Friends of the Community Path -- meeting -- Minutes August 7, 2001

New members: Tim Maher, Philip Chonacky, Michael and Maureen Johnston, Gabriel Ostriker

Other members attending:

Joel Bennett, Lynn Weissman, John Mann, Bob Kindel, Jessie Strickgold-Sarah, Turil Cronburg, Bill Lanford, Kindra Crick, Andy Oakland

1. Art Beat was a great success. We have 500 postcards for 3 politicians; 70 people signed in, with 50 revealing e-mail addresses [indicating willingness to be recruited]

Suggestion was made to produce a superset list. A cover letter could say: "Here's all the people who signed at least one postcard - we had too many people waiting in line to insist that they fill out 3 identical cards each." However (according to another view), we don't have a right to assume every signer would approve our distributing their names to people for whom they did not actually address a card. So we agreed to tell the recipients, via the same letter [above], just the total number of unique signers. No one was assigned this action directly, although it falls into Item 5 under heading "unnamed group to approach political leaders."

Suggestions were made to extend the publicity: posters in shop windows, photo of a couple of kids in front of a wall of postcards, color-copy scrapbook to alderman showing all the kids' postcards.

2. Spice of Life, Union Square, September 23 (raindate Sept. 30) is somewhat similar to Art Beat although its focus is ethnic diversity and it is a younger event (just 2 years). Joel registered our group to have a booth, which we  approved at tonight’s meeting. This year's special event at Spice of Life is a bike parade. Details will be addressed next meeting.

3. Should we cooperate (exchange support) with other groups such as the MetroWest people trying to get the Cochichuate Trail built? Consensus is yes, because we can exchange useful information, names of useful and important contacts, increase our perceived presence in mind of state representatives, and so on. (Joel Bennett will email us information about the Cochichuate Trail.)

4. Groundworks’ (Somerville chapter) mission is to promote green space acquisition and use. They nterested in distributing our materials at a booth that they plan to set up on the existing  Path. They are doing significant plantings at the existing Path on October 18-20; other events planned. Contact name is Jennifer Hill. Consensus is agreement to work with them, non-specifically. Lisa Brukilacchio is as always a knowledgeable contact.(FYI, she no longer works for the city)

5. Committees were named and several people volunteered:

- Publicity: Tim Maher, Turil Cronburg, Lynn Weissman

- Website: Jessie Stickgold, Kindra Crick, Phillip Chonacky, Turil Cronburg,

- Spokesperson: Lynn Weissman

- Research: John Mann, Andy Oakland, Phillip Chonacky

- Coordinator: Joel Bennett

- A group will approach political leaders (e.g., Birmingham, Shannon, Capuano), draft postcards cover letter.
- John Mann (chair of this group), Maureen Johnston, Tim Maher will find out from leaders' aides how best to approach making contact, call Pat Jehlen, etc.


The suggestion was made that we create an Outreach Committee, notably to contact and recruit East Somerville people. (Possibly the Spice of Life festival will suffice??)

6. Miscellaneous Contacts, Information and Discussion:


- Steve Mackey, Somerville Chamber of Commerce

- (find some people / groups in East Somerville)


- The first 25% of design costs are typically used / earmarked for discovering the real problems (which the feasibility study does not necessarily uncover). For a $130K design this means $32.5K. The City's pledge of $30K for design is a state block grant and must be used for benefit of East Somerville. A suggestion was made to raise some funds (say, $20K) for benefit of West Somerville and thereby apply both to the path.


- Perhaps design firms know where to go for funding, since they depend on those sources.

- Is there a deadline by which the City must use the $30K earmarked for East Somerville?

7. MBTA Green Line relationship with Path is a key point of interest. Andy talked to a Laurie Siegall [sp?] who indicated (based on knowledge of some kind--?) that the MBTA route to Tufts was hypothetical only, no money even to study. A member expressed fear that MBTA could hold off bike path for years by simply holding out possibility, without taking any action, of the Green Line extension.

8. Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) owns land between VNA's Assisted Living place off Lowell Street and Central Street, along the south side of the MBTA Lowell commuter Right of Way. The planned CHA meeting has been postponed and a new date is not assigned. CHA is expected to request permission to cover the entire lot with parking, to which FCP will assert its need for reserved portion for Community Path.

9. Promotional Materials could include buttons, sticky labels, bumper stickers, icons for others' Web sites, and so on. Turil Cronburg will provide a rendition for these purposes.

10. City of Somerville does not meet requirements to apply for the DEM grant of $50K.

11. Financing design is our main and most important objective at the moment. Joel has obtained information from Tim Baldwin, Executive Director of MassBike, who has a very large folder of potential grants. There are $10K grants available from BikesBelong . We discussed whether to go for state or private funding, consensus = "both" or more accurately "all." Research Committee will seek information from political leaders about State sources. One option is simply a budget line item in the annual state budget. It is believed that State funding is "very hard to get" and that local community must ante 25% in any case. Private funding can help (must help) provide this 25%. Everett and Malden are developing a "Bike to the Sea" initiative based wholly on private funding, apparently for plaques and other publicity.

A suggestion was made that since Somerville's $30K is earmarked for East Somerville, that a segment of the path be begun at that end. There was some support for this, as well as for, more generally, attempting to recruit East Somerville supporters and members, and discover East Somerville's needs and priorities.

A point was made that for private grants we need to be non-profit, a 501c3. We can link under another 501c3 to make it easy on ourselves, although not everyone finds this sort of dependence to their liking, so maybe we'll get our own 501c3 papers.

12. Action items

- Joel Bennett will talk with Cambridge Bicycle Committee to encourage them to start planning there path where ours ends at the Somerville/Cambridge line.

- Joel will get a list of businesses from Steve Mackie at the Chamber of Commerce

- Tim Maher and Gabriel Ostriker will find places to display posters, distribute leaflets, etc. and create a list suitable for long-term use (e.g. City Hall, Library, coffee shops, bike shops…)

- Committees will meet as needed

- Kindra will bring her letter of reply from Senatot Birmingham re: funding to our our next meeting

13. Next Meeting Thursday, September 13, 7 pm.  Place TBA.

14. Footnotes:

- Joel Bennett wrote to MassHighway suggesting the $1.5 M for pedestrian crossings of McGrath would be better spent on Community Path

- Assisted Living facility on Lowell Street has offered a meeting room for our use.

Respectfully submitted,

John Mann