Thursday, April 14, 2005

EPIC Membership Meeting - April 2005

Holy Rosary Church, 6:30 pm

Minutes of the EPIC General Membership Meeting April 14, 2005 at Holy Rosary Church on 24th and 18th Ave. S. 6:30-9pm

Quorum: Carol Pass, Andy Engebretson, Hanna Lieder, Cynthia Aguirre, Albin Dittli, Rosie Cruz, Linda Leonard, Mary Gonsior [later], Earl Simms [later].

Attendance: The above-named directors and Brad Pass, Karen Clark, Lynn Mayo, Aden Awil,......,

6:30 Carol Pass, president, convened the meeting and asked people to introduce themselves. New board directors were identified: Carol Pass, president; Andy Engebretson, vp; Mary Gonsior, secretary; Cynthia Aguirre, treasurer; Earl Simms; Albin Dittli; Hannah Lieder; Rosie Cruz; Linda Leonard

Motion 1: Brad Pass to accept the agenda; second Hannah. Motion carried.

Discussion by Lynn about requests for protocol, citizen participation in the agenda process, and committee lists. Carol and others responded that the Board’s first meeting recognized these topics, but that directors have not yet been able to meet to establish policy, procedures, committee roles, etc. Ryan Brueske has the committee lists from the annual meeting sign up. Carol noted that one person signed for the garden and introduced Lynn to that person.

Motion 2: Approval of the minutes of the annual meeting. Motion by Albin, second by Linda. Motion carried.

Minutes of the April Board meeting were distributed in draft form for GM information.


1. The by-law change made at the annual meeting was inserted into new copies of the by-laws and distributed.

2. Jane reported on the Greenway: will ask Earl Simms to take her place as representative; May 7 is Arbor day, planting of quaking aspens; the switchback on 18th was approved; she and Andy described the bike bridge proposed over Hiawatha; Midtown Market opens May 7.

3. Membership communication will be facilitated by signing up on the web site Ryan maintains:

4 National Night Out requires requests for planning projects. Because some blocks have few permanent residents, mention was made of planning an EPIC event for people who do not have block events.

5. Everyone was urged to attend the Neighborhood Funding conference at Harrison Community Center; 503 Irving Ave. N, May 4th; 6-9 o’clock to reinforce need and preference for local neighborhood funding.

Report & Discussion: Allina Jobs Project

Carol reported that several proposals by NRP have not been accepted by Allina. They are requesting neighborhood funding to assist in the cost of building space at the Sears project which would provide $20/hr jobs for non-college graduates. It seems they want to stay in Mpls. rather than move to St. Paul and our letter of support was helpful although we provided no funding.

Lynn pointed out concerns about Allina’s administrative salary/benefit provisions in regard to asking impoverished neighborhoods to fund this project. Carol suggested that in terms of practicality members passed the motion of support because jobs would help the neighborhood and that as a neighborhood we have no vote in changing a company’s compensation structure.

Motion 3: That a copy of the letter of support be read into the next GMM minutes and that a copy of the minutes with the original motion of support be provided. Motion by Lynn, second by Linda, Motion carried.

Treasure’s report: Cynthia has not seen all the records yet. We probably have close to $3000 in a bank account and about $200,000 in funds frozen by NRP.

Midtown request: Carol provided a brief history of Phillips and the current four neighborhood divisions. The NRP funds from 95-99 included 13 million dollars, five additional went to the Native American NRP. Little of this funding went directly to East Phillips, except for acquiring and demolishing vacant and boarded buildings. After the big neighborhood broke up, East Phillips and Midtown Phillips were able to obtain funding to directly assist the residents here. Now smaller neighborhoods are able to receive apportioned funding for their own areas. We will receive independent status by default because the other three neighborhood organizations will be recognized. We do not have a school or community center as "required", but our boundaries will be defined by default because of the choices of the other three regions of “old Phillips” to become independent of one another.

