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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, July 20, 2009

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

July 20, 2009

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:         Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Gies

Absent:       Commissioner Noraas; City Council Liaison Silbiger

CALL TO ORDER

Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Oak Knoll Golf Course Club House, 3070 Hwy 66.

LITHIA PARK / ROTARY CLUB SPECIAL EVENT REQUEST

Dials said the Ashland Rotary Club requested the use of a portion of Lithia Park for their 5K and 10K charity run / walk on Saturday, October 3, 2009, and they also requested amplification. She introduced John Grimbergen of Ashland Rotary and invited him to speak to the commission.

John Grimbergen, 334 Starflower Lane, said Rotary hoped to use the Ashland Creek trail and a portion of the Lithia Park entrance on the morning of October 3. He said the 5K and 10K participants would start at the same location in Lithia Park but follow slightly different routes, with both groups concluding at the park entrance. He said an alternate route would utilize the Pioneer Street trail, Granite Street, and Winburn Way. He said Rotary organizers expected between 150-200 runners and the family oriented fundraiser would benefit polio eradication, with a matching grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed the importance of not disturbing other park patrons and suggested redirecting the race start and finish away from the park entrance. They agreed to place the request on the July 27 regular meeting agenda and asked the organizers to come prepared to answer questions about alternate routes and specific amplification needs.

REQUEST TO PLACE ARTWORK IN JAPANSESE-STYLE GARDEN

Robertson said a gift of artwork was proposed for placement in the Japanese-style garden in Lithia Park. He welcomed Public Arts Commission chair Dana Bussell and former Ashland City Council member Alice Hardesty and invited them to speak to the commission.

Dana Bussell said a sculpture titled “Gift” by sculptor Wataru Sugiyama was approved by the Parks Commission for a two-year placement in the Arnie Kriegel Memorial Sculpture Garden earlier in the year.

Alice Hardesty said a memorial fund was established for her late husband, former Ashland City Council member Jack Hardesty, a public arts enthusiast. She offered to use the funds to buy “Gift,” donate it to the city, and place it in the Japanese-style garden. She reported attending a Public Arts Commission meeting to present her proposal, which they unanimously approved, and requested a modest plaque to accompany the sculpture. She said the Japanese-style garden would be an appropriate and safe location for the sculpture.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked staff to forward Hardesty a copy of the signs policy to allow her to review the guidelines before submitting a proposal. They suggested discussing her proposal at the subcommittee level. Rosenthal thanked Hardesty for her philanthropy and generosity to the community.

GOLF COURSE UPDATES AND IDEAS

Robertson said the commission previously decided to modify the golf course business model and hired a Golf Operations Manager in February 2009. He said manager Tom Cronin made changes to the club house operations, including purchasing smaller golf equipment items, upgrading and repairing the facility, buying prepackaged food items to sell, obtaining a license to sell beer and wine, and expanding the use of the facility for community events such as weddings and family reunions.

Dials distributed a five-year golf course revenue report showing rounds of golf decreasing over the five-year period.

Cronin said golf course maintenance employees, including Superintendent Drew Moyers and his staff, kept the course in excellent condition. He said the annual pass holders at Oak Knoll, including members of the Men’s and Women’s clubs, were loyal golfers. He said his staff worked to provide excellent customer service and a positive environment for the golfers at Oak Knoll. He spoke of the need to attract new players and said efforts were underway to develop junior programs. He said advertising was being directed to local hotels to capture the tourism market. He said a wedding was held at the club house the previous Friday and the facility was also reserved for future corporate group events and family reunions. He reported that prepackaged food items and beer were selling well. He said recent improvements at the club house included the repainting of both interior and exterior walls. He indicated his intention to transition one side of the interior into a television / socializing area, with the other side used for sitting / reading.

Robertson said the commission previously expressed interest in expanding the uses of the golf course facility. He spoke of the possibility of developing a cart path that could be used by both golfers and walkers, with the walkers directed around the course in a safe and orderly manner. He displayed a drawing of the course with a proposed cart path and spoke of various surface options, including asphalt, compacted gravel, and concrete slipforming.

Robertson said the commission also voiced past interest in the possible implementation of a disc golf course at Oak Knoll. He said his research led him to believe that a disc golf course could be created over the existing golf course for approximately $10,000. He said a similar setup in Eugene had not posed coordination problems for regular golfers and few additional maintenance requirements would be needed over the current arrangement.

Public Input

Bill Anderson, 370 Patterson Street, submitted a letter in which he asked the commission to reinstate the 5-day annual pass for seniors aged 60+ and suggested that they charge 5/7th of the 7-day pass annual fee or $785 for a single player / $1,100 for a couple. He said, with such a system, that more seniors would golf at Oak Knoll rather than using other courses in the valley.

Mike and Jackie Gaffney, 291 Meadow Drive, annual pass holders, said they typically golfed three times per week. They voiced appreciation for the efforts of Cronin and his staff.

Bret DeForest, 454 Briscoe Place, expressed gratitude for the recent changes and upgrades and asked the commission to refrain from making additional changes for the present time. He said revenues could be increased by retaining a club house employee beyond 7:00 p.m., when golfers were observed playing on the course. He requested improved sand for the sand traps, additional mowing, and ongoing commission meetings at the club house.

Helen Reinhold, 855 E. Pebble Beach Drive, said the wedding held on Friday evening appeared to have been a success. She said Cronin’s efforts to transition Oak Knoll to a golf “club” would allow people to use the facility for congregating and recreating.

John Maurer, 1085 Elkader, questioned whether the commission had a golf course mission statement. He said they needed to determine their mission and goals for the golf course. He talked about the importance of marketing regular golf rather than installing disc golf and he spoke favorably of Cronin’s improvements.

Joe Reinhold, 855 E. Pebble Beach Drive, questioned the commission’s potential liability in the event that a regular golfer accidentally hit a disc golfer with a golf ball at Oak Knoll.

Robertson reported questioning city staff about insurance rates in the event that a disc golf course were to added at Oak Knoll and said they informed him that rates would not increase.

ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATIONS AND AUDITS UPDATE

Energy Analyst Robbin Pearce said a delay occurred with the environmental audits of Parks facilities. She reported scheduling an appointment with Environmental Stewardship Coordinator Linda Chesney to review the current project status and said a walkthrough schedule would be determined in the near future.

Robertson said staff met with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and worked on resolving most of the issues identified. Gies said one unresolved issue—the wash station in the Parks shop—was closed pending further clarification from the DEQ. Pearce said the Parks Department could be certified as a “Green Business” after meeting all DEQ regulations.

OTHER BUSINESS

Robertson reviewed the July 27 regular meeting agenda. Commissioners debated whether to place on the agenda the Webster’s / Sesame space sharing issues on Calle Guanajuato. They agreed to invite Webster’s to speak during the Open Forum portion of the meeting.

Lewis updated the commission on the recent work of the Croman Advisory Committee.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:33 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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