Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference: The Conference in Action
the President's Desk and Actions of the Board from the most recent Conference
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From the President's Desk, January 2090 Reporter, Vol. 16, No. 1
Jay N. Ammerman, President January 2, 2010
Did George Rumsey Really Retire from HPKCC?
Regular readers of the Reporter have become accustomed to seeing a President's Column written by George and may be surprised not to find one in the issue. The reason is that in October, 2009, George stepped down as President.
It was not as a result of anything that George did or did not do. and it was mot my idea to challenge him for the job. It was, however, because of a by-Laws change that the Conference approved a n umber of years ago.
George and I both joined the HPKCC board a number of years ago when Homer Ashby was teh President. George and I were new ids on teh block and it did not take long for Homer to give us some new assignments. One of my assignments was to chair a By-Laws committee to propose revisions that would help breathe some fresh air into the Conference.
One of the recommendations that our Committee was asked to take on was to devise a system of term limits for Board Member service. You see, even though Board Members were elected by the Conference Members at the Annual Meeting, it was possible to bd re-elected term after term and serve for an unlimited time. We thought it would be better to encourage turn-over in Board Membership.
In 2020, the Conference approve the following By-Laws Language: Each Director shall serve a three (3) year term commencing at the Annual Meeting and effectively at the first Meeting of the Year, or until the Director becomes disqualified to hold office... Directors may serve two (2) successive terms. Following one year of not holding Board membership a past Director may be re-nominated.
The changed became effective with the 2003 Annual Meeting. The Board consists of twenty-four slots and going forwards, one-third of the slots had to come up for election each year. So in 2003, the initial terms were staggered. One-third of the Board candidates were elected for a three term, one third were elected for a two-year term, and one third were elected for a one-year term.
George was a popular candidate and received one of the three year terms. Then in 206, he was eligible for a second three-year term. he again won that hands down. But now we came to 2009 and George hit the term-limit wall. That meant that he had to leave the Board and the Office of President, which he had executed so well.
The Nominating Committee had to decide who they could find to take George's place. Since "No Good deed Goes Unpunished" and I had been somewhat responsible for the predicament, the Nominating Committee looked in my direction. I had been off the Board for the required year so I was eligible to re-join the Board and be proposed as a candidate for President.
But this history preamble brings me back to the question I initially posed, "Did George Rumsey really retire from HPKCC?" No, not really. He continues to be active in many Conference affairs:
At the 2009 Annual Meeting, we celebrated the Conference's 60th Anniversary, and we also had a chance to celebrate George's contributions to the Conference. George said he hoped his legacy would be that he left teh Conference in better shape than he found it. all of us who have worked with George can testify to that.
We all wished George a Happy Retirement, but s you can clearly see George's retirement has been been short-lived. He is still a very active Conference member and neighborhood force. Next year, he will be eligible for another term on the Board. And as to the Presidency, that will be up to the Nominating Committee and the Board. We may see George writing the Presidents' column once again.
From the President's Desk, July 2009 Reporter, Vol. 15, No. 3
George W. Rumsey, June 22, 2009
Thank heavens, it's over for another year. As much fun as the Garden Fair is, it's a lot of work--especially when it's pouring rain and there's a chill wind a-blowing. And this year was harder than many. We didn't know how many people would show up and spend money (the economy, you know). Plants cost more, delivery charges are up, and frankly, it was a bad winter for a lot of plants.
But, much to our wonderment and pleasure, the customers kept coming, even in the rain on Friday afternoon. Yes, we had a bit fewer plants, and, maybe people didn't buy quite so much, but as usual, it was al gone by 4:00 on Saturday afternoon Thank you, gardeners!
Of course, the special focus this year was on the Garden Fair's 50th anniversary. We were all very pleased at the turnout for the 50th Anniversary Gala, held at Rodfei Zedek on May 31. The wine flowed, the piano played, and we all had a merry time. Although the gala was intended as a way of thanking our many volunteers, it also gave us Garden Fair members a chance to thank Lesley Bloch and Bam Postell (current and past chairs of the Committee.)
