Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n24)
BRVA votes in new board of directors
posted: Nov. 30, 2007
The November meeting of the Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA) was held on November 20, 2007, at the Indianapolis Art Center. This was the meeting in which the annual BRVA board election was conducted.
This year five board positions were up for grabs. An amazing 13 residents submitted nominations for those five spots. Before the election began, two of the nominees withdrew their nominations due to personal situations that arose. Three of the nominees, Cathy Adler (secretary), Diane Seybert and Michael Seufert, were incumbents. One, Elizabeth Ricke, had been appointed to the board when the Broad Ripple Merchants Group became part of the BRVA. The others, Tom Healy, Jim Holland, Martha Hoover, Bill Levin, Gino Pizzi, Keith Trump and Jim Wodock, were the non-incumbant nominees.
Over 90 members of the BRVA showed up to the November meeting to cast votes for new board members. John D. Hague (left) watches over the ballot box at the request of the BRVA due to controversies this year.
The meeting was called to order a bit late due to the lengthy process of registering attendees and handing out ballots. Close to 90 filled the auditorium at the Art Center. BRVA president Ellen Morley Matthews recognized three past BRVA presidents that were in attendance - Ed Cheikh, John O'Hara and Van Kirby.
Ellen said how pleased she was with the number of nominees this year. There are some years in which there are more open positions than there are nominees. She mentioned that serving on the board is not the only way to help the Village. Residents are welcomed to serve on any of the numerous committees and to volunteer for Village events.
Ellen announced that the BRVA will meet with district 3 councilor Ryan Vaughn to help with the transition from Mayor Peterson to mayor-elect Greg Ballard. This meeting was to be on November 28 at Old National Bank.
Sandy Arnold gave the treasurer's report. The huge success of the annual home tour, Ripple Effect run, and increased membership helped the treasury. The 2008 budget is being developed. One major item in the budget is a "green machine" to sweep the sidewalks and streets.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer Michael Martin discussed the crime status for the Broad Ripple area and answered several questions. Some arrests have been made recently and the robberies have slowed down. Martin said that tagging (graffiti) has slowed a bit.
"We know who a lot of the people are that are doing it," said Martin. "To be honest with you, if we kept an actual book of all the tags we would probably run out of paper. We know who a lot of the individuals are. We made two arrests on two taggers." One of those arrests was for graffiti against a local restaurant. That restaurant followed through with the prosecuting and received 1000 dollars to help pay for the clean up. Martin said that many other establishments call in complaints about tagging, but don't follow up with prosecution and, therefore, do not receive the clean-up dollars.
There was a question about the taggers from the audience. "Do you know from your experience if bringing them in and prosecuting them is deterring them?"
Martin answered, "To be honest with you, probably not. I'm not going to try to sugar-coat it for you guys. The way the system works is we lock them up, they go to jail for a few hours and get out. It is only a misdemeanor unless it is 2500 dollars or more [of damage] and then it is a felony and if it is their first time, they get alternate misdemeanor sentencing."
"So, there's not really much for them to be scared of, other than if we [IMPD] show up and they take off running. If we have to run [after them], we get tired we don't like that!" laughed Martin.
The election was next. Each of the 11 candidates was given three minutes to speak. The audience was allowed unlimited time for questioning each candidate. The speaking part went smoothly. It was the question portion where things got a little out of control. [I plan to comment in an editorial in a future issue of this election. -Alan] It was clear by the tone of many of the questions posed that emotions were running high and nerves were on edge. After all of the candidates finished their presentations, the ballots were collected. This was scheduled to occur at 8:05 p.m., but actually happened after 9 p.m.
The ballot box was removed from the auditorium under the care of "a well-respected elder statesman" [my dad!] and taken to a meeting room to count the votes.
Next on the agenda were the committee reports and an account of the past year's accomplishments:
Beautification - Rich Bees - Quarterly Village clean-ups: The last one for 2007 will be Saturday, December 1 at 8 a.m. beginning at the fire station. Karyn Atkinson organized the planting of the firehouse garden, previously known as "duck muck park". Cortellini is working with restaurants to facilitate widespread recycling. One hundred trees were planted along College Avenue with the help of 150 volunteers. The committee is working with area businesses to formalize sidewalk cleaning. Arrangements were made with the City of Indianapolis to increase the street sweeping on the weekends. Arrangements were made with the Peterson administration to send a portion of the Village parking meter collections back to Broad Ripple. A question from the audience about where residents can recycle has prompted us to add a recycling section to future issues of the Gazette (See page A3).
