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Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Monday, February 26, 2007

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

 

February 26, 2007

ATTENDANCE

Present:    Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson

Absent:     Superintendents Gies and Teige; City Council Liaison Navickas

CALL TO ORDER         

Eggers welcomed members of the public and instructed them about the process for speaking, which she stated could be done during the “Open Forum” period or while discussing an agenda topic. She indicated that they needed to fill out a speaker request form, hand it to a staff person for delivery to the chair, and wait for their name to be called. She then called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street,

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Study Session – January 11, 2007

In the section entitled Ashland Ice Update, under “Discussion Among Commissioners,” Rosenthal suggested summarizing the discussion, within the first sentence, as: “Commissioners expressed appreciation for Moeglein’s efforts, with some stating that the full-sized ice rink concept was out of scale for the area….” In the second sentence, he asked that the minutes be amended to more accurately reflect that “Some commissioners voiced concerns about the six-month skate season as well as other aspects of his presentation.” He asked that a final sentence, representing portions of the context of the former sentence with some additions, read: “Based on these comments, the proposal lacked support from the majority of commissioners.”

MOTION Gardiner moved to approve the minutes as amended. Noraas seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

Regular Meeting – January 22, 2007

Under Items From Commissioners, in the section reflecting Rosenthal’s comment regarding having read an Ashland Daily Tidings article in which an Ashland School Board Member was quoted as stating that the Parks Department uses more pesticides than the School District, Rosenthal asked that the sentence be altered to read: “as stating that the Parks Department uses more pesticides than the School District and its contractor.”

Noraas, along with Eggers, asked that the third sentence in that section reflect that “Gies responded…and stated that the method of application of pesticides is very critical in relation to their usage.”

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

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum

None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

Gardiner asked that staff respond, under “Subcommittee and Staff Reports,” to the letter received by the commission regarding Ultimate Frisbee. Staff agreed, and the item was added to the agenda.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

YOUTH ACTIVITIES LEVY INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT AMENDMENT

Robertson reminded the commission of their approval, at the January regular meeting, of an IGA between the Parks Department and the Ashland School District to assume maintenance responsibilities for all school grounds effective March 1, pending approval of an amendment to the Youth Activities Levy. He referenced the Eugene YAL, which was challenged in Oregon Tax Court by a citizen of their community, with the court upholding a ruling that declared that the YAL, which was based on the Ashland YAL, was unconstitutional. As a result, he reported that Eugene was required to undergo a settlement process to maintain their activity levy but also refund a portion of the funds to the community. He reported that the City of Ashland’s attorney, along with School District and staff members, reviewed the Ashland YAL and determined that Ashland was at risk of the same issue. The City Attorney recommended reapportioning a small piece of the YAL to move Ashland into compliance for the final two years of the agreement. Staff, working with Finance Department staff, City Attorney staff, and County Assessor staff, determined that the amount to reassign was $121,000 for the current fiscal year, with an additional $121,000 for the next—and final—year of the levy. He stated that, since the distributions had already occurred this fiscal year, staff recommended that the distribution be completed during next fiscal year’s apportionment of the YAL, which would be $121,000 times two, plus Parks’ regular apportionment. He drew the commission’s attention to the agreement, which modifies the YAL to allow for the withholding.

He indicated that the amendment would allow Parks staff to begin maintaining the school grounds effective March 1 and reported that staff recommended approval of the amendment.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Eggers asked Robertson about the Parks Commission’s bid for maintenance of school grounds the previous year, and Robertson stated that it was $140,000. Eggers noted that the amount under discussion did not meet the $140,000 mark and asked for clarification. Robertson stated that, for the balance of this fiscal year, the amount would more than cover the $140,000 and, coupled with the next apportionment, would again more than cover next fiscal year. He reported that the School District would pay Parks for their maintenance services in cash in the out years of the contract.

Motion Noraas moved to approve the Youth Activities Levy Intergovernmental Agreement amendment. Lewis seconded the motion.

     The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

NEW BUSINESS

PRELIMINARY BUDGET GOALS

Robertson reviewed the staff report, providing background on the budget development process, including the development of a revenue and expenditure budget by staff and the establishment of goals. He indicated that, once goals were established, the commission and staff would prepare the capital and operations portions of the budget. He reminded the commission that, over the past three years, they had established 8-10 goals for the year, and the goals were focused on projects. The goals, he reported, allowed staff to gauge its work plans, its success or failure, and provided the commission with a way to measure and evaluate staff based on achieving established goals.

