Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, August 22, 2005

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

 

August 22, 2005

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:    Commissioners D. Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Gies; Superintendent Teige

Absent:     Commissioner Lewis; City Council Liaison A. Amarotico

CALL TO ORDER         

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Study Session – July 18, 2005

MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as written. D. Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

Regular Meeting – July 25, 2005 Under Unfinished Business item “Master Plan for North Main / Scenic Park,” Eggers requested that the section regarding commissioner suggestions on the draft plan include “less lawn to mow and water.” Under Unfinished Business item “Ashland Community Garden Policy,” Eggers asked that the motion reflect that “Eggers moved to approve the formation of a subcommittee for ‘recommending a community garden policy, knowing that it is the commission’s responsibility to formulate policy.’” Under New Business item “Southern Oregon Historical Society Request,” Eggers asked that the sentence read: “Commissioners agreed to provide feedback about the draft directional marker, with the understanding that the commission would review other sign/marker requests for the front of Lithia Park.” Under New Business item “Sound Amplification Request at Garfield Park,” Eggers asked that the record show that she conditioned her approval on “the sound being audible on park property only, to which staff responded that it would be possible.”

MOTION Eggers moved to approve the minutes as amended. Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum

Patrick Marcus, 813 Leonard Street, requested an amendment to the commission’s decision regarding the composition of the community garden subcommittee. Specifically, he requested that two representatives from the gardening community be allowed to serve on the subcommittee [instead of one]. Commissioners agreed to take his suggestion under consideration.

William J. Walker, 1159 Village Square Drive, wrote a letter to Eggers, who read it into the record. Walker questioned whether the commission planned to establish the same guidelines for the baseball community’s use of the lights at North Mountain Park as they had for the soccer lights. His letter was prompted by concerns stemming from encounters with members of the baseball community.

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

The commission agreed to add the topic “Community Garden Subcommittee” under Unfinished Business.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

PUBLIC ARTS COMMISSION PRESENTATION

Robertson introduced Bruce Bayard and Richard Benson of the Public Arts Commission, who asked for the opportunity to update the commission on the Calle Guanajuato Stairway project.

Bruce Bayard and Richard Benson of the Public Arts Commission (PAC) outlined the three phases of the art project, including the overlook area, the sculpture garden, and the niche in the handrail. For the overlook area, PAC fundraised over $16,000 for the mosaic artwork project headed by Sue Springer, local artist, but they still required $3,800 to complete the project. They thanked the commission and Parks Foundation for their support. In terms of the sculpture garden, they reported receiving three bids from sculptors willing to display their artwork, and indicated their plan to interview the artists on or near August 30. They agreed to inform the commission about their selection panel and process. Finally, they discussed developing a plaque for the Arnie Krigel memorial.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked questions of Bayard and Benson, including: funding sources for the project; how much would be paid to the sculptors for their artwork; how those pieces would be insured; who would pay for the liability coverage of the sculptures; and how to proceed with the request for the memorial plaque. It was agreed that the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee would meet with a representative from PAC to discuss the exact wording of the request and determine next steps.

FINAL DRAFT OF MASTER PLAN FOR N. MAIN / SCENIC PARK SITE

Robertson gave an overview of the master planning process and reminded the commission that they requested minor changes to the master plan, which were completed by the Lango Hansen landscape architectural firm. He referenced the document associated with the plan, created by the firm, which offered many details about the plan. Finally, he encouraged the commission to review the plan and the document and offer their input.

Gies referenced his memo to the commission regarding potential concerns about the planting of native grasses and irrigation issues. He reported that he discussed those issues with his staff and felt confident that the current design would be buildable.

Public Input

Rick Landt, 468 Helman Street, voiced disappointment and concern about the draft plan and outlined three major concerns: 1) the maintenance of native grasses, including the need for excessive weeding; 2) the sizeable section of lawn that would require a great deal of water [he recommended cutting the lawn area by half]; and 3) the need for the commission to “do this once and do it right” – and not to approve the plan if any questions or concerns remained unresolved.