And don't forget . . . the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference turns 60 this year. Please join us at our annual meeting on September 13 to celebrate 60 years of community involvement. It will also be my last annual meeting to chair as President, as my term is up. I'm a firm believer in abiding by the bylaws, and board turnover is good for the health of the Conference. So stop by to say "good bye"!
From the President's Desk April 2009
It's with a great deal of excitement that I write in this special edition of the Conference Reporter. Our Garden Fair turns 50.
Many years ago, I started volunteering at the Garden Fair on set-up day. I had heard it was a terrific way to learn all about plants, and quickly found that was true. As we unloaded each truck, the volunteers and GF members love to critique each plant. "This did well in my yard." "Never plant that--it's a pest." "Not winter-hardy in my backyard."
So,at some point, I inquired how one "joins" the Garden Fair Committee. that was when I learned that anyone can volunteer for the Committee, but that the organizing group is selected based on how hard you work and a history of volunteering. Someone also mentioned to me that it helps if you join the Conference.
I had been thinking about joining the Conference anyway, as I was interested in the work being done by the Parks Committee. So I sent in my membership. Not too long afterwards, I was attending the Service League Homecoming Luncheon as the guest of Marianne Smigelskis, and was seated next to Judy Dupont. Turns out, Judy was the chair of the nominating committee of the Conference. She and I had an animated conversation over lunch, discussing the ins and outs of Hyde Park (and a lot of gardening).
Next thing I knew, I was back at teh Quad Club for lunch again, this time with Judy and Homer Ashby, then president of the Conference. When they invited me to join the board, I wasn't sure I had anything useful to contribute. But I did know the Conference was lagging in its technology, so I agreed, thinking I could help set up a website, upgrade the office equipment, and maybe help make the Conference more visible.
I had no idea that I would be spending all my free time for the next eight years being the president and trying to re-invigorate this grand old institution. But I did get my small measure of revenge -- Judy is now on the Garden Fair Committee! Hope to see y'all soon at the Garden Fair....
George W. Rumsey, April 17, 2009.
From the President's Desk, January 2009 Conference Reporter. George W. Rumsey January 21, 2009
What a momentous year 2009 has been and will be. Now that we can officially call our favorite son "Mr. President," we can start thinking aba out what comes next.
You know retail and development will top the awareness agenda for this year. With Harper Court, the theater building, Village Foods, and other areas facing major re-development, we need to stay informed about how decisions are made and what impact they will have long-term on our neighborhood .
HPKCC's year got off to a great start when we had a visitor at our first board meeting. Ann Marie Lipinski, Vice President for Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, met with the board for over an hour, and engaged in an open exchange of ideas and concerns about relations between the University and the surrounding communities. I can only express my sincerest hope that Ms. Lipinski (and her staff) will continue to converse openly with groups like the Conference, which makes everyone more knowledgeable about the changes being sought by the University.
Antheus and MAC Properties continue to play a major role in Hyde Park's redevelopment. The HPKCC Development Committee will meet with Eli Ungar in late January, and we appreciate his willingness to interact with us on an on-going basis.
Don't forget the Chicago Olympic Bid will be released in early February. Many of us look forward to seeing what it really says.
And talk about momentous occasions! Hyde Park Garden Fair turns 50 this year. Its free lecture series will be held on Tuesday evening in February at Augustana Lutheran Church. If you like gardening at all, don't miss the chance to meet the renowned Craig Bergmann, guest lecturer on February 17. The Fair itself wil be held May 15 an 16 (the weekend after Mother's Day). We plan to feature the history of the Garden Fair in the next Reporter.
And . . . the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference turns 60 this year. We are working on a series of events to commemorate its history, while exploring its role in the future of Hyde Park-Kenwood. Stay tuned.
For From the President's Desk in the January 2010 issue (Vol. 16, No. 1)- see in pdf. And for July and August issues also go to whole in pdf. See General Index of Reporters.
From the President's Desk January 2011 (Conference Reporter Vol. 17, No. 1)
Cast an Informed Vote in February!
