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Downtown Neighborhoods Association

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Monthly Meeting

May 6, 2015

 

The May 2015 meeting of the Downtown Neighborhoods Association was held at the Harwood Art Center, pursuant to prior approval.

 

Prior to the meeting, there was a concert by the mariachi band from Lew Wallace Elementary School. DNA in 2014 had donated $1000 to the school to start the band. The principal and music teacher thanked DNA and said the grant had been enough to buy instruments for all 15 musicians.

The principal also announced that the school had received a $20,000 grant for a food project. There will be a “food summit” at the school (6th and Fruit) on Thursday, May 28 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will discuss ideas for using and leveraging the grant money.

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After the performance, board chair Reba Eagles called the meeting to order at 7:25.

 

Board members in attendance: Alice Bergman, Noelle Baroody, David McCain, Margaret Connealy, Reba Eagles, Dick Deichsel, Sandy Gregory, Fernando Pizarro, Jeni Pope, Rick Miera and Ric Higginbotham. Four board members were absent. Twenty other neighbors also attended. Sign in sheets are on file.

Introductions were made. The agenda was approved. The April 1 minutes were approved.

Dick Deichsel gave the Treasurer’s Report. For the month of April, there was $15 in income and no expenses. The April 30 balance was $27,485.61. The Treasurer’s Report was approved and is on file.

 

HARWOOD RENOVATION

Julia Mandeville of the Harwood staff reported that DNA’s contributions have been a “major prompt” in Harwood’s renovation plans for the art center building and Escuela del Sol Montessori School. Escuela owns almost the entire block. DNA’s grant will still be used for the dining hall, as intended. She described the selection process for architects and solicited input from the audience.

 

17TH AND LOMAS

            There was a lengthy discussion of proposals to renovate the small park at 17th and Lomas. The park was originally called Chacon Park and sits at the south end of the Watson Addition.

Billy Gallegos (857-8059, bgallegos@cabq.gov) is Superintendant of the City Solid Waste Management Department. He began the discussion by describing how the City Council had put Solid Waste in charge of maintaining landscaping on medians and the streetscape, while leaving Parks and Recreation in charge of parks. He said that one proposal for this park is to “shrink” it by adding a two-foot gravel edge around the perimeter, as in Mary Fox Park. The existing ash tree will be pruned, though it is already quite old. An arborist with Solid Waste estimated that the current landscaping in the park would use 50,000 gallons of water per year but there is presently no meter on the site. Several people questioned that figure and expressed concerns about the cost of such a large amount of water.

Harrison Higgins (243-6117, harrison.higgins@gmail.com) lives in the Watson Addition. He said that Watson is a state historic district (not a City historic overlay zone) and therefore the state may need to be involved in plans for the park.

Erin Gibson is a professional landscape designer. Her firm is Erin’s Gardens (erinsgardens.nm@gmail.com, 554-6800). She presented a plan for an extensive redesign of the park, including three new trees, no grass, xeriscape landscaping and the possibility of adding park area from the adjacent cul-de-sac. She also proposed a walkway for students from Manzano Day School to use when they are being picked up from school.

Ric Higginbotham suggested that concerned neighbors should create a task force to study proposals and advocate for the park. Alice Bergman volunteered to organize the group. Rick Miera suggested that Manzano Day School could be approached to donate to the effort.

 

ZONING

Robynn Sena Dixon is an attorney with her office at 811 8th St. NW. She and her husband have bought the house at 910 8th NW to use as their residence. She asked for DNA’s support of a proposed addition. The house is 1900 square feet and has been vacant for some time. She is proposing to build a 1300 sq. ft. addition in the rear of the property. The house is in the 8th and Forrester historic overlay zone so the addition will require approval from the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (LUCC). She said that the addition would require no zoning variances. Her hearing with the LUCC is scheduled for Wednesday, May 13. Reba and Ric supported the project. Ms. Dixon left a copy of the plans. DNA will conduct an email vote prior to the hearing.

 

COMMITTEES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ric Higginbotham described the City’s plans for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART). There will be a station at 15th and Central. Completion is scheduled for 2017 if a large federal grant is secured. ART will use dedicated bus lanes and run on Central from Unser to Louisiana.

 

At the annual retreat in April the board decided to have a table every other Saturday at the Grower’s Market (Robinson Park, 8th and Central). Ric had prepared a sign-up sheet with dates and tasks. He asked for volunteers and asked each board member to sign up for more than one Saturday.

 

Dick Deichsel said that articles for the summer newsletter should be submitted to Rowan Wymark (rowymark@gmail.com) before May 15.

 

Susan Deichsel described past events of the Downtown Discovery Club. The Projects Committee will meet at Susan and Dick’s house (508 14th NW) on Monday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m. (potluck).

 

Sandy Gregory is coordinating the National Night Out (Tuesday, August 4 at Tiguex Park, 19th and Mountain). She will have a sign-up sheet at our June meeting for the several tasks involved with the event.

 

Chan Graham is coordinating the upcoming tree survey. In Chan’s absence, Ric Higginbotham reminded the meeting that volunteers will meet for an orientation on Saturday, May 16, 8:30 a.m. at Harwood. The survey should take about two hours and volunteers will regroup for lunch (provided) around 11:30 at Mary Fox Park.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50.

 

Respectfully submitted,

David McCain

Secretary