Historic Preservation Committee

918 Lemmon St

March 21 2016



Michael Mellett

Betsey Waters

Dotie Page

Josh Harris

Luis Cardona

Scott Kashnow

Biff Browning

Dan Rodenburg

Robert Meyer

Chris Redwood

Stephanie Lawrence

Elizabeth Weber


Letter and Election Discussion

Josh received the letter signed by five of the voting members of the Committee, laying out their concerns about how the Committee had been run over the past year and about how the Committee election was held in January and asking for a new election. He wanted to have an open dialogue and discussion about the letter and Committee members’ concerns


Scott: had put together the letter because he had heard from from several people weren’t happy with how the last year had gone the progress of the Committee. There was some confusion about whether there was or wasn’t an election at the January 7th meeting, and at the end of the February meeting the voting members took a vote to have another election as the first agenda item at the March meeting. The letter was prompted by Josh’s position that there would be no second election in March due to the election having taken place in January.


Scott and Josh had had a conversation prior to the election meeting during which Scott asked Josh if he was planning on running, and Josh said that he wasn’t sure. Scott stated that he wouldn’t run against Josh, but if Josh decided that he didn’t have the time and energy to continue as Chair Scott would be willing to take the position, although he would not be in the country during the January meeting. There was confusion between Scott and Josh about whether Scott was or wasn’t interested in being Chair.


In Michael’s understanding that Josh had adjourned the meeting when the vote had taken place, and that he was voting to have a discussion, not a vote, at the next (March) meeting. He did not want to rehash the past. He knew that the meeting in January was an election, as it had been announced as an election and as he had been asked by Philecia (the SWP intern staffing the Committee) if he was interested in running for a position, (which he was not).


Dotie was at the January meeting, was told that she had not attended enough meetings to vote. She voted that Josh could move forward as Chair of the Committee as he had reported that Scott wasn’t interested in being Chair.


Dan didn’t think that people at the January meeting were aware that there was an election, and stated that he didn’t vote for Josh. He had been told by Scott that there wouldn’t be an election that night and was confused by the lack of an agenda. He was also concerned that having the meeting at Zellas made it hard to hear.


Betsey is upset by the fact that there were a lot of people at the January meeting who weren’t at meetings before. She had asked who was running and Josh told her that Scott wasn’t interested—she would have voted for Scott and but voted for Josh because she thought that the person she would have voted for wasn’t running. She would have liked to have a little more notice.


Scott stated that it sounded like there were three different issues: whether there was an election in January, what the Chair’s responsibilities to the Committee are, and the general will of the Committee.


Biff is concerned with the process of holding the election and the way the Committee has been run. There wasn’t enough notice of the meeting, and the Committee had had 8 meetings in 12 months rather than 10. Additionally, the meetings did not have a set day and time, and notice has not been sent out four days in advance due to the changeability of the days and times. Meeting minutes are not posted regularly (within a month), and there hasn’t been adequate representation of the Committee on the Board or coordination of projects with the Executive Director. Additionally, he had been told by Philecia the day of the election that she wasn’t sure if an election would be held that night.


Elizabeth told the Committee that meeting announcements are sent out as soon as the date is set–however, Josh had set the January 7th meeting on 12/30/2015 and had emailed Philecia who was on winter break and wasn’t able to forward the email setting the date to Elizabeth until the 4th.


Josh expressed his view that the issues being raised about how the Committee had been run should have been brought up before the election.


Chris is here as an observer and it sounds like there is a lot of unhappiness with things process-wise, a lack of confidence in the chair, and that there is too much doubt and the Committee may not get to a resolution. He suggests that the Committee moves the issue up to the Board.


Michael feels as though involving the Board is disrespectful to the work of the Committee. He feels that there is a lot of work that the Committee is on the cusp on of achieving and that there was a very productive meeting last month.  Up until this point he had no idea that Scott or other members were unhappy with the achievements. He is afraid that the petition was sparked by people outside of the Committee.


Scott would also prefer to have the dialogue and discussion within the Committee, and that they should be able to solve the issues as a Committee. He stated that discussions had been had about the Committee wanting to do more and that the Committee needed to have a set date and time. There is a lot of important work to be done, and the history of the Committee doesn’t necessarily indicate that it will be done. The Chair has the ability to make things happen that other Committee members cannot. Betsey agreed that who the Chair is important, and is concerned that Josh doesn’t have the time and energy to focus on the Committee.


