Horner Park Advisory Council

President Peter Schlossman called the regular meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.  The meeting was held in the second floor meeting room in the Horner Park Field House.

In attendance:
Peter Schlossman, HPAC  President
Larry Brown, HPAC Vice President
Kevin Anderson, HPAC Treasurer
Sarah Reiser, HPAC Co-Secretary, Concert committee, Ravenswood Manor Park Steward
John O’Connell, head of HPAC Concert Series Committee
Janet Thompson, Horner Park neighbor
Samay Gheewala, Dog Friendly Area volunteer
John Friedman, Horner Park neighbor
Tom McManamon, Horner Park Supervisor
Nate Hucheson, Jacob Playlot neighbor
Ben Ranney, Jacob Playlot neighbor, CTA lot initiative head
Rob Geltner, Energy Impact Illinois

A quorum was determined to be present.   

Approval of Minutes  
The minutes of the January 2013 meeting were approved with edits.

Report of the Treasurer (Kevin Anderson presented)
MB chkg             5,056.75
MB savings      14,864.82
Paypal                      690.78
total:                    20,612.35

The Quickbooks accounts reconcile with the records and bank statements.

Attention officers: it is time for HPAC to re-up insurance coverage. Approximate current premium is $350-450 ($350 in budget). The insurance company has requested HPAC balance sheet documents, which Kevin is preparing to send.  Action item: renew insurance. HPAC recently received an anonymous donation in the amount of $1000 designated to be applied toward the General Fund.  Action item HPAC: Extend a big thank you! to the generous donor.

Dog Friendly Area (DFA) Committee (Peter Schlossman presented in Erica Beutler’s absence)
The DFA/Alderman’s meeting about two weeks past was well attended with approximately 50-60 participants. During the meeting the committee laid out progress made so far, gathered comments from community both pro and con. Peter noted that a good exchange of diverse perspectives took place. A request was made from the floor for a public meeting on the DFA initiative. The DFA Committee has tabled this request for the time being while performing review process steps mandated by CPD, entailing a year-long usage survey of the proposed dog park/run area. Peter suggested HPAC host a public meeting in Fall 2013 to accommodate further community discussion of the proposed DFA. The floor was then opened for general discussion on the topic. Neighbors raised concerns about health of the trees in the targeted area. Peter and Larry reminded the group that detailed questions pertinent to design decisions should wait to be addressed at the appropriate stage. A park neighbors expressed concern that she hadn’t known anything about the proposed DFA initiative until she saw signs in the parks. A discussion ensued regarding various means of and restrictions on publicizing HPAC information. Larry Brown noted that information has been posted on the public HPAC website since approximately August of 2011 at the time the initial survey was circulated. Larry also encouraged neighbors to consider HPAC meetings to constitute an open public forum space to which neighbors are welcome to come. A brief discussion followed regarding the DFA review process as required by CPD, including what constitutes a “usage survey” (please refer to CPD documents linked from DFA articles on HPAC website for links to additional detailed information). A further question was raised about environmental impact studies, and it was generally agreed that the impact on environment should be considered prior to any permanent changes to the park. Peter pointed out the need for a proper facilitated forum for a discussion of this issue, e.g. the Fall meeting. It was suggested that copies the circulating petition might be kept at Horner Park and the Alderman’s office to facilitate neighbors’ access. It was suggested that the DFA committee might host a table at the Doggie Easter Egg Hunt (3/30) with information about the initiative and petitions for attendees to review. Action item Erica Beutler: please present a DFA update at the March HPAC meeting.

Concert Committee (John O’Connell presented)
The 19th season of free summer concerts in Ravenswood Manor Park opens on June 14 and includes a calendar of six events. The Concert Committee is continuing to work on booking acts for the season (about half booked at this stage). Lunar Media is developing marketing material. John plans to have promotional flyers for distribution at the March meeting. A solicitation letter to potential subscribers should also be going out in March.

Action item HPAC: help get sponsors for Concert Series. Tom McManamon reminded the Concert Committee to acquire special events permits for each of the concert events. The city of Chicago is revising requirements, one of which is the stipulation of a permit for each event.

Action item Concert Committee, Tom: review new permit requirements and secure permits as needed.

