Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, July 26, 2004

City of Ashland

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES 

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, and Rosenthal; Director Robertson

Absent: Commissioner Lewis; Superintendent Gies

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 – June 28, 2004 Under New Business item "Habitat for Cathy Request," Vice Chair Eggers asked that the minutes reflect that the housing request originated from Ms. Tschanen’s friend, Ms. Sharyn Mandell.

MOTION Vice Chair Eggers moved to approve the minutes as amended. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum - None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

DUCK POND SIGNS

Director Robertson reminded commissioners about the discussion that occurred at the May 24 study session regarding posting signs at the Lithia Park duck ponds. At that time, the commission agreed to direct staff to post signs asking people not to feed the ducks. He read two sample signs and requested feedback.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed proposed wording for the duck pond signs and contemplated reducing the number of words or rearranging the phrasing. Vice Chair Eggers asked about the sentence, "Fed by humans, ducks lose their survival skills, including their cue to migrate." She questioned the term "cue to" and suggested changing the phrase to "sense of when to." Director Robertson agreed to check with a duck expert before completing the signs.

MOTION Vice Chair Eggers moved to direct staff to post signs at the Lithia Park duck ponds. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

NEW BUSINESS

BASEBALL LIGHTS AT NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK

Director Robertson reported that staff received a request from the baseball community to light the main baseball field at North Mountain Park. He reminded commissioners that a Parks policy was established in 2001 regarding lighting the North Mountain Park fields. The policy reads: "The Commission approved athletic field lighting for up to three fields at North Mountain Park and, depending on available funding, to light up to one field per year for up to three consecutive fiscal years beginning in 2001-2002." The commission established the need for at least two dark nights every week and a lighting curfew of 9:30 PM.

The commission further determined that the first 35% of costs associated with installation of the lights would be generated by the users of those lights. To offset the costs of operating the lights, fees would be charged for their use. Director Robertson introduced Mr. Greg Weston of American Legion Baseball and invited him to speak before the commission.

Public Comment

Greg Weston, P.O. Box 185, thanked the commission for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the baseball community and asked them to move forward with installing lights at the main baseball field at North Mountain Park. He reported that the baseball community is prepared to raise their 35% of the funds for the lights. He talked about how baseball games would be enhanced by the lights: high school and Babe Ruth baseball games would benefit from their installation; ball games would not need to be "called" due to insufficient lighting; games could be scheduled for later in the afternoons or early evenings, which would allow working parents and families to attend the games. He indicated that the baseball community hoped to see lights installed at North Mountain Park by February of 2005.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked Mr. Weston a number of clarifying questions about baseball in the Ashland area and how the lights would benefit those activities. City Council Liaison Hartzell asked about frequency of soccer lights usage at North Mountain Park and the costs associated with their operation. Staff agreed to track usage information in the future. In terms of cost, Director Robertson reported that the soccer lights cost $25 per session for up to three hours of use. In response to a question about how to pay for installing baseball lights, Director Robertson outlined several options, including one in which the baseball community could pay the 35% up front, with the balance budgeted and paid for by Parks in the subsequent fiscal year.

Vice Chair Eggers spoke about potential adverse effects on the natural area due to the lights at North Mountain Park. She reported that the previously installed soccer lights spill light onto the natural area, despite the lighting manufacturer’s promise that they would only illuminate the fields. City Council Liaison Hartzell suggested conducting research to determine whether a lighting company could truly light only the sports area. Staff agreed to look into baseball activities at the high school and within the Ashland School District; specifically, whether those communities play under lights and to what extent they use the North Mountain Park field. They also agreed to look into how often the soccer fields have been lit and to conduct some research about new technology on lighting only targeted areas. Finally, they volunteered to investigate the number of baseball groups in the area that would benefit from lighting the main baseball field at North Mountain Park. Further decision-making was tabled pending results from the research. The commission assured Mr. Weston that the matter would receive further consideration at a future meeting.

REQUEST TO MODIFY PARKS, TRAILS, AND OPEN SPACE PLAN

Director Robertson reminded the commission about the discussion that occurred at the June 2004 APRC regular meeting regarding the request by the Ashland Soccer Club to modify the short and long-term Parks, Trails, and Open Space land acquisition plans. Director Robertson informed the commission that Mr. Rick Landt specifically suggested, on behalf of the Ashland Soccer Club, moving the parcels of land next to the YMCA Park from the short-term plan list over to the long-term plan list, yet maintaining a 300-foot section [adjacent to that area] as a short-term property. He also recommended moving the property adjacent to Helman School to the long-term plan list. Director Robertson invited Mr. Landt to address the commission with more details.

