July 2020 Board Minutes

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, July 20th, 2020 – 7:00 p.m., via Zoom

Board members present: Dan Williams, Alyssa Thull, Jon Dejong, Lori Gubrud, Brian McDonald, Brenda Anderson, Carl Arrell,  Dirk Nicholson,  Kellie Hanson, Dick Fiala, Dan Treinen, Pat Collins, 

Board members absent: Bernadette Tomko, Heather Grovum, Joan Staveley

Also present: Councilmember Jeremy Schreoder, Sally Bauer, Laurie McGinley, Dan Edgerton (MPW, project planner), Stijn Vanhauwaert, Greg Brown (Kimley/Horn, Grand Ave project design team member), Beverly Warmke (MPW, engineer)

Called to order: 7:04

Officer Reports:

Treasurer – Bank balance over $36,908.24. 990 tax return filed. Two big reimbursements submitted which should show up in our accounts by the next board meeting. There were $655 in non-reimbursible expenses from the 4th of July event.

Secretary – Carl moved to approve June minutes. Dirk seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Fuller Park

The park is closed to indoor rentals through August 31, but outdoor rentals are still available. While Fuller Park’s wading pool is not open, some wading pools are. Fall registration is scheduled to start July 22nd. Facebook page is most up-to-date source of park news.

Councilmember Schroeder

Governor ordered cities to not break up encampments, but there’s a health and safety problem. Park board decided to limit the size of camps, to keep them smaller. Real fix is getting more shelters online, working on three currently. Discussion about using the K-Mart site; Jeremy says it’s a good time to talk about what goes into a shelter and it’s not simple, it takes a lot of planning.

In middle of “Corona budget” which was adopted in December but was amended due to a $156million hole. Makes a lot of cuts across the board. Council recently added amendments around housing, one more public hearing. Only 5 more months in this budget. Will not be a significant decrease in the police budget; money has gone to other crime prevention programs run by the city. Jeremy is co-authoring an amendment to move communications staff from MPD into the City’s communications department; had many differences in what happened and what the MPD’s staff communicated, and this will consolidate and make messaging more consistent.

Sally asked about Neighborhoods 2020 schedule and delayed comment period. Jeremy said the assumption is when the comment period closes it’ll go to a council vote but he doesn’t know what the outcome is going to be.

Justice Page Construction

State has a grant program to fund welcoming and secure entrances for schools and Page received some funding. Currently developing proposal to send to the state for approval. Only talking about Door #1. Light addition to the building. Elevator is far from the main door. Make the door ADA accessible. Building would expand towards 50th a small amount. Intend to leave recent murals in place. Will reconfigure the stairwell at that side too. Secure vestibule added, camera would allow staff to see those requesting entry and buzz person in. Would then enter into reception area by office.

Schedule is currently at state awaiting approval. Anticipate it will be approved. Enrollment for Page will change. There is a larger project coming to Page (science classrooms, systems update, etc) soon. Get approval in 2020, hire engineer/architect spring 2021, not work until summer 2022.

Grand Ave Reconstruction

Total reconstruction from Lake to 48th. Goals to repair pavement, improve safety and ADA compliance. Working towards Layout Approval (bring to council in August), final design Sept-Dec, start construction spring 2021 and end 2022.

Since proposed draft concept, added 35 parking spaces in commercial districts. 14 spaces re-purposed to traffic calming and storm-water infrastructure. Minimum standard looks for 12′ pedestrian zone and shorter pedestrian crossings (bumpouts). New feature is “chicanes” or wiggle in the street that provides slower vehicle travel.

City right-of-way is actually 60 feet but property owners don’t like expanding sidewalks and construction into yards. Current usage without expanding into full right-of-way is 54′ which necessitates single-side parking.

Project will also include additional boulevard space in many locations, especially around 46th and Grand. DPW is having conversations with business owners and neighborhoods in those areas around specific needs.