Julia Sommer, 573 Scenic Drive, expressed her pleasure with the plan and asked the commission to move forward with its approval, affirming its accurate representation of the desires of those who attended the public meetings.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners expressed thoughts on the plan. Eggers asked the commission to postpone its approval pending a more thorough review and to consider such things as: the unique nature of the neighborhood; whether a bathroom would be appropriate, play equipment and irrigation considerations; seating at the top of the hill; senior mobility access; less formal areas around which children could run and play; drought-tolerant native vegetation; shade around benches and tables; drinking fountains; and whether the park design adhered to the desire for a natural setting. Eggers recommended conducting more research and a study session before making a decision. Gardiner expressed his displeasure with Landt’s presentation and Eggers’ assessment, stating that the plan was a culmination of the process conducted by the commission and the landscape architecture firm. He stated that the architects included the elements requested at the public meetings and he offered his support for the plan. D. Amarotico voiced the opinion that the architects designed the plan in accordance with the wishes of the community and the commission, and stated that a good deal of lawn needed to be included in the plan. Rosenthal expressed overall satisfaction with the plan and remarked that the park would help the city move toward its goal of providing a neighborhood park within a quarter mile of every home in Ashland. The topic was tabled until the September 19 study session.

OAK KNOLL GOLF COURSE FEE PROPOSAL

Teige reported that the Golf Course Subcommittee met throughout the summer to review fee structures at Oak Knoll Golf Course, which was precipitated by declining revenues at the course. She reviewed the proposed fee changes and stated that the information was posted at the golf course. Finally, she asked the commission for comments and direction on the proposed changes.

Gardiner invited the public to speak on the matter.

Public Input

Jerry Hauck, 847 Garden Way, urged the commission not to eliminate annual and monthly golf passes at the course, but instead to consider increasing the rates.

Ron Corallo, 805 Indiana Street, stated that the termination of annual and monthly passes would be a great loss for the community. He expressed that the golf course operation is adequate as it is but that raising rates might serve as a suitable compromise.

Ron Tracy, 1138 Augusta Court, reminded the commission that both annual members and Men’s Club members comprise the backbone of the course membership ranks and strongly urged the commission to reconsider their thinking on the matter.

Ron Corallo, 805 Indiana Street, stated that the termination of annual and monthly passes would be a great loss for the community and expressed that raising rates might serve as a suitable compromise.

Willie Wolf, 2875 Dead Indian Memorial Road, suggested other ways the commission could raise money at the course, including implementing promotional activities and increasing annual rates, and he asked the commission not to eliminate annual and monthly passes.

Jim Hatton, 280 Terrace Street, stated that the course has not been actively managed, nor has a vision been articulated, and he asked the commission to reconsider their thoughts on the matter.

Ross Rampy, 40 Bush Street, former Men’s Club president, asked the commission to determine to make Oak Knoll the best golf course in the valley. He suggested raising or even doubling the annual rates, but not eliminating the passes.

Dottie Dendrick, Oak Knoll Drive, former Women’s Club president, asked that Women’s Club members be invited to participate in the ongoing study of the matter and urged the commission to raise annual and monthly rates instead of eliminating passes.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners expressed thoughts on the subject. Eggers stated that the golf course encompasses 66 acres of valuable land within the City of Ashland and the course requires costly improvements, and she questioned whether the commission might wish to reconsider such things as senior or student rates. Rosenthal, a subcommittee member for the past 2-1/2 years, affirmed his desire to see the course improved so that more people would choose to play on it. He reviewed the process that led to the proposed fee changes. Gardiner stated that the intention of the subcommittee was to increase revenues, not to drive people away. He reported that he planned to attend a day-long golfing seminar at the upcoming National Recreation and Park Association conference in October, which he thought might provide valuable input in determining how to proceed.

