Board meeting minutes – May

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
May 8, 2008

Attending–Board: Marilyn Barbera, Pax Bobrow, Kevin Brown, Betty DiMarco, Tilman Hardy, Alice-Anne Krishnan, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Betsy Weymann

Absent Board Members: Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolf Garrison, Marshall Hevron, Julianna Padgett, Llewelyn Soniat, Evan Wolf

Residents/Guests: Annette Bak, Bob Bermudez, Sandy Brown, Jason Coleman, Mary DeWitt Dukes, Michele Dupre, Jean Fishcer, Brenda Floyd, Colby Johnson, Ken Kinnett, Paul Manger, Cindy Morse, Michele Pope, Steve Schmitt, Chad Toups, Lauren Tucker (Green Light New Orleans)
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FREE Light Bulbs—Lauren Tucker with Green Light New Orleans reported on the organization’s program to replace high-energy incandescent light bulbs throughout the city (and surrounding parishes) with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. The program is funded by grants and donations and is FREE and open to all residents. (Commercial entities can purchase bulbs from Green Light at a reduced rate.) Residents simply need to call or sign-up online. Yes, folks, the bulbs themselves are free, and volunteers will come to your house and do the actual replacement for you. You may also volunteer to work with the program. They’ll be happy to have your help—and note that volunteering may help you get your own bulbs faster. J They have a considerable waiting list at the moment. Green Light is based in the neighborhood and our own Jim Stratton is also a board member of Green Light. They’d like our neighborhood to be a model for the city. To contact the program, call 324-2429 or visit their website

“Magnolia Street” Legislation—Tilman Hardy reported on legislation being proposed by Senator Cheryl Gray that would create a residential “Magnolia Street” program, much like the “Main Street” program that supports the revitalization of older commercial areas and that is presently in place on Oak Street. The legislation is Senate Bill 732, and it can be viewed on the Senator’s legislative webpage
It is modeled on a program in Philadelphia and could be very relevant to our neighborhood.

Security/Improvement District Legislation—Tilman also reported that the group that has been working on creating a new neighborhood association in the Leonidas corridor area (sometimes referred to as Pensiontown) has decided not to pursue the security/improvement district idea this year.
In light of that and other developments, and after much discussion, the CRNA boarded voted 11-0 (on motion by Betsy Weymann, seconded by Kevin Brown) to defer our own promotion of the district and to put our efforts into planning for the possible re-introduction of the measure next year. It was generally agreed that our planning efforts must begin promptly, to take advantage of the energy and connections that have developed as a consequence of this year’s discussions. It was also generally agreed that CRNA should support the new Leonidas corridor organization in its development.

Education Committee—At a recent work-day at Johnson School, shelving that had been donated by Lowe’s was assembled and installed and the school’s supply of texts and other books were organized on the shelves—a great improvement from their previous storage in stacked boxes.
There will be a meeting of the Education Committee on Monday, May 12 at 6:30 at Betty DiMarco’s home,8221 Birch, to conclude the “vision planning” process that the committee has been working on with relation to our schools.
Annette Bak reported that Priestley School had received a $25,000 grant for library materials from the Laura Bush Foundation.
Carrollton United has also received a legislative grant (through Rep. Walker Hines office) that they hope will be sufficient to re-open the gymnasium at Priestley for recreation by children in the neighborhood.

Crime—A lengthy discussion about crime followed—noting the recent armed robbery of the Zotz Café on Oak Street, the muggings around Palmer Park reported by the Times-Picayune, and a rash of house burglaries, and shootings. The principle point of discussion was whether it would be preferable to meet with Major Bouyelas, the 2d district commander, or Chief Riley—and whether it should be a meeting just about our neighborhood or involving other neighborhoods through the Carrollton Area Network. Out of that discussion also grew a suggestion for a facilitated meeting with other groups within out boundaries to work out our collaborative agendas and particularly to work on the crime problem. Alice-Anne Krishnan volunteered (or “was volunteered”?) to convene a group to discuss these issues further and to propose/convoke a meeting with the police. Of those present, the following volunteered to be part of that planning effort: Gary Smith, Jason Colman, Ken Kinnett, Michelle Pope, Pax Bobrow, Betty DiMarco, Amanda Smithson and Todd Leavitt.

Zoning—Marilyn Barbera reported having heard that Walgreen’s is proposing to buy the old Eckerd’s, possibly to demolition it so that they can build a “drive-through” for their adjacent store. The issue of creating parking along the railroad tracks, between Leake and the levee has also been discussed again recently. We agreed that the Zoning Committee would meet to address these and related matters. Betsy Weymann volunteered for the Zoning Committee.
The group of neighbors pursuing the BZA appeal re: housing permits in the 8600 block of Zimpel (an appeal supported by CRNA) will be in court on May 17.

Streetcar Return to Carrollton—Planning for festivities associated with the return of the streetcar to Carrollton Avenue continue. The festivities will coincide with the last-Saturday-of-the-month Art Market in Palmer Park. It remains unclear whether this will be May 31 or June 28. Stay tuned. The board agreed to pay for a CRNA banner to be displayed in connection with the festivities, preferring that it be re-useable.
[NOTE: Since the board meeting, it has become clear that the event will be June 28.]

Next Board Meeting—Following our new “second Thursday of the month” plan, the next CRNA board meeting will be Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. We will expect to have it at the same place, the Keller-Williams office at Leake and Leonidas, though that must be confirmed.

Best,

Jerry Speir, President
Carrollton/Riverbend Neighborhood Assn.

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