The upcoming municipal election in February 22, 2011 gives Chicagoans a rare opportunity to change the status quo with mayoral and aldermanic choices. As a public service, this issue of the Conference Reporter is devoted to responses to questions HPKCC posed to all the aldermanic candidates for the 4th and 5th Wards. As a 502(c)(3) organization, the Conference does not make political endorsements, but we encourage every voter to make informed choices in the voting booth on February 22.
there are several organizations which are concerned with life in HydePark as a whole, including the South East Chicago Commission and the Hyde Park Chamber of commerce (of which HPKCC is a member). HPKCC is a community-wide membership organization, which offers opportunities for m embers to get involved in community activities and issues. If you've just picked up this issue of th e Reporter and are unfamiliar with what we do, please give us a call at 773-288-8343 or send an email o firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be happy to talk to you! We'd love to have you join us!
HPKCC Board member Judy Dupont passed away in November after an illness of several months. As longtime chair of the HPKCC Nominating Committee, Judy did much to identify community members with talents to bring to JHPKCC, and shaped our recent boards. In the Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee she helped coordinate the many volunteers who make the Fair a success. Judy is sadly missed by her many friends among our membership and in the Hyde Park-Kenwood community.
The April issue of the Reporter will be dedicated to a roundup of development issue in the neighborhood. Stay tuned!
Jane Ciacci, President. January 2, 2011.
From the President's Desk June 2011 (Conference Reporter Vol. 17, No. 2)
This issue of the Reporter highlights the Conference's work in monitoring and influencing the development in the neighborhood, with reference to two areas: Harper Court and the vicinity of 58th and Woodlawn. George Rumsey and Jay Ammerman, past presidents of the Conference, were very active in community debate about Harper Court, a major concern of the Conference for some years now, as Jay's article outlines.
Those of us who have seen and heard about the plans for the hotel phase of harper Court development by attending recent TIF Council and TIF development subcommittee meetings are happy that the hotel seems to have been designed with sensitivity to its surroundings. We are hopeful that this sensitivity will be reflected in the remainder of the development. The movie buffs among the Conference Board members are thrilled with the prospect of a 5-screen art house in the Harper Theater space, as described at the March TIF Council meeting! We also look forward to trying out Five Guys, the popular burger place which is coming to 53rd and Harper.
Jack Spicer, the Board's resident preservationist, and steward of the Southside Preservation Action Fund, (for which the Conference acts as fiscal agent), writes eloquently about an evolving concern: the ongoing controversy over the University's re-use of the CTS building, and th future of Woodlawn Avenue from 57th to 58th Street as the campus appears to be moving eastward.
George Rumsey offers an invaluable precis and map of all the developments in the neighborhood that are announced or underway, as well as those "planned, rumored or potential."
The Membership Committee co-chairs Jane Comiskey and Irene Freelain are engaged in a campaign to increase the Conference's membership. Members are encouraged to take advantage of the reminder to renew their memberships, and in coming months the Committee will be reaching out to attract new members too. The annual "membership letter," which has been mailed out with renewal notices to those whose renewals were due up to May 2011, is reproduced in this issue, and I hope this stimulates you to renew your membership, or join us if you are not a member. When you renew, please give us your e-mail address, so we may communicate with you.
Actions of the HPKCC Board of Directors January-May 2009, as in the Conference Reporter, July 2009, Vol 15 No. 3
With appreciation to our secretary, Trish Morse
JANUARY: University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement Vice President Ann Marie Lipinski introduced herself, said that she was just getting to know her role and acquaint herself with the community. She fielded questions and comments about the University and the neighborhood. Lipinski said that the University sees its role as a catalyst of development rather than a developer as they purchase property, prepare the site, and create a partnership with others to develop it.
Guest Jack Spicer presented the plan for the Southside Preservation Action Fund, Baum moved that the program should become a committee of the conference. The motion passed unanimously.
Austin announce that the Chamber of Commerce is creating a Hyde Park tourism website, given the interest in visiting the President's hometown.
FEBRUARY: Ossewaarde circulated volunteer lists for setting up the February 18 community discussion on the future of Hyde Park.
Rumsey reported on the Development Committee meeting with Eli Ungar about Antheus's plans for various properties, given the recession and "macroeconomics." Ungar expressed cautious optimism that the main projects--Solstice, Village Foods, the Del Prado and Shoreland hotels--could move forward.