WATER AT BRISCOE AND LINCOLN SCHOOLS

Robertson referenced the July study session between the Parks Commission, School Board, and City Council, at which the issue of watering Briscoe and Lincoln [for the remainder of the summer] was discussed. At the conclusion of that discussion, each elected body agreed to independently decide whether to finance one-third of the cost of the monthly water bills, which was anticipated not to exceed $6,000 for the remainder of the watering season.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners spoke in favor of the proposal, expressing a desire to assist in the payment of water “for the good of the community.” Eggers voiced concern about expending such funds post-budget season and stated that the commission had lent its support to the community through the Youth Activities Levy.

MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve allocating up to $6,000 for the watering of Briscoe and Lincoln School grounds, contingent upon the Ashland School Board and the Ashland City Council entering into the same agreement. D. Amarotico seconded the motion

                                         The vote was:         D. Amarotico, Gardiner, Rosenthal  – yes

                                                                       Eggers – no

LEASE PROPOSAL PRESENTED BY “SAVE OUR SCHOOLS AND PLAYGROUNDS”

Robertson welcomed Melissa Mitchell-Hooge, inviting her to speak to the commission.

Melissa Mitchell-Hooge, President of the Save our Schools and Playgrounds organization, reported on the work of SOSP, including the citizen task force cleanup day on August 20, and stated that the group planned to meet on the first Saturday of each month in the future. She publicly thanked the volunteers who helped with the cleanup effort. Mitchell-Hooge showed photos of school grounds and trees and reported on the condition of the areas. She asked the commission to consider a “long-term lease option” for Briscoe and Lincoln playgrounds and playing fields in exchange for watering and grounds maintenance, with the value of those services being credited toward a future market value purchase if the school district ever decided to sell the properties. She expressed that this would give the school district valuable services provided by the Parks Department and a relief from water bills, and the neighborhoods would get first-class maintenance of the areas under discussion.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Rosenthal asked Robertson to reiterate his proposal to the school board of some months ago. Robertson provided the information and pointed out differences between his proposal and that of SOSP. Eggers stated that, as a taxpayer in the school district, she felt hesitant about paying for something she already owned [along with other taxpaying citizens]. She further stated that the contract would need to come from the decision-making entity [the school board].

COMMUNITY GARDEN SUBCOMMITTEE

Teige asked the commission for their feedback on the request by the community gardening community for the inclusion of two gardeners on the subcommittee.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Eggers suggested including one gardener and one gardener alternate, which would allow for the inclusion of a non-gardening member. Gardiner suggested including two gardeners but also making room for an additional non-gardener [should one show an interest in participating in the future].

Staff was directed to allow one alternate community gardener to join the subcommittee while continuing to seek out an additional non-gardener. Staff was further directed to schedule subcommittee meetings for the purpose of beginning the process of developing a community garden policy.

NEW BUSINESS

NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK REQUEST FOR AMPLIFICATION

Teige reported on the request from the North Mountain Park Nature Center staff for a 3-year approval for sound amplification at their two largest annual events: the Salmon Festival and the Earth Day event.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Eggers questioned whether the sound would be limited to the pavilion area only, and asked that “amplification creep” be monitored so as to avoid disturbing the natural areas and the neighbors. Finally, she requested that the matter be reviewed annually.

MOTION Gardiner moved to approve the request for a three-year sound permit for the two annual events, contingent upon the monitoring of sound levels by staff and upon staff reporting any problems or concerns from neighbors. Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Robertson reported that Tom Foster, Lithia Park nature walk volunteer organizer, was the recipient of the Oregon Recreation and Park Association’s “Volunteer of the Year” award for 2005.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Rosenthal asked for an update on the Lithia Park Concessions operation. Staff agreed to prepare and provide a report at the September 19 study session.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

·     Public meeting on the Vogel Property park site – time/place/date TBA.

·     Joint study session with the City Council and the Ashland School Board – September 8 at 7:00 PM – Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

·     Study session set for September 19 at 7:00 PM – Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Topics to include:

·     N. Main/Scenic Park master plan review

·     Concession stand report

·     Regular meeting set for September 26 at 7:00 PM – Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks & Recreation Department

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