Minutes of the May 15, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Carol Gulyas, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Rob Henderson, Zandro Pleimann, Fiona Taggart

Neighborhood Cleanup Recap –

Newly-elected neighborhood association president Alan Balkema thanked everyone for their efforts on the neighborhood cleanup last month.  All agreed that the cleanup was a success, and were very impressed with the helpfulness and efficiency of the city workers who assisted us that day. Alan noted that we collected .68 tons of trash and 49 tires.  For the 1800 lbs. of metal we collected, the neighborhood association was paid $140.

JB’s Salvage  

Alan shared an article from the Herald -Times about the recent plan commission meeting.  Carol Gulyas noted that speakers from the Waterman community made a great presentation against the proposal to rezone the JB’s  Salvage property from residential to commercial.   Sandi Clothier said we need to write a letter to the city council and the plan commission to express the neighborhood association’s position against the rezoning.

Preservation Committee Meeting  

The committee investigating historic designation for our neighborhood met April 21 at BloomingTea on Kirkwood. Following this meeting another meeting took place to prepare a handout for the cleanup day, explaining what preservation would entail.  This small group met with Rachel Ellenson, Historic Preservation Program Manager for the City of Bloomington, who will do a survey to identify properties in our neighborhood that are contributing to an historic district.  Alan noted that, based on a zoning map he got from the plan department, there seem to be clear boundaries for a historic district.

–Neighborhood Get-Together–

Noting that the neighborhood association has sponsored a picnic in past years, we decided to have a picnic in lieu of our June meeting at 1:00 on Sunday, June 17th.  Zandro and Fiona volunteered the use of their yard for the picnic, unless it rains.  If it rains, the picnic will be held in Butler park at a shelter.  Carol Gulyas suggested we have the city print flyers for us to distribute door to door in our neighborhood, inviting folks to the picnic.

–Blooming Neighborhood Celebration–

Alan, Olivia, and Michelle volunteered to represent our neighborhood at the Blooming Neighborhood Celebration Saturday, June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market.

–Black & Brown Arts Festival–

Saturday, May 19th from 12:00 to 4:00 PM the Banneker Community Center (930 W. 7th St.) is hosting the Bloomington Black & Brown Arts Festival, a celebration of African and Latino creative arts and artists. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited.  Elm Street will be closed (including the alley) from 10 AM – 5PM for the festival and no one should park on Elm Street. 

–In Other News–

Fiona Taggart announced that she and Zandro Pleimann will no longer be operating a bed and breakfast on their property and that, as of July, the house will become a rental.



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Minutes of the April 17, 2018 Neighborhood-wide NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema,Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Peter Dorfman, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Beth Ellis, Tamera Theodore, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham, Michelle Henderson, David Ferrand, Vickie Provine

Neighborhood Cleanup  –

Vickie Provine of Bloomington’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) spoke about our upcoming Neighborhood Cleanup on Saturday, April 28 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Cleanup central will be in the parking lot of the Fairview United Methodist Church on 7th Street.

Vickie noted that our last neighborhood cleanup was in 2006. She also noted some dos and don’ts:

  • The city will take tires, but they should be removed from the rims.
  • The city will provide a metal recycling truck and pay us for the metal.
  • They will NOT take liquid latex paint.
  • They will NOT take any e-waste with screens, however Rocky Festa noted that, by coincidence, there will be an e-waste collection on Saturday April 28 sponsored by Cook Group in partnership with RecycleForce. The electronic waste recycling will take place from 9AM – 2PM at 301 North Curry Pike.
  • There will be a wood chipper on site.
  • The city will provide staff to man the site, but the cleanup must end at 1:00 FIRM.
  • Do NOT leave things at the curb. All items must be brought to the site.
  • There will be a repurpose area for free usable discarded items.
  • The cleanup will run rain or shine and will only be rescheduled in cast of lightning.
  • The city will provide blue pick it up bags for general neighborhood litter pick up.
  • The flow of traffic will be strictly controlled on Fairview.
  • For safety reasons, young children will not be allowed at the clean-up site.

If you need to arrange pickup of items or have questions regarding the cleanup, contact alanbalkema@gmail.com before April 21st. (812) 345-4440

JB’s Salvage  

Carol Gulyas noted that JB’s Salvage, Inc. has requested a rezone of a currently residential-zoned area to expand their recycling operations. The property is at 1816 W. Fountain Drive (within a mile from our neighborhood and generally located south of West 11th St.. and west of N. Adams St.), Bill Baus commented that his house is close to the JB’s Salvage operation  and that he can hear their machinery.  Sandi Clothier commented that five years ago a trash transfer station had been proposed for our neighborhood which was successfully fought and stopped by the neighborhood.  Carol said that there will be time for public comment on this at the next Planning Commission Meeting on Monday May 14 at 5:30 at City Hall and that residents from our neighborhood should attend.

