WECAN Board Meeting on Thursday May 5, 2011 at Merritt Park Meeting Room
Members present: Byron Ballard, Jeff Carnivale, Jessie Coleman, Joe Fioccola, .
Members not present were: Bret Frk, Tom Gibson, AnnaBeth Hardcastle, Mike Kenton, Yuri Koslen, Geraldine Melendez, Luke W. Perry, Jose Ruiz and Pattiy Torno.
Also present were: Marsha Stickford and Officers Coward and Ward.
Joe called the meeting to order at 6:42. The April minutes were approved as distributed with one correction: The date of the Curve Studios open house was April 22.
Neighborhood Watch: Marsha showed a map from the planning department identifying owner occupied and rental properties in WECAN.Joe will hold the map until the next meeting.
Crime Issues: Discussion of some homeless camps between the Silver Dollar and Clingman Lofts. Marsha explained the new protocol for handling these situations. First identify locations and report to Jackie Stepp or Marsha. Then AHOPE Day shelter will make outreach contact (with APD if it is unsafe.) They will explain what services are available. They will also explain the pathways to housing and give them a week to be cleared out. In a week the site will be cleared by community service workers or public works if it is on city park or right of way. She also noted that D.O.T. has also been cooperating with the protocol. In the Silver Dollar case new issues arose concerning camping on private property. There are still life safety standards of running water, health and sanitation to be considered. Marsha also reported that the Ice House owners were considering a marketing plan to develop the property. They will be facing a deadline to either secure the property or it may have to be taken down by the city with a lien placed against the property.
Neighboring Neighborhoods: Some Hillcrest residents have been on the news protesting the placement of video cameras by the Housing Authority. Some complaints are that the cameras are looking into their bedroom windows. There has been increased police coverage. Joe read a letter from Angela Smith from 96 S. French Broad Avenue about the drainage problems there and also a letter from Jeff Staudinger, Community Development Director, that work should begin in the next two weeks. "As an FYI, Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation, while very helpful in the application stage, was not charged with the responsibility for completing the project. That responsibility rests with the City. McCray Coates will be in charge of the project.".
Events: Arbor Day: Saturday April 9, 2011 at Aston Park: Jeff reported that Donna Paxton and Val Kramer attended and a film crew was there to document planting native trees in fifty states.
Stand Against Racism: Aston Gateway Community Board held their event on Saturday April 30 at Aston Park with an open house. They had 'tri-fold' boards set up for comments .They showed a video called "Free Indeed" about institutional racism and Pastor Roberto Guerrero was on hand to lead discussions. On Monday night at the YWCA the C.U.C. (Christians for a United Community had a good conversation led by Tyrone Greenlee on dismantling racism. Marsha wondered what kind of follow up there can be not focused so much on gentrification as on building relationships.
Clingman Avenue Streetscape: Marsha, after consultation with legal has a new optimistic attitude towards the utilities. Cable should be moved in the next 30 days so the project can move forward.
LED Streetlights: The city will begin Monday near the railroad tracks replacing streetlights and should be done by the end of the month. The Office of Sustainability has a Question and Answer section on the city website www.ashevillenc.gov. Marsha also noted that Progress Energy will check for coverage and also switch out streetlights on private property with the new energy efficient L.E.D. lights.
AARDC Between the Bridges : Marsha suggested that we invite Stephanie Monson to a future meeting talk to us about the plans and what her goals are for small area plans.
Pedestrian Bridge: No clean up planned yet. D.O.T. has been repairing and replacing fences. Tentative plans to have a "Re-connection" celebration in mid-June.
General Membership Meeting: It is time to begin thinking about our semi annual meeting. A suggested date was set for Saturday June 4th in the afternoon or later. Food? Party? Owens Bell Park?
Living Treasure Celebration: Our own 'living treasure' Jessie Coleman will be among the first group to be honored at 1 p.m. on Sunday May 22, 2011 at First Baptist Church 5 Oak Street. Her oral history has already been recorded and will be archived.
Announcements: Jeff reported for the Aston Gateway Community Board that the additional fencing for the basketball court had been approved and bid and should begin installation this week. Tai-Chi classes led by Liz Ridley on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 were very popular. They are looking for a Yoga instructor to have classes on another day or evening and also a meditation group. The final equipment containers are in. The grant is about to be completed and will be celebrated with an Open House on Saturday May 21 from 2-6 p.m. and with a distribution of water bottles that say "We belong in Aston Park." Overall, he said it was a good process; He learned a lot about building relationships and community with the 6 or 7 core group members. They are being studied and documented as a model for other communities The Historic marker will not be changed before the open house. A draft revised text is under construction and will be posted for input before any permanent changes are made. Contact will also be made with local historians Henry Robinson, John Woods and Sarah Judson.
Jessie related that she and her great granddaughter went to the park last week with a plastic candy-filled egg. They had a great time hiding the one little egg and watching people find it. It shows that it doesn't matter what things you have but what's in your imagination that makes life fun and beautiful.
Byron reported contact with Susan Roderick about a Community Garden and she suggested talking to the people at ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) about a garden near the Fairway Sign next to the Boy Scouts Building. ASAP's office is just down the block in the Felmet Building.
Officers Coward and Ward reported that the homeless camp next to the Silver Dollar was gone. That bike patrols of Aston Park would continue and would adjust if needed more in mornings or afternoons.
Marsha Reported that the sidewalk at Dave Steel was given back to the city. Legal researched the agreement from the 1930's and found the city gave the sidewalk in return for a retaining wall.
Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola.