The Mill Basin Civic Association held its first meeting of the New Year on Monday, February 13th at Mary Queen of Heaven Roman Catholic Church in Old Mill Basin, where the board discussed developments within the organization and upcoming community events.
As attendance at all of the local civic association meetings has been dwindling in recent years and the boards struggle to recruit active members, some of the civics have been meeting less and risk becoming inactive, such as the Bergen Beach Civic Association. Mill Basin Civic Chairperson Paul Curiale addressed this at the meeting, along with a potential solution to the problem.
He suggested that the local civics come together to share their meetings and members. This will streamline the number of meetings that residents have to choose from and could increase attendance.
“What the civics are actually doing is trying to regroup,” Curiale said. “What I proposed to all the civics is maybe we should meet as one group, locally.”
The Mill Basin board is on-board with the idea but is waiting to hear back from the others.
Curiale said Bergen Beach, which will be meeting for the first time this year in March, said it would like to try another of its individual meetings first to see if turnout is good before agreeing to a joint meeting. Bergen Beach Civic has been on hiatus for several months due to low attendance.
In addition to joint civic meetings, Curiale mentioned that sometimes it’s a struggle to get attendees because there are so many other community groups that meet monthly, as well — Community Board 18 (CB18) meetings, 63rd and 69th Precinct Community Council meetings, 63rd and 69th Precinct Clergy Council meetings and Build the Block meetings for each of the four sectors within each of the precincts and so on.
As a result, residents are left having to pick and choose what they have time and interest in attending, since it’s next to impossible to get to everything. Curiale noted that the Neighborhood Coordination Officers from the precincts usually already drop by the civic meetings, reducing the need for residents to attend separate police meetings.
“If the police can come here, you don’t have to go out to another meeting,” he said. “Over the course of the last 14, 15, 16 years since I’ve been involved, we always have the police here.”
Beyond attendance concerns — which caused the civic to downsize its meeting space from Congregation Beit Hillel of Flatlands to the church’s basement meeting room — two potential board members were introduced at the meeting.
School District 22 teacher Christina Caputo and longtime Mill Basinite Fred Greenberg are both being considered as new members for the civic board.
Board member Terri Cadet-Donald also brought up membership dues. Any Mill Basin or Old Mill Basin resident who wants to become an official general member of the civic is asked to pay a $20 membership due.
These dues, she explained, go toward the snacks offered at every meeting — this meeting’s refreshment table boasted coffee, cookies, a fruit tart and a chocolate swirl cheesecake — as well as toward donations for Mary Queen of Heaven, Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance and First Aid Corps, and local food pantries.
Additionally, CB 18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow, Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse’s Chief of Staff Saye Joseph and Mill Basin Library Supervisor Christina Armieri spoke at the meeting.
The library has been holding a full calendar of events throughout the entire month. Some upcoming events include a Knit and Crochet Meetup on February 27th at 11 a.m. and a Book Adventure on February 28th at 4 p.m. More library events can be found in the Brooklyn Public Library’s online calendar.
Joseph distributed a packet of upcoming events organized in coordination with the councilwoman’s office, including weekly hot food giveaways on Mondays across south Brooklyn, free legal consultations held out of her office and a Mammogram Bus visit to her office that will offer no-cost mammograms for women above the age of 40. More information about these and more events can be found on the councilwoman’s website or by calling the office.