SNAP appoints officers, committee chairs

SNAP appoints officers, committee chairs
Neighbors attending the first official meeting of the St. Nicholas Area Preservation Society were Amy Larkin, vice president; Renee O’Donnell; Trish Philips; Darren Moses, beautification chairman; Michel Moses, events chairman; Erik Kaldor, president; Valerie Harden, communications chairman Bill Byers, historian/preservation chairman; Tamara Grooms Baker; Clay Howerton; Roy Miller, secretary; and Conner Larkin.

The newly-resurrected St. Nicholas Area Preservation Society (SNAP) got off to a running start June 11 when it appointed new officers and committee chairmen during a meeting at the Mudville Grille.

Erik Kaldor agreed to take on the top position of president while Jep and Amy Larkin assented to share the role of vice president. Jan and Roy Miller were named co-secretaries, while Ali McGowan will take over as treasurer from Tamara Grooms Baker, who has handled the group’s money for years, even while the group was on hiatus.

Baker said the group has more than $5,000 in its treasury, and she will accompany McGowan, who was unable to attend the meeting, to the bank to sign the account over to her.

Kaldor, who has lived in the neighborhood 30 years, brings some experience to the board having served as SNAP treasurer in the early 2000s. The Larkins lived in St. Nicholas for 15 years in the 1990s before moving to St. Johns County in 2005. They recently have moved back to the neighborhood. During his former tenure as a resident, Jep served as president of the group “off and on,” said Amy.

The Millers – Jan and Roy – are also longtime St. Nicholas residents. They have lived in the neighborhood since 1981, and Roy’s grandfather owned a home on Nicholson Road long before that, he said.

The board, which will also double as the SNAP’s Administration Committee, were appointed from St. Nicholas residents who expressed a willingness to serve. Bylaws from the group have been lost over the years, so the first order of business for the Administration Committee will be to write new ones, said Kaldor. The group plans to obtain a copy of bylaws from the San Marco Preservation Society and tailor them to meet its needs, he said.

SNAP has been on hiatus since 2005, when the group essentially disbanded due to a lack of interest by the neighborhood. In the interim, the group continued to collect some dues, paying for its annual neighborhood Christmas party and lawncare for a small historic neighborhood cemetery within its boundaries.

The group serves the area bordering Atlantic Boulevard from Mayfair Road to Holmesdale but has had requests from some of the residents in the Harbor Oaks and South Shores neighborhoods to join forces, said Alex Varkonda, who initiated the group’s reorganization.

Twelve residents attended the June 11 meeting, with Varkonda, who was away on a business trip, calling in by phone.

During the meeting the group appointed Darren Moses and Scott Glass as co-chairmen of the Beautification Committee. Glass was not in attendance at the meeting. Valerie Harden enthusiastically volunteered to be Communications Committee chairman, while Michel Moses eagerly agreed to head the Events Committee.

Bill Byers offered to chair the Historian/Preservation Committee and was happy to hear that Kay Ellen Gilmour, author of a genealogy book on the historic St. Nicholas Cemetery, and Lois O. Gray are willing to assist with his committee.

Varkonda volunteered to chair the Membership Committee with help from Amy Larkin, who said she hoped to set up “care teams” to help her neighbors. 

“One of our fondest memories here was when our babies were born and Jan came over,” said Amy Larkin, referring to Jan Miller. “Everybody took care of everyone else. That’s why we came back. You don’t always find that in other communities. That’s why I’m sitting here. I really think we need to come together as a community and help those who may not know where to start. I’m happy to work with you as part of the membership committee doing that sort of stuff because I think there is a strong need.”

No one agreed to chair the Traffic/Safety Committee although, according to resident feedback, speeding through the St. Nicholas neighborhood, particularly on the roads leading to Bishop Kenny High School, is considered a hot issue. Although he did not commit to chairing the committee, Byers said he would “take on the investigation phase” of looking into traffic calming devices that might work in the neighborhood and report back to the board.

All SNAP committee chairs will be given volunteer forms submitted by residents interested in serving on their committees. During upcoming meetings each chairperson will be asked to report on their activities, said Kaldor. The next SNAP meeting was set for Monday, July 9 at 7 p.m. at the Mudville Grille.

At its next meeting, Byers suggested the group add a representative to the city’s Citizen Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC). He also proposed the group appoint block captains, a form of neighborhood ambassadors, and that it discuss ways to help reignite the St. Nicholas Business Association at its next meeting.


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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