Waban Area Council
Draft Meeting Minutes
July 8 2021
Held via Zoom
Waban Area Council: Christopher Pitts, Rena Getz, Megan Meirav, Sallee Lipshutz, Tom Elkind, Ron Marcus, Dinah Bodkin, Bob Jampol.
Community: John Mordes, Maureen Reilly Meagher, Fran Godine
City Council: Bill Humphrey
Discussion of VIllage Center Vision Kits: The question addressed was whether WAC should hold meetings or discussion re engaging community members with Vision Kit(s) or whether individuals should be left on their own to engage with Vision Kits. Deadline for responding to Vision Kit is September of 2021. RG felt that this is our opportunity as a council to weigh into issues related to Zoning Reform, particularly as they relate to Village Centers, an issue critical to Waban. Probably not realistic to come up with a consensus as a council, but facilitating discussions and promoting participation is something we should do. Generally felt that announcement of the Vision Kit should repeatedly be put in the WAC Agenda and that we need to “keep getting the message out.” RG requested that WAC members continue working with the Vision Kit and the discussion can be continued at the August meeting. General agreement that the questions in the Vision Kit were unscientific, naive and somewhat biased. RG suggested WAC should gather peoples’ reactions to the Vision Kit and submit the results to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Agreed that Sally would author an email sharing her experience with the Polis Report and that others would weigh in, in an effort to alert P and Z that there is dissatisfaction with the experience. RG suggested that generating a letter should be in our August agenda. Maureen O’Reilly Meagher stated her opinion that WAC should NOT miss the opportunity to play an active role in promoting community participation in the Village Redesign Process. Chris reiterated that a fair amount of community outreach has already occurred (ie via email). Some concern expressed as to where things will stand with Covid in the fall and whether large meetings will be possible.
ARPA Funding $63 million available. Bill Humphrey discussed how the money can be used. Best to use it for one time operational expenses. Mayor Fuller wants an equity focus with an emphasis on underserved populations. Chris mentioned outdoor pavilion for the arts. Three separate meetings were held with city councilors and a community session was also held. Many ideas were generated. Individuals were asked to submit ideas to Mayor Fuller by email.
Four Area Councils Debates: Oct 16 and 17. BH and RG agreed that their experience as debate participants had been positive.
Treasurer’s Report: same as last month.
June Minutes Approved.
WAC Fundraising: Dog Parade proposed by Chris. Also need for new membership. Each WAC member should bring a new potential member to the Council. Sally raised issue of historic plaques. It was actually determined that Waban has enough history to justify two plaques. Plaques run about $5,000.00 each (this was later correct by Sallee and turns out to be $1700/plaque). Need to think outside the box re fundraising. Chris: Waban Improvement Society will collaborate with WAC on funding historic plaques. WIS is 501 3(c); contributions are tax deductible. CP suggested possibly a subgroup of WAC members can spearhead a number of fundraising events. A band (or DJ) and black tie event suggested for third weekend in January 2022. Some discussion as to whether as a government entity WAC can engage in that type of fundraising. Also discussion on the distinction between WAC and WIS. Stated by Chris that WIS is a community building organization that engages in “nice stuff” like lighting the Christmas tree, mulching, running the library. WAC holds meetings on more political topics, the debates being the primary example. Tom Elkind expressed concern that the roles of the two organizations be kept appropriately separated. Sally reiterated that WAC is staying well within its scope of funding the debates. The only exception is raising money to fund the historical plaques and possibly some membership outreach. Written into charter that area councils can not receive money from the city. Discussion re fundraising and appropriate use of WAC funds will be ongoing.
Meeting adjourned 9:00pm.
Respectfully submitted by Dinah Bodkin, July 25 2021