Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defilipp, Leana Good-Simpson (treasurer), Rosanne Graef, Ian Jacob (president), Mitch Mason, Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Clifford Tremblay
Others present: Jenny Anastasoff, Lauren Church, Kevin Costello, Webb Ferrall, Lauren Guite, Angie Helton, Sandra Kynes, Danielle Matkoskey, Janet Mishoe, Dale Norris, Eli Norris, Lin Parsons, Nathan Smith, Josh Soros, Reagan Sweeney, Tony Zeli
The meeting was called to order at 6:45 PM and the 50/50 raffle opened.
Secretary’s report: The secretary explained an experimental sign-in sheet that is designed to help members stay current with their dues. This tactic is being employed in lieu of sending renewal notices. The minutes from February’s meeting were accepted as written.
Treasurer’s report: The general WENA account balance is $158.59 (including $46.75 received from February’s 50/50 raffle). The swim fund account balance is $5,417.01. WENA received an acknowledgment letter from Friends of Congress Square Parking thanking the Association for our $100 membership. The treasurer’s report was accepted as given.
Board members’ reports:
- Lift 360/Choosing Civility update. Rosanne and Ian informed the group of a recent meeting with Lift360, the non-profit leadership development consulting group that assisted the Portland Library with its Choosing Civility initiative last year. This meeting included several other WENA members and centered on identifying issues within the community on which people might be interested in working. The group discussed several projects including: enhancing WENA’s social media presence, participating in periodic neighborhood singing gatherings, working on the neighborhood’s gardens and parks, sharing interest in genealogy. The underlying assumption in this effort is that people getting together to work on particular projects come to know each other better and a stronger community emerges.
- Sierra Club Portland Climate Action Team (ACT). Liz informed the group that the Sierra Club Maine chapter has begun organizing groups at the community level to work on projects of specific interest pertaining to the climate crisis. Portland’s CAT is focusing on Community Solar Farms (CSF) and the next CAT meeting will feature an informational presentation on what CSFs entail. That meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 PM, Tuesday, 24 March at St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral on State Street. All are welcome.
- Planning and Urban Development Department Public Forum on Housing Production and Affordability. Ian and Rosanne attended a recent meeting that was soliciting community feedback as to how the City is encouraging housing development for lower income level households. This meeting was held in conjunction with consideration of new zoning revisions for B6 areas. Most of the information from the session is available on the City’s website. No decisions were made at the session.
Neighborhood Policing: Neither David Argitis nor Sarah Colton was present, so WENA members discussed issues amongst themselves. Incidents included two armed robberies—one on Clark Street and one on Elm Street—about which official information circulated. A “peeping Tom” incident on Spruce Street that was reported via Next Door West End received some commentary. Ian also noted that Christine McHale has met with the Police Department’s new member, Lt. Glen McGary, and reports having had satisfactory conversations with him. Ian will follow on with him especially about WENA’s needs for regular and specific updates on policing issues related to the West End.
- WENA Committee Selection. Ian reviewed the status of committee sign-ups to date. He has already started contacting larger businesses with the objective of raising funds for the swim program and increasing WENA memberships. Over the next few weeks, Ian will follow on with all volunteers so that the most urgent and viable committees may begin their work in earnest. Mitch reported that he, Jeanne, and Rosanne met with WENA member (and School Board member) Holly Seeliger concerning use of the community space at Reiche. After narrowing their interests to increasing the amount of educational programming offered in the community room, the committee members have decided the next step is to meet with the Superintendent of Schools on this matter. The assembled group was invited to forward suggestions for adult education/continuing educations sorts of programming to members of the Reiche Community Center Committee.
- Portland Company Site Redevelopment. Kevin Costello, Angie Helton, and Nathan Smith of CPB2 LLC, the new owners of the Portland Company site made a presentation on the project envisioned for redevelopment of that ten acre area. This presentation included a slide show and the speakers told the group that a primary emphasis of their work will be maintaining the site’s historic significance while also allowing year ‘round public access especially to the waterfront. A question and answer session followed. Some questions raised included issues of ADA compliance; projected mix of commercial and residential use; consideration of energy efficiency goals and possible LEED certification; and the project time line. The presenters stated that the project is at a very early stage and, when a master development plan is devised, there will be public comment opportunities. In the meanwhile, further questions may be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information may be found at: www.cpb2.com.
- West End News. Tony Zeli, owner and publisher of the West End News, spoke briefly. Since he envisions the newspaper as being a vehicle for people to get to know each other he wants to put on promotional events such as meet and greet sessions. These small gatherings would likely be held at various neighborhood businesses and restaurants. A potentially bigger endeavor would be some sort of meet your neighbor fair. He wanted to gauge WENA’s level of interest in possibly participating, even co-sponsoring some of these endeavors. A brief question and answer period followed his presentation and Ian commented that Tony’s ideas meshed well with the new WENA Outreach Committee. On behalf of the assembled group, Rosanne commended Tony for his work on the paper. He invited anyone in WENA to contribute story lead ideas and comments on the paper.
- Update on Schwartz Building. Recently, Ian spoke with the landlord of this large, historic building across the street from the Portland Museum of Art. The Landlord reports that the street façade refurbishment should be finished within the next four to six weeks. The landlord’s company, Apartment Mart, will be managing the building’s upper levels that will consist of studio and one bedroom apartments. In the past this building housed commercial operations only. At ground level will be a restaurant and potentially two retail spaces.
- Rosemont Market. Janet Mishoe reported that the new branch of Rosemont Market is expected to open in the West End within the next month or two.
- 50/50 Raffle Results. WENA received an immediate $12.00 from the evening’s raffle. All winners of the draw donated their prizes back to WENA, netting an additional $12.00.
The meeting adjourned at: 7.54 PM.