GPNA Monthly Meeting Minutes

GPNA Meeting Minutes - 2007, January 16

GPNA Minutes, January 16, 2007
By Karen Greene, secretary

Phil Cuthbertson, president of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) for 2007, called the monthly meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. He reviewed meeting conduct and voting eligibility. He invited new members to introduce themselves and reminded all to sign in. He stated that the night’s meeting would focus on 2007 objectives and budget requests submitted by new and returning officers and committee chairmen.
Officer Reports
Cuthbertson stated his major objective for 2007 was to connect the neighborhood and create a more cohesive body. He asked that all committee chairs make that goal part of their objectives as well. He referred to Interstate 20 as “the great divide”, separating Grant Park into north and south sectors. One objective for the new year, he said, will be the renovation of the Cherokee Avenue bridge over I-20, serving to unite the neighborhood. He said he has asked an architect to do some preliminary work on a pro bono basis and he plans to bring drawings to the GPNA body for everyone’s input. He spoke of a master plan for the neighborhood and said he would put together a committee to develop a process to build a master plan “that people can be engaged in and support.”
As past chair of the Economic Development committee, Cuthbertson noted that the publication of the annual business directory, which starts in November, is well underway; and, because he had not heard from the new 2007 chair, he plans to pursue the project under the president’s office. He added that committee chairs who do not attend meetings will be replaced before the end of the year. He said he wanted to add a requirement to the bylaws that committee chairs be responsible for recording the minutes of their respective committee meetings.
He requested $8,000 for the business directory budget and explained that the money will be reinstated: the directory does not go into production unless it is able to break even or show a profit. He added that the directory is in its sixth profitable year.
For the president’s budget, Cuthbertson asked for $2,500 for photocopying, meeting and administration expenses, adding that he would review last year’s expenditures with GPNA treasurer Michelle Botwinick and report his findings to the body at the February meeting. He said the budget should include $1,200 for directors’ and officers’ insurance as well as $3,000 for grants, noting the association in the past has awarded a $1,000 grant three times a year.
There were no reports from the vice president or treasurer, both absent. The secretary, Karen Greene, stated her 2007 objectives to work closely with the GPNA, NPU-W and other neighborhood representatives to devise a sound method of communicating to the body. Her budget request was $800 for copy and administrative expenses. The December meeting minutes, she added, were on the back table for review.
Committee Reports
• Education & Children’s Issues: Adelee LeGrand noted that she was sole chair for 2007, having co-chaired the committee last year, and asked for neighborhood support. She acknowledged the support of the Friends of Grant Park Pool and requested $600 for the third annual Back to School pool party to be held the Friday before the Summer Shade festival in August. She pointed out that the pool charges $1 for anyone who wants to use the pool after hours and that her committee pays for those who either forget to bring money or who can’t afford the fee. “We don’t want anyone to be turned away,” she explained.
The budget, she added, should also include $1,000 for two $500 scholarships to be presented to Grant Park residents graduating from high school this year and continuing on to higher education. The application deadline is April 2007, she said, and details could be found on the Web site at www.GPNA.org. Her plans for the new year include hosting an “open house” with each neighborhood school, to introduce neighborhood residents to the public schools. She requested a total annual budget of $2,000.
• Fundraising: Chair Ann Floyd spoke of raising awareness of the two major fundraising activities and thanked both Allen Hoss, who will be working with her on the Mothball this year, and Bill Ericson with the Tour of Homes. She plans to have an open house for both fundraisers and will be posting information on the Web site. Floyd said she wants to increase revenue of the Tour of Homes by $1,000 and work with the neighborhood to review the Mothball to determine whether or not it should be a moneymaking event; it currently loses money each year. She will present her budget request in the future.
• Historic: Returning chair Carolyn Dufano was absent. Cuthbertson reported the committee is talking with the Atlanta Public Library about storing and maintaining documents accumulated by the history committee. The document storage would be located in the downtown branch of the Atlanta Fulton County public library on the fifth floor. For 2007, the committee plans to strengthen historic regulations and implement a certificate of appropriateness (COA) review process. In addition, plans include a new display board for the Memorial Corridor and replacement of the L.P. Grant signage. Plans include continuing the popular Home History Workshop, in its fourth year, to be held this year in May.
