BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, January 18th, 2021 – 7:00 p.m., via Zoom
Board members present: Dan Treinen, Jon Dejong, Kellie Hanson, Alyssa Thull, Dick Fiala, Dan Williams, Dirk Nicholson, Brian McDonald, Pat Collins, Heather Grovum, Brenda Anderson, Carl Arrell
Board members absent: Lori Gubrud, Joan Staveley
Also present: Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder, Matt Larson (Fullertown Flats), four community members, Andrea Siegel and Juliann Brunzell (Equity task force community members)
Called to order: 7:04
Secretary – Dirk moved to approve November minutes. Brenda seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Treasurer – Brian reported more grant income than expected last year due to our environmental initiatives. Brian and Sally will provide a profit/loss statement for board approval at the February meeting.
Jeremy reports that there were no credible threats for Minneapolis/St. Paul around the presidential inauguration. He gets almost daily updates.
He reported that Minnesota has received less vaccine than City and State leaders hoped. At-risk people (eg teachers with in-person class) and those with exposure are moving to the head of the line for later phases. In the first part of Phase 1 (1A) Hospital/Long-Term Care workers, LTC residents, vaccine workers, and EMS are being vaccinated. In the second part of Phase 1 (1B) local public health staff and law enforcement will be first to get vaccinated. Other phases are still to-be-determined.
Kellie asked about Jeremy’s involvement in a new plan for the structure of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Jeremy clarified that that in a few weeks he, Councilmember Cletcher, and Councilmember Cunningham will release a charter amendment with changes to MPD. The amendment will go through the usual public processes
Dirk asked if Jeremy had heard any updates after the recent press conference from the East Phillips group and Councilmember Jenkins about the Roof Depot site that the City and East Phillips disagree over. Jeremy had no update but indicated he would check into it and get back to the Equity committee.
Fullertown Flats Update
Josh Segal (developer) could not attend. Matt Larson (representative of the developer) answered pre-submitted questions instead.
Question 1: what is the timing for the project. Matt reported that site preparation (eg, demolition) will not start until May at the earliest. The existing buildings on both lots are currently occupied. Wrecking/moving permits require neighborhood notification which the developers will likely send to TNA in the May meeting. The whole project will take roughly 12 months. Sally reminded the board that the annual meeting is usually in May and we have not started planning it yet; but that may push Matt’s update to either April or June instead.
Question 2: are there any design changes to the site-plan since last notification? Matt reported no changes at this time, but he anticipates minor changes which will not impact the site plan (eg footprint and envelope) while the building permit is in the works.
Question 3: are there any concerns filling vacancies during or after the pandemic? Matt said no.
Question 4: The owners of the condos at 4744 Grand Ave had some concerns that Matt will address directly with the owners via email.
Question 5: Given the special assessment for the upcoming Grand Ave reconstruction, has the developer factored that cost into the cost of the project? Matt stated they are not providing specifics of how this impacts their plan at this time, but the assessments impact their project the same as other property owners.
Board Updates and Strategic Planning
Sally said TNA did not experience as much of a budget cut in 2021 as anticipated. Revenue is down about $2,000 from 2020. The Neighborhoods 2020 plan might change allocation later this year; for example it may cut TNA’s allocation by $10,000 in 2022 with further cuts in 2023 but the long-term impact isn’t yet finalized by the City. Sally has no concerns about 2021’s budget outlook.
Sally also reported that TNA has not spent as much NRP funding as expected due to grants we’ve received.
Sally recommended the board decide the future and mission of the Equity task force, for which options include merging into another committee or making the Equity task force a stand alone committee. The board needs to be careful not to spread our resources too thin. Sally asked that the board consider changes to the NRP contracts to address the Equity task force initiatives and to consider any changes the board wants to make to the strategic plan for other committee initiatives.
Dirk agreed with Sally that the Equity task force initiatives should be independently funded. Jon said that where we are saying we should act we are not backing up with our funding plan. Brian said there are a lot of things we can fine-tune and re-align based on the new COVID reality.
