Portsmouth Listens Steering Committee Minutes 10/9/2014

Attendance: Bert Cohen, Diane Stradling, Inga Wyman, Jim Noucas, and Shaun Rafferty
Meeting began at 7 pm with check in

  • Mission – Portsmouth Listens essential mission is to serve as a neutral facilitator for community dialogue. Unlike other community organizations, such as Sustainable Portsmouth, we do not advocate for any cause. However, through our neutral organizing of community dialogues, we offer members of our community, who hold specific positions on different subjects, the opportunity to discuss their ideas with other community members, who might hold similar, contrary or no positions at all on these subjects. Such dialogue can lead to a better community for all of us.
  • Portsmouth’s Master Plan – Little seems to be known regarding the city’s plans for developing Portsmouth’s new ten year Master Plan. Questions remain as to the timing and the process that will be used. Portsmouth Listens should be in regular contact with city officials to assure that the community will be able to actively participate in formulating this Plan through a dialogue process. Community involvement is essential and is especially important in setting forth a clear vision statement that will guide the city’s future actions in all areas of municipal activity. This vision statement should emphasize our city’s commitment to sustainability and also should include a commitment by our city to report back to the community on a regular basis concerning the actions that have been taken to implement the new Master Plan.
  • West End Vision – The development of the city’s West End (Islington Street corridor through Bartlett Street to the old State Transportation property to the Route One By-Pass) was discussed. It appears that as development may occur in this area in the near future, a community dialogue regarding such development would be beneficial for the community and all involved.
  • Noise – It appears that the Prescott Park Arts Festival and their neighbors, who have complained about excessive sound volume during some events, are working to amicably resolve the problem. Apparently the sound volume has increased over the last year or so. All involved seemed to believe that turning down the volume or reconfiguring the sound system may well resolve the problem. It should be noted that at a largely attended recent meeting with the City Council all parties involved expressed their desire to see the much appreciated artistic events at Prescott Park continue for years to come.Other sound issues, such as the volume of the Gas Light restaurant’s outside music and the noise generated by regular helicopter flights over the Creek, South End and Downtown areas, may not be so easily or so amicably settled.
  • Portsmouth Listen’s Web site – A date and time should be set to meet regarding web site design.
  • Promotion of Portsmouth Listens – Portsmouth Listens should consider ways in which we could become better known to our community and therefore better serve our community. While a Portsmouth Listens’ web site would be a major step in this direction, other steps also should be taken. In this regard funding was also briefly discussed.
  • Invitations to attend Portsmouth Listens’ meetings
    A)- It was agreed that Portsmouth Listens should invite individual members of Portsmouth’s City Council, perhaps one member per month, to our meetings. This would enable the Council members to advise us of their thoughts concerning areas of municipal concern where Portsmouth Listens could better serve our community. It would also give us the opportunity to discuss with the Council members any ideas that we may have concerning this subject.

    B) – It was agreed that that Portsmouth Listens should invite members of “Keep Portsmouth Loud” to a future meeting. A review of this new organization’s mission statement, as noted on their Facebook page, is to “promote active civic engagement and open dialog amongst the citizens, workers, artists and others interested in preserving and cultivating the arts, entertainment, and related activities and communities that support and drive our local economy”. Their mission and ours appear to be similar and an exchange of ideas may be helpful for both organizations and the Portsmouth community as a whole.

Next meeting scheduled for November 13th at 7 pm.