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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