Park Briefs
Horner Park
Wood shop funding approved. Tom is in the process of getting woodshop courses onto the Spring schedule. Budget changes have meant that Horner Park now has two full time attendants. Current classes are filling up. Tom is looking at changes for Spring, including adult and teen Pilates & yoga. He is also considering opening a 6-week play camp for 3-5 year olds. The Baseball clinic referred to in in a past meeting probably will not go forward this Spring. Tom may offer a free T-ball clinic in the Summer. Tom suggested that individuals inquiring about subscription adult Softball should be directed to Sports Monsters. He noted further that CPD does host a softball league, but that it’s made up of teams rather by subscribing individuals. John brought up the need to trim down the miscanthus grass in front walkway area of Horner Park Field House this Spring. Action item: Tom to discuss with CPD landscapers. Larry inquired about planned bathrooms for fieldhouse first floor. Tom said bathroom-building plans were scrapped as usage of the area in question has grown to accommodate wrestlers and Pilates/yoga classes. A motion was made and passed to initiate getting an outdoor announcement board like the one in Ravenswood Manor Park for Horner Park. Action item: bulletin board for Horner Park.

Ravenswood Manor Park
John O’Connell reported that the old-fashioned post light near Francisco/Wilson is out. If you have announcements and flyers for posting, please give them to Sarah or John for posting on the Ravenswood Manor Park bulletin board.

Jacob Playlot Park (Ben Ranney presented)
The broken lights and graffiti in Jacob Park reported to 311 have been repaired and cleaned, respectively. Several neighbors have recently spotted coyotes around the neighborhood. Beavers have taken town several trees along the river. John pointed out that if residents call 311, the city will respond by trapping and relocating beavers.

CTA lot for sale
The sale has been postponed until late March. Ben noted that conversations about the initiative with CTA representatives has failed to progress. Now that ward boundaries are at least semi-officially considered effective, Jacob Park now falls squarely under O’Connor’s jurisdiction rather than Pawar’s (who has been more responsive to the initiative).

Friends of Jacob Park (Nate Hutcheson presented)
Nate recently discussed community gardens for the neighborhood with LaManda Joy of Peterson Garden Project, who suggested targeting the vacant CTA lot for the community garden use/rehabilitation approach that has helped in other areas in the ward. Nate reported that both he and LaManda plan to approach Alderman O’Connor to discuss these ideas. An inquiry was made about the pirate ship play structure formerly of residence in Jacob Park. The upshot of the discussion was Ben reiterating the Friends of Jacob Park’s intention to help steward the process of improving the park’s play structure equipment.

Riverfront Project
Peter has been in contact with representatives of Congressman Quigley’s office and the US Army Corp of engineers. USACE has submitted its draft report for review, but there is still no funding available for/allocated to the project.

Website Committee – No Report

Garden Committee – No Report

New Business

Energy Impact Illinois Presentation
Contact info: Rob Geltner, energyimpactillinois.org or 855-9-IMPACT; myhomeeq.com — useful tool.
Energy Impact Illinois (EII) advocates for homeowners in Chicago, coordinating a variety of beneficial resources toward increasing energy efficiency and lowering monthly bills. Substantial rebates available from government stimulus funding can be applied toward energy efficiency home improvements. EII is focusing its efforts on our neighborhood because of the large percentage of older homes that can benefit substantially from energy improvements. Qualifying homes include single family, 2-4 unit buildings, and most townhomes. Rob likened the government stimulus funding to the Cash for Clunkers program, but for energy work on homes. Rebates are applied to save money on energy bills over time; results showing an average of $500 savings over one year per home. Process starts with a $99 energy assessment ($500 value), with no obligation to doing work, identifying issues for improvement. Assessment and contractor work focuses on sealing gaps and air leaks (windows, doors) and improving insulation. EII has so far performed around 3000 home assessments in Chicago. EII also hosts assessment house parties, to show neighbors firsthand how the assessment process works. EII works with a network of BPI certified contractors partners with utility companies (ComEd, Peoples Gas). Also offers loans. Energy Star certification available for homes and can increase home resale value by up to 10%.

Emerald Ash Borer
John Friedman raised question of Emerald Ash Borer and what steps HPAC is prepared to take to help afflicted Ash trees in our parks. Pointed out that it is very important to treat trees this year and next year especially. For some reason CPD is not planning to treat trees in the parks, though the City of Chicago is planning to treat trees on parkways, etc. Cost comes to about $56/tree for EPA approved affective treatment. Treatment window is window May thru August. On the table is an initiative for HPAC to help influence CPD, raise money, and/or coordinate treatment. John Friedman will present on this subject at March HPAC meeting. Action item Larry: where can I get a copy of the tree inventory for posting on the website?

February 7: FOTP annual meeting and awards luncheon @ noon at Chicago Cultural Center (tickets $45)
Feb. 8: Daddy/daughter, Mother/Son Valentine’s Dance
March 9: Park Advocacy Conference at South Shore Cultural, including a summit on Park Safety
March 30: Doggy Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. in Horner Park.
April 20:  Earth Day; need Horner park captains
May 11: River Day; need captains Jacob, Horner, Sunken

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for March 4 at 7:00pm in the second floor meeting room of the Horner Park Field House.

Respectfully submitted: Sarah Reiser, Co-Secretary

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