Held in the Weinland Park behind Weinland Park Elementary
6:00, Thursday, July 9, 2020
(Meeting was moved to Thursday instead of Tuesday due to the July 4th holiday.)
Present: Resident co-chairs Laura Bidwa and Matt Adair
Residents Tyler Bender, Steve Bollinger (also representing Thrive Companies), Jim Dowdle, Amy Elbaor, Julie Erickson, Laura Kogan (civic association mobility committee chair), Rory Krupp, Tanya Long (civic association president), Jonathan Lucyshyn, Donna Madlener, Holly Moritz, James Peltier, Rob Poletto, Jody Poth, Erin Schmitt, Samantha Tortora (civic association secretary), Jacob Yount, Michael Wilkos (civic association Joyce Hughes Park design committee chair)
Guests Kara and Davide Cuigini (future WP residents), Ray Phillips (Phillips Restoration)
We haven’t met since March 3! Everyone present briefly introduced themselves.
AirBnBs / Short-term rentals
Any questions/concerns that the civic should pass back to city councilmember Rob Dorans after his presentation about short-term rentals at the June 25 civic association meeting? No responses. Someone asked about the recording of the last meeting: on the civic association’s Facebook page and website, weinlandparkcivic.org.
Any new issues to discuss?
The 54SID (54, meaning at 5th and 4th). A new Special Improvement District is being developed that reaches up North 4th Street from Rt 670 to East Fifth Ave and then goes west across Fifth Ave to the alley east of High Street. It will collect special assessments (payments) from property owners to be spent to enhance the district. Surprise expressed that no contact has been made to WP since Fifth Ave is the neighborhood’s southern boundary. Steve Bollinger, speaking on behalf of Thrive, one of the major property owners in the SID, said the SID will more or less focus on clean-up, like trash and graffiti. Not as robust as the Short North SID, although it will be managed by the same team; intention to address sidewalks not being handicap accessible, properties not being maintained. All parcels are taxed, but there aren’t many non-commercial properties within the SID boundaries. Amy Elbaor: Matt Hansen recommended that the WP Housing Committee collect questions and concerns and send them over to Betsy Pandora.
Joyce Hughes Park
Laura Bidwa: This park has been conceptually discussed in the neighborhood since at least 2008. This committee created an ad hoc subcommittee to initiate the design work last fall, which Michael Wilkos chaired.
Steve Bollinger: Design concepts are based on input from Joyce’s family and existing residents; park is about what Joyce stood for and what her family members thought should be in the park.
Laura: Everyone should get something they love out of the park; it’s supposed to serve the whole neighborhood. Three design concepts were presented for design feedback from the larger neighborhood at June 25 civic association meeting; feedback from Grant Park property owners is being collected through Steve. Design committee’s work is now complete. Next step will be creation of another ad hoc committee to talk about rules for the park and activities that we want to foster there; may include fundraising to support the activities.
Steve: We want people to feel comfortable with what the park is turning into…is there opportunity for a piece of the annual WP festival to bring the neighborhood together? After the first block of single-family homes were done on Grant, there was a pig roast in the alley to bring neighbors together.
Laura: We think the park rules will be the first conversation for the new committee. Thrive said they probably won’t be ready to talk about rules until September – we’ll start from rules that they use for parks at their other developments. People who live next to the park need to know the rules, as do people who come to use the park.
Steve: New property management company coming in September. I’ve also heard frustration about the apartments…and we are looking at taking on half the burden of the maintenance for the base plan that we put together over the next month or two. Can’t guarantee that if we sell the property that the next owner would do that.
Michael Wilkos: I met Joyce Hughes 16 years ago. [Gave a very extensive history of the investments made to revitalize the WP neighborhood, all of which Joyce fiercely advocated for at a time when it had been decades since the city had invested in WP.] In the design committee, we had conversations about the things we could remember Joyce by, and how those things could be integrated into a park like this. We came up with a list of 10 elements that the subcommittee thought that Joyce would like and that represented Joyce as a person. We thought the design team nailed the park plan. Like the wind-chime piece for example, she loved wind chimes and had them on her porch so that is a manifestation of her in the park. It’s not that a place for dogs to run is off the table necessarily, we didn’t really discuss that.
Tanya Long: Everyone was Joyce’s “neighbor.”
Laura: yes, exactly she always referred to residents as her neighbors, never just as residents. She taught us to live together as neighbors in this neighborhood. I think this is the single-most diverse neighborhood in the city.
Steve: In the nation!
Tanya: Matt Martin and Steve Sterrett just did a white paper about how diverse WP and to tell the WP story of investment.
