Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association, Jan. 26 meeting

Treasurer position will open in April; Wi-Fi expected in Prospect Park by end of March; Luxton Book Exchange becomes formal committee

Community Engagement Commission representative appointed
PPERRIA members voted to adopt a resolution to send a representative to the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission’s Feb. 21 forum. PPERRIA President Dick Poppele said he asked Peter LaSha, an alternate on the board of directors, to attend the meeting on PPERRIA’s behalf. (LaSha recently served as PPERRIA’s representative at the NRP policy board elections.) LaSha was asked to convey that Southeast representation is essential on the newly created commission.

District Councils Collaborative membership renewed
PPERRIA board member Phil Anderson said the District Councils Collaborative (DCC), of which PPERRIA has been a part since 2006, is attempting to become its own non-profit corporation. Anderson asked members to support a motion renewing PPERRIA’s membership in the DCC under a new contract. Anderson said membership does not involve any financial commitment to the DCC. The motion carried.

Luxton Book Exchange becomes formal committee
The Luxton Book Exchange, an ad hoc committee responsible for establishing and maintaining an informal library and study space at Luxton Park, became an official PPERRIA committee by a vote of the board. Board member Dean Abrahamson, who will chair the new committee, said the informal library, which is open during recreation center hours, was furnished with a little less than $200 in out-of-pocket costs. The space is currently about 70 percent full, he said, adding that space for more books can easily be made. Abrahamson said he and several others are currently working on securing reference materials for the space. The library is also in need of more books for teenagers. Donations of books and cash are being accepted, he said.

Treasurer position will open in April
Poppele said he asked board member Andy Mickel to chair the nominating committee that will recruit members for the 2009-2010 board. It was also announced that PPERRIA Treasurer Lois Willand will resign her post at the end of PPERRIA’s calendar year, in April. Willand has agreed to help the new secretary with the transition, Poppele said.

Fire and Ice Celebration date set
Kale Severson, the new program coordinator at Luxton Park, announced the Fire and Ice festival will be held Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Proceeds from the festival will benefit a field trip organized by East Side Neighborhood Services. Severson also mentioned that Luxton Park is looking for volunteers to help with sports at the park.

PPERRIA to front payment for Under the Witch’s Hat reprinting
Board member Betts Zerby said the Executive Committee recently decided to reprint 1,000 copies of “Under the Witch’s Hat,” which has been out of print for nearly two years. Zerby said there’s demand for more copies — Tom Sengupta has already placed an order for $500 worth for Schneider Drug — but PPERRIA will have to front about $7,000 to have the books printed. That money would eventually be paid back with the proceeds from book sales. The books were a good fundraiser in the past, she said. A motion was made to amend PPERRIA’s budget so that funds for the project could be drawn from the organization’s general fund, history committee fund and legal representation fund. Discussion ensued about the order in which the various funds should be paid back. It was mentioned that the legal defense and general funds should get priority, but no formal decision was reached. Poppele said the order of repayment could be determined by a future vote. The budget was amended by a vote of the board. Zerby said books will be sold for $45 and will probably be available in about two months.

Upcoming meeting announcements
The university will hold several community meetings to seek input on its Master Plan draft. One such meeting, designed specifically for neighbors in the University District, will be held Thursday, Feb. 5 at Van Cleve Park, Poppele said.

An input meeting will be held for residents to help choose the art that will be displayed at Prospect Park’s LRT station. Meeting date(s) will be posted on the Prospect Park e-list when finalized.

Revenue down at The Bridge newspaper
A representative from the Southeast Publications Board said ad revenue is down 25 percent at The Bridge. Individual donations will be important to keep the paper operational during the economic crunch, he said.

Wi-Fi expected in Prospect Park by end of March
Lynn Willenbring, chief information officer for Minneapolis, and another city employee fielded questions along with two representatives from USI Wireless about the delay in bringing the city’s Wi-Fi network to Prospect Park. “The good news is there is a plan. Prospect Park has not been forgotten,” said Ward 2 Councilmember Cam Gordon, who invited the city staff to the meeting. Willenbring said the hold up, as of late, has mostly been on the city’s side of things. Fiber glass light poles found in the area won’t support the weight of the radios that need to be installed, she explained, so the city is replacing those poles with similar-looking iron poles. The replacement poles are expected to arrive in the spring, she said. In the meantime, temporary wooden poles that can support the radios are being erected near the current light poles. They will be removed when the iron replacements arrive, Willenbring said. The other city representative said he thought Wi-Fi would be up and running in Prospect Park within 50-60 days. “Before the end of March Prospect Park should be live,” Willenbring said. Several in attendance said they’ve been told for years that the service would be up and running ‘in a few months’ and questioned why they should believe city staff now. Another person suggested USI Wireless provide more real-time updates about the installation process on its website. Willenbring apologized, saying the city had been “too optimistic in [its] timeline” for the project. Still, she said because this is one of the first projects of this size in the country, it’s prone to some problems.

Zoning, Planning and Regulatory Review progress
Joe Bernard from the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development Department described the Zoning, Planning and Regulatory Review (ZPRR) process which has been happening since August 2008. The taskforce is a subgroup of the University District Alliance that’s examining how the city can improve regulatory processes in the district. The group is attempting to tackle issues in areas such as parking and transportation, enforcement, design and development and planning and zoning, Bernard said. Comments and suggestions were made by PPERRIA members about tracking landlords by their violations, promoting family-friendly neighborhoods, eliminating relative homesteading and possibly limiting alcohol access in the area. Bernard said ZPRR’s draft document is available on the city’s website and encouraged input from the neighborhood.

106 process ‘ramped up’
Livability Committee Chair Joe Ring said the 106 Review Process recently “ramped up.” Many more entities were in attendance at the last meeting and Ring said the Met Council appears to be taking notice. A tentative programmable agreement between parties could be ready for signing in mid-April, Ring said.

Possible down-zoning, developers sending solicitation letters, business news
Zoning and Land Use Committee Chair Florence Littman said she and Karen Murdock are continuing to survey the single-family homes in the neighborhood that are zoned R-4 to see if down-zoning might be an option. Littman asked residents to provide her with copies of any unsolicited offers they receive from developers wanting to purchase their homes. Littman formally announced the opening of Metro Petro on University Avenue. She also announced that Dave Barnhardt, who was in attendance at the meeting, had purchased a property on University Avenue.

Membership reporting changes
Membership Committee Chair Julie Wallace said membership, from now on, will be reported differently. In the past, membership was based on the number of households that belonged to PPERRIA. Now, membership numbers will be based on the total number of individuals that belong to the organization, as some households have more than one member that belong to PPERRIA.

NEXT: Board meeting, Feb. 23, 2008.
MEETINGS: 4th Monday monthly, 7-9 p.m., unless otherwise announced. Refreshments, conversation 6:30-7 p.m. Prospect Park United Methodist Church, 22 Orlin Ave. SE
CONTACT: 612-331-2970
66 SE Malcolm Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55414

last revised: February 5, 2009