Thursday, December 2, 2010

WECAN December 2010 Board Meeting Minutes • Draft

WECAN Board Meeting 2 DEC 2010
Members present: Jeff Carnivale, Jessie Coleman,  Joe Fioccola, AnnaBeth Hardcastle, Yuri Koslen, Whit Rylee and Pattiy Torno.
Also Present: John Bryant, Liliane Bryant, Evan Coward.
Not present: Byron Ballard, Bret Frk, Lisa Hadden, Kathleen Kingston, Geraldine Melendez, Jose Ruiz and Teresa Wood.
                Meeting called to order at 6:35 with welcome and introductions around the table. The minutes were approved as distributed. Thank you Byron.
                Jeff reported from the Aston Gateway Community Board which met on the 3rd Thursday in November with an outside facilitator to express and refine the Mission, Vision and Core values of that group. They have also been working on a letter to protest the placement and request the removal of the Confederate Historic marker in Aston Park. Pattiy volunteered to draft a supporting letter from WECAN.  Jeff will email her the AGCB Draft and Mission/ Vision/ Values. Pattiy suggested they contact the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Jeff reported that an intern was working on the PhotoVoice Project and welcomed input. This should be completed and presented in a spring celebration. Pattiy heard through Alan Glines that a Doctor wanted to donate mature trees to Aston Park and was referred them to the AGCB.  
                Clingman Streetscape Update: Pattiy advised that construction of the new sidewalks may not happen until it warms up in the spring. Progress Energy is proceeding with moving the poles and has assured her that there will be no major power outages for residents during the construction. She also talked to the mayor about a parade and party celebrating the completion sometime between April and June.
                Pattiy announced that info or news for the WECAN Blog can be sent to The blog address is WECANNEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM.
                Evan, Joe, Jeff, Yuri and Pattiy attended the City Council Community Meeting at the Reid Center on Tuesday November 30. About 100 people were in attendance in spite of heavy rains representing a good cross section of residents, the full city council and city staff. The acoustics were not the best.  There was a lot of information presented from speakers for the Southside Neighborhood and AB Tech and city departments of Parks and Recreation and Cultural Arts, Finance and Transportation. Written questions were addressed in the time allotted but there were not a lot of specific answers to many questions. The biggest public response was to a potential road from AB Tech through the Walton Street Park and Pool. Pattiy was expecting some report on the Urban Progress Zone Grant for the “East of the Riverway” area. $3 million was requested and $850,000 was awarded which will be used mostly for transportation planning in the defined area.
                RADTIP ( River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project) has $600,000 to do preliminary assessments and environmental impact on a 2.2 mile stretch of roadway along Riverside Drive and Lyman Street between Hill Street and Amboy Road. The studies will designate a clear route for the preferred roadway and bicycle paths and rights of way  which will make the city eligible to apply for state and federal funding for up to 30% for actual construction drawings and costs over the next ten years. The first public meeting is planned for Saturday January 22, 2011 at AB-Tech Ferguson Auditorium. (Time TBA)
                RAD Bridge to Bridge Planning :Stephanie Monson(Office of Economic Development)and Kate O’Hara (Brownfields Initiative) are planning a three day work-session to develop a small area plan in the River Arts District for the area between the Riverlink Bridge and the Smokey Park Bridges. Representatives of all regulatory bodies in control of the area will be on hand and property owners (29 owners of 60 parcels) will be invited to develop the plan towards the end of March 2011.  
               Ice House Update: Stephanie, Officer Jackie Stepp and Marsha Stickford met with the owners of the Ice Storage House on Riverside Drive. They were told that the city can no longer allow it to continue in its current state. They are being cooperative. There was an estimate of $150,000 to remove it; $15-20,000 to secure it; and they have been given some options to choose from. The ball is rolling and something will happen soon. Kudos to Jackie and Evan for their efforts.
                The once legal “Graffiti Wall” near the Chesterfield Mill Site is no longer legal. The parking areas have been secured and posted no trespassing and the lot has been cleared of vegetation and debris. The owners will put up security lighting and are considering using the space for other activities such as a tailgate market. Thanks John and Liliane.
