Annual Community Meeting & Board Elections 2014

Date: 10/23/14, 6pm

Location: Wells Fargo Community Center, 1601 N. Main Street

The purpose of the meeting was to present news to the community, share a Year-in-Review, and elect new Board of Directors members. Representatives from the Jessie B Dupont Fund, City of Jacksonville's Department of Public Works, and Forge 3D were on hand to talk with the group about projects impacting the neighborhood.

The Board of Directors candidates were introduced, spoke about themselves, and formally sat for election. Todd Hollinghead (construction & project management experience), Damien Robinson (graphic design & IT experience), Adam Valiani (financial expertise) and Ellen Warring (Marketing and restoration experience) were the candidates. After the by-law instructions related to election voting were read, ballots were cast.

During voting, a representative from the Jessie B Dupont Fund spoke about a study the foundation is currently conducting in Jacksonville, to identify and assess where the City of Jacksonville and developers should concentrate their resources to best encourage revitalization and private investment. This same study has been completed in other cities, most notably Baltimore, Maryland, which aided in the renaissance of specific urban core neighborhoods. The representative emphasized that the goal was not gentrification, but to foster an attractive housing and living environment for all income levels. The results of the study are expected to be positive for the Springfield Historic District and greater urban core, and will be made public in the first quarter of 2015.

After the Jessie B Dupont presentation concluded, a representative from the City of Jacksonville's Department of Public Works spoke about the process to address traffic concerns in the neighborhood, specifically speeding and use of roads by semi-trucks. It was described how traffic calming methods like lowering speed limits and traffic humps are possible, though residents may be required to help pay for them and 75% of residents within a certain proximity to the sites would have to approve. Various ways to ease these requirements were briefly mentioned, but the first steps were identified as gathering traffic concerns from the community, then scheduling a neighborhood traffic workshop with COJ.

The ballots were then tallied and all candidates were elected to serve on the Board of Directors.

A Year-in-Review was then conducted, briefly touching on a wide variety of on-going work, projects, and events in the community, both general and specific. Including but not limited to: policy advocacy with the City Council, partnering with other local community groups, hosting community events and forums, coordinating with law enforcement (a $10k donation to the off-duty officer fund from Swisher was announced), media coverage, and supporting small business. 

A few short business updates were mentioned, and the owners of The Bird House Cafe, near 8th & Pearl, introduced themselves and reported they should be open in about 45 days.

Lastly, Forge 3D presented their winning submission for new artistic bicycle racks to be installed throughout the Historic District. The design imitates the classic Penny-farthing bicycle design and will be made of iron with powder coating. Eight racks will be installed at locations to be announced, in a variety of colors. SPAR partnered with the Cultural Council of Jacksonville to faciliate the bike rack design contest, and the racks themselves are being funded by a $5,000 grant from Wells Fargo, in partnership with Operation New Hope and LISC Jacksonville. The racks should start be installed within the next 2 months.

About 80 people attended the meeting, ending at 7:30pm

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