November, 2016 Meeting

11/3/16 DGNA Meeting minutes

The November meeting took place on Thursday, November 3rd at 7pm at the home of Jerica Etheridge at 407 S Evans Street. Twelve neighbors were present.

The September 2016 meeting minutes were approved. The Treasurer was not present so there was no treasurer’s report.

The DGNA T-shirt Event was successful. Approximately 30-40 neighbors were in attendance. We spent a total of $232.49 which was under budget. We now have a number of t-shirts, long sleeve shirts and totes for neighbors who could not attend and would like to buy one or for future neighbors who are interested in buying one. A report on funds, etc. will be given to the Treasurer.

The Chili cook-off event was also successful. Thank you to our host David Bentley as well as Lacey Fritsch and Sarah Hanzel for all your hard work in putting it together.

We are looking for volunteers to host the winter traveling social sometime between February and March but date is flexible based on the hosts’ availability as hosts pick the date of the event. Please let us know if you are interested in being a host.

Sarah Hanzel mentioned it would be fun to do a Garlic Press cooking class for a DGNA Event. She will be looking into organizing that even for some time in January.

We have decided not to do luminaries this year as we had no interest in the meeting in organizing it.

We currently have block captains for all of our blocks.

Brad Williams and a few other neighbors attended the police chief’s meeting on 11/2. A discussion was had regarding the drunk driver on Grove several weeks ago which did severe damage to several cars parked on Grove. Please remember to lock your car doors, we’ve had more instances of items being stolen from unlocked cars. The Circle K on the corner of Oakland and Clinton was robbed at gunpoint on 10/31.

Pam Eaton talked about putting plaques in yards to help spread more information about the history of our neighborhood. Dawn brought up keeping the plaques small with a QR code to take visitors to more information on our website.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, January 5th at Terri Clemons house at 606 E Grove.

September, 2016 Meeting

Brad called the meeting to order. 15 neighbors were present.
The minutes from the previous meeting were approved. There was no treasurer’s report.
There will be a T-Shirt party at Meltdown Creative Works on October 13 at 7:00 pm. The T-shirts made at this event will feature the new, improved DGNA logo. Some light appetizers and drinks will be furnished, but neighbors are free to bring their own refreshments and beverages and are also encouraged to bring their own chair. Shirts can be purchased at Meltdown Creative Works, but neighbors are cautioned due to the influx of events, inventory may be limited and neighbors are encouraged to bring their own. Those that bring their own the cost is $10 for the first shirt and $5 for each additional shirt.
Sarah proposed to spend $250 on shirts, canvas bags, and other items to have screen printed. These items would be given to VIPs and city officials attending meetings and also to sell to neighbors. Emily motioned to approve the proposal. The motion passed.
Thanks to our gracious hosts for the Summer Traveling Social. It was a success and everyone enjoyed their time.
The Bake Sale at the July Farmer’s Market was a huge success. We raised almost $500 and were almost sold out of baked goods. A special thank you to those bakers and helpers that made it such a huge success.
The DGNA neighborhood plan is already on the website. Carlo motioned to approve and adopt the neighborhood plan, Jerica seconded the motion and the neighborhood plan was adopted. The next steps include setting up subcommittees to break up the plan and come up with ideas to implement the plan and then eventually present it to the City Council. The next meeting will be a working meeting for the subcommittees. Those that are interested in being a part of one of the committees are asked to be at that meeting. Donnie, Jerica, and Sarah volunteered to be part of the committees.

An unexpected guest arrived. Dr. Tim Campbell, former owner of 401 E Grove, stopped in to tell the neighbors hello and that he loved how the neighborhood looked.

The Chili Cook-Off aprons are in at the printer. The location and date of the Chili Cook-Off have not been decided. Carlo will reach out to the owner of Clay Dooley to see if he would be our host. Jamie will be the fallback solution in the basement of Red Raccoon Games.

The Winter Traveling Social has been tabled for the next meeting. Also tabled until a future date, the Home and Garden Tour or a Day in Dimmitt’s Grove. This will wait until we have more of our complete.

There were 10 people in attendance at the Chief’s Meeting. There was a special presentation on Gangs. Graffiti incidents have been on the rise in Bloomington. Washington School had an incident most recently. If you have graffiti, please remove it ASAP or if it is on public property, report it as it could be a message to one of the 7 gangs in Bloomington.

