Held Jan. 25, 2023 at Penn Valley Community College Education Center room EC004
Attendees: Chris Jordan, Mercedes Taylor Puckett, Ken Stewart, Matt Stephens, David Snodgrass, Crissy Dastrup, Mary Jo Draper, Dana Meier, Patti Meier, Corie Vogel, Adrian Vogel, Eric Bunch, Cecilia King, Crispin Rea, Emma Rea, Linda McCurry, Christy Gaddis, Travis Gaddis, Leigh Blumenthal, Jim Martin, Kelley Martin, Ryan Westerman, Jianqiao Luan, Stacey Kenyon.
President Dana Meier welcomed everyone to our new meeting place at Penn Valley.
Vote on New Bylaws
Dana said that our old bylaws were somewhat loose, and the board has been working to make them more specific. The board wanted to ensure they were not ambiguous. Members asked several questions, including:
Q: What happens if no one runs for office? Answer: The idea is to make working on behalf of the neighborhood association more fun so more people will want to become officers or join committees.
Q: Why are households given one vote under the new bylaws, instead of each individual? Answer: Since dues are paid on behalf of a household, and it doesn’t seem fair that a household with, say, three members, to have three votes while individual members only have one.
Motion to approve the bylaws, made by Mary Jo Draper.
Second, Kelley Martin.
Vote: unanimous aye.
Discussion of Annual Budget
Jim Martin, treasurer, explained that we have never adopted an annual budget before. He presented a proposed budget for 2023 but said that he didn’t want the members to vote on it yet because it contains a deficit of $700.
He also said the neighborhood association has long had a goal of getting a waterline run to the triangle at Southwest Trafficway and Valentine Road because we are responsible for caring for the plants at that location. In 2022, VNA got a bid from a plumber, received a grant from the Community Capital Fund for $5000, and agreed to pay additional $4000 for the project. However, the plumber who signed a contract to complete the project did not do the work on time, so we were required to return the grant money.
Jim also made these observations about the budget:
- We are collecting less money. Some sources of income for the VNA are dues and the sale of garden plots, and we could push harder to bring in more income.
- There are some expenses we could cut.
- In answer to a question, he said the budget item “greenspace” refers to expenses for
plants, mulch and other items for our green spaces
- Dumpsters are very popular and an incentive for people to pay dues
- The membership budget item refers to coffee mugs that we give to new residents and other items. If we would do a paper newsletter, it would come out of this fund.
- Linda McCurry suggested that we let people know what their subscription for a garden plot pays for.
In answer to a question about a budget item for Midtown KC Now, Leigh Blumenthal of that organization talked about the work of the community improvement district, which includes community events, a monthly coffee klatch, a monthly luncheon and advocating for Midtown. She said that anyone could receiving their newsletter by signing up. Dana asked if the organization held any meetings after work hours; Leigh said MTKC Now used to have neighborhood forums in the evenings but suspended them during the pandemic. Chris Jordan asked what level of dues are required of neighborhoods. Leigh said they would accept any donation.
Action: the board will review the budget and bring in back to the membership at February’s meeting for a vote.
Report of Last Year’s Accomplishments and Plans for 2023
President Dana Meier reported that we came out of COVID in 2022. We were able to hold events again, including a bigger 4th of July, a holiday party, progressive dinner and Valentine’s party. Thirsty Thursdays started up again, which Meier said is a chance for neighbors to get to know one another. He encouraged those in attendance to volunteer to help out with activities and events, because we currently have too few people doing too many things.
Vice President Christy Gaddis said she hopes in the coming year to increase involvement in neighborhood activities and that the VNA will be more inclusive. She has also started a neighborhood Instagram page.
Secretary Mary Jo Draper said she is also the head of the communications committee. She reminded folks that our email newsletter and website are our official forms of communication and members are responsible for keeping their email current.
Treasurer Jim Martin said VNA has not always done a good job of keeping track of dues and he is trying to make paying dues easier online. Dues are due on Valentine’s Day and you can check whether your membership is current on the website. We currently have three business members. The board has also dropped its post office box and will be using the address of the current treasurer as its mailing address.
Corie Vogel, chair of the events committee (aka “committee of fun”) said her committee has lots of room for volunteers. She is planning a Valentine’s Party, possibly at Post Coffee on Broadway. The committee has lots of fun.
Chris Jordan, chair of the development committee, gave the following updates on recent projects:
- MGE site: That project went to the city for approval in February of last year. Opinions in the neighborhood were mixed, but there were concerns about density. Currently, because of economic conditions, nothing is going on with the project.
- Swedish Church: The owner of the church asked the Plan Commission for a special use permit to operate part of the church as a hotel. Valentine opposed the plan because the church, already approved to operate as an event space, has no parking and was not planning to have any staff on hand for the hotel. Councilman Eric Bunch said the church should not be able to operate as a hotel, and that he would follow up on this.
- The Valentine Shopping Center, now called Converge KC, had planned a second phase of construction to build a hotel along Valentine Road. In 2022, they changed the plan to instead construct an 84-unit building with retail on the ground floor. That proposal is also on hold due to the economic climate.
- Historic designation: Volunteers from Valentine completed a historic survey of the neighborhood in 2022 and submitted it to the members, who approved going forward with it. Since then, the paperwork has been submitted to the state preservation office. That office has asked for additional information. Chris Jordan and Mary Jo Draper will work with the city preservation office to provide the requested information.
- A restaurant previously proposed for the Tire Center on Broadway is now on hold. Leigh Blumenthal said MTKCNow recently discussed the need to keep up the property with the owners.
David Snodgrass, chair of the safety committee, said VNA started safety text teams in 2022. So far, these are just group texts, but David is working on an app to notify people more quickly than we can through the newsletter. He is also continuing to monitor events at the Uptown Theater and working with the community interaction officers at the police department.
Word on the Street
Cecilia King said she was would like to see VNA provide more activities for neighborhood children and said she might be able to help with that.