Sandi initiated a motion from the neighborhood association against the request to rezone the unimproved property located at 1816 W. Fountain Drive from Residential to Industrial General.  The motion was seconded by Michelle Henderson and passed unanimously.

Election of Officers  

Carol nominated Alan Balkema to serve as President of the Near West Side Neighborhood Association.  Michelle Henderson seconded, and Alan was unanimously approved as President.

Cheryl nominated Sandi Clothier to continue serving as Vice President, Karlyn Grise seconded, and Sandi was unanimously approved as Vice President.

Olivia Dorfman was unanimously approved to continue as Secretary, and Bill Baus was unanimously approved to continue as Treasurer.  Michelle Henderson was appointed Board Member at Large.

Preservation Committee Meeting  

Sandi announced that the next meeting of the committee investigating historic designation for our neighborhood will take place Saturday, April 21 at noon at BloomingTea on Kirkwood.

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Minutes of the March 20, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema,Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Peter Dorfman, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Beth Ellis, Tamera Theodore, Shahyar Daneshgar, Sheri Benham, Eric Pearson, Rafi Hasan, Sean Starowitz, Gillian Field

– Banneker Community Center Programs  –

Eric Pearson, the Program/Facility Coordinator for the Banneker Community Center spoke on the variety of offerings at the center. Last spring he succeeded Leslie Brinson, who is now the Parks and Recreation Department’s Community Events Manager.

Pearson noted that the center serves everyone in the community.  Its programs are highly subsidized, with a 20% cost recovery goal, and serve children from all over town.  The center recently received a grant for a new mini-bus to improve transportation and fully cover the community.

The largest program is Banneker Camp–for $2. a day, participants receive breakfast and lunch, and enjoy a variety of recreational and educational programming. Enriching activities include farm tours, yoga, nature club, visits to the pool and other field trips.  Registration takes place each Friday for the following week. He explained that the program is similar to the Bloomington Kid City summer program, but costs less and provides meals.

During the school year, Banneker hosts monthly events, teen drop-in programs, and preschool programs. It also runs the after school program for Fairview Elementary School.

In response to a question, Pearson stated that the garden behind the center is at a crossroads–if funding is available the plan is to re-level the back yard and install a “unique form of playground,” different from other local playgrounds. If this happens, the garden would be relocated, most likely to the front of the building.  This spring, however, the Preschool garden club will continue using the backyard garden.

– Black and Brown Arts Festival at the Banneker Center, May 19  –

On May 19, the Banneker center will host the Black and Brown Arts Festival featuring performers with “Bloomington roots” presenting spoken work, music, poetry and various arts.  Rafi Hasan, Bloomington’s Safe and Civil City Director, explained that the festival has been developed by Bloomington’s Black History Month Committee, the Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs, and the Arts Commission.  The proceeds will help support programs in the area.  He noted that the Banneker center is a place of trust and rapport for young people who may have challenges in their lives. He also highlighted the importance of support from the community, and will provide residents with information, schedules, ordinances (re: amplified sound, etc.), and  explore options.  He offers to answer as many questions as we have and come to meetings as needed to alleviate concerns and recognize neighborhood voices.  Mr. Hasan may be reached at hasanr@bloomington.in.gov or phone (812) 349-3559

– Shayar Daneshgar Requests Construction Variance   –

Neighbor Shahyar Daneshgar presented plans for construction of an 8’ x 14’ deck in front of his house on 9th St. Since the deck will protrude closer to the street than the adjacent houses do, he needs a variance.  Those present at the meeting voted unanimously to approve the variance. NWSNA Secretary Olivia Dorfman will write a letter for him stating our approval.

– Removing Invasive Plants, Adding Native Plants    –

Gillian Field of the Grandview Hills neighborhood in Bloomington spoke about her neighborhood’s committee to get rid of invasive plants and plant native plants. She said that only 30% of the land in America is in nature preserves, so private landowners need to help restore native plantings.  She suggested working together as a neighborhood to develop working days to remove invasive plants and plant natives.  She noted that if we put together a group of ten property owners, we can invite people from the Monroe County Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS) coalition to come help us and even loan us tools. For more information their website is: http://mc-iris.org/information-for-landowners.html

If you would be interested in an invasive plant removal day, let us know, and maybe we can get a group together for MC-IRIS.

– Neighborhood Cleanup, April 28  –

Alan Balkema reported that our neighborhood has received a grant for a city-sponsored neighborhood cleanup on April 28.

The cleanup will begin at 9:00 AM and end at 1 PM. The city will bring two dumpsters and a wood chipper for our use to the parking lot at Fairview United Methodist Church. There will also be a place for usable items to be set out for neighbors who might want them. The city may also supply gloves, rakes, etc. No contractors will be permitted. Alan Balkema and Bob Grise will be lead volunteers, and we will need volunteers to work in shifts at the dumpsters between 8am and 2pm on the 28th  to be sure no hazardous materials or tires are deposited.

Members of the board agreed to meet in the near future to discuss details of the event and prepare publicity. Neighborhood residents will be notified with a letter or flyer, and information will be on the website and list-serve.  Let us know in advance if you will not physically be able to move your trash or branches and we will try to get help for you. VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED…ESPECIALLY VOLUNTEERS WITH PICKUP TRUCKS!

Now is a great time to trim your bushes and overhanging branches.

After the cleanup, we plan to get together at the picnic tables behind the Banneker center for a potluck lunch.  Bill Baus offered to bring a big container for lemonade.

– Demolition Delay, Historic Preservation –

Carol Gulyas reported that the Historic Preservation Commission has notified us of the proposed demolition of a house at 711 West 9th St.  We can request a 60 day demolition delay in order to let the neighborhood learn more about the property and its condition. Sandi Clothier noted that, when she was a member of the Commission, they would notify the person proposing demolition to go to the neighborhood association for feedback.  The Historic Preservation Commission can only recommend officially designating a property as historic, or let demolition go through.

The neighborhood association voted unanimously to support a 60 day demolition delay and encourage the Historic Preservation Committee to follow the normal demolition delay timetable. Alan Balkema volunteered to attend the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on March 22.

According to Chris Sturbaum of the City Council: “The only alternative to demolition is local designation, and 711 W 9th would need to be part of a district. The district could be a relatively small number of houses on 9th but support would be important.  The purpose for the delay would be to attempt to develop and propose a district that includes this property as a contributing structure and see if it works.

The house is a contributing structure (like the majority of historic houses in town.)

That means that its value is as part of an historic area ( a contributor to the traditional historic form of a district )

This is why we have the delay: To give time to look over each property for one last time and evaluate the possibility of a district.

This is an unusual request for the full demolition of a viable structure for the land value below it.

This is worth examining for the precedent it would set and the implications such a decision to allow demolition of this historic structure and others like it could have on the historic character as well as affordability of the neighborhood in the long run.”

– Dues are Due  –

Neighborhood association dues are now due–if you want to be a member of the association, the dues are $2.50 per person or $5.00 per family.

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House for Rent

Historic home in Bloomington’s Near West Side available for rent as early as June 15, 2018 through July 31, 2019, with possibility for renewal. Elegant, spacious (1700 sq. ft.) two-bedroom/one bath home in desirable location just blocks from courthouse square, B-line Trail, farmers’ market, Banneker Community Center, Girls Inc. and Butler Park; 20-minute walk to campus. This beautifully restored and maintained gingerbread house with steamboat porch perched above leafy block in one of the city’s core neighborhoods boasts hardwood floors, 12-foot ceilings, huge windows and generous-sized rooms. Updated bathroom and farmhouse-style kitchen with modern amenities, including new dishwasher. New washer and dryer, radiator heat, ceiling fans in every room. Wooden deck off kitchen leads to large fenced-in backyard with mature trees, garden shed, and opportunities for gardening.  Attentive, responsive management by owner/landlord. $1300/month with one-month deposit. References checked. Please contact yksander@indiana.edufor more information.

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Minutes of the February 20, 2018 NWSNA Meeting 

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema, David Gulyas, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Jean Graham, Rocky Festa

– Neighborhood Cleanup  –

Alan Balkema suggested that we should apply for a city-sponsored neighborhood cleanup grant. Since Duke Energy is currently going through the right-of-way alleys between properties and chopping down trees and brush, now would be a good time for this activity. Alan Balkema reported that he talked to Vickie Provine of HAND (Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development) about the grants. She said it had been ten years since the Near West Side had a neighborhood cleanup, so we have a good chance to be chosen for a grant.

