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FOKP Minutes

Board and Membership Meeting
By Randy Wells, FOKP Sec'y
Jan 13, 1998, 22:00

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Friends of Kennedy Playground
January 13th, 1998
Board Meeting

The regularly scheduled FOKP board and membership meeting took place at Kennedy Playground Recreation Center, 7th and P Streets, NW, beginning at 7pm. Peter Easley, Chair of FOKP, called the meeting to order. Those in attendance included: Peter Easley, Steve Donkin, Phyllis Eaddy, Tim Downey, DeWitt Fleming, Randy Wells, Eloise Wahab, John Borges, Diane Quinn, Jeanetta Gayden, Lillian Gordon, and Leroy Thorpe.

Fundraising—Tim Downey reported the success of the Thursday, December 18th, effort to get out the FOKP fundraising appeal letter. Several FOKP members and playground staff sat here at the rec center for 3 ½ hours labeling, stamping and stuffing envelopes with nearly 500 outgoing letters requesting support. The mailing was done in conjunction with the SNIC monthly mailing, and sent to the SNIC mailing list. The items were mailed January 1st and began arriving on or about January 3rd. So far, donations received have totaled $910.70, and at least $200 more is in the mail. Our goal is to collect $5000 by April 1st, 1998 from this appeal. Also, we have recently become aware that we are eligible to apply for a event-based donation from NationsBank of $1000, which we will request in conjunction with the upcoming Earth Day clean-up. Randy Wells is typing the fundraising list from last year’s Holland & Knight-sponsored Absolute Power fundraiser, which we hope to use for another appeal to mail in mid to late February 1998. This can include an invitation and announcement to Earth Day event in April.

Earth Day organizing meeting will take place January 26th at 6:30 pm at the Whitelaw Apartments. FOKP should be represented at the meeting.

Diane Quinn of the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP) joined us. We discussed some important issues and developments since she had last attended a meeting last year. She emphasized the importance of completing FOKP’s tax-exempt application, as well as the adoption document to DRP—to protect the organization as it appeals for funding and to become eligible for grants and other funding. The perception of a partnership with DRP needs to be formalized, and she showed examples of the Volta Park and Guy Mason “Friends of” groups and documents. This related to the brochure, but we did not discuss that directly. Peter reiterated all the accomplishments over the last year or two, and thanked Diane for her help and participation. Diane also shared the success of DRP implementation of “friends of” concept city-wide, and its substantial impact in the city’s recreation center. She hopes to soon have FOKP fully join that model, for the benefit of FOKP, the playground, DRP and the city.

Peter proposed that the next FOKP meeting be dedicated to finalizing the adoption agreement. He sees this as helping FOKP and the community to shape the design proposal for a new rec center. Diane noted that the DC housing department had had some type of similar role for community members to oversee design and construction…she will try to bring more city examples to try and incorporate them into our proposal. She also suggested the importance of meeting with the ANC (ANC 2C) to have their support and concurrence with the Kennedy Playground vision for a new rec center. The adoption agreement just lays our a partnership with DRP and lists roles to be undertaken by FOKP in a responsible manner. Down the road, revisions and additions can be made. The adoption and tax exempt status provide protections from legal and tax questions.

The next FOKP meeting was scheduled to February 3rd, at 6:30 pm at the Kennedy Playground Rec Center, 7th and P Streets, NW. The focus would be completion of the adoption agreement, and Diane Quinn will attend to help us.

