Meeting Minutes: May 2019

Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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

Meeting brought to order: 7:05 PM

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

Total members present: 23 (satisfies quorum requirements) 

I.               Welcome by Don Morgan, President


II.             Presentation from Michael Dauphin, St. Louis City Assessor (link to presentation materials)

a.     Assessor’s office covers personal property, mapping & platting and real property taxes/assessments/permits (about the accessors office)

b.     Real property tax rate is 8.42% (more information on property tax rates)

c.     Reassessment letters being mailed out in May; will include detailed explanation regarding appeals process, which includes both formal and informal stages (see timeline for assessments and appeals)

d.     NOTE: If you do not receive a mailer from the City Assessor’s office regarding your real estate taxes within the next two (2) weeks, please contact the City Assessor’s office at (314) 622-4185.  Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

e.     See flyer from City Assessor’s presentation titled “Benton Park Neighborhood Housing Summary” for additional contact information and statistics.


III.           Police Report from Officer Khoudian

a.     Total crime has increased 92% year over year through April (total crimes reported increased from 14 as of 4/30/18 to 4/27/19) – spike mainly attributed to porch thefts

b.     Certain crimes occurred or began in other areas but were reported in Benton Park, so are included in neighborhood crime statistics

c.     Experienced incidents of delayed reporting – remember to call immediately when a crime has occurred

d.     Remember to turn on porch lights at night

e.     If packages are stolen from your porch, contact sender to inquire about sending again, then SLMPD as soon as possible

f.      3rd District Community Outreach Meeting 

i.     June 13, 2019 at 6:45 PM, 2832 Arsenal Street

g.     For crime statistics and current updates, Google “SLMPD crime map” or “SLMPD calls for service”


IV.           Approval of Minutes from April Meeting

a.     Motion to Approve > Second > Approved


V.             New Members

a.     Elvia (Arsenal & Missouri)

 i.     Plans to spearhead campaign to raise awareness about safe ways to feed ducks in Benton Park

b.     Louise (Cherokee)

 i.     Has commercial space coming available to new tenant


VI.           Treasurer’s Report – Liz Gerard, Treasurer

a.     Budget and Profit/Loss show figures through end of last month

b.     Budget available on BPNA website

c.     Need to continue bringing in new funding – events average $1.5K each


VII.         Alderman’s Report – Dan Guenther

a.     Legislative Update 

i.     Prop 2 (statewide medical marijuana) – Examining different ways to zone the growing, processing, testing and distribution of medical marijuana in St. Louis

ii.     Board Bill 11 (concerns planned reduction of Board of Aldermen from 28 to 14) – currently examining ways to maintain efficiencies in the event of a Board reduction

iii.     Board Bill 16 (requiring public vote on privatization of airport)

b.     Tree Planting

i.     Planted approximately 250 trees last month with group of volunteers

ii.     Still have approximately 50 trees left – can contact Dan via email (see City website) to request one be planted in front of your property

c.     MSD/Parks Project

i.     Benton Park lagoon and round pond will have floating water level monitoring device installed to shut off water flow when level rises too high 

ii.     Fountain to be installed in big pond in Benton Park – will provide aeration and help regulate water temperature, which should help reduce annual fish kill

d.     City Budget

i.     Property values are increasing and revenue is steady, so not experiencing many cuts

ii.     Additions to budget for demolition of vacant buildings owned by LRA

e.     Neighborhood Crime

 i.     Package thefts are significant problem

1.     Certain neighborhoods have package drop-off locations to keep deliveries from sitting around during the day; will take receipt of packages from carrier and store for pickup by owner

 2.     Dan has spoken with Joel, who owns the gas station at Arsenal & Lemp, about becoming a designated package drop-off location

ii.     Porch Lights – Ameren has a program to assist in the purchase of new porch lights

iii.     Camera Systems 

1.     Would like to create committee to maintain database of properties with security cameras that can be used to assist SLMPD in investigations of neighborhood crimes

2.     Neighborhood associations provide SLMPD with information about homes with security cameras and contact information for owners of cameras – police will try to contact owner via phone to obtain potentially helpful footage

