Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defilipp, Rosanne Graef, Ian Jacob (president), Christine McHale (vice-president), Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Jeanne Swanton, Clifford Tremblay
Others present: Todd Alexander, Jenny Anastaoff, Sara Archbald, Elaine Benedetti, Jill Bock, Zack Barowitz, Brian Chick, Webb Ferrall, Holly Lord, Wells Lyons, Janet Mishoe, Susan Nelson, Peter Monro, Pamela Shaw, Penny Stevens, Ethan Strimling, Nisha Swinton, Spencer Thibodeau, Lee Urban, Annie Wadleigh, Gwynne Williams, Tony Zeli
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM.
Minutes from July’s meeting were accepted as written.
The treasurer was absent but sent in a report as follows: The WENA regular account contains: $22.09 (Check of $240 paid to West End News). The swim fund account contains: $3,027.01 (Deposit of $250 from Eileen F. Skinner).
Rosanne, as past president, explained WENA’s dues structure which essentially follows an academic year format. Dues paid beginning with September are credited to a 2015-16 membership and entitle the payee to vote at the Association’s annual meeting in December.
Board members’ reports
Ian announced that WENA will, as customary, host a candidates’ forum during October. There was a conflict with the originally planned date so Ian will announce a new date as soon as the Recreation Department advises him on space availability.
Ian also invited WENA members (board or otherwise) to attend and report back on some of the many routinely publicized City-related meetings. He specifically mentioned a Sept 17th local food economy event in East Bayside; an Oct 3rd conference at USM “The Challenge of Change: Are we Loving Portland to Death?” ; an Oct 3rd State of Casco Bay Conference at the Doubletree Hotel in South Portland; and an Oct 18th annual Reiche 5K road race. Please contact Ian at email@example.com if interested.
Ian further mentioned the need for new management of the Senior Snow Shovel Project. For several years, groups of volunteers throughout the City have helped people who cannot shovel the snow off of their property. The person coordinating this effort is stepping down. There will be a discussion of the project at WENA’s October meeting and Ian is hopeful that several Association members will volunteer to help people within our borders.
Rosanne reported on a meeting she had had with City staffer Troy Moon about establishing pollinator way stations and spot gardens within the West End. They identified three potential sites. WENA members can begin prep of these sites this fall. Anyone interested should contact Rosanne at firstname.lastname@example.org or Liz Parsons at email@example.com.
Rosanne also described several new adult education offerings to be held at Reiche this fall. Scheduling these classes through the Recreation Department and Portland Adult Education took considerable time and effort. Now, the viability of future offerings depends on the success of what happens over the next few months. So she encouraged everyone to register and pay for the courses even if they cannot attend everything.
David Argitis continues to recover from his accident. No one from the Portland Police Department was present in his stead. Ian stated that he had not received any response to his request for a substitute representative. He expressed disappointment with this since there are several public safety matters requiring follow on.
Todd Alexander, who had presented at a previous WENA meeting, gave an update on the status of his project envisioned for 1 Joy Place and 157 Brackett Street. He currently owns 1 Joy Place and is interested in purchasing 157 Brackett Street from the City. In June, the City issued a Request for Proposals for the Brackett Street property that contained conditions concerning parking, affordability, and improvements on Brackett Street. Todd’s response was the only one the City received and he circulated amongst the group copies of drawings submitted as part of that proposal.
He envisions constructing a building of 24 condominiums maximum based on a “micro housing” model. This model involves high quality construction of smaller units in a context including amenities such as communal spaces for residents. In keeping with the property’s surroundings, Todd stated that the building’s exterior would be brick and have a more traditional, than contemporary, design. Additionally, one-third of the units would be classified as “affordable” in that particular income restrictions would apply to eligible purchasers. Todd’s plan also addresses the City’s other concerns about parking, traffic calming and safety.
He and his team proposed two ways of achieving their goals and the City expressed interest in the second of the two ways. This requires some revisions to the architectural plans so Todd is currently working on the matter.
Some discussion followed his presentation and Ian expressed gratitude to Todd for his efforts.
Wells Lyons announced his candidacy for City Council in the 2nd district. He gave the group a brief history of his background and qualifications. No Q & A was permitted out of fairness to other candidates who are running and in light of the candidates’ forum to come.
Gwynne Williams and Annie Wadleigh, on behalf of Portland Pollinator Partnership, distributed information sheets describing a project envisioned for the Clark Street Community Garden. This has come in conjunction with advice from the Wild Seed Project. Anyone interested in receiving a copy of the handout and/or helping should contact Gwynne at firstname.lastname@example.org or Annie at email@example.com. See also the group’s website: www.portlandpollinators.org.
Holly Lord followed on her remarks at July’s meeting about establishing an aging in place initiative in the West End. She and Ian will identify a date in October for an informational meeting. At that time, others who are working on similar initiatives throughout the City will speak. The meeting will take place in the Reiche Community Room.
Webb Ferrall announced that he needs to find a new apartment by the end of this month. He asked anyone who might know of something to contact him. He also distributed information on his envisioned philosophical and discussion project: the Society for the Prevention of the Extinction of Common Sense. Anyone interested in participating should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penny Stevens updated the group on WENA’s yard sale fundraiser which is scheduled for October 18th. This is a Sunday morning and comes in conjunction with the Reiche PTO’s yard sale and 5 K race. Penny appealed for donations and volunteers to work the day before and the day of the sale. She sent around sign-up sheets and noted that she and Dick are prepared to store donations from now until the time of the sale as need be.
Lee Urban invited everyone to participate in the Lukeleles, a group that meets at St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral on the first Monday of each month. From 6:30 to 7:00 PM is a social time and from 7:00 to 8:00 the group plays ukuleles. All levels of players from complete novice to very experienced are welcome; Lee has a few extra instruments people can try out at the meetings. For more information, contact him at email@example.com
Ian asked the group to do a mini-evaluation of WENA meetings this year. He distributed papers on which people could indicate things we should start, stop, and/or continue doing. This practice will be repeated at the October and November meetings with results reported back later in the
Rosanne distributed the September Congress Square Park schedules to all interested.
The meeting adjourned at 7:57 PM.