Friends of Springside, President's Annual Report 2013-2014

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  • President's Report to the Friends of Springside Park for the 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Clean Up- April 25, 2014

    Greetings to all Friends of Springside,

    This weekend we gather for our annual Spring meeting and park clean up for the 25th time since formally establishing as an organized nonprofit association. The Friends of Springside as an entity has its roots in volunteer park stewardship and advocacy efforts that stretch back several decades, including neighbor opposition to golf course proposals in 1957 and 1962, and sporadic revitalization and clean up efforts through the 1980s, but it was in the Spring of 1990 that that it formalized as an organization, in response to a third, more serious golf course proposal by a private developer. Since then it has established itself as an important ongoing presence in the preservation of the park, holding at least one major clean up effort each Spring around Earth Day, nature programs and events such as Winter Fest, and executed a wide variety of improvement projects throughout the park.

    A quarter century after its incorporation, this organization has again been galvanized to action by major concerns, questions and issues impacting the park, such as the future of the Springside House, the renewed proposal for a dog park, and the initiation of efforts for the first new comprehensive park Master Plan in 50 years.

    It has been a busy and productive year since our last annual meeting in April 2013. The 2013 Spring clean up was one of the highest attended, with over 75 people. Around 25-30 attended the more brisk fall clean up effort, typically a smaller event to tidy up before winter. In between, the Friends also collaborated with the Hebert Arboretum on the highly successful Get Outdoors at Springside for National Get Outdoors Day, as well as expanding community outreach at Discover Tyler Street and 3rd Thursday events.

    Beginning in September, some representatives of the Friends have begun meeting regularly as part of the Springside Conservancy ad hoc committee with the Arboretum, the Springside Greenhouse Group, the Morningside Initiative as well as Ward 1 City Councilor Lisa Tully and City Parks Manager Jim McGrath. Through this process, we will voice input to assist the city in developing the new Master Plan and collaborate in other ways such as cross-promotion.

    I volunteered to become interim president when prior president Howard Bertram indicated he wished to vacate this role this summer, and was elected by vote at a special meeting held June 24. At the time it was my intention to carry out such duties as were necessary to transition the organization through the various work and challenges of the past ten months until such time as perhaps another member might be interested in taking on the commitment for the following year. I remain open to that possibility, should any member hold a keen interest to undertake this role.

    If re-elected for the 2014-2015 year, however, it is my intention to conduct this function in a manner more resembling that of a executive director in a nonprofit, conducting the hands on, week to week and sometimes day to day work needed at this juncture in the history of the Friends, representing the organization in publicity and outreach to other organizations, as well as city departments and the Parks Commission, represent and vote for the Friends as needed in the Conservancy committee, and generally implement and work to advance the consensus goals and ideals of the organization as informed by regular

  • input from its membership and other officers. In this approach, major issues and decisions would be presented to the membership at 3-4 meetings per year, quarterly or as warranted, presenting updates on my activities and coming to the officers and membership with proposals and action plans for the following period.

    It is my belief that this is the level of administrative involvement needed at this time, as the Friends embark on a 25th year that will represent another crucial turning point for Springside Park.

    Sincerely,Joe DurwinInterim President, Springside Park


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