Burlington Ward 4/7 Neighborhood Planning Assembly 06/18/2009

Facilitator: Phil LaVigne; Ward 7 Note-taker, Linda Deliduka; Ward 7; Time-keeper, Mary Chaffee, Ward 4. Ch17 Producers: Neisha Surprise and Matt Russell.

The Assembly was called to order at 7:10 pm by Facilitator Phil LaVigne.

Introductions, Announcements, Ground Rules, Agenda
Phil reviewed the Ground Rules and the Agenda. Introductions, sign-in sheet attached. Announcements:
~Janet Patterson announced that the Heineberg Center is having a fundraiser. A Calcutta Fundraiser to be held on July 31, at the Center. Call 802-863-3982 for tickets and information.
~ Anna Niemiec reminded us that the North End Farmers Market is now at the North Avenue Alliance Church, directly opposite the beltline, on Thursday afternoons 3-6pm
~ Linda Deliduka announced that the Miller Center is not open for drop in activities for teens this summer and a group of citizens are working to change that. Contact Linda Deliduka at 802-864-5114 or ldeliduka@burlingtontelecom.net for more information or to offer to help.
~ Phil Lavigne announced that the Police Activity league is underway at the Miller Center and we will be provided with updates.
~ Greg Jenkins in on the School Budget task force and he is looking for input and suggestions. 80% of the budget is in salary. We need to look at the long term, should we continue to have neighborhood schools, should we consolidated business offices. Bottom line, we need to look long and hard at what works and what doesn't, and to do that I need the input of the community.

NPA Business:
~Minutes: May 2009 minutes were unanimously approved.
~Election: Atiya Harris was elected to the Ward 7 Steering Committee. She is a student at BHS, and active in Student Government.
~Resolution: A resolution was presented by Nancy Powers, Friends of Leddy Park, requesting an update of the forest management plan for Leddy Park. The resolution will be posted on Front Porch Forum, and at the next meeting it will be discussed and voted upon.

Proposed Resolution: Leddy Park Forest Management Plan.

Whereas there is no current development plan for the future maintenance and enhancement of Leddy Park.

Whereas there currently exists a balance of recreational fields, facilities and woodland trails.

Whereas many residents of Burlington use and enjoy the existing system in the park.

Whereas the current forest management plan is outdated.

Be it resolved that the Wards 4&7 NPA's encourage the Burlington Parks and Recreation Commission to update and enact the Leddy Park Forest management plan through an open public process including discussions with NPA’s in order to foster an understanding and agreement with the forest management plan and its implementation, and to maintain the woodlands and enhance the public use of woodland trails, fields and facilities.

Reports from Elected and Appointed Officials:
~Mayor’s Budget Task Force: Greg Jenkins and Larry Walters serve on the Budget Task Force, called into action this year to work with the School board. Larry asked for input, and we did an impromptu “Blurt” [5 min. brainstorming session] to gather ideas on ways to improve School Dept efficiency, reduce expenses, or increase revenues. List of ideas is attached. If anyone has more ideas, they are asked to contact Larry Walters wltrs@aol.net or Greg Jenkins gregjenkins@burlingtontelecom.net .
~City Councilors Report: Vince Dober and Russ Ellis expressed concerns about the budget and the fact that taxes are going up. They also mentioned that citizens are concerned about the rules concerning lot coverage. There was also some discussion about getting the tax rebates.
~School Board Report: Bob Hooper and Bernie O’Rourke talked about the school construction at Lyman C. Hunt and the accessibility issues at Edmunds. They also talked about ideas of cutting costs.

Open Forum for Residents:

~Ann Taylor expressed concern about litter in the city, for example in the woods between Flynn School and residential areas. Ann asked if anyone was willing to work with her on this. Several people volunteered – Jay Cataland.
~Lea Terhune said the Governor’s Press Conference announcing the housing at Thayer School property was well attended by residents, city officials, and housing partners. Cathedral Square invites the community to share ideas with them. Anyone interested in getting involved or having input should contact an NPA steering committee member. There will be an opportunity to learn more at the end of June, TBA.