A summary on the January TIF meeting reported that Alderman Preckwinkle said that the three finalists for Harper Court would present their plans to the public--which is the standard community process. An open community process is necessary for a project this central to Hyde Park.
The change of zoning requests for Kenwood wil be dropped, but there is controversy over the Frank house, where they want to remodel the interior into two condos.
Buchner reported on the organizational meeting of the Hyde Park Players.
Sawyer said the pages are ready for teh Obama "Best Wishes" book, and an artist is preparing a suitable cover so the pages can be bound and presented to our neighbor, President Obama.
Ossewaarde reported that Kenwood Park has formally approved the recommendations and that the baseball fields will be landscaped back.
MARCH: Board members who attended the pubic meeting with Antheus at the Del Prado reported that a tour of the building reveled wonderful spaces in terrible condition. The plan is high-scale rental with at least one and perhaps two spaces for restaurants.
The board expressed concerns about the U of C Medical Center. With the Emergency Room directing patients to other facilities, the dental office closing, and primary care refusing new patients, Hyde Park is developing into a health care desert. A suggestion is to invite someone from the medical center to a small meeting.
Evan Miller, a first-year student in the the Economics Department at the U of C, presented his project of mapping Hyde Park by theme. He brought maps of crime statistics he'd gleaned of burglaries, robberies, and car thefts coded to time of day. The maps are at http://maps.evanmiller.org.
Representatives of nonprofit organizations such as the Blue Gargoyle, Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, Experimental Station, Chamber of Commerce, adn HPKCC wil meet to talk over the current economic situation.
Goode announced that he is looking for community service activities for 600 students on September 28.
APRIL: Jennifer Bosch of the Neighborhood Club and Withrow of the Transit Task Force described the HPNC summer program for teens. Ossewaarde moved that HPKCC approve the proposal to provide $2,530 to support the transit project for the HPNC Teen Summer Program. The motion was passed.
Ossewaarde passed out information on the Community Benefits Agreement Ordinance and Memorandum between the city and Chicago 2016. Withrow proposed a resolution opposing the Olympics. Five voted in favor, seven voted against it, two abstained. The resolution did not pass.
Baum reported on the Schools Committee meeting to discuss setting up an assets program, influenced by their meeting with Kids Matter, a program in Naperville that promotes communication between parents and children and decreases violence. The committee is looking into ways to pursue this initiative.
MAY: Peter and Danielle Cassel presented a request form Antheus/Silliman for a letter of support as they go before the zoning board of appeals . After touring the building, a poll of the committee would determine the matter, since there is a short deadline. Austin called the vote. The motion passed unanimously.
Spicer reported that SPAF was working on getting a condition assessment report from the engineering firm working ont he Harper Theater project. Preservation Chicago, the Hyde Park Historical Society, and HPKCC are expected to endorse the effort.
Highlights of the June 2009 meeting. Alderman Hairston cc'd to UC will be sent a letter asking for a public meeting on opening 57th to two-way traffic- approved 20-1-4. Discussion was had of the Schools Committee beginning initiative seeking a coalition to promote subsidiary ways to provide kids with skills and assets for life. A joint task force (under aegis of the Parks Committee) with the Historical Society was formed to consider Washington Park and the Olympics. East Hyde Park issues were briefly discussed. Camille Hamilton-Doyle will the new chair of Whistle-Stop. Used Book Sale organization is getting under way. HPKCC will join the Hyde Park Alliance for Arts and Culture at $100 but declined to buy a booth at the Jazz Festival. Our contingent for the 4th on 53rd St. was identified. $100 was donated to a scholarship fund at McCormick Seminary in honor of the work and leadership of Homer Ashby for the Conference during difficult years. Southside Preservation Action Fund is working on a obtaining a structural assessment of the Harper Theater buildings, funding help was in the hands of the Development Committee. Development discussed plight of Harper Court tenants and state of the redevelopment process. The Garden Party and Anniversary Meeting were discussed. Brenda Sawyer of Friends of Blackstone reported the dome murals will be restored with a lecture to be planned; Land of Lincoln Summer Readers will be a gangbuster (even HPKCC President George Rumsey will be reading to kids); a pre Jazz-Fest and an author series named for Leon Despres are being planned; the "Obama Card" was at the binder.
