CITY OF MISHAWAKA 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – May 6, 2015

 

A regular meeting of the Mishawaka Historic Preservation Commission was held Tuesday, May 6, 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, Terry DeMaegd, David Eisen, Judy Gray, Jennifer Johns, Doug Merritt, Nancy Seidler, and Faye Sullivan. Advisory members present: Shirley McAlister, Bryan Tanner, and Cliff Zenor. Staff: Christa Hill, Ken Prince. Guest Presenter: Mayor Dave Wood. Visitor: Dave Straughn.

Minutes:

Shirley McAlister noticed her name was misspelled on page 3 under the heading “Ball Band Planting”.

Special Presentation: Q & A with Mayor Wood

The first board the Mayor served on was the Historic Preservation Commission, so he appreciates and thanks member for their service. The Mayor took time to put his answers to the HPC’s questions down on paper. These Q&A sheets were passed around. The Mayor asked if anyone had questions or wanted clarification on any of his answers. The Mayor wants to include the HPC in more decisions, ask for their opinions, for example the Main Junior High Apartments and coming up in this meeting, a plan for Battell Park.

Visitor Dave Straughn asked what Beiger East Historic was? One of the battles. The CVS wanted to locate on the corner of Cedar Street and Lincolnway. It was zoned properly, but required the demolition of three historically significant structures. The HPC was attempted to designate, against the owner’s wishes, but it didn’t go through.

Bryan Tanner asked about landmarking properties the City owns, for example, the Main Junior High Apartments or the Battell Center. The Mayor explained that the City doesn’t have full ownership of either of those buildings. Ken said that the Troyer Group has been contracted to draw up some plans for the Battell Center, which they will be sharing with the HPC. Restoring back to original would be costly. In some case, they are keeping with the character the windows, but they will also be energy efficient.

Special Presentation: Battell Park, Mayor Wood and Ken Prince

The City is currently working on a sewer project along Mishawaka Avenue. As long as the street is torn up, they will add parallel parking. This requires the road to be widened. Widening the road pushes the sidewalk further south. Moving the sidewalk south affects some of the trees. DLZ has done a plan to locate the walk and save the most trees. Restoration of the Rock Garden includes a focal point, like a pedestrian Bridge. The Mayor’s grand plan includes a Veterans Memorial. Most of this plan has no funding, so there are no immediate plans, but they wanted to put all on the table. What is happening right now, will be coming before you in June asking for a Certificate of Appropriateness, is removing unhealthy trees, or trees in the way, a sign designed to match the WPA stone work, like the ones at Merrifield Park and the new pathway. No trees block moving the sidewalk on the west end of the park, but once you get closer to Liberty, there are more trees. Part of regular maintenance should be removal of diseased or unhealthy trees.

Doug Merritt appreciated the amount of work that went into the plan.

Judy Gray asked if any work would be done to the Rock Garden. This is work that will be done as part of the sewer project.

Dave Eisen asked if the sign could incorporate what year it was established on the sign? Doug Merritt thinks there is already a marker out there.

The walkway was designed to avoid trees. The connection with the Riverwalk widens the path around the Rock Garden. Accessibility has been an issue, so we’ve added a connection to the bandshell. Also a connection between the bandshell and the Riverwalk. Play areas have no identified, but need work. The trees that are being removed are either in the way of improvements, are simply diseased of dead, or they are a danger to the rock garden. Some trees are small enough that they could be relocated. Tree roots have gotten too close to the Rock Garden and could cause damage.

Cliff Zenor asked about the existing sports fields. The Mayor said it would be designed as ½ basketball and ½ tennis.

Doug Merritt asked if new trees will be planted. They Mayor confirmed they would plant more trees than they took out. Yellow trees will be removed. Circles are new trees. There are three orange trees that need further consideration to decide what to do with them.

Cliff Zenor wanted to confirm if there were any special trees, for example, planted by school children as an Arbor Day activity, that should be saved. There are no trees that have a special plaque to inform us if a tree is special.

The Civil War Monument is the tall focal point of the park and not have anything conflict with that. The plan proposes a low memorial opposite with a walkway between. The big issues with the Rock Garden are the Riverwalk and the bridge overlook. Accessibility has always been an issue. The restoration of the Rock Garden and promote it as an asset. The pathway was a wider radius, a bridge crossing and overlook would allow for viewing. In order to ensure the bridge doesn’t touch the Rock Garden, the pathway approach must be longer.

Faye Sullivan asked if bikes would be allowed on the bridge. The Mayor realizes this will be a popular spot, therefore has suggested bump outs so people could enjoy the view out of the way of traffic. The bridge would be designed to withstand an ATV used by the Parks Department.

