April, 2014

CHCA President Frank Esquilin began the meeting
Welcomed the members and made the following announcements:

  • Reminder that politicians should request time to speak at Crow Hill meetings, that it’s important for candidates to stay until end of the meeting if possible and that members should engage the politicians.
  • Update on 311 campaign to have clothing bins removed
  • Again asks CHCA members to consider volunteering for 1 hour/month
  • Also asks members to please check the CHCA website, as it contains a wealth of valuable information

He also introduced Samantha Bernadine and Lisa Pierre, members of the PTA, and thanked them for their service and encouraged people with kids to talk to them.

Joanna Crispe made the Treasurer’s report:

  • Current 2014 membership: 30 (26 Residential, 3 Senior/Student, 1 Merchant)
  • Total membership dues collected to date: $965
  • Total assets: $5,500 broken down as follows
  • $1,400 former FAM funds
  • $2,000 former garden funds earmarked for “green purposes”
  • $725 “youth fund” (former Kids Day plus cash donations to scholarship program)
  • $1,375 general operating
  • Current monthly budget (estimated <$100/month)
  • Email service $29/month
  • Voicemail service $5/month
  • Mailbox fee (TBD)
  • $25 monthly donation to church for hosting meetings

She then informed everyone about process for applying for project support/funding:

Any CHCA member can apply for support for a project benefiting the community.  Applications (including scope of project, budget and any other sources of funding) will be reviewed by the Board, and any that the Board approves for funding will be brought to the members for a vote at the following members meeting.

Joanna also informed the members about Jane’s Walk event – free, volunteer-led tours throughout the city – which were held on Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th.

Paul Carson made the Vice President’s report:
He informed everyone that Paul and Frank had a meeting with Walter Mosely – spoke about landlord-tenant abuse, got some information about where to go for support.

The efforts to secure commitments by local merchants to provide summer jobs for local youth are underway. Frank added that many Franklin Ave. merchants are supportive but encouraged members to look at the list and ask their favorite merchants about it. Sue added that she had run into the lady opening The Berg’n, and she said they would like to have their jobs fair 4 weeks before they open.

Paul then gave an update on CB8’s position on Atlantic Yards – asked for support for a letter to the mayor. He informed everyone that CB2 is trying to change their boundaries to include Atlantic Yards. This was followed by Michelle George from CB8 explaining that over the summer, the three CBs (2, 6 and 8) were discussing the CB lines/boundaries, which are redrawn every 10 years.

Samantha Bernadine said that housing is a big issue for the community and thanked Paul for raising the issue of the possibility of coordinated community action to fight injustices that lead to displacement and lack community benefit.

Trish Tchume suggests directing people to the Met Council and other sources of support for people being displaced, as well as Crown Heights Assembly and UHAB working to organize a tenants association locally.

Michelle George encouraged everyone present to engage with their local Community Board.

Nizjoni Granville, Chairperson of Community Board 8, spoke about public vs. private money on projects, and pointed out that private developers will only come to CB8 if they are looking for a variance. Mr. Cooke then reported that property on Franklin and Eastern Parkway has been flipped since built.

Constance Miller made the Project Manager’s report:
She first thanked guests from CB8.

She then spoke about outreach at a Senior Center in nearby Fort Green and raised the issue that the residents feel that new benches installed on the street are facing traffic/dangerous and that they are also concerned about double parking.

Connie then spoke about the importance of reaching out to senior and handicapped community members that may not be able to get to CHCA meetings and proposed doing monthly outreach to these communities. Frank put in a plea for young people to volunteer in Sr. Centers, followed by Judy suggesting recruiting young people to volunteer with CHCA, especially the Go Green Go Clean Committee along with a suggestion by a guest to collaborate with the 77th precinct Youth Explorer Program.

Connie ended by informing the membership about the t-shirts/fundraising.

Nick Juravich made the Go Green Go Clean Committee report:
Thanked Stacey, Sue, Judy and Connie

Discussed the CHCA planters planting/Franklin Ave cleanup – on a weekend that works for people – and Judy made an update about other ways to get trees for those who could not make the giveaway that took place on Sunday, May 5th.

Nick spoke about the Roger That Garden and their current fundraising efforts

Introduced Fran from Crown Heights Farm Share CSA – distribute vegetables at Bedford and Prospect.

Lisa Pierre spoke about scholarship program with which she is involved – Frank, Connie and she have partnered with S.O.S. (Save Our Streets Crown Heights).