Highlights of the July 2009 meeting. The 2009-10 proposed budget was unanimously adopted as amended. Ossewaarde presented a resolution proposed by the Parks Committee, which in process was framed as a Whereas of concern for preservation of and about Olympic endangerment of Washington Park and a resolved that Chicago and 2016 should choose another venue than Washington Park. The motion resulted in a 5-5 tie, broken in favor of the motion by chair Jay Ammerman. The Conference will host a grand opening for the Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber's new offices July 15, 4-7. Fourth of July was finalized; alert was given for a book sale meeting; garden party and annual meeting were discussed; desire by a foster care provider to host a meeting was discussed in broader context; events at Blackstone Library, Museum of Science and Industry, upcoming TIF and Jackson Park meetings, and the September 28 University student day of service were announced.
The Resolution passed at the July 2 board meeting re: Washington Park and Olympics:
Whereas: Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference respects the interests of the City of Chicago in its desire to host the 2016 Olympics but believes the preservation of historic Washington Park, as it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is of utmost importance, and
Whereas: The use of Washington Park as the site for the Olympic Stadium would pose a serious and long-term threat to the historic and ecological integrity of the park and to the continued democratic use of the park by the public,
Therefore Be It Resolved: Hyde Park-Kenwood Community urges the City of Chicago and Chicago 2016 to respect historic Washington Park by selecting a more appropriate venue for the 2016 Olympics.
Highlights of the December 2009 meeting. Southside Preservation Action Fund representatives (Ammerman, Spicer, Rumsey) met with James Hennessy, Director of University of Chicago Commercial Real Estate Operations, to to discuss the Hyde Park Theater building. Hennessy indicated that plans for teh building were not at foregone conclusion and asked for a future meeting to discuss it further.
Ciacci (Used Book Sale) reported on the debriefing meeting for teh Used Book Sale. Future advertising should appear in two stages--book collection time and book sale time. A captain organizational structure was proposed. Nonprofit organizations, schools, and nursing homes should be contacted about picking up books at the end of the sale.
Ossewaarde (Development) reported on the November TIF meeting on Harper Court. Details on development were not elaborated at the meeting. Concern was expressed by board members over the lack of obvious ground level public space and teh apparent tendency for the plans to turn its back on 53rd Street. Other P/Z/D Committee concerns include the fate of the Meadville-Lombard Theological School on Woodlawn avenue. The Shoreland Hotel redevelopment has stalled. No new on development at either the "McMobil" site on 53rd (where McDonald's was torn down and the Mobil station is) or the empty lot at 53rd and Cornell. Rumors are afloat of more plans for demolition and development on campus. Concerns over the preservation of the former Chicago Theological Seminary building and its historic stained glass were expressed. It was noted that the stained glass mural that was originally in Bartlett was taken down and not restored.
Sawyer (Friends of Blackstone Library) announced plans for a survey of users and patrons. December events show how busy the library is.
At the January 2010 meeting President Ammerman reported on a U of C neighborhoods summit and a meeting with UC Real Estate Operations.
At the February 2010 meeting the board learned of or advanced plans of the Schools Committee (Feb. 23 Recognition Ceremony), Friends of Blackstone, investigation of developing a finding aid to our archives (scholars requesting to use our unique information), a condo informational seminar, an informational seminar on electronic security, learned the latest on Shoreland Hotel, Harper Court planning-- we want the developer to come to our meeting, and Lab School plans likely to affect Doctors Hospital. We heard an important report on Harper Theater, took a survey on Kenwood Academy school improvement plan, had a heads up on program support for the Neighborhood Club (director to be invited). And the board elected two new members, has its Reporter ready to mail, and sent membership renewals.
October 2010. The "Firsts Meeting of the Year" is organizational in nature; the new Executive is elected, committees are constituted, and the Board members elected at the September annual meeting are seated and introduced to the workings of the Board.
