Minutes of November 2022 LHNA Board Meeting

Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association board meeting minutes.

Date: November 1, 2022

Location: Zoom

Time Meeting Called to Order after Quorum: 7:05 PM by Sue Westerman filling in for President Charles Scheiderer in his absence.

Board Members Present: Sue Westerman (Treasurer); William Goodnow (Secretary); Jacquelyn Brown-Baylor; Vickie Gilfillian-Bennett; Fran Davis; Tyler Ecklund-Kouba; David Bjork; Jennifer Wirick Breitinger; Nate Morris; Chad Harkin; Anne Nelson.

Other Attendees: Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman, Inspector Katie Blackwell, Craig Wilson (Hill & Lake Press), Barb Davis, Ariah Fine, Carla Godwin, and several neighborhood Zoom participants.

Minneapolis City Council Update:
Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman provided an update. Lisa will not be present at the next LHNA Board Meeting on Tuesday December 6, 2022 as that is the night of the City’s budget adoption, however Lisa will attend our January meeting. The next Later with Lisa event will be held on December 7 from 4:30PM to 7PM in The Dayton’s Project 7 th floor party room. Lunch with Lisa will resume in January 2023. Fall street sweeping is underway. East-west street sweeping is complete and north-south streets will be swept on November 2. Kenwood Parkway will be swept during the week of November 7. Yard waste will be collected through the week of November 28. The City Council voted in committee for the approval of Brian O’Hara as the new Chief of Police. The City Council also voted 9-4 in favor of the new City Government Structure. Three additional early voting centers were added for a total of five. Lisa warned that ballots may not be counted if mailed during the week prior to the election and advised that voting be conducted in person between now and the election on November 7.

Minneapolis Police Department Update:
5 th Precinct Inspector Katie Blackwell provided an update. Year-to-date robberies are down slightly citywide. During the month of October, the 5 th precinct saw a slight rise in robberies overall however there was a decrease in robberies locally in Lowry Hill. An aggravated robbery occurred in the 700 block of Dunwoody on October 15 at 5:08PM. The victim was sitting in their vehicle when six juveniles approached, robbed, and assaulted the victim. The suspects stole the victim’s vehicle, crashed it one block away, and escaped in a different stolen vehicle. One suspect is in custody from that case. The peak day for robberies in Lowry Hill currently is Tuesday from 5-6PM followed by Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Auto thefts passed 4900 citywide this year approximately 50% of which are KIAs and Hyundais. Inspector Blackwell discussed Operation Endeavor which is an effort by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to deploy more beat cops to high crime areas dynamically. The MPD has also developed Reactionary Teams that work with gun violence investigators and Community Response Teams to saturate areas with high violent crime and target violent offenders specifically. Inspector Blackwell reports these efforts have been successful. The MPD is working with federal law enforcement to curb violent crime as well. Inspector Blackwell expressed her support and confidence in the incoming Police Chief Brian O’Hara.

Crime & Safety Update:
Crime & Safety Chair Sue Westerman provided an update for October. Violent crimes in Lowry Hill were down but car thefts remain high. October was relatively quiet relative to the summer months this year. Sue noted that our worst month for crime in 2021 was November and reminded meeting participants to keep lights on, stay alert, lock cars/doors, etc. Sue attended a meeting in Kenwood which included an update from the Federal Prosecuting Attorney Andy Luger (who is a resident of Lowry Hill). Sue thought that a similar meeting in Lowry Hill will be useful to residents and has organized an event on November 28 at St. Paul’s Church. The agenda will be to receive an update from Andy Luger on what he is doing to address carjackings as well as an update from Inspector Katie Blackwell. Additionally, Sue & Fran Davis plan to present the results of the Neighborhood Safety Initiative formed to address crime around Franklin & Colfax. Sue & Fran indicated the Neighborhood Safety Initiative has been effective in reducing crime and loitering near Franklin & Hennepin and pointed out that the positive results were driven primarily by community cooperation.

Treasurer’s Report:
Treasurer Sue Westerman provided an update. The 2022 budged was forwarded to Ariah Fine at the City of Minneapolis and we will now be able to obtain reimbursement from the City for our 2022 expenditures. The 2023 and 2024 budgets were distributed to board members via email. City funding for 2023 and 2024 will be significantly reduced from prior years though appeals for additional funding are underway. Sue sent out the September month end budget report and is working with our accountant to complete the October and November reports. Thanks to Nate Morris’ fundraising efforts, the LHNA received $200 in donations from residents in October. David Bjork noted a marked reduction in printing expenses and an addition of $2500 to the printing budget for “outreach activities.” Sue explained the reduction was due to a one-time expenditure on signs and that the $2500 reflects the Neighborhood Engagement Plan funding we are expecting to receive.

Events Update:
Events Chair Jackie Brown-Baylor gave an update. The Fall in the Park event was cold but otherwise went well. Jackie proposed purchasing four sandwich board style signs that can be used to promote events ($500 for four sandwich boards). Jackie is working on reviving the Ice Skating Event along with the East Isles and Kenwood neighborhood associations. Currently, the plan is to hold the Ice Skating Event on January 29, 2023 from 2PM to 4PM and it may include both a small show by skating students from Parade Stadium and several 3-on-3 hockey games. $300-$500 is needed from each neighborhood to pay for permits and food. Tyler suggested putting together a video advertisement for the event.

