Upcoming Meetings Exploring Historic Designation of the Near West Side

The Near West Side is considering seeking designation as a local historic or conservation district.

Please join us at informational meetings to explore the what, why, and how of designation.

Learn the facts, stay updated, and join the conversation!

HERE’S HOW–

Attend Public Meetings:
Council Chambers*, City Hall, 401 N. Morton St.
• Thurs., Feb. 28, 7 pm
• Fri., April 26, 7 pm
• Fri., June 28, 7pm
*(Please note, these are not City Council meetings. We thank the City for allowing us to use the room.)

Follow Us On-line:
www.HistoricNWS.org

Contact Us:
nwshdcommittee@gmail.com

The Near West Side Historic Designation Committee:
Olivia Dorfman and Karen Duffy, Co-chairs; Alan Balkema, Bill Baus, Sandi Clothier, Tim Clougher, Peter Dorfman, Christine Lovelace, Frank Marshalek, Steve Mascari

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Minutes of February 19, 2019 NWSNA Meeting

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Jean Graham,  Karen Duffy, Sheri Benham, Sita Cohen, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Joe Neukam, Tim Clougher, Sarah Franklin, Peter Dorfman, Chris Sturbaum, Kate Rosenbarger

Olivia circulated an email and and phone sign up sheet to make sure those attending the meeting would receive communications from the neighborhood association.

The meeting was held in the kitchen of the Banneker Center. Alan Balkema called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm and began by asking us to go around and introduce ourselves and say where we lived.

The Treasurer’s Report was the first item on the agenda, however the treasurer Bill Baus was not present at the start of the meeting so Alan moved to the second agenda item, a discussion on costs associated with sending a mailing to owners and residents regarding Historic District designation.

Historic Designation Committee Activities –

Alan reported that the Historic Designation Committee mailed postcards on February 8 to all homeowners and residents of the Near West Side neighborhood.  This mailing was to inform neighbors that three meetings have been scheduled over the next five months to explore various aspects of historic designation. Alan explained that the mailing was in response to comments from members of the neighborhood that the association needed to improve its communication.

Treasurer’s Report –

Bill Baus reported that the neighborhood association has about 20 paying members, and that dues are $2.50 per person or $5. per family, and are paid in April.  Sita Cohen suggested dues be raised to $5.00, and that the payment of dues should be an agenda item every month.  Bill said that the association account has $553.00 in it. Alan also noted that the NWSNA had earned $181 from scrap metal collected in the neighborhood cleanup last April.

Olivia explained that she and Karen Duffy had paid for the mailing, spending $114.34 for postage and about $60. for printing the cards (the receipt for the printing will be forthcoming; the cost was being reduced because a coupon was applied after the fact.)

Sandi moved that Olivia and Karen should be reimbursed for the money they spent on the mailing, Michelle seconded, and the motion was put to a vote. All were in favor and the motion carried.

–Update on City’s Transportation Plan –

Alan introduced District 1 Representative Chris Sturbaum who spoke about changes in the process for developing the transportation plan.  He said that things are slowing way down.  The 13th is the deadline for submitting amendments to the plan.  He noted that there was no real process for adopting greenways, and that greenways are not nice if they are imposed.  Olivia noted that a version of the city’s Trades District plan shows 9th and 8th streets extending to the west and Chris said we should submit an amendment regarding that.  He noted that all he needs from us is a couple of sentences about each point of concern. Sandi noted that CONA will be discussing the transportation plan in the near future.  Alan said he wants to be assured that street widths in the plan will not be imposed on our neighborhood.  Peter said that “I was told all the street types in the plan are intended for future development, but I’m not reassured by that.”  Chris said “Everybody is paying attention now.”

Chris said he wants to spend money on fixing our sidewalks, and that the city is working on a program to provide a 50/50 cost split on sidewalk repair.  Bill Baus noted that the last two winters have been very hard on streets.  Chris said that removing curbs on Kirkwood is a low priority compared to sidewalks.

