Eight neighbors gathered in a circle of chairs in our wonderful new meeting room, thanks to the Christian Science Church on 3rd Street, at 7 p.m., Monday, January 28.
Georgia had prepared an agenda beforehand, and we followed it closely, making rapid decisions which usually involved two people immediately volunteering to pursue the agenda item and report back to the group. As a result, the meeting was over in little more than an hour! Kind of surprised us all, how little reluctance we feel during this new year to pursue our common interest in grounding the vision (and official plan, filed with the city.gov) of Green Acres as a sustainable neighborhood.
On the agenda:
• Neighborhood Safety Update: Ann and Jelene reported on this, noting no new activity re: the awful crime suffered by and in our neighborhood a few months ago. Jelene reported that the suspected “perps” are in custody, as I also reported here.
• Animal Safety Update: We talked about the idea of going for a Small and Simple city grant to put up little poles with plastic bags at various points in the neighborhood, but tabled the idea for now. The general feeling of this group seems to be that there are not all that many people walking dogs in Green Acres and most of them DO pick up their pup’s poops, and besides, who wants to add extra plastic to the waste stream? However, one person pointed out that when she walks her daughter’s dog in our neighborhood, sometimes she sees people glaring out their windows, making sure the dog doesn’t poop on their lawn!
• Summer Party: our talk about animals led us to the idea of some kind of neighborhood gathering this summer where we invite our dogs to be with us. But where? Possible venues: GANG garden, by the underpass, and the water retention pond area on 10th and Jefferson. Also, Jelene has more daylilies, so may host another Plant Share, but again, when?
• Adopt-A-Box: this is an idea spearheaded by Georgia and Jim, to paint the utility box on the corner of 3rd and Hillsdale. This will begin the process of visually designating this neighborhood as “Green Acres” for those entering, leaving, and passing by. We agreed that in part this painting would hold the logo design that we have already created for teeshirts and brochures. We can fund the artist, design and painting supplies through a Small and Simple grant. The first Small and Simple Grant proposal is due February 21, 2013, or, if we miss that date, then the next one is in April.
• Ann brought up the problem of graffiti on the wall at the new underpass. Al thinks, that, because of the nature of the “messages,” that it might be somehow gang-related. In response to this development, we’re looking at the idea of holding an event to paint a mural on the outside wall that has been defaced, and of possibly designating the walls inside the tunnel as “free wall” — space for free expression. Georgia and Jim will look into this idea re: Small and Simple grants as well as the utility box. In any case, we agree some kind of a Green Acres sign also needs to go up at the underpass.
• More ideas for Small and Simple grants: fruit and nut trees, but where? along streets? and/or in yards? Georgia and Jim will investigate the city’s policies on fruit trees. We agreed that more neighborhood-grown food is always good in a neighborhood that officially calls itself “sustainable”!
• Idea for either Small and Simple, or possibly larger, i.e., Neighborhood Improvement Grant: this also has to do with trees, and/or some kind of visual/sound barrier to help heal the long wound opened along the eastern border of Green Acres by the widened bypass. John, who lives at the east end of DeKist, says that there is no time, night or day, when, even through closed windows, he doesn’t hear the sound of traffic. The city is aware of this already, and we agree that it is now time to pursue remedies. Georgia and Jim will also investigate this matter when they visit the city gov.
• Report on Green Acres Neighborhood Garden: Jim, a Goddard student and permaculturist who is living in Ann’s house, is the new Director of the GANG garden and will be working with SPEA interns and hopefully, neighobors! this year in the garden. He is currently creating two gigantic hugel culture beds out of the limbs of a large old elm tree that had to be cut down due to dropping limbs and its position near two houses. These beds are so full and rich that they should be fertile for at least 20 years!
• Report on Green Acres Neighborhood Ecovillage: the official goals of GANA (the neighborhood association) are all incorporated into GANE (the ecovillage idea). Ann and Doug are spearheading the ecovillage website and concept. We are happy to report that GANG 2, the second Green Acres Neighborhood Garden, is to be created this spring by organic gardener and new neighbor Rebecca and IU students who live near her on 7th and Roosevelt. Ann and Doug will brainstorm other ways to fulfill the official objectives of the neighborhood plan as articulated by the idea of Green Acres as an ecovillage.
The group discussed the idea of how to be more proactive in inviting people into the neighborhood who share the values of neighborliness and sustainability. Georgia and Jelene will pursue this idea, focusing on both rentals and houses for sale.
• Throughout the meeting the three websites that serve the neighborhood (this one, i.e., GANA, GANE-the ecovillage, and GANG-the garden(s) were in play as places where we publicize what we are doing. When the subject of dogs came up, we thought about putting up a “Dog of the Month” picture with his or her story on these sites. Ann agreed to spearhead this idea. And speaking of animals, Georgia will ask Jen, a neighbor of hers who has just installed chickens in their back yard, to write up a story about their experience and send it to us for putting up here and on the GANE site as well. The more activity we create, both on the web and in our lives together, the more activity we will attract, the more we regenerate our shared value of living in community.
Oh yes, one more thing: if you’ve noticed the sweet, colorful little bench at the corner of DeKist and Overhill, that was constructed, painted and gifted to the GANG garden by Daniel, the neighbor who delivers our papers. The bench serves as a place for children to sit as they wait for the school bus in the morning. Thanks again, Daniel!