CapitolRiver Council Meeting Notes
September 17, 2019, 5:15-6:45 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting
Location: 180 East 5th, Conference Room B
Board Members in attendance: Chris Beckstrom, Jauston-Charles Campbell, Nick Cusick, John Ganey, Jennifer Hensley, Ann Idzik, Emily Larson, Paul Mandell, Linda McBrayer, Shevek McKee, Crystal Meriwether, Jonathan Reisetter, Catherine Sweet, Erin Zolotukhin-Ridgway.
Other Attendees: Ashley Carlin, Roger Fuller, Jon Fure, LeeAnn Labore
- The meeting was called to order by Chair Shevek McKee. Attendees introduced themselves and answered the question, what is a question or concern you have about the City of Saint Paul’s 2020 budget, or about a City department or project? Responses included: would like to see support for different types of wayfinding downtown, how are priorities set for parks projects, what are the strategies for emergency management downtown (how will we know what to do if there is a hazardous chemical spill or other emergency situation), structural issues with road maintenance and everyday park maintenance – for example, one or more maintenance vehicles drove over newly installed sidewalks and left a large amount of mud, when do I get to stop using chaos theory to describe what’s going on, how can we do a better job of snow removal, concern about cutting police budget with the amount of violence that has been in the news, what are ways the City can bring us together as a community, concerned about cutting flower baskets from the parks budget, and what can be done to expand Pedro Park.
- Motion by Chris Beckstrom, seconded by Ann Idzik, to adopt the agenda. Motion passed.
- Motion by Emily Larson, seconded by Chris Beckstrom, to approve the August 20 board meeting minutes. Motion passed.
- Old Business (action items that have been tabled from previous board meetings)
- Relationship Inventory – At the August meeting, board members were asked to help create a list of organizations that could help CRC a) improve our engagement practices by encouraging more specific voices to participate in our work, and b) to improve CRC fundraising potential. Next steps will be to discuss ways that each of us can engage people in our work. The following form is available to provide potential names / organizations: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1By5foAOIKVTfPUBjUlV2REq7Au-UAojZ7bqI7iqGba0/edit#gid=0
Board members discussed the purpose of this activity –to give board members the opportunity to learn about each other, and to list professional associations and other groups that each person is involved in, to better understand the group’s strengths. The board will continue the discussion at a future meeting.
- CRC representation at City Council meetings and / or other meetings and events – Jon Fure provided links to the City Budget documents, the City Council meeting calendar, and a link to subscribe to City email notifications. The group discussed the potential value of attending City Council meetings, for example, especially when there is an agenda item that relates to CRC’s work. Several board members have attended Council Member Rebecca Noecker’s coffee or happy hour events, which has been a good way to meet other downtown residents and workers. CRC can also recruit people to serve on various boards and commissions. Many of these groups have important roles, and there are a lot of vacancies.
- Project management strategies for addressing frequently discussed issues – Chair Shevek McKee asked board members to critique two forms. One is an Amplification form that is intended to standardize requests for utilizing CRC broadcast channels (website, social media) and ensures that we get all the information necessary to convey a concise, clear message to stakeholders. The other is the Project Management Form that the board discussed last month. That form is intended to enable people to request CRC to take on a project. The completed forms will be used to create a list of potential projects that the board will use to set priorities. CRC staff and board members will also document completed milestones and outcomes of projects, and identify barriers. The content will be posted on the Issues page of the CRC website, so that people can see what we are working on. A board member suggested including a disclaimer, for example, that content from the forms will be posted within a reasonable amount of time if the request is determined to be mission appropriate. The forms will be added to the website and included on future meeting agendas.
- CRC Officers Committee Motion to oppose Parks budget cut: At a recent City budget hearing on the Parks and Recreation budget, a recommendation was made to eliminate City dollars for hanging flower baskets and holiday lighting. CapitolRiver Council has been an advocate for both of these activities. This was discussed by the CRC officers, who made the following motion for the board’s consideration:
Motion to send the following position statement to City staff and elected officials: “The CapitolRiver Council strongly opposes the elimination of City funds for hanging flower baskets and holiday lights from the Parks budget before partnership funding solutions are firmly solidified. These City dollars are matched by private dollars, and help provide important vibrancy to District 17 and make downtown a more pleasant place to live, work, and visit.” Motion passed.
Information Items (information for board members that does not necessarily require a motion) 5:45-6:30 p.m.
- Finance Committee Report – Jon Fure provided an overview of the Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Activities, Year-to-Date Profit and Loss by Class, and Budget-to-Actual.
- CRC Fundraising strategy – Jon Fure provided an overview of grant applications that are underway,
including a Cultural STAR grant to improve wayfinding, and other fundraising strategies.
- Arts Culture and Entertainment Committee – Jon Fure said several questions have come up about the scope of this committee. CRC should not compete with other arts-related organizations, and potential collaborative activities need to be assessed in terms of whether they are within the CRC mission. The purpose of this item is to do some brainstorming about potential activities, and to assess whether they align with the CRC mission. This agenda item is intended only to generate ideas, and they will be evaluated at a future meeting. The following ideas were generated:
- Mural event – invite artists to the art crawl
- Define what is art, and what is culture - should not just include painting drawing, etc., but what about writing / literary events, maybe in connection with the bookstore and the library, like Author readings or poetry readings
- CRC has limited staff / volunteer capacity to create events, so maybe the committee could advocate participation / attendance at other arts-related events in District 17
- Hosting movie events, which could be a fundraiser as well (would need venues where we could host)
- Collaborating with other organizations
- Encouraging the city to help arts-related businesses open … review and critique city processes and policies that make it difficult to open a business. It would be great to figure out how to open a movie theater. Need to help the city make it easy for people to do things like that.
- Halloween decorations ... we could present awards for those who decorate their storefront
- There are a lot of music venues but we don’t have as many street musicians -- we could meet with managers of places like the Palace and ask them to encourage artists to perform outside, even for a short time, so that people who are unable to purchase concert tickets could see a glimpse of a band that is noteworthy.
- Connections group that the ACE committee did should be continued -- it seems like a book club where people were invited to join without needing to read the book.
- Establish an artist database … a lot of people know artists and organizations, but get a list, their mission statements, etc.
- The group could coordinate movies in Mears Park
- Coordinate a local Talent show or Karaoke
- Complete an Asset inventory, for example, a list of murals and examples of public art
- Coordinate book festivals
- Piggy backing on the art crawl … sometimes you can go past a building and not know that there is art in there. The committee could work with Saint Paul Arts Collective to guide visitors to the places where they can see / buy art.
- Work with other organizations to create historical walking tours.
- The meeting adjourned at 6:45 pm.
CapitolRiver Council, an official advisory group to the City Council, represents and works in partnership with all District 17 stakeholders to act on urban planning and community building efforts as part of a shared vision to support sustainable, safe, healthy, and vibrant neighborhoods.