• Land Use & Zoning: Rick Hudson, returning chair, spoke of city council representative Carla Smith’s involvement in a license review board lawsuit involving a liquor license for a Grant Park business. Smith, according to Hudson, will be present at the next meeting. He presented his 2007 objectives which include (1) working with David Green and the Georgia Tech team to complete the mapping of neighborhood street grids, (2) continuing the immediate neighbor process in rezoning issues; (3) moving forward with the revitalization of neighborhood commercial nodes (current project is at the corner of Ormewood and Confederate avenues); (4) working together with both Transportation and Historic committees on the Beltline; (5) continuing to work with adjacent neighborhoods to coordinate development efforts; and (6) coordinating the SPI-22 review.
He spoke of his goal to involve all parts of the neighborhood and said he was already in contact with the Oldfield, Beezer, The Cove and other communities. His budget request includes $1,500 for copies and administrative expenses, including the purchase of a tape recorder for meeting minutes. He added that the budget included $200 for possible lunches with consultants when discussing neighborhood planning projects. The next meeting will be held Thursday, February 1 at 7 p.m. in the ARC building at Zoo Atlanta.
The budget item for entertainment drew questions from the body – no other committees had requested similar monies. A request was made to set guidelines to identify expenses appropriate for committee meetings. Hudson agreed to omit the $200 from his budget request until it can be addressed at the next GPNA meeting. Cuthbertson pointed out that consultant approval and contract signing must be approved by the whole GPNA, not a committee.
• Parks & Recreation: Nancy Mau, new chair, said her short-term objectives involved park safety and she would work to improve dialog and Zone 3 presence. A second objective is to improve the look of the neighborhood, including all parks and streetscapes. She mentioned city of Atlanta appropriations for future work on the Grant Park ball field, pools and recreation center. The City has appropriated $125 million, with $65 million set aside for Beltline parks and the remainder reserved for capital improvements in existing parks. She said she would work with Carla Smith’s office to keep residents informed. By March, she noted, when outdoor activities return to the park, these will be hot topics and she called for volunteers.
Long-term goals involve working with the Transportation and LUZ committees on the Beltline. She explained that coordination of the Beltline was moved to her committee because of its impact on green space. Mau requested $500 to cover photocopies and administrative expenses. She added that she may request additional funds in the future as needed. Discussion involved the placement of trash cans around the park and Mau pointed out the suggested police department method of logging noise complaints on weekends – first call 911; then call Zone 3 and tell them you called 911. She said there is a zero tolerance policy in effect.
• Public Safety: Returning chair Chris Newman spoke of the additional Grant Park Security Patrol (GPSP) patrols funded by a GPNA grant. He introduced Atlanta Police Department officer Joe Cobb who, along with officer Jim Hodge, will share extra weekend and evening watches. Newman noted that vehicle larcenies, which used to run between 35 to 40 per month, are down to 10 or less per month due to additional police presence and owner awareness in keeping items in parked cars out of sight. Additional information can be found at the GPSP link on www.gpna.org.
There was some discussion involving parked cars, including Georgia State patrol cars, blocking sidewalks on Cherokee Avenue near Bluebird Café. Cobb told residents to call 911 or Georgia State headquarters. Parking violations, he explained, are low on the pecking order.
The southwest quadrant of the neighborhood poses the biggest problem for automobile larcenies and flyers will be placed on windshields when there are particular problems. Newman cautioned that repeat offender, Rodney Waller, whose picture is posted on the Web site, is out of prison and “hitting cars day and night.” Vehicle break-ins are crimes of opportunity, he noted, and asked residents not to leave any items in their cars.
Newman said he will continue to work jointly with the NPU-W on liquor license renewals, asking businesses to comply with the good neighbor policy not to sell single items such as cigarettes and alcohol. He explained that the committee meets jointly with the NPU-W and he promised to continue to work on developing crime and safety programs for southeast Atlanta. His budget request is $1,500 to fund patrol hours by off-duty police officers. He said he would continue to update the Web site every few weeks.
