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Pond Task Force Kickoff Meeting Agenda and Minutes February 8, 2015

LA PLAZA CULTURAL
Pond Task Force
Kickoff Meeting Agenda and Minutes
February 8, 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ NO DESIGN DETAILS WILL BE DISCUSSED TODAY. WE WILL FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE. __________________________________________________________________________

Present: B​ill LoSasso, Derrick Alford, Rita Kelly, Jackson Gilkey, Helen Avery, David Pottinger, Jon Keller ______________________________________________________________________________________

  1. 1)  Overview
    1. a)  Task Force formation ­​Based on continued requests and discussion regarding expanding and improving the pond. Approved by the Board in OCtober 2014/
    2. b)  Chairperson/Project Manager​­ Sally Lelong will lead the design effort. Bill LoSasso will oversee the project planning and implementation along with other members of the Pond Task Force.
    3. c)  Outreach​­ Has occurred to date through multiple email to membership and in the e­news
  2. 2)  Existing Pond
    1. a)  History of the pond
      i) ~ 15 years old, originally had a concrete liner, but cracked and was replaced by a rubber liner at least twice. Sand was added at some point below the liner, and stones were removed. It was never leveled such that the liner is always hidden.
    2. b)  The goodi) irises, thriving fish population, turtles, focal point of the garden, solar pump, surrounding area around the pond, usually clean, stones surrounding the pond, bird habitat, former snake,
    3. c)  The bad (and ugly)
      i) Current hole in liner, loose rocks can fall into pond, waterfall is too small, needs more vegetation, liner is too thin, no fence around pond, needs more seating, peaches fall into strainer, have to drag the hose to fill it, not big enough
  3. 3)  Visions for Expanded Pond
    1. a)  habitat for aquatic and amphibious species
    2. b)  a design that is nice and flowery but also requires little maintenance
    3. c)  a swampy area that has pitcher plants, with a shelf to contain soil and water
    4. d)  a bridge over the connector for the new pond area
    5. e)  an adjacent porch swing
    6. f)  lily pads, aquatic plants
  4. 4)  Board/Membership approval
    1. a)  Adjacent plotholders need to know what is going on along the way
    2. b)  A vote of the membership will be required at a scheduled general membership meeting,with minutes being shared along the way and report backs at membership meetings
  5. 5)  Project Challenges

a) Labor, weather, fish relocation, unknown problems during excavation, keeping plot holders informed and possible plot relocations, foundations from old buildings, commitment of task force members, removal of materials, staging of work efficiently, waiting til the ground thaws

  1. 6)  Budget ­
    1. a)  Sources so far:
      1. i)  Euromoney (via Helen)­ $900
      2. ii)  LPC funds ­ amount TBD
      3. iii)  CCNYC grant ­ $2500 applied for, will hear in April
    2. b)  Free materials should be explored
  2. 7)  Timeline and Milestones
    1. a)  Kickoff Meeting (2/8/2015)
    2. b)  1 more planning meeting, with a site visit
    3. c)  2 ­ 3 design meetings
    4. d)  Board/Member approval
    5. e)  Material order and delivery
    6. f)  Workdays and Implementation
    7. g)  Goal of 5/31 for finished product
    8. h)  Will the “chicken fence” be part of the design?
  3. 8)  Keys to Success
    1. a)  Focused meetings
    2. b)  Meeting minutes
    3. c)  Commitment and follow through
    4. d)  Discussion without argument
  4. 9)  Next Steps
    1. a)  Schedule next meeting ­ doodle poll to be created
    2. b)  Research to be completed by next meeting:
      1. i)  how to design a marshy area ­ jackson/helen
      2. ii)  toddler fence ­ jon
      3. iii)  liners ­ jackson/derrick
      4. iv)  stones ­ derrick/rita
    3. c)  MInutes sent to membership

LPC DECEMBER 6, 2014 BOARD MEETING (1)

Board Members present: Pedro Diez, Rita Kelly, Bill Di Paola, Bill LoSasso, Ross Martin, Marga Snyder
Other Members present:  N/A

MEETING BEGAN: 3:15 pm

Executive Director Report

2014 Season Recap

The 20145 was generally agreed to be productive, with extensive outreach to the local community for inclusion in events

This season at La Plaza was commented upon as raising the bar for all community gardens as to what type of programming and community involvement is possible

Green Thumb License Renewal

Bill LoSasso will oversee this process in December 2014 / January 2015

137 Avenue C

The developers of 137 Avenue C have installed the construction fence and are in the process of sending the donation letter and check to Green Thumb 

Holiday Party

It was generally agreed to host a simple holiday party for garden members in the coming weeks, ideally at a local institution that has a relationship with the garden

