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Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization plans to take on more projects in ‘15

Kirkwood and East Lake

Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization plans to take on more projects in ‘15

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

By Jill Nolin, contributor

The Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization will start off the new year with stronger financial footing than in years past.

The group finished 2014 with about $48,000 in the bank, leaving it with about $6,000 more than the year prior. That’s a significant improvement from two years ago, when the organization had about $30,000 to its name.

“The good news is we’re right under $50,000, which is pretty healthy financial status for us,” said Geoff Mueller, who oversaw his first meeting as KNO president on Saturday, Jan. 10.

The KNO will vote on a new budget at its next meeting on Feb. 10. What that budget will fund, including any new projects, will be discussed at that meeting. Those details were not disclosed Saturday.

“We’re still developing the budget and we’re evaluating some of that and getting alignment from necessary parties, but for the most part, we’re doing everything like we have in prior years,” Mueller told Decaturish after the meeting.

Mueller noted that, as a nonprofit, the KNO is required to keep its spending proportional its revenues.

“This is another reason why we will be investing in more projects this year now that our cash reserves are higher,” he wrote in an email exchange.

The KNO hopes to fund four major events this year to boost community involvement. That, of course, includes its headliner, the Spring Fling, which usually costs about $30,000. The group also wants to bring back a once popular picnic event. The budget usually provides funding for parks and recreation and several nonprofit and school groups.

Additionally, the group is trying to find room in the budget for other projects this year, like repairing murals that have water damage. Last year, it helped the business association renovate the central island downtown and put in new bike racks.

Another key goal for this year is about helping residents with their own budgets, though. The KNO will work to raise awareness among residents about discount programs that exist to help lower the cost of home ownership as property valuations increase, Mueller said.

“We know our neighborhood values are going up. We want to make sure we’re informing current residents on the things that they can do to offset that,” he said. “The goal there is to really maintain a healthy and balanced, diverse neighborhood. We don’t want to see it stray too far socio-economic wise, especially as a lot of the really new houses are coming in in the $400,000-plus range.”

Mueller was elected president in November. At that same meeting, Benno Rothschild was tapped as vice president, Odell Horne as secretary and Justin Andrews as treasurer.