Frank introduced Ms. Granville and Ms. George from CB8
They discussed the history of CBs, which started in the 1970s with 50 volunteers – Borough Presidents make appointments – encouraged people to get involved with committees (listed them: sanitation, youth etc.) and made a point of noting that anyone can join. She also said that before there was 311, people went to CBs – CBs were the first point of contact with city agencies. She also said that CBs are the most direct/inclusive form of democracy.

CB8 responded to a community member’s concern about rats – health department issue – and sanitation department – Frank reiterated that people can call 311, make a complaint and send CHCA the complaint #.

Following that, there was discussion about the process around removal of clothing bins and regulations that allow them to be shuffled around rather than moved.

The meeting attendants were then informed that CB8 meetings take place on the second Thursday of every month except July and August with the next meeting on Thursday, May 8th at Calvary Community Baptist Church. The District office at 1291 St. Marks Ave and it is open M-F from 9-5pm.

Mr. Cooke echoed that CB8 has always been very responsive – brooklyncb8@gmail.com – and encouraged people to reach out.

The community was also informed that they could send flyers to CB8, which they will then include in their newsletters.

The community was also informed that CB8 is in touch with the transit authority about an elevator at Franklin Ave. stop

Ms. Kicey Motley from Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit – Update from Mayor’s office
Thanks to everyone that made calls and led conversations about Universal Pre-K (UPK)

Next organizing push is to spread the word to get kids to sign up.

Deadline to apply for public school UPK is April 23rd – 40% of seats will come from public schools and 60% from community based organizations. which have rolling admissions throughout the summer. She then asked for help spreading the word.

They are also recruiting teachers – go to DOE website to apply to teach

Ms. Motley also discussed Vision Zero, including pedestrian caution, driver safety – education plus enforcement- reduced speed – traffic cameras etc.

Following that, Ms. Motely spoke about the Mayor’s upcoming announcement on May 1st about the his Affordable Housing plan – 200,000 new units is the goal. Low income – family of 4 making less than $50,000/year (at Domino Sugar factory). This was followed by a discussion on affordable housing. Spoke about mandatory inclusionary zoning.
A gentleman added that there will be an affordable housing component to the Armory on Bedford

Ms. Whiteman from St. Theresa of Avila brought up issues with the church, located at 563 Sterling between Franklin and Classon. It has been in the community since 1874 with a capacity of over 400. However, the infrastructure is aging, so she is planning a street fair on Sterling and hopes to close down the street. Ms. Whiteman is also looking for a car to raffle, a trip for 2 to Disney, and a TV or small refrigerator. St. Theresa’s is also hoping to build a ramp or an elevator.

Chef Robert Aita – Spoke about his new restaurant at Franklin and Eastern Parkway (where Fez was briefly) and summer jobs.

History of the Neighborhood with Ms. Sarah Taylor – Co-founder of CHCA: Congratulated Frank and the new Board – moved to the area in 1980 – was completely dilapidated – but she saw the potential that it had – museum, library, botanic garden – formally started meeting in 1996 – met with Hodia Davidson and other experienced community members – Ms. Taylor contacted lawyers alliance and got 501c3 – went to Columbia University for 6 weeks – started attending CB8 meetings – met Stephen Smallwanner from BID who made a $10,000 starting gift – raised additional funds from SBA, Con Ed, Chase Bank etc. – new street lights, signal lights, streets resurfaced, mailboxes and bus shelters installed, nearly 100 trees planted, lots cleaned, tree guides, hired accountants to do auditing for grants received, and much, much more – encourages us to make alliances and make sure proposals are well edited, praised the support of CB8 – advised that dept. of sanitation will provide cleaning materials for street cleanup – when she left the association one of her last projects was working on escalators and elevators for Franklin Ave. stop.

“Did You Know?” with Mike Fagan – Presented his list of the top 14 things changing in the neighborhood and also spoke about his upcoming Jane’s Walk: Crown Heights, Where Change is Happening, which took place the weekend of May 4th. You can also link to his blog post about the walk on his blog, Brooklynian.

Ede Fox – Small community grants for local composters – Brooklyn solid waste advisory board Facebook page

Rene Collimore – spoke about efforts around tenant rights and handed out a booklet – encourages folks to read pamphlets.

Mr. Jesse Hamilton – president of Lincoln Civic Block Association – many political offices – update on harassment of residents in Tivoli Towers – harassment of tenants – aggressive displacement by landlords – housing crisis affecting seniors – advocating for sucessation rights – reverse mortgages – announcements on a number of upcoming events – stressed the importance of landmarking – running for NY State Senate. . He can be reached at 718-284-4700.

Frank called to adjourn meeting 9:38pm