Park Slope Civic Council’s June Meeting

On the evening of Thursday, June 4, at the Old Stone House, Park Slope Civic Council Co-Presidents Gilly Youner and Judith Lief welcomed trustees and guests to the Civic Council’s General Board Meeting, Awards and Elections and End of Season Potluck Party.

Student AwardeesEach year the Civic Council is pleased to give Community Service Scholarships to deserving students from the John Jay Educational Campus, funded by the Food for Thought event. This year scholarships in the amount of $1,750 each were presented to four outstanding students by Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Joe Rydell and Joan Emerson.

Congratulations to the following students and our best wishes for a successful future!

Bryan Baez of the Millennium Brooklyn High School
Armani Brathwaite of the Secondary School for Law
Aissata Moussa of the Secondary School for Journalism
Lisa Suriya of Park Slope Collegiate

Gilly Youner, Chair of the Grants Committee, honored this year’s grants recipients – innovative, local organizations whose programs benefit Park Slope. Park Slope Civic Council grants are funded by the House Tour. Congratulations to:

The Brooklyn Arts Exchange will use their grant will be used for the Teen Artists Learners & Leaders Council – a free, youth-led initiative for middle school to college-age students which produces workshops, events and performances, and provides young artists aged 11-25 unique opportunities to cultivate leadership in the arts.

Spoke the Hub will use their grant to create and “tour” a concert of original new dance and theater works, created, performed and organized by their current young artists, which will be performed at local hospitals, schools, senior centers, and community events in Park Slope in 2015.

Brooklyn Conservatory of Music will use their grant will be used for their Teen Jazz Program’s master classes/performances, which offers students a jazz education that goes above and beyond standard lessons through additional training in theory, history, listening, improvisation, arranging, ensemble playing and participation – in both master classes and public performances.

Spellbound Theatre will use their grant will be used to support three free, public Community Arts Days to reach out to the Park Slope community and provide free puppetry, storytelling, and creative drama activities in public spaces.

BRIC Arts| Media | Brooklyn will present an Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert will be part of the Celebrate Brooklyn Performing Arts Festival this summer at the Prospect Park Bandshell. An energetic drum-off by the Blue Man Group plus highly interactive community involvement from professional percussionists and enthusiasts, preceded by a 15-minute reading of EJK works by a guest celebrity reader with video projection of the EJK illustrations.

Piper Theater will use their grant to support need-based financial aid to families involved in Piper, which this summer is introducing one-week puppetry workshops for Starlings participants, ages 7 to 11. Each of the four weeks will feature a different style of puppetry – shadow puppets, hand puppets, rod puppets or object puppets. Students will create their own puppets and at the end of each week, students and their puppets will perform for family and friends.

Each year the Civic Council is proud to present Lovgren Awards for Community Service to outstanding individuals in both professional and volunteer categories. The Lovgren Award for Community Service by a professional was presented to Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director, Fifth Avenue Committee, for her work in developing and managing affordable housing and community facilities, creating economic opportunities and fighting against displacement caused by gentrification.

This award was presented by Eric McClure, former Trustee and co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors. The Lovgren Award for Community Service by a volunteer was presented to former Trustee David Alquist for his efforts to expand the Park Slope Historic District, for being a co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors, for providing beautifully written and well-researched histories of homes on the Park Slope House Tour, for his service on the Prospect Park Alliance Community Committee and, in general, for his tireless efforts to make Park Slope a better place to live. This award was presented by Trustee Peter Bray.

Citations were presented to the Lovgren Award winners by the following elected officials or their representatives: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, NY State Senator Jesse Hamilton, City Councilman Brad Lander, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Trustees and members voted unanimously to elect the following new trustees and the Executive Board for 2015-2016.

New Trustees: David Abramson, Ron Daignault, David Gurin, Meredith Little, Kerry Quade, Josh Silverstein, Erica Stauffer, Jamie Yuenger

Executive Board
Judith Lief, Co-President
Gilly Youner, Co-President
Joe Rydell, Vice President
Jeff Roth, Treasurer
Eliza Pepper, Assistant Treasurer
Candace Woodward, Recording Secretary

Gilly and Judith thanked our outgoing Trustees, whose terms have ended, for their fine service:

Bob Braun, Joan Emerson and Kyle Johnson

Finally, the Civic Council is proud of its achievements during the 2014-2015 fiscal year:

Annual events: Halloween Parade, Civic Sweeps, House Tour, Toys for Tots, Food for Thought;

Community building efforts: grants, scholarships and Lovgren Awards (please see above) and our annual participation in Assemblyman Jim Brennan’s Volunteer Fair.

Advocacy issues: Historic District Expansion Project, efforts to make Fourth Avenue a safer and more attractive boulevard and meetings with New York Methodist Hospital to ensure that issues such as traffic and construction problems in connection with its Outpatient Care Center will be addressed.

And our Special Initiatives:

• Signed a letter, at the request of Citizens Defending Libraries, requesting that Mayor De Blasio and other elected officials provide full and adequate funding and demanding that the selling and shrinking of libraries be subject to a higher level of scrutiny.

• Work by Forth on Fourth Avenue Committee to improve the 4th Avenue/9th Street subway station in terms of tenancy, safety, lighting, signage, handicapped accessibility and art.

• Endorsed the MoveNY Fair Plan which increases MTA revenue, provides toll equity and reduces congestion in and around the Manhattan Central Business District.

• Raised concerns with the De Blasio Administration’s Zoning Plan which would overturn contextual zoning protections achieved for Park Slope in 2003, without assuring the goal of more affordable housing and senior housing.

• Completed an intensive survey of, and research on, 700 buildings as part of a proposed Center Slope Extension of the Park Slope Historic District and collected hundreds of supporting signatures from property owners.

• Sent a letter to the Board of Standards and Appeals requesting that the BSA reconsider its decision to grant zoning variances to New York Methodist Hospital for its new Outpatient Care Center.

• Organized a well-attended Livable Streets Workshop, focusing on public art, aging in place, independence of the disabled and sidewalks, curbsides and the streetscape.

• Presented Evelyn and Everett Ortner Park Slope Preservation Awards to four honorees for the purpose of encouraging projects that make a positive contribution to Park Slope’s unique identity.

• Implemented “office hours”, held on the third Tuesday of every month between 7 and 8pm, to foster communication between Trustees and Park Slope residents.

• Designed a new Park Slope Civic Council logo.

• Initiated the collection of non-perishable food for CHIPS at Trustee Meetings

• Organized the Civic Council’s archives and hosted a tour of the Veterans’ Museum at the Armory.

We appreciate our membership, whose support is vital to our ability to:

• identify and address quality-of-life issues important to the community,

• support and create projects geared to improving and protecting the neighborhood,

• act as an advocate for the greater Park Slope community.

Thank you!