A weekday was deemed ideal to avoid large weekend crowds

It was unanimously voted 6-1 to budget $300 toward the holiday party

Filling Officer position of Secretary

Frances Anderson has completed her term as Secretary and will be taking a leave

Bill LoSasso will reach out to garden membership to solicit interest in filling the position.  If no one is interested, then a Board member will have to volunteer

Holiday tree and event

It was generally agreed that La Plaza would support a non-0denominational holiday event to celebrate the end of the year and upcoming new year

The Board supported decorating an existing tree at La Plaza, or buying one to be planted and decorating that one

Outreach would be made for choirs to sing at the event, and to Rolando to help create ornaments if a tree is to be decorated

The Board budgeted a total of $400 for holiday decorating/events, inclusive of ornament making.  Additional funds will be budgeted if a tree purchase is necessary. 

Treasurer Report

La Plaza has approximately $12,00o in its account.  Approximately $3000 in spending on earmarked funds from grants remains, as does $1500 in member reimbursements. 

A donation from Corigin Real Estate is expected soon to mitigate the installation of the construction fence

Off-season Projects

Billboard art RFP

Bill LoSasso will complete a draft RFP seeking local artist submissions for the billboard and circulate for Board review, comment and approval 

Bill Di Paola asked that La Plaza provide direction on the theme of the artwork

Event pricing and procedure 

Bill LoSasso will draft a document updating event pricing and approval procedure for Board review, comment, and approval 

Fence signage

Pedro will look into creating signs for the fence outlining La Plaza contact info and general garden rules needs language

Marga will look into creating a new logo for all La Plaza materials

LPC History Project

Bill LoSasso and Marga will work in the offseason to archive La Plaza historical materials

2015 season planning

A membership planning session is tentatively planned for February 2015

Chicken monitoring and future policy

The chicken breeds are from New England and bred to withstand winters outdoors in the northeast US

The Board voted unanimously that 4 chickens was enough, and that no new chickens would be introduced to La Plaza without Board approval

By-laws review

The Board will review the By-laws in the offseason to see if there is a need for any revisions

Gale / Rosie –

Bill LoSasso will schedule meetings with Gale Brewer and Rosie Mendez’s offices to discuss budget allocation for Community Board 3 community gardens and La Plaza Cultural specifically

Particular capital project needs that wee identified were: new fencing, pond improvements, solar electricity infrastructure, and a workshop event space 

Committee Reports – 2014 Grant close-out, Proposed 2015 grants/projects, and Lessons Learned

Compost

Was a productive year, and organic waste composting system is now operational

The 3-bin system along the building in the maintenance yard is the new priority for replacement, to be addressed in 2015 grant applications

Landscape    

Work days continue until the nature trail is completed.  Nearly all materials have been purchased. 

The ConEd grant is all but expended.  Ross will itemize the purchases for the final report to CB3/ConEd by the end of December. 

Arbor – Completion of the arbor was discussed.  The following was decided by the Board

La Plaza will purchase 26 wood joists, de-nailed and cleaned, from John Wager for completion of the arbor and nature train, at a cost of $1000, with $500 already being covered by grant funds.  It was agreed that this lumber would immediately transfer to possession of La Plaza.  (Vote was 5-0 in favor)

La Plaza will allocate $300 for additional purchase of additional brackets to complete the arbor to 100% completion.  (Vote was 5-0 in favor)

La Plaza will allocate a final payment to John Wagner of $600 for labor to complete full and final construction of the arbor.  It was understood that this will include all necessary labor to bring the arbor to 100% completion by a due date of 12/31/2014.  If construction is not completed by this date, barring any extreme weather conditions, then La Plaza members can complete the work themselves.  (Vote was 5-0 in favor).

Membership     

Bill will appoint a new Chair in the coming weeks/months, and will train them before handing off responsibilities. 

We will return to a detailed logging of hours for the 2015 season.

Key distribution will continue through the Spring to those members who have met and can document the requirements

Events

Very bust and productive year

Sheila Morgan, and Ross Martin, and Helen Avery will discuss the plans for 2015 in the offseason

Plots

The plots looked good this year

Rita will focus on making the community beds more organized in 2015

Rita will work with Maddalena and Bank Street Head Start, who is interested in educational opportunities in the community beds for their school

The area between the small 9th Street gate and the bamboo will be divided into 3 or 4 smaller plots.  Marta and Angel will have first picks of a plot if they want one. 

Responsibilities of plot holders will be addressed in any update to the by-laws or rules

Parents   

Felicia’s “Kids Camp” was a welcomed addition to the season

The Board will work with Felicia to further develop the concept and identify a small budget

Website 

Jason is taking over from Peter as Webmaster in the offseason

Facebook will become a larger part of La Plaza communication strategy

Maintenance

Derrick is the new Maintenance Committee Chair. 