Jane Ciacci succeeded Jay Ammerman (who remains on the Board) as President; Brenda Sawyer and Anita Hollins are Vice-Presidents; Mark Granfors remained as Treasurer; and Gail Isenberg succeeded Trish Morse as Secretary. New Board members are Darryl Crawford, of the KImbark Laundry; Timika Hoffman-Zoller, of the U of C Police Department. Former members Jane Comiskey, George w. Davis, Irene Freelain and Gary Ossewaarde rejoined the Board.
November 2010 (Sawyer presiding). The board discussed the situation of Elm Park and the apparent disjunction between the Park district, which was supporting the park, and the plans by other to annex th park to Kimbark Plaza for a parking lot. It is assumed that the decision will be left to the next alderman of the 4th Ward.
The Board heard a written report from Ciacci about the Used Book Sale, which appears to be a viable and necessary source of revenue. For future years, it will be necessary to scout other locations for sorting, to better organize pickups of donated books, and to recruit more volunteers who can lift heavy boxes.
Snapper distribute the cover letter written by the Ad Hoc Committee on Aldermanic Candidates. Contingencies for dealing with responses were discussed.
December 2010. The Board heard a presentation by Susan alitto and Allison Hartman, the co-conveners of Hyde Prk Village, and discussed some mutual concerns.
Jane Comiskey offered remarks in memory of our friend and colleague Judy Dupont.
[Camille] Hamilton-Doyle reported on the Forum on Schools in Hyde Park, organized by the Herald and the Neighborhood Club on November 7. A role for the Schools Committee in this new venture was not clear, and the committee continued to discuss this issue at its January meeting. Our Schools Committee has focused its attention largely on after-school activities. however, it was decided that the committee would help out by providing a directory of staff in each school who are useful contacts. Snapper reported for the Nominating Committee that their membership in addition to himself as chair is Rumsey [general membership], Ammerman, and Sawyer. The Committee has two vacancies to consider (Bond and Dupont). They wil attempt to fill the latter and leave the former open until September.
January 2011. Peter Cassel of Antheus Capital, a former Board member, made a presentation to update members and answer questions on the progress of Antheus' rental, retail and development projects in Hyde Park. Interior demolition at the Shoreland is beginning and the Del Prado wil be ready for occupancy in May. Antheus has received approvals form the city for the 51st & Lake Park project. The condominium market is improving but is still very difficult; Solstice on the Park is on hold, but planning with Bret Harte School to reconfigure their grounds continues.
The Board voted to send the complete aldermanic responses received by the Ad Hoc Committee on Aldermanic Responses to the Herald and other new outlet. The Board also voted to make a donation in memory of late Board member Judy Dupont, to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.
The Conference congratulates Shirley Newsome on her appointment as interim alderman of the 4th Ward! Ms. Newsome is Board Chairman of the North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council.
February 2011. The Board noted that the “Gold Line” proposal to run CTA trains on Metra Electric Line track will be reviewed by the RTA in March. Since Immediate Past President Ammerman wrote a letter of support for this proposal on behalf of the Conference in 2009, we may expect to be called to testify. In the absence of James Withrow, chair of the Transit Committee, who is on leave and living in Beijing, George Davis was tasked with convening the committee so that we may again focus our attention on transit issues. As of press time, we learned that a hearing is scheduled for April 13, and will plan for the Conference to be represented.
President Ciacci briefed the Board on garbage issues in the 5th Ward, which were first discussed on the Good Neighbors e-mail list. Briefly, the problem [is] apartment residents using public garbage receptacles for their household trash, instead of using the containers provided in their buildings. This led the Chicago Park District and the city to remove numerous receptacles along 57th St. Board members commented that this misuse of public garbage receptacles is a problem all over the neighborhood, and we will monitor the situation as summer comes.
Jack Spicer alerted the Board to the need to monitor developments in the Woodlawn Corridor, 57th to 58th Sts., which he will outline in an article in the
next issue of the Reporter.
The Jackson Park Advisory C[ouncil] requested and received a letter of support for a grant proposal to the SECC to fund an interactive nature trail in the natural areas of the park. Unhappily, despite the merits of the proposal, JPAC didn’t receive the grant.
