College Hill Neighborhood Association
Meeting Minutes – March 21, 2022
Attending: Dana Adams, Officer Caviness (community police officer), John Christensen, Carol Christensen (vice-president), Susan Duffy, Sue Fackler, Andy Fry, Emmett Hull, Gail Kennedy, Tom Luellen (treasurer), Sara O’Keeffe, Duane Pomeroy, Katrina Shaw, Erin and Zach Snethen, Christi Stewart (president)
President Christi Stewart called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.
Community Policing Report—by Officer Caviness (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1419 Boswell—Dorian Tetuan, who was connected to many illegal activities at the house, recently died. Officer Caviness hopes that we will see a decrease in illegal activity in the neighborhood because of his passing. (Susan had recently seen an unfamiliar vehicle in the driveway—a silver pickup—but Andy said he thought it belonged to Dorian’s grandmother, who owns the house.)
- 1500 Mulvane, Apt. 2 or 3 (the ground-floor apartment on the south)—it was associated with Tetuan.
- 1527 Mulvane—Police are aware of narcotics activity and lots of traffic there.
- 1522 Mulvane—A porch pirate from 1527 Mulvane stole a package but, after being confronted about the theft, returned it. The victim did not file a report on the theft.
- 1411 MacVicar—aggravated assault overnight
- 1200 block of Washburn—simple battery
- 1300 block of College—fraud, identity theft
- 17th and Washburn—forgery
- 15th and Garfield—drug paraphernalia
- 1400 block of MacVicar and 15th and Garfield (apartment complex)—residential burglaries
- Mulvane (no more specific address given)—theft from motor vehicle
- Officer Caviness warned about vehicular burglaries and residential burglaries, which had gone down earlier during the pandemic. Call if you see prowlers. (911 for time-sensitive matters; 785-368-9200 for non-emergencies)
- Susan Duffy said that a bicycle had been stolen from the four-plex at 15th and Boswell. She encouraged the victim to report the theft, but the victim may not have done so.
Treasurer’s Report—by Tom Luellen
- Recent financial activity: $90 received for College Hill brick orders; $100 donated, as approved by the board in January, to the GoFundMe fundraiser to help the family of Alexander Cervantes, who was killed in the fire at 15th and MacVicar. General fund balance is about $2600. Wall of Fame account is about $11,000. Blossoms account is about $23,000. (See attached Treasurer’s Report for more details.)
- Andy moved to accept the report, and Gail seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes from the January meeting
- Carol said that Debbie Pomeroy’s comments about the house on her block that had been purchased with the intent of making it an AirBnB should indicate in the minutes (under “Old Business—Rentals and multi-family houses in College Hill) that the house is on Jewell, not Plass.
- Duane moved to accept the minutes as amended. Gail seconded. Motion passed.
Recycling drive – update by Carol Christensen
- Carol reminded everyone that the next recycling drive would be that coming Saturday, March 25. Since the neighborhood began recycling in 1990, it has brought in almost $14,500. Carol hopes that this year’s recycling drives will bring that total to over $15,000.
Community resources—Carol Christensen
- Carol mentioned that the City of Topeka offers free classes in such things as grant-writing and board training. She asked if anyone knew of any resources for repairing damaged stairs and porches, which many College Hill houses have. Susan said that the City has a program to help repair steps if someone with a disability lives there. It was suggested that Matt Benaka, a College Hill neighbor who is on the board of Habitat for Humanity, might know of other resources for helping neighbors with stair problems.
Project updates; murals and food trucks in the neighborhood – Andy Fry
- The project to mark designated crosswalks in order to slow down traffic is currently on hold, since the city traffic engineer who was working on the project no longer works for the City. Andy has applied for an AARP grant to fund some of the desired street safety improvements. There is no funding match needed to receive the grant.
- Andy said that we can apply for funding from ArtsConnect for murals on neighborhood garages. If we have a sizable number of garages with murals, we could promote an art tour of the neighborhood and put information about the garages online. He has talked with artists to get estimated costs. If we get the grant, he suggested that we start with four murals. He wondered if CHNA and/or some homeowners would pay for some of the other murals. Blooms on Boswell is interested in having a mural.
- Andy suggested that we invite food trucks to come several times to Boswell Park. We could publicize them via email and Facebook. He said that we had asked that a bigger amp plug be installed in the park so it could accommodate the food trucks. Andy will ask Zach Snethen if he knows if the plug has been installed.
