Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defillip, Ian Jacob (president), Christine McHale (vice-president), Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Jeanne Swanton, Clifford Tremblay
Others present: Todd Alexander, Peter Bass, Jill Bock, Sarah Colton, Jonathan Culley, Peter Hall, Suzanne Hunt, Sandra Kynes, Peter Monro, Lin Parsons, Kitty Purington, Karen Rea, Pamela Shaw, Ethan Strimling
The meeting was called to order at 6:34 PM.
Minutes from October’s meeting were accepted as written.
Due to the treasurer’s absence, there was no report at the meeting. But a subsequent submission by the treasurer stated that the WENA checking account stands at $379.09. The WENA swim fund contains $3,091.01.
Sarah Colton stood in for David Argitis who has just returned to full time duty following his accident. In absentia he reported the following:
- No arrest has been made in connection with the robberies reported in the West End earlier this year. The incidents remain under investigation and no similar events have occurred since.
- Regarding transients and littering in Harbor View Park, despite WENA having helped clean the area a few weeks ago, considerable litter has accumulated again. This can be called to the City’s attention by using Fix-it! Portland. The transient staying there has been encouraged to move along. The senior lead officer is now aware and any future transients will also be moved along and/or served with a notice.
- Regarding reports of coyote sightings in the West End, residents are encouraged to call the non-emergency dispatch. From there, police can work with the warden service.
- Regarding reports of a red van soliciting rides in the West End, CID detectives have thoroughly investigated and concluded that the activity was suspicious but not criminal. The driver is not considered an immediate threat to the West End but the incident is a reminder of the need for constant vigilance.
Brief discussion ensued following this report. Sarah encouraged residents to call her at any time with any concerns. Contact information is available here: http://www.wenamaine.org/resources/.
Jonathan Culley of Redfern Propeties returned to give an update on his project at 667 Congress Street. This project has received official approval from the City and ground breaking is expected before the Christmas holidays. Completion is slated for May 2017, though they are hoping to have Joe’s Smokeshop/Variety operating again in 2016. A brief question and answer session followed.
Todd Alexander and Peter Bass offered information on a new housing development planned for 22 Tate Street. The plan has been submitted to City officials without requests for zoning changes. A public meeting is projected for mid-December and they hope to start on the work in the spring. A question and answer period followed.
The following slate of candidates has been prepared by the nominating committee:
Ian Jacob, president
Christine McHale, vice-president
Jennifer Defillip, vice-president
Voting will take place at the 9 December meeting.
Also to be voted on in Dec is a resolution to decrease the total number of board members by two (from 11 to 9). This is intended streamline operations.
- Webb Farrell, a long-time WENA member has had to leave the West End and Portland due to lack of affordable housing. He has shifted to Bangor and sent his greetings and good-byes to the group.
- Liz Parsons called the group’s attention to an effort aligned with the movement for a constitutional amendment responding to the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling. More information may be obtained at www.stampstampede.org.
- Ian Jacob called the group’s attention to the community garden end of season potluck. Hosted by Cultivating Community, this event will be held on 18 November at the Cummings Center.
- Ethan Strimling thanked the group for their support of his successful mayoral campaign. He encouraged West Enders to contact him with questions and concerns once he is in office either directly or via Ian Jacob as WENA president.
- Michel Michaud reported that he and Rosanne Graef had attended a Disability Advisory Committee meeting. Big issues gleaned from a 2014 survey concerned snow removal and sidewalk maintenance as well as insufficient accessible transportation especially during snow storms. Some discussion ensued following his remarks.
State and High Streets restoration
Ian Jacob updated the group on this matter. A final reading and vote by the City Council will be held on 16 November. Since WENA has officially endorsed this idea, Ian recommended that interested residents send emails to the Council ahead of time.
Brackett Street Crosswalk update
Jeanne Swanton, Peter Monro, and Ian Jacob noted that work has not continued since last year but the City has recently filled the bicycle-pedestrian coordinator position so work on the project is expected to resume.
The meeting adjourned at 7:57 PM.