Thursday, August 11, 2005

Epic General Membership Meeting - August e2005

Directors Present: Carol Pass, Andy Engebretson, Albin Dittli, Linda Leonard, Mary Gonsior, Cynthia Aguirre

Members Present: Ryan Brueske, Brad Pass, Margaret Kirkpatrick, Stephanie Allen, Amy Pass, Marcelino Reyes, Alfonso Cruz, Sherzad Kordian, Aden Awil, Karen Clark

Directors not Present: Earl Simms, Hannah Lieder, Rosie Cruz

Guests Present: Kathy Wetzel Mastel (PRG), Gary Schiff

Meeting was called to order at 6:40 by CP. AD chaired the meeting. Agenda was distributed. Minutes from the last two EBM were distributed.

Motion (RB, MG)
Motion to approve agenda with correction to “Review of Minutes from July, ‘05.” Motion passed.

The minutes from the June 9, 2005 GMM and July 14, 2005 GMM were passed with the following corrections:
June, pg. 4, first paragraph: “BP reported that the EPC 17th Ave. Garden is owned by the GI…”
July, pg. 2, 501(c)(3): “CP will begin with the 2005 budget.”
July, pg. 2, Block Club Meeting and Crime Patrol: “…picnic with kickball and visiting.”
July, pg. 4, Strategic Planning, last paragraph: “…Jordan may be the only…” and “…neighborhoods with parks that …”

RB reported that the 29th and Cedar Condo development has broken ground and is almost completely excavated. The 28th and Cedar project is due to break ground imminently.

Lake Minnetonka Fishing
LL reported that a group from Minnetonka has invited E. Phillips residents to bring kids out for fishing this Sunday (8/14/05) A similar event was held last weekend.

18th Avenue Block Club
BP reported that the block club welcomes any E. Phillips resident to join the block club on Friday evenings at 5:30 pm. They are looking for vacant properties, although their priority is to develop properties the City already owns. Residents may call Edie Oates, and city council members, and candidates for city council.

CPED’s longstanding housing rehab program has recently been expanded to include new housing. CPED is looking for vacant properties.
Motion (CP, MG)
EPIC will write a letter in support of the City through the HOWE program, acquire and evaluate problem properties for rehab or new construction, in particular the house at 2447 16th Ave.

Director Resignations
AE announced that he is moving out of E. Phillips next week and is, therefore, required to resign from the EPIC board. Andy expressed appreciation for fellow board members encouragement and support. He encouraged everyone to focus on working together for common goals in the future. AD announced that he will be moving out of E. Phillips before the next GMM and would also need to resign at that time.


July Action Items

The process on our application prepared by former EPIC directors took one year. Since we have to re-apply using a new application form, and because the IRS doesn’t understand much about NRP, CP acquired a copy of the application paperwork completed by Midtown Phillips and is using these materials as a guide for completing the new application.

CDGB Funding
CP asked CA, HL and MG to review the current EPIC Finance policies and propose revisions. EPIC no longer has an Executive Director or other staff. In addition, EPIC’s budget will be much smaller for 2005.

Insurance Refund
The insurance refund has been deposited into the checking account.

Insurance Payment
CP is reviewing the insurance policy with the insurer to determine that the current policy is appropriate for EPIC at this time.

Community Garden
The board must designate one additional EPIC director to the Garden Committee. (Still pending.)
The board has designated CA as the “official” liaison to the GI and EPIC has notified GI staff.

NRP Funds
Look into the reduction in NRP funds over the past two years to determine how much loss is the result of changes in Minneapolis tax revenue decisions. Consider how to respond. (Ongoing.)

Parking on 24th Street
Letter of support for the Franklin Townhome Association supporting additional parking on 24th Street was written. Need to follow up.

Community Center
LL will report on this later in the meeting.

Weed & Seed Meeting
CP reported that the speaker at the last meeting was Don Harris, who heads up the internal review of the performance of police officers. The meeting addressed how important the review process is in obtaining evidence and there is a need for a strong evidence gathering ability on the civilian review board.

Liga Hispana de Biesbol.
MR reported that the league held an all-star day at Parade Stadium, rented from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The event was a great family gathering and a good time was had. The league is growing and more teams are expected to join the league next year. MR expressed appreciation for all the help the league received from the community, the park board and other organizations that contributed to the success of the league.

Franklin Station Condominiums
KWM reported on the progress of the VIP project, Phase II. PRG is a nonprofit community director whose mission is to create affordable housing and strengthen neighborhoods and communities. PRG has been involved with planning the VIP project for the past 7-8 years. Phase II encompasses the south corners of 24th and Bloomington. On the E. Phillips side, the building is four stories and is designed to look like small-scale commercial retail on the first floor, but actually contains parking. The three floors above contain 24 owner-occupied, 2-3 bedroom condos, with similar affordability as the town homes. 20% are affordable to households earning less than 50% of median income and 20% to households earning less than 80% of median income. The Midtown building will have three stories; ground floor parking and the two floors above contain 12 owner-occupied, 1-2 bedroom condos. Partners on affordable units are Twin Cities Habitat and City of Lakes Community Land Trust. All Fundraising is complete except for $200,000 grant application to the State for additional affordability. The decision is expected in October. Projected Schedule:
September: PRG will submit site plan and zoning application and requests a letter of support from EPIC.
October: Gather marketing material.
November: Begin marketing of 36 units; must pre-sell 12 units.
January: Architect to prepare detailed plans for public bidding.
May: Begin construction.

