Wooten NA minutes: 9/12/2016

Read what happened at the latest meeting, including an informative Q&A about neighborhood stuff you’ve been wondering about.

Wooten Neighborhood Association Meeting – 9/12/2016  7:00 pm
Divine Redeemer Cafeteria
Vice President Hannah Frankel Presiding

Good News:
Joanne Garrett reported the “Fill the Backpacks” school supply drive yielded $650 in supplies and $95 in cash for the school to spend on office/school supplies.  Adam Turner and Joanne delivered these to the school.
Outgoing President Joel Simmon’s wife Claire spent a good bit of time updating the Wooten website.
Neighborhood Happy Hour at Mr. Tramp’s was a success.  Hannah would like us to consider doing a picnic in the park for the next neighborhood social event.

City Council Update for District 7 (Michael Gaudini, City Council Staff)
Public safety:
Policing: Council requested that Staff gather recommendations related to policing. Staff gathered a large number of these, many of which Council would like to see implemented. One particular focus is on transitioning duties from sworn police officers to other members of the community; it appears Austin may be a good candidate for this given the measured work patterns of the police force.
Graffiti: Processes for dealing with graffiti are decades old and will be reviewed by Staff and compared to best practices in other cities.
Budget: It is budget season, and the City Manager has a list of programs, and the Council has a list of programs, and not all of both sets will be funded. Processing DNA kits from sexual assaults was a major Council priority that seems likely to be funded.
Now that the transportation/mobility bond is on the ballot, Michael cannot discuss it further as a City employee.
Mobility and Wooten: Grassroots efforts are always the most effective at getting projects done in the City. Michael makes a standing offer to talk to him about what we want, and he will help us determine programs that can help and obstacles we might face. Recommends the District 7 Community Service Website: d7atx.com

Questions and Answer with Michael:
Q: How can we mobilize our community?
A: Have the most passionate core people meet with Michael.  He will come up with a strategy and explain the constraints they will face, as well as guide them to programs that can help.  Example: Traffic calming project on Romeria: the NA tried one avenue for City grants, but failed to get funded. Tried again with the public/private partnership concept, did some fundraising, and was successful.

Q: Zoe’s Safe Place nursing home: the grounds look terrible, with trash and mattresses stacked up. What can we do?
A: Group homes are in general a protected category. This particular one seems to be the rare bad actor. Michael will talk to Code Enforcement.
A (from Joanne): Take some pictures and use the Austin 3-1-1 site to report the issues.
A (from Hannah): The Code Compliance website will let you upload photos with your complaint.

Q: Graffiti: Why can’t we just organize and paint over it ourselves?
A: Decide what you want to do, and talk to me, and I’ll do my best to clear the way / smooth things over with the City.

Q: Addressing the idea of a “mobility group”.  Would they address traffic calming, bike lanes, etc.?
A: Yes, and especially lowering speed limits. The operating principle was to set speeds based on what cars actually drove. Now cities have more leeway to lower the limits.  City Management (as opposed to City Council) is resisting the speed limit changes, but with “Vision Zero” (no traffic fatalities) being a goal that is now embraced, there may be room to move City Management on this in places.

Q: Given the sometimes competing nature between our City representatives and City Management, can we lobby City Management directly?
A: City Management employees often come to public forums where they listen and engage with the public.

Q: Brockman street is a cut-through behind several businesses, used by many cars to avoid the Burnet/Anderson light, and is often a hazard.  What can be done to calm it?
A: The Local Area Traffic Management Program is the program that would handle it, and they would likely recommend speed cushions. They would likely not put in stop signs, as in certain situations, these get ignored over time. Sometimes narrowing the roads is done, and it helps.
Q: Could the street just be blocked off?
A: They almost never do that. The philosophy seems to be that traffic needs to be able to flow everwhere it needs to, like water.  Where you see a cut-through street, they see a functioning traffic network.

Divine Redeemer Church Update (Pastor Kevin Wintergren)
By August next year, a new “cafetorium” will be built close to the Anderson side of the property. It will seat around 500 for presentations and plays.  It is needed because the current cafeteria is now too small. The existing cafeteria will be repurposed, possibly for 1st-4th grade classrooms, or possibly for Special Needs education, for which there is a great need in Austin.
A new athletic field will also be created in the back.
The church is currently working with the City on the Site Plan.
Q: Will the trees and playground along Anderson stay?
A: Most trees will. We’ve planted many trees over the years, and some may need to go, but rest assured they will be accounted for.  The playground will be consolidated, and another playground section added elsewhere on the property.

The church invites Wooten Neighborhood to its Harvest Fest on October 1st, 10 am – 3 pm!

The church would also like to donate $1000 to the Wooten Park Fund!

Park Update (Laura Tomlinson)
We are still working on funding the shade pavilion project for the park, which will also add more benches. See the website for more details.
You can donate directly to the Park Fund in cash, or via PayPal.  Our goal is $10,000 in matching funds, to help us secure an Austin Parks Foundation grant that will help us cover the balance.  The more we raise, the more seriously they take our grant application.
The website lists other donation methods.  In addition, if you have a connection to a local business, contact Laura to get a packet describing the project, so that you can approach the business for a donation with facts in hand. Email: park2@wootenna.com

Treasurer Report (Joanne Garrett)
Our accounts stand as follows:
Savings: $25
General Fund: $1482.32
Park Fund: $3154.33
Austin Park Foundation fund: $100

Note: about $600 from the IndieGoGo campaign was transferred from the General Fund (where it lands) to the Park Fund (where it belongs).

Officer Elections (Hannah)
We still need President and Secretary candidate volunteers.
Our current slate is:
Hannah Frankel for Vice President
Joanne Garrett for Treasurer
Slate passed by acclamation; no dissents or abstentions were noted.

The agenda item proposed by Matt Armstrong was dropped (not present)

The meeting was adjourned at 7:58 pm.