Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, April 23, 2001

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

April 23, 2001

ATTENDANCE:

Present - JoAnne Eggers, Sally Jones, Rick Landt, Jim Lewis, Laurie MacGraw, Council Liaison Don Laws, Director Ken Mickelsen. Absent - None

CALL TO ORDER - Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Regular Meeting - March 26, 2001 - Commissioner Eggers said that the word "boarders" in the first paragraph of page 8 should read "borders". Commissioner Jones made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 26, 2001 as corrected. Commissioner Eggers seconded. The vote was: 4 yes - 1 abstain (MacGraw)

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Representatives from Adult Softball Program - Tim Jones, Softball Coordinator for the Department's Adult Softball Program, spoke to the Commission about the condition of the softball fields on SOU's Iowa Street complex. He said that at the initial meeting of softball participants this year, complaints were received about the condition of the fields. He said that the request from the softball players was that some major maintenance be done on the fields this year rather than the minor maintenance that has been done in prior years. Specifically, the rough outfield needs improvement, and, it has been suggested that the infield grass be removed. The fields have been deteriorating for many years.

Commissioner MacGraw asked staff what it would take to make improvements to the fields. Director Mickelsen said that the fields are about 20 years old and over the years, in a cooperative usage agreement with the university, the Department has used the fields for its summer programs and has provided routine maintenance to the fields during those months. Without the fields, there would be no fields to accommodate the men's softball program. He said that although the irrigation system is probably adequate, it is dependent upon TID and when water usage becomes tight, SOU limits the amount of water which can be used on the site. He said that it would take a substantial investment to make significant improvements to the fields. He said that it would involve joint policy decisions by the Commission and SOU if that kind of investment were to be made to improve the fields.

After some further brief discussion, Chair Landt thanked Mr. Jones for bringing the item to the Commission's attention but indicated that if substantial improvements were to be made to the fields that it would very likely need to be addressed when the Commission was considering its budget priorities for future years. Mr. Jones commented that he has heard from softball players that they would be willing to donate labor and equipment if that would help defer some of the cost. Commissioner Landt suggested that the softball players work with staff to come up with a clear proposal of what they would like to have done so that it could be presented to the Commission at the appropriate time.

Commissioner MacGraw commented that, although specifics have not yet been finalized, that within the Commission's projected 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan there will be monies set aside for improvement of athletic fields. She said that now that the Commission is aware that improvments are needed at the Iowa Street complex they could consider that in the mix.

Representatives from Ashland Soccer Club - Myron Hudson (212 Van Ness), President of the Ashland Soccer Club, and Scott Kurtz (676 Liberty St.), former President of the club, were present to discuss the priorities the Soccer Club Board had discussed at a recent meeting related to field priorities for the sport in Ashland.

Mr. Kurtz said that they wanted to thank Commissioner Landt for making an inquiry earlier this month about the Club's priorities related to field needs for soccer in order to gain information which could be used as the Commission developed its 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan. He said that it focused the Board on clarifying what kind of capital improvements would most suit the club's needs and in what order it would like for the improvements to happen. He said that he understood that improvements to drainage at the YMCA Park fields was already planned. Taking that into consideration the Soccer Board came up with the following priorities: 1) Lights for the N. Mountain Park field, 2) the soccer building at N. Mountain Park, and 3) improvements to the Helman School fields.

He said that in determining its priorities, the Board chose to put as many fields on line as soon as possible. Because improvements to Helman School is much more problematic and would cost considerably more money, the Board felt that extending the hours of play at N. Mountain with the addition of lights would provide more hours of play sooner rather than later. To that end, the Board unanimously passed a motion to donate $15,000 to the Commission toward the cost of installation of field lighting for the soccer field at N. Mountain Park. They said that the club would also be willing to continue to raise monies for the project.

Mr. Hudson said that it was his understanding that the Commission had not placed any monies in its 2001-2002 budget year to cover lights at N. Mountain. However, he said that the Soccer Club would like the Commission's cooperation in getting the project off the ground so that the lights could be installed and ready for use this coming fall. He said that he had spoken to a Musco lighting representative who indicated that Musco would be willing to take the $15,000 as a down payment for the lights so that they could be installed immediately but would wait for the 2003 budget cycle to receive any additional payment. The Soccer Club was asking that the Commission be willing to assist with the balance of the cost down the road.