Business Division - Elizabeth Ricke - There were many successful events in 2007: the Spring and Fall Gallery Tours, Summer Sidewalk Sale and the Holiday Preview Party. A holiday merchant punch card promotion is ongoing. Shoppers who obtain the required number of punches from local merchants are eligible for a 500 dollar gift basket drawing. The business membership numbers have increased. Five thousand dining brochures and 5,000 shopping brochures will be distributed downtown and on the northside of Indianapolis to promote Broad Ripple businesses. In addition to the ongoing daytime merchant meetings that are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m., the business division has started holding after-hours business meetings.
Communications - Diane Seybert - The BRVA has been publishing the Village News and Views newsletter in the center spread of the Gazette since March. Sharon Freeland edits it and Kitty Shepard does the layout. Jeb Banner has facilitated the use of Constant Contact, an email system, used now to communicate BRVA information to residents. When the system was first used there were 200 people on the recipient list. Currently, over 1300 have signed up to receive the regular emails.
Cultural District - Sharon Freeland - Broad Ripple continues to receive funds and support from the Cultural Tourism Initiative and Indianapolis Downtown Inc. to enhance the College Avenue gateway experience. This includes the tree plantings and the development of the median gardens. The map pedestals received updated business directory listings to include more local businesses. The Village website continues to improve: www.discoverbroadripplevillage.com. The Broad Ripple Village "mural" sculpture was installed on the northern side of 902 Westfield Boulevard. A grant was used to produce Broad Ripple Village license plates. The plates that are intended for the front bracket of a car are free and available around the Village. Dozens of radio and TV spots have aired to promote the Village.
Farmers Market - Sharon Freeland (filling in for Carolyn Savill) - The Farmer's Market had a great year. 40 vendors filled the 35 booth spaces through the summer and early fall months. The market will return to the Broad Ripple High School parking lot for 2008.
Membership - Cathy Adler - There was a 30 percent increase in membership in 2007. Feedback and comments from local residents are welcomed. The next BRVA directory should be available next month. It is in the edit stage at this time.
Public Safety - Michael Seufert - The committee has successfully kept after the City of Indianapolis to continue Community Policing. This effort will continue with the new city administration.
Ripple Effect - Ellen Morley Matthews - The first Ripple Effect 4-mile run/walk had approximately 300 participants. That is similar to the turnout of the first Drumstick Dash. The Dash, now in its fifth year, draws over 5,000. The BRVA expects similar expansion for the Ripple Effect.
Historic Home Tour - Sue Zilisch - The 3rd annual home tour had 1,000 visitors. The 2008 tour will be held on September 27, 2008.
Sue Zilisch and Diane Seybert promoted "Lights Up" Broad Ripple at the BRVA meeting.
Broad Ripple Lights Up - Diane Seybert/Sue Zilisch - Diane and Sue were decked out in animated holiday hats to report on the upcoming Lights Up decorating contest. Participants can receive a 10 percent discount on holiday decorations from White's Ace Hardware located on Westfield Boulevard in Nora. The entry form is available in this issue of the Gazette on page A9. Yellow Rose Carriage will transport the judges around the Village. The fire station tree lighting will occur at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 14.
Town Hall Meetings - Ellen Morley Matthews (filling in for Peter Dean) - The BRVA held two Town Hall meetings in 2007, connecting the residents with city officials.
Next, Ellen recognized a number of people and businesses that have contributed to the betterment of the Village in 2007 - Indianapolis Art Center, IMPD, BRHS/Greg Allen, Misha Rabinowitch, Ryan Vaughn, Broad Ripple United Methodist Church, Old National Bank, Barbara Wilder and Rachel Buckmaster.
At 10 p.m., the ballot box was returned to the auditorium with the list of the five newly elected BRVA board members - Cathy Adler, Jim Holland, Elizabeth Ricke, Michael Seufert and Diane Seybert.
Last on the agenda was community sharing: Jay Wetzel announced the upcoming Christmas on the Corner event that will be held on the corner of Primrose and Broad Ripple Avenue on December 8, 2007. The festivities began at 6 p.m. and the lights are scheduled to go on at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Ronald McDonald house.
There is no BRVA meeting in December. The next public meeting will be Tuesday, January 15, 2008, at 7 p.m. at the Indianapolis Art Center.