The next meeting will be hosted by Jerica at 407 S Evans on November 3.

July, 2016 Meeting

Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association

Meeting Minutes- July 7, 2016

The July 2016 meeting of Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association was held in the Government Center in Downtown Bloomington. 18 neighbors and 2 city employees attended.

Vazu and Melissa, of the Bloomington Regional Planning Commission, presented the full neighborhood plan. They provided highlights and action items before officially turning the plan over to the neighbors for action and implementation.

Goal 1 focuses on the zoning of the neighborhood. The city of Bloomington will be updating the city zoning in the next couple of years and will hold outreach meetings before the zoning is updated. Neighbors should plan to attend these meetings and recommend that Dimmitt’s Grove be zoned for medium density (2-3 units) instead of high density. Katie Simpson, with the city of Bloomington, should be able to provide details when the zoning outreach meetings are taking place.

Goal 2 touches on employer assisted housing. The idea behind this program is that employers will assist with housing costs, like down payments, for the employees that live within certain communities. This would require working with other neighborhoods surrounding downtown. This goal also touches on the parking issues faced by the residents of Dimmitt’s Grove and proposes having the city conduct a parking study or possibly investigating a rental property cap.

Goal 3 recommends knowing your neighbors and crime prevention though environmental design. The neighbors should also look into the neighborhood watch app for smartphones.

Goal 4 suggests establishing Dimmitt’s Grove as a neighborhood conservation district or an eco-district. The city will be able to authorize the creation of a conservation district. No other community in Bloomington/Normal is listed as an eco-district. Neighbors should promote the neighborhood as walkable, bike-able, and sustainable.

Goal 5 of the plan is to rebrand the neighborhood. Testimonials from neighbors should showcase the neighborhood community because people tell a better story than the numbers do. The plan suggests marketing to a target audience, millennials and the first time home buyers and to promote the neighborhood as trendy and not “cookie-cutter.” Neighbors should contact Human Resource Managers and apartments on the east side to get information out there about Dimmitt’s Grove.

Before turning the plan over, Vasu proposed the question “how can we reunite the homes North of Front street with the rest of the neighborhood?” The next steps will be the neighborhood adopts the plan after putting it online and in front of the other neighbors for a couple of months. Then, present it to the council for them to approve and adopt.

The normal neighborhood meeting was called to order by Brad Williams, Ken Kashain seconded. The minutes from the previous meeting were approved. The bank account has $4,597.30.

The bake sale will be held on July 9 at the northwest corner of the square at the Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market starts at 7:30 am but set up will start at 6:30 am. Volunteers are needed for all shifts. Mel asks that goods be priced to sell instead of underpriced. Do not bring anything that will spoil or that contains cream or cream cheese.

We have business cards to hand out to neighbors while on walks. They will be at the next meeting.

The summer traveling social will start behind the stucco houses with salads and drinks. The social will move to Pam and Herb Eaton’s home for pasta and drinks. The final stop will be at the home of Amy Davis for desserts. The social will be July 9.

The next meeting will be September 8th at the home of Emily and Carlo at 401 E Grove.

May, 2016 Meeting

Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association
Meeting Minutes- May 5, 2016

The March 2016 meeting of Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association was held at Susan and TJ’s on May 5th. The meeting was called to order by President Brad Williams. Seventeen neighbors were present. The meeting minutes from previous meetings were all approved. The bank account has $4597.30 in it at this time.

Jerica gave an overview of the neighborhood plan that has been in process for over a year. Vasu, of the Regional Planning Commission, sent out action items since the last meeting. Pam will send the history of the homes to the Regional Planning Commission. Interviews will be submitted at a later time.

Jerica gave an update on Green Top Grocery. Ground will be broken this summer and the complex will include two buildings. Green Top Grocery will be a stand-alone building and the other building will feature three local businesses.

Newsletters will be sent out to let the new neighbors know we are here. We are still in need of a volunteer to write the newsletter.

The long term rehab in progress on Jackson St was discussed. The neighbors all agreed that the work appeared to be of great quality and also to have kept a lot of the interior character of the home including the original woodwork. It is part of a Federal grant and must adhere to specific guidelines regarding its energy efficiency and future residents.