Director Mickelsen said that the Soccer Club had contacted him late last week to relay their proposal and the discussion they had had with Musco lighting. He then contacted Musco to confirm that Musco would be willing to enter into a capital lease agreement with the Department which could be paid off in one or more years at no penalty. He said that he also discussed the option of having the Department actually install the lighting which would substantially reduce the overall cost. Musco agreed that that would be possible. He said that he and Superintendent Gies had discussed the possibility of having the Department complete the installation work so that the lights could be used for the fall 2001 soccer program and that it was do-able. He said that it would be important to move quickly, however, so that the poles could be set this summer while the fields are dry because of the heavy equipment which would need to be used.

After brief discussion, Commissioner Eggers asked what process the Commission would like to use to address the proposal; that is, what would be the steps taken to undertake the project and, in particular, what it would mean to future years' budgets if the Commission accepted the proposal. Commissioner Landt concurred with Commissioner Eggers indicating that he wanted to look at how future budget years would be impacted if the decision was made to accept the proposal.

MOTION - Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to place the item on the agenda under New Business so that it could be further discussed this evening. Commissioner Jones seconded.

discussion of motion - By way of clarification, Commissioner MacGraw said that she was in favor of having the item placed on the agenda so that the Commission could act on the proposal if it chose to do so. If not, it could determine how it would like to move forward.

The vote was: 3 yes - 2 no (Eggers, Landt)

Open Forum

Mike Gardener (349 Orange St.) said that he would like to comment on the previous discussion about the

softball fields on Iowa Street. He said that he understood that there could not be substantial improvements made to the fields this year, but, perhaps a low cost fix could be found which would allow them to receive a small level of increased maintenance.

However, he said that his first reason for wanting to speak to the Commission was because of the poor condition of the scorecards at the Hunter Park tennis courts. He said that they are in such shabby condition that it's almost impossible to follow the score. Director Mickelsen said that the scorecards don't belong to the Department, however, the Department is working with the Ashland School District and S.T.A.Y., Inc. to see about working cooperatively to have the scorecard system improved and then to determine whose responsibility it will be to see that they are kept in good repair in the future.

ADDITIONS or DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

Chair Landt placed the item concerning the Ashland Soccer Club's proposal under New Business.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Review and approve policy and fee structure for use of outdoor seating on the Calle - Director Mickelsen reported that at its March meeting the Commission had decided to postpone addressing the item until its April meeting. Essentially there were two items before the Commission: 1) Whether or not it would choose to increase restaurant seating on the Calle by adding alcoves #5 and #6 as shown on the map attached to the memorandum dated March 19, 2001, and 2) Whether or not it would choose to increase the fees charged to lease an area for outdoor seating.

Director Mickelsen said that one method Commissioners had suggested using to determine how much fees would be increased would be to use the fee currently in place and incrementally adjust it by the CPI for the number of years that the fee has been in place. Staff worked that formula through indicating that the fee has remained the same since 1995 when it was set at $22.00 per seat, and, if it were adjusted over a five-year span by the CPI for each year, rounding some cents, the new fee would be $25.50 per seat.

public comment

Ron Roth (6950 Old Hwy. 99 S.), owner of the Plaza Café and Geppetto's restaurants, said that through the meals tax Ashland's restaurants have brought a great deal of revenue into the City for the Open Space / Park Land Acquisition Program. He encouraged the Commission to do three things: 1) approve the 2 additional alcoves on the Calle for restaurant seating, 2) keep the per seat price for leasing the space the way it is, and, 3) publicly thank the restaurant community for the role it plays in collecting the meals tax monies for Open Space.

On a second item, related to his previous comment about having some kind of ashtrays placed on the Calle, he suggested the Commission check into the ones in front of DJ's Video which might work well on the Calle.

discussion by commissioners

MOTION - Indicating her support for allocating additional space on the Calle for restaurant seating, Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to approve the addition of Sites #5 and #6 as illustrated on the map included in the memorandum dated March 19, 2001 for use as restaurant seating. Commissioner Jones seconded.

discussion of motion - In support of the motion, Commissioner MacGraw said that she felt that use of the two alcoves for additional seating was appropriate and, in part, what they had been designed for. She said that she believed that the west side of the creek and Lithia Park provide ample opportunity for people to bring their lunches and picnic.

