Meeting Minutes: April 2019

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Location: Epiphany U.C.C. Fellowship Hall, 2911 McNair Avenue

Meeting brought to order: 7:04 p.m.

BPNA Board Members Present: Don Morgan (President), Courtney Armistead (Vice President), Colin Clark (Secretary), Liz Gerard (Treasurer), Kay Parish (Membership and Volunteers), Jim Gau, Holly Nighbert, Doug Griffiths, Dan Guenther, Cheyenne Langkamp, Katherine Leonard

I. Welcome, Introductions and Announcements – Don Morgan, President

a. April Fool’s Notice – Benton Park is not being renamed to “Soulard West”

b. Tim from Café Piazza brought pizza for meeting attendees

c. Café Piazza hosting “Better Together” event on

i. Questions? Email Luck Jackson at

d. Introduction of new neighbors and first-time meeting attendees

e. Nathan Jackson – St. Louis Tours

f. Bluewood Brewing opening soon


II. Minutes

a. Will be posted online once the new BPNA website rolls out

b. Minutes from March 5, 2019 meeting

i. Motion to approve🡪Second🡪Motion carries, minutes approved


III. SLMPD Officer’s Report – Officer Jack Khoudian (Period of Jan 4 – Feb 20)

a. 53% increase in total crimes – increase of 9 year over year

b. Incidents included domestic assaults, kids shoot paintball guns, 4 vehicle “break-ins” (though some vehicles were unlocked) and another domestic incident that included larceny

c. Reminders:

i. Report incidents immediately – do not wait

ii. When reporting suspects, use full, actual names and be as descriptive as possible

iii. Do not sit in car while parked on the street at night – leaves you vulnerable to attack

iv. Can download SLMPD mobile app to report incidents

d. Questions:

i. How do we compare to adjacent neighborhoods?

1. No murders in Benton Park this year

2. McKinley Heights had spike in robberies – arrested suspect

ii. Any plan to ramp up red light enforcement?

1. Very dependent upon officers on patrol, but no plan to increase specific enforcement in this area

iii. Gunfire reported morning after Soulard Mardi Gras

1. If you hear gunfire or suspicious sounds, call ahead and report, even if you are unsure of the source or location – OK to call 911 instead of non-emergency line

2. Police will collect shell casings

iv. Any follow-up on Cherokee Street shooting?

1. Not currently

v. When should you call the non-emergency line instead of 911?

1. When in doubt, make the call – SLMPD can help sort through issues


IV. Guardian Angels presentation

a. Guardian Angels purchased property at Jefferson & Utah

i. Groundbreaking in September 2018

ii. Construction will finish at end of May 2019

iii. Lease runs in December 2019, so will use last 7 months of year to plan transition and move-in

b. Guardian Angels Overview

i. Founded by the Daughters of Charity

ii. Runs Head Start program near SLU – 150 kids

iii. New location will provide emergency utility assistance, food pantry, other emergency services to individuals in 63118 and 63104 zip codes

iv. Half of new building will be used to operate thrift store (on Jefferson side), which will provide necessities and job opportunities for disadvantaged citizens

1. Accepting donations in alley at Cherokee & Ohio – ring bell at receiving door

a. Looking for: thrift store donations; donations for food pantry; diapers; cookbooks

b. Do not accept mattresses, used car seats/baby gear

2. Donations are tax deductible

v. To sign up for food pantry, need proof of residence in 63104 or 63118 zip codes; elderly beneficiaries can sign proxy, only need to visit Guardian Angels once per year

vi. ALWAYS need volunteers for thrift store and food pantry

vii. Also assist with applications for SNAP benefits

1. Reminder: check on elderly neighbors to ensure that they have access to basic necessities

viii. Utilizes social work practicum students

ix. Resurfacing parking lot – may utilize funds from capital campaign


V. Operation Brightside presentation

a. Recycling program

i. See “Recycling 101” handout from City of St. Louis

1. “Stick with the 6”

a. Paper

b. Cardboard – flatten before depositing in recycling dumpsters

c.Plastic bottles and containers – not plastic bags, film and lids

d.Keep caps ON bottles, jugs, etc.