Robertson indicated that staff met with each commissioner individually to recap the goals from the previous year and progress made. He read the list of synthesized goals generated from the individual meetings, including:

·        Construction of North Main / Scenic Park and Ashland Creek (Vogel property) Park

·        Improvements at Oak Knoll Golf Course

·        Improvements at Darex Family Ice Rink (possibly using grant funds)

·        SOU Swimming Pool – determine a regional solution for the regional facility

·        Continue working on 06-07 budget goals, including:

o       Department logo change

o       Succession planning

o       Evaluating energy consumption

o       Non-native vegetation removal

o       Participation in workforce housing

o       Others

·        Other goals mentioned included:

o       Bringing back the swans

o       Frisbee golf

o       Reviewing dog policies

Discussion Among Commissioners

When asked by Gardiner, Robertson reported that Ashland Ice talked with Parks staff regarding the collapse of the ice rink roof as a result of the recent heavy snowfall. He reported that staff believed the roof to be a complete loss and that the department was self-insured.

Rosenthal asked about the status of the RFP process for construction drawings for the park sites in Ashland, and Robertson reported that the deadline for proposals was set as March 21. He stated that staff would review the proposals and recommend a firm. Once the expenditure was approved, the architect could begin the work. He indicated that the N. Main / Scenic Park site would probably go quickly and construction could begin by the end of the current fiscal year. In terms of the Ashland Creek Park, he stated that it could take several months for the engineering portion to be completed, followed by the permitting process. When asked by Lewis, Robertson reported that the same engineering firm could potentially create construction drawings for both park sites.

Noraas asked about the golf course goal, including capital improvements and advertising, stating that she did not see anything in the goals list that referenced improvements for program elements, which she expressed would be critical for improving operations of the golf course. Robertson indicated that the “Movies on the Range” program last summer was intended to make the golf course a destination for more members within the community, not just golfers. He reported that the program met with a high level of success. He further stated that staff was working with the golf pro to expand programs to meet more golfing needs within the community. He referenced a program in which older golfers worked with younger golfers to mentor them in their golfing goals. He stated that the Golf Course Subcommittee recognized the need to promote the course, create incentives for new golfers to play at the course, and create the sense that everyone within the community is welcome at the golf course. He reported that Teige was working on developing a series of programs, to be held in the clubhouse in the evenings, for such classes as golf fitness, exercise instruction, and others. Robertson agreed to make a goal to increase non-golfing programming at Oak Knoll, with the intent of bringing more community members to the course. Noraas additionally suggested growing golfers through schools, senior programs, and/or women’s organizations to reach out to the community. Robertson referenced one commissioner’s concept of building on the current momentum [generated by the Housing Commission’s discussion of using the golf course for affordable housing units] to motivate members in the community to visit the course. Gardiner reported that he joined the Men’s Club last year and announced that their annual meeting was set for the following Monday.

Eggers asked the commission to review their top goals for the sake of other commissioners and the public.

Rosenthal talked about the value of recreational opportunities provided by Parks as well as those that had been suggested but not implemented within the community. He suggested possibly discussing a community recreational facility that might be run by the Parks Department.

Lewis discussed the importance of developing the two park sites, developing a regional solution for the potential SOU pool closure, further discussing a disc golf course, proceeding with a succession plan, and reducing energy consumption.

Eggers talked about moving into the development phases for both park sites, possibly by the end of the next fiscal year; establishing two more community gardens by the next gardening season; ice rink issues, including setting directions and making a timeline and plan for next year; further discussing swimming pool issues; reviewing policies to see if they needed to be updated; discussing marketing at the golf course while also keeping in mind her concerns about subsidizing golf and placing more money into the infrastructure of the course without evaluating the success of a marketing plan.

Noraas talked about the importance of discerning community recreational needs and being stewards of the environment and the community, with annual goals reflecting those needs. In terms of the golf course, she expressed interest in drawing more community members to the course by making it attractive to non-golfers. She mentioned installing a trail around the course to encourage community members to view it as another park, which could also serve to increase success at the golf course.

Gardiner advocated for the facilities we have or hope to have. He emphasized the need to continue making improvements at the golf course, recognizing that the subcommittee implemented a three-year improvement plan. In terms of the ice rink, he mentioned establishing a long-range plan to focus on rink improvements. By way of comparison, he reminded the commission of their resurfacing of the tennis courts at Hunter Park, which made the courts a more viable recreational asset within the community. He spoke again of the need to make improvements at facilities and not to allow deterioration or neglect to compromise their future.

