CITY OF MISHAWAKA 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – FEBRUARY 3, 2015

 

A regular meeting of the Mishawaka Historic Preservation Commission was held Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in Room 205, City Hall, 600 East Third Street, Mishawaka IN.

Meeting was called to order at 4:00pm.

Commission members in attendance: Mike Bultinck, Jennifer Johns, Doug Merritt, Faye Sullivan, Kate Voelker. Advisory members present: Shirley McAlister, Bryan Tanner, and Cliff Zenor. Staff: Christa Hill. Visitor: Dave Straughn.

Since there were new members, each member introduced themselves.

Election of Officers:

With a motion by Kate Voelker, seconded by Mike Bultinck, and unanimously carried, Terry DeMaegd was appointed as Chairperson for 2015.

With a motion by Kate Voelker, seconded by Mike Bultinck, and unanimously carried, Nancy Seidler was appointed as Vice-Chairperson for 2015.

In the absence of both newly elected chairs, with a motion by Kate Voelker, seconded by Mike Bultinck, and unanimously carried, Cliff Zenor was appointed to run the meeting.

Adoption of the Rules of Procedure:

With a motion by Mike Bultinck, seconded by Jennifer Johns, and unanimously carried, the 2015 Rules of Procedure were adopted.

Committee Assignments:

Cliff Zenor encouraged each member to join one of the committees. He then explained the tasks/responsibilities of each committee. Jennifer Johns and Faye Sullivan volunteered for the Historic Districts/Plaques committee. Kate Voelker, Mike Bultinck, and Cliff Zenor volunteered for the Community Education and Public Relations committee. Dave Vollrath indicated his interest in the education committee via email prior to the meeting. Bryan Tanner suggested a committee to work on a “Commissioner’s Handbook” full of procedures, resources, how we operate, etc. Christa Hill pointed out the Rules of Procedure allows for an Administrative committee. The Administrative and Incentives committees were combined. Bryan Tanner volunteered to be on that committee. After the meeting, Shirley McAlister volunteered for the Administrative/Incentives committee. Those members who were not in attendance will be added to a committee at the next meeting. Starting in March, Committee Reports will be an item on the agenda.

Minutes:

The September 3, 2014, October 7, 2014, November 4, 2014, and December 2, 2014 were approved as circulated.

OLD BUSINESS

Review “Lifetime Advisory Member” honorary appointment for Dick Barnette.

Christa Hill circulated a certificate that looks similar to the regular appointment but states that this is an Honorary Appointment as A Lifetime Member of the Mishawaka Historic Preservation Commission. It would be signed by the mayor.

Bryan Tanner asked if the same thing could be done for John Gleissner. Cliff Zenor was trying to figure out how to approach that one, but would like it done for John also. Kate Voelker asked what the difficulty was. Cliff had thought John Gleissner would be a nominee for one of the preservation awards for service. Should these two be somehow combined or presented at a separate time? Kate suggested doing the honorary appointment for both Dick and John at the same time. Cliff asked how formal should we make these presentations, maybe at a Council meeting? Bryan suggested at the same meeting as the preservation awards. Cliff reminded the Commission that after Dr. Gering’s “retirement” from the Commission, he was given the Mayor’s Award and Jeff Rea gave him a Key to the City. Mike Bultinck asked if there would be one award or two? Kate explained we would make him a lifetime member of the Commission separately from the award. Cliff agreed. Kate suggested doing the lifetime member next month, in March, because preservation awards are still a couple months away. We would still like to do it at a Council meeting.

Cliff mentioned there was also talk of one of the preservation awards, the award for service going to Peg Stranz. Mike suggested she is also eligible for the Mayor’s Awards. We will talk about nominees at the March meeting. Before then, Cliff will send out a list of the preservation awards, descriptions and who has won in the past.

Update on “Historic Mishawaka” GIS map:

Through a City-wide email, Christa Hill found out about a City GIS map highlighting the historic landmarks. The IT/GIS department indicated they were looking for better pictures and/or more information. Bryan Tanner has been working on a separate, more elaborate story map, aside from the City’s IT/GIS department. Bryan said before Peg Stranz left, she had started to digitize some of the historical documents from when the homes/properties were initially given historic status. Bryan was in the process of converting that text and photos into a database, like an Excel spreadsheet. It would do the exact same thing as you see on the City’s website now, but be more tour based design.

