November 15, 2016 Minutes

Armatage Neighborhood Association Meeting

Meeting was called to order at 6:35 pm by Kelly Falsani (Vice President)

ANA board members in attendance: Ryan Antkowiak, Tara Brown, Sara Emmenecker, Kelly Falsani, Steve Johnson, Bri Keeney, Michael Kootsikas, Laurel Luxenberg, and Judy Vecere

Others in attendance: Nikki Lindberg- ANA Coordinator, Nikki Frederich- Park Coordinator, Jennifer Waisanen, CPS, Matt Wilcox, Assistant City Attorney, Inspector Kathy Waite – MPD, Lieutenant Brian Anderson – 5th Evening Precinct MPD, Lance Custer – Safety Chair + Neighbors Cindy Wilkens, Ed Lund, & Naomi Hertzgard

Safety/Crime Update (Jennifer Waisanen, CPS)

Since August 1st, there have been two assaults (both domestic), seven burglaries (three from an unlocked garage and four in homes), four thefts from unlocked automobiles, and one car theft – Jeep. The majority of these crimes could have been avoided if doors were locked. The in-home burglaries all occurred while the owner/tenants were away. Despite this activity, Armatage remains a very safe neighborhood when compared to other neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis. Jennifer reminded us to be weary of winter packages theft. Given the amount of delivers (UPS, USPS, Fed Ex), porch theft tends to pick up around the holidays.

Community-Attorney Program (Matt Wilcox – Assistant City Attorney)

Matt participates in the community-attorney program; he is employed by the city’s attorney’s office. His role is to act as a liaison between the Police Department and the City. Attends many community meetings to provide updates on any crimes. Can provide us with court updates on any Armatage crimes.

Introduction to NEW Precinct Inspector (Inspector Kathy Waite – Minneapolis Police Department)

Kathy brings 23 years of experience to Armatage. She has worked in North Minneapolis under a variety of roles including undercover (at times as a prostitute and in narcotics) and in uniform. She founds undercover to be very interesting work but she felt she had more luck working in uniform. Has also worked in the “Safe Unit” where crime prevention specialists worked together with officers to solve problems and learn more about the neighborhood tendencies and challenges. She has also been promoted to lieutenant in the 1st district. Throughout her career, she has spent a lot of time working with the Somali community. Her most unique and memorable activity was working through the bridge collapse which was very intense, traumatic, and as unique a situation she has ever been involved with. Community members came together to support the police force and she remembers it as a very special and collaborative event. She has also worked in NE/SE MPLS and worked through the most recent riots. Has had great experience working with U of M students. Has worked in special ops – traffic, canine, disaster relief, was in and oversaw the SWAT team. Appointed to be the precinct inspector (2nd precinct). Now her most recent transfer, working in the 5th precinct (our district). First time working in this precinct. Excited to work in this district and enjoys the community engagement aspect.

Safety Chair, Lance Custer requested of Inspector Waite whether or not they could provide personal safety workshops or other community safety program workshops, and/or home safety tips. Inspector Waite and Jennifer Waisanen would love to engage our neighborhood and offer those programs. Jennifer Waisanen will work with Lance Custer and ANA to schedule some events.

Tara Brown brought up that neighbors have been concerned about child safety and the lack of safe driving. She has also heard of and seen handoffs.

Inspector Waite suggested we call 311 for traffic related issues. We should always report things and provide the time of day so the police can be more aware of these issues. Speeding often occurs around schools.

Quick handoffs are difficult to stop but should always be brought to their attention. The community response team can take action based on an address. Provide as much information as possible.

Street issues such as people blowing through signs. Public works tends to better handle those concerns. Public works would have statistics and could best handle any requests/concerns.

Neighbor Cindy Wilkins expressed concern surrounding the traffic circle on Upton. Often times it has obstructed view due to cars parking too close to the circle. Inspector Waite suggested calling 311 to report this.

Neighbor Ed Lund asked what are the one or two best ways to prevent home crime? Inspector Waite and Lieutenant Anderson indicated while it sounds simple, the best way to prevent crime is simply to lock doors and windows. Lighting can help; suggests just leaving it on all night; helpful for you and for your neighbors. If going out of town, notify the police (via 311) and they can circle the block a few extra times.

