Friday, October 29, 2004

GANA Meeting Minutes

GANA (Green Acres Neighborhood Association) Meeting
7:00 PM, 10/28/04 Georgia Schaich's house

Attending: Marian Hoffa, Mariam Shabagh, Marsha Bradford, Georgia Schaich, Tim Mayer and Ann Kreilkamp.

Agenda and Summary
Mostly a discussion of “Ideas and Concerns for the Green Acres Neighborhood” as written down by neighbors at the Tent Party on October 9, 2004 (see Report for the Tent Party).

The Process
We didn’t exactly consciously intend to spend our one-hour meeting on the Ideas and Concerns, but that is what we ended up doing. We discussed most of them, often drawing on Tim Mayer’s experience and knowledge as a City Council member-at-large.

First, though, we discussed something that was not on the list, namely sidewalks, which led into a discussion of flood problems and drainage.

Tim said that he tried to get a proposal to a three-member City Council subcommittee two years ago for sidewalks from the end of 5th to Union and from Jefferson to 10th. Then he discovered that only $170,000 was allocated to sidewalks for the whole city of Bloomington! Moreover, he told us, he found out that in order for sidewalks to go in, storm drainage problems have to be addressed first. The city did estimate what it would cost to do storm drainage work for the entire length of 5th (the intersections of 5th and Hillsdale and 5th and Overhill flood during intense long rains): $500,000! Tim said that the city was in the process of looking at drainage for Green Acres, but that right now it is on the shelf. By the way, the only existing sidewalks in our entire neighborhood are 7th through Hillsdale and up Eastgate to the bypass and the entire length of Hillsdale. Eventually, after the bypass is widened, plans call for a pedestrian/bicycle tunnel under the bypass from Eastgate.

Tim said that once the bypass widens, you will only be able to turn South when leaving Eastgate. He said that there will be a street at St. Mark’s Church, and a signal on the bypass there. Furthermore, he said that they had planned to make that street a continuation of 5th street. This would have transformed 5th street into a major street and cut our neighborhood in half. But he said that four or five years ago when the state held a series of meetings on the bypass plan the GANA folks stood up and stopped the 5th street cut through.

On rentals vs. home-owners: several Bloomington neighborhood associations keep lists of homes in their neighborhood that are for sale and another list of individuals, couples and families who wish to buy homes and live in their neighborhoods. With these lists they have gained more control over rentals and have begun to move their neighborhoods back to owner-occupied. If you know of houses being sold or people wanting to buy and live in a Green Acres home, please contact Georgia so we can begin these lists.

On parking: though many neighbors are against parking on the street, if parking were allowed on both sides, that in itself would slow traffic, thus producing the desired traffic-calming. For bushes or trees that block the view of traffic: if they are in the city’s right-of-way (up to your water meter), then the city will remove them if you ask.

On traffic calming: Marsha said she would be willing to work with a neighborhood group on traffic calming, and to even think about the idea of spearheading it. (She is concerned that our last failed effort, which took up so much time and energy, could have used a lawyer with her expertise.)

On lights: Tim said lights are installed by Cinergy, which then bills the city for them. Thus, since lights are expensive for the city, it is difficult to get them. However, Ann volunteered to survey the neighborhood to see where there are dark patches at night; she will also survey to see where street signs are missing — and take her findings to Tim and the city. So, if you are aware of places that need lights and/or of missing street signs, please email Ann at

On cutting down trees: Tim said that a number of years ago there was a proposal known as the Pam Service Tree Ordinance that failed. This ordinance addressed the issue of people cutting down trees on their property (the ordinance would have put controls on this). However HAND can require trees on rental properties to be cut if they are dangerous. Concerns about trees should be addressed to the City Tree Commission or the City Arborist (Lee Huss).

Next Meeting
November 29th, 7 pm, Georgia’s house 202 S. Hillsdale.
At this meeting we will show and discuss the video of “The City Repair Project” in Portland that works with neighborhoods to “educate and inspire communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live.” Georgia, Ann and Kathy Ruesink attended a presentation given by one of the founders of this project in early October and came away so excited by Portland’s visionary, inexpensive and practical example that they want to share what they learned with their GANA neighbors. So if you are inspired by the idea of discovering new ways to help foster a real sense of community in Green Acres, then please do join us at the next meeting.

