- Getting Things Done -
Welcome to the Harmony Neighborhood Association
Agenda from the second open meeting
Q&A with Steve Barrett - Director of Public Works
What's the current stepped-up street cleaning schedule downtown and in the Harmony?
The sweeper cleans the downtown area on Wednesday and Saturdays.
BABB is still funding the part time workers to clean the downtown area. It has been going well.
The BABB workers (the same workers we had this summer) have been working
after school when they can. One of the guy's has been working 2hr Monday -
Friday. They both work on Saturday and some Sundays. We will do this until
the weather takes over.
Am I correct that the trash is picked up only weekdays? Did you mention that it was more on high traffic weekends?
The trash is picked up Mon through Friday. We also will pick up trash when
we work on Saturdays. If there is a big event I have a crew empty trash
barrels on weekends.
Is putting a trash receptacle on the corner by SEVCA do-able? How is that accomplished if one is not currently available?
The trash contract allows for up to 4 containers in the Harmony Parking lot.
I think we have 3 now? So we could add another container, the one we added
was purchased by BABB.
Are there any plans that you know of that are in the works to do major improvements to the Harmony Lot? When was the last one done when the medians were widened? Was that the last big refurb?
The last upgrade that was done to the Harmony Parking lot was done in 1986.
We have been discussing an upgrade. We did put an improvement plan in the
capital budget for 2014 for $200,000.
Any thoughts on a Harmony Recycling Station. I recently began recycling and I now have a hallway full of clean recyclable materials. It would be nice if there was a clean, well maintained, attractive recycling station for downtown residents. Have you already looked into this?
We do need to talk about recycling.
Notes from Coffee Talk
Deanna, Wendy, and Bob at Coffee Country.
What we discussed...
Nov 17th Meeting Format - Facilitator?
Review of Meeting Agenda
Discussion of Refreshments
Discussion of Deanna's Visit to BCR
Combined Committees on Policing Issues
Minutes not submitted
Beautification, Clean-Up & Recycling Subcommittee
Report from Walk Around with Steve Barrett
We met in the Harmony at 1:00pm on an unusually rainy and windy day. Present were Steve Barrett from the Department of Public Works, Greg Worden, Andrea Livermore, and Bob Viens. While Steve was waiting for the meeting to begin, he observed a parking sign that had been falling over for some time. He called it in and we were all impressed to see the sign removed while the meeting was still in session. We started with a general discussion of the role of the Public Works Department in the Harmony Lot. We discussed the trash situation and Steve mentioned that there were more trash cans available and/or on the way. We discussed the town's role in the Holiday light displays and the challenges faced by getting power to the lights in the center of the lot. We also discussed the lights. The large street lights in the Harmony were installed when the lot was constructed in the late 1950's. There is currently a plan on the table to replace those lights with new decorative lights like the ones lining the rest of the downtown streets. We also had a discussion of our vision for the Harmony and Steve asserted his opinion that it was primarily a parking lot and should remain as such. To be continued...
Notes from the Steering Committee Meeting
Garfield called the meeting to address Bob Viens' concerns about the
original five-committee organization structure and to address the
overlaps that had already started to emerge from the current
committees. Present were Audrey Garfield, Barb Sondag, Pete DiMarino,
Pat DeFelice, and Bob Viens. The meeting began with each member
receiving a packet containing the latest front page of the website
harmonylot.org , along with a proposal to restructure the
association, an endorsement and suggestion for improving the proposal
that was posted on the website's blog, a photograph of his proposed anti-trash campaign,
and reprints of that weeks Reformer articles and letters about the
Harmony lot. Bob presented his proposal to streamline the association.
His concern was that the original five-committee structure was hastily
imposed on the association by the town representatives and was never
discussed or voted on. According to Bob, his proposal was offered as a
basic format designed to spark a discussion of how the association
could be structured to ensure the greatest hope for success. He further
argued that once a noticeable change had occurred in Harmony and people
become less inflamed, general interest would naturally diminish. He
argued that in order to make the association as lean and efficient as
possible, the number of committees must be reduced and a voting and
membership structure should be established. He further proposed that
the members of the steering committee should be elected from among the
larger member body, all of whom would have association voting
privileges. His proposed sub-committees would deal with two broad areas
of focus. One would work toward rethinking and redefining the physical
space and one to build a strong Harmony Community within the
neighborhood. The Steering Committee decided to hold off on discussing
the proposal, citing their wish to let the original committee structure
play out and let the larger membership body decide on it during the
November Open Town Forum.
