Meeting Minutes 05/22/2003

Minutes from the May 22, 2003 Meeting of the Friends of Dicken Woods Steering Committee

A subset of the SC met at Erik Stalhandske's house on 5/22/03. Attending were Erik Stalhandske, Jim Boyd, Beth Loesch, Jack Eaton, Mike Champion and Tom Ivacko.

Erik gave an update on a number of encouraging conversations he's had:

  • Erik and Naela addressed the Parks Advisory Commission on Tuesday 5/20/03 and presented our status and plans. A number of Commissioners asked good questions. They seemed impressed that already $10,000 has been pledged (more on that below). At a break in the meeting, Erik also spoke with Wendy Woods, City Council Rep from another Ward, and Ron Olson, Director of the Parks Dept. Both were encouraging. Woods suggested we make a presentation at the 6/1/03 City Council Caucus. Olson suggested we come up with a realistic plan (esp. regarding how much $$ we can raise) and he'll shop it around the commission. He also suggested we consider committing our group to the maintenance of the natural area for 10 years.
  • Erik also had a good talk with Bill Hanson, Executive Director of the Washtenaw Land Trust (WLT) and an Ann Arbor Planning Commission member. WLT will support us, not with funding, but with organizational assistance and advice. Hanson gave Erik lots of good advice regarding public relations. Hansen gave us contact names at the Ecology Center and on the Parks Advisory Commission. Hanson said either the WLT or the Ecology Center would act as our fiduciary sponsor if we want to use their 501c3 status and have them hold the funds we raise.

Next, discussion turned to getting help from our political representatives. Erik discussed conversations he's had with Margie Teall, our City Councilperson, as well as with Mayor John Hieftje.

It was suggested that Naela follow up with John Satarino, on the Parks Advisory Commission, to get more info on funding sources for buying DW. It was also suggested that Naela and Jim together talk with Bill Hanson regarding details of how WLT might help us. We talked about going ahead and getting our 501c3 status so that we can hold funds ourselves vs. the benefits of having this kind of help from WLT.

It was suggested that Tom contact Ted Heusel regarding publicity on his WAAM radio talk show, especially for when we've scheduled the Dicken Woods cleanup day.

Erik is trying to coordinate with the Ann Arbor News regarding coverage for the cleanup day. We're shooting for Saturday 5/31 from 9-11 or 9-12. Erik is also going to work on a press release. We also talked about contacting the Ann Arbor Observer for coverage of our group.

We talked about the possible fundraiser concert at the Ark in late August. Things seem relatively 'do-able' on this front and it is possible we could raise something in the range of $6000-$8000 if we charged $20/ticket and filled the house to it's 400 seat capacity. Erik was going to contact the Ark again for followup.

We reviewed 2 fabulous looking flyers drafted by Beth and by Jack. They're going to rework them a bit and come back to the group. We also talked about a specific attachment for the flyer re. the garage sale.

Discussion turned to fundraising. As the very first step, two of our Steering Committee families are prepared to commit $5,000 each in contributions! 3 more are prepared to commit $1,000 each. This $13,000 represents 26% of our goal of $50,000. The Steering Committee then talked about how to approach others, beginning with ourselves, the Steering Committee. We recognized that there will be a wide range of abilities and desires regarding contributions, and that is perfectly fine of course, and that no one should feel pressure to give more than they're comfortable with. Some may be able to contribute time and effort but not money. That is also fine of course. There are many ways to help in this effort. Still, for any of us in a position to contribute financially, this is the time. So far everyone with the City that we've talked to has been supportive, and it really seems that if we could raise $50,000, we would have a very good chance of saving Dicken Woods.

We talked more about fundraising strategies, including approaching the surrounding condominium associations and businesses for contributions, as well as trying to estimate the effect on property values from inappropriate development in Dicken Woods.

Finally, we talked about electing officers for the Friends of Dicken Woods. Jim has filed the paperwork, and the Friends of Dicken Woods is now officially an incorporated non-profit organization in the State of Michigan. Our Michigan non-profit ID number is 784888. We decided the Steering Committee should nominate a slate of candidates and put it to a vote at the next meeting of the Friends.

Finally, we decided to try to meet again in one week, on Thursday, 5/29/03.