Dan Treinen asked about bump-outs/curb-extensions and their impact on turn lanes and whether they help traffic calming. Existing side-lanes are not actually turn lanes, they are bus stops. Curb extensions enhance pedestrian safety by reducing crossing distance, and increasing visibility. Don’t anticipate a traffic issues with this design.

Dan T. also asked what determines which streets get the yellow stripe and which don’t. Beverly said yellow stripes are required based on traffic volume and she was not sure whether Grand Ave met the traffic volume.

Carl asked whether the updated design was generally well received by the business community. Dan said 48th and 46th have the greatest amount of parking impact and that the SWBA, while appreciative of the compromises from the January design, will likely oppose any parking reduction. Others are generally supportive.

Committee Updates

Equity: Divided into 5 different groups. Begin by addressing education; compiling comprehensive resource list. Looking at events, speakers, seminar. Second area is fund raising endeavor; like the $15,000 repurposed contribution and $10,000 matching fund. Looking at areas to pull the $10,000 from. Third is programs and partnerships; have assembled connections and resources to partner with. Fourth group working on advocacy; topics the board could consider and engage in; what are the ways we can best advocate and lend support. Fifth group is working on mission and vision; come up with language that provides cohesion that the task force and board is doing. Want to be thoughtful and intentional, not rush, but do want to get working on it and make progress.

Spaces: Dirk reiterated that the signage initiative is on hold because of potential funding issues in Neighborhoods 2020 and the current discussions around equality and racial justice. Washburn water tower sign hit speed-bump with previous vendor so committee is looking for new vendor. Spring spruce-up was reduced in scope due to COVID, but alley cleanup event may be possible even with social distancing. CLCLT have a property that did go through in Field Regina Northrup for about $60,000 with a plan to repay the loan amount in 2020.

Engagement: Dick updated the board on the welcome bag program and shared that he’d like more content for it. Continue to look for ways to engage community safely. Virtual 4th of July, 115 register for scavenger hunt and 66 submissions for decoration contest. Decided to not hold the garage sale event this year. Brainstormed ways to bring state-fair-style fun now that the state fair is canceled, would be a virtual event and have contests (greatest tomatoes, draw-by-numbers contest), livestock (cat/dog/etc). Dan T. asked about the state fair food truck vendors; committee talked about it and there was some concern about distancing. Sally shared that the 4th of July virtual event generated lots of positive feedback and engagement.

Engagement committee did outreach in reaction to COVID with the Corona Support Network, Area Captain program, and food drive earlier this year.

Environmental: storm drain stenciling is on hold, but still encouraging storm drain adoption. Received a good stewardship grant and moving forward with 14 properties for Metro Blooms rain gardens; install happens last week of July/first of August. Recently awarded a $10,000 grant for eduction on textile reducing/reuse. Energy rebate program continues.

Executive Director Update

Protest Rebuilding funds: board previously approve $15,000 donation to city rebuilding fund. City has decided not to approve any new funds movement until the City has approved a budget.

Washburn Track/CC Request: Track/Cross-country team asked for donation to help purchase two tents for outdoor events. Brenda suggested possible other Washburn organizations that may have wider impact (Washburn Cares). Board achieved  verbal consensus that it would not dedicate funds to this request.

Fall Newsletter: Sally suggested pushing the newsletter out to October because so much content is still being planned by the various committees. She also noted that 4-page newsletters are much less than half the cost of our previous 8-page newsletters, and suggested keeping articles shorter. Even though the amount is reimbursible from NRP funds, TNA long-term financial health may support lower-cost newsletters. Carl agreed. The board agreed to push the newsletter back to October and considering a 4-page newsletter.

Neighborhoods 2020: public comment deadline pushed back to September 30th with no announced dates for review. Sally has not yet submitted our board-approved public comment from earlier this year. Sally thinks we could add another bullet-point about our equity task force which lines up nicely with the plan; she will bring that language to the August board meeting.

Adjourned: 8:51

Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary