Chatham Square Neighborhood

A Diverse Fair Haven Community with Historic Homes and a Beautiful Waterfront

CSNA Annual Retreat Minutes (January 2016)

Chatham Square Neighborhood Association: 2016 Retreat Notes
January 30, 2016, 10am-2pm (postponed from January 23)
Quinnipiac Marina, 315 Front Street (Lisa Fitch, Host)
Agenda & Notes


Facilitator: Terry Freeman
Note taker: Sally E


Attendees:
1. Brenda B.
2. Christel M.
3. Clymenza H.
4. George M.
5. Lee C.
6. Mary Ann M.
7. Nathalie B.
8. Nicole A.
9. Richard P.
10. Sally E.
11. Susan H.


10:00 – 10:30 (Handouts: Find Someone Who . . .)
As participants arrived they had coffee and Chabaso treats in the reception area. They also completed the “Find Someone Who . . .” activity. CSNA artifacts (2015 Events Activities List, 2015 Retreat Minutes, “Building a Stronger Community, One Resident at a Time,” Daily Nutmeg article: “Fair-y Tale”, photos from earlier CSNA events) were available for review.


10:30 – 10:40 (Handouts: 2014 & 2016 Questions 8, 9, 10, 11 2016 Survey Question #3. What is most important to you about our neighborhood?)
Sally E. welcomed everyone, and acknowledged the generosity of Lisa Fitch, our host, who had a previous family commitment and could not be there. She also thanked Terry Freeman who agreed to facilitate. All in attendance introduced themselves. Sally reviewed the purpose for the retreat (to review the past year’s activities and progress, celebrate accomplishments, plan for the future, and cultivate relationships). She thanked everyone for attending and thanked those who completed the pre-retreat survey. She noted that the average scores on the condition of the neighborhood questions from the 2014 survey and those from 2016 were almost the same. She shared copies of those responses and copies of the responses to 2016 survey question #3 “What is most important to you about our neighborhood?” Attendees took turns reading survey participants’ responses to question 3. Sally commented that we will be using the collective survey responses today and throughout the year. Several participants said we might want to update the survey questions to better support planning efforts. Christel volunteered to suggest some updated questions. She offered: “Please suggest something you would like to work toward.” Participants signed up for monthly meeting facilitation.


Participants signed up for monthly meeting facilitation: (Handout: Sign-up sheet)
Feb. – Lee
Mar. – Mary Ann
Apr. – George
May – Sally
June – Christel
Aug. – TBD
Sep. – TBD
Oct. – TBD
Nov. - TBD
Dec. – N/A Potluck


10:40-11:35 CELEBRATION AND REVIEW of 2015
The group moved from the reception area to the meeting room. A “parking lot” was established for ideas and questions that could not be fully addressed at the retreat. Terry began a discussion of CSNA “traditions.” The group brainstormed what has been done that it considered “traditions.” It was a great opportunity to recall things that may have taken place in the earlier days of CSNA as well as some very new things that participants
anticipated will become traditions. Each person received three gold stars, one blue star, and one red star. After asking what might be reasonable to carry out given the groups resources, Terry then asked each person to place a gold star next to their three favorite activities, a blue star next to one activity they would personally work on, and a red star next to an activity they thought should be paused/stopped.

The results of the “traditions” discussion and activity were:
 Riverfest (CSNA collaboration with the Marina, local bands, Quinnipiac River Watershed Association and the Boathouse Café) (8 gold stars; 3 blue stars)
 Easter Egg Party (1 gold star)
 Halloween Party (1 gold star)
 September Festival (2 gold stars; 1 blue star)
 Dining Out (2 gold stars)
 Soup Night (2 gold stars)
 Camera/Photo Project (no stars)
 Christmas Tree Lighting (3 gold stars; 1 blue star)
 Middletown Bridge Beautification (1 gold star)
 Turkey Trot (1 red star)
 Monthly Meetings (1 gold star)
 Mary Wade Parade (no stars)
 Traffic Calming (1 gold star, 1 blue star)
 NH Police Partnership & Fairhaven Management Team (no stars)
 Quinnipiac Sail (1 gold star)
 Play Dates – families/kids to 1 house (no stars)
 Kids/families visit Mary Wade (no stars)
 Kids singing (no stars)
 Yoga (in the Library) (no stars)
 Strong School Project (no stars)
 Neighborhood Cleanup - Chatham Square Park (2 gold stars; 1 red star)
 Dover Beach Cleanup (no stars)
 Tutoring Quinnipiac Terrace (Housing Authority – teens paid) (1 gold star; 1 blue star)
 Gardens – both gardens Clinton Av. School collaborate with Clinton Av. And Common Ground schools and Grand Av. (2 gold stars; 1 blue star)
 Fairhaven Family Stroll (partner) (no stars)
 Grand Ave. Gastronomy Tour (2 gold stars; 1 blue star)
 Survey (no stars)
 Retreat (no stars)
 Bridge Party (to celebrate closing) (no stars)
 Farmers’ Market (no stars)
 Art in the Park (1 red star)
 Community Management Team Festival (1 red star)
 Exchange St. Block Party (no stars)
 Quinnipiac River Park Cleanup & plantings collaborate with URI and Common Ground HS (1 blue star)
 Lead remediation with URI (no stars)
 Land Trust Partnership Grand Acres and Clinton Av. Garden (no stars)


People had some difficulty physically applying the stars so it isn’t clear if everyone was able to use all of their stars. Having “no stars” does not necessarily mean people did not want the activity to occur. There seemed to be
a hesitancy to pausing/stopping any activities. This may be because our practice has been that if someone wants to lead an activity and put in the energy and time to make it happen, we tend to support it going forward. The activities with the most stars seem to reflect the discussion about and the group’s support of the activity. The group agreed that more input is needed. The list will be available at the February meeting for others to consider.


- When discussing what if any activities to pause/stop, one suggestion was to pause/stop any that don’t occur annually. No decision was made.
- A question arose as to what a “partnership” with CSNA is and whether such partnerships should be evaluated.
- A suggestion was made to possible combine events such as Riverfest and children’s art activities. Discussion followed and examples of how this is already occurring were given.
- A comment was made that most of the activities are not focused on improving the community, i.e., investment in local businesses
- Prioritizing CSNA events was left to future meetings.


11:35-12:30 PROPOSED NEW ACTIVITIES (A GOOD THING!) AND TRADITIONS for 2016 (Handouts: 2016 Survey Questions #5 & #6. 5. What opportunities do you see for neighborhood improvement in 2016? 6. What ideas do you have for community development and fun in 2016?)
Participants split into three small groups for discussion. Each group was given a handout with the responses to 2016 survey questions #5 & #6 and asked to identify and prioritize 1-2 potential new activities for presentation to the whole group. Small groups shared out to the whole group and the whole group prioritized the top five. The results of the “new activities” discussion were:


1. Gardening – Grand Acres and Clinton Av. School
a. Continue to support
b. Feed more people
c. Work with kids
d. A way to improve neighborhood
e. Builds relationships – new?
f. Needs: problem-solving resource, ownership? Sharing?


2. CSNA website
a. Needs person to organize - who? Don?
b. Add discussion piece
c. Send out info
d. Send weekly/regular newsletter
e. Outreach, proactive
f. How to monitor postings?? – rare issue?
i. Expectation is civility
ii. Person who starts the conversation monitors
g. Yahoo group
h. Communications threads on issues


3. Partnerships
a. Artists – sell, share, publicize
b. Possibly incorporate a neighborhood art walk with Riverfest
c. Economic development
d. Festival of Arts & Ideas
e. Strong School
f. How to expand: grow, link to others, events
g. Boost power/resources – add to others

4. Strong School (discuss during lunch)


5. FMRS Radio – for emergency communication
a. Battery radios – neighborhood network; emergency network
b. Preparedness
c. Discuss


6. Next year
a. pose a goal and be willing to do and own and support
b. change survey question


7. PARK: Network of support for project or plan for change
a. “difficult” people – communication, coping strategies & partnerships


8. Support group – online?
a. Re needs of people?
b. To assist each other
c. To explore
d. Lead person?
e. Share community resources like 211 with those in need


9. “Do what we’re doing” – continue – let work blossom, evolve – (not a vision statement)
People missing today’s retreat can see this list and choose, too. Who will be accountable for each item chosen?


12:30- 1:00 LUNCH BREAK (lunch provided)

 SPACe Update by Lee
After much negotiation we have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of New Haven for the Strong School. This MOU is the leverage point we needed to get the attentions of a well-known local developer. Together with him the Chatham Square Neighborhood Association and the corporation we created (SPACe), we will present a plan for the redevelopment of 69 Grand Avenue and the surrounding area to the City in two months. The target market for the nonresidential part of the project will be arts and arts-related organizations, both nonprofit and for profit. The 69 Grand Avenue portion of the project has a 17-month timeline from the point of approval. This building will have classroom\studio space, exhibit space, offices and a performing arts space. We are planning on space availability in late 2017. If you know of a business or nonprofit that could be a potential lessee of space in this building, please contact Lee Cruz at eliezerleecruz@gmail.com with their contact information.