Motion 4: To support Mid-town Phillips Neighborhood Association, Inc.’s motion to gain independent status to be granted by the city council. Motion by Cynthia, second by Jane
Motion carried.

Annual Report for 2004: Carol distributed the report with the correction that under "Future Goals for Epic" the “70% of Phase 1 NRP funds for housing” is an error. 52% NRP funds for housing from Phase 1 was actually mandated by the state legislature for housing. The greater Phillips Neighborhood under People of Phillips (POP), the old neighborhood organization successfully lobbied to spend only 18% for housing. When that organization broke up, the neighborhood was far behind in its mandated requirement. EPIC began its own project to try to correct that and respond to neighbors stated desire for housing improvement and development. The neighborhood elected to spend about 60% of the NRP funding left from POP for housing. This leveraged about 20 million dollars in construction and housing plus additional help for low income home ownership and needed rehab for low income families. None of EPIC’s NRP funding contributed to the 26 new family homes built throughout the neighborhood on the many empty lots. These were funded by money raised elsewhere. The 70% is actually what is mandated for housing by the state legislature for Phase II.
Our new NRP community liaison is Robert Thompson whose name was inadvertently omitted from the report.

President’s Informational Presentation about EPIC Funding and current situation:
Carol presented broad as well as very specific information about EPIC history, unique diversity, NRP funding requirements, remaining funds, plan modifications, various kinds of grants, our current financial situation in regard to non-profit, yet state corporation status, etc. The previous budgets were put on overhead. She explained the former board’s proposed budget in light of plan modifications, NRP policy [10%] for administrative "caps" for phase 1 monies, and our by-law requirements for community notice and votes on sums over $1,000. She pointed out the need to redo the 501©(3) application that was withdrawn by the former president so that we can get back to the business of providing for the funding needs of the neighborhood.

She distributed a sample survey we are to review and comment on in preparation for creating a strategic plan and budget. In brief, we must obtain a fiscal agent or 501c3 status as soon as possible. But we can approve a strategic plan and budget to submit to NRP and then contract with NRP for what remains of our Phase I money. We must have under contract 95% of Phase 1 funds and have spent 85%; then review Phase I, write an Evaluation and create a citizen participation agreement, before we can move on to phase II strategic planning to obtain Phase 2 funding. All of these steps must be approved by the NRP Policy Board, so we must pay attention to the requirements. Detailed outlines were provided and people were urged to take their own notes.

Action Item: members are to review the draft survey and email comments/suggestions to Carol, so we can get the survey out to the community soon.

Community garden: Lynn invited people to the garden to work Saturday at !0 to 12 and 2 to 4pm. Plots are available and she distributed a sign-up list. The insurance, property taxes, etc. are to be reimbursed or paid by EPIC. Her phone is 722-7356. The garden is at 2428 17th Ave. New committee members are needed.

Crime and safety: The Bloomington Avenue Patrol was suspended for a time, but anyone who wants to participate should make that known so it could perhaps start again. Rosie has concerns about speeding vehicles and problems during school bussing hours. Brad offered walkie-talkies. Aden said crime on 17th is also increasing near 25th and 26th. Carol reported that Weed and Seed Meetings and the Problem Property meetings are especially interesting with judges and prosecutors in attendance. Members are urged to attend these meetings.

New Business: Representative Karen Clark reported on the arsenic issue as a major health concern. Soil samples are random and not every yard is tested. She has initiated funding efforts and legislation with the Department of Agriculture, Pollution Control, and Department of Health.

Motion 5: To approve EPIC working with Rep. Karen Clark and the MN Dept. Of Health, MN Pollution Control Agency, and MN Dept of Ag to get funding for arsenic testing, clean-up, and public health assessment and tracking in Phillips. Motion by Linda and second by Mary. Motion carried.

Karen noted that the Health Dept has recommended that neighborhood residents wear masks when raking or turning soil and that hand washing for children as well as adults is imperative. Lynn made remarks about genetically altered seed and made information available.

Motion 6: To adjourn by Linda and second by Hannah
Motion carried and meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.

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