Michael: I used to work at the Columbus Foundation… as a white gay middle-class investor, Joyce gave me community credibility with other people that I didn’t even know that I had, just due to Joyce’s friendship. I believe I was successful in my career because Joyce opened up doors for me that I didn’t even know were doors.
Tanya: We were the recipient of the ULI 2019 most innovative community award.
Steve: Also remember Dorothy Cromartie, which Cromartie Lane is named after, who did a lot of similar advocacy before Joyce Hughes did.
Michael: [extensive discussion of housing investment in WP, Habitat for Humanity.] The average person shouldn’t be able to come into a neighborhood and discern which homes are affordable or not due to architectural details. I live across the street from a CPO rowhouse. My friends would ask “how much are those condos going for?” Which shows what good management of built environment can do: put porches back on, add window boxes, etc. You can see what is used to look like. It looks the way it does now because of leaders like Joyce.
Rory Krupp: and state historic tax credits.
Julie Erickson: Can a quote by Joyce be at the entrance to the park?
Tanya: Yes, we have been talking about engraving or some other prominent presentation of a quote of Joyce’s in/near the sidewalk near the entrance of the park on the Grant Ave side.
Steve: Does anyone have any questions? We’re looking for more feedback. If you have a comment like “get rid of this tree,” go ahead and mark that on the design plans that we sent out and send it to us, for example. On the townhome side, send feedback to Jody and we can get those collected. Now is the time to have those thoughts and opinions and design a park.
Davide Cugini: Are there any plans that would allow us to like, sponsor a tree, for example?
Steve: Not yet. The NCA money has to be used on Grant Park. Something like that might be able to come in phase 2. Maybe the community comes in the future and says something like, hey we want another bench, or whatever, and they decide about that money.
Jody Poth: The NCA is not responsible for any maintenance?
Steve: Condo and homeowners pay $20 on top of condo/HOA fee, and then the condo/HOA bills the NCA for maintaining the park.
Unknown: Just want to acknowledge that this park is unique because there’s not a road that separates the park from the residential properties.
Michael: Yes, it is rare, but there are examples in other areas, including the Upper Albany West development by M/I Homes in Westerville and [missed getting this other name]. Notable that these are both suburban contexts. Also the Topiary Park downtown and other Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND).
Jodi: What about the liability? Would the NCA be liable for incidents?
Steve: Yes. [Discussed Founder’s Park circumstances]
Michael: And the examples I gave also have HOAs.
Donna: My daughter lived in Upper Albany and we really liked the alleys and layout and the park. The park was lovely. The only built feature in the park was the gazebo.
Unknown: We weren’t part of the design decisions and weren’t informed that this would be a public space. For example, wind-chimes. Would YOU want windchimes in your front yard?
Matt: Yes! Actually we have them!
Laura: I personally hate windchimes! Maybe it will have to come to a vote about that
Laura: I would encourage Grant Park residents be involved in the WPCCA meetings generally, and Housing & Land Use committee mtgs specifically. Pls indicate on attendance sheet if you’d like to be part of the new ad hoc committee to talk about Joyce Hughes Park rules/activities.
Steve: Thrive will be presenting about the development at 4th and 5th to the HOA in September.
Rob Poletto: I’ve been reading this committee’s meeting minutes since November and really appreciate them; interested in staying informed.
Laura: Thanks! We put a lot of effort into the mtg notes, but it’s always better to be in the same room to talk. Over the winter this committee discussed whether we should allow people vote who weren’t at the meeting and we ended up saying “no” because the face-to-face conversation is too valuable to eliminate, for issues we vote on. If people wanted to call in to listen and ask questions, they could do that. Now we have a Zoom account for the civic, so remote arrangements will be different.
Michael: Rory put together neighborhood tour, and Matt put together summary piece of investment…maybe those would be good to share with new residents.
Campus Partners-held doubles sold at 1424-1424 1/2 N 4th St and 1243-1245 N 6th St: Donna Madlener asked if Campus Partners had confirmed anything with the civic association regarding the neighborhood’s desire for the buyer(s) of these two doubles to renovate them and sell them as condos. Laura Bidwa said all she had been told by Campus Partners was that they sold very quickly and the buyer was experienced in renovation. Both properties are now listed as being owned by “1424 North Fourth Street LLC.” Donna said she’d talked to crews working on the sites who said they were going to be rented, not sold. It was agreed that this was very disappointing given all the effort the neighborhood put into trying to have the properties made available as a lower-cost home-ownership opportunity in WP.