3.     Barb Potts recommended resurrecting the neighborhood safety committee to spearhead the gathering of information regarding neighborhood security cameras

iv.     Street Lights

1.     Dan and Barb Potts perform audits of street

2.     Call (314) 647-3111 to report burned out street lights

v.     Neighborhood Parking

1.     Call (314) 622-4800 to request curb painting

2.     More tickets are being issued for parking violations

VIII.       George Jones from SLACO

a.     Saturday, June 29, St. John the Baptist Church

b.     Table is $180 for 8 people – BPNA is sponsoring a table for neighborhood residents from budgeted donation money 

c.     Sign-up sheet was circulated during meeting, but please contact board through BPNA website to express interest in attending trivia night


IX.          Building Review Committee

a.     Former Missouri Title building is being redeveloped by Mastermind Vodka

i.     Must go before Board of Adjustments for approval

ii.     Experiencing some opposition from neighbors with respect to operation of a bar, but facility will be focused on distilling of various spirits and operation of a hospitality room, not operation of a full-time bar

iii.     Mastermind currently operates from Pontoon Beach, IL

iv.     Mastermind intends for Benton Park building to become the site of its main production facility

v.     Motion to deliver letter of support in favor of Mastermind’s redevelopment of the site à seconded à motion carried (unanimously); letter of support to be provided by BPNA


X.            Dog Park Committee – Nicole Poston, Committee President

a.     Grand Opening is May 25 (details)

b.     Goal is to install fencing by May 17, but no later than May 20

c.     Water line, fence panels and trees are being installed by third party contractors

d.     City has approved signs (with hours of operation and contact information) and benches, agility stairs

e.     Continuing to push for additional fundraising

i.     Concrete is a significant cost not covered by Purina or Greater Good

ii.     Benches ($600) and agility stairs ($1000) are now available for sponsorship online – BPNA will provide complimentary plaque that can be customized by sponsor

iii.     Bricks ($50/ea) available for purchase online – can be engraved with 3-4 lines of text

f.      Board of Public Service approved permit for park – will be posted on site at park for public viewing next week

g.     Dog Park Committee needs approval from BPNA membership to accept donations in excess of $500

i.     Motion to allow Dog Park Committee to accept one (1) existing donation of $840 from Jared Ewing for t-shirts, signs and banners, and authorize Dog Park Committee to receive one (1) requested donation from Lowe’s in excess of $500 for concrete à seconded à motion carries

ii.     Don Morgan suggested that we post information regarding source and amounts of future large donations on BPNA website

h.     Proposed change to bylaws to authorize committee chair or executive board member to accept donations in excess of $500 during periods between meetings; to be presented to the membership at the next meeting – will be posted on BPNA website for review prior to actual consideration at future meeting


XI.          Garden Committee – Bill Kranz, Committee Chair

a.     Party in garden anticipated for July 13 – more information here

b.     Cave exploration temporarily at a standstill while activity in the garden ramps up

c.     Two new beer vaults recently discovered underground; these two vaults are part of a separate project in North St. Louis and associated with Spengler's Cave.


XII.        Marketing Committee – Katherine Leonard 

a.     New website is LIVE!

b.     Visit to check it out.


XIII.      St. Louis Neighborhood Tours

a.     Sunday, May 26, 2:00-5:00PM – next historical tour of Benton Park

b.     Tour will have 36 different stops and will be filled with historical facts about the neighborhood

c.     Purchase tickets now ($15) at Eventbrite – visit St. Louis History and Architecture page on Facebook for link


XIV.      Events 

a.     Upcoming Events

i.     April 28 – Food truck pop-up was a success; STL Food Truck Association gave back over $1200 to Benton Park neighborhood organizations

ii.     May 19 – first concert in Benton Park

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

b.     Still need volunteers for all events!  See information on BPNA website to express interest.


XV.        Announcements

a.     Work being done by Spire in Benton Park

i.     Utilities take precedence, so Spire is not required to notify residents prior to commencing work.

ii.     Spire currently in the process of moving meters from inside your house to outside – DO NOT allow meter to be moved to the front of your house

 iii.     Call Barb Potts or Dan Guenther if Spire has completed their work and the depression left from the access hole has not been filled in and leveled by the City

 iv.     BPNA board will attempt to schedule a representative from Spire to attend the June general meeting to discuss work in the neighborhood

b.     New Benton Park plaques being ordered – more information to follow 

c.     Homeless population in Benton Park

i.     Homeless Services has attempted to intervene

ii.     SLMPD is aware of situation

iii.     Neighbors have agreed to address particular individuals of concern

d.     ATTENDANCE PRIZES – Generously donated by Flowers and Weeds


Meeting adjourned – 9:07 PM 

/s/ Colin C. Clark