Sunday, December 18, 2011

holiday lights

Magical time of year in our neighborhood...happy holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Goat Farm public information/input meeting 12/8

From Bloomington Parks & Rec...

"You're invited to a
Public Information and Input Meeting
this Thursday, December 8.

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is working with the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands to develop a plan that will guide the future development and use of the property known as the "Goat Farm," located next to the Jackson Creek Trail adjacent to Sherwood Oaks Park on the city's south side.

We cordially invite you to this meeting to share your vision of what you would like to see happen at the Goat Farm in the future. We will also share with you the results of our site analysis, as well as our recent in-person and online surveys.

Public Information and Input Meeting Agenda
7 p.m. Introduction
7:10 p.m. Scope of Project
7:25 p.m. Survey Results
7:35 p.m. Site Maps
8 p.m. Questions & Comments

The Parks and Recreation Department encourages ongoing input from community members about the future of the Goat Farm property. See our contact information below to send us your comments!
Thursday, December 8
7 - 8:30 p.m.
City Hall, 401 N. Morton Street, McCloskey Conference Room #135

Although the Eppley Institute will finalize their report this month, the Parks and Recreation Department will continue to solicit public comments about the Goat Farm. We welcome and encourage your input!

If you can't come to the meeting but would like to share your thoughts about the Goat Farm, please send your comments to us at"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

addendum to minutes: luminaries/block captains

The Nov. 12 meeting included brief discussion of displaying sidewalk luminaries some night in December. Consensus was that this is a project we'd like to execute but that without block captains or some other form of street by street organization it would be hard to pull off in the entire neighborhood this year. It was agreed that the first order of business toward making this happen would be asking for volunteers in each area of the neighborhood to communicate about the project with neighbors, pick up materials, etc. Materials involved are simple: small paper sack with a little sand in the bottom, candle or led faux candle inside. If folks would like to try to do it this year we would need to get organized quickly--please get in touch if you would like to do that. If we don't try it neighborhood-wide this year we can put it on a summer meeting agenda and shoot for next year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goat Farm Property on-line survey

John Evans and research partner Michelle Orr have created a survey to collect input on possible uses of the Goat Farm property. Here's the link to the web survey and more information from Mr. Evans:

The Goat Farm is over 30 acres of greenspace with a 4000 sq. ft. barn located off of Winslow Rd. Our goal is to gather public input on potential uses for this property. All your responses will be kept confindential. This is a great opportunity for you to help determine how natural resources are used in your community.

You can take the survey by clicking on the link above anytime until Nov. 30, 2011.

Please note that the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department has NO predetermined timeline, budget, or uses for the Goat Farm Property. Again the purpose of this survey is to gather public ideas and input.
Also because of the conditions in the deed when the land was donated, the Goat Farm Property can not be used for commercial or housing development.

Thank you and your input is greatly appreciated.

November 12th, 2011 meeting minutes

Welcomed everyone
Asked for suggestions for future meeting space. A suggestion was Sherwood Green activity center. We will follow up, as it would be within walking distance for our neighborhood.
Also, suggested we include them in our group as a “sister group” or involved in some projects.

Vickie Provine from H.A.N.D. (housing and neighborhood development) spoke to the group about:
Neighborhood Link website
Clean up grant
Citizen’s Academy
Blooming Neighborhoods at the Farmer’s Market. Neighborhoods have booths to represent themselves and their neighborhood projects
Small and Simple Grants
Neighborhood Directory and/or Newsletter
Welcome magnets- free to hand out to newcomers

Goat Farm Property Presenters: John Evans and Michelle Orr spoke about their student project for Parks and Recreation to access neighbor opinion of the site
Sherwood Oaks, Bentley Court and the Stands are stakeholder neighborhoods.
The site is 31 acres northeast of the treeline north of Sherwood Oaks park.
There will be a public meeting
John and Michelle will create a website where we can post our ideas for the property.
There is no budget or timeline at this time.
The property was deeded as recreation and green space.
Ideas brought up: barn as activity center or nature center, continue the Jackson creek trail around behind the barn to meet up with current trail, more benches, birdhouses, dog park.

Getting the Word Out:
Please talk to your neighbors-e-mail me contact information for anyone interested in being on the e-mail list.
Volunteer Block Captains to reach out and to inform those neighbors without internet access
Flyer the neighborhood. We will create an informational flyer, two to a sheet. Members asked that the flyer be attached in an e-mail so that they can print their own to hand out on their street.
Many asked me about a bulletin board format and more exchange between people, any ideas? Would a page on Facebook work?