Kate Voelker pointed out one of the items on the goals list is an intern. This would make a great intern project. To have somebody come in and find all the documents that are related to the different landmarks and have them organized digitally so that people can access them. Bryan confirmed that this was on the list of responsibilities when talking to the different universities about an intern. Bryan thinks that once we have something to show the intern, it would be more of a draw. Kate asked where the document was. Bryan explained it was more than just a document. It’s a spreadsheet, which has been previously shared. The link will be shared again for the new members and staff. The idea was to have the map inlayed to the HPC website, or at least a link to the external map page. There was a lot more information provided. Higher quality photos. There was also some talk about making it mobile appropriate so people could read it on their phones. QR code that. Kate suggested some other sites along the riverfront, like the old Uniroyal site. Mike Bultinck compared it to the Studebaker Trail sites in South Bend. Kate thinks if this is one of the goals we should be concentrating on getting the site up. For example, each person takes one house to transcribe. Christa thinks all this information is in a file, it just may not be digital yet. Mike asked about the layout or design, making sure each house had address, year built, etc. Bryan explained the spreadsheet helps identify these categories: address, date, architect, contractor, owner, owner bio, interior bio, exterior bio, photo link. Mike asked if there was a way to link the one on the City’s website to the one that we are doing? Christa suggested talking to the IT/GIS department to determine if they are compatible. Bryan can share the map he’s made through GIS Online, and they accept it as a part of their group. Bryan will send a link to everyone so they can see how the information is imputed and how it appears on the screen. Cliff asked Bryan could come up with a list of tasks and priorities in order to complete this? Bryan needs a scanned document, that can be sent to anybody, have that person/persons transcribe into the spreadsheet. Next meeting Bryan will bring his laptop and we can project it on the screen so everyone can see. Kate thinks this should be the top priority for this year. Jennifer Johns thinks that after they are all put in, they should be edited, so they all sound like they were written by the same person. Mike doesn’t think we should limit it to just residential, but add some commercial sites too, like Mishawaka High School and the band shell. Bryan suggests starting with the landmarked districts. There are ways to separate them by residential, commercial, religious, etc. Cliff thinks this will have a big effect for little or no money.

Bryan left at this time.

Mike agrees this should be our focus, until it is completed. Maybe for the first half of the year. Kate thinks we should get the plaques on the buildings. Mike thinks the rest of the stuff on the goals is stuff we’ve continuously done. Kat: logo. Mike: rebranding. Cliff $1000 discretionary budget. Quote $300 scalable for website and print. Kate asked if we got more than one bid. Tim Stonecipher, a graphic designer who’s done work for the South Bend Tribune. Kate wants more than one. Jennifer Johns had a friend, who had been forwarded the submissions from the high school students. Cliff asked for an official bid from Jennifer’s friend. Mike wants an official RFP. Then we could ask Cliff’s guy and Jennifer’s friends to respond to that. Christa Hill interjected that there may have to be advertising if we follow the official RFP procedure. Doug Merritt thinks it’s better to have more choices. A local company like Monkey House. In addition to public bid, we should target people who we know do good work.

Kate thinks for education, we should go on a behind the scenes tour of Ruthmere, where Jennifer Johns works. Christa Hill got an email about a white glove tour happening tomorrow, February 4. We want a hard hat tour.

Jennifer left at this time.