Neighbor Cindy Wilkins asked about why Xerxes is so poorly lit compared to Penn. Nikki Lindberg to request about adding lighting to the Minneapolis side of the street.

Armatage Updates (Linea Palmisano, City Council Member)

  • Local updates
    • 54th open to two-way traffic again. Project will open again in the spring.
    • 60th/Xerxes St. light to open any day now. Awaiting power from Xcel Energy.
  • Budget update
    • Involved in many committee meetings surrounding the proposed budget.
      • Two public meetings: November 30th & December 2nd.
    • Hosting community forums
      • Recently with Inspector Waite
      • Next one will be regarding “Islamophobia” with Keith Ellison
        • Tara asked if we as the community could be helpful to facilitate this discussion
          • Patty Day is planning the event
            • Suggested Facebook live feeds for those uncomfortable of showing their faces or asking tough questions
          • Undercurrent/initiative to improve the flow of traffic surrounding Armatage Montessori school
            • Linea suggested they contact Armatage Neighborhood Association

Park Update (Nikki Frederich, Park Director)

  • Blinds are up – thanks extended to ANA.
  • Halloween event – huge turnout and success.
    • Will look to continue to do so on the Friday before Halloween.
  • Football banquet tomorrow night.
  • Basketball is in the registration process and will begin soon.
  • Hockey or Wrestling is available at Lynnhurst Park.
  • Hockey/skating season beginning soon.
  • Fire and Ice – Friday, January 20th – family friendly event.
  • Bri Keeney inquired about an evening toddler playgroup at the Armatage Community Center. Targeting Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm or 6pm.

Committee Updates

Community Engagement Update (Bri Keeney)

Renter Initiative Event – targeting January 3rd or 7th.

  • Nikki has been talking to Robert Thompson who specializes in engaging renters. Robert authors a book. Suggested purchasing 20 books as giveaways.
  • Discussing a Saturday event – January 7th. Coffee? Bagels?
    • Offer childcare? Utilize the park staff?
  • Proposing a $900 budget for the event; approved
    • Targeted postcard
    • Purchase of 20 books to give to attendees
    • Food/drink
    • Childcare person
    • Open session soliciting renter feedback, desires, etc….

Tot Lot Discussion

  • Talks about improving the tot lot
  • Beautiful space
  • Equipment is outdated
  • Concerns about kids running into Washburn
    • Asked about putting in some type of landscaping to keep kids protected and in the park
    • Installing a mural to slow traffic down
    • Other feedback, if something is lining the street, drivers tend to drive slower because of the unknown surrounding whether anyone is there
  • A large space which could be beautified, a connecting place for neighbors
  • The basketball court is confusing in that it is a tot lot but caters to basketball as well
  • Discussed making it all age appropriate
  • Next steps – contact the park board to have a better understanding of what their plans are
    • Michael to help Bri contact the park board

 Coordinator Update (Nikki Lindberg)

  • CPP – allotted $91,900 to be spent over 3 years
    • Nikki and Judy to meet with Stacy Sorenson, Neighborhood Support Specialist tomorrow
      • After meeting, they will email their findings
      • Final version will be voted online
    • Fix It Loan
      • Expended all money; cannot take on more loans unless we contribute additional funds
        • Are we interested in contributing more funds to the program? In doing so, we could loan it out and collect additional interest over the term of the loan.

 Treasurer Update (Judy Vecere)

  • Meeting with the city tomorrow to find out what can be done with the different pools of money. Hoping to get clarity over what monies can be reallocated so we can better identify what funds we can use on what projects.

 New Business

  • How can we make it more visible that we are a welcoming community in Armatage?
    • Develop yard signs to attract people to the neighborhood
      • Idea to have neighborhood kids or school kids design welcome signs or creative slogans with the intention of distributing throughout the neighborhood.
    • Block leader to contact the new home owner or renter
  • Block leader safety class
    • Chili cookout? To engage the block leaders.
    • Sub-party at National Night Out.
  • Would love to strike more of a partnership with the block leaders.
  • Tree Lighting – like on Facebook; promote on next door, etc….

Kelly motioned to adjourn. Seconded. So Moved. Meeting was adjourned at 8:08 pm.