Please make sure to browse the new website. A special thank you to Sarah Hanzel for all of her hard work in making the website look great!

June 4 will be the DGNA Flea Market, which will be held from 9 to 3. A map will be made and advertising will be done for a $5 contribution. Contact Terri at to participate.

The Bake Sale will be July 9 at the Farmer’s Market. Bakers are needed as are volunteers to man the stand. Please contact Terri if you are interested in being a baker. All goods at the sale must not require refrigeration and also please no cream pies. Mel will work on a list of what items should not be sold as well as a pricing structure for the items. Our prices need to be more in line for a fundraiser (i.e. $10 per pie) so that the bake sale will be a success. Mel added, “Bake, bake, bake!”

The hosts for the Summer Traveling Social are working on a date for the social to be held. Pam and Herb, Sarah and Brandon, and Amy have all graciously volunteered to host. They are aiming for a date in July.

An idea for all neighbors to plant tulips during the fall was proposed. The idea would be for Dimmitt’s Grove to be known for its tulips in the spring.

Ken proposed an idea for business cards to be created that include 2-3 facts about Dimmitt’s Grove. The cards would be easy to hand out to new neighbors and direct them to NextDoor and the website. Ken will work on a design for these cards.

The Bloomington City Council approved a $900,000 contract with Stewart for sidewalk repairs. Neighbors were concerned because this company had caused a lot of damage to residential property in the past. If you have complaints about the issues, please make sure you call and email your city council members so they are aware of the issues.

Block captains are all assigned. No other news was discussed on the block captains report.

Brad attended a BPD Police Chief’s meeting and learned how the crime scenes and evidence were processed. Bloomington is fortunate to have their own vault so that evidence can be stored in town rather than sent away to the state vault where it could take years to process and recover evidence. The police have been patrolling the streets of the neighborhood and all neighbors are grateful. Just a reminder, be sure you are locking your doors to your cars.

The next meeting will be on Thursday July 7th at 7 PM at Maria Litta Park.

Dimmitt’s Grove Welcome Letter & Walking Tour

Dimmitt’s Grove Historic Neighborhood [welcome-letter]

Walking Tour [map here]

        611 E. Washington: Craftsman style. Designed by architect A.L. Pillsbury in 1908. First owned by Omar Rawston.


  1. 702 E. Front: Shingle style. Designed by Pillsbury and built c. 1901; it is known as the Darrah House. It is a cross gable three story house.


The 400-700 blocks of East Grove Street became a National Register of Historic Places District in 1986.


  1. 401 E. Grove: Built in 1874 by Dr. D.O. Moore who used the house as both his home and medical office.


  1. 407 E. Grove: Italianate. Built in 1868 by Lawrence Weldon, a lawyer who had earlier traveled the 8th Judicial Circuit with Reuben Benjamin (of 510 E. Grove), David Davis and Abraham Lincoln. Ulysses Grant was a guest of the Weldons in July of 1881.


  1. 409 E. Grove: Queen Anne. Built in 1885 by Edward Gridley, the house was sold to John Foster in 1903 and has been owned by the same family ever since. John Foster’s daughter, Alice Foster Light and her husband, Huber, often entertained his sister, Margaret Illington (the famous actress and wife of Major Bowes), here.


  1. 421 E. Grove: Italianate. Built in 1870 by John Roush, a wholesale grocer. The porches were later remodeled in a Colonial Revival style.


  1. 503 E. Grove: Four-square. Built in 1903 by H.W. Kelley who worked for the Campbell-Holton Company, wholesale grocers. It is one of the many houses in Dimmit’s Grove designed by A. Pillsbury.


  1. 505 & 507 (Queen Anne) and 509 (Italianate) Grove: These three lots, along with 501 and 503 E. Grove, were once occupied by the Conover Female Academy, a boarding school for girls. The house at 509 was built by George Brand in 1885. Brand is said to have built 505 (c. 1893) and 507 (c. 1895) for his children.


  1. 510 E. Grove: Greek Revival. Built in 1854 by John Routt, who later moved out west and became governor of Colorado. It was bought by Reuben Benjamin in 1856. Benjamin was influential in creating the 1870 Illinois Constitution, and was nationally known for arguing the Grange Cases before the Supreme Court.


