October 30, 2009

University Heights Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

October 20, 2009, 7:00PM

28 people in attendance.

Spring Tree Planting Project:

Nov 1st is deadline on tree planting. We need 20 people to sign up. If we don’t get them, we’ll try for next fall. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) provides the trees. The neighborhood supplies the labor for planting, refreshments. People have to agree to water trees—15 gallons, 3 times a week for 3 years. A person who signs up can have more than one tree. To sign up, contact David Wiese at david_wiese@yahoo.com.

Recycling Information:

Rudy is on the Indiana Recycling Coalition board. Information is available on the table in the back on tox drop (closest tox drop located on Shelby St. behind Flapjacks), phone book recycling. Ruth Soper half sheet on curb recycling. Jim Sachs, Republic Services, proposed a deal—intro offer 3 months free, and $36 for next year. Interested neighbors need to refer to Indiana Recycling Coalition Curbside. The recycling truck picks up every other week—same day as trash pick up. Ruth shares a bin with her neighbors since they are so big.

Greta Pennell brought up the problem with pick up in front—no place to put bins.

Phone book recycling is being done by KIB along with AT&T. Sites on flyers. Also bins at some schools. On the other side of the flyer is information on hazardous waste. Also drop off sites for recycling. Kroger in Southern Plaza is one.

What to do about the problem of recycling plastics 3 and up? Rudy says Rock 10 on West St. takes 3-7. Off season they take phone books.

UIndy Student Certified Housing:

David Wantz has breakfast with the dean tomorrow to talk about this. To say the neighborhood is interested is a wonderful thing. Certified housing—we draw a line around the neighborhood to enforce. We’ll say students have to live in certified housing in this area. We tell the landlord that they have to make sure tenants don’t have loud parties, they cut lawns, etc. And the landlord has to provide appropriate housing quality—furnace, water, etc. We’ll have a liaison at the university for addressing problems. We’ll grandfather students already in housing. This requires landlords to provide good housing for students and requires students to be good citizens.

This won’t solve non-student tenant problems.

Only four individuals who are unrelated can live in a house. It’s hard to enforce though.

Question about whether this will discourage students from living in the neighborhood. David Wantz said if they don’t want to follow the rules, they just can’t live in this neighborhood. The university could block registration. Discussion about the problems students often face—poor plumbing, insulation, smoke alarms, windows nailed shut. Right now the university can’t do anything for them and students are taken advantage of. Students on campus who go to parties in the neighborhoods are also more vulnerable to assault when they get drunk.

David Wiese said if we get details, then maybe we can take a formal vote on this.

Neighborhood Park/Maintenance:

We talked about this last month—what to do with the old Cummins Apts. location at Mathews and Edwards. Ideas included: A community park, picnic tables, tennis courts, playground. Also a proposal tonight for a project proposed to the neighborhood association in 1988 for an exercise area. A suggestion for community garden from university faculty was passed around (See attached). Jim Pennell explained that some faculty are working on ideas, some not so different than what we discussed last time, but they want to work with the neighborhood.

Does KIB have a way to support neighborhoods that have ideas? David Wantz (who is on their board): Yes. They have specialists in different areas. We could get them to come down and consult. We could apply for a pocket park. They would come and talk with us before we put in a proposal.

David Wiese said we need a maintenance plan. You have the best chance to get a grant if you have a maintenance plan. Maybe if we partner with the university, they mow and we take care of garden plots. It would take the involvement of a number of people, there has to be more than 2 people who will volunteer.

David Wiese asked if there were any ideas. A suggestion was made that we might need a smaller group for the next step, maybe 3 or 4 people. Those interested in participating were asked to raise their hands—Quin Starks, Greta Pennell, and Kay Stoelting volunteered. A dog park was suggested as another idea.

Quin Starks mentioned the other empty lot at Castle and Mathews. David Wantz said the university owns the block on that side except 4 houses. He said that the lot is fair game for conversation.

Kay Stoelting noted a potential danger on the corner—the entrance to a storm sewer there—it’s very big and a little kid could fall into it. Probably needs to have a grate over it. Calling the Mayor’s Action line was suggested, and that it was better if the call came from a neighbor. Kay will call.

Don Bolinger made a proposal to the neighborhood association 21 years ago that was inspired by a trip through Wisconsin. He suggested this could be something we might do with the park area—create a fitness area with stations and plaques that explain the exercises. Jim Pennell suggested using different areas in the neighborhood—could spread it out to the other university property and the existing park. Patrick—Lebanon park, also Eagle Creek.

It was suggested that maybe some university students could help with developing the exercise stations. Greta mentioned that Mindy Mayol at the university teaches a course related to it.

2010 Projects / Events / Ideas:

Community park will take a lot of time. Maybe have events and get people out for it.

We didn’t do a neighborhood clean up last spring. Mostly cleaning curbs. Needs done. Anyone want to coordinate and get with university people? Greta explained timing problem. The university moved its service to first weekend in April, so it doesn’t coincide with the city cleanup. Good thing might be that we don’t compete for materials. Put that on as an idea? There appeared to be some interest.

We have held a neighborhood garage sale in the past. One idea was to do it where Cummins used to be and donate money to a charity.

A sculpture walk at the university was also suggested.

We combine some meetings with events to get people out and try to reduce the time commitment. Special committees could meet before the regular meeting.

We could put information useful to the neighborhood on a UHNA website.

We could do a plant exchange at planting time, since sometimes people buy too much.

David Wantz mentioned an abandoned house on Weaver. There was a Neighbor Power conference at UIndy this weekend. They have a dirty dozen template. Bates Hendricks had a dirty 30. They create a timeline for what hasn’t happened with abandoned housing. David provided literature. They have something called the Indy Land Bank where they purchase abandoned properties. Could put the information on the website. Greg Filter will do.

Don Bolinger has a sweet gum tree he needs to take down. It is tearing up the sidewalk. The tree is on the city’s right of way, so it belongs to them. He was told by the city tree person the sidewalk is the homeowner’s problem. Some discussion on this. On the tree planting, KIB helps with getting the right tree for the location. New sidewalks on Mills Ave. The city put in sidewalks after a petition drive—so they will put in sidewalks. But you have to get neighbors together and petition.

Next month, revisit the bylaws discussed last time. We want to be proactive, but still will need to be reactive. Jim Pennell mentioned beer cans piled at the curb on Mills. Resident’s intention is to help, probably just need to mention to him and suggest some other approach.

HalloWeenie Roast. October 31, 1-3PM. Just bring lawn chairs and drinks. Hot dogs and condiments will be provided. UIndy will provide chips and cookies. Angela Lord is planning a lot of activities for kids.

FYI: the Student Nursing Association doing an event this Sunday 4-7, around Martin Hall. There will be a lifeline helicopter for kids to see. Go to Smith Mall, in front of Martin Hall. And bring a can of food to the HalloWeenie roast. They will also be collecting door-to-door.

Thanks to Debbie and Natalie for doing the cards for veterans.

Minutes submitted by Jim Pennell.

Future Meetings:

All meetings begin at 7:00 PM

November 17, 2009

No December Meeting

January 19, 2010

February 16, 2010

March 16, 2010

April 20, 2010

From Kevin Whiteacre, Assistant Professor and Director of the Community Research Center

The Biology, Social Sciences, and English Departments are, along with the Community Research Center, collaborating to propose a pilot educational community garden in the empty lot at the intersection of Matthews and Edwards where the Cummins apartments used to be located. Mary Gobbett, Kevin Whiteacre, and Kevin McKelvey are heading the project. The project is in the initial stages, so there are no firm commitments on the contents or layout of the garden, but it is anticipated that it will consist primarily of vegetable crops. Native perennials might also be included. We hope to plant the garden in the spring of 2010, and a winter cover crop will be planted the following fall so that whatever else happens, at the very least the project leaves the property more fertile and better planted than it finds it.

Several university professors have already indicated an interest in using the garden for different purposes, such as honors projects and service learning labs. We would like input from the neighborhood residents regarding such a site, whether there is an interest in utilizing a community garden and of course, whether there is support for piloting a garden on that property.

It is a pilot, and we are intentionally keeping the project small in order to best achieve the following goals: 1) identify ways in which such a garden might be used by university personnel and community residents; 2) establish a protocol for managing garden access, use, etc.; 3) establish how the grounds will be maintained through the entire year to ensure it is a local asset, not a liability; 4) identify the most appropriate layout and content in light of the above issues; and 5) ultimately assess the feasibility of locating an educational community garden permanently on campus property.


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