Old Business and Updates
- T-shirts—Katrina said there will be a new round of orders for the shirts. She’ll publicize them on our Facebook page.
- CHNA Stones—Christi said that Lardner will move them where we want them to go. CHNA has money to pay Lardner so we don’t have to rely on (and possibly hurt!) neighbors’ vehicles and backs. The cost would be about $300 per stone. The group discussed landscaping around the stones and the expectations for the homeowners on whose property the stones will be placed. There was no consensus, but everyone agreed that we want the stones to look nice or they will detract from the neighborhood. Susan will talk to some Master Gardeners for landscaping and maintenance ideas. John wondered if a local Boy Scout troop might be willing to help with maintenance.
- Andy moved that we commit up to $3000 for the project: about $1500 for moving the stones and about $1500 for landscaping and related costs. Susan seconded.
- Emmett, Susan, Zach, and John volunteered to be on a committee to work out details about stone placement, movement, landscaping, maintenance, etc. Emmett offered to head up the committee.
- Before a vote on the motion, Tom pointed out that we don’t have $3000 in our General Fund. Susan asked Sue Fackler if the money could come from the Blossoms Fund. Sue said that there is no real Blossoms Committee now and said that the Board could decide how to use the money in that fund.
- Andy amended his motion, moving that we use up to $3000 from the Blossoms Fund for the project. Susan seconded. Motion passed.
- Sara suggested that the broken CHNA stones could be used in the natural play area that is planned for Boswell Park.
- Andy reported that not all of the lightbulbs were delivered to neighbors before winter. He will encourage the volunteers who offered to deliver them to finish distributing them. One person has been assigned to handle each block. Zach noted a significant difference at night for one block that now has the installed new light bulbs. Andy may be able to find out if crime has gone down in areas that have and keep on the new lights. Susan offered to distribute light bulbs in the 1500 block of Boswell.
Calendar for 2022 – Events for this spring and summer
- Saturday, April 16, 11 a.m.—Easter Egg Hunt in the Park
- Saturday, April 30—College Hill Blossoms (sale of hanging baskets, herbs, potted plants; breakfast in Westminster Presbyterian Church). Susan suggested that we give Jackson’s a free ad in the next College Hill newsletter since it helps us a lot with Blossoms.
- Saturday, April 30—Cleanup in the Park Kat could use some volunteers for the event. People can volunteer or email questions about the cleanup by writing email@example.com.
- Monday, July 4—Fourth of July festivities. Maria Carr will coordinate. Christi has the big flag used in the parade (part of the things the CHNA president gets to keep!)
- September—next newsletter
- Sue said that an outside contractor pulled out about 30 bricks from Boswell Park so there would be room to add about that many new ones that have been ordered.
Boswell Park improvements—
- Neighbors at the meeting said they were happy with the new fencing and lights that the County has put in.
Tragic fire at 15th and MacVicar—
- Christi said that some neighbors on Plass complained to her because there was very little cleanup going on at the house. Susan thought that the slow pace is attributable to problems with the insurance company. Family members don’t intend to return to the house but hope the cleanup will speed up. There have been some break-ins to the house.
- Susan said that food trucks have become very popular in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where one of her daughters lives. That city started with a few trucks and now has many trucks, plus music, every Monday. She likes the idea of having food trucks come to our neighborhood.
- Andy said that he thinks that the owners of 1625 Jewell, who originally wanted to make the house an AirBnB, now plan to rent it, since city code prevents them from having an AirBnB so close to another one in the neighborhood.
- Susan suggested that someone from the City talk about the City’s sidewalk program at our annual meeting. Andy offered to find out what the current sidewalk program is. Sue asked that that information go in the next newsletter. Christi suggested that we could also give contact information for other, cheaper contractors. Susan asked if a City employee still needs to inspect and OK sidewalks replaced by other contractors. No one knew.
- Zach said that the new shelterhouse in Boswell Park, which we had hoped would be installed by July 4, won’t be installed until later, hopefully, by Labor Day. Supply chain problems and worker shortages are to blame for the delay.
Our next meeting is 7 p.m., Monday, May 16, 2022. We will meet at Westminster Presbyterian Church or on Zoom.
With no further business, Christi adjourned the meeting at 8:00 p.m.
Respectfully prepared by Carol Christensen, substitute for Brett Martin, who couldn’t attend that night.