Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, November 24, 2003

City of Ashland

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Interim Director Gies

Absent: None

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Lewis called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Regular Meeting – October 27, 2003 Under Unfinished Business item "Update on Request to Use Park Trails for Horse Trail Rides," Commissioner Eggers questioned the portion of the motion relating to ‘steep trails containing switchbacks’ and wondered if that statement was intended for inclusion in the motion. Also, in the section titled Items from Commissioners, under "Forest Lands Commission Update," Commissioner Eggers asked that the sentence be changed to read, "Commissioner Eggers updated the Commission on the approval of the restoration project for the City’s forest land, which includes fire hazard reduction." Under the section titled Executive Session, Commissioner Eggers asked that the minutes be corrected to reflect that the Commission reconvened to a regular session to vote on the motion. Vice-Chair Gardiner moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Commissioner Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum - None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

APPROVAL OF PARKS DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT

Chair Lewis acknowledged Mr. Don Robertson’s attendance at the meeting and welcomed him to Ashland.

MOTION Commissioner Eggers moved to appoint Mr. Don Robertson as Director of Ashland Parks and Recreation as outlined in the formal offer of employment dated November 18, 2003 that is signed by the Commission and Mr. Robertson. Commissioner Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners spoke of Mr. Robertson’s excellent qualifications and congratulated him on his appointment as Director of Ashland Parks and Recreation.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH CITY AND SCHOOL DISTRICT #5

Interim Director Gies reminded the Commission about the questions and comments generated from the October 27, 2003 meeting that required immediate resolution.

Commissioner Eggers reported on her meeting with City Attorney Paul Nolte, during which she received clarification about certain items in the contract, as well as approval for making minor changes to it.

MOTION Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the intergovernmental agreement with the City and School District #5, as corrected with City Attorney Paul Nolte. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

DOG PARK LIGHTS

Commissioner Eggers asked Staff to tell the Commission, for the record, who was notified about the November 17 APRC Study Session on Dog Park lights. Ms. Dyssegard reported that she notified the citizens who attended the September 22 APRC Regular Meeting (for the purpose of speaking to the Commission on the matter of the lights), and that she also notified the press.

Public Comment

Ed Perkins, 941 Pinecrest Terrace, spoke in support of the Dog Park lighting project.

Ron Elterman, 355 Glenn Street, also spoke in favor of the lights that were proposed to the Commission and stated that the lights would not "bother anyone." He asked the Commission to consider installing the lights and also to allow the lights to stay on until as late as 9:00 PM.

Jon Reinhardt, 159 N. Main Street, reminded the Commission about the work of the volunteer Dog Park Committee, which raised funds for improvements to the park. He reported that the Committee has raised $5,400 in donations to date, with $1,165 since May 19, 2003. He spoke favorably of the recent improvements to the park and said that the donated money could be used to pay for the lights. Finally, he discussed the value of lighting the Dog Park in terms of the following: they would give patrons the chance to get out after dark to exercise their animals; they would increase security for park patrons using the park after dark; and they would give dog owners an opportunity to develop relationships with other dog owners.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Eggers voiced her disappointment with the poor turnout at the November 17 APRC Study Session. She noted that the one Dog Park lighting proponent who did attend the session spoke clearly about the desire of dog owners to have a place to take their dogs to run off-leash after dark, and that the Commission heard, and carefully considered, her request. Commissioner Rosenthal, a dog owner, voiced his sympathy for the Dog Park lighting issue, but stated that it is a complex matter with no easy solution. He laid out four obstacles to the installation of lights and questioned the wisdom of using capital improvement funds for the lights at this time. Vice-Chair Gardiner reiterated his statements from the November 17 Study Session, including his wish to see more compelling evidence before asking the Commission to change the mission of the park from a dawn-to-dusk park to a park used for longer hours. He voiced concerns about lighting the entrance road to the park, which would be necessary before considering lighting the park. Chair Lewis expressed doubt about the adequacy of the lighting proposal for the 2-acre park. He proposed tabling, or postponing, discussion on the matter until a future date, after more research could be conducted. Commissioner Rosenthal proposed directing Parks Staff to conduct a feasibility study to better understand the costs of lighting the Dog Park and its entrance.

