Saturday, September 4, 2004

GANA Meetings Minutes

GANA (Green Acres Neighborhood Association) Meeting 7:00 PM, 9/3/04
Georgia Schaich's house

Millie Jackson, Harold Dumes, Marian Hoffa, Mariam Shabagh, Stanley Routs, Marsha Bradford, Georgia Schaich and Ann Kreilkamp.


  • By-laws
  • Proposed Neighborhood Block Party in October
  • Traffic Calming

Old by-laws not yet reworked in committee. Group gave input for party to block party committee chair. (Date, time and type of party yet undecided.) Much discussion about traffic calming ballot which most likely won’t pass (ballots were sent, votes must be in by Tuesday, September 7). Group is glad! See story below.

The Process in Detail
Neither the by-law nor the block party committees have met yet. However, Julia Jackson has transcribed the old by-laws into a computer document and will e-mail them to anyone interested.

Georgia wanted suggestions to take back to the block party committee, of which she and Julia are co-chairs. Among them: With neighbors' permission, block off 5th street between Hillsdale and Overhill. Georgia to seek a permit from the city. Millie to design and distribute flyers. Parking lot of the Christian church is possible alternative location, at least in case of rain. Georgia suggested two kinds of chili, with and without meat. (Every household to bring some according to a common recipe and pour it in a giant pot.) Stanley suggested hot cider if it's cold, and possibly a flea market. Millie offered to give free massages and Ann suggested a give-away (where everyone brings one gift for someone else). Georgia suggested asking the fire department to attend, with one of their big trucks for children to climb upon. Georgia can secure tables and chairs and said we might expect 30 to 40 families. Several suggested we contact students in the neighborhood to possibly supply music for the event.

Stanley would also like a neighborhood event in the spring to exchange plants and flowers. Ann would like to exchange bulbs now. Since past GANA meetings had focused on problems with renters, Ann told of a heartwarming beginning to her relationship with new student renters next door: four girls who asked to "meet the neighbors" and brought cookies!

The final item on the agenda, traffic calming, was presided over by Marsha, who came with her husband Harold to the meeting specifically to explain her alarm to find on the back side of the ballot a map that showed not only two traffic circles (at the intersections of 5th and Hillsdale and 7th and Hillsdale) but also two islands, one of them directly in front of her house! The island made the street so narrow that cars would no longer be able to park in front. She said she wouldn’t want an island in front of anyone else’s house either, and so she and her husband voted "No." Marsha who is an attorney, told us that if the ballot passed, its legal language would lock the neighborhood in to the calming structures as shown on the map.

This caught everyone by surprise. It seemed in direct contradiction to the information on a flyer that Lois Sabo-Skelton designed and distributed to the Hillsdale area voters prior to the ballot. The content of the flyer was based on a talk Lois had with Russell White, an Engineering Field Specialist assigned to our neighborhood who had presided over information meetings put on by the City of Bloomington Engineering Department. It was also based on the (same) information Lois and others from the neighborhood had gleaned from attending Russell’s official meetings on the subject. Her flyer urged the Hillsdale area residents to vote "Yes," saying that a yes vote would put our neighborhood on the city's list for traffic calming, but not lock in any particular calming method; the neighborhood would still be able to decide what method was most desirable.

On the basis of Marsha's new information, we all agreed that we hoped the ballot wouldn't pass, and that there were probably some who voted yes who had been misinformed by the flyer. Georgia said that as of two days earlier, 33 had voted, and that they needed 22 more by next Tuesday, September 8, for it to pass.

At this point, with everyone still somewhat confused by the contradictory information (and I tell it here to the best of my recollection, with consultation from both Marsha and Georgia; there may be other interpretations of what led to the misunderstanding between the Russell and those in the neighborhood who had worked hard on this traffic calming project) we received a phone call from Justin Wykoff, Russell's boss, the Manager of Engineering Services for the Engineering Department. Marsha said she had talked with Justin, and he had said he would try to attend part of our meeting. Justin brought a big map with him that showed the planned islands and traffic circles. He confirmed what Marsha said, that a "yes" vote would lock the neighborhood in to the plan, but added that he didn’t think that there would be enough "yes" votes to trigger the second ballot phase: if 60% of the returned ballots "are in favor of the project then a second ballot shall be mailed to those addresses that did not respond to the first ballot. Ballots will be tallied for a period of four weeks from the time of distribution; ballots postmarked after the expiration date of the four-week period will not be tallied."

Justin said that if, as he expects, the ballot doesn’t get enough "yes" votes, it does not mean we have to start the process over from scratch. Instead, we simply need to back up one step (the ballot itself was "step six") and look again at what kind of neighborhood calming would be appropriate for the neighborhood.

He further clarified the issue of parking where islands are planned. He said that actual street curbs on both sides would be constructed parallel to where the islands are placed. The curbs would be a big factor in the elimination of on-street parking.

So that's how GANA participants, who have actively and patiently and with great endurance supported the process of getting traffic calming in place on Hillsdale, came to oppose the ballot that asked Hillsdale area residents to vote on it.

We meet again on Thursday, September 30, at Georgia's house, 202 S. Hillsdale

Dr. Ann Kreilkamp

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