 SIGNUPS ON POSTED ACTIVITY SHEETS
Who will lead/take responsibility for traditions this year? DURING LUNCH, 1 preferably 2 people who will take ownership and be responsible to make each tradition happen. NOTE NAMES on activity posters - only sign yourself up . . . others can be added at monthly meeting. There are no assumptions about who does what. Results:
At least one lead:
1. Christmas Caroling and Music: Nat & Don, Lee, Rich, Brenda
2. Christmas Tree Lighting at Quinnipiac River Park: Nat, Lee, Rich, Brenda
3. Community Garden at Clinton Avenue School: Mary Ann, George
4. Dining Out Nights: Christel, Lee
5. Easter Egg Hunt: Mary Ann, Sally Volunteer: Lee
6. Fall Festival at Chatham Square Park: George, Rich, Brenda
7. Halloween Party at Chatham Square Park: Mary Ann, Sally Volunteer: Lee
8. Management Team: Sally, Mary Ann
9. Middletown Bridge Urban Oasis: Christel, Lee
10. Monthly meeting facilitator: See above
11. Music Events: Rich, Brenda
12. QT Homework Club: Mary Ann
13. Retreat: Sally
14. Riverfest: Christel, Nat, Lee, Rich, Brenda
15. Soup Nights: Christel, Lee
16. Spring Clean-up: Rich
17. Strong School Project SPACe: Christel, Lee, Board
18. Traffic calming special meetings: George
19. Treasurer/United Way Liaison: Sally
20. Website: Ask Don H.; Discussion threads moderator: Rich P.


No lead yet:
1. Art in the Park
2. Crepe Day: Nathalie)
3. Day of the Dead Bike Ride
4. Exchange Street Block Party
5. Fair Haven Family Stroll Volunteer: Lee
6. Farmers Market
7. Mary Wade Fair Haven Parade
8. MLK Weekend at Peabody
9. Monthly minute-taker: Nathalie
10. Movie at Park
11. Photo Calendar Collaboration with Grand Apizza
12. Tour of Grand Ave restaurants as part of International Festival
13. Walking Trails
14. Yoga Class


1:00- 2:00 OUR VISION FOR THE NEXT YEAR OF CSNA AND OUR 2nd DECADE (Handouts: 2016 Survey Questions #12; 6. Vision Statement)
What do we mean by “vision”? The whole group discussed this and the future of CSNA. Everyone was given a handout with the responses to 2016 survey question #12 and a copy of the Economic and Community Development Committee’s published vision statement.
Vision


1) Consider expanding to include activities re
a) Children
b) Families
c) Youth/YA’s


2) End up with CSNA vision statement


3) Committee to work on this: Do we need/want:
a) Through actions?
b) Time frame?
c) Mission?
d) Vision for whole organization?


4) Idea: realization of the potential of this community
a) Economics?
b) Social?
c) Emerging?


5) Add: human development – youth/families
a) Being worked on, not stated
b) Setting example for other communities for commitment potential development actualization as a model for community development


6) To-do: concern:
a) planning work not diverse
b) need to bring together with sub-station meeting on Thurs. at sub-station
c) increase diversity
d) community policing meeting


7) Address ideas
- Diversity/community issues?
- Party for the other parts of Fairhaven
- Don’t take over - contribute to TG food/support
- Add more youth to CSNA leadership - survey interests, needs?
- Soup nights more diverse – get ideas, sub-groups
- Younger adults come to events, not meetings
- Quinnipiac Terrace now feels part of the community
- CSNA must be visible, intentional
- Could we support younger POP as subcommittee, to plan event
- We could be better, need to be respectful of their lives – stay open & create space for them – “yes. . . and”
- Stay true to selves, may still be wrong
- Management Team – key to Chatham Square too – work on relationships – City empowers Management Teams; it impacts Chatham Square – we should expand our relationship with them.
- Get better info/acknowledge other associations to converse with city – improve communication, see our value and power, show our ability to communicate
- Get more info at Management Team and share with CSNA
- Post Management Team minutes on CSNA website – show our respect for them
- Support, acknowledge Management Team – develop from inside-out and vice versa
- Goal: more connections to other groups
- Think/reflect – take time in meeting to react
- Propose – Mary Wade Meeting to try to write a bigger vision that goes beyond economic development


2:00 – 2:10 WRAP-UP: WHAT DID WE ACCOMPLISH TODAY?
Closing thoughts . . . appreciations:
- Enjoyed meeting
- Want to work on music festival
- Good to think about the big picture
- Privilege to be here
- Love this neighborhood
- Wonderful!
- Just dig in
- This is impressive – really great to meet everyone
- Proud to be a member of this neighborhood – it’s a wonderful place
- Great meeting and facilitation
- Thank you both for facilitating
- Having this community helps keep us alive
- Lunch was fabulous
- Feel we really connected here
The retreat adjourned after a round of thanks to all.

Parking Lot
 Participate/partner with others on traditions
 New: Saturday night at Arts & Ideas Festival
 Fairhaven Art Walk – connect to Riverfest
 Multiple goals of Riverfest – how to combine?
 Yahoo groups? For issues e.g., garden, CSNA website discussion for issues

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