EWANA Board Meeting
May 6, 2015
In Attendance: Adam Chase, Mandy Chase, Stephen Edge, Ted Figura, Rich Lee (partial), Jason Mann, Kirk Weir.
Absent were: Joshua Martin and Rich Lee (partial)
Mandy asked that minutes of the April 8 Board meeting wait for approval until additional comments could be supplied by Board members.
Adam announced that he had raised $1,200 for EWANA to send out a mailer to the entire East-West Asheville neighborhood. The mailer will promote the Visioning process, announce dates for community input gathering and announce the date for EWANA’s pot-luck. Three hundred dollar contributions were each made by Short Street Cakes, The Hop, King Daddy and Second Gear. Mail Management Services will print and mail the mailer at a discounted rate. The amount collected is more than the anticipated cost of the mailing campaign and it was the sense of the Board that any excess funds should be used for EWANA promotional activity.
Adam asked for a discussion on the agenda for the upcoming EWANA Neighborhood Meeting. While the neighborhood visioning process would be a core component of this agenda, Adam noted that the meeting needs to be broader than just the visioning process. Jason brought up the idea of having the visioning input sessions professionally facilitated. Jason said he could be in touch with a pair of facilitators he knows. The Board then discussed ways by which the visioning input sessions could be facilitated. Ted said that he had a strong opinion that the traditional facilitating process, which involves appearing to arrive at community consensus on priorities by forcing choices to a limited number of options in order to narrow ideas through a voting process, is flawed because it either must leave out many good ideas and nuances from the final input collection or it presents a false appearance that the group has arrived at decisions that will be formulated into the community vision. Ted noted the recent French Broad Coop visioning effort as a model for input gathering and recommended that the visioning sessions stop at input gathering. Stephen commented that there are a number of facilitators living in our neighborhood that EWANA could engage in our visioning process.
At this point, Rich said that he had to leave but needed to hand over the EWANA account to Stephen, EWANA’s new Treasurer, before he left. Rich gave Stephen a check from the account he had been keeping for EWANA in the amount of $392.71. Additionally, Adam will give Stephen $1,200.00 in checks to deposit. Stephen said that he would donate the $100.00 he deposited into the EWANA account in order to open it.
The discussion then returned to the visioning process. Kirk asked for an explanation of the vision plan. Mandy responded that, at the last CAN meeting, the City had asked all neighborhoods to develop a vision plan for where they wanted to see the neighborhood going in the future. The City provided little guidance, except to say that the plans should be realistic.
The question was then asked about how input would be provided in the vision plan input sessions. Adam said that he had envisioned that the vision plan input meetings would have four stations. One would have a distilled list of issues identified in past meetings by EWANA members as being important to the neighborhood, with a mechanism for attendees to vote on these. At another station, attendees would list their most important issues/visions for the neighborhood. Discussions that would generate ideas for a neighborhood vision would take place at a third station. Adam said that his concept for a fourth station was unclear but probably something with maps or drawings.
The Board continued its discussion of the visioning process including discussions of whether names and addresses should be required for giving input, the role of facilitators, and the nature of input (about infrastructure or broader) and how it could be elicited. Ted said that he had been gathering input while distributing fliers asking neighbors about their concerns and had received comments on a wide variety of topics. The importance of identifying contributors to verify they were East-West Asheville residents and to prevent “ballot stuffing” was discussed. The Board agreed on three measures. 1) Some identification mechanism was needed as input is gathered to verify neighborhood membership and prevent duplicate input from the same attendees. 2) Adam, Jason and Stephen will reach out to facilitators they know to invite them to meet with the Board (at least two Board members and as many as can attend) to see if they are interested in helping EWANA through the visioning process on a volunteer basis. This would ideally be the facilitator consulting with the Board and advising the Board on best facilitation practices. 3) Some hierarchical framework should be developed for collecting and analyzing the community input.
The Board also agreed that Alan Glines, the City’s Interim Planning Director, should be invited to the May 13 neighborhood meeting to give a 15-20 minute overview presentation on neighborhood visioning and what the City is looking for in a neighborhood vision plan. After this, Ted will take 5-10 minutes to promote the upcoming vision plan events and explain the process (to the extent that process has been defined). Ted will also explain the importance of gathering name and address information from participants.
Jason then showed the Board a map of East-West Asheville he had plotted. Jason will transform the map from a dot map to a heat map and have it available for the neighborhood meeting. Stephen will print the map. After the map is introduced, Ted will continue, soliciting immediate community input through attendees filling out comment cards. Ted will provide the questions for the card to Mandy, who will design the card. Stephen will print the cards. Stephen will also provide a box for collecting the cards.
The cards will become a part of the visioning input, along with cards and comments collected at previous neighborhood meetings and comments solicited through door-to-door canvassing. Stephen voiced the Board’s view that these comment, or suggestion, cards should be a part of every neighborhood meeting. There was also agreement, regarding soliciting visioning input, that this should not be confined to input through cards and visioning meetings but that all possible sources should be used, including electronic media.
Adam mentioned that members of the Safety Committee had been active in suggesting the importance of organizing neighborhood watches. Jason proposed that the West Asheville APD community resource officer receive a standing invitation to attend EWANA neighborhood meetings. The purpose would be for introduction and a question and answer session. Mandy suggested there be a box on the comment card that would ask whether members are interested in forming a neighborhood watch and would turn those names over to the Safety Committee.