Chris said that greenways should be adopted individually with each having a process that would involve the police and fire departments. Chris said “the beauty of incremental adoption is you can get each street right.”

No old business was discussed.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.

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Upcoming Feb. 19, 2019 NWSNA Meeting Agenda

Near West Side Neighborhood Association

February 19, 2019 (3rd Tuesday) Meeting

7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Banneker Center Kitchen

Agenda

  1. Introductions
  2. Treasurer’s report
  3. Discussion on costs associated with proposed mailing to owners and residents regarding Historic District designation and other costs associated with the HD designation
  4. Update on City’s Transportation Plan
  5. Old business

Alan Balkema (president of NWSNA)

1203 W 6th Street

Bloomington, IN 47404

(812) 345-4440

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Near West Side Historic Designation Committee Update

Near West Side Historic Designation Committee Update

With a New Year comes some reorganizing and restructuring for the NWS Historic Designation Committee, as well as a shift in focus to make certain that all residents and homeowners are well informed and heard. The process is being slowed down to allow for more opportunities to share information and gather feedback.

What to know:

– There will not be a regularly scheduled Neighborhood Association Meeting in January.

– A date for a Historic Designation Public Meeting in February will be announced on the Listserv, website, and Facebook page shortly. Stay tuned!

– The Historic Designation Committee has added new members, and is working to update and inform all residents/homeowners on the Historic Designation process and collect feedback before an application is submitted. We’ll be using the website, Facebook, email, neighborhood signage, postal mail, and public meetings.

– This is the start of a new initiative and you will have many opportunities to ask questions and voice concerns.

– Ways to stay connected:

1) Visit the NWS Neighborhood Association website often: http://nearwestside.bloomington.in.us/

2) Join the NWS Facebook Group: Near Westside Neighbors-Bloomington

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1748684645395476/

3) Join the NWS Neighborhood Association Listserv mailing list. (If you’ve received this message by email, you’re already on the list.) To join, email the address below.

4) Email the committee: nwshdcommittee@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you in February!

Sincerely,

The NWS Historic Designation Committee

Olivia Dorfman and Karen Duffy, co-chairs; Alan Balkema, Bill Baus, Sandi Clothier, Tim Clougher, Jean Graham, Michelle Henderson, Christine Lovelace, Steve Mascari

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Neighborhood Party at Banneker Center; Historic Designation update

Dear fellow Near West Siders, residents and owners,

Thank you for coming out to the beginning of the Public Meetings concerning the proposal for a local Historic Designation for this area.  From all the confusion our original  flyer generated, we realize that a broader discussion is needed, and we plan to have additional meetings.

The Public Meetings are designed to do several things, including answering these questions:

  • What is a Conservation District, and what is a Full Historic District?
  • What is the Historic nature of the neighborhood that makes it worthy of preservation?
  • What does it mean to me, how does it affect my ability to make changes to my house?
  • What does Contributing, Notable, Outstanding, and non-contributing mean?
  • What are the boundaries of the district?
  • What is the value of having a local district, why is it needed?
  • What happens if we don’t want this district? What happens if we do?
  • What if we aren’t done with discussion after the three public meetings?
  • What happens after we decide on the type of district best for our neighborhood?

There is NO APPLICATION at this point, and there will not be until everyone interested has had the opportunity to learn and assess the implications of the local designation.We hope that you will come out for the Neighborhood Party on Tuesday, December 18th, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Banneker Center, corner of Elm and 7th Streetswhere we will have a short meeting, but

 IT IS NOT THE END OF DISCUSSION; IT IS THE BEGINNING.

