PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Donald Hoegg; Monika Kreidie; Jeremy Lindemann; Ben Mann; Joe Mikuliak; Barbara Saverino; Chris Somers; Ira Upin; Anne Waginger.
ABSENT: Barbara Mulckhuyse, Vice-President; Michael Coyne; Don Phillips;
ALSO PRESENT: Danny Harvith, Helen Sher
The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:02 p.m.
Motion: By Chris Somers, seconded by Barbara Saverino:“To approve the minutes of the September Board meeting as presented.” Passed 7-0-2
President’s Report: Matt Ruben: written report attached and reviewed.
President’s Report, October 2017
- PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY
- Construction Impacts – Some isolated issues, but nothing major or persistent at this time.
- Waterfont Issues – The future of the developer’s proposed project on Festival Pier (Spring Garden and Delaware Ave) remains uncertain. I should know something more at next month’s board meeting. Stakeholder discussions continue on Mark Squilla’s Central Delaware Zoning Overlay bill, which was introduced in May and then put on hold in June based on community objections.
- Business Improvement District (BID) – The BID’s first official public meeting saw a packed house and vigorous, productive discussion. The goal is to have the necessary City Council legislation introduced before year’s end, with hearings in the spring.
- Schmidt’s Commons/Piazza – Some neighbors expressed concerns about noise generated by one recurring event. We have connected the neighbors with Schmidt’s Commons management and the situation seems to be in hand. Also, this week a news article appeared saying that one of Schmidt’s institutional investment partners is looking to cash out its stake. The article speculated that Kushner/Westminster might also sell its stake, in other words they might sell the entire development rather than just swapping out one investor. I’ve made inquiries and it appears that Kushner is not actively looking to sell and they intend to remain in control, but a total sale is always a possibility in this kind of situation.
- FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
- Temple Fox School Follow-up – Nothing new to report here; just “sticking a pin” in the important need to follow up, and in particular to look into a CRM (customer relationship management) software package, which the Fox team said they’d recommend to us. This would help us to track and stay better engaged with volunteers, donors, businesses, and more. I would like Michael and Barb to follow up on this with the Temple team.
- NLNA and NLArts – Don and Monika recently participated in an NLNA-NLArts meeting to discuss office staffing and related issues. Update from one or both of them at our meeting. Relatedly, Barb has been working with Lara to develop a formal list of job responsibilities.
- EVENTS AND OUTREACH
- Board Meet-n-Greet October 19 – The Facebook event page already has 42 people saying they are going. This is on the high end of past RSVPs, especially this far ahead of time. So I think we’ll get a large crowd. For that reason it will be even more important for board members to attend, to ensure the guests get to talk to at least one board member. It also will be important to step up to help with prep if Michael and the Membership Committee reach out for that.
- General Membership Meetings – The Meet-n-Greet, preceded by the large BID meeting Sep 19 and the Liberty Lands meeting at the CC Sep 12, has made scheduling a general membership meeting difficult. I would like to have a general membership meeting in early to mid-November, since after that it’s the holiday season and our only major event then is the Operation Santa gift-wrapping party. I am open to topic ideas for such a meeting.
- COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
- The Facebook Group has surpassed 4,000 members and the email list is well over 3,000.
Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Don Hoegg. “To affirm our intention to make a donation to an appropriate group to benefit rescue efforts in Puerto Rico, and to contact other Philadelphia civic associations to see if we can be part of a coalition of local groups making donations. The NLNA donation should be between $250 and $500, as appropriate.” Passed 10-0-0
Paul Cherashore (representing Philadelphia Overdose Prevention Initiative) presented to the Board an opportunity to apply for a micro-grant for $5,000 from Open Society Foundation to develop a local pre-arrest outreach program. Ideally, the process will also create a working group, including the NLNA as a partner, moving toward solutions dealing with issues around the 8th Street methadone clinic. There was a general response that the NLNA would be happy to support the working group, assuming that POPI will run it. There were some questions from the Board about the specifics of the proposal and the amount requested as well as some suggestions.
Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Monika Kriedie. “That the NLNA act as fiscal conduit for POPI for the requested proposal to the Open Society Foundation, with a standard 5% administrative fee.” Passed: 10-0-0
Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written version of final draft for FY18 budget reviewed.
Motion: ByJanet Finegar, seconded by Chris Somers.“To ratify the FY18 budget as presented.” Passed 10-0-0
Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar: written report attached and reviewed.
Liberty Lands Board Report – October 2017
- I Heart Walkies/Fishtown Pet Hospital did a workday in mid-September that cleared out a lot of the weeds and overgrown shrubs along Bodine Street.