For those who cannot attend Thursday meetings, note that the next meeting, November 29th, is on a Monday. Ann Kreilkamp scribe

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Friday, October 1, 2004

GANA Meetings Minutes

GANA (Green Acres Neighborhood Association) Meeting
7:00 PM, 9/30/04
Georgia Schaich's house

Marian Hoffa, Georgia Schaich, Julia and Halley Jackson, Janna Anna, Aggie Sarkissian, Lois Sabo-Skelton, Paulette Davidson, Ann Kreilkamp and David Hohnke


  • Upcoming Tent Party
  • Traffic Calming

Plans well underway for Tent Party. Traffic Calming on hold for now.

The Process
Tent Party: Georgia Schaich and Julia Jackson spoke about their plans for the Tent Party, to be held in a big tent in Bloomingfoods East Parking Lot on October 9 from 4 to 7 pm.

Georgia, Julia, Millie Jackson and Stanley Routon have worked hard to prepare for this event. They were joined by Jana Anna, Phil Eskew, Noriko Hara, Marian Hoffa, Jelene Campbell, and Marian Shaaban to distribute flyers for the event to all houses in the Green Acres Neighborhood.

(For those who don't know, our lovely, tree-splashed section of the city, "Green Acres," is bounded by 10th Street on the North, the Bypass on the East, 3rd Street on the South and the IU Campus on the West (Union Street). There are approximately 450 households in the GANA neighborhood.)

The original idea was for a block party on 5th street. The committee decided that time was too short to get permission from nearby residents as well as from the city (to block off the street). And, since the party is being held in October, the thought of possible cold and rain also dampened the block party idea and they decided to hold it somewhere inside. They approached the area churches, but were turned down, also because of time being too short. Likewise the fire station. So Julia came up with the idea of asking George Huntington, manager of Bloomingfoods, if we could use the tent that will be set up for the Bloomingfoods annual party the night before our party is to be held. He agreed, and also donated a deli tray, and a bread and cheese spray for the event. IF YOU WISH TO BRING FOOD OR DRINK TO SHARE (and we hope you do!) please email Julia at so she can coordinate your offering with others.

There will be kids' entertainment, with Halley Jackson, 11 years old, in charge, including an apple bob!

Lois Sabo-Skelton will play her fiddle AND HOPES TO BE JOINED BY OTHERS WITH INSTRUMENTS! So bring your drums and rattles and guitars, pots and pans, whistles, harmonicas, and your clapping hands.

The committee has also lined up an amazing number of door prizes from area businesses, plus Millie Jackson will offer free chair massages.

There will be a table set with places for you to note your neighborhood concerns, and for how you would like to see Green Acres develop in the future. Examples: sound barriers for the upcoming wider Bypass, high speeds through the neighbrhood, safe crosswalks across 3rd and 10th and the Bypass, safe lighting, parking issues, too many people in rental houses, etc. Julia suggested that we think up a slogan, for example "The Neighborhood that Walks."

SO COME! BRING YOUR CONCERNS AND BRING YOUR UNIQUE SPIRIT TO JOIN WITH OTHERS! This Tent Party is our inaugural GANA event. We hope to encourage a greater sense of community as well as to create a neighborhood in which we all feel so at home and so welcomed that we settle in to live here all our lives.

PLEASE DO REMEMBER TO EMAIL JULIA OR CALL GEORGIA at 334-3292 to let the committee know you are coming so they can line up enough food.

Traffic Calming: Russell White from the city's Engineering Department, who has been working with us on this issue, has asked that we hold another meeting to come up with what we would like to see on traffic calming. But after the last attempt and its denouement (see meeting report for 9/3/04), people at this meeting decided to hold off for awhile on even thinking about the issue. All except for David Hohnke, who came up with an idea nobody else has thought of. This is to ask the police department to station a police car on a street in the neighborhood on which cars speed (like Hillsdale) for a week or two, and to do this sporadically. He says other neighborhoods have done this and it works. People stop speeding, at least temporarily, and it costs the city nothing in terms of infrastructure.

He also gave us information re: parking in our neighborhood: if there is not a no-parking sign in front of your house, then you, and anyone else, is free to park there. (Were we to ask the city to put "Neighborhood Parking Only" signs up, it would cost $15 per year per household.) Also FYI, David says that though your household pays taxes up to the center line of the street in front of your house, the city has the right-of-way on the street all the way up on your lawn to where your water main is located.

We meet again on Thursday, October 28, at Georgia’s house, 202 S. Hillsdale.
Ann Kreilkamp

P.S. If you want to join me on a walk to an event held at 7 p.m. in the IU Law School this Sunday night, let me know at 334-1987. Mark Lakeman, of Portland, will speak on his project of retrofitting cites with "grassroots changes that promote personal interaction, not just robotic interchange." (See the H-T today, front page story in Local section.) I expect Mark to infuse us with more ideas about how to encourage community spirit in Green Acres.)

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