JLP Sept/Oct General Meeting Summaries

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Highlights from the September and October General Membership Meetings.  The year got off to a great start with a very well-attended September general membership meeting.   More than seventy members turned out for the meeting in our spacious and inviting new gathering place, the Manor Club, and enjoyed food and wine selections from the Pelham Farmers Market, as well as delicious desserts from JLP member Irina Bandler’s Sugar & Spice Bakery.   In line with President Kristin Bischof’s goal of strengthening the advisor system, members sat at tables with their advisor groups for the meeting, giving us the opportunity to meet and get to know our advisors and the other advisees in the group early in the year. Two of the JLP’s partner organizations, PACT (Parents and Community Together) and CSA (Community Service Associates) received contributions from the JLP to support their ongoing work.  JLP President Kristin Bischof presented a $3,000 check to Alice de Normandie, President of the PACT Board, and CSA Co-Chairs Kimberly Benkwitt and Beth Talamas presented a $3,500 check to Roberta Apuzzo, Director of Community Service Associates, on behalf of the JLP. In additional business, Public Relations Chair Darby Dunn and Communications VP Anneliese Turck reviewed PR procedures, and Treasurer Tracie Cohen and Assistant Treasurer Heather Bushong reviewed the finance procedures.  DIAD Co-Chair Suzann Michailoff encouraged members to participate in the October 19thBreast Cancer Walk-a-thon at Manhattanville College.  The group was reminded that the October general membership meeting would be dedicated to a public panel on the theme “Pelham Improvement.”  The meeting concluded with Kara McLoughlin urging members to support the newly launched Pelham Farmers Market, held every Sunday across from Gazebo Park.  Following the conclusion of the meeting, committees were able to convene in the new space, and the social continued for at least another hour.   The October general membership meeting was devoted to a public panel on the theme “Pelham Improvement.”  The panel was moderated by Darby Dunn and included Pelham Town Supervisor Joe Solimine, Pelham Village Trustee Greg Breskin, Pelham Manor Mayor Tom Lavin, Pelham Preservation Society President Barbara Bartlett.  Kristin Bischof welcomed the panel and audience, discussed the JLP’s new Downtown Pelham Improvement initiative, and added that she hoped the discussion tonight would help guide the JLP in identifying its next signature project.  In introducing the panel, Darby Dunn quoted an anonymous writer: “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement,” which drew appreciative laughter from the audience.  Each panelist reviewed recent improvement and development initiatives undertaken by their organizations and what the future holds for Pelham in terms of development over the next 5-10 years. Highlights of the next wave of improvement projects both underway and under consideration include: -The renovation of Mount Vernon Stadium.  The plan is in the conceptual stages now and requires an estimated $20 million investment, but the completed facility would house a fitness center dedicated to Pelham senior citizen programs and expand playing field space for Pelham teams. -The ongoing redevelopment of the retail areas in Pelham Manor, with the addition of marquee tenants such as Fairway, BJ’s, and Michael’s. -The beautification of Wolfs Lane Park.  Pelham Manor landscape designer Hank White is donating his services at a reduced rate to help redesign this public space. -The redevelopment of the T&L site on Fifth Avenue into a mixed retail and residential building.The panelists were limited to seven minutes each for their prepared remarks, but their formal comments were followed by a lively and extended Q&A session.  The concerns in the Q&A portion of the program centered on the efforts to create a more attractive retail environment in downtown Pelham, the lack of parking, both at the train station and in the retail areas, and options for enhancing the limited green and open space in Pelham.  The panelists noted that these were all inter-related problems that required a coordinated approach to achieve a satisfying solution.   For anyone unable to attend the panel, the program was recorded and will be aired on the Pelham Public Access TV stations In lieu of the November general membership meeting, we will be baking Thanksgiving pies for Community Service Associates in members’ homes and the Sugar & Spice Bakery the evening of November 18th.  The pie baking event will also feature a special drive for CSA where each participant will be asked to bring an item for needy children and mothers.  CSA will let us know what would be needed most (diapers, wipes, baby food) so we can support our Community Partner in a meaningful way.  If you have not yet signed up for a pie-baking location, please contact Becky Ross atbross621@earthlink.net.