WECAN Board Meeting on Thursday March 4, 2011 at Merritt Park Meeting Room
Members present: Byron Ballard, Jeff Carnivale, Jessie Coleman, Joe Fioccola, AnnaBeth Hardcastle, Luke W. Perry and Pattiy Torno. Members not present were: Bret Frk, Tom Gibson, Yuri Koslen, Geraldine Melendez and Jose Ruiz. Also present were: John Bryant, Mike Kenton, Marsha Stickford and Officer Sean Davis.
Pattiy called the meeting to order at 6:33 The February minutes were approved as distributed.
Networking with other neighborhoods: Luke has been meeting with Hillcrest and invited Teresa to attend one of our meetings. Looking at a future community building project like cleaning up at the pedestrian bridge at some future date.
Bike Park: Mike reported a meeting he attended with Sean from SORBA and Jeff Moore from D.O.T. The proposal was presented and the problems were 1) It is controlled access area, 2) liability issues, 3)Necessary equipment access to maintain the bridge. Mike thought that even though they could not approve a park under the bridge now, that they left the door open to other ideas and while they did say no they did not say never or not anything ever. This should be seen as major progress even at the glacial pace at which the bureaucracy usually moves. Luke passed around a picture of the "Troll" sculpture under a bridge in Seattle that was the result of a competition
Marsha reported a meeting with D.O.T she attended about the pedestrian bridge with Traffic Engineer Ken Putnam, Public Works Director David Foster, Jerry Yates and APD Officer Jackie Stepp. The city will gate off the access road under the Smokey Park Bridges and post it No Trespassing. D.O.T will clear the underbrush but not the trees. Not sure if D.O.T. will paint over the graffiti, but will beef up the fencing and repair holes along I-240 and around the controlled access area. The fence will be higher on the Hillcrest side and the Patton Avenue side. There will be a walk through in the next 2 months to see how well everything is working. Related news the kudzu covered field across from Park Avenue may be donated to the city as excess right of way. Also there is a contact at D.O.T . now who will clear out debris and homeless camps.
AnnaBeth reported her frustration in trying to get a name of a contact at D.O.T., a liaison to meet with us and have a general conversation with WECAN about the many interfaces between D.O.T. and the neighborhood. Marsha may be able to help.
Aston Park: Jeff reported that because of bad feelings about the Civil War Marker in Aston Park there was a meeting with Rebecca Lamb from UNCA who was responsible for part of the NC Civil War Trails markers in Buncombe County. They are actively collecting stories and research about the park to rewrite the story and and bring in more of the history of the African American community. She will offer a rewrite using material from Jessie and others and show it to everyone interested for input and approval so that it is more balanced and that no part of it is offensive to anyone in the community. The idea is that celebrating the changing of the text was more powerful that simply removing the offensive marker. On Saturday May 21
the marker is set to be removed and replaced with a temporary marker outlining the process of replacement.
YWCA's Stand Against Racism is organized by Katherine Liss. The main event will be at the Glen Rock Depot on Friday April 29 and they encourage other groups to have their own events. On Saturday April 30 Aston Park will record stories and take pictures. WECAN may consider an event with Hillcrest. Luke added that UNCA has funding and equipment to do 'Story-Corps" style oral history recording. Jeff also reported that The fence around the basketball court would finally be raised. That was approved to be out out for bid as well as additional storage and equipment for check out. The 2 year grant was coming to a close but the Aston Gateway Community Board would continue to meet and they were noted for exceptional progress and were to be documented as a successful case study by the granting organization.
Owens-Bell Park: Pattiy will send a thank you letter to the Warren Wilson College group that came and did a great job in removing the invasive willow from the stream bed north of the bridge in less than an hour. Thanks also to Doug Yancey and volunteer Dan who applied environmentally safe pesticide at no charge. The next work day will be on March 12 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The to-do list includes: clearing out the sunny cultural garden, distributing mulch on the path, removal of ivy from the large trees, and for the intrepid: removal of unwanted growth in the stream south of the bridge.
Pedestrian Bridge: Luke wants to organize a cleanup around the city steps and down towards the railroad tracks. Marsha emphasized that D.O.T has not given permission to do anything under the bridge. She suggested submitting a proposal sheet for volunteer projects on public property, She can facilitate and get required approvals. Luke's proposal includes a service project and some food and could then continue with the planned walk through.
APD officer Davis reported that leads were being followed up about the break in on Rector Street.
Pattiy reported that she mailed the Hot Spot letter encouraging them to take more control and responsibility for their business.
100 Park Avenue: Pattiy reported that she heard from Bill Pellaya that due to current economic climate the proposed development was no longer a viable option but that he was also looking at other properties in the neighborhood. Pattiy wanted to review the process that unfolded: she was contacted as president of WECAN and asked about the neighborhood response to 70 units there. Knowing that there was a neighborhood desire for an affordable housing component and that it was conditionally approved for 41 units that the response would not be positive. She put out emails to some of the people she remembered who spoke at the conditional use permitting. and then reported back to Mr. Pellaya. It was suggested that there be a draft frame of reference to look at next time.
COA East of Riverway Grant: Chris Joyell and Appalachian State Students will conduct a door to door survey so identify if there is any information that WECAN needs surveyed in addition to socio-economic data,(such as renter vs. homeowner) but funding may be in question. Marsha advised that Jeff Staudinger will come to a future meeting to talk about it. The grant was about public participation in design and better communication and networking.
AARDC Between the Bridges Small Area Plan: Meetings planned for property owners to vision forward the next ten years.
Wednesday March 23 at the Magnetic Field on Depot St. from 12-4 p.m. Thursday March 24 at the Grey Eagle from 9-4 p.m.
Friday March 25 meeting to walk through what resources are available. The goal is to build momentum for implementation of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway Plan looking at property values from 2000 to 2010 and to act as a model for other small area plans.
Clingman Avenue Streetscape: Pattiy talked to Greg Shuler they are only halfway done with moving utilities. AT&T, cable, internet cable and Progress Energy should be done in the next two months opening the way for the roadwork and repaving to continue in April.
BY LAWS: AnnaBeth noted typographical errors on the posted by-laws. They will be corrected. The issue of publishing the by laws was discussed. Previously they were distributed only to board members but diminishing participation made it more important to get information out to neighbors. In the spirit of opening the circle of information and participation we are now publishing the draft board meeting minutes. Making sure they are well marked as "Draft" since they are going out in an emailed Newsflash between meetings and therefore before they are approved.
CPL Fence: Pattiy asked if there were objections to removal of the fence. Options discussed were to ask a fence company to swap the fence for a split rail fence like the one on Riverside Dr. near the Craven Street Bridge. No objections noted other than keeping vehicles off the muddy area.
Announcements: Jeff announced that the AGCB will continue to meet and pursue grants to acquire a swing set which was the the number one item wanted by the community.
Meeting adjourned at 7:57 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola