February 11, 2016:
W7BA General Membership Meeting

15-February-AGM-reception

Schmidt Artists Lofts, 4 – 6 p.m. Thursday, February 11

2015 The W7BA Year-In-Review
2016 General Membership Meeting

By Joe Landsberger, President

Its all over but the socializing!

Over 40 participants gathered at the Schmidt Artists Lofts February 11, 2016 to celebrate a very productive year 2015 and celebrate members’s accomplishments. After a half hour of registration, socializing and networking, the group migrated to the audience hall for the program.  President Joe Landsberger welcomed the group, and began with introductions and their brief remarks:

  • Council member Rebecca Noecker
  • Central District Police Commander Jeff Winger
  • Saint Paul Fire Department Marshal Steve Zaccard
  • In-coming President of Keystone/West 7th Community Center Mary McKoewn
  • Community Reporter Editor Jerry Rothstein
  • “Loud Website” developer (W7BA Website) Ryan Renolds
  • Schmidt Organic Water manager Phil Gagné who offered brewery tours after the program.

Next on teh agenda was teh election of the new W7BA Board of Directors:
Kent Petterson (Terrace Horticulture Books); Cindy Silkett (BC Commercial Properties); Lori Wlaznak (Wings Financial Credit Union); Jerry Rostein (Community Reporter and Gestalt Work); Shelly Boone (deZinnia); Paula Faughender (NatureWise ChemDry) Amy Zellmer (Custom Creations Photography); Mark Josephs (Ameriprise Financial Services); Landen Hedrick (Bank Cherokee) ; Ann Sechter (Wellington/Shepard Park Senior Living). Thanks to them all for working for our historic commercial district.

Micro-grant announcement:
The West 7th Business Association has designated funds to award micro-grants for programs or improvements within the West 7th community.  This program is funded by proceeds from the West 7th Business Association membership dues and is intended to be fair and equitable.  The application must be for, or sponsored by, a member business or organization.  As available funds may vary from year to year, the number of grants awarded may change.  Request for funds have a cap of $500 per business and is limited to one grant award per business per year.  (.pdf’s: W7BA_MicroGrant_Application W7BA_MicroGrant_Process)

We concluded the agenda saluting ten businesses that have enhanced our commercial district with our Certificates of Recognition:

  • 7th Street Social
  • Bennett’s Chop & Railhouse
  • Scarborough Fair
  • Best Pawn
  • John Ulven and John Yust at 278 W. 7th
  • Bad Weather Brewing Company
  • Little Sisters of the Poor
  • Macdonald Montessori
  • MN Nature @ 35E Bike trail
  • Tease Salon

A brief history: 
On December 12, 1966 Joseph L. Donovan, Secretary of State of Minnesota certified the West End Business and Professional Association (WEBPA) as a legally organized corporation.  Fifteen business owners along West Seventh submitted its by-laws; they proceeded to organize West 7th parades, West End Scholarship Golf Tournaments, “Gold Plate” dinners (the thirtieth was February 27, 2000), etc. On January 8, 2008 a general meeting was held to rejuvenate the organization and in 2015 membership was recorded at an all-time high of 70. At our general membership meeting, the by-laws were changed to reflect our new identity: the West End Business Association, www.w7ba.org, a process that is formally being finalized with the Internal Revenue Service!

The W7BA’s 2015:
As we look back we’ve had a very productive year! Currently our members comprise about one-third of businesses located along West 7th Street and its arteries. We gathered at eight networking meetings (two were “early birds”) and two membership meetings; co-sponsored and organized the Ward 2 candidate forum at the CSPS Sokol Hall, and participated in the High Bridge Community Workshop. We also have embarked on a Website upgrade! The new version includes a “Google” map and directory of our member businesses and organizations that support our commercial district’s only business organization.

The W7BA’s Enhancement Coalition Task Force:
We particularly note the efforts of our Enhancement Coalition Task Force (ECTF) under the leadership of Kent Petterson with John Yust, Jerry Rothstein, Halley O’Falvey, Jo Craighead, and Ruth Ann Smith. Smith organized West Seventh’s spring cleanup as part of a city-wide effort, hosted by Fresh Grounds Coffee Shop. The ECTF also facilitated street side and container floral displays within our commercial district—often at no cost other than the regular watering cycle! The ECTF sponsors our recognition program for businesses that have made significant “enhancements” to their storefronts and buildings. Last year at our February membership meeting 26 businesses were given Certificates of Appreciation, and this year the above mentioned ten.

Advocacy and issue-monitoring is another mission of the W7BA!
The W7BA has voting privileges on the Highland District Council, and Petterson attends its Technical Advisory Committee as well as the Riverview Corridor Policy Advisory hearings (including options for light rail, streetcar, rapid busway, no build).  Through dedicated and persistent efforts, Petterson also faithfully attends countless committee meetings that affect the viability of our neighborhood commercial district.  Through the ECTF, the W7BA also issued a board advisory against parking meters on Seventh, and prioritizes pedestrian access to and sustainable development of our riverfront, especially as they affect our historic residential areas. Our Community Engagement Committee, chaired by Paula Faughender and Joe McKenzie, has organized donations programs for Joseph’s Coat, a free store on West Seventh that resulted in 300 winter wear clothing articles in 2015. The W7BA also looks forward to finalizing the process for a series of micro-grants that we hope to be awarding for community and commercial projects. And we will again survey our member businesses, building on the 2010 survey.

The W7BA prides itself as an advocate for West Seventh
as the oldest neighborhood commercial district in the State of Minnesota, dating back to the 1838 expulsion of settlers from Fort Snelling. The year ahead will be quite busy. We invite all businesses and organizations to join us, and we will listen to and advocate for our members and businesses on issues that affect us. Thank you for your support.