Summary of the October 15, 2011 convocation of Hyde Park-Kenwood community organizations and action groups by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference

Final notes by facilitator in pdf

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On October 15, 2011, HPKCC gathered over 20 Hyde Park and Kenwood civic, advocacy, and service organizations and groups together at Hyde Park Union Church, to focus on how the organizations of Hyde Park and Kenwood can work better together to make sure the needs of the community are being met.

A expert meetings and community facilitator, Ms. Linda Green, presided. The meeting began with each person interviewing another then introducing them to the assembly.

The assembly broke out into six tables, each with a chair and scribe (generally a HPKCC board member) and a person appointed by the table to report back to the plenary session. The breakout groups were Affordable Housing, Disability and Accessibility, Parks, Preservation and Development, Schools, and Transportation. Each table first discussed each organization represented's focus, accomplishments, challenges- different or in common. The they came up with a set of recommended actions to carry out the focus question-- ways to work together to meet community needs.
The table discussions took an hour (which seemed to be just about right) and were followed by reports to plenary (items taken down on paper-boards), which with the summary took about 45 minutes.

Go next to final notes by facilitor Linda Green

Reports by the breakout groups to the plenary session: by Gary Ossewaarde

Schools. Establish a community-wide schools action umbrella, led by or including the HPKCC Schools Committee and working with the CPS community engagement initiative. One goal would be continuing to bring all the schools up and have them communicating and working together. Anther would be to have a greater proportion of Hyde Park parents sending their children to our improved schools.

Preservation and Development. The groups should take on collaboration on: The issues of the large buildings in the Indian Village section. The Woodlawn Avenue Corridor.

Disabilities and Access. A major task is to make available to the community lists of the services and help available and to create a clearinghouse for all, including via a website, which will use the DARE website, http://www.hpdare.com. Also, a hotline needs to be created, and a program to teach people how to properly use and file complaints and requests via 311.
The disabilities task force and its meetings needs to be reactivated including with 4th ward representation.
Needs needing to be addressed collaboratively are
wheelchair limits and access,
bring more intra-community transportation and improvements (working with CTA and other current or future providers) (Intra community mobility was seen as a major need)
help get block audits done by the Active Transportation Alliance

find better ways to help people get to their appointments and hospitals
snow and ice removal
Collaboratively press developers (example Harper Court) for universial accessibility, including at meetings

Affordable Housing. Conduct or collaboratively support a whole-community needs and assets assessment, including what are the housing choices and how much (possibly coordinated by the Conference).
Find ways to connect or inform people with what's available.
A stronger connection of the Conference and CECD to pursue these goals and create an affordable housing network.
Talk to and work with similar in neighboring communities.

Transportation. Appoint a strong transportation chair in the Conference, whose mandate would include getting named representatives of the transportation stakeholder and interested groups for a meeting targeted for January. One goal would be have a fast-reaction mechanism for such issues as fare increases or service cuts. The community-wide committee should make sure it is dealing with intracommunity mobility, citywide, and parking and that it invites a forward looking vision conversation with CDOT, service agencies, and the University as well as among the stakeholders.

Parks. The group discussed individual parks and councils progress and challenges- and found they have many in common. Much is being done, and there is much energy for several of the parks, in part because there is less head-butting and more collaborating with the Park District. It's kind of a "good era." There is a jurisdicational problem with public officials, coming and going and boundaries shifting-- so many people to deal with, and if a key person should not be interested there are issues.
Communications among park-interested people was considered larger than any one group or council can handle-- we have to support one another and seek additional allies, such as placing noisy festivals (i.e. in the east part of Washington Park) so they are not a nuissance to the neighborhood, or handling proposed changes in or at parks such as road closures along Cottage Grove.
Recommendations: continue to convene and expand the "parks table" regularly;
have an email tree, to share information and events and assemble help quickly.


General conclusions to the plenary session by HPKCC President Jane Ciacci

One of the questions the HPKCC Executive Committee was hoping to have answered in the meeting was whether there might be the need for a super-umbrella. The answer seemed to be "no," except for particular topics, and that otherwise the Conference, by stepping up to the plate, doing the suggested assignments, using and growing its resources, and bringing people together could serve that role. Another observation is that the networking itself was important. A next step seemed to be to talk with South East Chicago Commission, the University, politicians/officeholders, and of course those who were not here.

A summary will be prepared by HPKCC and sent to all present.
Roger Huff suggested a follow up meeting.
Action was mandated on coordinated dealing with managing or moving the festivals (July 4 in Washington Park)
It was noted that at least two committees asked coordinated action on improving intra-community mobility
The Conference was urged to have a membership drive, including getting all the organizations to join.
The Conference was urged to lead and leverage from its historic role and name as the lead association and advocate for Hyde Park

The meeting was adjourned 11:55 am.