President Maceo George called the January 20th, 2015 meeting of the University Park Civic Association (UPCA) to order at 6:40 p.m. All stood for the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. President George reported copies of the minutes from the November and December, 2014 UPCA meetings were distributed at sign in table for review. With no changes suggested, the motion was made and seconded to approve the November and December, 2014 UPCA minutes as presented. The motion carried. The minutes will be filed as presented.
President George reported that Councilman Clay Yarborough and the four District 1 City Council candidates are scheduled to join our meeting this evening and we will proceed with UPCA business until their arrival. He noted the focus of the February UPCA meeting is on planning 2015 UPCA activities.
President George presented the nominations for the UPCA position of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Sergeant at Arms for 2015. Nominations were open to the floor for each position. With no nominations from the floor, the following slate of candidates was reviewed, presented, and accepted by acclimation as follows:
President: Maceo George
Vice President: Harry Lang
Secretary: Judy Wolfe
Treasurer: Earl Kelly
Sergeant at Arms: Jim Shields
President George thanked Shirley George for her help as Vice President over the past year. Shirley will now coordinate the UPCA Crime Watch Program. Shirley noted that Harry Lang as Vice President will provide additional creative ideas to UPCA and she will continue to assist Maceo in his position as President. Maceo also expressed his thanks to Earl Kelly for continuing to serve as Treasurer after more than 40 years of involvement in UPCA.
Treasurer Earl Kelly gave the Treasurer’s report as follows:
All bills have been paid and the current balance in the UPCA checking account is $7157.00.
The UPCA Certificate of Deposit continues to grow with the 0.9% interest rate.
There was a motion and second to approve the Treasurer’s report as presented. The motion carried. Mr. Kelly encouraged everyone to renew their UPCA membership by paying the $25 annual dues. It was noted that UPCA membership is not required to attend the monthly UPCA meetings.
Laurel Conderman presented the highlights from the January 12th, 2015 Community Planning Advisory Council (CPAC) meeting. She noted that she and Shirley George are the UPCA representatives to the CPAC as appointed by the Mayor to this Council. The CPAC is similar to a mini-City Council meeting with representatives from almost all the City departments providing an update. Anyone may attend these meetings which are held monthly, usually the second Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Cecil Field. Highlights from this meeting:
- JSO: Reported an increase in auto theft which they attributed to juveniles checking if cars are locked. Encouraged securing cars and keeping items out of sight. The following website posts almost real-time police activity – www.callsforservice.jaxsheriff.org.
- Mayor’s Liaison: Reported that the JaxPort, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Mayor’s office and Riverkeeper had reached a tentative agreement that the Riverkeeper would not file suit about the proposed river dredging for JaxPort in exchange for removal of the Rodman Dam. The Mayor’s office was hoping this proposal could move ahead to prevent any delays in the river dredging.
- Chris Hand, Chief of Staff at the Mayor’s office, provided an extensive review of the Police and Fire Pension Fund negotiation history and current status. Both sides have made compromises but negotiations continue.
- JaxEX (Craig Field): Blue Sky Golf Clubhouse is open to the public for dining – has good service, good food at reasonable pricing.
- Upcoming events in Jacksonville:
1/29/2015 – 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Open House; 6:30 p.m. – Where: Southside Christian Church, 6755 Atlantic Blvd.
What: Public meeting about proposed improvements to Atlantic Blvd. and University Blvd. intersection
4/18/2015 – Day-long event – Where: Arboretum Park – off Monument Road by I-295 East beltway
What: Art of Nature event
4/18/2015 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Where: Regency Square Mall
What: SHADCO Safety Rodeo: Bikes and helmets fitting
It was suggested to invite the Riverkeeper to a future UPCA meeting for additional information on the proposal of opening the Rodman Dam and dredging of the St. Johns River for JaxPort. President George noted he will invite the Riverkeeper to the March UPCA meeting.
President George gave Sergeant at Arms Jim Shields an opportunity to introduce himself. Jim reported he moved to UPCA in August, 2014. He coordinates area running races, hosting over 50 events per year. Entry fees are usually $20/runner. It usually takes 3 to 4 months to develop a race by getting the necessary permits and runner registrations.
Vice President Shirley George offered thanks to all the residents who delivered the UPCA meeting flyer. Her goal is to have one person per street delivering these monthly flyers. She enjoyed being Vice President the past year and would still be volunteering to coordinate the Crime Watch and in various areas of the UPCA.
President George recognized Belinda Peoples from Councilman Clay Yarborough’s office in the audience. Belinda reported that unfortunately Clay would not be able to attend tonight’s meeting as planned due to a call from his family requiring his attention. She noted that the candidates for District 1 City Council seat were attending the Old Arlington Inc. meeting that she had just come from and they might not be able to attend our meeting this evening either. She offered to field any questions and provided updates on the following:
- Jacksonville University (JU) –
Operation Dolphin – JU is working with the city on improvements to Merrill Road – utility lines to be placed underground; more shops, cafes, within a walkable distance from JU.
Land just south of JU was purchased for student housing. Was previously used for the Boys’ Home.
Land just north of JU will be used in to develop an entrepreneurial and professional center along with a school of nursing facility.
- The city has no plans to renovate the swimming pool at Blue Cypress. The estimated cost would be $2 million which was not available in the budget.
- FEMA funds were being used to restore Ft. Caroline Pool after a storm took the pool pump out of commission. This pool should reopen by swim season this year.
- Regency Mall – The new owners plan mixed use – office space and retail. JC Penney is not planning to close. Belk is relocating to area by Kernan and Atlantic Blvd. Some reported they had heard an IKEA store might go into Regency Mall but Belinda did not have any information about that.
- Issue of drainage ditches needing to be cleaned out was discussed. Questioned when inmate work crew could be scheduled to provide this service. Belinda made a note of this issue and explained the decreased number in inmate work crews as well as the complicated process of scheduling these crews.
- Belinda suggested calling the 630-CITY for any city maintenance requests and then calling her with this confirmation number to followup if not completed.
- Status of the house at 5379 Golf Course that has been abandoned for at least 5 years – Belinda said she will investigate if there is any city department involvement with this house.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m. The next UPCA Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the University Park Public Library. President George hopes to be able to reschedule Councilman Yarborough and the four District 1 City Council candidates to attend that meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Laurel Conderman