Pete DiMarino expressed his admiration for the association but regretfully announced that because of work and family time constraints, he would no longer be playing a leadership role on any of the sub-committees. It was further confirmed that Sarah Dreher, who was on the original Steering committee had withdrawn for similar reasons. Another member present expressed a similar inclination, but it was not recorded into the record at the time of the meeting. If anyone on the Steering committee recalls, please let me know.
Bob announced he had been invited to appear on WKVT's Live and Local. An objection was raised by about a concern that Bob was assuming an overly controlling role in the association. It was recommended that Bob be accompanied on the show by someone that might act as a moderating influence. Bob acquiesced. (On Oct 22nd Bob appeared alone on Live and Local, after his own attempts to invite either of the recommended guests proved unsuccessful).
A decision was made to merge two of the most obviously overlapping committees. The Community Policing and Resources committee and the Committee to Work With Town and Police officially merged later that afternoon.
Finally, a discussion was had regarding how to improve communications between the, now, four subcommittees to prevent future overlaps. A decision was reached that each Steering committee member would sit in on at least one of the committee meetings and communicate back as to the content of their discussions. The finer details were to be worked out in later conversations.
~Bob Viens 10/23.
If I missed anything, let me know. Any additional observations will be posted immediately upon receipt.
Community Policing and Resources Subcommittee Meeting
No minutes submitted
Dialog With Youth Subcommittee
Minutes from the first meeting
Minutes from Dialogue with Youth. Present were, Officer Di Marino, who led the meeting, Ian Bigelow, Allyson Villars,Juicecca, Nancy Braus, Josh, Dora BouBoulis, & Donna Faith K-Brooks & Deanna Garcia. If I have omitted anyone, I apologize. There was also a young man with 2 small children and he had some ideas. It seemed the number one idea was how to get to know the youth, how to get a dialogue started. How to interact. Allyson has already an event scheduled at the Common Ground, a dinner, for her youth services group. She suggested presenting question to them then, if they have any ideas for improvement or what is not working now. We also spoke at some length about Ian's Community Bike project. He needs storage space for that and some basements in buildings around the lot were considered. It was brought up that we should ask some of the building owners about renting or donating a space. Another suggestion was to have a "paint/art/chalk" event with cash prizes. Having free hot dogs behind Everyones books, attract the youth and other lot patrons, and start talking. We all, no matter what our age, have something to contribute. Finding a good Skateboarding Park, perhaps building one was another hot topic. Officer Di Marino suggested when/if we build a new police department, build a skate board rink near it. It would be open 24/7 and well lit, with police protection. After I left the meeting I did have a thought. A lot of programs cost money. Perhaps with the youth and their art, and the adults & seniors, crafting or baking, we could do a little fundraiser. Donate the money to D.A.R.E program, which is not funded at this time. Or if an event, like a skateboarding at the youth club costs, we could provide monies to those who could not afford to go. Just a thought. Deanna Garcia
Activities and Events Subcommittee
Minutes from the October 8th meeting
What if the had a meeting and nobody came?
I arrived at 5:30 and waited until about 6pm. i had written up my suggestions and have entered them below. I did take the opportunity to speak with a young man I know, about writing us a rap song. suggested theme "Rats, thugs, and Harmony" a take off on a well known rap group from 90's "Bone,thugs and Harmony. he said he'll try. he is very good. i know you will rewrite this Bob, but i will confess i like rap. Old School, 80's & 90's. it gives me "creds" with my grandchildren. but truthfully they weren't born when i started liking it. i only know a very few songs of today. Lest you think I am crazy, my main favorite music is folk, country and gospel and blues. Well back to the meeting. Just before i left i asked my friend and the young man with him what they would suggest as activities. "A boxing arena, with oversized boxing gloves for combatants. For child services to be there when 2 pregnant girls fight." On a serious note they said benches and if we clean it up too much, the bad people might leave. Here are the few things I thought of.
1. International/diversity potluck. We already have India, Greek, Italian, restaurants and the great common bakery and common Ground, while they might feel they are losing customers if we do this, they could perhaps do it as an advertising thing. Small portions, with their logo. Others interested could bring a large dish of their origin. I can cook enough beans, rice, and tamales to feed quite a few. Perhaps a New England boiled dinner. Weathervane & Metropolis could make non-alcoholic punch in plastic champagne glasses, but also advertising.