e. Glass bottles and jars

f. Metal food cans and beverage containers

g. Cartons

h. Only carton that cannot be recycled in STL single-stream are from frozen items

i. Frozen meal trays, film and boxes should all go in trash, not recycling

b. Plastic Bag Awareness Day – April 13

i. Looking for volunteers to post at area stores to encourage shoppers to utilize reusable bags

c. What to do with plastic shopping bags and film?

a. Take to special drop-off locations

b. Does not apply to items like chip bags

d. Check handouts for information and contacts for sustainability resources and educational programs

e. Recycling bin giveaway


VI. Treasurer’s Report – Liz Gerard

a. As of 4/2/19, net income is $605 – will change once more revenues and expenses are included for particular events


VII. Alderman Report – Dan Guenther

a. Board still on “Spring Break” recess

b. Once Board resumes, will consider:

i. Proposal to expand Port Authority jurisdiction

1. Dan opposes due to aspects that include 5-person appointed board with eminent domain authority

ii. Prop NS (Neighborhood Stabilization)

1. Provides for $6 million for city to stabilize distressed properties in order to make them more attractive to developers

2. SLACO helped push through Prop NS – proposed new bill

a. Properties cannot be under contract

b. After NS funds are spent, properties to be auctioned off in order to give all bidders a better chance

c. Dan has 150 LED lights to be installed on poorly lit blocks – contact if interested

d. 8 years ago, city voted to reduce Board of Aldermen by 50% by 2021

i. Assembling City of St. Louis Board Reduction Advisory Committee

ii. Committee to have 11 citizen members to help provide input about how to improve access to City resources and assistance

iii. April 12 deadline for committee applications

e. Property Taxes

i. Mid-May 2019 is reassessment time – expect new assessments to be mailed by mid-June

ii. Dan plans to bring new City Assessor to future BPNA meetings

f. Benton Park Film Festival was such a success that another horror-themed film festival will be hosted in October

g. Questions from the Membership

i. (314) 622-4800 – Citizen Services


VIII. Parks Committee – Dan Guenther

a. Dan and team of volunteers worked on butterfly garden at Jefferson & Arsenal

b. This Saturday, April 6, 300 trees will be planted

i. Meet in Benton Park at 9:00 a.m. if you would like to volunteer

c. Starting volunteer tree care maintenance program – will have trainings with Forestry Department to learn proper tree maintenance


IX. Benton Park Dog Park Committee – Nicole Poston

a. Dog Park will be a reality THIS MAY! Grand Opening scheduled for May 25

b. Purina partnering with organization called The Greater Good – weekend of May 18-19, will be digging holes for fence posts

i. Need tools and volunteers

c. Pet Care Friday will be on May 21

d. Push for additional fundraising

i. Dog Equipment

ii. Benches

iii. Signage

e. See for donation link and fundraising portals

f. Events

a. Café Piazza trivia nights

b. Food truck pop-up in April

g. Motion to approve grant of $1,000 to Dog Park from Enterprise

i. Motion 🡪 second 🡪 motion carries; funds to be deposited in Dog Park account


X. Events Committee

a. April 28 is first event – food truck pop-up


XI. Garden Committee – Bill Kranz

a. Use to communicate with Garden Committee

b. Meeting being scheduled with Gateway Greening to discuss English Cave


XII. Building Review Committee

a. No new business


XIII. Marketing Committee

a. Redesigned email newsletter – if you are not receiving, check with Cheyenne Langkamp or Katherine Leonard to add your email

b. Website redesign is in progress – hope to have new website live by next meeting


XIV. New Business

a. Dog Park money matters

i. Oral motion by Kay Parish to allow Dog Park to oversee its own spending; motion seconded; carries by voice vote 🡪 motion approved.

b. St. Louis History & Architecture to begin Benton Park historical tours in late Spring 2019 – watch events page on BPNA website for more information

c. Neighborhood Improvements

i. Will raffle off plants at next monthly meeting


Meeting adjourned at 8:41 PM