Josh understands that this is a concern, and he will communicate with the Committee when it becomes an issue. His position is that an election was held, he was elected Chair, and he will continue to move forward–including setting a day and time for the meetings. He appreciates the dialogue. Scott agreed that the dialogue has been well-run and productive.


Luis wants to be involved in the Committee and knows that he has something to contribute. He wants to know how the Committee can move forward to get things done.


In Betsey’s view the will of the committee is to do the architectural preservation of the neighborhood. W Baltimore St is falling building by building. She is not happy about how the election went and feels hoodwinked but she is willing to move forward. She going to hold Josh’s feet to the fire, but wants to see things move forward. She wants to come up with a plan to get some money out of the city to do historic preservation.


Stephanie sees that things aren’t getting anywhere. She believes the Committee can give Josh a chance to rectify the problems that have been happening. It’s important not to let things fester and to tell people what they’re not happy with, everybody deserves a chance to make things better.


Robert suggested a resolution that lays out what the requirements of the Chair should be and the Committee and the Chair agree on it.


Josh stated that he has list of things that Betsey, Scott, and Michael haven’t had a chance to do yet, and would like to see things more forward.


Elizabeth asked the Committee to think about the ways in which they can move forward to fulfill the programmatic goals of the group, and asked every member to discuss with staff issues that they have with the ways that staff may be doing. There needs to be open dialogue between all Committee members, including the Chair, about goals and issues.


Signage for Historic Districts


Michael: 3 out of the 7 neighborhoods are city historic districts (Union Square, Hollins Roundhouse, and Pigtown) and Franklin Square is a national historic district. He would like to put up would like to install historic signage in the neighborhoods. The narrative has already been written, and he has found a company that provides signs in classic designs that are relatively inexpensive (a few hundred dollars). It would be easy to create and install the signs and would be an easy victory for the Committee.


Luis: used to live in a historic district that co-incided with other district designations (West Fenway in Boston), and had no clear uniformity in regards to signage. This is an ideal opportunity to think about uniform, cost effective plaques so that visitors and residents realize they are in a district of significance, and that it’s one place. He is concerned that going for signage in a piecemeal way will be counterproductive and that this is an ideal moment for this Committee to think about an overarching strategy for signage.


Scott asked if signs in the area should be different from signs throughout the city and Luis suggested dialogue with other parts of the city.


Michael pointed out that the promotion of the area is separate from historic signage and he would like to start off with classic, traditional, and easily recognizable signs that publicize what has already been granted.

Luis—should have dialogue with other parts of the city

Michael—promotion arm is separate would like to start off with historic district signage, is something that we can do, publicizing what has already been granted by the US Department of the Interior. He wants it to be for the residents, for students who may not understand where they are in history. He wants to see area peppered with historic signs


Dotie asked if the signs were different from the signs discussed at the last meeting. Josh clarified that was a wayfinding sign and he hasn’t heard back yet from the company that will install them.


Scott suggested asking organizations and other community groups about their experience installing signs.


The Committee discussed the difference between educational and wayfinding signs and the importance of having a coherent appearance in signage and of putting up signs quickly. The French style signs that the Committee prefers are used across the country. The Committee does have a small budget for projects, and will need to talk to DOT about installing signs.


Michael will email the Committee members with information about the signs and company for final approval of the design. The design will then be presented to the relevant neighborhood associations for their OK. Michael will also find out if there is a discount for bulk ordering.


Betsey wants the Androfsky sign back that the UM BioPark removed.


Other Updates


There is a state bill that has been drafted for the second floor of Hollins Market for 1 million dollars, that could be matched by EPA for asbestos removal.


Walking tour: 10AM March 26th of W Baltimore St. The Committee will meet at the Carrolton St entrance of Hollins Market. The Committee suggested engaging Eric Holcomb from CHAP.

Tour: 10 AM Tour of W Baltimore St take notes and look at buildings (print out toolkit for historic


Hollins Market Design Workshop: March 26th 4-7pm at 1138 Hollins St (2nd floor). Lead by a MICA Social Design Graduate Student. There will be a presentation to the Public Market Board and vendors at 6pm at Zellas.


Next meeting April 18th 6pm at 918 Lemmon St