Meeting Minutes 04/14/2003

Minutes from the April 14, 2003 Meeting of The Friends of Dicken Woods

The Friends met at 7pm, at the Dicken Elementary School Media Center.

Leigh Ann Boyd opened the meeting (with 26 members present), reporting that Crosswinds still has not been heard from; that Erik Stalhandske has contacted Crosswinds a number of times but hasn't heard back; and that Jim Boyd spoke with Alexis Marcarello (Ann Arbor Planning Department), who also hasn't heard from the developer. Jim Boyd has also continued calling the current owner, the Catholic Archdiocese of Lansing, but since Crosswinds hasn't yet withdrawn from the purchase agreement, the Archdiocese still won't talk with the Friends.

Leigh Ann also reviewed the environmental consultant's report regarding Dicken Woods. The report notes the likelihood of flooding that would occur in the lowland between Stephen Terrace and Pauline Court if the townhouse development is built. That flooding would also likely kill many trees in that lowland. [This confirms the same conclusions of Harry Sheehan, Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner's Office.] The report also notes, among other things, that the land plays an important role in the wider wetland system; that the developer under-represented the extent and quality of the woodlands; and that the land serves as an important wildlife habitat.

The discussion turned to fund raising, and Naela Jenkins offered to go back before the Parks Advisory Commission to re-acquaint them with Dicken Woods. This Commission makes recommendations on parks acquisitions. Stephanie Hunter raised the idea of a neighborhood garage sale, noting that it could raise a significant amount of money. The idea was well received. Naela offered to host a collection point for garage sale items that might be donated by neighbors. The neighborhood sale idea then raised the question of plans for forming a non-profit organization, and establishing a bank account for accepting donations and other income. Stephanie reviewed the steps to forming a non-profit. The group discussed the pros and cons of forming a non-profit vs. getting "sponsored" by another non-profit (where they could hold funds for us), and decided that it would be ideal to form our own a non-profit. We might still investigate getting 'sponsored' as an interim solution if we have funds donated before we're established as a non-profit.

Next, the group discussed outreach options. The 50 yard signs arrived in early April and were in place within a week and a half. The signs resulted in about 12 new members joining the group in that first 10 day period. If there is a continuing demand for signs, it was decided that we would try a 'sign swapping' system, where the current signs would get moved around from neighbor to neighbor. The group also discussed distributing a flyer vs. sending a mailing, to recruit new members from the Dicken Elementary district. It was decided that we would produce 500 flyers, ask for volunteers to distribute them, and coordinate the distribution across the area.

A clean up day for Dicken Woods was the next topic of discussion. There was widespread support for the idea, which was recently suggested by a new member, Tamera Hart-Johnson. Jim Boyd will contact the Archdiocese to request permission for us to clean up the perimeter of Dicken Woods and we'll move forward from there.

The group then turned to preparations for the next possible presentation to the Ann Arbor Planning Commission, in case Crosswinds comes back again. It was decided that we would meet next on Monday 5/5, the day before the next Commission meeting where Crosswinds could return. In addition, Naela will take up the work that Leigh Ann started on a packet that could be produced for the commissioners.

Discussion continued on a number of these issues, and the meeting wrapped up with a review of action items:

  1. Jim Boyd will stay in touch with the Archdiocese to see if Crosswinds withdraws.
  2. Burt Perry will convert the environmental report to a PDF file for the web.
  3. Naela Jenkins will prepare to go back before the Parks Advisory Commission, and will alert others to the next meeting date.
  4. Stephanie Hunter will coordinate with Jim Boyd on the non-profit formation process and Jim will get it underway.
  5. Tom Ivacko will coordinate the 'sign swapping' process.
  6. Jim Boyd will ask the Archdiocese for permission for the Friends to have a "Clean Dicken Woods" day.
  7. Mike Champion and Tom Ivacko will draft the flyer.
  8. Deb Norbotten will have the flyers produced.
  9. Tom Ivacko will coordinate the distribution of the flyers.
  10. Leigh Ann Boyd will coordinate with Naela Jenkins regarding the possible packet for Planning Commissioners.
  11. Deb Norbotten will coordinate the next meeting of the Friends, set for 5/5.

The meeting wrapped up at approximately 8:45 pm. The next meeting of the Friends will be on 5/05/03 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Dicken Elementary Media Center.