There will be a voluntary $5 per year fee per home.
Spoke of the possibility of Neighborhood business owners sponsoring projects.
Special projects may need financial contribution- for example, landscaping around our signs

There will be quarterly meetings.
Special meetings will be called when there is an item to discuss.

Sidewalk Condition
During Q&A with Vickie, a member asked about contacting the city about sidewalk repair. We were informed that the sidewalks are the homeowners responsibility. A neighbor said that last summer he had his sidewalk replaced and that the city provided the labor and brought materials but that he was responsible for the cost of the materials only.
Many present shared the concerns on sidewalk condition. Two neighbors have volunteered to gather information on the process of working with the city to have this work done. They will bring that info back to the group and we may hold a special meeting for those interested.

We ended at noon. Thank you to all who could make it. Creating a neighborhood assocation is quite an undertaking. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work out the kinks. Those who have volunteered to help the organizing team will be contacted soon! Please stay tuned for our next quarterly meeting in February. We intend to put up signs as reminders.
Also, watch your e-mail for an announcement on the Goat Farm Project and an informational meeting on sidewalk upkeep.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

curbside leaf collection info from the city

The City of Bloomington's Street Department has developed a website to track when they will be picking up leaves in each neighborhood. Here is the link The site will be updated on a regular basis. Curbside Pickup: One-pickup Only

Leaves at all residences must be at curb by NOVEMBER 14, 2011. Each residence will receive one pickup between November 14 - December 30, 2011. (Monday-Friday, 7:30am to 3:00pm) All leaves must be as close to the curb as possible and may not be in the roadway or around fire hydrants. Leaves will be vacuumed, so please DO NOT include other waste as it may clog equipment. In case of inclement weather (snow, ice, etc.) the leaf collection schedule may be modified. If you have any questions you can email

Friday, October 28, 2011

Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) update

Neighborhood code enforcement is not part of the Sherwood Oaks Neighbors mission. But, if anyone is interested in learning more about code enforcement, the city is offering a free workshop on it. HAND offers lots of educational opportunities throughout the year. We'll pass those along via our e-mail list and the blog.

The HAND Update
An updated listing of information for Bloomington residents

HAND has developed a workshop to gain a better understanding how code enforcement works in our neighborhoods. You will have the opportunity to interact with HAND staff regarding issues and questions you have about how it works.

Understanding how code enforcement works in our Bloomington neighborhoods!

When you see a yard with overgrown weeds, tires in the yard, trash strewn all over - an eyesore in your neighborhood - what can you do? Who are you going to call?

The City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) Department! HAND enforces ordinances related to upkeep of property. You just need to contact HAND and they can have a Code Enforcement Officer come to check on the situation.

The Neighborhood Leadership Series is giving residents an opportunity to meet with the Code Enforcement Officers. The City will host a session on “Neighborhood Code Enforcement” on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall. The evening will feature interactive presentations on how Code Enforcement came to be in Bloomington, rental inspections and reporting concerns, unsafe structures, and Title VI of the Bloomington Municipal Code, which addresses weeds and trash. Staff from Community Justice and Mediation Center also will be on hand to talk about their services.

The session is free and open to the public. For further information contact Vickie Provine at 349-3505 or

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

November 12th meeting location, call for agenda items

We have found a meeting room for November 12th, from 11-12, at the Sherwood Oaks Christain Church. The room is R362. Please enter on the west side of the building, the door is marked with a large 3. Go up the stairs (or elevator), turn right, follow the hallway left. The room is about halfway down that hallway to the right. There is a sign at the top of the stairwell and the rooms are marked. There will be no childcare available so the church requests this: "There are several meetings in the same area that day so if folks do bring children, please make sure they stay in the room with you and are not allowed to roam the hallways unattended."

Vickie Provine of H.A.N.D. (Housing and Neighborhood Development) will be our guest speaker to talk to us about starting a neighborhood association and to address our questions.

Possible Agenda Items for This and Future Meetings:
-next meeting date and place
-discuss the Winter Luminary Project (see our Oct. 1 blog post for details)
-getting the word out
-volunteer board/committees and/or block leaders
-"Sherwood Oaks Neighbors"
-finances: donations for specific events and/or projects
-future of "goat farm" property

Please send us your ideas for agenda items for this and future meetings. Thanks.