Approval of Motion to Allocate $500 for Purchase of Four Sandwich Boards & $500 for the Upcoming Ice Skating Event in January 2023: the motion was proposed by Jennifer Breitinger and seconded by Fran Davis. In discussion, Sue Westerman noted that a Halloween event at St. Paul’s Church used sandwich boards as their only form of marketing and over 300 people attended. The board agreed that sandwich boards are clearly effective at increasing attendance by drawing in foot traffic to local events. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

Communications Update:
Communications Chair Tyler Ecklund-Kouba provided an update. The QR code for donations works and has been added to our advertising campaigns. Tyler has received suggestions for events, such as a shredding event, and plans to discuss some of the ideas with Jackie. Tyler floated the LHNA’s history of publishing a calendar or cookbook as a possible use of future engagement funds. Hennepin County Special Collections would like to work with the LHNA to gather information on our neighborhood history. Chas and Tyler discussed focusing communications on issues involving residents and less on city issues at large. Email engagement is going well with recent emails breaking metric records, specifically the resident profiles involving upcoming events. Tyler noted that suggestions for residents to cover in the profiles are welcome.

Zoning Chair Fran Davis gave an update on a new variance request. An application for a new structure at 919 Kenwood Parkway was submitted to the city. It will be a single-family home of 2740 square feet with an attached two-car garage. The proposal requires three variances: reduction of the required front yard, an increase in the maximum height of the structure, and a shoreline overlay district variance. We expect to receive more detailed information on 919 Kenwood Parkway and Fran will report on progress. The owner of 1218 Summit has not filed any additional applications after their previous variance request for a swimming pool in their front yard was denied, however they have removed all vegetation and retaining walls from the property. Carla Godwin of Peris provided a brief update regarding some of the improvements at Peris, specifically regarding renovations following a fire they had in June and efforts to improve security at the property.

Hill & Lake Press Update:
Craig Wilson of the Hill & Lake Press (HLP) gave an update about changes at the newspaper. The format, layout, coverage, and circulation have all changed. Circulation increased from 6000 to 9000 and is now conducted through direct bulk mail for which HLP is regarded as more effective following positive feedback from the readership base. Direct mail has been especially effective in reaching residents of multi-unit apartment buildings in Lowry Hill which has been difficult in the past. The local neighborhood association minutes will no longer be published in the HLP to save space and money. The page space previously reserved for minutes will be used for direct communication with neighborhood residents and advertising. From now on, the LHNA minutes will be posted on our website exclusively. Craig stated that prices for advertisements have increased somewhat to cover the additional circulation costs, however Craig believes the price hikes are justified by the added reach of the newspaper. Craig is looking for “balanced journalism” submissions that stray away from being opinion pieces. Several questions were asked about advertising strategies.

Neighborhood & Community Relations Department Update:
Ariah Fine from the City of Minneapolis gave a short presentation. Ariah is the city staff person supporting the LHNA and several other neighborhood associations in Minneapolis via the Neighborhood & Community Relations Department which provides our funding. Ariah attended tonight to conduct a voluntary and anonymous board representation survey. Approximately five minutes were allotted during which each board member present completed the survey online. The results will be compiled into a report which will be released sometime between January and March of 2023. The report will be presented to the City Council and will be sent directly to LHNA board members.

Donation Committee Update:
Nate Morris provided an update on his fundraising efforts. Nate has been spending an hour every Friday to make calls to neighborhood residents. His strategy is to open with a survey and ask for feedback from residents after which he requests a donation. Nate has found that most residents are willing to listen, answer questions, and cooperate. He has convinced 8 people to sign up for the LHNA email updates and stated that none of the residents he spoke with were on the email list prior to the calls he made. Nate reported some of the answers he has received to the question “if you could pick one thing to improve about the neighborhood what would you change and why?”: about half of the answers were crime, one resident requested “more [public] trash cans for dog walkers,” and one dislikes the noise pollution by leaf blowers. When Nate asked what residents liked about the neighborhood, answers included liking the neighbors (“neighbors are great, neighbors are friendly”), liking the location, and liking the changes made to the Seven Pools. One neighbor noted that she used to make donations via the envelopes LHNA distributed in the past and wishes we still did so. She assumed that LHNA “no longer needs donations” when the mailings ceased and even attempted to send a cheque to the LHNA PO Box but it was never cashed. Nate asked for permission to go door to door distributing envelopes by hand and asked for funding to purchase a few pieces of LHNA branded merchandise in order to look more official. Sue suggested a $250 budget which Nate stated was more than sufficient.

Approval of Motion to Allocate $250 for LHNA Branded Merchandise for Fundraising Activities: Sue Westerman moved for approval. Seconded by William Goodnow. During discussion, Tyler suggested that we develop a larger merchandising effort which we will discuss in December. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

Approval of October LHNA Board Meeting Minutes: Fran Davis moved for approval of the October LHNA board meeting minutes. Seconded by David Bjork. No discussion and passed by unanimous vote. Chas and Sue submitted the application for the Neighborhood Engagement Plan and we are waiting to hear back from the City about questions and/or changes. They expect we will receive the funding.

Other Issues:
The board needs a Vice President who intends to become President next year. Chas is willing to discuss the job over (free) coffee or ice cream with anyone interested.

As there was no further business,

Meeting adjourned by Sue Westerman at 9:10 PM by motion carried.

The next LHNA Board Meeting will be held on December 7, 2022 at 7PM.

Minutes by William Goodnow
Secretary, LHNA Board