Public Comment

Rick Landt, 468 Helman Street, reported that the rapid rate of development in Ashland could jeopardize the possibility of purchasing properties on the proposed Parks, Trails, and Open Space lists. Further, he expressed that reducing the number of properties [on the short-term list] might be practical in terms of identifying and implementing a funding mechanism for the purchase of those properties. He reported that there are two relatively playable soccer fields at the YMCA Park. If two of the existing fields were upgraded, it would be possible to hold soccer tournaments in Ashland [given the total number of playable fields in Ashland]. Mr. Landt urged the commission to act quickly, since the properties on the lists soon could be purchased and developed [and no longer available for parks and open space purchase].

Discussion Among Commissioners

When asked about the funding mechanism for purchasing properties on the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Plan lists, Chair Gardiner [who sits on that committee] reported that the last committee meeting was held in August of 2003. At that time, the group agreed to focus on Systems Development Charges (SDCs) as a means by which to generate funds for the purchase of properties on the short and long-term OS lists. He and Director Robertson asked Ms. Jill Turner, a local CPA, to conduct a study about the practicality of using SDCs for this purpose. Results from that study were reviewed in spring of 2004 and showed that SDCs are a viable funding mechanism. Chair Gardiner stated that another OS Plan Funding Committee meeting is due to occur but has not yet been scheduled. Vice Chair Eggers recommended developing a timeline to move forward with a plan. Director Robertson suggested contacting existing OS Funding Committee members to gauge their interest in continuing with the committee and setting a date for the next meeting. He volunteered to speak with the City Administrator to determine when the City Council might be able to address the matter. In the meantime, Mr. Landt urged the commission to move forward with a motion.

MOTION Vice Chair Eggers moved to transfer items from the approved Parks, Trails, and Open Space short-term plan list to the long-term plan list. Specifically, a portion of the property along the YMCA Park boundary would be placed on the long-term acquisition list. Further, the five acres adjacent to the Helman School playground would be moved from the short-term plan list to the long-term plan list. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.

Additional Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Rosenthal asked for more information about the plans for the property adjacent to the Helman School playgrounds. Director Robertson reported that the property originally was proposed for use as soccer fields.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Trail Master Plan Committee Report

Commissioner Amarotico reported that the Trail Master Plan Committee met on Thursday, July 22. At the meeting, committee members discussed the upcoming neighborhood meeting of the Wright’s Creek area scheduled for September 13. Director Robertson reported that four draft maps [showing proposed trail corridors] were placed around town for public review and feedback. They were positioned at the Ashland Family YMCA, the Ashland Public Library, the Community Development building [near the downtown Plaza], and the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department office.

Director Robertson stated that upcoming neighborhood meetings will target trail corridors and the Wright’s Creek section will serve as the pilot area. For future meetings, the committee may combine more than one trail section. Notices for the Wright’s Creek meeting will be mailed to homeowners whose properties touch the land within a 600-foot swath. Input will be sought from community members about how to connect the missing sections. Possible solutions include using surface streets, purchasing property, or purchasing pedestrian access easements.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

    • Chair Gardiner directed Commissioners’ attention to the packet letter from Mr. Dan Thorndike, a citizen who regularly rides his bike on the Bear Creek Greenway. Mr. Thorndike wrote to complain about the lack of proper signage instructing users about appropriate pathway use and etiquette. He asked the commission for their assistance in creating and displaying proper signage on the Greenway. Director Robertson agreed to draft a letter from Chair Gardiner to the Greenway Committee about this matter.
    • Vice Chair Eggers asked about the progress on the Calle Guanajuato Stairway project, as she received feedback that some citizens were concerned that the project was not moving forward as planned. Director Robertson reported that a shipment of the wrong light fixtures impeded the progress of the stairway, but that the project is now underway again and will soon be back on schedule.
    • Commissioner Rosenthal asked about the netting at the golf course driving range. Director Robertson reported that the new netting installation was completed earlier that day.
    • Vice Chair Eggers asked about the bridge at North Mountain Park near the trail at the high end of North Mountain Street. Director Robertson agreed to look into it and call her the following day.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

    • Study session set for August 16, 2004, at 7:00 PM, The Grove, 1195 E. Main. Discussion to center around future plans for The Grove.
    • Trail Master Plan Committee meeting set for August 19, 2004, at 1:00 PM, Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. The committee will tour the Wright’s Creek trail corridor beginning at 2:00 PM.
    • Regular meeting set for August 23, 2004, at 7:00 PM, Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:50 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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