There will be a tool sharpening overseen by Rita on Saturday, 12/7/2014.  $100 was budget by the Board by unanimous vote. 

Pond Task Force

Sally Lelong will begin meetings to create a new pond design in January 2015.  Those interested in participation must attend these meetings, which have been and will continue to be advertised via various methods. 

Native plantings will be emphasized. 

Old Business – N/A 

New business  – N/A

MEETING ADJOURNED:  5:15PM

LPC_August 3, 2014 MINUTES Board

_____________________________________________________________________________________Board Members present: FRANCES ANDERSON, BILL LOSASSO, ROSS MARTIN, PEDRO DIEZ, MARGA SNYDER
Other Members present: Derrick Alford, Maddalena Poletta, Dante Diez

MEETING BEGAN: 3:22 pm

Executive Director Report

Tree removal – Bill LoSasso met with Nancy Kohn of Green Thumb. – Nancy impressed with how big LAP is – we are truly a park.  She will try to get GT help out as much as they can.  Linden tree removal is a work order, she will try to expedite so we are not battling rat problem.

137 Avenue C /Corrigan Real Estate– They are in a design/engineering snafu.  Construction/Demolition will be stopped for next few weeks.  Ross suggests we take this time to move trees we want to keep so we can clear 10 ft from bldg white wall.  We have live electricity as of now, but has been sporadic.  Bill still in discussions re: final form of electricity.  Nancy (GT) will give final ok on permits that they (Corrigan RE) need so GT lawyers can be our backup on agreements with 137 Ave C/Corrigan.

Verizon – FIOS wire along fence.  Rep from Verizon & Bill been playing phone tag.  Still discussing compensation and possible provision of WiFi for garden.   Update – looks like this will not happen because NYC Parks will not grant the easement provision that Verizon is seeking in return for fee/use of fence.

Billboard Art – Request For Proposals for artists work on the Billboard.  Push to February 2015 so we can take the time to review proposals and provide adequate compensation.

Garden Signs – new signs for various rules for entrance to garden (Pedro will draft up sample: e.g. “dogs on leash”, “no smoking”- (which actually has to be garden rule, as it’s not actually a city law anymore). BOARD APPROVED.

Treasurer Report – Michael Hinds will file

Committee Reports

Compost  -
-Request from LES Ecology Ctr for another larger workshop for the fall.  Topic: Winter crops – they would need a plot to plant in.  Maybe use a plot on the hill or Hugel bed?  BOARD APPROVED – Rita & Ross will advise which community plot is best suited. 
-Still have some money left from grant – Pedro wants to build another 3 bin system for weed/yard waste intake. Possible location against 9
th Street fence next to willow near Gazebo.  Timeline: to do in September 2014.  Tentative budget: $800 ($400 offset by leftover from grant, $400 pledged from garden, if costs exceed $800 we address).  BOARD APPROVED.

Landscape   

Arbor – Final roof meeting & installation happening soon.  Deadline Harvest Fest (Sept 19, 2014)

Hugel bed huge success. Would love to expand it with a swale/ramp for drainage near 9th St gate.  Maybe include willow stump? (see next item),  Also continue along 9th street fence to snake around bamboo patch.

Willow near 9th St. gate – remove/bury stump?  Keep? Replace with another tree?  Board will consider options.  Currently, it is becoming a rat nest and there may be problems down the road if the Willow grows back to its original height because willows are inherently unstable and will likely fall in another storm.

Nature trail: $2K still left from grant – next purchases: another load of soil for hugel bed, load of gravel for path, stepping stones, signs for plants.  Will submit budget for those purchases soon.

Trees: spent less than $1K of grant so far.  $5K left to purchase Espalier trees. Moving some bushes from meadow area to area in front of bamboo.

Ornamental Pear tree next to willow on 9th Street/C area – should we remove it?  Let stay?  It was a volunteer from the other two ornamental pears that were planted a few years ago near there.  It’s crowded, but not creating a crisis.

Clean up of Maintenance Yard: Labeling of tool rack.  Propose to buy strong boxes for toys, tools, and utility items.  Need to clean up extraneous art supply, scaffolding, plastic chairs which belong behind greenhouse.  (See Maintenance committee in New Business)

Idea for bench extension and tables where white benches are.

Membership    

Still seeking person to take on Committee.

Final reminders to folks who have not yet paid their dues.  Change locks in the fall.  (Sept/Oct).

Plots    - Rita got it done.  Keep it up.