Monday, October 10, 2011

leaf collection information

It's that time of year...
The City of Bloomington posts leaf collection information here:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oct. 1 organizational meeting minutes

The inaugural meeting for “Sherwood Oaks Neighbors” took place on Saturday, October 1st at Sherwood Oaks Park. The weather was beautiful and we had a great turn-out. Thank you so much to those whose schedules allowed them to attend.

WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A NEW CONTACT ADDRESS: If you know of neighbors that would like to stay informed but do not have e-mail access, we will be happy to mail them updates. Also, please take a look at our neighborhood blog:
for information and events.

As this was an organizational meeting, no decisions were made or motions passed. The organizers introduced themselves and talked about their inspiration and goals for a neighborhood association. They are Lisa Wrasse, Noma Maier , Ceci Schrock, and Ellen Lyon. Our goal is to create a greater sense of community. We love the idea of reaching out to our neighbors to plan neighborhood events like block parties, ice cream socials and garage sales. We also want to have an efficeint way to get word out about issues such as safety and pitching in to help neighbors in need. Many of us have other projects in mind so we have registered our group with the city in order to take advantage of the initiatives Bloomington has to offer.

The bulk of our first meeting was to have everyone introduce themselves. In that way we were able to learn more about each other and hear some of the ideas for what we may accomplish as a group. One of the attendees was the very first resident of Sherwood Oaks, Wilbur Turner. Mr. Turner moved into the neighborhood in October of 1965. There were several others who have made Sherwood Oaks their home for many years and also families,like mine, that have recently moved in. All agreed this is a great place to live! The city provided us with a map that was available for all to view the homes included within our association boundaries. The homes, comprised of Sherwood Oaks I and II, number 471!

The next meeting is set for Saturday, November 12th at 11 a.m. Vickie Provine of HAND, Housing and Neighborhood Development, will be our guest speaker. She will outline what Bloomington has to offer organized neighborhood associations. Another e-mail will be sent when we have finalized a meeting space. Kim Baer is looking into meeting at the Lighthouse Christian Church, as it is the closest venue. If anyone has suggestions for a space, please let us know.

We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting,

Ellen, Lisa, Noma and Ceci
Sherwood Oaks Neighbors

Sunday, October 2, 2011

International Walk to School Day is October 5th

Please look out for lots more foot traffic on Wednesday, October 5th. Many families will be walking to Childs to participate in International Walk to School Day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sherwood Oaks Neighbors is born

We had a great turnout at our organizational meeting today. Thanks so much to everyone who attended or otherwise expressed interest in developing an association. Meeting minutes will be posted shortly so please check back. The overall consensus among those present today seemed to be that Sherwood Oaks Neighbors might be a fitting name for our organization. We now have an e-mail address for neighborhood business:
If you wish to be on a mailing list to receive neighborhood news please e-mail and we will get you on the e-mail distribution list. Or, if you already sent Ellen your e-mail address she will be adding you to that list automatically. We can use the distribution list to share neighborhood news, as well as collect feedback, ideas for upcoming meeting agendas, etc. We also plan to post items of interest on this blog site.

For an overview of support offered by the City of Bloomington for neighborhoods please see this web site:
To explore what other Bloomington neighborhood associations have done/are doing please see these pages on the City of Bloomington web site:
list of neighborhood associations with web site links
past Small and Simple Grant recipients
past Neighborhood Improvement Grant projects
I would like to toss out an idea for consideration at the next meeting. Before returning to Bloomington our family lived for a time in Coralville, Iowa. While we were there we fell in love with a beautiful, yet simple, Coralville December tradition called the Aisle of Lights. If there is interest, this might be a tradition we could easily establish in Sherwood Oaks. So many neighbors already decorate for the holidays. It is easy to envision, for one night, the addition of sidewalk luminaries lining the neighborhood corridor of Allendale, Bainbridge, Laura Way, and Heather Drive (and any other streets where folks want to participate). To see what this is all about please follow this link for a virtual trip to Iowa:
Aisle of Lights

Monday, August 8, 2011

Association Now Forming

SAT., OCT. 1, 11:00 AM - NOON

Do you want to:
* get to know your neighbors?
* publicize your garage sale?
* plan a block party?
* work to obtain or improve city services?
* influence area development?

We all know we live in a great neighborhood, so let’s band together and share ideas, concerns, and make a positive difference in our community.