If our neighborhood is selected for a cleanup grant, the city will bring two dumpsters and a wood chipper for our use.  The city may also supply gloves, rakes, etc. No contractors will be permitted. Two lead volunteers will be at the dumpsters between 8am and 2pm on a selected Saturday to be sure no hazardous materials or tires are deposited.

Alan brought the application for the grant to the meeting and we provided input for completing it. Alan Balkema and Bob Grise agreed to be lead volunteers. The cleanup dates we chose are either April 28 or May 12.  We agreed that, if we win the grant, the neighborhood residents will be notified with a letter or flyer, and information will be on the website and list-serve.  We will also try to get volunteers to help individuals who let us know in advance that they will not physically be able to move their trash or branches. The deadline for the application is March 5, and winners will be notified on March 19. At the next NWSNA meeting on March 20 we should know whether or not we have won the grant and notify our neighbors accordingly.

Until such time as a cleanup is possible, or the town resumes yard waste collection, it was mentioned that Good Earth, a Bloomington recycling company south of Clear Creek will take branches, brush or yard waste for a fee.

– Guest Speaker at March Meeting  –

At the NWSNA meeting on March 20th we will have a guest speaker, Eric Pearson, Program Specialist at the Banneker Community Center who would like to discuss what the center offers and ways that they can interact with our neighborhood.

– Dues are Due  –

Neighborhood association dues are now due–if you want to be a member of the association, the dues are $2.50 per person or $5.00 per family.

Carol Gulyas made a deposit in the NWSNA bank account to maintain its active status.  She noted that Treasurer Sophia Hauserman has resigned and Bill Baus agreed to serve in that capacity.

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Minutes of the January 16, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise

– President Steps Down  –

Carol Gulyas announced her decision to step down as president of the Near West Side Neighborhood Association effective immediately or as of the April election. Alan Balkema volunteered to run for the office of president in April, and also to help with leadership responsibilities over the next few months. Carol noted that she already booked meeting dates at the Banneker Community Center for 2018.

– Neighborhood Cleanup  –

Alan Balkema offered to take charge of applying for a neighborhood cleanup grant from the city that has a March deadline.

– Comprehensive Plan  –

Sandi Clothier said that the Comprehensive Plan has 67 amendments, mostly non-controversial.  She noted that the plan includes more attention to sidewalks.

– CONA  –

Sandi Clothier reported that the Council of Neighborhood Associations would love to have more people involved.  Their meetings have changed to the 2nd Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 in the Hooker Room at City Hall.

– Historic Preservation  –

Alan Balkema mentioned a conversation with Chris Sturbaum, City Council Member for District 1, about historic preservation designation as a way to deter major developments from our neighborhood.  There was some discussion on this, but no consensus.

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Minutes of the November 21, 2017 NWSNA Meeting

 Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Michelle Henderson, Rob Henderson

– Comprehensive Plan  –

Sandi Clothier reported that a meeting will be held at 7pm November 28th, to update Bloomington residents on the Comprehensive Plan: at the Free Methodist Church,1121 S Lincoln St (in the Bryan Park neighborhood).

The Comprehensive Plan may be accessed here:


– Holiday Party  –

The Holiday Party will be Tuesday, December 19th. Volunteers are needed to help distribute flyers inviting neighbors to the party.  If you can help distribute the flyers, email Carol Gulyas at stewartgulyas@gmail.com.  The party will be at 7 pm at the home of Carol and David Gulyas. All neighbors are invited. If attending, bring an appetizer to share and beverages.

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Minutes of the October 17, 2017 Neighborhood-wide NWSNA Meeting

NWSNA Meeting October 17, 2017

 Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Sophia Hauserman, Olivia Dorfman, Cheryl Sweeney, Vernon Sweeney, Peter Dorfman, Alan Balkema, Tracey Hodge, David Ferrand, BJ Ferrand, Bill Baus, Robert Harman, Suz Frederickson, Brenda McNellen, Joan Middendorf, Chris Sturbaum

– Derelict Properties – Neighbors were notified that the empty house at 825 West 8th St., was to be torn down: Bloomington Restoration had made an offer to remodel the house but the property has been purchased by Beth Ellis, reportedly to be used as a garden. Alan Balkema said he’s in favor or  “anything that would help with derelict properties,” and Sandi Clothier commented, “In Bloomington, enforcement is not done.” It was noted that in Lafayette they have rigid rules for whether a property can be torn down or fixed up, and that allowing tear downs because of needed repairs is a dangerous precedent for the neighborhood.

Bill Baus added that “not every old house needs to be renovated and repaired.”