 We look forward to having continued discussions and public meetings on the above topics so that all who are interested have a chance for input.  There is much to be done and we hope you will all plan to come, learn, ask questions in the hopes we can come to a general understanding and view of the future of our wonderful neighborhood.  Information about this topic is available on our website: http://nearwestside.bloomington.in.us/

And also the City of Bloomington’s Historic District website:

https://bloomington.in.gov/boards/historic-preservation

The Ad Hoc Steering Committee for the Proposed NWS Historic District:

Sandi Clothier, chair, Alan Balkema, Bill Baus, Olivia Dorfman, Karen Duffy, Jean Graham, and Michelle Henderson.

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House for Rent

817 South 6th Street

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Near West Side Historic Preservation Designation Committee Announces Three Public Meetings

The Near West Side Historic Preservation Designation Committee* invites Near West Side neighbors to drop in to any or all of three public meetings where we will discuss the benefits of securing Historic District status from the City of Bloomington. Those meetings will be held:

  1. Thursday, December 6th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Banneker Community Center
  2. Wednesday, December 12th from noon to 2 p.m. in the Banneker Community Center
  3. Tuesday, December 18th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Banneker Community Center. This meeting falls on the third Tuesday and will constitute our regular December NWSNA holiday gathering. Everyone is encouraged to bring something to share (NO alcohol) at our annual Holiday Social.

Conor Herterich, Historic Preservation Program Manager with the City’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND), and Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) members will be at the meetings to explain the process of becoming a Historic District and answer questions neighbors have about the process. Neighbors are free to drop in and leave the sessions as their curiosity is satisfied. Light refreshments will be available at all the events.

Our neighborhoods’ historic significance was confirmed when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, underscoring the importance of this neighborhood to the entire Bloomington community. And the City wide Demolition Delay Ordinance also allows review by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) of any significant changes done to the exterior of all contributing structures more than 50 years old within the City limits. This means owners of contributing structures currently take plans for alterations to the exterior of their property before Bloomington’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Securing a designation as a Historic District by the City Council gives our properties further protection than the 90-day demo delay. Bloomington residents know that developers are always looking for neighborhoods to turn into Smallwood “Villages”. Without the protection of a local Historic designation, the Near West Side will likely become a target for development, especially since other west side neighborhoods, including Prospect Hill, McDoel Gardens, and Maple Heights, already are or soon will be Historic Districts.

This flyer constitutes your official notice of the three public meetings, which we are required to hold before submitting an application for designation; any questions can be addressed to Conor Herterich, City of Bloomington HAND Department, at 812-349-3420.
*Members: Sandi Clothier, Alan Balkema, Bill Baus, Olivia Dorfman, Karen Duffy, Jean Graham, and Michelle Henderson.

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Minutes of October 16, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham,  Karen Duffy, Sheri Benham, Sita Cohen, Karlyn Grise, Beth Ellis, Tom Payne, Joe Neukam

Sandi circulated an email and and phone sign up sheet to make sure those attending the meeting would receive communications from the group.

The meeting was held in the gymnasium of the Banneker Center. Alan Balkema began the meeting by asking us to go around and introduce ourselves and say where we lived.

Update of Historic Preservation Activities –

Alan said that a small group from the neighborhood (along with District 1 Representative Chris Sturbaum) had met with Conor Herterich, Bloomington’s new Historic Preservation Program Manager in the HAND (Housing and Neighborhood Development) office. Conor will be working with us on the historic designation process.  (Conor had been invited to this NWSNA meeting but he did not attend, possibly because the invitation had not been confirmed.)

At the meeting with Conor, we tried to ascertain what assistance we could get from the city regarding names and addresses of property owners and the costs of contacting them.  Sandi noted that we now have the list of names and addresses.

Sita asked why we needed this.

Alan explained that we are under legal obligation to notify all the property owners in the neighborhood about the historic designation proposal.

As part of the historic designation process, a series of three meetings need to be held at various times of day so that everyone who has questions about the proposal may attend.  Michelle said that these meetings could be held at Fairview school or at the Banneker center.  No liability insurance will be needed since these are required public meetings and the city’s insurance will cover them.

Rocky commented that we could do meetings in the public library.