The Board then discussed filling the empty seat on the Board at the neighborhood meeting. A question arose whether EWANA would have more than one seat available on the Board due to Joshua’s recent inactivity and Rich’s apparent limited commitment to attend future Board meetings. Adam will send an email from the Board to ask Joshua and Rich about their disposition for continuing to serve on the EWANA Board. Ted was asked to review and report Board member attendance of Board meetings since the last time Board vacancies were filled. The Board agreed that if one seat were available on the Board, it would be filled by bringing a Board recommendation to the membership meeting, per the EWANA by-laws but if more than one seat were available the Board would ask for volunteers and, if more members volunteered than available positions, names would be drawn from a hat. There was consensus that the by-laws need to be revisited on this matter but the Board will address this at the September Board meeting.
Adam next brought up New Belgium as a topic for the neighborhood meeting. There will be a New Belgium Roundtable meeting next Monday at 9 am on Richland. Adam and Stephen will attend. Stephen said that he had met recently with Jay (New Belgium manager) who told Stephen that New Belgium has no choice but to use Haywood Road for truck routing for a period of time. Stephen said that Jay said that New Belgium will not buy two sets of trucks, one to use now and one to use later. Skepticism was expressed as to whether New Belgium truly has no choice. [Not said at Board meeting, but New Belgium certainly has the opportunity to lease smaller trucks in the interim, rather than buying them.] Ted noted that this means that New Belgium would be running large trucks on Haywood Road for the next five years and asked whether this was acceptable, to which several Board members responded that it was not. Ted asked whether it was time for EWANA to communicate to the Fort Collins office of New Belgium the neighborhood’s opposition to large trucks using Haywood for any extended period of time. Several members of the Board agreed that it was time to do this. Stephen will present a New Belgium update to the membership unless Joshua has agreed to remain on the Board.
Adam then brought to the Board’s attention that Gordon Grant, principal of Hall Fletcher Elementary School, who has been very supportive of EWANA and supplying meeting space for EWANA activities, has asked for EWANA’s assistance in raising funds for the school playground. Adam suggested fund raising at the meeting. Gordon Grant would make a presentation at the meeting and ask for donations. EWANA would also solicit donations for Hall Fletcher from its membership via email. The Board agreed with this approach.
Stephen then recommended that EWANA adopt a strategy for annual fund raising from major neighborhood stakeholders (businesses), as well as minor stakeholders. Kirk said that EWANA needs to show what the funds are needed for and give examples of past successful uses of funds raised by EWANA. The Board agreed that fundraising was a topic that needed to be addressed at a future meeting.
Adam then suggested that Ted present a sidewalk art project update at the neighborhood meeting, including a projected time line for the project. The date of the August potluck would also be announced at the meeting.
Mandy then presented the draft mailer. The color scheme, font, and design were discussed. Also discussed was whether to request contact information on the mailer but the Board decided not to use the mailer for this purpose. Kirk suggested some text additions which Mandy will incorporate into the mailer. Board members praised Mandy for her work designing the mailer. Mandy will verify donor logos and send the draft mailer to Mail Management Services for validation and printing.
Stephen asked whether a Board member could call into a Board meeting if they were out of town and there were no objections to this. There was also a discussion on the need to update the EWANA website. The Board needs to find out who the website technical administrator is and where the domain is hosted. Adam noted that EWANA’s .org domain may be about to expire.
Stephen gave an update on lowering the speed limit on Amboy Road. He had been given a contact at NCDOT by the City but that contact has been unresponsive. Stephen was told that it is extremely difficult to get a speed limit lowered.
Adam recapped the topics for the May 13 EWANA neighborhood meeting. These are: 1) presentation by Alan Glines on the visioning process; presentation by Ted on EWANA’s visioning process and meeting calendar; presentation of map of EWANA membership and Ted stressing importance and rationale for collecting contact information at visioning input sessions; passing out of comment/suggestion cards; introduction and question & answer session by APD community resource officer; presentation by Gordon Grant on Hall Fletcher fundraiser and request for contributions; New Belgium update; filling of vacant Board member seat(s); announcement of August potluck. He will assemble a final order and send this to the Board.
Action Item Summary
New Action Items
- Stephen will deposit funds in new EWANA bank account. Adam will give Stephen $1,200 in contributions to deposit.
- Adam, Jason and Stephen will each approach facilitators known to them to ask them to meet with Board members and volunteer advice on facilitating EWANA visioning process
- Adam will invite Alan Glines to make a presentation at the May 13 EWANA neighborhood meeting on the visioning process
- Ted will send to the Board a report of recent attendance (Done)
- Ted will send Mandy 3 questions to be asked on the comment card to be distributed at the neighborhood meeting. Mandy will design the comment card. Stephen will print the cards. Stephen will make a box to collect the cards.
- Jason will transform the map of EWANA membership into a heat map. Stephen will print this map for the neighborhood meeting.
- Adam and Stephen will attend the New Belgium Roundtable meeting on May 11.
- Adam will email Joshua and Rich about resigning or remaining on the Board.
- Adam will invite Gordon Grant to make a presentation on Hall Fletcher playground fundraising at the neighborhood meeting.
- Mandy will make changes to the mailer and shepherd getting it printed and mailed.
- Kirk will post neighborhood meeting fliers at businesses on Haywood Road
- All will publicize upcoming neighborhood meeting.
Hold Over Action Items
- Ted will explore how other communities maintain their sidewalk art.
- Adam will prepare a proposal developing the idea of using a promotional brochure featuring sidewalk artists as a fundraising device.
- Kirk will explore with the City how to obtain a Tier III designation for properties along Beecham’s Curve, next to Mountain Valley Spring Water and Builders First.
- Mandy will email Ava Carr to see if EWANA is approved yet for an Adopt-a-Highway program along Haywood Road.
- Jason and Adam need to figure out the admin roles for the EWANA website.
- Stephen will investigate how other small organizations have used a fiscal agent.