• Technology Committee: Chair Stephanie Warner stated her objective to enhance communications via the GPNA Web site, She explained that DreamStudio has been hosting the site for free. She requested $500 to establish a message board and/or blog site. Warner spoke of updating postings to business listings on the Web site and using technology to enhance activities, such as utilizing Paypal for online payments to GPNA-sponsored and GPNA-associated activities, such as Tour of Home ticket purchases and GPSP membership payments. She spoke of possibly creating e-mail distribution lists to notify residents of upcoming events by utilizing existing security zones.
• Transportation Committee: John Liebl, new chairperson, spoke of a technical item list to send to public works monthly to request new transportation items or repairs. His objectives include identifying and applying for sources of comprehensive planning funds and updating the neighborhood comprehensive transportation plan document. He added that guidelines for the plan document were last updated in 2004. Funding will be needed for the project.
Liebl’s current budget request is $100 for miscellaneous expenses. He mentioned a traffic calming project on Berne Street, involving both the Ormewood Park and SAND neighborhoods, which could impact Grant Park. The next committee meeting is Tuesday January 23 at 7 p.m.
• Cuthbertson presented a total $13,660 budget request for 2007, reserving the right to request additional funding as projects evolve during the year. The budget request, he pointed out, does not include $20,000 previously set aside to for consulting firm Grice & Associates, and he said there will be additional discussion at future meetings regarding the set-aside funds for the transportation study. The budget, Cuthbertson added, also does not include $8,000 appropriated for the business directory because these monies are returned back to the treasury.
There was a motion to accept the 2007 objectives and budget as presented. Discussion asked that the 2007 budget be compared to 2006 expenditures and presented at the next meeting. The motion was tabled until a line item budget can be presented to the GPNA body. A vote to have a line item budget approval was introduced and unanimously approved.
Public Officials
Lieutenant Lyle, assistant zone commander for Zone 3, spoke of his 25 years with the Atlanta Police Department. He said he worked in Zone 3 in the 1980s and that he was glad to be back, noting marked improvement in the neighborhood. He added that the horse patrol is returning. Crime statistics are low with the exception of vehicle larcenies. He asked that residents report suspicious persons to 911 and referred to automobile break-ins as “fast crimes.” He cautioned residents not to leave items in vehicles and not to leave cars running to warm them up.
Lyle noted an increase in thefts of copper from renovation and construction sites. He explained that Major Findley is spearheading an initiative detail on recycling businesses, tracking people who take stolen copper to recyclers. Additionally, a new four-man foot patrol, Lyle said, has had an immediate dramatic effect. During the week there is a mini motor patrol riding in the park and Lyle said calls to 911 are immediately dispatched to those patrolling officers.
State senate representative Nan Orrock, who joined the meeting as it was about to adjourn, spoke briefly of the new legislative session, stating she and Margaret Kaiser, Georgia house representative for Grant Park residents west of Boulevard, are working with Georgia’s $20 billion budget on projects involving transportation, Peachcare and assorted tax bills. She told residents that both she and Margaret are each allotted 10 pages in their budget and she asked interested residents who have children between the ages of 12 to 18 to call her at 404-463-8054 or visit her Web site at Nan.Orrock@senate.ga.gov.
Tone Lane with CommunityThink spoke about the benefits of the Real Card in showcasing small businesses. His goal, he said, is to educate residents on the philosophy of business owners and what services they provide.
Old Business
The December meeting minutes were approved.
New Business
Registration for the 2007-2008 year for the Atlanta Charter Middle School will be held February 5-16 for zone 1 residents and March 5-16 for zone 2. The school currently holds classes for sixth and seventh grades; registration for the new year includes grades six, seven and eight.
Grant Park baseball registration starts January 27 and will be held the first two Saturdays in February from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m..
John Hall, owner of Hall’s of Fine Wines in Inman Park, presented Jeff McCord, winner of the raffle, with a $25 gift certificate.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
The next GPNA meeting will be held February 20 (third Tuesday each month) at 7:30 p.m. in room 316 of the Georgia-Hill Community Building.

NOTE: These minutes are subject to the approval of the GPNA membership.