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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, January 14, 2008

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

January 14, 2008

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:         Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Teige

Absent:          Commissioner Lewis; City Council Liaison Navickas

CALL TO ORDER

Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.

SENIOR CENTER DOG REQUEST

Robertson reminded commissioners that a group of citizens attended the December 17 meeting and requested permission to allow dogs at the Senior Center during the lunch hour. He reported visiting the center with Teige and observing the bench to which dogs were tethered outside the building. He said several complaints were received about noise caused by tethered, barking dogs and about an individual attempting to circulate an anti-tethering petition at the center.

Public Input

Art Tetrault, 500 YMCA Way, Apt. 207, said the dogs at the center were well known and friendly. He said exercise is beneficial for seniors and dogs and asked the commission to permit the dogs at the center.

Arthur Katzer 565 Allison Street, said seniors at the center come to socialize, and dogs are included in the socialization process. He asked the commission to allow seniors to continue bringing dogs to the center.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners questioned the timeframe for the dogs’ visits and learned it was mainly during the lunch hour, between 11:00 AM and 12:30 PM. Staff said dog waste complaints were not being reported. When asked about exceptions to the “no dogs” rule in parks, Robertson said they included the Ashland Dog Park and certain designated “dog friendly” park areas around the city where dogs were allowed on leashes.

Noraas stated that animals are an important part of seniors’ lives and aid with socialization. She said the request (to allow dogs at the center) was reasonable and voiced support for allowing them to visit the center for a short period each weekday, with any problems quickly addressed. She suggested installing an apparatus to which dogs could be tethered other than the bench outside the center.

Eggers expressed concern about setting a precedent permitting dogs in Parks-managed areas and voiced caution about making an exception to dog rules.

Gardiner spoke in support of making an exception to the dog ordinance at the center as long as parameters were measurable and enforceable.

Rosenthal said he was sympathetic to the cause but not comfortable with the confinement of the dogs and suggested placing a dog run beside the center.

Staff was directed to prepare a proposal for a future meeting discussion about dogs at the Senior Center.

HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY MEET REQUEST

Robertson reported that JJ Moses sent a letter to the commission requesting the use of North Mountain Park for a high school cross country invitational meet in September. He invited JJ to speak to the commission.

JJ Moses, President of Team Rock Star, said the event would benefit his non-profit organization. He indicated that the proposed course at North Mountain Park would be 4 kilometers along the perimeter of the baseball and softball fields at a time of year when the grass would be less wet, limiting damage to grass. He said organizers would ensure that racers did not wear spikes in their racing flats, which could damage grass, and that the course would be marked with a biodegradable chalk. He said local high school cross country teams would be invited to participate and the event would draw racers from surrounding towns, potentially benefiting local businesses.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked Moses for additional information about the proposed meet and he said ten teams would be invited to participate and runners would number 140 (70 varsity and 70 junior varsity). He described the race route in detail. When asked about parking, he said the teams would park at the high school and run down to North Mountain Park to alleviate traffic congestion. When asked about potential conflicts with soccer and baseball games at the park, Teige said staff could talk to high school teams in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Rosenthal suggested considering the Oak Knoll Golf Course as the race venue instead of North Mountain Park, since it would not pose field scheduling conflicts or traffic issues, and Gardiner said the course would need to be shut down for such an event and he was not comfortable shutting down the course too often.

Commissioners voiced general interest in continuing the discussion and Teige agreed to work with Moses to develop a concrete proposal for a future review.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Robertson requested an opportunity to meet with commissioners individually regarding 2008-2009 budget goals as well as issues brought forth during the recent executive session. Eggers questioned the need to meet individually and Robertson agreed to schedule meetings individually or in small groups, at the commissioners’ discretion.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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