Minutes of July 21 NWSNA Meeting

Peter Dorfman called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM virtually over Zoom.

Alan Balkema, Bill Baus, Sandi Clothier, Sita Cohen, Olivia Dorfman, Peter Dorfman, Karen Duffy, Natalia Galvan, Jean Graham, Tom Payne, Jennifer Ryan, Jenny Stephens, Cheryl Sweeny, Angela van Rooy, and Katie Wrightmire were in attendance.

Old Business

Peter Dorfman presented an update on the United Ministries Each One Feed One Campaign, which raised funds and gathered food, cleaning products, and hygiene items for neighbors in need. Natalia Galvan volunteered her home as the collection site for the NWS. She collected 9025 lb in products and $1200 in cash donations.

Alan Balkema and Jean Graham have consulted with Gillian Field from MC-IRIS about invasive species in the neighborhood. They completed an assessment to determine the most serious invasives in the NWS and began to develop a plan for their removal. Among the most noxious species are Asian bush honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, and winter creeper. In addition, although it is native, Alan suggested we focus on removing poison ivy, especially where it encroaches on the sidewalk. Alan and Jean will work on getting educational information out about how to identify invasives on Facebook. Peter asked for clarification about why Asian Bush honeysuckle is a particular problem. Alan and Jean clarified that this type of honeysuckle is distinct from our native variety. Although it can be kept reasonably under control in a garden, birds eat the berries, which are incidentally low in nutrition, and spread them to the woodlands and other wild areas. The effects are extremely destructive. MC-IRIS can lend the NWS tools for volunteers to remove these invasives.

Update on the Banneker Center: The center has been undergoing renovations, including new flooring in the library, and upgrades to the kitchen equipment. They have been running a camp since school has been out and have served over 6000 meals to children in need. The center is currently in discussion with the City about painting a Black Lives Matter mural on Elm Street, outside the Center. The decision will be made at the July 28 Board of Park Commissioners meeting, and the project will likely be carried out in August or September. The plan is to use designs from black artists from Bloomington. This announcement is in part informational, in case any neighbors have an objection to this plan. If so, they should let Banneker director Eric Pearson know. Olivia Dorfman suggested that the NWSNA express their support for the project. Sandi moved and Cheryl Sweeny seconded. The members in attendance unanimously voted to express support for the project.

Treasurer’s Report: Bill Baus reported that the NWS currently has a balance of $472.24. Bill suggested that some of this money be used to purchase purple paint to designate areas such as his property and the Railroad property on the north side of the neighborhood as “no trespassing” areas. Bill outlined what is, in his view, a problem with “vagrants” camping on the Railroad property and cutting through and leaving trash on his property, as well as hanging out in the park and “freak[ing] people out.” He says that no trespassing signs do not work as the homeless neighbors often remove them, citing as evidence that he found one of his signs when he entered the tent of these neighbors. Bill also expressed the view that the police will no longer remove people from their campsites because he believes that our neighborhood has been put on the “sacrificial list.” Some brief discussion ensued, but Peter Dorfman suggested the issue be tabled for the time being as he suspected there might be quite a bit of discussion around this issue and we were coming up upon the 40-minute time limit allowed our meeting by our free Zoom account.

Angela van Rooy, Neighborhood Services Program Manager for HAND was invited to the meeting originally to discuss the City’s housing study, which is now delayed until August. Angela, however, had other matters to convey to the Association.

She testified to the effectiveness of the “puller bear” tool that MC-IRIS lends out for eradicating Asian bush honeysuckle.

Angela then presented on the State’s COVID Rental assistance program. The program offers $2000 in $500 increments over four months to landlords that apply. (It was later noted that other assistance is available through other sources such as the Monroe County Trustees).

Angela also announced the Blooming Neighborhoods project, which will briefly highlight each of the City’s neighborhoods. This project includes several items:

  • Phone and video interviews with neighbors, including personal stories.
  • A logo contest for the neighborhood association
  • Collecting artifacts such as maps and objects
  • Using these items in a short clip about each neighborhood

The City is looking for help identifying interview subjects and collecting information about the NWS.

The meeting ended at 7:40 PM.

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