Sally said the neighborhood survey deadline is February 5th (to allow two newsletter cycles) and that will provide useful input. She also asked if a virtual neighborhood listening session to get more direct feedback would be useful. She thought a meeting in February or March to rework the plan and funding was the right time to keep the existing board’s institutional knowledge.
Dirk thought keeping the timeline closer to the survey deadline (eg, not holding a listening session) would be good. Pat liked the idea of a specific meeting to review the strategic plan, including focus groups. Dick agreed with Pat but thought it was challenging with the virtual format to have useful two-way communication.
Dan asked what feedback a listening session would provide that the survey wouldn’t. Sally said our past listening sessions had specific focuses, but that’s very challenging now with COVID. Even so, Sally said focus groups could be seeded with goals/questions based on the survey feedback.
Pat, Jon, Dirk, Heather volunteered to help Sally determine the format and goals of any listening session or focus groups.
Carl suggested addressing the Equity task force needs but waiting on major rework of the plan until 2022.
Equity Advocacy Team
Andrea and Juliann introduced themselves as leads of Equity task force’s Advocacy team. Andrea is also co-chair of the Environmental committee and former board member. Juliann was a police officer with various roles including the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for 33 years.
The task force determined a priority of considerations with affordable/equitable housing as the most important. The Advocacy team asked the board to approve a Position/Resolution statement on affordable/equitable housing. Andrea also shared a list of three equity questions that the team asks the board to answer when considering any new or changed program, policy, practice, or budget. These questions will help the board assess impact both within Tangletown and in the broader community.
Jon asked if these questions should be answered when coming to the board with a project or decision. He also asked if there was a bar under which the questions need not be addressed. Andrea and Juliann said the questions should be discussed and answered for all decisions with the goal of making the board’s decisions more intentional.
Alyssa asked if the board should coordinate with other neighborhoods on similar considerations. Juliann said it would be very beneficial to do that, but even without coordination it would be useful. Sally said work/language/statements TNA does can be more easily used by other neighborhoods, and helps Sally engage more in newsletter and social media topics that align with the adopted goals.
Dick asked what the position/resolution statement would ask the board to do about housing development projects. Dan suggested it would ask the board to take a more concrete position on projects and how we evaluate them. Jon expressed frustration with the current development evaluation process and the impossibility of satisfying everyone (eg residents want more parking *and* more green space), and Dirk suggested the Spaces’ committees development scorecard could help make development evaluation clearer.
Dan Williams moved to adopt the Advocacy team’s priority of considerations and the position/resolution statement. Alyssa seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Spaces: the committee is still working through signage for Washburn water tower. Sally has new leads for vendors. The committee is also looking at a safety rebate program modeled after one the Nokomis East neighborhood has done.
Engagement: Dick shared that this year’s Winterfest will be virtual and asked for a maximum budget of $500 for awards for a number of activities, like snow/lawn/ice sculpture contest, restaurant receipt award lottery, and Tangletown Puzzle. Jon moved to approve up to $500 for the virtual Winterfest event, Heather seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Environmental: Pat shared that there will be additional upcoming textile reduction/reuse events. These include another deep-dive event into second-hand shopping in March due to great feedback from the first. The committee is developing a green partners list for textiles.
Equity: the committee had a large turnout for the Mapping Prejudice event last week in partnership with Kingfield and the Wedge. They are also hosting an upcoming community book read with Isabelle Wilkerson’s book “Caste.”
The committee recommends that the additional $10,000 matching funds allocated by the board for those affected by the George Floyd protests be donated to the East Phillips organization efforts to secure and develop the Roof Depot site. Dan Williams asked if there were legal issues with using the City’s money to sue the City; Sally answered that if there were, then the original donations could be used to offset attorney’s fees and TNA’s matching $10,000 could be used for the building if the suit was won. Jon asked what the opportunity cost of funding a suit was, without having done due diligence of the probability of winning a suit; eg could TNA direct the funds to more immediate and certain equity and justice needs rather than possibly losing it if the suit failed. Brenda felt it would be hasty to commit funds at this time; Sally also said it would be hard to make it clear what the money was going to when fund-raising. Jon and other board members agreed to request more information for the next meeting. Brenda asked Sally to schedule time for this discussion in the next meeting.
Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary