October 5, 2009

Mark it on your Calendar: The next University Heights Neighborhood Meeting will take place Tuesday, October 20th, 7 p.m. in UIndy’s Stierwalt Alumni House (on the SE corner of Otterbein and Windermire).


From September 15, 2009

* There were 26 people present at the September meeting of the University Heights Neighborhood Association.

* Denny Rusher, the current UHNA president, explained the role of the association in the past, why it was formed, and his work as President over the years. He is ready to step down and serve the neighborhood on an as-needed basis.

* David Wantz thanked Denny Rusher for his many years of service and spoke of how Denny always had the neighborhood’s best interests in mind when representing it.

* Jim Pennell presented his ideas on creating a small University Heights Neighborhood Association governance structure with two coordinators and a secretary to keep minutes and suggested some terms of service and limits (see page 2). The primary rationale was to keep the structure simple, but provide some leadership for helping neighborhood residents identify needs and organize for action. There was some discussion, but no decision. David Wiese suggested the proposal be given some time for consideration, and volunteered to serve as acting coordinator. This suggestion was affirmed by those attending. Ruth Soper volunteered to serve as co-coordinator with David for the six-month period. Jim Pennell volunteered to serve as secretary for that period. During this time period, it will be decided how the co-coordinators will be chosen in the future.

* UIndy students Emily Frey and Morgan Huser, who live in the neighborhood, wanted to know what they might do as part of a class service project. They were considering doing a trick-or-treat canned good drive for a local food pantry. A number of other ideas were suggested. Angela Lord suggested neighbors be more active on Halloween: leaving porch lights on and visiting with each other. Other suggestions included making cards for veterans and reverse trick or treating where Global Exchange provides fair traded chocolate to give out. Emily and Morgan will present ideas to their fellow classmates and will discuss their decision at the next meeting.

* David Wiese suggested doing a neighborhood cookout in his yard at the corner of Edwards and Otterbein on Saturday, October 31 (Halloween). Jim Pennell volunteered to buy hotdogs. Denny Rusher said he has a pop up tent, if needed, and the Pennells have a tent. Jim and Angela Lord volunteered to coordinate the event. Activities for children such as corn hole were suggested. The event will be scheduled in the afternoon so as not to interfere with trick or treating. Emily and Morgan agreed to do flyers.

* The group brainstormed ideas for what might be done with the lot of the former Cummins Apts. Suggestions included sculpture, a community garden or flower garden, a kid’s community garden, tennis courts, a playground for small children, a picnic area, and a labyrinth. There was some discussion about who would maintain whatever was developed, the university? The neighborhood?

* The next meeting is Tuesday, October 20, at 7 p.m. in UIndy’s Stierwalt Alumni House (on the SE corner of Otterbein and Windermire). A program called “Stamp for a Cause” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Neighbors will be able to decorate and sign cards to be sent to military personnel who are stationed overseas.

* MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Meeting dates for the remainder of 2009:

October 20 November 17 December 15

Minutes were compiled and submitted by Jim Pennell from his and Nancy Collins’ notes.

Organizing the Neighborhood Association

Jim Pennell

September 15, 2009

1. I propose that we have a simple and flat governance structure. Instead of having a board or a council, we elect two co-coordinators and a secretary who keeps minutes.

Rationale: There is no reason to have a board of directors or a council at this point. We should meet together and make decisions as a body of the whole. Having co-coordinators will help address the problem of one of them not being able to attend a meeting, and they can share leadership responsibilities. The co-coordinators can work together to plan and run neighborhood association meetings. The secretary will keep minutes. We can create other positions and also end those positions as needed. For example, we may want to elect leaders for specific projects or initiatives.

2. So that these leadership roles do not become burdensome and others are able to assume leadership roles, I recommend two-year terms with a two-term limit for the co-coordinators and secretary.

Rationale: There are a number of pros and cons to having someone in the same position for many years, versus rotating people more frequently. I think we are more likely to get broader participation and a willingness to serve if terms are relatively short. Term limits will also require others to step up and assume leadership responsibilities.

3. For the first year terms, I propose that one co-coordinator serve a one-year term, and the other a two-year term, so that the elections for both positions will be staggered, and a new co-coordinator will be working with one with some experience.

4. Co-coordinators and the secretary can take no action in the name of the UHNA without approval of the neighborhood association. They may represent the association, share its positions, and take actions only as formally determined by the association.

Rationale: Leaders of the association should only act with approval of the neighborhood association to avoid misrepresenting the will of the group.

5. Action items to be considered at a meeting will be announced no less than one week in advance.

Rationale: Residents need to know what is coming before the association, and should have the opportunity to speak and vote for or against.

Question: How will announcements be made? Via e-mail? A neighborhood website? With flyers?

6. Action items announced in advance will be formally proposed at a meeting, discussed, and voted on by those present.

Rationale: If people are informed about items coming before the association and have some interest, they should be at the meeting.

7. A majority decision carries.

Question: This could be divisive. Do we want something closer to a consensus? Two-thirds majority? Should we have a one-household one vote rule? Or any neighborhood resident who attends can vote?

8. Action items brought up at a meeting without prior announcement can be discussed, but cannot be brought to a vote until the next meeting, after being announced as an agenda item.

Rationale: See #4.

9. Voting participation in the University Heights Neighborhood Association is restricted to residents (whether owner-occupants or renters) living in the area bounded by Hanna, Asbury, Lawrence, and Shelby.

Question: Do we include both sides of the boundary streets? What do we want to do with businesses, the university, churches? Should other adjoining streets be added? What about the trailer park?


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