~Local Motion: Emily Eschner explained what they are doing in the city to improve bicycle mobility and safety. She left some information about trails and bike activities in the area.
~Geometric Bikes: Steve Norman brought his geometric bike and answered questions and showed residents how to ride it. The bike is one speed, and uses a “stepmaster” stroke that is more energy efficient and easy on the knees. The bike is recommended for people with knee, leg, hip issues. Also good for bike racers, tricksters, and people who like to dance on wheels! For more information linearc@fastmail.fm or www.geometricsbike.com. Steve will be a guest on our LIVE@5:25 show on Friday, June 19.
~Lt. Bruce Bovat, Community Policing, introduced Sgt. Duffy and explained the current activities of the Burlington Police Dept in the North End. Bruce discussed residents concerns about the graffiti, drug dealing, and police patrols. Complete list of issues attached.

We celebrated our North End Farmer’s Market with a drawing of donated vegetables, pork, and baked goods brought to us by manager, Anna Niemiec. Market tote bags were sold for $5 each. We thanked our Ch17 producers, presenters, residents and elected and appointed officials for contributions to our assembly.

The Assembly was adjourned at 8:55 pm.

*Community Policing Issues:

~ Fears about drug dealing in Leddy Park. Neighbors fear there is drug dealing in the parking lot by the tennis courts when they see graffiti behind the theater, and they keep their children away from the park. Abby Knapp and crew -- including our NPA -- removed the graffiti last weekend, we're hoping some local graffiti artists will do community service, and we'd appreciate it if the police would keep an eye on the area in the future to discourage vandalism and reassure parents. We've asked the Parks Dept to clear brush away from the fence behind the theater at the shopping center to make the area more visible

~ Speeding on our neighborhood streets is an ongoing problem. People want the speed bumps REMOVED, and find it much more effective to calm traffic by parking cars on the streets. It definitely slows drivers down, which speed bumps did not do. We'll address the safety of parking on the street.

~ Car break-ins and bikes stolen from porch in our area.

~ Symbols have been spray painted on trees in the woods behind Flynn School. People who live in the area feel uncomfortable, and consider it a hate crime . People are also dumping yard waste there, which kills the understory in a forest and ultimately creates conditions for erosion. Property owner needs to clean the area up and provide regular maintenance.

~ There is continuing concern about vacant buildings, and the city's enforcement of Vacant Building Permits that require regular inspections and monitoring. Vacant buildings are known to invite criminal activity --arson, and drug use -- and they are a blight on a neighborhood – like graffiti, only worse! A felon was found hiding in a vacant building downtown that did not have a permit. Residents want our vacant buildings inspected and monitored, and have requested that the city post them with something like the red/green Zoning, and we'd like the police to have a list of vacant buildings so when they are patrolling the area they can stop and check the building regularly.

~ Similarly, encampments on vacant lands that are not cared for is an ongoing issue for the North End. It is tolerated, and the city looks the other way. Walking from Rock Point Conference Center to the bikepath, here is a camp full of trash and bedding. We would like the issue to be addressed compassionately as a community need, creating a plan to deal with it that includes both property owner stewardship, enforcement by the city, and options for homeless people. We would like to begin this discussion now.

BLURT – Give fast answers to the question, things you have thought or heard. Like brainstorming.

How can the school dept save money? gregjenkins@burlingtontelecom.net, wltrs@aol.com
· Ask students for ideas
· Consolidate services, for example one business office for Chittenden County
· Write creative grants, like to the Gates foundation, and for historic preservation
· Have a senior mentors program
· Do central purchasing
· Consolidate ESL in magnet schools
· Compare cost of rehab of old buildings vs. investing in new buildings
· Keep neighborhood schools, small schools are good learning environments
· Keep school open in the summer, schedule school vacation in winter
· Prioritize spending based on need
· Have a 10-15 yr maintenance plan and budget for it