Meeting Minutes: June 2019

Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Location: Epiphany U.C.C. Fellowship Hall, 2911 McNair Avenue
Meeting brought to order: 7:04 PM
BPNA Board Members Present: Don Morgan (President), Colin Clark (Secretary), Courtney Armistead (Vice President); Liz Gerard (Treasurer), Jim Gau, Holly Nighbert, Dan Guenther, Cheyenne Langkamp
Total members present: 29 (satisfies quorum requirements)

I. Welcome by Don Morgan, President

II. Comments from the Floor

a. Need new signs to promote monthly meetings around neighborhood – Board will discuss at meeting on May 18

III. Minutes from May General Meeting

Motion to Approve → Second → Approved

IV. New Members

a. Jenny (Wyoming)

b. Alexis (Missouri)

c. Ben (McNair)

d. Grand Opening of New PR Firm

V. Guest from 3rd Ward to speak regarding Board of Aldermen’s plan to reduce number of wards – Kalambayi Andenet

a. Expressed concern over potential for disenfranchisement as a result of the pending reduction in number of wards to fourteen (14)

b. Requesting support for petition in favor of new vote to stop ward reduction (supporters in crowd with petition to collect signatures)

VI. Crime Report – Officer Jack Khoudian

a. Delayed reporting of two crimes – PLEASE promptly report incidents to police

b. Attempted larceny from unlocked vehicles; larceny from running vehicles left unattended

c. Car chase that began in 2nd District ended in Benton Park

d. See summary of Crime Coded Data for May 2019

e. See sheet with links to crime statistics, mapping, etc.

f. Call (314) 241-COPS with crime tips

g. Officer Khoudian willing to send letters to non-residents causing problems in Benton Park – email Officer Khoudian with tips, names, vehicle descriptions, etc.

h. June 13, 2019 – community outreach party at 6:45 PM, 2832 Arsenal Street (BYOB!)

VII. Treasurer’s Report

a. Assets are approximately $77,000

b. Full Profit and Loss Detail Report available on website (bpnastl.org)

VIII. Alderman’s Report – Dan Guenther

a. Still working on City’s $1.5 billion budget

i. First time ever to have $5 million going toward city demolition fund

ii. $4 million allocated to Affordable Housing Trust Fund for low income housing development and other projects

iii. Planning to divert $800,000 from police overtime to crime prevention efforts in neighborhoods like Gravois Park and others with higher crime rates

iv. This should be last week of budget negotiations; budget has to pass through Board of Aldermen and then be approved by Mayor

b. Legislation

i. Board Bill 2 – finalizing how medical marijuana will be regulated within City limits; already had first reading

ii. Airport privatization – Dan and Alderwoman Spencer advancing bill to require citywide vote

iii. Board Bill 34 – residency requirement for City of St. Louis jobs; Dan supports due to shortfalls in staffing for key services like EMS; bill would apply to all city positions

iv. Trio of Bills (Board Bills 40-42) – campaign finance reform measures aimed to bring City in line with Clean Missouri

c. Streetlights

i. Anyone with a streetlight out can contact the City to have the light replaced - CALL 647-3111; after 5PM, hit “3” to be transferred to a 24-hour dispatcher

ii. For alley lights, call Ameren; will need to provide numbers from power pole

d. Working with Parks Dept. and MSD to make improvements to water supply for pond in Benton Park

i. Plan to install fountain – no timeline due to wiring and excavation requirements

ii. Plan to install float mechanism to prevent pond overflow

iii. Will likely see vehicles in the park in the coming weeks working on these improvements

e. Cherokee Rec Center next to Benton Park is a sign-up location for City-sponsored youth activities and summer camps

f. Free construction classes through Youth Build – open to all kids in City of St. Louis between ages of 17 and 24

g. Benton Park Dog Park

i. Looked for location for new park for many years – considered public and private spaces

ii. After Fremont Park was selected as proposed site, Don Morgan delivered flyers to area homeowners to allow participation in the approval process

iii. Certain residents did voice opposition during the process, but Dog Park was approved through efforts of BPNA (including Benton Park Dog Park committee) and City, including Mayor’s office

iv. More than 300 people signed petition in favor of Dog Park

h. Questions from Membership

i. Any discussion among Board of Aldermen regarding Airbnb rentals in City?