Events      -  No new news.  Board will take up revising rates this fall.

Parents   - Felicia kids camp. Authorized $25/week on healthy snacks and beverages.  Suggestions that Felicia partners with daycare or other local program for kids.  (Bill/Frances talk with Felicia re: this possibility).

Website – Peter gave wordpress passwords to Committee heads so they can post updates

Event Pricing and Procedure – Board will take up in Fall 2014

Events/Installations at LPC

Bat House  - Helen Avery has raised money for it from yoga class donations, will have someone from Central park give a talk at construction/installation of bat house.

Harvest Fest – FRIDAY POINT PERSON: Rita will help getting food and drink donations for Friday Sept 19th kickoff.

SATURDAY POINT PERSON: Still needed!  Some programming already ready: Upright Citizens Brigade
SUNDAY POINT PERSON: Marga Snyder. Vandana Shiva talking at the Garden on Sunday morning (Charles from LUNGS set this up)

Community Day 2014 – Bill will email board this week re: date for community work day & BBQ  probably late august/early September

Concert  - next Sunday August 10th – City of the Sun musicians (from Sunburnt Cow) Canceled.

Old Business  - Done!

New business  - Board approved Beginning of Maintenance Committee.  Headed by Derrick Alford.

MEETING ADJOURNED:  approx. 5:00 pm

General Meeting minutes August 2014

Minutes. General Membership meeting 9th August 2014:

Marga Snyder

Bill LoSasso

Helen Avery

Rita Kelly

Noreen Gadonniex

Jean Creighton (new member)

Matt Arnold

Sarah Johnson

Jill Woodward

Jackson Gilkey

Bill Di Paola

1. Re: LUNGS Harvest Festival

Programming on 20th – comedy at La Plaza planned, and a dance troupe.

Matt offered to get a marching band together for the march.

Kick off party on the 19th– Eric is playing, and Bill hopes to get a Latin band from Esperanto. Helen is decorating if anyone wants to help. Rita is organizing food.

Bill di Paola says will organize banner making on the 13th August with the kids art and crafts day (Helen organizing). He is doing a bike led-march for the march.

2. Can we get a projector for Jill’s movie to be shown at some point?

3. Rita says can people clip weeds and not put sticks or seeds in the compost bins. And can we have a point person to oversee the community food beds? Because the zucchinis are rotten says Noreen and the lettuces are out of hand and bitter as no one looks after them. Next year can we not have lettuces but something more sustainable? Perhaps a pumpkin patch for the kids? Or other vegetables? Should we ask in e-news if someone wants to take that on says Rita?

4. Bats are in the offing. Ranger is coming back in September with the boxes. It will go in Bill’s plot. Helen is looking into whether bat scat has pathogens in it. Agreed we want a big bat house for 30 to 100.

5. Marga says a hugel bed is being planned for near the kids area and will use the cut down tree  -  which will need to be chopped up. Bill says someone is coming to get the tree as it’s a rat hole so he’ll have to stop them from coming.

6. Sarah says a chainsaw is too dangerous though and best to have a bowsaw.

7. Bill says he is still looking for a membership chair person but people have offered.

8. Kids’ camp is cancelled as Felicia is having an operation on her shoulder.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Visits La Plaza Cultural

We had a great turnout for the grant award announcement this past Saturday.  Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Citizens Committee CEO Peter Kostmayer, and Solid Waste Advisory Board Chairman Brendan Sexton were all in attendance, among others including our neighbors, other grant winners across Manhattan, and community gardeners from other gardens.
Citizens Committee CEO Peter H. Kostmayer (left) set to introduce Manhattan officials.
Citizens Committee CEO Peter H. Kostmayer (left) set to introduce Manhattan officials.
Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 12.28.52 PM
Members and Friends of La Plaza
Brendan Sexton, Chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and former NYC Sanitation Commissioner, said composting is one of the only ways we have for a regular person or a citizen  -who's not God- to give back to the Earth."
Brendan Sexton, Chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and former NYC Sanitation Commissioner, said composting is one of the only ways we have for a regular person or a citizen -who’s not God- to give back to the Earth.”

Citizens Committee CEO Peter H. Kostmayer with our supportive officials.
Citizens Committee CEO Peter H. Kostmayer with our supportive officials.
Bill LoSasso, Executive Director of composting grant recipient, La Plaza Cultural Community Garden, expresses what local grants to grassroots organizations mean to the entire neighborhood.
Bill LoSasso, Executive Director of composting grant recipient, La Plaza Cultural Community Garden, expresses what local grants to grassroots organizations mean to the entire neighborhood.
La Plaza Cultural and our colorful friends.
La Plaza Cultural and our colorful friends.