monday, May 8, Soulard Station, Soulard Gathering, 5:30-until done.

Past President Cocktail Hour

    Christopher Schwarz indicated the importance of institutional knowledge within the neighborhood and the SRG and suggested the Past President Cocktail Hour be revived. All agree and hope to see this tradition return in the coming months.

    The idea is to hold the Past President Cocktail prior to any Board retreat. Date to be determined after the upcoming election.

New Business


    The Renaissance used to be entirely volunteer run. It is now been done by Saint Louis programs, who has put the Renaissance to print for the last 11 years. SRG’s role in narrowly defined but critical. The content of the paper is provided by Com Com. The next issue is the Garden Tour issue and will go to print the first week of June.

Mom Howard Camera Project (Judith Howard)

    The Mom Howard camera project is run by Judith Howard in line with her mother’s wishes for monies donated to the SRG and in her mother’s memory.

This is the status of the camera project to-date:

Expressed Interest - 88 Homes
Consent Forms Submitted - 49 Homes
Installed - 18 Homes / 54 Cameras
Scheduled - 27 Homes
Units on Hand - 26

Additional Matching Gifts Made: $4,010 (Cash+GoFundMe)
Cost-to-date: $14,660
Budget Balance: ($650)

    Netgear (Arlo) and Tenergy (top-line rechargeable batteries) have made significant donations (around $8k worth of gear) to Soulard in Mom Howard's honor. Many neighbors have re-gifted Mom Howard's love and paid some forward to buy their neighbor an Arlo. Judith said, “It is heartwarming to witness the Legacy my Mom intended and way beyond. Thank you!” Originally, when this program started 3 weeks ago, Judith planned for 20 Homes to participate, and hoped for 40. Currently 88 homes are interested. The original scope will be completed ahead of schedule and under 4 weeks.

    The SRG will determine how to best support the Mom Howard Camera project with the funds willed to the SRG in Mom Howard’s estate.

Launch St. Louis (Zarrin Liliani)

    The overall mission is to keep young leadership in Saint Louis and get young leadership involved in non profits. Most nonprofits have boards that are comprised of an older generation who have money but not necessarily the energy that young leaders can infuse into an organization. It is a free program for nonprofits. Launch St. Louis recruits for, trains and launches a young leaders nonprofit group over an 18-month period. A total of four successful programs have been launched to date.

    The second program is Launch U. The second program starts in January and June. This is a do-it-yourself version. Train the trainer. A total of 6 session. If you apply for the main program and are not selected, your nonprofit will receive a discount or free Launch-U. Launch St. Louis is currently a volunteer run nonprofit.

Soulard Holiday Decorating Committee

    Venessa Kobrin would like to establish the Soulard Holiday Decorating Committee. This committee would serve a very specific and time limited function: decoration of the parks and public areas of Soulard during the winter holiday season.

    There are a number of Soulardians who have already expressed specific interest in said committee. This committee would not only serve to bring twinkle lights and magic to Soulard, but also provide a volunteer opportunity to individuals for a very specific and limited time period of the year. We have SRG members who want to be involved outside of just meetings without committing to large scale or on-going events - just an opportunity to add some magic.

    While decorating could potentially fall under beautification, it is so specific that the recommendation was establishing its own committee.

    Potential decorating locations already discussed are the following: Soulard Station (in and out), Auboussie park and gazebo, tree and decorations in Pontiac Park, street lamps. This could also be a way to established a decorating competition within the neighborhood.

Motion: Wade W. motions that the Soulard Holiday Decorating be formed and that Venessa K. present a budget at the upcoming budget meeting.

Second: Billy Tomber

In-Favor: All

Soulard Star Award

    Star awards nominations need to be given to the Membership Committee. Venessa K. nominated Mom Howard for a Star Award. Luann Denten nominated Ken Ortmann. He has put in 18 years and while outside of the requirement of resident, his contributions to Soulard are without measure. In lieu of a Star Award, the Mom Howard Benevolence Award will be established with Mom Howard as the first recipient.

Motion: Beth motions to honor Ken Ortmann with the Soulard Star award

Second: Chris Schwarz

In-Favor: All

Treasurer Reports

    The Treasurer presented several reports for review by the Board. The Treasurer will continue to meet with Committee Chairs in preparation for the upcoming Budget Meeting. The Treasurer is specifically asking committee chairs to identify projects that can be undertaken in the coming year.

Committee Reports

1. Communications and Fundraising (Billy Tomber):

    Fat Tire event will take place June 10, 2017. More details and a call for volunteers will follow.

2. Beautification (Luann Denten):

    Beautification meeting will be taking place in a few weeks.

3. Code and Zoning (Beth Bennett):


4. Membership (Beth Bennett):

    There will be a call for Star Awards. There is still a need for hosts for the socials! May is the big membership social at Howard’s.

5. Residential Promotions (Luann Denten):

    Left Hand printing will be providing an online platform on Etsy to purchase Soulard merchandise. This will also allow a brink and mortar store for people to purchase Soulard items from. Cathy Weldon will also be selling wine glasses and jewelry at The Porch. The financial implications are the establishment of a USPS account.

The Soulard website,, will have the merchandise displayed with links to purchase via Paypal.

Motion: Chris Schwarz moves, as the Treasurer, that the Board gives him the authority to establish USPS account and funding source.

Second: Luann Denten

In-Favor: All

    Residential Promotion has planned their first potluck in Pontiac Park on May 7th at noon. They will provide the meat, asking for sides and games.

    The Soulard Concert Series may be in its final year if an organization does not undertake the program. The concert series is currently coordinated and ran by Cathy Weldon.

Motions: Wade Weistreich motions that we form an exploratory committee to to assist.

Second: Venessa Kobrin

In-Favor: All

Motion: Billy Tomber motions to sponsor the Soulard Concert series event at the $1500 level.

Second: Venessa Kobrin

In-Favor: All

6. Safety (Scott Plackemeier):

    The camera project continues. The safety committee will look at pricing LED lights.

7. MGI (Billy Tomber and Gary Toribio):

    A temporary vacant seat is open on the MGI board is through June 30, 2018 and the president has appointed Michael Pastore.
8. Parlor Tour (Mike Ziemann/Billy Tomber):

    No report given.

9. Soulard Station (Neil Putz):

    The ad hoc committee met with Vicki and Jay Morris to transition the Station from a rental venue to a building managed by the SRG. Luann D. brought up extending the building to create a building and meeting space that accommodates the SRG membership. Paul Findler did the original drawings. The ad hoc committee will look into extending the building for the purposes of accommodating the SRG membership for events.

10. Vices & Virtues (Luann Denten)

    No report given.


Venessa K. motioned to adjourn, Scott P. seconded and the meeting adjourned at 10:35 p.m.