KWM reported that the Midtown building meets R4 zoning. GS noted that zoning categories vary depending on the area of the project. Even though the project will be zoned R5, the plan does not maximize the density to the limit permitted by R5. KWM reported that Phase II environmental studies report that the site is “clean.” KWM requested a general letter of support for zoning variances and other regulatory approvals PRG may need to complete this phase of the project.

Motion (BP, LL)
EPIC write a letter enthusiastically supporting zoning and other city approvals requested, as needed for the Phase II Franklin Station Condo project. Motion passed.

Gang Prevention
GS is working with a new gang prevention program run by Mike Dale. The program is the best run in Minneapolis and works primarily with new immigrants from Latin America and Mexico. Mike works out of Holy Rosary, helping to build ties to community. CLUES and other youth programs with social services are working together to map our how to come up with a program to reach out to youth before they get in trouble. The City has NO plan or program for gang prevention, although the Park Board has youth services. GS is working with Hennepin County Youth Services to develop a culturally enriched program aimed at gang prevention.

Residents shared crime concerns with GS. Fighting gangs include Suppression (Police,) Prevention (very little,) and Intervention (almost none.)

DIAL 3-1-1.
This is a new city service; a non-emergency question line available 18 hours a day, beginning January 2006. (Library hours, snow emergency, graffiti, etc.) The line will be staffed by highly-trained, experienced operators.

Environmental Challenges and Possible Solutions in East Phillips
KC reported that arsenic is a poison; no amount is good for you and 10-12 parts per million (ppm) is considered “normal.” Many of our yards have a lot more than that. The arsenic in E. Phillips was caused by storage of a pesticide during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The pesticides were allowed to sit and blow all over the neighborhood and seep into the ground. The liquid underground arsenic is moving toward the Mississippi River. The primary risk to residents is those yards where arsenic is present. We are getting mixed messages about the arsenic. EPA did a lot of testing; initially this testing was random. Now we know that every yard will be tested. EPA thinks it is okay to leave yards alone containing 95 ppm of arsenic - nine times higher than what is considered “normal.” This decision is based solely on the cost of cleanup.

The WEI has applied to a Foundation for funding to conduct a medical survey in E. Phillips and several close neighborhoods to discover whether there are patterns of health problems. Arsenic is known to be associated with a long list of health problems. An intern from the GI is investigating the history of the arsenic tests.

Resources for Testing: EPA said they might consider paying for personally collected soil samples, provided they were collected carefully, according to their established standards.

Motion (CP, LL)
EPIC will write a letter of support for the continued work of WEI on public health tracking, environmental justice investigations and surveys with regard to the arsenic cleanup. Motion passed.

LL reported that the survey was reviewed by a couple of groups. The general advice is to get different types of information from different audiences, using different tools, for example, focus groups. The present survey would be primarily useful for college-educated groups. A completely different tool would be useful with youth. The sample surveys conducted gave surprising results. LL asked that the Board be permitted to continue working on the survey.

New Policies and Procedures
CP distributed copies of the new policies and procedures that have been passed at previous GMM meetings.

Treasurer’s Report
CP reported that MG, HL and CA will work on financial procedures so EPIC can access CDBG funds. The balance in the checking account is $2,575.06. MG proposed that the Treasurer’s report be moved up to the front of the Agenda for future GMM meetings.
Community Garden
CA reported that the EPC 17th Ave. Garden Committee met and received the treasurer’s report from last year. At the last garden meeting, the Garden Group passed the garden agreement, elected CA as interim “liaison” and treasurer for the garden, reinstated and clarified policies regarding the steering committee. The next meeting will be at 10 AM on Saturday, Sept. 10. The EPIC board needs to appoint a second director to the garden committee.

Community Center, Report on Training Meeting
LL reported that Jay Clark and others suggested that EPIC actually hold one of their meetings at a neighboring community center. LL asked if residents would be interesting in touring some of these community centers. KC reported that the legislature has already passed a bill supporting the Park Board to spend money to plan a community center for East Phillips. The Board will take up LL suggestions at a future board meeting.

Motion (KC, MG)
EPIC send a group of individuals to go talk to the Park Board and ask them to put this back on their 2006 legislative agenda.


Block Club Meeting and Crime Patrol
LL would like someone to with her on a night-time patrol to report “lights-out.” BP reported that you must tell Xcel Energy whether the pole is wood or metal, and the nearest address.

BP reported that the crime situation on the 25th Street corridor is getting worse. The 18th Avenue picnic at 5:30 on Friday evenings has not been well attended lately, and residents are encouraged to attend. Keep calling 9-1-1.

KC encouraged residents to call the Mayor and request that the City replace E. Phillips police officers when the new officers are available (rather than sending them all to the North side.)

CLIC Capital Long Range Improvement Committee
CLIC has received another request for an asphalt and/or hot-mix storage facility. The two locations presently being proposed are 26th and Longfellow and 26th and Hiawatha. CPED and the City should get together with the community to determine what the best use is for this 10-acre property.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Mary Gonsior, Secretary

ABBREVIATIONS CDBG = Community Development Block Grant
CLIC = Capital Long Range Improvement Committee
CPED = Community Planning & Economic Development
EBM = EPIC Board Meeting
EPC 17th Ave. Garden Committee = East Phillips 17th Avenue Community Garden Steering Committee

EPIC = East Phillips Improvement Coalition
GMM = General Membership Meeting
GI = Green Institute
MPR = Minnesota Public Radio
NNO = National Night Out
NRP = Neighborhood Revitalization Program
PRG = Powderhorn Residents Group
WEI = Women’s Environmental Institute
August 11, 2005 (DRAFT)
Holy Rosary Church