City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
Present: Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Gies; City Council Liaison Hartzell
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – March 22 Under Items from Commissioners, Vice-Chair Eggers clarified that she is a regular voting member of the Forest Lands Commission.
MOTION Commissioner Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by consensus.
Open Forum - None
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None
ASHLAND GUN CLUB AGREEMENT
Director Robertson reminded Commissioners about the request from the Ashland Gun Club for a 20-year lease extension past the current lease’s expiration date of 2009. The extension would make the club eligible for additional grants through the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Rifle Association. He reported that the Commission, along with members of the Historic Commission, toured the gun club property on April 22, 2004.
Terry Skibby, 611 Beach Street, a member of the Ashland Historic Commission, toured the gun club property on April 22 and took photographs to better capture its historic elements. He shared those photos with the Commissioners. Mr. Skibby expressed that the site is historically, naturally, and possibly archeologically important and that some historic elements have deteriorated, and he spoke in favor of nominating the site for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, he stressed the importance of preserving the historic components at the site and questioned the compatibility of conducting a gun club at such an historic location.
Keith Swink, 231 Gresham Street, a member of the Historic Commission, also toured the site on April 22 and was impressed by the beauty of the location. Mr. Swink spoke favorably of the care provided by the gun club, and he voiced the shared concern of other Historic Commissioners about the long-term compatibility / use of the property by the club, considering the current growth levels in Ashland. He asked Parks Commissioners to postpone a decision on the matter, pending their further consideration and additional input from the citizens of Ashland.
Aaron Benjamin, 740 Emigrant Creek Road, lives directly across from the gun club site. He spoke of his concern about lead seeping into the ground and contaminating the water table, as he shares the same aquifer as the gun club. He requested that a scientific study [on the possible lead pollution level] be conducted before extending the lease. He also expressed concern about noise pollution caused by the gun club and indicated that evening, early morning, and weekend noise levels can sometimes cause sleep disturbances. He asked for consideration by the gun club of the rights of the residents in the area.
Dale Shostrom, 1240 Tolman Creek Road, Ashland Historic Commission Chair, thanked the gun club for the April 22 tour, which he found useful, and praised them for their care of the property. He recommended further study and consideration of the impact of the club at the site before making a determination about a lease extension.
Ed Pentkowski, 436 Monte Vista Drive, is a retired City of Ashland Electric Department employee and a longstanding member of the gun club. He spoke of the care given to the site and of the gun safety education classes that the club provides to the community, especially for young people. He strongly urged the Commission to extend the lease to the gun club, to allow their good works to continue for many years into the future.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners asked for clarification on the role of the Parks Commission with respect to the site. Director Robertson stated that the City of Ashland owns the property and that Ashland Parks and Recreation manages the lease contract with the gun club, but the property is not a dedicated park. Chair Gardiner suggested conducting a study session for the purpose of "combing through the lease" to incorporate some of this public testimony. He expressed his desire for both entities [gun club and Historic Commission] to share the use of the site. Vice-Chair Eggers thanked Mr. Bill Longiotti for the document he compiled in which members of the gun club explained how they use the facility and talked about how their organizations find value from the club. Eggers also thanked the Historic Commission, especially Nan Hannon, who prepared a document outlining the historic qualities of the site. Finally, she expressed her desire for the Commission to further consider all of the relevant information before making a decision about the lease extension.
The Commission directed Staff to research issues that could be affected by a lease extension, including: gun club impacts on the National Historic Register status; Native American site considerations; Lithia water impacts; potential lead content in the soils and water, as well as any potential cleanups; the need for wetlands delineation; flora and fauna considerations; potential site usage conflicts; Greenway impacts; and the impact on the Ashland Police Department (and other groups using the club) if the lease were not extended. The Commission agreed to conduct a study session in several months to review the current lease and to consider possible modifications, with the goal of ensuring protection of these resources. Further discussion was tabled, to provide Staff with an opportunity to research these matters.
NEW BUSINESS - None
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Quarterly Budget Update
Director Robertson directed Commissioners’ attention to the brief budget summary provided in their packets, showing budgeted amounts, projected amounts, and year-to-date amounts. He stated that, for the quarter ending March 30, 2004, which represents the third quarter of the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the Department was on track for revenues and projected expenditures.
Quarterly Project Update
Superintendent Gies reported on the status of the Department’s projects, referencing the memo in the Commission packets. Quarterly projects included the Greenway Park node, the North Mountain Park knoll, improvements in water quality at Lithia Park ponds, the Calle Guanajuato stairway project, the BMX Bike Park project, and the work of the Trail Master Plan Committee. Some of the projects are complete while others are nearing completion or are well underway.
Calle Stairway Bids Report
Director Robertson and Superintendent Gies reported that the stairway project was awarded to Meza Construction, although their bid came in at approximately 21% over the budgeted amount. According to Commission policy, Staff can approve bids under $100,000 and over budget by not more than 25%, as long as they explain their reasoning and identify the source of the extra funds. The project will commence soon, and should be completed in the summer of 2004, with final landscaping occurring in the winter of 2004-2005.
Trail Master Plan Committee Report
Commissioner Lewis updated the Commission on the work of this committee. He reported that the first public meeting is set for Monday, June 7, 6:30 PM, at The Grove, 1195 East Main Street. At that time, small easement connections will be identified, using the adopted Open Space map and plan as the starting point. [The group will work on fleshing out that map and plan.] The public meeting will be advertised in the City Source newsletter and in other local publications. The next regular meeting of the committee will be held on Thursday, May 20.
Cross Country Running Study Session Subcommittee Report
Director Robertson reported on the meeting with Mr. Phil Selby, a citizen concerned about the impacts and dangers of cross country running in Lithia Park. Other meeting attendees included Chair Gardiner, Commissioner Lewis, Officer Bon Stewart, Mr. Grier Gatlin, and Mr. Bob Julian, Jr., the SOU and AHS Cross Country coaches, respectively. The coaches volunteered to post signs warning park patrons of runners in the park, and they agreed to encourage and reinforce "practice etiquette" with their team members.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Commissioner Amarotico requested that the Commission consider stronger measures to discourage or prevent park patrons from feeding the ducks at the Lithia Park ponds. Suggestions included posting signs educating people about the dangers of feeding ducks, as well as the imposition of fines.
Commissioner Rosenthal spoke with appreciation of the Earth Day celebration at North Mountain Park and thanked Staff for their efforts. He also recognized the work of Parks Staff in creating the new summer recreation guide.
City Council Liaison Hartzell reported that the City Council is in the process of appointing a Charter Review Committee and that the Parks Commission will be informed about upcoming meeting details.
Vice-Chair Eggers reported that the Forest Lands Commission is working on a community alternative to the Forest Service’s proposed Ashland Forest Resiliency Project, of which the major intent is to reduce fire hazard in the larger watershed.
Vice-Chair Eggers asked Staff to discourage Lithia Park patrons from parking on lawns, especially near the ponderosa pine trees, during this year’s Fourth of July activities. She specifically requested that vehicles drive only on designated roadways. Director Robertson agreed to speak to the Chamber of Commerce about this matter.
UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Gardiner adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation