President Joshua Merritt called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm in the Redeemer Lutheran Church conference room.
Steve Rogers made a motion to approve the minutes from the January meeting. Patty Colligan seconded the motion.
Laura Lomas and JoAnne Clem reported on the recent It’s My Park Day event. Twenty-one volunteers participated in 3 projects on March 2 at Wooten Park: mulching trees, re-graveling trails, and re-painting sign posts and picnic tables. Laura Lomas did a lot of the leg-work prior to the event and even went to the park the day before to prepare. JoAnne Clem was in charge of the mulching. The volunteers spent about 3 hours working on these projects and had a great time.
Sherwin Williams donated primer and paint (valued at about $200), and the Austin Parks Foundation gave a mini-grant that covered the cost of most of the gravel. Evan Riffee of Clean Cut Austin sold the gravel at a discounted rate. Also, Redeemer Lutheran Church allowed us to use their backhoe in order to move the mulch, which had been dumped in an inconvenient location. Wheatsville Coop donated snacks, and Mi Tiendita offered to provide drinks and snacks for future park work days.
Treasurer Marilyn Rogers gave her report. We had a balance of $1611.55 on 2/28/13. These are costs from It’s My Park Day: $290 to purchase the gravel from Clean Cut Austin and $65.92 to rent a generator, which totals $356.79. The Parks Foundation grant was for $250, and Mi Tiendita convenience store donated $150 ($20 of this donation went towards their dues in the neighborhood association). Overall, we had $380 income for the project, and only spent $356.79. If any neighbors spent money for the project and have receipts, Marilyn will reimburse them. Also, Marilyn anticipates the cost of the upcoming newsletter to be about $200.
President Merritt mentioned that he would have liked to get a report from the Burton Anderson, the chair of the Neighborhood Watch committee, but he was not in attendance. Patty Colligan offered to get in touch with Burton to get an update from the committee.
President Merritt gave a brief history of the Neighborhood Watch committee. It was re-invigorated a year or so ago. Several Neighborhood Watch signs have been replaced. There have been trainings for neighbors to learn how to patrol the neighborhood, and Burton Anderson has met with police and other neighborhood watch leaders from surrounding areas.
David Tomlison said that he would like to see the Neighborhood Watch committee be an agenda item at the next WNA meeting. He would like us to discuss and make decisions regarding the committee soon. He volunteered to make a post on the yahoo listserve or the Wooten Facebook page in order to get some information about the committee.
Jonathan Armstrong told about a break-in that occurred on Burrell. A man in a wheelchair was at home at the time time, and the burglars were somewhat aggressive, although the man was not injured. Patty Colligan reminded neighbors to call 311 if you see suspicious activity. Joshua Merritt agreed and encouraged neighbors to report suspicious vehicles.
President Merritt announced that Betsy Thaggard would be sending the newsletters to the printer on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Betsy has would like to see the newsletter move to an online format in order to make it less labor-intensive. The reason why we have not done this is because a lot of the older people in the neighborhood are not online and do not check email. We could either eliminate the printed newsletter or form a committee of people to help with writing and formatting the newsletter and selling ads. Betsy needs help with ideas for content as well as writing articles.
Victor Engel suggested that we profile a local business in each issue. Patty Colligan suggested that we start with one of the businesses who advertise in the newsletter or contributed to It’s My Park Day. Michelle, a new neighbor who lives on Ohlen Road, suggested that we form a committee to share the work with Betsy. This way we can keep the older folks who are not online involved in the community. She suggested that we could even deliver a paper allowing people to opt for either online or home delivery. Steve Rogers agreed that the newsletter was important for keeping people involved. He mentioned that those who are not online do not have many ways to find out about WNA except for WNA signs and printed newsletters.
A Newsletter Committee was formed. The volunteers are Patty Colligan, Victor Engel, and Michelle.
Jonathan Armstrong mentioned that the Crestview Neighborhood Association makes their newsletters available at the Mac store in their neighborhood. He would like to see WNA newsletters made available at local churches, schools, or businesses. President Merritt suggested that the Newsletter Committee discuss the distribution model.
Vice-President Carolyn Spock gave an update on Mary Rudig’s North Austin Association of Neighborhood email correspondence. She is seeking neighborhood associations to sign up to become “Beacon Communities.” From the information in the email, Beacon Communities are based on the Harwood Principles of attacking challenges, and Battle Creek, Michigan has become the first Beacon Community. Mary Rudig would like a WNA endorsement in 2 days, but no one in WNA has researched the Beacon Community model yet. President Merritt suggested that we don’t commit at the this point because we are unfamiliar with the organization, but we can consider this at another time if there is interest.
Steve Rogers reported on the 10-1 redistricting. Steve and Peg Frey, a former WNA president, have applied to be part of the committee. Overall, the city has recieved about 500 applications, and they will narrow these down to 60. Then, there will be a ping pong ball lottery before the final selections are made.
President Merritt brought up the post that Mary Arnett had made on the yahoo listserve in reference to the proposed development at the Ross on Burnet Road. According to Mary, the developers who had wanted to build apartments at the location had sold the property to a person who owns car dealerships in the area. President Merritt asked if anyone had heard about this. Steve Rogers pointed out that the information had only come from one source so far. Victor Engel mentioned that Mary had mischaracterized our neighborhood as being anti-apartment in her post. Most of the WNA members were actually in support of the apartment development. It seemed to Victor that the North Shoal Creek neighborhood association was more unsure about the development than WNA was.
Solana Wooldridge asked if anyone knew about the construction at the Lulen Apartments on Bowling Green. Michelle said that it looked like a renovation. Kevin Luke said that the apartment owners sent out a notice a few months ago that said that they would be undergoing renovations. Marilyn Rogers said that they were replacing plumbing and electrical.
President Merritt gave an open floor to neighbors to bring up any remaining concerns or issues.
Marilyn Rogers reported that there have been 2 recent deaths in the neighborhood association family. Vaughn Bingham, who often attended Commanders’ Forums, and Don Glen, who sponsored the annual Christmas caroling, have both passed away.
Victor Engel has noticed piles of dog crap on the street and sidewalk near the Wooten Park apartments on 7914 and 7926 Mullen Drive. He has called 311, but nothing has happened. Carolyn Spock suggested that he call the Health department. Patty Colligan suggested that he contact the apartment managers, but Victor was not sure how to do this. Michelle suggested we put up signs reminding residents to pick up after their dogs. Marilyn Rogers felt that the best way to solve this problem is by more people frequently calling 311 to report it.
Patty Colligan made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:06 pm. Steve Rogers seconded the motion.