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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, January 11, 2010

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

January 11, 2010

 

ATTENDANCE

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

Absent:       Commissioner Rosenthal

CALL TO ORDER

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

REFINE COMMISSION GOALS FOR FY 2010-2011

Robertson distributed the FY 2009-2010 goals list. He said the commission discussed the goals at two previous study sessions and agreed to retain, refine, and prioritize most of them and remove one goal.

Each goal was reviewed in detail:

§         Financial and Business Plan – Develop a long-term business, organizational, and financial plan that evaluates and identifies current and future funding sources. Explore how Parks works in conjunction with tourism, business and family relocation, property values, and jobs creation.

o       Work in conjunction with SOU to complete project, possibly hiring outside professional help. Use as a tool for articulating positive impacts Parks creates within community, including valuations identified in city council matrix.

§         Renew Food and Beverage Tax – Per commission direction, remove from list following voter-approved tax renewal.

§         Non-Native Vegetation Control Plan – Develop a prioritized plan for the removal and/or control of non-native vegetation in conjunction with a review of the current pesticides policy.

o       Subcommittee formed to review potential changes to Parks pesticides policy.

o       Local toxicologist attending meetings and advising subcommittee not to ban all pesticides within parks system.

o       Suggestion about inviting mayor to attend pesticides subcommittee meeting to hear his concerns about pesticides usage and inform him about Parks efforts toward reductions.

o       Pesticide reductions beginning as early as the April timeframe.

§         Upper and Lower Clay Street Properties – Develop programs to guide the development of master plans for the two park properties.

o       With passage of meals tax renewal, consider preliminary master plans for these properties, allowing commission to estimate percentage of meals tax to leverage in bond process.

o       Importance of setting parameters for the properties and driving the process.

§         Oak Knoll Golf Course – Identify and implement new programs and activities to increase the versatility of golf course use by both golfers and non-golfers. Regard the course as a business enterprise with a goal of self-sufficiency.

o       Install non-golfing amenities, including a walking trail and disc golf course.

o       For walking trail, use markers as identifiers rather than a surface.

o       For disc course, hear input from Nick, a local enthusiast and lifelong disc golf player. 

o       For regular golf course, continue making improvements to encourage continuity of traditional golfing.

o       Staff to research an “integrated success story” and report back to the commission.

o       Possible implementation before conclusion of FY 2009-2010.

§         Nature Center – Evaluate the mission of the Nature Center utilizing the existing advisory group. Look at future role in relation to Ashland School District finances and community values.

o       Staff to report on this topic at the February 8 study session. Discussion to include updates on educational programs and events, ecological stewardship, recreational activities, community gardens, and administration.

o       Work with SOU student to develop a duplication study within the community in an effort to fill in gaps or eliminate duplicated offerings.

o       Consider hiring a volunteer coordinator to assist department with a variety of projects.

§         Community Communication – Seek new ways to communicate with the community by organizing neighborhood meetings and other methods of “direct communication.”

o       Pool user focus group to be scheduled for early February, with other special interest focus groups to follow (e.g., runners, dog owners).

o       In future, do not list this as a separate goal but incorporate the new method into standard commission operating procedures.

§         Environmental Evaluations and Audits – Provide evaluations of all facilities and operations within the department; evaluate reports from individual facilities and make recommendations for improvements. Remain energy-consumption-neutral; reduce energy consumption from one year to the next.

o       Staff continuing to work on resolving oversights identified in Green Team audit report. Staff to prepare full report outlining fixes and repair dates; report to be forwarded to DEQ, Green Team, and Parks Commission.

o       Staff working with Finance to determine usage levels and costs for water, electrical, gasoline and natural gas within Parks system; targeting areas for reductions.

§         Preliminary Steps Toward Creation of Lithia Park Master Plan – Consider potential elements for inclusion in a Lithia Park master plan to provide care and preservation of Lithia Park and the portion of Ashland Creek within its boundaries.

o       Assemble interdisciplinary team comprised of local experts to look at Ashland Creek resources and riparian areas in terms of present conditions as well as 100 years into the future. Suggest that services be provided at minimal or no cost (part of experts’ community outreach efforts).

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners requested a refined and updated goals list, with each goal made more specific and action items / timelines / supervisory contacts provided. Staff agreed to make the requested alterations and redistribute the list to the commission.

DISCUSSION OF BUDGET / CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

Robertson said Parks CIP projects were included within the City of Ashland budget each year and the recent renewal of the Food and Beverage Tax provided the commission with opportunities for completing some of the projects. He said Food and Beverage Tax funds were budgeted through the CIP and staff was given a February deadline for providing Public Works with the list of Parks CIP projects. He distributed a draft list of projects and estimated costs for FY 2011-2015 and requested feedback. He said Finance Director Lee Tuneberg would advise staff and the commission on how to leverage funding for CIP projects.

Robertson read each item on the CIP list and reviewed each project’s status and estimated costs. Items included ice rink cover / buildings, Ashland Creek Park, Calle Guanajuato improvements, Oak Knoll Golf Course irrigation, Upper Clay Street Park, Sherwood Park restrooms, Lithia Park restrooms, Lower Clay Street Park purchase, Lower Clay Street Park development, parking lot surface overlays, tennis court lights, Enders Shelter renovations, Bluebird Park stairs, tennis court resurfacing, land purchases, and North Mountain Park Nature Center remodeling. He said potential funding sources included Food and Beverage taxes, systems development charges, and bond funding. The commission requested adding “Lithia Park master plan evaluation.”

Commissioners emphasized the importance of each item on the list—all projects or facilities currently managed or expected to be managed by the commission in the future—and said the costlier items, such as the estimated $1M for replacing Oak Knoll irrigation, might invite scrutiny by the Budget Committee.

Staff asked the commission to give the list further consideration and forward any additional thoughts to staff.

HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS

Robertson said the proposed joint meeting with council, tentatively scheduled for January 19, was postponed until early February.

Robertson presented a draft response from Chair Gardiner to Mayor Stromberg regarding Stromberg’s “State of the City” speech in which he did not give Parks credit for efforts toward responsible pesticide usage on city lands, implying that Parks was not in line with city values. Commissioners suggested inviting Stromberg to a Pesticides Subcommittee meeting and making greater efforts toward publicizing the work of the subcommittee within the city. Staff was asked to place the topic on the January 25 regular meeting agenda, allowing the commission to publicly respond.

Robertson said the pool community would be invited to attend a pool users’ meeting in the first week of February. He reported meeting with a facilitator about structuring the two-hour meeting and asking her to bid on the cost of her services for running the meeting, which came in at $500 and included a pre-meeting, the focus group itself, and a debriefing meeting. He said the meeting would be held at the Hunter Park Senior Center and asked for a preference on dates: February 2, 3, and 4. Commissioners and staff chose Wednesday, February 3, and agreed to hire the facilitator.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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