Barton Hills Neighborhood Association

Barton Hills Neighborhood Association
General Meeting Minutes
October 12, 2004
Introductory Remarks
President Don Long called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm.

Long welcomed and thanked members for their attendance. He explained that due to the full agenda, we will not be able to hold an Open Forum at this quarterly meeting.

Minutes
Long asked for a motion to approve the minutes for the General Meeting on June 22, 2004. The motion was made and seconded and the minutes were approved.
Appreciation

Long thanked departing Board members who have served the Association this past year including Derek Stuart, Rayma Chase, Robbie Botto, and Lance Schriner.

Bylaws

Recording Secretary Debby Kalk presented the proposed Bylaws changes. Kalk chaired the committee composed of former board presidents with much collective experience in managing the Association.

Kalk explained that the proposed changes formalize current practice. Long also explained the new position of Community Partnership Coordinator who will help in raising funds for the Association for the newsletter and for activities such as the July 4th Parade. The motion to accept all of the proposed changes was put forth, and seconded. The motion carried with one dissent.

Election of New Officers Emily Mazac and Jen Stuart headed up the Nominating Committee. Jen Stuart presented the proposed slate of officers: Don Long returning as President, Debby Kalk as Vice President, Diana Stangl for Recording Secretary, Howie Richey as Newsletter Editor, and Eddie Torres as Austin Neighborhood Council representative. The Treasurer position and the CPC position are still to be filled. There was a motion to approve the slate, and the motion was seconded. The slate was approved unanimously.
Town Lake Trail

Gavin Wilson and Dane Garrison of the Town Lake Trail Foundation presented their organization's mission and accomplishments in working with PARD to improve the Town Lake trail. The organization was founded a year ago and has 501(c)3 status. It has received several grants and is actively seeking additional funding to make its projects happen.

These projects include a new restroom at the mouth of Shoal Creek; a buggy-type vehicle for use in trail clean-up and maintenance; new signage; a tree health plan to assess tree health and remove invasive species; resurfacing and landscaping the area on the north side of the MoPac bridge; and widening and reinforcing the trail at the corner near the gazebo on the south side of the trail at the mouth of Barton Creek.

They also discussed the possibility of developing an open air amphitheatre at the gazebo corner as part of the renovation of the trail there. Their web site is at www.townlaketrail.org. They are recruiting volunteers, seeking donations, and raising awareness about their work. They also hold monthly meetings for volunteers.

Neighborhood Watch

Long introduced Officer Dawn Leonard and again asked for volunteers to participate in Neighborhood Watch. He explained that we need about 3 volunteers in seven sectors in order to begin the program. Officer Leonard introduced her colleagues from the Police Department and Neighborhood Watch program. She urged residents to call 911 with any suspicious activity and to call her with any concerns or questions. You can reach her at 974-4405 or email at dawn.leonard@ci.austin.tx.us.

Officer Leonard also advised residents to let her know if you will be on vacation and don't have a neighbor or relative to look after your home. Be sure to cancel your paper and mail, and have lights and a radio or TV go on to make it look like someone is at home.

She said the transients on the Greenbelt are a continuing problem. She encouraged residents to call 911 to report any suspicious activity. She emphasized that Austin has excellent social services for homeless people. Those who have problems with addiction, mental health issues, or simply can't abide by the rules, are the ones who don't avail themselves of those services.

Neighborhood Planning and House Meetings Long introduced Dr. Patricia Wilson, a neighborhood resident and professor of Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas School of Architecture. BHNA will be working with Dr. Wilson's graduate students to begin the conversation on what kind of neighborhood we want to have. Wilson has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and is delighted to have the opportunity to combine her professional expertise with helping her neighborhood.

Wilson introduced her Teaching Assistant, Mark Tirpak. Tirpak explained that the class is going to facilitate house meetings and the students are looking forward to the project. These house meetings will be carefully designed to facilitate dialogue, not debate. They are seeking volunteers to attend a training workshop on Monday, October 18 from 7-8:30 pm at Barton Hills Elementary. Tirpak led attendees at the meeting in an exercise designed to get people to talk with each other. House meetings will be scheduled during the week of November 3 - 10.
Bike Lanes Long explained the proposal by Scott Johnson to restrict parking in bike lanes on Robert E Lee and Barton Hills Drive during daytime hours. There was discussion on the topic from advocates on both sides.

Bicyclists complained of grit and dirt in bike lanes that gets thrown up because of the lanes being adjacent to the curb. Residents in the area worried about how to accommodate visitors and family members with the parking restrictions. Others were concerned that asking police to monitor parking pulled them away from essential tasks. There was support from one resident who is concerned about the lack of sidewalks and the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Peter Hess asked if it was possible to have a designated bike lane on one side of the street and parking on the other. There could also be plantings and other attractive barriers to narrow the street. Another suggestion was to narrow the street with parking and bike lanes on both sides. Jen Stuart recalled the recommendation of a traffic specialist who conducted the sidewalk workshop for the Association several years ago. He recommended narrowing the street to slow the traffic. Larry Akers addressed the issue of Robert E Lee which is distinctly different from Barton Hills Drive and requires a different approach.

Scott Johnson and a committee conducted a survey of residents along Robert E Lee and Barton Hills Dr. Johnson reported that they received 15 or so responses, most were not in favor or restricting the parking. Long said that since there was no consensus on this issue, and since there seemed to be a need for more research, there would not be a vote at tonight's meeting. He recommended the committee present additional information at the next general meeting.
Holiday Lights Phil and Kay Sanders have proposed reviving a neighborhood tradition of putting out luminaria at holiday time. Nan Clayton recalled that the Association and Garden Club helped with this task by ordering a load of sand and distributing paper sacks. Residents filled bags with sand and provided their own candles. Long envisioned at least a few blocks that could be the focus this first year. Long asked for a show of hands to determine support - and support was widespread and enthusiastic. Derek Stuart volunteered to help make this effort happen.

Art Stone, a neighborhood resident for many decades, has a large radio tower on his property off of Westrock. He has offered to have it strung with lights and to have neighbors participate in a tree-lighting event.
Greenbelt Guardians Stan Ostrum reported on the upcoming Greenbelt Guardian workday scheduled for Saturday, October 16 from 9 am until 2 pm. Lunch will be provided and volunteers can work one hour or all day. The location will be the Homedale entrance. This location will be showcased as part of the upcoming National Trail Conference which will be held in Austin in November. At the July work session, a total of 179 hours was provided by 20 adult volunteers and 16 teens and their supervisors from the Juvenile Probation program.

Long explained that the Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the Association, signed an agreement with the Juvenile Probation program to work with them in providing work days for their teens. The Greenbelt Guardian work days are an excellent fit for the probation kids because the projects are clearly defined, supervised, provide training, and are truly community service projects.
Miscellaneous Kalk announced that the Barton Skyway mural committee will be taking a field trip to examine the neighborhood mural at East 11th St just east of I-35. Interested neighbors should contact Kalk at debby@cortexlearning.com.

Rayma Chase encouraged volunteers to consider working with AISD and Barton Hills Elementary to become a mentor to a needy student. Volunteers spend 30 minutes having lunch with the child each week providing the child with a caring, consistent adult taking a special interest in him or her. Volunteers undergo training and will be required to have a DPS background check.

Stephen Yelenosky introduced himself. He is a Democrat running for District Judge in the 345th District.

Delpha Martin introduced her project of collecting information on mediation for a research project. She had a sign-up sheet for interested participants.
Next Meeting The next Executive Committee meeting will be scheduled for December.
The next General Meeting is in January 2005.
Adjourn The meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debby Kalk
Recording Secretary


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