  1. 701 E. Grove: Queen Anne. Designed by George Miller for George Cox, Secretary-Treasurer and General Manager of the Hungarian Roller Mill Co.


  1. 512 E. Taylor: Built by John Routt in 1857 as a story-and-a half side gable and was remodeled c. 1911. Once home to William Dimmitt’s granddaughter, Marie Litta (b. Marie von Elsner). Marie Litta was America’s best-known opera star when she died in 1885 at the age of 27. Our neighborhood park is named for her.



  1. 611 E. Taylor: Greek Revival. Built c. 1836 by William Dimmitt, an original settler of “Bloomington Grove” and one of the first developers here. He raised 10 children in this house. The original brick façade was covered by stucco and sleeping porches added in 1909.


  1. 701 E. Taylor: Italianate. Known as the Scott-Vrooman mansion, the original part of the house was built in 1869 by Eliel Barber. Julia Green Scott bought the house in 1873, remodeling and enlarging the mansion in 1900. Mrs. Scott was prominent in the D.A.R. and served as its national president.


  1. 709 E. Taylor: the Eliel Barber house was built c. 1851. The house is thought to be the only known building in the state of Illinois using the vertical plank method of structural support.


  1. Lincoln Oak (next to 708 E. Jackson): The original Lincoln Oak died in 1976 and was replaced. A tablet was affixed to the oak reading “I have heard Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln at different times speak from a platform erected under the shade of this tree.”


  1. 708 E. Jackson: Originally this building was a carriage house for the Scott-Vrooman mansion. The structure was built by Eliel Barber c. 1873.


  1. 502 S. Clayton: Built in 1872 for John Hamilton, a lawyer and statesman who was elected state senator in 1876, lieutenant governor of Illinois in 1880, and as governor for 18 moths, 1883-84.


  1. 307 S. Gridley: Italianate. The Tipton House was built c. 1860 and is of wood frame and clapboard construction.


  1. Marie Litta Park (Corner of Gridley and Jackson): Marie Litta Park was developed by the Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association in conjunction with Bloomington Parks and Recreation in 1988.


March, 2016 Meeting

Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association
Meeting Minutes-March 3, 2016

The March 2016 meeting of Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association was held at the Eatons’ on March 3. The meeting was called to order by President Brad Williams. Fifteen neighbors were present. Approval of minutes was tabled as they had not been widely read. Secretary Terri Clemens asked to be relieved of her duties as secretary and Lacey Fritsch stepped up to take her place beginning in May. There was no treasurer’s report, but Brad reported that $100 was taken from the treasury as relief to the Valentines whose house on Taylor suffered severe fire damage. Reggie asked Brad to thank the neighbors for their support.

Winter Traveling Social Hour was a great success and Brad thanked Julia and Doug and Lacey for hosting. The neighborhood plan is on hold and will be back on in April or May. Jerica gave an update on Green Top Grocery. It will be built on Washington St. behind Beer Nuts, and will feature local produce, full service, community classes, etc. Ground breaking this spring.

Mark your calendars for the June 4 Flea Market, which will be held from 9 to 3. A map will be made and advertising will be done for a $5 contribution. Contact Terri at to participate. The Bake Sale will be July 9 at Farmer’s Market. More info in May. A summer traveling social hour will be announced at the next meeting. Plans are being made on E. Taylor St and a date is in the works.

It’s time to print and deliver a half sheet newsletter to let new neighbors know we’re here and how to find us. Hoping to deliver in May.

Pam discussed a long term rehab in progress on Jackson St. It is part of a federal grant program with a 4 year construction limit. Pam announced the opening of Satio, a wine restaurant replacing A. Renee and owned by one of our neighbors Kristine Wallace. It will also have a wine shop. Downtown on Center and Jefferson.

We have a new website with the same address, to be managed by Sarah Hanzel. Block captains are all assigned! Brad attended a BPD meeting and learned that they do not receive all text calls, only some new phones transmit locations so they still need to talk to callers.

The next meeting will be on Thursday May 5 at 7 PM at 516 E. Clayton, hosted by Susan and TJ.