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  • Writer's pictureStaci Gibson

SARA Meeting Minutes - February 8, 2022

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Held at 530 Douglas Avenue

Present: Gary Wark, presiding; Marty Anderson, Sharon Carlson, Drew Duncan, Fred Edison, Staci Gibson, Cynthia Whittingham

Guests: Nolan Bergstom, City of Kalamazoo

Absent: Megan Campanile, Drew Duncan, Staci Gibson, Frank Rocco

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 6:06.

Agenda: A motion was made to approve the agenda. (Whittingham/Carlson)

Minutes: The January meeting minutes were approved as amended to include Cynthia’s absence as approved. There was brief discussion about how long the Zoom meetings will continue. (Edison/Anderson)


Treasurer’s Report

Whittingham provided a report of expenses and income. Whittingham paid $195.25 to Best Way Disposal, a yearly bill. There is $18,539.75 in our money market account. The Consumers bill has gone down to $113 so keeping the thermometer lower has helped.

We paid our Wix last month as it was reported in the January minutes, a payment of $38.85. When she received our monthly statement, there was an expenditure of $125 that she needs to verify. Wark said that Whittingham should be making the payments. There was consensus that bill paying should be done by the treasurer. Anybody with an invoice should send it to Whittingham. Wark will get some clarification on the items. Wark will talk to Callahan about filing our annual tax returns.

Property Manager’s Report

Wark talked to Duncan about firming up some numbers for the bathroom remodeling proposal. Our snow removal/lawn person is moving and his house will be for sale. We will need to find a new vendor. It was suggested to contact the Dubin brothers on Stuart Avenue. Wark will contact them and find out about their services. The bathroom proposal is about $3100 to move the door, to install the tub, and do the plumbing, pulling permits. We are looking at $750 to $760 a month for rental, plus utilities for the property. We are not making any money. We could recoup $3100 within the first five months. We could do a one-year lease and see how it works.

Woodward School Updates

The history they wanted to do in February will need to be postponed because of COVID restrictions.

Old Business

530 Douglas Property Study – The bathroom proposal is about $3100 to move the door, to install the shower, and do the plumbing, pulling permits. We are looking at $750 to $760 a month for rental, plus utilities for the property. We are not making any money. We could recoup $3100 within the first five months. We could do a one-year lease and see how it works. There was discussion on how long it would take to pursue a contract with the City. Bergstrom reported it could take a year. Bergstrom reported that we would have to complete our neighborhood plan first. The plan should be a comprehensive vision for the neighborhood and once it is complete, there will be additional benefits. Some of the neighborhoods who have completed their plans have already begun to work on projects like traffic calming.

Bergstrom reported that the RM 15 District/Multi-Dwelling is the current zoning and we have the flexibility to use it was a residential rental or commercial. We could rent it as a nine month or a month to month. We could rent a temporary office if we needed it. We would need to rescind the letter that was sent by the Association but that wouldn’t need to be done immediately. The immediate need if we pursue an agreement with the City would require us to rescind the letter we sent to discontinue the contract.

A motion was made to make a decision regarding the use of 530 Douglas at the regular meeting of the Stuart Area Restoration Association Board meeting in April. The motion passed unanimously. (Whittingham/Carlson)

Newsletter/Website/Social Media – A newsletter went out. Carlson will prepare another newsletter in late spring, possibly April. Carlson and Edison will continue with the street names and present Douglas and Elm Street.

Imagine Kalamazoo/Neighborhood Plan/Contract with City – Wark attended the meeting with the West Main Hill Association. Wark’s assessment was that they are not interested in having a contract with the City. Bergstrom reported that they are engaged with the City and they have regular activities. Wark will continue attending the Zoom meetings. There was discussion about the value of working with another neighborhood association, especially when their goals may be different. When a new neighborhood activator is hired, this person may have different ideas, too.

Stuart House Update – There were people at the property briefly today. The discussion turned to condemned properties in the neighborhood. Wark noticed there is a condemned sign at 302 Stuart. Bergstrom verified that it has a history of inspections and it was condemned in 2021. There is a consistent record of code violations. Another property that is condemned is on North Street, just east of the vacant lots. Bergstrom recommended that we continue to go through code enforcement for problem properties.

New Business

Zoom Meetings – We have the Zoom meetings in place until July if needed.

Volunteer Log – Edison added hours to a Excel spreadsheet. It shows the areas where board members and volunteers are volunteering. Fred will put a calendar into the office. There is a corkboard in the office to the right. Fred can add those into a spreadsheet, paper or electronic.

823 Lucas Court Project - There was no additional information.

Snow Shoveling Sidewalks – There was a discussion about whether the neighborhood could hire somebody to take care of the neighborhood sidewalks. There are numerous violations around the neighborhood. Duncan thought that repeat offenders were most likely to get ticketed and he encouraged people to call and call again. Bergstrom reported on the ordinance but he didn’t have information about the enforcement. Edison will report any volunteer hours relating to sidewalk shoveling.

Michigan Heritage Home Program – The consensus was that this could be included in a newsletter. Carlson had concerns because of her role as president if the Historical Society of Michigan, the sponsoring organization of the program.

Bulk Collection and Cleaning the Basement – There will be a bulk pick-up on March 28. We should clean the basement. Whittingham requested that this be placed on the March agenda for discussion. Wark will talk to the tenant. Carlson and Edison will get some neighborhood trash from the basement. We will pursue the garage in June.

Tire Blitz – Bergstrom reported there was a tire blitz sponsored by the city. They had a goal of 1,000 tires and they got 3,000. There were people lined up with trucks full of tires. There is only one regional recycler of tires.

The meeting concluded at 7:31 (Whittingham/Anderson)

The next meeting is March 8, 2022.

The minutes were taken by Carlson.

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