On October 13, approximately 35 residents gathered at Shepherd Wellness Community building for a series of two open community meetings. The first meeting, held at 5:30pm, was a Round Table format to allow residents plenty of opportunity to talk about whatever is on their mind. The second meeting was a more traditional Community Meeting with an agenda, and many representatives from various elected officials in attendance. The next Community Meeting will be held on Thursday, December 10, 6:30pm at Shepherd Wellness Community building.
District 7 Councilwoman Deb Gross personally attended the round table meeting and offered helpful opinions and information about a number of concerns. These meetings will occur at least once in 2016.
During the meeting, residents praised the walkability, availability of goods in the business district, kind neighbors and friendly community expressed concern about street weeds, housing affordability, building a community consensus and how to engage everyone in the neighborhood, litter, lack of a unified neighborhood vision, and traffic calming and vehicle issues. BDC listened carefully, as did Councilwoman Gross, and BDC, will be using the concerns gathered from the meeting to inform its work in the neighborhood.
The second meeting, at 7:00pm, was a general community forum and was well-attended by new and established Bloomfield residents. These meetings will The notes from that meeting are below:
Lex Janes, Office of the Mayor: discussed the 2016 Love your Block grant and encourages Bloomfield residents/BDC to apply by November 2 (BDC has applied for a litter initiative). Lex announced there will be a public safety meeting on October 21st at 6:30 pm. He also encourages everyone to take the transportation survey at makemytripcount.org.
Brenton Weinart, Office of Councilwoman Deb Gross: expressed that there are open lines of communication to the Councilwoman’s office and Bloomfield residents are welcome to contact them with any issues or concerns.
Dave Breingan, Lawrenceville United: introduced the Pep Rally program, a program made up of community organizations, administrators, and parents working to improve our feeder schools. Dave gave updates on the changes at Woolslair Elementary, Bloomfield’s feeder elementary, which has seen enrollment almost double in one year, and invited all community members to join the various programs, lessons, meetings.
Sue Conroy, Office of Senator Jay Costa: expressed that her office can be a resource to help resolve issues or concerns as well.
Christina Howell, staff of BDC presented the Little Italy Days Survey: someone suggested asking other orgs and political offices to share the survey link on their facebook pages and e-newsletters. There was a request for the mayor to attend the January community meeting to hear the survey analysis. Lex said it would likely be Guy Costa, who is already invested in the issues of Little Italy Days. Paper surveys are available in addition to electronic, and help was requested to get surveys to all neighbors.
Ken Haywood, board member of BDC: Liberty Avenue holiday lights completely unsafe to hang (light bulbs randomly explode and fixtures are sparking). Fundraiser planned for Dec. 7th at Station (5-7pm, tickets at http://bloomfield.eventbrite.com). Need to raise $30,000 to replace, hang/install, and store new lights. Sponsorships and other fundraisers are in the works. Residents can get involved by attending the Outreach Committee meetings held the first Friday of every month at noon at Guardian Storage.
Public Safety Issues brought up by those attending:
- Parking- unused handicapped spots that are not used and taking up residents’ spaces closest to their home
- Parking- permit parking removed on Yew Street makes parking close to home difficult for residents
- Safety- 4800 block on Cypress has telephone poles that are precariously placed (2 poles strapped together, not safe)
- Maintenance- Brent offered to pass along letter to Dept. of Public Works about anticipating snowfall and maintaining safe pathways, especially on bridges
- Maintenance- Yew Street residents need to petition to get street cleaning added to their street. BDC can help facilitate.
- Trees- residents would like more green on the streets- small trees or planters. Maybe this is a good idea for a Love your Block grant. Resident spoke up that he is working with a group to bring more street trees and that the application can be broadened.
- October 24th- Pitt make a difference day to clean up the neighborhood
- Maintenance- asking homeowners to take responsibility of their home and sidewalk, picking weeds, planting trees, flowers, and picking up trash
- Speeding- it’s a problem and Deb Gross is aware and taking action
Christina asked that attendees please use the dot surveys in the back to help select a recurring time and day of the week for future community meetings. Meeting attendees can feel free to call or email her to follow up with any questions, comments, or concerns related to the meeting or about anything Bloomfield related.