In our first meeting of 2022, we had Alderwoman Pihl with Ward 17 updates, Park Central Development sharing info about their Stay in Place Program, a live poll on the Steinberg Rink Development Project, and discussed how the Association can better serve the community.
Community Updates (Dan Doelling)
Introduction of new Board Members:
President: Dan Doelling
VP: Michael Browning
Treasurer: Rachel Siegert
Secretary: Aaron Bisch
Member at Large: JC Fick
NYE Anti-Gunfire Campaign
The community agreed that this year was a quieter holiday
A community member suggested that the campaign be replicated for the July 4th holiday
New Benches, tables, and trash cans have been installed in Chouteau Park
A new renter toolkit is now available on the FPSENA website
Ward 17 Updates (Alderwoman ‘Sweet-T’ Pihl)
Alderwoman Pihl is setting up a meeting to discuss negotiations with LUX living to redesign their access from Kingshighway
A community member asked about the ‘step-back’ in the building’s eastern facade design. Alderwoman Pihl did not have an update on the building design.
Alderwoman Pihl has requested community engagement and a design review for additional properties on Manchester.
Open office hours will begin next month:
02/19 2:00-3:30 at Rise Coffee
Alderwoman Pihl proposed three ward committees and encouraged participation in each. Each committee was described as ‘grass-roots.’ It was noted that these committees are ward-wide and that updates will be posted to social media:
Public Safety Committee
Led by Darius Young (Botanical Heights), the Public Safety Committee would be made of ward residents and focus on community safety
Examples of committee work could include trainings to prevent theft or helping engage blocks to form block groups as a neighborhood watch
Community Engagement Committee
The Public Safety Committee would be made of ward residents and focus on community events
Examples of committee events could include porch parties or garage sales
A community member asked if there is funding available for events. The Alderperson noted that the committee is ward-wide
The Marketing Committee would be made of ward residents and focus on marketing
Alderwoman Pihl noted that her twitter account got hacked. She asked for assistance or advice from any community members who have experience with similar misfortunes.
A community member asked if there were any other developments the community should expect community engagement on. Alderwoman Pihl noted Groveland (properties Austin’s Manchester) and Lux Living as the two primary projects currently in development.
Treasurer’s Report (Rachel Siegert)
Treasurer Siegert made a call for dues and noted that dues are ‘pay what you can,’ meaning there is no minimum or set due to become a voting member. It was noted that historically dues have been $10.
A community member commented that dues seem similar to a ‘poll tax,’ which have historically heem used to disenfranchise impoverished voters.
Treasurer Siegert clarified that the ‘pay what you can’ model is in place to specifically resolve this concern. Any interested community member can become a voting member at virtually no cost.
Officer Walker noted seven calls last month and five reports
On New Year’s Eve, the neighborhood experienced eight ‘shots-fired’ calls and one report
In 2020 there were three calls
In 2021 there were eight calls
Overall Officer Walker noted that the neighborhood has been generally quiet this month, but reminded community members to park smart and never leave valuables in their cars. She also recommended leaving porch lights on at night and installing a video doorbell.
Other neighborhoods are seeing an increase in catalytic converter thefts.
Linda Nguyen, Park Central Development’s Coordinator of Neighborhood Initiatives and Engagement, shared information about the ‘Stay in Place’ Program, which seeks to connect residents to resources to stay in their homes
Residents can contact Nanyamka Brown for information about the Stay in Place Program: 314-643-8261
Guest Speaker (Cordell Whitlock)
Cordell Whitlock represents Vector communications and is responsible for public engagement for the Steinberg Rink Development Project
The Steinberg Skating Rink is a public ice-skating rink located across Kingshighway from BJC
The 1995 Forest Park Master Plan calls for year-round use of the site
Design team are developing concepts for presentation this summer
To promote engagement, Cordell shared an interactive survey asking how the site might best be used year-round. The survey, located here (bit.ly/FPSE-survey), asks in what activities are preferred for year-round use
Dan encouraged community members to consider three questions about the future of the FPSENA in 2022 and beyond. Each question is listed below along with discussion points made by the community:
If you’re not attending meetings, why not? What needs to change for you to come to meetings?
The community agreed that time conflicts are typically the reason for non-attendance, though it was also notes that this might be true of any one night of the week
A community member noted that the neighborhood meeting has always been held on Tuesday evenings at 7:00
What frustrates you about the Association? What have you enjoyed most?
A community member asked how could the meetings come to the block-level to reach everyone? They noted that ‘some people on my block don’t even know about it.’ Finally they suggested each month’s meeting be held in a different ‘quadrant’ of the neighborhood
A community member recommended shutting down streets for a meeting or block party
A community member commented that a ‘neutral forum’ (outlined in the FPSENA bylaws) implies a ‘do nothing’ group. They continued noting that there is a lack of incentive to participate and that the ‘neutral forum’ creates no use. ‘It doesn’t do anything’ they said, ‘We get together just to talk.’ They pleaded that the board ‘get out of the neutral’ and advocate for our neighbors to ‘get something done for us.’
A community member noted that lawn signs placed around the neighborhood promoting meetings has been successful in the past
Is the Association active enough in the neighborhood? What can the Association be doing more of in the neighborhood?
A community member said ‘We saved this organization to be able to advocate for the neighborhood.’
A community member asked ‘Why is nothing changing?’
A community member challenged the board to focus on the ‘real issues’ in the community, specifically related to development and infrastructure
A community member suggested that the board become experts on how to receive funding, help, and grants
A community member asked ‘Where is the ward capital improvement money?’
A community member typed in the meeting chat ‘Has anyone articulated the rationale for why FPSENA is not an advocacy group, and why it is a neutral forum? Rather than trying to force the association to take positions on controversial topics (and dividing the group), this can be the place where like minded people can meet to join forces and start their own separate advocacy groups. Example: Dog Park.’
A community member noted that the board used to provide letters of support