March 2016 Meeting Minutes

Horner Park Advisory Council
Meeting Minutes
March 7, 2016

Peter called the HPAC meeting to order at the Horner Park Field House at 7pm.

Irving Park Road Underpass:

The goal of the underpass is to allow foot and bicycle access from Belmont to Montrose without leaving the park. A status of the underpass at Irving Park was provided by Bob Foster, who works for the Chicago Park District, O. Chaves, who works for CDOT, Brett Kunz, who works for Bowman, Barrett and Associates, and Wendy Schulenberg, who works for Daniel Weinbach and Associates.

Brett Kunz said that his company will be restoring the Irving Park Bridge. The bridge reconstruction must be complete before work on the underpass can begin. The bridge will be updated and widened, but they will be able to maintain 4 lanes of traffic throughout the construction period.  This project will go to construction sometime during the winter and will take up to 2 years to complete. The original bridge was built in 1916.

Wendy described the work that will need to be done for the underpass. Some trees will have to be removed, either because they interfere with the trail or they are in the staging area. There will be a 10 foot wall next to the path adjacent to the bridge. At the top will be a railing and bushes to alleviate the safety issues. The path will be 12 feet wide.

South of Irving Park are many unhealthy trees that will be removed. The grade will be revised to be 3 to 1, with a steeper drop off right at the water’s edge. Police will be able to use the path and the park district will plow it.

There was much discussion about the underpass just south of the bridge. Neighbors were concerned about high speed bicycle traffic in an area used by many families with small children.

Previous Minutes:
The minutes of the February 2016 meeting were approved, pending changes.

Treasurer’s Report:
The following funds are in HPAC accounts:

Checking  $31,348.23
Savings  $14,728.23
PayPal   $9,276.77
Total   $55,353.23

Insurance needs to be renewed for $450. A motion was made and approved to pay the bill.
John O. turned in $1000 worth of receipts.
There was also discussion about the need for additional information regarding finances. For example, there is need for more detailed information about how much the funds are distributed across the various projects.

Horner Park USACE Riverfront Restoration Update:
John F. provided a status of the restoration work.

Most of the ongoing work is ecological in nature, so this summary focuses heavily on those activities.

Initial seeding across the site was completed in 2014 and planned supplemental seeding was completed last year. Based on monitoring data, the plants meet or exceed most of the vegetation goals. As the plants mature, they will become more visible. Additional seeding is planned for 2016. Live plants will be installed to replace plants that did not survive. The goose fencing that was removed in the winter will be reinstalled along the Chicago River for the 2016 growing season.

The planting of woody species was completed last fall with over 500 trees and shrubs being planted. Monitoring in 2015 showed that fewer than 20 trees and shrubs needed replacement. USACE will continue to monitor the health of the vegetation.

The understory of the oak savanna along the trail and along Irving Park aren’t developing as expected. The contractor believed that trimming lower branches of certain trees, marked with a yellow ribbon, would allow more light to spur growth. Because of wet site conditions and the concern of possible damage from heavy equipment, the USACE decided against trimming. The yellow ribbons will be removed and the need for trimming will be reassessed in the fall.

Regular maintenance and establishment activities will continue in 2016 to 2018. Mowing, herbicide application, weed removal, erosion control and mulching will be done this year. USACE is planning another tour, in coordination with HPAC, the Chicago Park District, and the 33rd Ward office.

The estimated date for full public access to the river is uncertain. New vegetation needs to be strong and stable before public access can be considered. Even partial public access will not occur before 2017.
Farmers Market:
Carol Tarnoff asked about the possibility of having a table at the Farmers Market. There was discussion about whether they could sell any items. She was told to talk to Gretchen.

Dog Friendly Area:
Erica reported that they received a $1000 check from an anonymous donor. Erica described the doggie Easter Egg Hunt. Additional fundraisers are being planned, such as a new calendar.

They are still waiting to hear from the Park District about their proposed plan.

Amy offered to send out an email reminder for both the Easter Egg Hunt and the Lunch with the Bunny.

Concert Committee:
John thanked everyone who helped on Sunday to stuff envelopes. John gave Deb the application permits for all the concerts and events, except for Horner Fest. Deb said that a partnership form and a letter of intent must accompany the applications so that the fee can be waived. Deb will send the form to John O.
John passed out fund raising flyers to be stuffed in mailboxes.

Park Briefs:

Horner Park:
Based on the email communication, there will be an additional 4 swings added to the play lot design. That is 2 more swings than there is today. Peter will put an article on the website for Chicago Plays.

The bus stop shelter on Montrose was destroyed in the wind.

Deb put in requests for the plumbers and carpenters to remodel the sink in the art room. They need several pieces for the sink – clay separator, sink basin, and cabinet, a faucet, and a countertop. The park district recommends using Chicago Faucet to facilitate future repairs. The expected cost is about $850.
A motion was made to support the project; it was passed unanimously.

Ravenswood Manor Park:  No Report

Jacob Park:
A retaining wall was installed to prevent access under the fence to the river.

Buffalo Park: No Report

Sunken Gardens: No Report

Website Committee: No Report

Stewardship Committee:
Julia Smith talked about a proposed Wilson Bridge Mosaic project. The existing pylons are either covered with graffiti or the paint is chipping. The idea is to put stained glass on boards and mount them on the pylons. The artwork is donated. The costs include labor, maintenance project, materials, and installation.
Kathleen Trainor described the finances and fundraising, with commitments from Aldermen Mell and Pawar. They have raised over $30,000 so far. She asked for $1500 towards a $45,000 budget.

No vote was taken tonight. During the next month, HPAC will assess our finances to determine if we can support this project.

John submitted a Grant application for $500 to restore Ravenswood Manor Park.

John is looking for volunteers for Earth Day on April 23.

Deb asked for $550 for the Easter Lunch for such as items goodie bags. A motion was made and approved unamomously. We have raised $700 already from registration, so this request is already funded.

New Business:
Doggie Easter Egg Hunt – Mar. 26
Lunch with the Bunny – Mar. 26
April 23 – Earth Day
July 16- Horner Fest

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Lisa Cleveland Co-Secretary

Peter Schlossman – President, John Friedmann – Vice- President , Kevin Anderson – Treasurer, Amy Jahnke – Co-Secretary, Lisa Cleveland – Co-Secretary, Deborah Groh – Park Supervisor,  John O’Connell – Concert Committee, Carol  Maher – Neighbor, Alan Mueller – RMIA Representative, , Jeff Sobczyk – 33rd Ward, Diane Sutliff – Local Artist, Brian Doubek – EJM, Julia Smith – Wilson Bridge Mosaic, Kathleen Trainor –Wilson Bridge Mosaic, Lauren Umek – CPD-DCNR, Stephanie Sutton – Neighbor, Brad Gregorka – 47th Ward Office, Patti Wetli – DNA Info, Mark Ahlhem – Chicago Market, Wendy Schulenberg – Daniel Weinbach and Associates, Alexandra Divito – Muller and Muller Architects, Brett Kunz – Bowman, Barrett and Associates,
O. Chaves – CDOT, Carol Tarnoff – Local Artist

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