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Friends of Jefferson Park meeting minutes

July 26, 2006 9:57 am by

These are the minutes of the initial meeting of the Friends of Jefferson Park from July 24th, 2006.


Friends of Jefferson Park

Draft Organizational Meeting Minutes
6PM –Monday, July 24, 2006
2018 Princess Anne Avenue

Members Present: Bill Conkle, President; Connie Samuels, Vice-President; Francine Wise, Secretary; Karen Flanders, Treasurer; Berthel Brown Garza, Julia Stokes; Connie Samuels; Courtney Roberts; Dixon Kerr; Bill Hartsock; Ernest Smith; Phyllis Tupponce; Dillard Tupponce; And Ann Wortham.

Following Introductions, Bill Conkle introduced the concept of a Friends Group and shared the benefits a Friends Group could be for Jefferson Park. The group discussed some issues and concerns and agreed to form a Friends of Jefferson Park.

The group then elected as its founding officers: Bill Conkle, President; Connie Samuels, Vice-President; Francine Wise, Secretary; Karen Flanders, Treasurer.

The group voted to make a partnership application to the Richmond Recreation
and Park Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 that has a mission of supporting the
Richmond Department of Recreation, Parks and Community Facilities. The RRPF can provide technical assistance to the group and allow for donations to our group to be tax deductible. The RRPF charges a one time 3% charge for all donations it manages.

The next order of business was organizational bylaws. Bill Conkle agreed to have a similar friends group supply their bylaws for modification and approval by our organization.

The next order of business was the time and dates for our meetings. The group agreed that 6pm on the 4th Monday of each month would be our meeting time. The next meeting will be Monday August 28th at 6pm at 2018 Princess Anne Avenue. Bill Hartsock agreed to organize the 1st FOJP neighborhood covered dish barbecue in the park following the meeting. A walking tour of the park will be held in conjunction with the barbecue.

The group voted to ask the President to notify the Mayor and Councilperson McQuinn of our formation. Notification would also be made to the Departments of Public Works, Recreation, Parks and Community Facilities, and the Police. The group also wished to coordinate its efforts with the Union Hill Civic Association and local churches.

Berthell Brown Garza then shared her concerns about security in the park. She stated that a criminal element sleeps in the park and has been breaking into houses and sheds in the area. It was also shared that drug dealers were using the park to conduct business. It was noted that the police were sometimes slow to respond to calls for assistance. The group agreed that the FOJP should establish a strong relationship with the Police Department to ensure the safety and security of the park.

Julia Stokes then introduced herself as our representative to the Clean City Commission and offered to assist us in any way to clean-up and beautify the park. She agreed to look into ways the FOJP could access resources to help improve the park.

The group asked that appropriate departments be notified requesting attention to the following items: People sleeping overnight in the park; People using the park for criminal activity; Improving safety and security in the park through better lighting, vegetation control, police patrols and community policing; Removing graffiti from the park; Raising the tree canopy of the park to improve security; Placing additional trash cans near the gazebo and playground; And removing the dead tree and re-plant a tree at the base of Jefferson Park;

Potential future projects discussed briefly were: Opening the bathroom for public use; re-installing the fountain(s) at the Park; Purchasing an Historical Highway Marker for the Park; Cleaning up the area near the tunnel entrance; Stabilizing the tunnel entrance and adding interpretive features for public visitation; Cleaning up trash and doing vegetation control on Cedar Street; Stabilizing and enhancing the hillside that was damaged by Tropical Storm Gaston; Landscaping the Triangle on Jefferson Avenue and placing a Union Hill Neighborhood Historical Marker and possibly a Public Art Sculpture in the spot; Have the Park and Tunnel placed on the State and Federal Register of Historic Places; Publish a “History of Jefferson Park, including its famous Tunnel”; Improve sidewalks, stairs and pathways that link the park to the community; Install amenities for Dog owners including a pooper scooper station and pet friendly water fountains; Maintain the playground for fun and safety.

The President then encouraged members to stay vigilant and report suspicious or criminal activity in the park to the police. He also encouraged members to think about a project in which they would be willing to take a leadership role.

The next meeting will be on Monday, August 28th at 6pm at 2018 Princess Anne Avenue, a covered dish barbecue will follow the meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Conkle for Francine Wise, Secretary


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