Sita asked when the first meeting would be.  Alan replied that three tentative dates had been suggested, all in late 2018.  The issues are: coordinating calendars with members of the Historic Preservation Commission, HAND staff, and committee members; holidays; and being mindful of large community events that might cause low participation.

Karen asked if people would have to attend all three meetings.

Sandi replied that there would be three meetings so everyone would have the opportunity to attend one of them.  At these meetings they would be able to view maps and the application and give feedback.  There would also be someone present from the Historic Preservation Commission to answer their questions.

Henderson Variance Request –

Michelle Henderson needs a setback variance in order to build a new garage at her property at the corner of 6th & Oak.  She is proposing to construct a historically-accurate detached garage. She showed us a picture resembling the proposed construction as well as a map of her property.

Rocky commented, “You’re only asking for seven feet.”

Jean asked if her neighbors were okay with the addition and Michelle responded yes, she had talked with her neighbors.

Sandi moved to write a letter of support for the Henderson project. Tom seconded the motion and the motion passed by unanimous vote.

Safety Hazard from Overgrown Vegetation  –

Alan reported on a safety hazard in which he said “bamboo ate the corner.” The problem is overgrown vegetation at 1002 W 6th Street.  He noted that he can’t walk down the sidewalk because of the overgrowth and has made multiple “uReports” about the issue.  (FYI: uReports are a way to notify the City of community issues, such as potholes, graffiti, malfunctioning street lights, etc. on the city’s website at  https://bloomington.in.gov/ureport) Then he noted that he saw a near-accident since the stop sign at the corner was hidden by the plants. He said the vehicle crept into the intersection and was almost struck by another car coming down 6th Street.  He wrote a letter to Chris Sturbaum about the problem and the next day the plants around the stop sign had been trimmed.

Rocky noted that people have been reporting about that house since 2009.

Sandi said that someone lives there only in the winter and spends his summers in Arizona.  She added that neighbors to the property had to put in a concrete barrier because the bamboo is so invasive.  Sandi suggested the neighborhood association should write a letter to city about this.

Rocky commented that her experience with uReports has been very successful and rapidly resolved.

Sita asked, “What is stopping us from cutting it?” meaning the overgrowth.

Alan said, “Are we going to send a letter to the city council?  They should pass a blighted property ordinance.”

Sita said “Should we start with a letter to HAND about safety and uReports on the house, and how can you help us?”

Rocky said, “Can’t we send a letter to the owner and cc the city?”

Alan asked, “What is the will of the people?”

Sita said, “Write a letter to HAND.”

Rocky said, “Start with the owner and copy HAND.”

Sandi said, “we have the owner’s address.”

Rocky said, “I move we send a letter to the owner of the home and copy HAND.”

Cheryl seconded the motion and the motion passed by unanimous vote.

Proposed Change for Next NWSNA Meeting –

Sandi noted that November 13 at 7 pm, an important presentation by Marc Cornett will be held in the former McDoel Baptist Church building at 1008 South Rogers St. CONA (The Council on Neighborhood Associations) is sponsoring the talk, which is intended to get people interested and involved in the city planning process.  A few years ago, Mark did a series of lectures in Bloomington about walkable neighborhoods and new urbanism.

Since this meeting takes place a week before the regularly scheduled NWSNA meeting (November 20), Alan suggests we should encourage neighbors to go to the CONA meeting on the 13th and call that our November meeting.

Transportation Plan –

Cheryl brought up the new Transportation Plan that shows a connecting route going past her house and up Fairview St., which is very narrow.

Sandi said that it would be helpful to look at the Transportation Plan and then talk with the Council members about areas that we have concerns about.  She remembered that at a previous NWSNA meeting Shahyar Daneshgar had told the group that the city may be planning to widen 9th St. She wondered, “What else is in their plan?”

Jean said it sounds like something two or three people could look at and present their findings to the group.