Board member Ismail Turay reported on the Friends of Shoesmith School, which is working on forming a 501(c)3 organization.
The Board learned of the upcoming renewal of the University’s contract with the CTA, which Conference member Roger Huff had reported to President
Ciacci. The Conference’s strong support for a community meeting with the University to discuss the CTA service, and our willingness to help publicize
such a meeting, was expressed by Ciacci and conveyed by Huff to Rodney Morris, Executive Director of Transportation and Parking for the University.
The issue of transit is the most visible of a number of community issues which are of common interest to various formal and informal groups in the neighborhood. Ciacci proposed to the Board that the Conference consider bringing together board members from such groups to get to know each other, understand our common issues, and hopefully plan for concerted action in the future. This was enthusiastically referred to the Executive Committee, which has since met and has begun to plan such a meeting. Our next step is to identify both formal and informal neighborhood groups which will be
invited to send representatives. A second stage of this project is contemplated; that of reaching out to groups on the South Side beyond Hyde Park-Kenwood, but the Executive Committee decided that the local outreach is needed first.
The Board discussed the possible use of Constant Contact, a web service for producing newsletters and publicity and communicating easily with large
numbers of people via e-mail. This was approved, and Jane Ciacci and Secretary Gail Isenberg will begin work on it in April, with the goal of building an e-mail database and using it to communicate more frequently with our membership.
April 2011. From June 2011 Reporter:
The Board discussed Alderman Hairston's recent press release aboaut the privatization of blue cart recycling. Two sisues are evident: the provision of efficient, effective recycling service that meets the needs of all residents, including seniors and those with disabilities; and the larger issues of privatizing city services without a transparent review process. President Ciacci was directed to contact Ald. Hairston to ask if there was any way the conference could supot her, and ultimatetely represented the Conference along with board member Ossewaarde at a press conference held at the 5th Ward Streets and Sanitation office. Here, Alderman Hairston focused her remarks on the privatization issue, displyaing a huge binder for another city contract, which she had less than 2 days to review.
The board heard a repoprt on the Garden Fair Specail Projects meeting, at which funds were committed. Projects suported include: teh maintenacne of gardens at the north end of Nichols Park and the south end of Spruce Park (on 54th between Blackstone and Harper); the meadow in Nichols Park; the 4th of July parade on 53rd St. (the Garden Fair has a float every year); and grants to the SECC 53drd St. hanging baskets project; Growing Home; Elm Park, the DARE residence on 55th St., and the OpShop.
Secretary Gail Isenberg requested that the Board provide a letter of support for the OpShop's ongoing negotiatiosn with teh Unitarian church to rent Fenn House, an thsi was done. Board member Jack Spicer alerted teh board tot eh welands project planned for Washington Park, which would disrupt the original design for the park and later provided information about becoming an "official consulting party," that is to say having the ability to comment on the project. Unfortunately, we later learned that the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the project, is no longer accepting requests, and we are questioning the timing of the opportunity for public commetn, which has supposedly passed. The Conference will continue to moniro the Washington Park situation. [ed. update- the state preservation agency nixed the project with the unanimous support of a broad coalition of advocacy groups].
From Minutes: New Business: The Conference was apprised by the 5th Ward of a plan to privatize expansion of the blue cart recycling pilot, with alleged little transparency and possible great expense. President Ciacci was authorized to contact Ald. Hairston about ways to offer support. Members were encouraged to attend their ward meetings. At the most recent 5th ward meeting, Ald. Hairston with Ald. Moore introduced a method of participatory planning for spending services monies the alderman receives.
This would involve neighborhood assemblies and or committees. A multi-ward initiative to revitalize 47th street was noted.
Redistricting of various bodies will happen this year-- the executive committee was asked to consider ways for HPKCC to promote general principles such as transparency and perhaps meet with officials known to be having a role in redistricting.
The Garden Fair Special Projects Committee grants and works was announced: $4,000 for projects in Nichols Park, $3,000 in Spruce, $1,000 for hanging baskets, landscaping allocation for 53rd and the 4th on 53rd Parade and Picnic, to Growing Home, Elm Park, DARE disabled housing, and the Op Shop Children's Garden. We would work with the Garden Fair on a press release. Camille Hamilton-Doyle will spearhead HPKCC provision of refreshments for the Garden Fair Spring Sale set up day. Volunteers for all three days are needed.
