The meeting took place in the community room of Bennett Ave Owners Corp (143 Bennett) and began at 7:20 p.m. In atten-dance were the following individuals: Michael Augenblick, Nancy Bruning, Marcella Calabi, Howard Dillon, Carol Geonta, Ariel Gonzalez, Suwineetha Gunasekera, April Humphrey, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Gary Miller, Tina Molinari, Sarah Mor-gridge, Terry OíBrien, Anne-Marie OíKeeffe, Mark Potts, David Purdy, Sarbhpreet S. Sawhney, Simone Song, Daniel Starr, Silvea Thomas, and Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 66 Overlook Terrace Corporation, 255 Cabrini Condominium, 359 Fort Washington Owners Corporation, 371 Fort Washington Owners Corporation, 720 - 730 Fort Washington Avenue Owners Corp., Bennett Avenue Owners Corp., Cabrini Terrace Owners Corp., Castle Village Owners Corporation, Chittenden House Inc., Hudson View Gardens, and Overlook Towers Corp. The following Community Asso-ciate Members (CAMs) and related neighborhood groups were represented: Beth Am, The People's Temple, Friends of Ft. Tryon Park, Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program, Simone Song Properties, Washington Heights Neighborhood Association The following elected officials and organizations were represented: Councilman Robert Jackson, State Senator Eric Schnei-derman, Accion NY.
The meeting summary from March was read and approved with a correction.
Areli Gonzalez introduced the organization Accion NY ? "one of the world’s most innova-tive
micro-loan programs," initially founded in Brazil, now with an office at 2 Bennett Ave, to pro-vide financial assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs who might otherwise be un-able to obtain capital funding. There was brainstorming about spreading the word.
There was a roundtable discussion of co-op managing agents, triggered by the fact that a member building is looking for a new agent. Community-building within the co-op and the maturation process of co-ops as organizational entities were also discussed.
Announcements and short topics:
- Mailboxes Etc. would like to open a branch on 181st street and is looking for a franchi-see.
- Kudos to Ft. Tryon DOG for its write-up as the organizer of an outstanding off-leash run, in the national dog-lovers’ magazine BARK.
- Ft. Tyron Park cleanup and party on Earth Day
- Artists Unite is working to reinstate the summer concert series in Bennett Park. A provisional grant of $250 by HHOC was approved. Simone Song Properties offered as-sistance too.
- Community Board 12 is looking for a bilingual community service aide, full-time work. Also CB12’s upcoming meeting was announced.
- The FYI ? Fresh Youth Initiatives fundraiser at the Morris Jumel Mansion on 6/5 is a wonderful event; please consider supporting this.
On the subject of neighborhood parks: In preparation for an upcoming meeting with the Parks Department, proposed questions to be asked at that meeting had already been col-lected; Marcella organized them into topics and presented the results. The "Friends of..." organizations will take it from there. Sarah Morgridge reported on her conversation with Jane Schachat re Cabrini Trail (the south end of Ft. Tryon Park, where the gate was closed for safety reasons) and the question of a safe place for skateboarders. Liability issues com-plicate both topics. As to the former, the Parks Dept’s priorities are to maintain areas that have been assessed as being "safe"; she did not discourage us from pursuing this in other ways (one idea would be to try to work with the Appalachian Mountain Trail Club, which has extensive experience in trail maintenance). As to skateboarding, Ms. Schachat recognizes the need and
is open-minded about the solution. She suggested that the volleyball courts at 190th St. could be made more available, but noted that the Margaret Corbin circle area is not appropriate because the buses occupy the street and the sidewalk design is landmarked. Nancy and Terry will accompany Sarah to meet with Ms. Schachat. Several residents of the area have had conversations with the skateboarders about what it takes for a setup to be attractive to them. This information is key to ensuring than an alternative would really work.
There was brainstorming about ways to make the intersection of 187th and Cabrini safer, inde-pendent of the skateboarding. The merits of new signage, a change in the light structure, and/or enforcement of the sight-line parking regulations already in place were discussed. Elizabeth will write a letter to DOT requesting that they work with us on this issue.
The issue of parity in real-estate taxes between co-op and rental buildings, and private homes was discussed. Volunteers agreed to draft a position paper for HHOC to send to elected officials.
The next meeting will be held on MONDAY MAY 20th, at the same location, 143 Bennett. (The following meeting has been scheduled as well: June 17th at the J. Hood Wright Park Community Center.) The meeting ended at 9:30 p.m.