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Mueller Neighborhood Assn Meeting Minutes 02/15/2014
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Meeting Minutes
Mueller Neighborhood Association General Meeting
February 15, 2014, 10:00 AM
Location: Wildflower Terrace

MNA Steering Committee Members Present: James Nortey, Janeka Rector, Sandy Parks, Karen Sharp, Ani Colt, Kevin McGillicuddy, David Neider, Mateo Barnstone, Susan Egan, Helen Walker

Steering Committee Members Absent: Lucky Berry, Corky Hilliard, Tim Moriarty, Kathy Sokolic

1. TREASURER’S REPORT – Sandy Parks
Current MNA balance is $8944.58. The Front Porch Flyer advertising space is expanding from 4 to 6 pages per edition. Over 5 pages have ad commitments so far, and another $1000-$1200 of ad revenue is expected to come in based upon what has been sold to date. James Nortey reminded the membership of the grant application program and application process.

2. WORFORCE HOUSING PROJECT UPDATE – James Nortey
Reported update from Diana McGiver of DMA Properties, that the workforce housing project application has been withdrawn and that DMA will come back with other potential workforce housing projects in the future.
(Actual email received from DMA: "DMA submitted a pre-application to TDHCA for an allocation of 9% tax credits for the purpose of developing affordable work force housing near the new HEB. However, since Mueller does not yet qualify as a “high opportunity” area , [DMA's] score was among the lowest of the 14 submitted in the Austin Region. Consequently, [DMA] will not be going forward with a 9% application, but are immediately turning our efforts towards Plan B under which we propose to use the 4% tax credit program to develop workforce housing in the Mueller community.")

3. HEB CAFÉ FEEDBACK – Steve and Marty from HEB
Several questions and interests were reported by neighbors, including the following, with responses indicated from HEB:
a. Interest in brunch offering
i. (HEB) Very common request. Café now offers mimosas and other “brunch type drinks”. Looking at offering brunch, no specific commitment.
b. Need more advertising/promotions of music acts
i. (HEB) Acknowledged that advertising should be improved. Will start using Austin Chronicle in mid-March with regular three day a week scheduled published in April forward.
c. Concern of cold temps at registers and related issue of energy efficiency.
i. (HEB) Acknowledged that temperature regulation is issue both in patio and also with vestibule, which is designed for summer conditions. Systems are brand new for HEB and HEB is actively working on potential modifications to keep temperatures more regulated for all weather conditions.
d. Kudos for advertising of local events and products in beer and wine area.
e. Concern of lack of available disabled parking
i. (HEB) This is number one feedback we receive. The parking lot is not managed by HEB but is working with developer on issue.
f. Difficult for disabled to shop in store. How do shoppers get assistance? Suggestion to have a sign posted for “Need assistance?” with instructions.
i. (HEB) HEB offers shopping assistance to any customer. Tell any partner (HEB employee) and someone will help and accompany shopper throughout their visit. Best location to find HEB partners is in front by the floral/bakery sections.
g. Produce section organization could be improved. Better signage needed for organic/non-organic produce. Fruits are mixed in same section with vegetables.
i. (HEB) HEB changes produce seasonally. Organic produce has signage; perhaps not prominent enough. If produce is featured in flyer then those fruits and vegetables may be displayed side by side. Best way to provide input on produce lay out is to grab Steve or Marty (or any partner) when shopping and provide feedback there.
h. Difficult to get soup out of containers because of overhang.
i. (HEB) There are new bent spoons that make it easier to get the soup out of the warming containers.
i. The café inside should look a little bit more like a café and less like a cafeteria. More seating needed outside.
i. (HEB) Will take back feedback to consider improvements.
j. The music is very loud and makes it difficult to have a conversation.
i. (HEB) will ask sound engineer to double back regarding volume of music.
k. Like the selection of food and beer and that HEB staff provide tastes to help with selection.

4. BIKE AUSTIN- Executive Director Tom Wald
a. Provided overview of the Bike Austin non-profit, which promotes education and encouragement for more people to bike and reduce traffic congestion. Discussed the use of cycle tracks, which serve as barriers between bike traffic and motor traffic. Cycle tracks help most people to feel safe riding their bike because of the actual physical barriers between them and traffic. There are cycle tracks in parts of Mueller as well as a new one opening at Guadalupe and 24th street. Pedestrians should not walk or stand in the cycle track. In future will see two-way cycle tracks, with bike traffic going two ways legally on one side of the road.
b. A question was raised regarding Tom’s thoughts on the Mobility 35 plan. Tom discussed that it could be good; could be bad. Plan is still in conceptual phase. The diverging diamond element, which is currently planned for Airport and 35 and Parmer and 35, can be a hostile environment for bikes and pedestrians. The Bicycle Advisory Committee is looking at the issue and they receive updates from the Consultants and the City. If you have any further questions or input you can contact Tom at tom@bikeaustin.org

5. RECONNECT AUSTIN OVERVIEW - Sinclair Black
a. Austin architect and urban planner presented the Reconnect Austin proposal to cut and cap I-35 through downtown Austin. It is an alternative to the current Mobility 35 plan by TXDOT. The plan is based on a desire for East Austin to be integrated with the core of the City and to help negate the economic and social “great divide” imposed by I-35. Joining Mr. Black were Girard Kinney and Hayden Walker. A short video was shown that provides an introduction to the proposal and can be found at the link below.
i. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iSm_PKPI...
b. There were several questions asked and responses provides by Sinclair Black and Girard Kinney
i. How long of a stretch and the timeframe to get it done?
1. If the Medical School, UT, Cherrywood and Mueller all got together it could connect from just north of the river to MLK and 15th Street.
ii. How would you handle the River?
1. The lanes would come out and use the bridge to cross the river
iii. Who owns the land?
1. I say the City owns it.
iv. Is this idea the only one or are there other versions of the plan?
1. There are variations of the plan.
v. If you broke ground today how long to get it done?
1. It depends who owns and manages the project. TXDOT says it could be 20 years. If CTRMA, the toll road people, did it, it could be done more efficiently. If a large equity firm comes in and does it, it could be five years.

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. James acknowledged that Council Member Chris Riley was in attendance at the meeting.
2. Kat reminded everyone about the Mueller community wide garage sale which is scheduled for March 29th.
3. Kat also previewed the next Mueller Social Hour. The location will be the Haymaker on Manor Road. There is a bike lane all the way to the location. Date will be announced soon. The Haymaker has said they provide a neighborhood discount for Mueller and Cherrywood residents and will provide a 25% discount on food if you say you are with the neighborhood.
4. Rachel Stone, with Environment Texas, announced that Austin Energy is redoing their electric generation plan and that it is an opportunity for input into their plan. Rachel suggested that solar should play a big role in the next ten years of the plan for generation. Workshops will be held at Austin Energy on February 25 and 27.
5. Helen Walker announced that the next meeting of the MNA in March (March 15th) will be held at the Seton Administrative offices.
6. James Nortey announced that anyone who wished could stay after the meeting for further Q&A with Sinclair Black and his team on the Reconnect Austin plan.

5. ADJOURNED 11:05 AM
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