MOTION Commissioner Rosenthal made a motion to direct Parks Staff to conduct an internal feasibility study on Dog Park lighting issues, to be completed early in 2004. Chair Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: Commissioners Lewis and Rosenthal – yes; Commissioners Amarotico, Gardiner, and Eggers – no

NEW BUSINESS

BABE RUTH BASEBALL’S REQUEST FOR USE OF NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK

Interim Director Gies informed the Commission that the Babe Ruth Baseball organization asked, for the second consecutive year, to conduct their baseball camp on the North Mountain Park fields. From a Staff perspective, the camp did not pose a problem last year, except for some minor wear spots in the turf caused by a drill they ran, which he felt could easily be avoided in the future. He introduced Mr. Alan Decker, President of Mt. Ashland Babe Ruth Baseball, to the Commission. Mr. Decker formally presented his request to the Commission, stating that the camp is a positive experience for youngsters. He addressed the wear spots in the turf, proposing that granite be laid around the batting cage where drills might occur. The costs and labor could be shared between the Parks Department and Babe Ruth Baseball.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Eggers asked about fees for sponsoring kids requiring financial assistance, as well as costs for hiring out-of-town coaches and plans for reducing wear and tear on certain areas of the fields caused by drills. She stated that, although the camp is a fundraiser, money raised is used, in part, for paying coaches and sponsoring needy campers; therefore, the camp might wish to share some of its proceeds with the Parks Department for their costs associated with the camp. In response to the question about wear and tear on the turf, Interim Director Gies assured her that having upwards of 150-200 campers would not seriously damage the turf.

MOTION Commissioner Rosenthal moved to authorize the use of North Mountain Park for the Mt. Ashland Babe Ruth Baseball Camp from March 20-22, 2004, with Parks Staff having final authority as to the use of the infields in case of inclement weather. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

NEW BENEFIT FOR PARKS EMPLOYEES

Interim Director Gies reported that the Department has the opportunity to offer its employees a new benefit, which is called the Personal Choice Account. Since Parks Staff now pay 5% of their health insurance premiums, this benefit is available at no additional cost – either to the City or the Department. This optional, voluntary benefit can be used to pay personal expenses, for which employees can use pretax money.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Eggers questioned how the benefit would be explained to Parks Staff, and by whom. Interim Director Gies responded that Tina Gray from City Personnel would be responsible for outlining and explaining the benefit to employees.

MOTION Vice-Chair Gardiner moved to approve that the Personal Choice Account be made available to all Ashland Parks and Recreation employees. Commissioner Eggers seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Golf Course Sub-Committee Meeting

Interim Director Gies reminded the Sub-Committee members that they were due to meet, for purposes of discussing a potential fee change at the golf course, and that the meeting had to occur before the December 15 APRC Regular Meeting, and also before the commencement of January budget meetings.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Southern Oregon Land Conservancy

Commissioner Amarotico asked when the Commission might be able to meet with James Moore of the SOLC to discuss easements. Interim Director Gies responded that the meeting could be scheduled for January, after Mr. Robertson’s arrival.

North Mountain Park Playground Wall

Commissioner Eggers expressed concern about the space next to the wall at the North Mountain Park playground. Interim Director Gies assured her that the playground equipment will go in and the space between the wall and the equipment will be filled in with chips, so it will not pose a danger to children wishing to climb the wall.

Water Quality at Lithia Park Ponds

Commissioner Rosenthal asked about any improvements in the water quality in Lithia Park ponds since the Commission discussed the matter at its September 22 APRC Regular Meeting. Interim Director Gies responded that he is not aware of any changes, and that he is still working on the RFP for water quality improvements.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

    • Regular Meeting – Monday, December 15, 2003, at 7:00 PM – Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.
    • Proposed Agenda Items: Audit Committee Report and the Proposed 2004 Calendar for APRC Regular Meetings

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Lewis adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Office Manager, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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