Cliff Zenor asked how long? 100’

Doug Merritt asked if they had considered an I-beam. The Mayor does not want the bridge to compete for attention, but rather compliment. That is why the color would be a patina green, to match the bandshell.

Terry DeMaegd asked if the walk was accessible. Ken explained the last time we tried to make something accessible we failed. In order to not disturb the rock wall, it doesn’t look very harmonious and over the years it has loosened and is not safe. By building around the Rock Garden, they can be enjoyed by all. Sidewalks close to the Rock Garden are not handicap accessible.

Cliff Zenor asked when the handrail project was done. Ken Prince said they were installed in 2008, so either 2008 or late 2007. Cliff asked if there were other designs? Ken said there was not a hybrid option.

Doug Merritt thinks wondered if the HPC could protect the rock wall, especially from accessibility. The Mayor says there is no funding for maintenance, so we are bringing the funding in for the bridge from another source. We don’t want to alter, we want to restore. Some garden clubs fundraise specifically for repairs to the Rock Garden. Hand work is very expensive. With the removal of the spirea, the rock wall was able to be cleaned so it is back to its original glory. Ken Price referred to the 1938 plan, which called for the area immediately around the rock wall to be flower beds. We do not intend to go back to the original plan, but its nice to know how it evolved.

A willow tree that has fallen down will need to be removed. It was planted in the middle one of the fish ponds.

The Veteran’s Walk will be a tree lined walkway with benches. There are two options; ornamental trees or overstory canopy trees. A new low monument celebrating Mishawaka’s involvement in the military. It will contain the names of those who have given their lives. Additionally, people can buy a brick with a name of those who served. We want this to be a comprehensive Veteran’s memorial, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Mike Miller, who ran the Memorial Day parade, was very involved with the America Legion, presenting flags at Veteran’s funerals, etc. The Mayor promised him a Veteran’s Memorial and the Mayor intends to keep that promise. This will also require us to fix the foundation of the Civil War Monument. The soldier is facing east, which would put his back to the new memorial. Can he be moved or is there significance to him facing east. The fencing is likely not original. There is an opening, but it keeps people from getting too closes, especially with the plantings. The flagpole would be relocated to the Liberty Street entrance, as to not compete with the monument. There is also a secluded area that might be set aside for a seating area. This is a very preliminary concept at this point.

Faye Sullivan asked if all the new parking would be parallel parking or would it be diagonal? It would all be parallel; there isn’t enough room to do it any other way. Judy Gray asked how many spaces are there currently. The Mayor can’t tell you currently, but the City is also in discussion with St Monica’s for a new municipal parking lot.

Doug Merritt appreciates the traffic calming and hopes it would continue. He likes the walkway with the ornamental trees and the pedestal light. Will they be LED lights? Central Park is all LED.

Cliff Zenor asked what we needed to approve? Ken Prince clarified approval is needed for the removal of trees, realignment of walk around Rock Garden, new walks, and new sign. We do not need approval for the bridge, activity or the veterans portion at this time. The Mayor pointed out some specific items on the Power Point.

Faye Sullivan asked if they could recycle the concrete? Would the ornamental trees mature in our lifetime? Ornamental trees grow slower, but flower earlier.

Cliff Zenor sees the benefit of both ornamental and shade trees.

Doug Merritt asked about a relationship with the Methodist Church for when there are special events at the park.

Mike Bultinck pointed out that there is no parking now, except on the street.

Judy Gray asked about the parking for the River Rock apartments. Ken Prince confirmed it would be on site.

Cliff Zenor asked about the sewer alignment. The Mayor confirmed on the south side of the road. We spend so much money on what goes in the ground, we should spend some money on something people can use and enjoy.

Faye Sullivan asked if there were small parts her philanthropic organization could fundraise for? Ken Prince suggested a maintenance activity, like planting or weeding, over buying a tree. The Mayor says the Parks Department has memorial guidelines. People have been added memorials without prior approval from the City.

Cliff Zenor, Bryan Tanner, and Doug Merritt voiced their approval of the project.

Dave Eisen asked if they were keeping the cannon base or incorporating it into the Veteran’s walk? Ken Prince doesn’t know if it’s there anymore. It may only look like a square of concrete.

Mayor Wood announced the Battell Center improvements would be the next project, starting in the fall.

Faye Sullivan asked how long each phase would take. They Mayor confirmed Phase 1 would be completed this year. The rest is up to the funding.

Battell Park will include some new safety features, such as lights, security camera, emergency call boxes and defibrillator.

Ken Prince will be back next month to present an official Certificate of Approriateness.

Cliff Zenor asked if they were closing the road. They Mayor would like to keep at least one lane open. Mike Bultinck pointed out the other parts of the road have been closed completely.

Mike Bultinck left at this time.

