Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sign Toppers Have Arrived

Here's a photo I took today of Kevin Polk with the new sign toppers and his bike. He called me this morning with the news that the sign toppers had arrived and he was about to ride them down to our dear neighborhood cheerleader Vickie Provine at Bloomington's HAND Department. The signs are to be installed by the Public Works Department sometime this summer on top of all 38 intersection street signs in Green Acres. This excites me, this very first physical manifestation of our growing neighborhood awareness, and our ultimate aim to nourish neighborly feeling in Green Acres to the point where it morphs into its own unique and sustainable little village in concert with other neighborhood villages throughout the city of Bloomington.

A few facts from Kevin about the signs:
Total cost for the signs + mounting brackets: $917.70. GANA paid $346.35, and a Bloomington Small and Simple Grant paid $571.35 in matching funds. Kevin wrote the grant, and the toppers were made by Hall Signs, Inc.. Thanks so much, Kevin!

Kevin also sent along a few facts about his fabulous bike. Says its a "Bridgestone MB-4 with about 20,000 miles on it. In April, I installed a Free Radical hitchless trailer from Xtracycle. This involved lengthening chain and replacing rear brake and derailleur cables. The FreeRadical moves the rear wheel back 15 inches, which lowers the cargo and spreads the weight between the wheels. I have transported fencing, 6-foot garden stakes and a 4-foot, 80-pound wooden swing several miles safely with this rig. I routinely transport 4-6 bags of groceries smoothly and comfortably. Past mods include: front fender, comfortable saddle and a Nitto Albatross handlebar from Rivendell Bicycle Works.

"Two weeks after installing the FreeRadical, I saw someone else riding one in the neighborhood!"

Nothing like a great idea whose time has come. Ditto for the signs. Prospect Hill neighborhood has them. It's about time we had them too. To me, these signs symbolize our desire to re-cultivate the near-sacred "sense of place" that has gone missing in the U.S. for several generations and that, as we bring it back, helps us feel safe, connected, and welcoming.

Ann Kreilkamp

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

GANA Meeting: 5th St., Bypass, HAND Grants

7-9 pm First United Church on 3rd St.

Sign toppers, 5th street construction, Neighborhood Cleanup, meeting dates, Bypass widening, Neighborhood Improvement Grant projects, blog and list serve access

Georgia Schaich, Ann Kreilkamp, Kevin Polk

Our next meeting will be a potluck at Ann's house at 6 pm Wednesday, July 2. Please RSVP by comment to this article with the dish you plan to bring. (We'll remind you closer to the date).

We invite neighbors to become blog authors and post their own announcements.

The Process

Was it the severe thunderstorms and tornado watches that kept attendance down this time? Or was it summer, or the new meeting date? Or the fact that we didn't announce the "speaker" (a DVD on the eco-theologian Thomas Berry) until two hours prior to the meeting? In any case, attendance and meetings were our first topics of the meeting.

Does it make sense to meet monthly? After all, South Griffy Neighborhood Association only meets twice a year. Georgia pointed out how valuable it was two years ago to have monthly speakers as a way to self-educate and build a vision. Somehow, though, our energy seemed to dissipate the following year as we labored with the city to craft a neighborhood plan that force-fit our permacultural village vision into official bureaucratese. Ann commented that now it seems time to regroup and take a fresh look at what we're doing and how we're doing it. We could meet for three months each spring and fall, when people are here and not yet so busy. Or we could meet quarterly, or bi-monthly. Kevin wanted fewer meetings but more events, with the host of each event empowered to call meetings specific to planning that event.

Does it make sense to meet in the church when the huge room dwarfs our tiny group each time? Everyone present(!) enjoyed the home potluck and meeting events that we held last November and December. Maybe we should host meetings at private homes until participation starts to overwhelm those venues. Ann offered to hold the next meeting as a potluck at her house at 6pm, Wednesday, July 2.

Kevin noted that the blog needs more authors. Ann and Georgia thought the blog would make a great internet kiosk where neighbors could post announcements (workshops, baby sitting, pet sitting, homes for sale, rentals, services, trades, free stuff etc.). Kevin agreed, and will invite all neighbors from the discussion list on as authors.

Kevin said he has received many requests to post kiosk-type announcements to the discussion list. He pointed out that the list is not moderated, so anyone who receives GANA email should address the list directly by sending email to gana@lists.gaiome.com. But the best place for neighborhood buy/sell/trade/giveaway announcements is our virtual kiosk, http://greenacresneighbors.blogspot.com/ and all GANA members will receive invitations to participate.

The GANA sign toppers will be manufactured by mid-month and handed over to Public Works to install sometime this Summer. GANA paid $346.35 for the toppers and the City of Bloomington chipped in $571.35 for the project.

Ann called the City about the work on 5th Street and was told it would be done in a month, weather depending.

The Neighborhood Cleanup went well. Workers from the City's HAND department praised the high volunteer turnout, and many participants and neighbors said they were pleased with the help and the end result: very much cleaner streets. Thanks to all who participated and especially to the volunteers who distributed fliers to the whole neighborhood and spent the morning directing traffic and picking up trash from neighborhood streets: Ann Kreilkamp, Katie Zukof, Eric Schedler, Jelene Campbell, Kimberly Wagner, Kevin Polk, Ignaci Lledó, Georgia Schaich, and George and Linda O'Donnell.

Ann and Kevin have been in contact with Brandon O'Leary, President of South Griffy Neighborhood Association (SGNA), regarding action on the Bypass widening project. CAC has drafted a letter to INDOT about the situation. If the State does not show signs of cooperation on pedestrian/bicycle safety and noise issues in the community the bypass no longer bypasses, GANA, SGNA and others may consider stronger action.

Letters of Intent for the Neighborhood Improvement Grant are due September 26. Will we be ready? The grant provides 50-90% matching funds for projects from $3K-$40K: parks, public art, physical improvements, playgrounds, amphitheaters, kiosks, plantings, etc. We have submitted two letters of intent in the past year, but not pursued it due to lack of support within the neighborhood. Georgia felt that an artistic entrance feature such as an arch would really set us apart as something unique. Other suggestions in the past have included a neighborhood compost/chipper area, a grape arbor over the walk between Roosevelt and Jefferson on 4th, and pocket parks. What's exciting enough to galvanize neighborhood involvement?

We adjourned at 8 p.m.

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