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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, August 20, 2007

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

August 20, 2007

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:        Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Teige; Parks Horticulturist / Arborist Todt

Absent:          City Council Liaison Navickas; Superintendent Gies

Guest:           Journalist Vickie Aldous

CALL TO ORDER

Eggers called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.

TOUR OF CITY PARKS

Robertson reported that the evening would involve the touring of four neighborhood parks, including Sherwood, Clay Street, Garden Way, and Glenwood. He said that each of the parks offered its own set of issues and opportunities and asked the commission to consider the possibility of eliminating lawn and / or installing community garden plots at each location.

Sherwood Park

Commissioners reviewed elements contained within the one-quarter-acre neighborhood park bordering Sherwood and Ashland Streets, including bocce ball courts, bathrooms, playground equipment, and lawn and picnic areas. Maintenance issues and weed control were discussed. In terms of the adjacent fire station and its potential for expansion onto the site, Robertson stated that the earlier proposal included pushing the curb line out to make Sherwood a one-way street, which would have greatly reduced the size of the park. Sherwood was described as a “walk-to” park, with its borders of apartments and homes.

Robertson pointed out the restrooms and playground equipment and said they were in need of upgrades. Commissioners debated the necessity of including restrooms in parks and discussed whether community garden plots would be appropriate for the park. The lack of direct sunlight was noted. Another discussion point involved potential removal of some of the lawn area. Todt stated that removal of lawn often creates maintenance issues such as weeds, requiring the use of herbicides.

Clay Street Park

Commissioners noted the playground equipment and large lawn area of the four-acre park. A neighbor requested an opportunity to speak to the commission.

Ruth Coulthard, 566 Faith, spoke about homeless camping in the park, reporting that she heard voices late at night and found a bucket on her premises possibly containing human waste. She spoke with regret about the recent pruning / removal of blackberries, expressing that they were gleaned by neighbors as a free food source and provided a natural barrier. She indicated that, while dogs are not permitted, many neighboring residents allow their dogs into the park. When asked about including community garden plots in the park, she instead expressed a desire for more fruit trees, as the free fruit would be appreciated by the low income neighbors and fruit picking serves as a family friendly activity.

Todt reported that the non-native blackberries were removed because they were a fire hazard and created a shelter for homeless campers. He said the blackberries would be replaced with native vegetation along the riparian / creekside areas. Robertson expressed a desire to replace the path with cement and install a footbridge. Robertson and commissioners talked about potential locations for community garden plots. To gather input from neighbors, Eggers suggested posting a sign reading, “For information about community gardens, please call Ashland Parks and Recreation.”

Commissioners reviewed the area bordering the Siskiyou School and talked about the shared fencing. Noting the unmarked chipped pathway leading to the park, Eggers suggested posting a sign reading, “Trail access to park.”

Garden Way Park

Commissioners reviewed elements contained within the one-acre neighborhood park bordering Clark Street and Garden Way, including picnic area with shelter, restrooms, and playground equipment. Commissioners read a posted sign indicating that the park was developed by the Soroptimists in the mid-1950s. The stream running under the park was noted, and Robertson said that “daylighting” the creek would cause a loss of park land.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of including community garden plots in the park and their possible placement. Lewis spoke of the money saved by growing food in a community garden.

Glenwood Park

Commissioners reviewed the one-acre neighborhood park located at the corner of Ashland and Glenwood Streets. It was reported that the land formerly belonged to Cynthia Lord and the house on the property was moved across town, with the orchard remaining intact. The park was said to be popular with both neighbors and SOU students for fruit picking and picnicking. Todt indicated that Glenwood is an herbicide-free park and neighbors form work parties to pull weeds and blackberry bush overgrowths.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of including community garden plots in the park, their possible location, and the number of plots needed to create a viable community garden. Robertson stated that Glenwood might not be optimal for that activity due to the lack of parking, restrooms, and direct sunlight.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Robertson reported that Todt would provide a pesticide / herbicide presentation at their October 15 study session.

Eggers reported that the draft riparian ordinance was available and asked Robertson to invite Planning Director David Stalheim to present it to the commission at a future study session.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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