Green Benefit District is a quasi-government organization directed by a board of elected Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill residents to help maintain and expand the area’s parks and greenery. The organization was formed in 2015, after securing 76 percent of property owner votes in the district.
GBD’s 15 directors – including a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary – oversee its programs and investments. Occupants of the four officer positions are selected by the board. Each spring, an election is held for five seats. This year’s poll is open until March 26. According to Jean Bogiages, GBD president, ballots were sent to 1,157 property owners in the district based on their address on file with the City Assessors Office.
“This is a neighborhood board, so I think folks are interested in selecting neighbors who they can communicate with, who are capable, and who will do a good job carrying out the mission of the GBD,” Bogiages commented.
The five seats are open to two Dogpatch property owners, one Dogpatch tenant or property owner, one Northwest Potrero Hill property owner and one Northwest Potrero Hill tenant. Registration for candidacy ended mid-February. Each position is for a three-year term, with a two-consecutive term limit; a person may run again after a year break.
Seven candidates are seeking board seats, including three incumbents: Robert Broucaret, James Naylor and Kate Eppler, who currently serves as secretary. Broucaret is a Northwest Potrero Hill property owner who has professional horticulture experience. Naylor is a Dogpatch property owner who works in management at the American Industrial Center. Eppler, a Northwest Potrero Hill tenant since 2010, is a mother.
The other four candidates include Kyle Borland, a tenant in Dogpatch who wants to help make the neighborhood more attractive. Another Dogpatch tenant who lives in Potrero Hill, Keith Goldstein, is a gardener, Potrero Boosters board member and former Potrero Dogpatch Merchants Association president. Loren Swanson has been a Northwest Potrero Hill property owner for 20 years, and wants to use his experience with nonprofits, fiscal management, architecture, construction and landscaping to make the neighborhood beautiful. Dogpatch Neighborhood Association president, Bruce Huie, is a Dogpatch property owner who was on GBD’s formation committee, and has more than ten years of experience as a steward of Progress Park.
Directors are responsible for oversight of the district’s green infrastructure improvement activities. In addition to attending monthly board meetings and serving on at least one committee and working group, directors are expected to interact regularly with the organization’s executive director and bookkeeper, residents, park stewards, municipal officials and contractors working on GBG projects, and to help with fundraising. Board meetings are held on the third floor of 654 Minnesota Street.
According to Bogiages, this year’s priorities include cleaning, maintaining and enhancing public spaces in Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill; and increasing outreach to the community about GBD activities by, in part, compiling more property owner email addresses into the organization’s database.
“Neighbors who are really interested in a specific project that GBD is working on may be interested in electing someone with specific views on that project,” offered Bogiages. “For instance, if a neighbor is interested in improving the Caltrain entrance in Dogpatch, they might want a candidate who has ideas about that entrance that they agree with. Perhaps if a person is interested in the Esprit project, they might vote for someone who has been involved in that project, which was originally worked on by Planning, so there are people who have been involved.”
According to GDB’s 2016-2017 annual report, in that fiscal year the organization removed 16,000 pounds of trash, 8,900 pounds of green compost, 140 graffiti tags and 300 hypodermic needles.
In addition to serving on its board, GBD provides other ways for community members to get involved, including offering suggestions for park improvements and new projects, volunteering for tree planting days, and attending district meetings.
“We did greening makeovers of Pennsylvania Avenue and Tennessee Street near 23rd, and participated in the planning of upgrades to 22nd Street,” stated Julie Christensen, GBD executive director. “The GBD is spearheading improvements to the Caltrain station entrances. We will add fitness workout equipment to Progress Park and reconfigure Benches Park. We are working with Planning and Rec-Park on the renovation of Esprit Park, and will begin outreach about potential improvements to Woods Yard Park.”
The board works to garner grants, donations and impact fees from the City. Assessment revenue was $556,935 in the 2016-17 fiscal year, with total proceeds of $627,416, and $459,487 in expenses. Thirty-eight percent of expenditures were related to maintenance, 26 percent for capital projects, 18 percent associated with meetings, report production and outreach, and 18 percent went to operations.
Ballots were mailed by Vote-Now, an independent voter management company. Ballots can be caste online or by mail. Candidate statements are posted on the GBD website, with a candidate meeting scheduled for March 8 at the GBD Annual Stakeholders and Friends Gathering.