+ 1. Designate one local landmark.
Kate Voelker thinks that getting existing plaques on existing landmarks is more important that designating new landmarks.
0  2. Improve the working relationship between our Commission and the Redevelopment Commission.
+  3. Plaques for existing landmarks.
Faye Sullivan asked what the holdup was in getting them installed. Cliff explained we bought the plaques with last year’s budget but need to find a time to get out there and mount them. Kate thought it would be nice to make it an event, make a presentation, take a picture, etc. Mike says it doesn’t need to be at a meeting. Kate suggested during preservation month, given the weather. The HPC would physically install them. Cliff has done a few in the past, with help from Paul Hayden at Indiana Landmarks.
+  4. Proposing a budget to the Common Council.
Keep doing this.
+  5. Distribute Historic Preservation Month yard signs in May.
Mike wants to buy new signs, but that takes money. Doug might have a source to get donated or low cost signs. Mike wants the logo done before new signs are printed. Cliff would like to add the website or even the QR codes.
+  6. Preservation Awards for May.
Cliff offered to do the presentation, but asked for help. He will send out the list of awards and previous owners. 2013 info is on the website.
+  7. Website: updating and adding info to the HPC portion of the City’s site.
This is what Bryan Tanner was talking about earlier. Christa Hill had some easy updates, like the new membership and fixing some broken links.
+  8. New HPC logo.
This was discussed earlier.
+  9. Cosponsor history talks at Downtown Mishawaka Public Library.
The library already has the American Heritage Roundtable schedule. Dave Eisen dropped off a list for the first half of this year (attached). The HPC co-sponsors and sends out its own notices.
-  10. Continue to pursue an intern from local colleges to update data and other tasks.
Kate says it sounds like that’s not working. Mike thinks we need to get our ducks in a row before we can entice someone for an internship.
0  11. Restore, prepare, frame and offer for sale 30 keepsake portions of the Main Junior High School gymnasium floor. Begin sales promotion in April for delivery in May.
Christa asked how long it takes to put them together once we get an order? Were we looking to display them somewhere. Cliff says each one needs to be trimmed, cleaned, and put in the frame. Kate thinks that would be a good Eagle Scout project. Doug is involved with the Boy Scouts. In fact, he has a meeting next week. Cliff would be willing to come to the meeting or at least provide an example.
0  12. Send a representative from HPC to the quarterly Affiliates Meetings for Indiana Landmarks as a guest of Todd Zeiger, Director of the Northern Region, Indiana Landmarks.
Cliff pointed out it does take a day of your time. Christa asked if that counts towards our CLG? Cliff says sometimes but not always.
+  13. Send one or two members to the Indiana’s 2015 historic preservation conference.
Christa got an email asking for nominations for a scholarship. Terry wanted to go last year. Faye and Doug both seemed interested as new members. What about cost and time? Cliff said it is three days, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We can for sure get one scholarship and more if they are still available. The scholarship covers registration fees, and half a room. Those interested should email Cliff. Since it is a lot of time, Kate and Doug wondered if we could split it up between people.
-  14. Organize and offer to the public two educational presentations on historic preservation, maintaining older homes, or Mishawaka’s historic architecture.
Kate thinks we should use on the library’s programs and focus on other goals.
+  15. Arrange for HPC members two continuing education programs that qualify with the State’s Certified Local Government (CLG) requirements.
Cliff has set up one for next month’s meeting, March 3, Nine Nuggets for HPC Commissioners by Todd Zeiger, Indiana Landmarks. Kate wondered if we could use the house in Elkhart where Jennifer Johns works, if there was a way to get that in. Cliff says it can’t be just a house tour. It has to have an educational facet. Christa says there are guidelines. Mike says Todd and Paul’s time is valuable. It would be better to reach out to other Commissions to have a presentation. Cliff says since we have on for next month we can ask Todd when he is here. Cliff is aware of a speaker’s bureau through landmarks, so it might be someone other than Todd or Paul. Larger meeting space is available at the Battell Center. We’ll put the second educational program towards the fall.
+  16. In May, send letters to all local landmark property owners: thanks for caring for it; consider us a resource for info on maintaining it.
Mike thinks sending them a thank you is easy. Christa says we have all their contact information.
0  17. Continue researching other stone wall restorations like those needed for Battell Park and nearby.
Cliff asked how many Commission members remember the tour of Battell Park? Ken Prince had asked the HPC to look into what other groups. Kate thought we already did that. Cliff agrees a couple of examples were submitted. Ken is still looking. Mike ranked it low because that is a parks issue. Where is the funding coming from? Kate expressed the wall is falling in now. Cliff remembered Ken saying it was a 6 year out project a couple of years ago. Mike remembers Lehman and Lehman did some numbers back in 2000. Christa wondered if the City wanted to get grants through the HPC. Doug thinks before we put the energy in, we should know the parameters. What is the term for the project? Is there an immediate need to make it safe? Then we can gather information. Kate thinks we should look nationally since the WPA program was a national program. Cliff reintegrated all we’ve been asked to do is look into what other projects did. Cliff will ask Ken for an update on the timing.
+  18. Seek new members for the Advisory Board.
Cliff said an ad was posted on the website. Christa looked into putting something in the Communicator, the newsletter, but we may want to wait until May when we have something to report on. Dave Straughn, who attends many meetings, was asked if he would be interested. He will let us know by next month.

Cliff passed around Challenge for Mishawaka HPC 2015 (see attached).

Cliff thinks we need to focus on education. Limit what can we commit ourselves to. Focus our energy. New energy don’t want to squander.

Privilege of the Floor

There was no Privilege of the Floor.

ADJOURNMENT: 5:30pm

Cliff Zenor, Acting Chairman

Christa Hill, Associate Planner
 

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