Minutes from the NUNA meeting of October 1, 2014

Jackie called the meeting to order.

Beautification Projects

New Saigon / Argyle Parkway Project: Jackie mentioned that we have learned a lot from this project. Removing rocks was much more work than we had anticipated. There are signs that thank Mr. Tu for his contribution. We will also add NUNA signs.

Bernie commented that the block club has never been more productive.

Envision Project: Jackie mentioned how many people contributed, in addition to the grant. Elizabeth ran down a list of all the other contributors:

  •           United Airlines – $5000 EcoSkies grant and volunteers
  •           Wolff Landscape Architecture – Landscape design
  •           Leon’s Landscaping – Cedar arbor
  •           Sofo Tap – water access and volunteer lunch
  •           Baker & Nosh – coffee and morning treats
  •           Chicago Cares – plants and volunteers
  •           Monahan Law – volunteers
  •           Kankakee Nursery – plants

Lawrence / Magnolia parkway: This site has always been an eyesore. The lot is owned by Bridgeview Bank. Perhaps a mosaic in this area would be possible.

Treasurer’s Report

Lindsay gave a brief report on the budget. He made a payment to Kankakee Nursery. We have about $25 in dues to deposit. Joy, Elizabeth, and Jackie are owned funds for the New Saigon garden. The dues from the block club party essentially covered the expenses. We collected items for Sarah’s Circle. We will need to decide where to collect for food donations at the holiday party.

Ellen asked if anyone had news on the Cambodian Temple. We could reach out to them.

Area Notes

There was a discussion of St. Augustine. Their exterior could use improved landscaping. Joy has the name of the director and noted that he was very responsive to concerns about speeding cars. We could also reach out to other businesses in our area for NUNA support.

The block club to the north contacted us about our area. We reviewed the block club borders. We include both halves of Ba Le (on Broadway). On Clark, we keep the old Pie Hole building; they have Man’s Country. We will inquire with Margot to see if she can amend our boundaries in the bylaws. We will vote on the amendment at the next meeting. Elizabeth mentioned that other block clubs have business dues of $35-$40 that we could consider in the future.

Bezazian Library Support

Bezazian Library is a huge asset to our community, but we would love to see needed improvements made. Lindsay stated that we would like to form a Friends of Bezazian group. They are still gathering information on what other groups are doing. There are some exemplary groups; however, unfortunately over time some groups have fizzled out. The main initial goal would be to make sure we have one representative at every library board meeting; we would seek a small group of volunteers who would rotate and attend. We would also prioritize improvements. James mentioned that budget hearings would be another place to advocate for Bezazian.

Mark noted that we are meeting in The Shift, Chicago Public Library’s only coworking space. It was not funded by CPL or the city; it was funded by a grant from the Gates foundation. Carpets should be cleaned in the next month. Of course new carpeting would be welcome. The Rogers Park library carpet was funded with $100,000 in menu funds. James mentioned that there might be concerns using menu funds in that way. Bathroom floors are a problem at Bezazian at about ten other branches, and repairs are hopefully in the works. TIF money might possible; it was used for Edgewater and Albany Park libraries. Uptown’s TIF apparently contributed to Edgewater’s library. Albany Park’s library cost $14M. Anne asked if staffing and materials were also concerns. Mark replied that staffing is very complicated. We were the 2nd and 3rd busiest branch when Edgewater was closed. We are now 6th or 7th (excluding Harold Washington and regional libraries). We are clearly the busiest branch by square foot. Mark is trying to bring in neighborhood entrepreneurs and make the space more available.

As for a Friends group, we really only need it if we are trying to raise funds. Book sales are one common fundraising activity. If we are just advocating we may not need to form a formal group. Showing up at the board meetings would be a huge help. The next meeting is October 14th at 9AM and lasts from 60-90 minutes. Mark suggests that we advocate for the entire building and work with the existing structure and re-envision how it is used. Jackie mentioned that it is much easier to work with a plan. Perhaps we could work with a designer to complete a plan for us to work toward.

Mark thanked everyone for their hard work at the library gardens. Karen shared information about an example project that a Friends group could do. There is a volunteer who comes to the library once a week who is an avid traveler. The volunteer wanted to give a donation to the library, so Karen planned for the donation to purchase interactive learning based on geography.

Ellen asked about who the library’s audience is. Mark shared that this is a very diverse branch with many different people who come. They are trying to create a space where people who come for quick visits will be encouraged to stay longer.

Joy emphasized that having a presence is our first important step. They need to know first that we are interested in engaged. Mark agreed.

Elizabeth asked Mark how can we advocate for The Shift. He shared that they have a new email newsletter. He ran through some of the events that are planned. We all thanked Mark for being such a wonderful advocate. Elizabeth suggested that people tell friends about The Shift and suggest it be better used.

Future projects

Jackie asked – other than the library, what other projects do we want to address? Jackie suggested education as an important topic. Joy brought up parking permits. James shared that 60% of the people who own cars have to sign a petition in favor of permit parking. He did emphasize that once the Uptown Theater reopens it will be very hard to find parking.

Election of Officers

Elizabeth ran through the slate of candidates for the election:

  • ·       President: Jackie Denofrio
  • ·         Vice President: Elizabeth Lindau
  • ·         Treasurer: Lindsay Huge
  • ·         Secretary: Anne Howard / Margot Gordon (shared)

Jackie asked if anyone else wanted to run for election. There were no other nominees. Elizabeth moved to approve the board; Anne seconded, and all approved.

Jackie suggested that we have NUNA meetings in conjunction with CAPS in the future.

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