Renovation Project--Peter reported a meeting with Michael Williams of DRP and Ronnie McGhee on December 31st, 1997. The topic was the status of the contract with Ronnie McGhee to take existing concept plans for a new rec center and playground to the next stage, in preparation for implementation. How to get the community design incorporated and implemented? The original plan called for the Department of Public Works (DPW) to hire Ronnie to complete the initial design. DPW is slated to be the primary contractor on the project, due to the size of the overall budget. The new proposal is to have FOKP hire Ronnie directly to finalize the design. Ronnie would then develop a license agreement to FOKP for use of the design. FOKP in turn would license the design to the city for use in the construction, and Ronnie would assist us in seeing to it that the design is closely followed. Peter proposed that FOKP contract with Ronnie for $5000 for the design completion. Michael Williams expects the Fiscal Year 1998 capital budget of $2.5 million to become available in about 60 days, and Michael intends to “encumber” those funds for the Kennedy project. An additional $1 million will become available with the FY 1999 capital budget. Some amount of funds remain from prior year budgets, but to get a accurate breakdown of their use and availability to date we should write a letter to Dr. Gaines (cc: to Anthony Williams and Jack Evans) to request an exact breakdown of existing funds and usage. (About $250,000 should remain to date.) Michael has suggested a design-build project, which will give us little or no leverage on the final integrity of the design. The fact that our major funding is spread over two years (98 and 99) will add additional complications. DPW is operating essentially as an independent contractor. Our best strategy is to work with DPW in that role and independent contractor—to reach out to them and develop a strong relationship the way we have with other city offices. We should request a meeting with the DPW project manager. Ask Michael to set up a meeting with Tchako (pronounced “Chaco”). If necessary send a letter directly to Cell Bernadino to get this meeting soon.

Safety items—the list of safety and maintenance items was discussed. This began with a list put together by a DRP safety officer by request of FOKP and the rec staff. Little of this has been acted upon, including a dangerous grate near the rec entrance that is the subject of a law suit. Diane will send out Anthony McIntyre (DRP, Community Services Admin., 750 Park Rd, NW, WDC 20010, tele: 576-7747, FAX: 576-8905, pager: 991-3376) from her office to review outstanding safety items. We should go ahead and get maintenance and safety issues dealt with, when possible, by volunteers and contributions, under the Partners in Parks and Volunteers in Action programs if necessary, working with rec director John Borges. Peter noted that part of the maintenance problem is that the work crews work morning to afternoon hours, and most of the recs are open afternoon to evening hours. He was encouraged to mention this disconnect in his role as a member of the Recreation Assistants Board. Letters on maintenance and safety should be writing to 1) Tony for site safety, 2) to trigger a Diane letter to Dr. Gaines, 3) FOKP letter to Mr. Haines asking for a response.

A motion was made and seconded, that FOKP intend to contract with Ronnie McGhee in an amount not to exceed $5000 as architect on the recreation center project, in conjunction with the city (DPW, DRP) and any selected contractors, a final agreement to be voted by the board. Motion passed unanymously.

Diane recommended that we draft a letter to Clark Construction to say that we need architectural assistance to get the renovation Request for Proposals (RFP) out, and would they be willing to contribute funds to FOKP for that purpose? A cash donation to FOKP would not preclude Clark from bidding on the RFP when issued.

The goal: Take an FOKP design, developed with Ronnie, get a contractor via city RFP, have the contractor do the mechanical drawings, and work with the city to build it.

Diane also mentioned the need for better on-going press for the playground. We discussed the ways we might get the extended Kennedy family involved, and the need for another big event soon. Always remember for FOKP to request an event permit for any events from Dr. Gaines.

John Borges announced the Little League banquet, scheduled for Saturday, January 31st, at the rec center. He is however shy of the needed funds for food, having thus far collected about $70 of a planned $200 from parents and other sources. The trophies, which FOKP voted last meeting to fund, have been ordered and are being shipped.

Motion was made and seconded for FOKP to provide not to exceed $100 for food, as needed, with receipts to be provided, with Treasurer Eloise Wahab authorized to issue the amount by check upon request from John Borges. Passed unanymously.

Next Meting Date and Time—It was decided that the next FOKP meeting will take place on February 3rd, at 6:30 pm, at the Kennedy Playground Rec Center. Main topic: completion of the FOKP adoption documents for submission to DRP.

The meeting adjourned about 9 pm.

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