                Discussion of Jefferson Drive Clean Up of Kudzu encroaching on the sidewalks and the street this year.  The most effective time to clear it is from March to June before the kudzu becomes active. It has also made more trash and other activity at the dead end of Jefferson. Evan will talk to Marsha about it being a public safety issue. The fire department did not even clear the kudzu from around the fire hydrant. It is the city’s responsibility to clear sidewalks at DOT properties inside the city limits and property owners are responsible for keeping them clear along private properties. Yuri suggested that the best use of volunteer time on work days would be to prioritize working on the park. For sidewalks he suggested we should knock on doors and ask people to help. Joe suggested getting on the Z-link list for sidewalk clearances. They are a group of volunteers organized by city councilor Cecil Bothwell who clear overgrown sidewalks to make Asheville more walkable. Saturday mornings are generally a good time to schedule workdays. 
            Owens Bell Park Day: Pattiy has been talking to Warren Wilson Work-Service coordinator about getting some students to help Jon Calabria with the maintenance of the water retention ponds at Owens Bell Park. (Looking at the last weekend in January or the first one in February.) Pattiy is also working on getting a volunteer landscape professional to help.
                Pedestrian Bridge Update: Pattiy talked to City Traffic Engineer Ken Putnam about the Hillcrest pedestrian bridge. Evan reported it opened today at 3 p.m. D.O.T. removed the gates.  There is new fencing between Hillcrest and the Interstate. All the sidewalks are cleared and some will be replaced/repaired soon. What is finally needed there is additional lighting and a CEPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) study. The gate to Hillcrest off Hill Street is now open from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M.  There are still questions about who maintains the sidewalks there. Reportedly, if it is a controlled access area then it is D.O.T’s responsibility and if it is open access then it would be the city’s responsibility. The continuing issues of the kudzu on Clingman Avenue and under the I240 Bridge make it worth our efforts to begin a conversation with D.O.T. about maintaining their many properties in our neighborhood. Annabeth  is working on a project with D.O.T. in Madison County and like all big organizations and burocracies some individuals are better at communicating or getting things done than others. She will investigate better ways to relate. 
                Bike Skills Park: We can begin to talk about how to make it happen, what it is, and what WECAN’s role would be. Pattiy’s concern is that we may not need another “Aston Park” (i.e. used primarily by outsiders instead or at the expense of the neighborhood.) Does WECAN want to sponsor or facilitate the discussion between the bicycle promoters and the residents? Yuri suggested that every project doesn’t need to serve every aspect of the community. Momentum may have some benefits for the neighborhood and tourism.  Whit said the enthusiasts and Bothwell are behind it.  Whit also reported that the international bike association (SORBA?) is currently surveying the area from Hunter Volvo to Montford Commons Greenway for a mountain bike graduated skills park and doing cost estimates and he will invite them to make a presentation at the WECAN January 6 Board meeting at 7 p.m. 
          Joe was talking to Susan Roderick of Asheville Greenworks about the landscaping they have invested in along the I240 W to Patton Avenue/Clingman Avenue exit Ramp about whether WECAN neighbors are using it, what would make it better and can we help maintain it. Joe suggested that the big kudzu covered field in between W Haywood and the pathway made it less than inviting but we have a lot of people who use the sidewalk on Hilliard and if the connection or entryway was kept up and cleared it would be used as well. Yuri will talk to Susan about what they need or want from WECAN.
          Discussion of WECAN organization. Yuri suggested that Pattiy can do a better job of disseminating responsibilities through committees and delegating. She wears many hats (Artist, Business owner, Resident, Property owner, Organizer,and member of several committees) has many connections in what she does every day and said reporting to WECAN was not an extra burden on her. Yuri suggested that we should try to rotate the facilitation of meetings to take the burden of setting and keeping to an agenda off her back. What communications systems would help and be most effective? (Email vs. Facebook vs. snail mail) Annabeth using her compulsive editorial expertise had some questions and noted some spelling errors in the by-laws. There was discussion of making the WECAN by-laws "public" and reversing a previous decision not to and how WECAN meetings traditionally run. At the January meeting an agenda item will be to review that earlier decision and have an orientation for new board members.. 
The next meeting will be 6:30 on January 6, 2011. Major agenda item will be selection of officers.
Meeting adjourned at 8:05
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola                     

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