– Comprehensive Plan  – Bloomington District 1 City Council Representative Chris Sturbaum reported on the comprehensive plan  for Bloomington.

Sturbaum: Ratio Design did this.  It wasn’t really a qualitative plan.  We have spent hours on it–it has issues.  This plan will guide our city for the next 30 years. The plan says we’ll need 14,000 new houses and 6,100 expect to be demolished.  The plan did not say where the vision of 6,000 houses torn down came from–probability and statistics?  Ratio Design did not say where they got the number.  Many of these houses represent naturally occurring affordable housing, or NOAH.  We had a vision that doesn’t say tear down one third of our old housing stock, but it’s in the plan.

Carol Gulyas: What do we need to do?

Sturbaum: Read the Comprehensive Plan, particularly concerning land use. (The plan may be accessed here:  https://bloomington.in.gov/sites/default/files/2017-09/June%20Adoption%20Draft%20compressed.pdf

Come to the meeting on Tuesday, October 24, 6:30 PM, in the City Council Chambers and ask about tear downs.  Ask about quads, duplexes, etc. in core neighborhoods. Next week and in the following week amendments to the plan may be proposed.  In mid to late November we’ll look at the whole document again.

If you want to propose an amendment, send an email to Carol Gulyas or Chris Sturbaum to be sponsored.

Robert Harman:  Who chose these people to do the study and why were they chosen?  What did we pay for this study and in whose interest is it?

Bill Baus: The last time this happened it was clear to us that the consultant took a generic  plan off the shelf.

Gulyas: Can we stop the rumor about rezoning the Near West Side?

Sturbaum: We need to get the language out of the document.  We need to build density without harming our core neighborhoods.  Almost all the subdivisions have covenants that protect them from these city changes.

In brief, here’s what to do: 1) read the plan; 2) notify Carol Gulyas stewartgulyas@gmail.com  or Chris Sturbaum sturbauc@bloomington.in.gov of your concerns; 3) come to the meeting on October 24th with your questions.  Also look at the council packets for the last few meetings to see what amendments have been proposed.

Sandi Clothier: There’s a rumor about the loss of demolition delay.

Sturbaum: We fought that really hard.  There is potential in historic district designation: ask neighbors if they are interested in making a small conversation or historic district.

Sophia Hauserman: The Fairview historic district happened because of a crack house in the neighborhood.

Sturbaum:  Prospect Hill became a full district recently.

– Neighborhood nuisance  – Neighbors reported an overfull house in the neighborhood, that is, three or more unrelated adults are living together against city regulations. The neighborhood association volunteered to write letters to HAND about this, as well as to the owners of the property.

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House for Sale

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Residential Lot Information Acres: 0.19

Dimensions: 62 x 132

County: MonroeTownship:Bloomington

Grid: Maple Heights


Utility Type

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Minutes of the July 18, 2017 NWSNA Meeting

Minutes of the July 18, 2017 NWSNA Meeting

 Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Cheryl Sweeney, Vernon Sweeney, Bill Baus, Michelle Henderson

– Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – Sandi Clothier reported on the Council of Neighborhood Association’s (CONA’s) concerns with the City’s proposal for a by-right, one-year experiment to allow 30 ADUs to be built in Bloomington. These would be constructed on the property of existing houses in the form of additions, subdivisions or separate units.  ADUs are sometimes referred to as “granny flats,” since this sort of dwelling is intended to temporarily house an aging or infirm relative of the homeowner, a caretaker, or the homeowners themselves. The goal is to allow more affordable housing options as well as to help homeowners “age in place.”

CONA’s concerns center around how the City will enforce compliance and the impact of ADUs on core neighborhoods. The ordinance (Ord 17-29) permitting ADUs, in the form in which it went to the City Council for review, can be found at this link: https://bloomington.in.gov/onboard/meetingFiles/download?meetingFile_id=417

CONA’s letter to the City Council can be found at this link: http://cona.bloomington.in.us/2017/06/28/conas-accessory-dwelling-units-adu-assessment/

The City Council is planning to take up the issue of ADUs during their meeting on September 6th.

– Historic Sign –  Vicki Provine of HAND reported (via e-mail) that the Parks Department has a sign about the Near West Side neighborhood that used to be displayed near the Fairview Elementary School but had been taken down during the construction of the present school building. The Parks Department will put it back for us but wanted our input as to location.  After brief discussion, the board voted to have the sign reinstalled at its original location, in front of the school on Rogers St.

– Board Membership –  The board voted to appoint Bill Baus a board member at large.

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