President’s Message and Goals for 2017

By Jenifer Keenan, VHCA Board President

Happy New Year!  Now that the holidays are over, I wanted to bring you up to date on some of the activities of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association.

2016 was a year of transition for VHCA.  At the Annual meeting in September, six new directors were elected to the VHCA board.  I was a bit of a hybrid – I had served on the board for several years, but was not a current board member at the time of the election in September.  Rounding out the board were four returning directors who had each been serving for several years.

As President, my top priority for 2016 was to bring together the old and new directors, many of whom did not previously know each other, and build a strong and effective board.  To that end, the first few months of our 2016/2017 term were focused on electing officers, defining and assigning committee roles and chair positions, and getting a complete handle on the Association’s finances, and legal and financial obligations.  The process has been difficult at times, but I feel we now have a strong foundation and structure from which to pursue the many important and exciting initiatives that inspired each director to run for the Board.  And in the midst of working to rebuild the Board, we have already achieved a lot, including posting agendas and written minutes for board meetings, publishing The Voice twice per month, executing a successful Tour of Homes, moving forward with the design phase of the Fire Station 19 preservation and renovation, and providing monthly updates on the Association’s finances.  In addition, negotiations continue to settle the lawsuit filed last year related to the Todd memorial. I will continue to provide updates on the litigation at our monthly general meetings.

The first order of business for 2017 will be replacing board members Paige Hewell and Jess Windham – two directors who resigned in December.  Both Paige and Jess had significant changes in their lives that made it difficult for them to dedicate the time and energy needed to serve on the board.  Paige, who was the Co-Chair of Summerfest, will continue to work on Summerfest.  Jess, who has been on the Planning Committee for several years and was the Co-Chair of the Master Plan Committee, will also continue to work on Planning issues.  We are fortunate that we will still have an opportunity to work with Paige and Jess and are thankful for their service to the Board and Virginia-Highland.

Other goals for 2017 include refreshing Summerfest, helping to revitalize the VaHi business district, improving transportation infrastructure, monitoring proposed commercial development, supporting the Monroe Complete Streets project, modernizing communications, increasing fundraising, and improving public safety.  In addition to all of these important initiatives, we will continue to meet our commitment to increase community participation in, and access to, VHCA.  To that end, we will be hosting periodic “Meet the VHCA Board” gatherings at local restaurants and will have a VHCA Committee Open House in the near future.  Details on all of these initiatives will be provided at upcoming General Meetings and in future editions of The Voice.  The 2017 Goals for each of our Committees, as well as the 2017 budget, will also be published on vahi.org by mid-January.

We have an amazing neighborhood, but can make it even better with a robust and open civic association.  I look forward to working with VaHi volunteers old and new on the exciting initiatives happening in our neighborhood.