1. There has been some discussion; Dan has supported citywide registry of Airbnb properties

2. Bill that was advanced during last year’s legislative session was unsuccessful

3. Assessor’s office changed certain properties found to be exclusively used for Airbnb from “residential” to “commercial” classification for property tax purposes, starting with this year’s new assessments

4. City entered into a memorandum of understanding with Airbnb and other homesharing companies that provides for a hotel-style tax

ii. Proposed bar in McKinley Heights (across Gravois from Benton Park neighborhood)

1. Collecting signatures from residents on and around Victor Avenue

iii. Benton Park cleanup on June 5 at 9:00 AM – volunteers welcome

IX. Building Review Committee

a. Last month viewed 1937 Gravois in response to request from Mastermind Vodka

i. Opening distillery facility and tasting room – not full-time bar

b. Anything Goes, LLC

i. Specializing in high-end refurbished electronics

ii. Business mostly online, but moving into new space near Hodak’s (2014 Gravois) where they will accept walk-in customers

iii. Space already zoned for retail; hearing on business license

iv. Board will circulate

X. Events

a. June 23 – concert in Benton Park (Whoa Thunder; Wayward Souls

b. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR ALL EVENTS – visit bpnastl.org for ways to get involved

XI. Garden Committee – Bill Kranz

a. Garden Party on July 13, 2019 from 4:00 PM to dark

b. Hoping to drill exploratory holes around garden grounds after the end of gardening season in an effort to determine the location of the lost English Cave

XII. Dog Park Committee – Nicole Poston

a. Successful event on May 25

i. Raised approximately $700

ii. Thanks to Officer Khoudian for being present

b. Fence currently being installed – had to switch contractors due to delay in delivery of materials; expect completion of fence on June 6, 2019

c. Once fence is fully installed, will circulate message to Dog Park members who have completed registration

d. Pending Donations

i. Lowes and Quik-crete donated cement for fence

ii. $672 in cash

iii. Motion to allow Dog Park Committee to accept donations → seconded → approved

XIII. Marketing – Cheyenne Langkamp

a. New website is live – bpnastl.org

b. Teaming with Events Committee to obtain additional volunteers for neighborhood events

XIV. President’s Report

Old Business

a. Proposed change to organization’s bylaws to allow Board members and committee chairs to accept donations following posting of amounts and donor identities on BPNA website

Motion to approve → seconded → approved

b. Don has reached out to Spire regarding work in neighborhood and is awaiting a return call

c. Benton Park house plaques

i. Approximate cost for new plaques made of brushed stainless steel is $180, versus $220 for plaques made from same materials as last time

ii. Don will email those who have expressed interest

iii. If you would like a house plaque, please contact Don

d. Business Directory on BPNA website

i. Email Don to add new businesses that are not already included in directory

e. Signs for Benton Park about what/how to feed ducks – Elvia

i. $20 each

ii. Would like to get six (6) signs to place around park

iii. Will post Elvia’s contact information on BPNA website – contact Elvia to donate

New Business

a. Yemanja Brazil would like to host another food truck event in Benton Park on one of the following proposed dates, assuming approval of City permits:

Sunday, June 30

Sunday, August 25

Sunday, September 29

Sunday, November 3

b. Nathan Jackson – St. Louis History and Architecture

i. Benton Park neighborhood tours continuing – next one is June 8, 2019

ii. Follow St. Louis History and Architecture on Facebook for more information about tour times and dates, as well as fun STL facts and photos

iii. Planning future tours in Lafayette Square and Soulard

Meeting Adjourned – 8:16 PM
/s/ Colin C. Clark
Secretary