Minutes March 10, 2015

Southwest Neighborhood Association of Saratoga Springs
Minutes – Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The meeting was held in the conference room at Saratoga Eagle in Grande Industrial Park, with Commissioner Mathiesen attending as well as invited guest speakers.
SWNA officers’ introductions and reports:
President- Molly Gagné opened the meeting at 7:05 PM.
Vice President – Candyce Robenstein reported that 2014 tax filings for SWNA were completed electronically, using the required 990 form for non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations. This annual filing is critical to maintaining non-profit status.
Treasurer – Dave Lauzon reported SWNA bank balances as of 3/9/15: general funds – $3,163.76, Geyser Trail earmarked funds – $12,650.17, with total funds – $15,813.93
With regards to unpaid SWNA dues for 2015 ($10/yr),Dave said he would shortly be mailing payment requests with SASE’s in an effort to collect these dues and that any such dues paid at close of the meeting would save on postage costs.
Corresponding Secretary – Margaret Prough(absent) reported via email that she had sent ‘thank you’ letters to: Commissioner Scirocco for the two loads of sand/salt mix placed on the corner of Hathorn and Quevic for the convenience of Geyser Crest residents; Dan Frankowski for hosting our 1/13/15 meeting at Quad Graphics; Mike Emery for his welcoming and informative tour of the Quad plant and facilities; and Steve Di Loreto to thank Ball Corporation for their generous gift of $500.00.
Recording Secretary- Karen Villesvik was elected to this position by single vote ballot after Molly reported that Karen had expressed via letter to SWNA her interest in filling the vacancy.

Police Report – Lt. Robert Jillson and Officer John Van Wie of SSPD were present and reported that recent incidents in the area were similar to those in the rest of Saratoga Springs, and were generally “quality of life” issues. Copies of incident logs from 1/1/15 to date were shared with attendees, and a recent burglary arrest on Hathorn Blvd. was clarified as ‘non-random’. Officer Van Wie is involved with community enforcement and may be the future liaison for the southwest neighborhood (a meeting of Southwest Neighborhood Watch is to be announced by Rob Gatt). Other topics were traffic concerns, cautions regarding suspicious/scam emails and phone calls, and the planned reinvigoration of the city’s K9 and mounted patrol programs.

Old Business
New Recording Secretary was elected to 2 year term (see above).
Molly relayed information from Dan Cogan that the structurally compromised home at 62 Hathorn Blvd. has been sold, and that Code Enforcement had no new concerns in our neighborhood.
Devin DalPos reported on the complexities and slow progress of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, and he encouraged SWNA to communicate its concerns and ideas in a formal letter as well as by appearing at CP meetings, as other Saratoga entities have done. Of particular concern to SWNA is the parking of RV’s, boats, storage trailers, etc., along street frontage or in front yards (line of sight), with resulting detraction from property appeal and values. Information on CP meeting dates is available on the city’s website,
The Town of Milton will be completing their Geyser Road improvement project this Spring (sidewalks, landscaping, etc.) as soon as the ground is stable from thaw.
The Saratoga Springs Safe Routes to School project for Geyser Road Elementary will be done this summer with on-demand crossing light installed across from school. On related topics, the Geyser Trail is projected for 2016 completion, and information on Route 50 federally funded road improvements beginning 3/26/15 and finishing in the fall were described in detail by Commissioner Mathiesen.
Peter and Liz Igler volunteered to head the proposed SWNA Neighborhood Garage Sale to be held late May/early June; those interested in participating should contact them or Molly.
The SWNA website continues to be improved and updated through the efforts of Jason Yourdon (tech), Wally Eton (Geyser Trail), and Liz Igler (Facebook link).
Molly still has some free day passes for riding CDTA.

New Business
Dave Lauzon distributed copies of the Saratoga County Annual Sale catalogue for ordering shrubs, trees, mulch, etc., and said he will again (as Master Gardener) be offering free soil Ph testing later this Spring to SWNA members.
Molly Gagné reported that Supervisor Veitch discovered unclaimed funds (unspecified amount) belonging to the defunct Saratoga Springs Geyser Crest Civic Association. A former officer of this group would need to be found in order to submit a claim.
A meeting at Ball Corporation was to be held Friday, 3/13/15 to address traffic concerns on Adams Road.
Tom Denny leads the city’s Centennial Tree Project, in which large species trees are to be planted in highly visible places around the city. Member Russ Lehr suggested possible planting locations at the Veterans Memorial adjacent to Geyser recreation field , near the Grande Industrial Park entrance sign, and in future along the Geyser Trail. The possibility of SWNA contributing funds was mentioned but not decided on.

Guest Speaker
Albert Pickens, Geyser Road Elementary music teacher and The Geyser Road Orchard advisor

Geyser Road school teacher Albert Pickens spoke in detail of his multi-disciplinary project, the Geyser Road Apple Orchard, which will soon break ground between the school’s east entrance and the Rec Field fencing, just behind where the Geyser Trail will run. The orchard will start with the planting of 12 apple trees of 6 varieties, mature enough to bear fruit this-coming fall, with additional trees to be planted over the next several years to a total of 24. There will be a surrounding 8 ft ‘deer fence’, and benches placed among the trees. The orchard will be maintained by students using organic growing methods for soil enhancement, pest control, and weeding.
Albert explained that the goals of his school-wide project are to give students hands-on experience in planting, maintaining and harvesting fruit crops, to create an afterschool G.R.O.W. Club, to enhance the school’s curriculum with an outdoor classroom setting, and to beautify the school grounds and greater community. He provided orchard information packets to members.
The starting cost of the orchard is estimated at $6000-$7000, with about $1200 still to be raised. The SWNA response was enthusiastic, and after discussion the motion was made with unanimous approval to donate $300 to this worthy project from the general funds. This donation will be used as needed and Albert said that SWNA would be credited on a plaque of orchard donors. SWNA will email all members with the info from the packet on how to individually donate funds and/or labor to this project.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.

Next meeting will be held at Saratoga Eagle on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, at 7 PM.

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