The purpose of SARPA’s garden tours is to demonstrate the diversity of properties on Summit, to showcase these homes and gardens, and to increase interest in the street’s preservation to a broader audience. Such tours increase interest in our preservation activities, are educational for attendees, and help raise funds for other outreach.
Revenues for the past four events has ranged from $6,700 to $8,400, netting just under $2,000 after expense on average. At $10 per ticket, attendance has averaged about 750 people. Attendees come from all over the metropolitan area, with a few from the greater region.
Showcased gardens are along Summit Avenue and vary with each stroll. No vendors are involved. Tours take up about 15% of our activity, but only every two years. Our last Garden Stroll was on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
SARPA’s principal social event is our annual meeting held each November. This helps Summit Avenue residents meet each other, build a community, and foster communication. These serve as educational forums in that attendees are updated on issues faced by Summit Avenue – pedestrian and biker safety, traffic calming, parking, challenges in maintaining homes in a historic district, etc.
Attendance of 60 to 80 is almost exclusively Summit residents and/or SARPA members. Expense for each of the past two annual meetings was about $2,700, including food, beverage and venue. Expense for earlier years was lower in that SARPA board members hosted the annual meeting in their homes. Annual meetings make up about 5% of our activities.
Occasional speaker events have ranged from a tour of a stained glass restoration business attended by eight SARPA board members to talks on the history, architecture, and preservation of Summit Avenue. Talks generally involve unpaid speakers and venues on Summit. Attendance ranges from 30 to 70 – almost exclusively Summit residents. Speaker events can range from 5 to 15 % of our activities year to year.
The purpose of setting out luminarias on Christmas Eve has been to beautify Summit Avenue and showcase the residential nature of the street. This project was done for two consecutive years (December 2017 and 2018). Volunteers from SARPA and the neighborhood have donated their time to help assemble the luminaria bags, set up and light the luminarias on Christmas Eve, and then remove the bags. There is no revenue involved. The approximate cost is $600 for paper bags, candles, lighters, and kitty litter to weight the bags down. Luminarias make up about 5% of our activities.
Public Policy Meetings and Other Community Issues
Public policy meetings are held as appropriate. For example, 2015‘s pressing issue was the permitting process to convert an existing Summit Avenue property to a “boutique residential hotel”. The current year’s issue is the conversion of a historic Summit Avenue church – the “Church on the Hill” – to a commercial business enterprise. Summit’s residential zoning includes allowance for non-residential use for churches and colleges, but expressly prohibits commercial development. The developer was successful in obtaining permits and variances. However, significant restrictions on permitted commercial use were incorporated, particularly for the church property, in large part through SARPA’s efforts.
For such preservation related issues, newsletters and social media, together with impromptu community meetings, are most timely and effective. SARPA’s origin mission is “to preserve the historic, residential, and urban park character of Summit Avenue” through advocacy, communication, and education, and related exempt purpose.
SARPA provides education on historic preservation and advocacy to retain historic Summit Ave.