Saturday, March 17, 2012

Notes from March 14 Meeting

We had a very enthusiastic crowd at our second meeting this past Wednesday.   By the end of the meeting we had identified several possible committees to focus on different tasks and started filling up our calendar for the year with numerous events including doing an Indian River Road Cleanup on April 28, Clean the Bay Day on June 2, and potentially setting up a booth at the Indian River Craft Show in November.   Our next meeting will be at the Oaklette United Methodist Church on Thursday, April 12th.

Early in the meeting we reviewed the results of the online survey (see below), we spent some time updating the group's mission statement, tentatively adopting:
The primary goal of the Friends of Indian River is to improve the quality of life for all the residents of the Indian River neighborhoods by promoting and preserving a healthy and clean river, shorelines, parks, and green spaces connected to the surrounding community.   These efforts include outreach to the community promoting attractive streetscapes, encouraging sustainable gardening and landscaping methods, energizing local business development, and supporting broader civic activities to improve the community.  
Next we discussed the Indian River Shopping Center and heard about the info received at the previous Norfolk Highlands Civic League meeting.    Concerns were raised and ideas were shared.   In the end it was obvious that a multi-pronged approach was necessary : working with City planners, identifying potential tenants, and sprucing up the neighborhood.    Later in the meeting we agreed to establish a 'Joint Action Committee' with Norfolk Highlands Civic League to focus on Indian River Road.

We then discussed what activities the group should undertake.   Ideas flowed quickly and from every direction.   One of the first observations was that actions of the City Council have significant bearing on the community and it is important for each citizen to make informed choices when voting for City Council.   Elections are coming up on May 1st and we'll be voting for three open seats on the City Council.  The Norfolk Highlands Civic League has invited all the candidates to come talk at their next meeting on April 5th; all are welcome to attend.

Outreach to the broader community was a lively topic.   Several members were ready to talk to their neighbors and pass out fliers.   There was a recommendation to put some structure upon these efforts and we agreed to form an Outreach Committee and several members put their name on the list for this.

We agreed to adopt a mile of Indian River Road from the Norfolk line to the Virginia Beach line for quarterly cleanups as part of Chesapeake's Adopt a Highway program.     Our first cleanup will be in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 28th, starting at 8:30 am.

There was also eagerness to participate in Clean the Bay Day on June 2.   One new member reported how her husband routinely goes over to work with Lynnhaven River Now on their cleanups in Virginia Beach, always having wondered why we don't have a similar group in our watershed .... well now we do.   Details of where in the our watershed to do the cleanup are still TBD.

Some future activities under consideration include doing an Adopt a Garden along Indian River Rd and setting up an information table at the Indian River Craft Show in the fall.   We'll send out more information about setting up committees, such as the Outreach Committee next week.

Our next meeting will be at a new location - the Oaklette United Methodist Church at 520 Oaklette Drive (right along Indian River Road).   They have graciously agreed to let us use the John Teter room the second Thursday of every month from 7:00 to 8:30.    Our next meeting is Thursday, April 12th.

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