June 2015 MONA Board Minutes

MONA Board Minutes June 10, 2015 (thanks to Andria Krewson)

Attending: Scott Canup, Kim Entrekin, Russell Fergusson, Andria Krewson, Cate Martin, Elise Neilson, Christian Neilson, Nancy Pierce, Pam Sigg, Christine (new attendee). We met in the community room of the new police station on Central at Merry Oaks.

Land use and development discussion, led by Russell and Nancy:

— Planning: Nancy has a copy of the original 1990s-era Merry Oaks-Briar Creek—Woodland land use plan, calling for mostly residential development along Central Avenue next to Merry Oaks. That’s a useful tool when redevelopment efforts arise.

— Cosby development: There’s talk of townhomes at the end of Cosby behind the nursing home – nothing concrete yet, no rezoning required, Briar Creek Road likely will come through and connect with Cosby when redevelopment happens.

— Lighting: Nearby bright lighting on streets and multifamily housing – almost floodlighting – is a long-term project of Nancy’s, requiring talks with many stakeholders and zoning or law fixes. Contact her if you have questions. Cleanup of unused wires on utility poles is part of that effort.

–Nearby Plaza Midwood development: Russell spoke of rezoning, redevelopment and traffic pressures in Plaza Midwood. He’s working with the PM Merchants’ Association and has more information if you’re interested. There’s some neighborhood coalition building in PM’s surrounding neighborhoods.

Communication, with all involved:
The Nextdoor mobile app and website is useful, and has some fans in the neighborhood. Police community coordinator, Officer Dave Altieri, urged use of the app and has used it to broadcast information to neighborhoods. Signing up requires verification of address and identity. The Google Group is still active (), and Nina Fergusson moderates messages there. Elise Neilson will work to use Mailchimp for an official quarterly brief newsletter. (She’ll likely pull emails from the Google group list for that email blast.) She seeks contributions from neighbors. The association’s website, merryoaks.org, is also useful for paying dues and garden fees, and content contributions are welcome, Elise says. We’re seeking to use all channels to increase publicity and involvement for the community garden, which is growing. (We also have Facebook and Twitter channels)

Nearby schools:
The principal of Eastway Middle has left, as has the principal of Garinger High, Kim Entrekin reported. Merry Oaks Elementary grounds continue to have litter problems, and Meck Park and Rec is responsible for cleanup. Nancy Pierce will follow up with representatives she spoke with a year ago about the grounds.

Police and crime report:
Officer Altieri, community coordinator for our neighborhood with Eastway Police Division 2, spoke about trends in local crime. He recommended leaving nothing of value in cars and said the single-family homes in the Merry Oaks area had few to no crime issues. The business corridor faces more challenges. Police repeatedly urge neighbors to call 911 if they see anything suspicious. Some local stats for May, including business corridors: violent crime – 4, down from 6 in May 2014; property crime – 48, up from 32 in May 2014. For the full May report, see the PDF available from the police department’s Eastway Division website.

We explored building an information kiosk at the garden, using the same neighborhood resident who built the Little Free Library at Graybark and Draper. and the garden committee members – Russell and Christian – sound like they’ll proceed with that plan. For questions, you can email them at communitygardens@merryoaks.org and read details on the website.

We set July 11 (moderator update: changed to August 15th) as the date for an evening informal garden party on Harbinger, next to the community garden, with possibly watermelon, keg beer, and light snacks.

Nov. 7 is the fall festival date, with a traditional focus on families and kids.

We need to remind residents to join the neighborhood association to help fund similar community projects like new neighborhood signage and community garden info kiosk. Cost is $20/family or $5/year for those facing hardship. Information and a Paypal link can be found here.  We are an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, and all proceeds go to fund community projects and neighborhood events.