Sandi said the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) is not going to be discussed until the Spring and that CONA will meet in the next couple of months to look at areas that are awful.

Old Business –

Rocky asked about the neighbor who wanted us to send a letter about the people in the park.  Neighbor Frank Marshalek had responded to the September meeting minutes with an email about dangerous things he had seen left in the park such as used needles.  He had suggested a letter signed by residents of the neighborhood should be sent to the city about this problem.

Karen noted that she has seen the same things and even witnessed an overdose near the bathroom.

Sandi commented that the restroom will be closed soon for the winter.

On other old business, Sita asked what happened with our neighborhood liaison that was mentioned at the August meeting (the Neighborhood Resource Specialists). Sandi commented that they were invited to a CONA meeting but did not attend.

 

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Minutes of September 18, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Karen Duffy, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham,   Sita Cohen, Shahyar Daneshgar

Update of Historic Preservation Activities –

Alan Balkema said that a small group had met with representatives of the city.  A new person will soon be hired by Bloomington’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) to work with us on the historic designation process.  The historic preservation group will be hosting three public meetings.  If all goes smoothly, the first of these will be this fall.

UDO Update –

Sandi Clothier spoke about the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). She said that Module 2 was released on the city’s website.  Module 3 will be released in late November.  The UDO has been broken down into separate modules, but the organization of the information does not correlate with the existing ordinance so it is difficult to determine what is being changed and how. The city’s Comprehensive Plan is the guiding principle for the UDO.  Next spring all will come together and then there will be public debate on the whole UDO.  The UDO will also have to conform to the Transportation Plan. A concern is that changing road types would change what could be built along those roads, which could impact the edges of our neighborhood.

Request to Change Parking Zone  –

Sita Cohen spoke on behalf of Sheri Benham, who is  requesting a change of location for a no parking zone in front of her house.  Sheri has already discussed this with her neighbor, who  has a driveway and does not need on-street parking.  Moving the zone would allow Sheri to park in front of her house and would put the no parking sign closer to the traffic calmer which is better for traffic flow.  Olivia moved to approve this idea, Michelle seconded it, and all present voted unanimously in its favor.

Request to Add a Second Kitchen  –

Shahyar Daneshgar would like to add a second kitchen to his house and the city told him to get the neighborhood’s blessing.  This would in effect create a second apartment in his house, which the city terms Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADU’s and which are sometimes called “granny flats.”  Sandi Clothier mentioned concerns with the City’s proposal for a by-right, one-year experiment to allow 30 ADUs to be built in Bloomington.  Sandi said we don’t object if the person lives in the house and gets a conditional use to age in place.  Bill Baus moved that the neighborhood association does not oppose Shahyar’s request, Sandi seconded the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Shahyar also noted that the city asked him to sign a paper that he would not object if the city chose to widen 9th St.

Question on Points of Order  –

Rocky Festa asked if we usually read the minutes at our association meetings.  She asked to have the minutes from the August meeting amended to clarify that she did not ask to become an at-large member of the board, but rather that the role was offered to her.

Reporting Local Crimes  –

Rocky Festa noted that a prowler had been in her back yard, tapping on the back door at 10:30 PM, and that she called 911 and it rang 15 times.  Officers did respond and arrested someone on 7th St. who was wearing gloves on a very hot night, and also someone on Maple St.  She said they tap on the door and if they don’t hear anyone then they try to break in.

Problems in Butler Park  –

Karen noted that there has been suspicious activity around the restroom at Butler park and that neighbors think the building may be used as a drop off for drugs.  There was a drug overdose in front of the bathroom this past Sunday.  Park workers were seen picking up needles used for drugs.  They said they had found needles in the playground  area as well. Karen stressed that if you see something you should call the police.  Rocky suggested we should have a meeting and cleanup in the park.  Sita noted that the bathroom will be closed in November when the city shuts down these facilities for the winter months.