- The Farmers’/Craft Market continues, but is suffering from low support from the community. Paul is working on planning a winter market starting in December that will be in the Community Center yard.
- One of the panels on the three-panel set behind the swings has broken off: we’re working on ordering new brackets so it can be fixed.
- The September informational meeting about the Community Garden fence and Bodine Street sidewalk had a turnout of about 15 people who had a good, productive discussion. The deadline for artist submissions for the fence panels is October 10, so we are crossing our fingers that we get some!
- Community Garden coordinators Laura and Brian are working on making the system for assigning/changing over garden plots more formal and organized.
- The Fall Children’s Festival will be Sunday, October 29 from 1-4. Sara and Priya, the organizers from last year, are already working on planning and getting donations. We have once again gotten support from the Penn Treaty Special Services District for the Festival (which means that again the hayrides and moonbounce are free to all – yay!).
- As planned, Chico finished out the season for “honey do” work this month. Starting next spring, we will divide those tasks – particularly weeding – differently. We will be looking for someone with some gardening experience interested in the job of doing the fence garden maintenance next season.
- Small stuff: we’ll need to rent a dumpster some time this month to reduce the compost pile from hell. We will probably get several rose bushes from Sabina Rose Garden in late October: these will go in Janet’s garden near 3rd
- Report from Jen Gold on Garden Hub/City Harvest: “The community garden’s GardenHub and City Harvest programs are wrapping up a super successful season of urban agriculture (and a super successful pilot season for GardenHub!). GardenHub, with a generous grant from PTSSD, provided supplies and a part-time dedicated harvest gardener throughout the growing season. You may have met this young man – his name is Max! Max prepared the soil and garden beds, planted crops, tended to the crops by watering and weeding, and ultimately harvested the food throughout the growing season. With this additional support, we were able to increase both the volume and the variety of City Harvest crops grown and donated to our local community organization Bebashi. Along the way we learned many valuable lessons for how to further grow and nurture the GardenHub program, as well as how to further improve our City Harvest process and contribution. We are already looking forward to next season, and have many ongoing action items to make progress during fall and winter. GardenHub is now a component of a brand-new non-profit we call HarvestHub, along with a second component called FarmHub which will comprise an urban farm where future harvest gardeners will be trained and at which various programs, including occupational therapy programs, will be conducted. Many, many thanks to the visionary leadership of NLNA and PTSSD for their support of this year’s pilot program!”
Zoning Committee Report: Ira Upin; written report attached and reviewed.
Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Don Hoegg. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 157 Poplar St., i.e.: ‘We support the project with a 5’ setback from the property line with the proviso that a wall and gate are erected on the open spaces.’” Passed: 10-0-0
Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Don Hoegg. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 901 N. Delaware Ave., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We support your proposal with the following caveats: 1) A letter will be supplied to the Board; 2) There will be a limit of 415 seats inside and 100 outside; 3) For special events there will be a maximum occupancy of 250 people; 4) Hours will be 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m., 7 days a week; 5) There will be no outdoor events; 6) No music will be outdoors; 7) The doors on Delaware Avenue will close at 10:00 p.m. or the music will end at 10:00 p.m.; 8) Fifty additional parking spots, beyond the 35 spaces on the property, will be required for special events; 9) Provide a more defined “drop-off” plan that prevents cars from backing up onto adjacent streets and doesn’t compromise safety on any street; 10) Provide a detailed design of the building space, including an adequate number of bathrooms; 11) Security needs to control any nuisance behavior before, during and immediately after events and during normal hours of operation.’” Passed:10-0-0
Joe presented two possible versions and three bids for the NLNA logo-painting project. There was a general sense that a height position between the two offered would be ideal and near-total agreement that the oval should include the logo, the words “Northern Liberties Neighbors Association,” and the web address with no other words. It was agreed that Ira should review the bids and make a selection as the most experienced person with such projects. Ira pointed out that we also need to put the building’s address numbers on the windows.
Motion: By: Joe Mikuliak, seconded by Janet Finegar. “To spend up to $1,600 to paint the logo.” Passed: 10-0-0
Barbara quickly reviewed the update on Doughboy Park she provided. When she has a finalized budget, the Board will discuss the requested $2,500 contribution to the project.
Steve reported that we have been invited to apply to PTSSD for a grant to fund a fence for the community center yard in January of 2018; we hope that this grant will be accepted and that the fence can be installed in the spring of 2018.
The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:49 p.m.