Committee Reports:

Historic Districts/Plaques: Christa Hill heard from Kate Voelker about the plaques. Doug Merritt will get draft language to Kate by Friday. Christa would like to include the scheduled times in the press release. Bryan Tanner confirmed the two dates were Saturday May 16 and Saturday May 23 to deliver/install plaques.

Public Relations and Community Education: There was no report. The press release mentioned above will include signs, plaques, awards and the story map. Terry DeMaegd thanked Dave Eisen for his presentation on the WPA work at the last American Heritage Roundtable. According to the Mayor’s answers, education should be a top goal.

Administration/Incentives: No progress was made.

OLD BUSINESS

Story Map

Couple sites still need information. Hopefully will be active within the first couple weeks of June, but Bryan Tanner still need to talk to IT.

Logo

Doug Merritt and Mike Bultinck came up with 5 designs total, but only brought one to the meeting, but with several versions. Cliff Zenor says our current logo is just clip-art. Doug thinks it represents the Battell Park bandshell. They looked at other HPC logos. The elements within the design represent church windows, the M from Mishawaka High School’s tower and the river. There was also the possibility of doing something in a shadow, similar to Indiana Landmarks. It needs to be versatile because it will be used on signs, website, and letterhead. Christa Hill pointed out that the color would not come through on letterhead, but would be acceptable on the website or signs.

Thoughts? Letters would be moved to the left or right. The overall consensus was that the window looks like a church. Rounding the arch or shortening the window may make it look less church-like. Keep the river, but make it more simple. Even though it follows the curve of the actual river, it might be hard to understand. Cliff suggested the griffon on the Battell Park bandshell.

Pricing for signs was investigated through Pack, because they do it in house. Based on the size of the sign, the size of the letters, color palate, for 150 signs the price would be $4.98 per sign single color, $7.51 two color. Doug also investigated the possibility of getting more permanent signs at the cost of $65-70. Maybe we could even mark them up $5 and make a little extra money. Terry DeMaegd pointed out the Mayor’s responses said not to focus on fundraising and this might be hard to get the money going through a middle man of the sign company.

The fundraising budget is $509.71. The other $1500 is within the Planning budget and therefore not easily to separate, however we don’t think anything has been used to date.

Judy Gray asked about Historic Letter. Doug used a typeface that originated from WPA Posters. Bryan Tanner approves of the lettering.

Some revisions: text to the left, river below. Doug will have revisions prior to the June meeting.

Bryan Tanner left at this time.

Preservation Conference Recap

Christa Hill said we gained a lot of contacts. One thing that stood out was the signs for Kokomo downtown tour. It features a QR code, phone number and code number. She was able to talk to the people behind it; it is sponsored half by historic preservation, half by the visitor’s bureau. Jennifer Johns said they use a similar program called I-Spy at Ruthemere.

Terry DeMaegd said the most interesting speech was about reusing industrial sites. Too bad its too late for some of our industrial buildings.

Preservation Awards

All winners have been contacted. Only Cynthia Harrington has responded. The awards will be officially presented at the May 18th Council meeting. Christa Hill will look at our supply catalog for frames. Cliff will look for frames at the store. We will need the awards back in time for Terry and the Mayor to sign them.

Ball Band Planting

Doug Merritt asked if he would be contacted directly. Christa Hill and Cliff Zenor said you just show up. Rick Springer will be there with the flowers, some tools and directions. Kids are welcome.

NEW BUSINESS

Terry DeMaegd requested to tabled “correspondence” and “media contact” to the next meeting due to the time.

Summerfest Booth

Christa Hill contacted Parks Department. As a City entity, we wouldn’t have to pay. They may even provide us a tent and a table. What would we be doing? Its Friday 5-10, Saturday all day. Doug Merritt asked if we had handouts. Cliff Zenor said no. Doug suggested getting brochures from Indiana Landmarks. We have no identification to say who we are, like a banner. We can’t sell anything, like water, because there are food vendors. Terry DeMaegd thinks we don’t have enough time for this year, keep on agenda for next year.

June Meeting Location Change

The agenda says next month’s meeting will be at Doug Merritt’s firehouse, however, since we have two Certificates of Appropriateness to hear, it would be more appropriate to have the meeting at City Hall.

Signs

AREA 1 Bryan Tanner
AREA 2 Shirley McAlister
AREA 3 Doug Merritt
AREA 4 Dave Eisen
AREA 5 Judy Gray
AREA 6 Mike Bultinck
AREA 7 Nancy Siedler
AREA 8 Faye Sullivan
AREA 9 Kate Voelker
AREA 10 Terry DeMaegd

Please put them out by this weekend. There may be some extras, but they say week.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

Upon a motion by Dave Eisen and seconded by Nancy Siedler, the meeting was ADJOURNED at 5:55pm.

 

Terry DeMaegd, Chairman

Christa Hill, Associate Planner
 

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