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Minutes of the August 21, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Amendment:

Rocky Festa asked  to have these minutes  amended to clarify that she did not ask to become an at-large member of the board, but rather that the role was offered to her.

Input Sought:

CONA:  The Mayor is interested in adding two Neighborhood Resource Specialists to the budget, and also mentioned the The Council of Neighborhood Associations  (CONA).  This will be discussed at the next CONA meeting. Our CONA representative Sandi Clothier would  like some feedback from neighbors about how this resource person might be used, and what sort of things you want to have officers do.  You can send your ideas directly to Sandi at sandiclothier@gmail.com and she can then bring these ideas to the next CONA meeting.

Radon:  Does anyone have a radon gas mitigation service to recommend? Margaret Key knows of VET Environmental Engineering (https://www.vet-env.com/) but would be interested in hearing from anyone who has used VET or any other local company.

Thanks in advance,

Margaret Key, 811 W. 8th St.

****************

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Karen Duffy, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham,  Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Sheri Benham, Sita Cohen, David Ferrand, Steve Schatz, Ren Campbell

Your Neighborhood, Your Story –

Alan Balkema presented a flyer from the Your Neighborhood, Your Story project, a collaborative effort by the Bloomington Storytellers Guild and South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities to collect and share stories from residents of various Bloomington neighborhoods.  The project will culminate in a photography exhibit at the Monroe County Public Library and a storytelling program at Fairview Elementary School.  If you would like to discuss the past, present and future of our neighborhood, contact Jennifer Perry at 812-360-5191 or by email at jeperry.librarian@gmail.com

Follow-up on Meeting with Bloomington Cooperative Living  –

Representatives of the co-housing group Bloomington Cooperative Living attended our July meeting to discuss their proposal to purchase the building at 921 W. 9th St. and develop it into from 16 to 26 units with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.  Sandi Clothier reached out to members of CONA who gave her the following feedback:  CONA members recommended that we not support the proposal since it would require that the building be rezoned. This could set a precedent for the rezoning of other larger buildings in our neighborhood.  CONA members advocate locating high-density housing on the edges of neighborhoods or on busy streets, not in the heart of neighborhoods.  Sandi noted that the cooperative is not true co-housing since the tenants are not owners, but more like renters, that the issue has to do with ownership.

Cheryl Sweeney noted that the neighborhood has been adamant not to have more than three unrelated people living together in a house.

Rocky Festa asked how long the house has been empty and whether it could become an attractive nuisance.

Bill Baus commented that the building would be a perfect place for a group home.

The neighborhood association sent a letter to Bloomington Cooperative Living stating that we do not endorse their proposal.

Historic Preservation Committee  –

Alan talked about the rationale behind having our neighborhood designated as a local historic district.  He mentioned that the Bloomington Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) talks about increasing density in the city, and said that our district representative Chris Sturbaum warned that our neighborhood would be ground zero for development with the trades district so close by.  He noted that developers won’t be able to build in Prospect Heights or McDoel Gardens as those neighborhoods are already protected. Alan said we would need more teeth in our tool kit when demolition orders come, and that since we live in a consumer society, the pressure to develop our neighborhood is strong.  Since Rachel Ellenson is no longer the Historic Preservation Program Manager for the city, Sandi has been trying to arrange a meeting with other members of HAND (The City of Bloomington’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department) so that we can move the process forward.  There was some discussion of the required public meetings presenting the proposal, but dates have not been set since more information is needed from HAND.

Sharing Neighborhood Information  –

Rocky Festa noted that she has  set up a Facebook page for the Near West Side, a public group called Near Westside Neighbors-Bloomington, and that she posts the meeting minutes there as well as other information of interest to people in the neighborhood.

Other Business  –

Jean Graham said she wants to be on the Historic Preservation Committee and was welcomed to join that group.  Rocky Festa said she would like to be an at large member of the board.  Sandi nominated Rocky, and Sita seconded the nomination.  Rocky was unanimously approved as a board member at large.

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