Zoning Committee – Monday 9/25/17
Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Kenny Grono, Melissa Magness, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Abbey Spector, Ira Upin Members absent: Charlie Abdo, Jonathan Sher, Michael Simons, Chris Isaacson
157 Poplar St. – RSA5 – Giovanni Leone: A return visit with a proposal to erect a garage and deck (affects rear yard/open space). Motion from July 2017 Please return with a plan that provides, as a minimum, an 8’ rear yard from the end of the rear property line. Presenters preferred no change to the original plan, although an alternate plan that complied with code with a 10’ garage door was shown. A shadow study was done and there was no impact on the property 3 houses down. Houses 1 and 2 had no objection to the original plan. There was no refusal for the lack of a 5’ setback from the street on the newly proposed deck. Discussion: The neighbors in houses 1 and 2 (next to the property) want the construction because it creates a safer backyard. A straw poll (8-0) of the neighbors that attended showed support for the project
Motion – (Joe) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 4-0-1 We support the project with a 5’ setback from the property line with the proviso that a wall and gate are erected on the open spaces.
901 N. Delaware Ave. – I2 – Avram Hornik: A proposal to expand existing brew pub (Yard’s old site). Craft Hall – a bread, beer (plus full bar) and BBQ place. Current restaurant will be enlarged to 12,000 sq. ft. to include a bakery and retail food store. The brewery will decrease to 10% of the current size. The restaurant will seat 415 inside and 100 outside along Delaware Avenue. Outside seating will be screened with planters, etc. Poplar Street parking will be eliminated and turned into a Loading Zone for patron drop off. No music is proposed for the outside, but interior music may filter out to the outside seating. All music will cease at 10:00 p.m. Venting for the baking and beer production will be in the center of the building. There will be some special events (beer making, bread baking classes, other party events). Hours will be from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. every day, lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on the weekends. Discussion: Parking could be a problem. There are only 35 spaces on property (employees are not allowed to bring cars to work). Traffic and safety along Penn Street may also be a problem for Waterfront Square residents
Motion – (Group): Vote 5-0-0 Thank you for your presentation. We support your proposal with the following caveats: 1) A letter will be supplied to the Board. 2) There will be a limit of 415 seats inside and 100 outside. 3) For special events a maximum of 250 people. 4) Hours will be 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m., 7 days a week. 5) There will be no outdoor events. 6) No music will be outdoors. 7) The doors on Delaware Avenue will close at 10:00 p.m. or the music will end at 10:00 p.m. 8) Fifty additional parking spots, beyond the 35 spaces on the property, will be required for special events. 9) Provide a more defined “drop-off” plan that prevents cars from backing up onto adjacent streets and doesn’t compromise safety on any street. 10) Provide a detailed design of the building space, including an adequate number of bathrooms. 11) Security needs to control any nuisance behavior before, during and immediately after events and during normal hours of operation.
Report on Doughboy Park
As we look to celebrate Veteran’s Day this November, the Friends of the Doughboy continue to work on the restoration and renovation of the Doughboy statue as well as maintain the park located at 2nd & Spring Garden Streets. The Doughboy statue is located at Second and Spring Garden streets and honors soldiers (known as doughboys) from the community who served from the River Wards. The statue is a bronze figure of a WWI Doughboy in uniform with field pack, carrying a rifle with bayonet in his left hand. A plaque on the front of the granite pedestal reads: “IN MEMORY OF OUR BOYS OF THE SIXTH, ELEVENTH, AND TWELFTH WARDS WHO SERVED IN THE GREAT WAR OF THE NATIONS, 1914 – 1918.” Additional plaques on the right and rear of the pedestal list the names of soldiers from the area who served in WWI. There is a missing plaque that is being currently being manufactured and will include 400 names of those that served.
Thanks to the generosity of friends, neighbors, elected officials,Transport Workers 234 and Penn Treaty Special Services District we have raised enough funds to complete the restoration and renovation of the statue. Breakdown of funds raised include $2,500 by Transport Workers, $870 from neighbors and $17,615 from Penn Treaty Special Services District. Our partner on this project was Kensington Memorial Amvets. I have been working with longtime neighbor Mary Dankanis and the City of Philadelphia and will be sure to update you as the project moves forward and is completed. Moving forward, I would like to share via our email list/update post on facebook if you like. Will also do outreach to Amvets and Penn Treaty Special Services District.
– Recognizing that NLNA has some reserve funds this year, I request $2,500 to match Transport Workers donation. The money raised would be for signage and to support the park —this includes the drawbridge. We need to list PTSSD as a supporter and use logo where applicable.
– Recommend we do a celebration near Veteran’s Day (11/11) to recognize the restoration and acknowledge our supporters. I will need some help as I am also involved in a celebration for my dad that will be on November 12.