2. Halloween Candy give out. We dress up, pass out flyer with candy.
3. Tee Shirts printed Senior Harmony Rats. (For those of us who are over 40.) do we have a budget?
4. A craft/flea market around Christmas time. People could either buy spots for tables, donate part of monies made, or we could ask for donations in paper as a fundraiser. My daughter and I are very good flea market sellers. I know river garden does have an ongoing craft thing, or they did last winter. But ours could be on a different day,
5. Continue with sit outs or even walk throughs during the week. As we are available.
Minutes from the first meeting
Pat opened the meeting by stating the
purpose was to identify goals for the committee. There was an
in-depth discussion about the Police Department’s role in Harmony
Lot. Members seemed to agree that three separate groups of people
inhabited the Lot. The first group was kids who were present during
the afternoons. They inhibit vehicular traffic in the lot and
sit on cars. Older kids come in the later afternoon. This group too
inhibits traffic – both pedestrian and vehicular – and can be verbally
abrasive/abusive. The third group includes the drug dealers and
drunks who come later in the evening. This group is physically
intimidating and dangerous. The three groups do overlap, and together
make the Harmony Lot an unsafe place for people to walk, drive, and
park. There seemed to be consensus that the “old” group of
people who had hung out in the Lot was gone. This group of young
adults also felt unsafe in the Lot and looked for other places to hangout.
Police Questions. The main discussion
centered on increased police presence. Questions posed included:
How many officers should Brattleboro have on-duty at one time to adequately
cover the Town? Could there be a police officer hired to stay
in the Lot? Could the State Drug Task Force get involved in the
Lot? Could the Sheriff or State Police be called in to assist
with the problem? Do the Police know who the “bad” people
are? Why can’t there be more arrest?
Captain Wrinn answered many of these
questions. The Town would like to have five officers on duty at
all times and the BPD is refocusing on hiring officers. At this
point the Town is not able to have one officer assigned to the Lot.
Captain Wrinn will investigate involving the Drug Task Force to increase
drug enforcement. However, he was not sure whether the problem was “big
enough” for the Task Force to accept. The Town could hire the
Sheriff and State Police, but that would bring in a different type of
policing. Unlike the local officers, these hired officers would not
know the community or the people. To increase arrests, the police
needs more witnesses in order to collect evidence and allow them to
make the arrest.
Closing the Lot. The Committee
discussed closing the Lot to non-vehicular traffic for a period of time.
This would require an ordinance, and would be difficult to do.
“No Loitering” laws are difficult to enforce in public areas because
enforcement is not successfully upheld in courts due to constitutional
Increased Enforcement. The
Committee discussed this quite a bit. The idea would be that officers
would be directed to the Lot for heightened enforcement. If a
person stood in the way of a vehicle they would be give a citation.
If they did any form of littering they would be given a citation or
arrested. While the Committee was in favor of this heightened
enforcement there was discussion that this enforcement would impact
more than just the people identified in the above mentioned three groups.
Captain Wrinn explained that if a wide net is cast, they will catch
a wide range of people. The Town Manager wanted to be sure that
the citizens would be supportive of the police if this type of effort
were undertaken. The concern was that increased enforcement could
result in “bad press” for the policing, impacting the already identified
issue of low morale in the department. Members of the Committee
stated they would be very supportive of the police and discussed how
to show that support.
Neighborhood Watch. The
committee discussed forming a neighborhood watch. The Town would
be able to assist with training the members as well as providing them
with any needed supplies. Safety of participants became of concern with
this suggestion. This led to the idea of activities modeled after
the “Take Back the Night” activities. The idea would be to
identify nights when residents, business owners, property owners, etc
would meet in the Harmony Lot and set up tables to play board games,
or bring chairs to sit and visit. These nights would not be advertised
to the general public. The obvious goal would be to “Take Back
the Lot”. Many people liked this idea.
Cameras. The idea of having
cameras that would be monitored by the Dispatch/Police Department was
discussed. While the idea failed a few years ago, committee members
believe that with the success of the cameras in the Transportation Center
and at that High School, citizens might be more receptive to the idea
of cameras in the Lot. The Town Manager and Acting Chief agreed
to investigate funding for this project.
Closing. In general the Committee focused on how to get more police presence and enforcement to the Lot. The members seemed to agree that enforcement, coupled with increased citizen presence, could be successful. Another committee meeting, prior to the Association meeting, will be held.
Beautification, Clean-Up & Recycling Subcommittee
Minutes from the first meeting
The meeting convened on the outside deck of the River Garden just after 6:00 with the following members present... Andrea, Stephan, Deanna, Bob, Greg, and Joe. After acknowledging our objective of providing a set of recommendations to the committee as a whole, we launched into a discussion of some of the Beautification, Trash Clean-Up and Recycling issues currently facing the Harmony area of the downtown...
Notes from the Steering Committee Meeting
We met yesterday to make decisions about next steps. Here are the decisions we made:
Minutes from the first Open Town Forum
Larry Hames from the Community Justice Center facilitating.
-stay on the line with the dispatcher until police arrive
-DO NOT interact with the suspect(s)
-do not inform suspects that police are on their way
-when the police arrive, identify suspects and activity