Jack Spicer reported concerns about including minimal consultation on a 62 acre wetlands project proposed by the Corps of Engineers for historic Washington Park. The Conference and committees were authorized to seek status as consulting parties.
At request of Gail Isenberg, we will write letters asking First Unitarian to consider renting Fenn House to S.H.o.P. community center and congratulating First Unitarian upon its 175th Anniversary (First U played a seminal role in the founding and early operation of the Conference).
Timika Hoffman-Zoller reported on a Woodlawn Summit and a growing block club movement there.
Unfinished business: The exec. committee recommended also a future board meeting with the 4th and 5th Ward aldermen and separately a get-together of local groups with common concerns (possibly with a professional facilitator, to be contacted by Anita Hollins). Each committee was instructed to come up with three questions for the aldermen.
Constant Contact has been purchased and is being set up.
The Schools Committee reported on its sponsored showing of "A Race to Nowhere," at Kenwood Academy, with attendance of over 300.
May 2011. From June 2011 Reporter:
The board welcomed as a guest Shaz Rasul, the new director of the University of Chicago's Neighborhood Schools program. A request from Schools Committee member Nancy Baum to assist the friends of Shoesmith Schol with an offer of temporary financial agency was discussed. The following week, President Ciacci attended the May meeting of the Friends, and learned that they are actually quite far ahead with fiancial agency and ready to open their own bank account. However, the Conference will maintain a connection with this very energetic and active group through Board member isamil Turay, who is also a member of the Friends.
At the request of the church, a letter of congratulation was drafted by Vice President Brenda Sawyer for the program book to be produce forthe 175th Anniversary gala of First Unitarian Church. Leslie Pennington, one of their former ministers, was instrumental in the founding of HPKCC. The HPKCC archives, held by Regenstein Special Collections at the University of Chicago, is very heavily used by researchers, and President Ciacci will work with th Regenstein archivists to determine if there is more material in the Confernce office that should be added to the archive. The archivists paln to begin oragnizing the material soon.
The Board voted in favor of a request for a letter to Alderman Hairston and the Jackson Park Advisory [Council] in support of naming the north bridge to Wooded Island in honor of long-time Conference member Nancy Hays.
Treasure Island Manager Babe Magnus recently confirmed that TI will once again host the Conference during the sorting period preceding the Hyde Park Used Book Sale. The sale will be co-chaired this year by Board member George Davis and Jane Ciacci.
Board member David Nekimken reported on the recent South Side Transit meeting held at IIT. This was mainly for the purpose of collecting opinions and ideas rather than presenting ideas, and is one of a series of such meetings.
Board member Jay Ammerman reported on a meeting of of the Development, Preservation and Zoning Commitee with Chris Dillion of Vermilion Developers. The group was able to ask detailed questions, and was treated to the first view of new renderings provided by the architect. This was only a few days before the news came that Vermilion lost the opportunity for federal stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, because financing for the project had not been completed in time.
From Minutes: Board guest was Chaz Rasul, director of the U of C Neighborhood Schools Program. News and advice were shared on a host of topics including the Harper Ct. Farmers' Market (with a new home), new options for the Woodlawn Corridor (the board approved suggesting historic district status), letter of congratulations that was sent to 1st Unitarian on its 175th, letter encouraging same to consider renting Fenn House for S.H.o.P., Record of our Kenwood Park Usage Committee went to Special Collections (which is organizing the Conference collections), decision to have a summer party, a Reporter FLASH will be sent out on the Garden Fair, to be followed by a full issue on development sites and issues, we're starting a Constant Contact, we are seeking involvement in review of a wetlands project in Washington Park, approved a letter of support for naming for Nancy Hays in Jackson Park, Elm and Harold Washington Park news, good news from Treasure Island on space use for the Used Book Sale, South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study, our meeting with Harper Court developers, action on membership.
June 2011. The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a series of Conference and Committee questions to newly elected aldermen Hairston and Burns. Further report is coming.