Park Plaza Cooperative couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day than Saturday for their first annual membership meeting and .
The sun was shining and there was plenty of food and activities as co-op members celebrated.
Before the party got in full swing, the cooperative started with a meeting to elect a new board of directors.
Eleven members were in attendance, according to Judd Matheson, the new vice president. He said he hoped that through outreach efforts more of the members would be able to come to future meetings.
“Our biggest concern is to really get the community involved,” he said, through such things as volunteer efforts and meeting attendance. The board's message to residents at Park Plaza is that everyone needs to come together as a whole to make the community the best it can possibly be.
Natividad Seefeld, who had served as the interim president of the board, is now officially the president, and Nikki Caldas is board secretary. Larry Reynolds is now board treasurer, and Douglas Thompson, who had been director-at-large, is now operations manager. The board is still seeking one more at-large board member, according to Matheson.*
One of the next steps for the board is to form committees, such as the finance committee the operations Committee. In addition, a committee is being formed that will establish a base of people willing to volunteer, according to Seefeld. A survey is being sent out to all members establishing what talents they may have and what their interests are.
After the membership meeting, there were speeches.
Fridley Mayor Scott Lund spoke about the future of land use, and gave examples of how Fridley is preparing for greater density, including improving infrastructure and planning for multi-use buildings and facilities. He congratulated the cooperative members on buying their community and creating a better destiny for themselves.
The mayor also said he believed land owners (as the co-op members now are) tend to be more involved in their community, and he urged everyone to consider becoming involved in their local government.
“Thanks for being a part of Fridley’s Future,” Lund said.
Warren Kramer, executive director of Northcountry Cooperative Foundation, which and buy the manufactured-home park, also spoke. He said that the new cooperative members had achieved security through ownership, which will allow them to make Park Plaza the best community it has ever been.
Because the co-op model takes profit out of the equation, Kramer said, the residents would begin to see economic results, such as a reduction in lot rate increases. Kramer then presented Park Plaza Cooperative with a gavel to use at board meetings.
After the speeches, people at the party ate hot dogs, chips and salsa and lots of goodies, while children played in a blow-up jumper house supplied by Tree Top Kids (Tony Geselle from Tree Top Kids also spoke at the event.)
There was also plenty of food donated by General Mills being given away: boxes of cereal, taco shells, dessert bars and more.
The party concluded with a rousing session of karaoke, with DJ TC Kelly of ProHost Entertainment.
The next step now that the first membership meeting has occurred, said Matheson, is for the board to make maintenance improvements on the park—but also to really “make the place our own,” he said.
One step is doing so is to create signage with the new name, changing from Park Plaza Estates to Park Plaza Cooperative.
* Editor's note: This article originally listed the new board treasurer of the cooperative, Larry Reynolds, as having previously been interim at-large board member. That was inaccurate: he is new to the board.