Robertson was directed to give a budget goals summary at the March 7 study session, including a goals statement and a methodology for moving forward.

SOU POOL ISSUES

Robertson reported that SOU held a meeting several years ago to inform the community about the condition of the SOU pool and to outline their grave concerns about sustaining the pool. He indicated that staff had talked with Medford Parks and Recreation and followed their progress in working on the “Howard Park Project.” He reported that in early 2007, SOU again held a meeting and provided an inclusive list of concerns and associated costs, which they estimated as $86,669.56, along with an escrow account of $25,000 for any emergency repairs.

Robertson contacted the Oregon Recreation and Parks Association and asked for assistance from pool experts. He requested that ORPA members review the list prepared by SOU, tour the facility, talk to SOU staff, and assess the critical items as well as those that possibly could be postponed while continuing to operate the pool. He emphasized that the SOU pool is a regional facility that would require a regional solution.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Gardiner questioned the length of time required to produce a report following the ORPA visit and Robertson indicated that the report would take approximately one week to generate following the visit. He expressed hope that the report would answer the question about whether the SOU pool was worth rehabilitating or if it would make sense to place a bubble over the Daniel Meyer Pool.

Rosenthal remembered that a community proposal for the pool was submitted to SOU and subsequently rejected and he asked Robertson whether he recalled the proposal. Robertson stated that promises were made by the community and additional meetings were proposed by SOU, none of which materialized.

Public Input

Hailey Kuhn, P.O. Box 3338, referenced the letter sent to the commission on behalf of the swimming community and asked for their support in finding both short- and long-term solutions to providing a year-round swimming facility in the area.

Donna Blazinski, 465 Williamson Way, spoke on behalf of the lap swimming community about the need for finding a suitable facility for the sport.

Risa Buck, Oak Street, spoke of her joy in swimming outdoors at the Daniel Meyer Pool and the need to find a year-round solution for lap swimmers in the community.

Rich Hobbins, 3340 Dark Hollow Road in Medford, speaking in his role as a swim team supervisor, spoke of the need to provide a year-round swimming facility for youth within the community.

Tucker Whitson, 148 Alida Street, stated that he had been a master swimmer for 18 years and believed in the importance of providing year-round swimming opportunities for children and others and encouraging swimming as a lifelong sport.

Keith Swink, 1655 Peachey Road, asked the commission to work toward finding a regional solution to the potential closure of the SOU pool so that valuable community swim programs could be preserved.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners thanked the speakers and voiced interest in working with them to find a solution to the potential pool closure.

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Signs and Plaques Subcommittee Appointment

Gardiner, a subcommittee member, referenced the packet memo summarizing the meeting and stated that another piece of land, a triangular piece of lawn by the bike path, was not mentioned in the memo but was discussed at the meeting in terms of being a potential site for a memorial bench. After further discussion, the commission agreed to: 1) the placement of memorial benches in park areas specified by the subcommittee, including the triangular piece of lawn by the bike path; 2) the placement of three picnic tables with plaques within Lithia Park in recognition of park restoration provided by the Fred A. Tayler Memorial Foundation; and 3) a more detailed mockup of a Rotary-sponsored directional sign at the entrance to Lithia Park, with final wording being approved by the commission prior to placement in the park.

Ultimate Frisbee Request

Robertson reported that a meeting with SOU representatives was set for early March to review field usage. He agreed to discuss with them the Ultimate Frisbee competition letter sent to the commission.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Eggers stressed the importance of providing opportunities for public participation throughout the budget planning process.

Eggers asked the commission to provide thoughts and recommendations regarding the role of the chair within the commission, indicating that she would share any responses with the group.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

§         Study session set for March 7 at 7:00 PM—Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Topics to include:

§         Finalization of Budget Goals

§         Public Input

§         Study session set for March 14 at 7:00 PM—Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Topics to include:

§         Review Recreation and Maintenance Budgets

§         Capital Expenditures

§         Public Input

§         Study session set for March 19 at 7:00 PM—Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Topics to include:

§         Capital Improvement Projects

§         Public Input

§         Regular meeting set for February 26 at 7:00 PM—Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main. Topics to include:

§         Recommendation for Budget Approval

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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