Commissioner Eggers said that she would prefer to leave the area as it is for one season to see how it functions. She said that she believes that increasing the restaurant seating may cause congestion. She said that she would also prefer to have areas on the east side that would allow the general public to sit without having to purchase a meal from a restaurant.

Commissioner Jones said that she would support the motion in that she believes that the alcoves were created for that purpose. She said that she believes there would still be some space available for the general public to sit on the east side, and, certainly the west side has been reserved as a park-like setting for that purpose.

Commissioner Lewis said that he would support the motion but also would like to see some kind of seating made available on the east side for the general public if there is space to do so.

Commissioner Landt said that he had reservations about approving the seating at this time because once it is granted it would be difficult to take it away. At this time, the Commission does not have an overall plan for the east side. He said that he believed it was more important to consider the needs of the general public related to use of the area before committing more of it for use by businesses.

Commissioner Eggers suggested a compromise position which would be to place picnic tables in the two alcoves so that anyone could use them, persons who purchased "carry-out" meals and people who simply wanted a place to sit near the creek on the east side. She said that if that were done, the Commission would have a better opportunity to judge how best to utilize the space.

The vote was: 3 yes - 2 no (Eggers, Landt)

In discussion related to increasing fees, Commissioner Jones said that she would be in favor of tabling the discussion for a year. She said that the Calle businesses have been through a lot since the 1997 flood and this year will be the first year that things will be getting back to normal. She felt that it would be appropriate to postpone increasing fees for one year. Commissioner MacGraw concurred.

Chair Landt asked whether or not there was any additional discussion or whether anyone would choose to make a motion to increase fees. No motion was forthcoming. He suggested the Commission move on with the understanding that it would review the fee structure for calendar year 2002. He asked staff to check into cigarette butt containers for the area as suggested by Mr. Roth.

Review status of proposal by A.C.L.T. concerning Cline / Bryant property

Carlus Harris, representative from ACLT, was present indicating that it was his understanding that the Commission would be re-addressing the question of whether or not to agree to partition the Cline / Bryant property along the boundary lines they had requested so that it could be purchased for the purpose of affordable housing.

Commissioner MacGraw said that she had not been present at the March meeting when a motion on this topic failed for lack of a majority. She said that because she would have been supportive of the motion she asked that the topic be placed on this month's agenda so that it could be considered again. Chair Landt asked if she would like to make a motion.

MOTION - Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to approve partitioning the Cline / Bryant property as recommended by the sub-committee in its memorandum dated March 26, 2001. Commissioner Jones seconded.

discussion of the motion

In discussion of the motion, Commissioner Landt said that he would like to make a friendly amendment. He said that, as well as the eight conditions that have already been discussed with the ACLT, he would like to add one which would indicate that the ACLT would be willing to support a solar access waiver related to the smaller house if needed. He said that he did not envision the design of the park placing a significant structure near the smaller house, however, if a fence or some other structure needed to be placed there it might intrude into the house's solar access for a few days during the year. He asked Mr. Harris whether he believed that the ACLT would be agreeable to such a condition. Mr. Harris said that he was not authorized to speak for the Board but that he did not foresee a problem.

Commissioner MacGraw accepted the friendly amendment. As second to the motion, Commissioner Jones indicated no problem.

Both Commissioners Eggers and Landt said that they still had reservations about the proposed configuration of the property to be partitioned which would include the house at 667 N. Main because it will make designing less than optimal. However, both re-iterated their support of affordable housing and said that they would support the motion as a compromise.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Mr. Harris thanked the Commission. Commissioners chose to address the topic of setting an asking price for the property at a Study Session early in May.

NEW BUSINESS

Request by Mt. Ashland Babe Ruth to charge admission fees for district tournament - Director Mickelsen reported that the Mt. Ashland Babe Ruth League has requested that it be permitted to charge an admission fee for a District #4 tournament that will be held at North Mountain Park in July. This is the first request that the Department has received of this nature, and, therefore, no policy has yet been established by the Commission. However, with the development of North Mountain Park, he said that he believed that there will be additional requests from community sports groups and the Ashland School District to hold district, regional, and state level tournaments and to charge admission to the event. In the memorandum dated April 16, 2001, staff outlined the draft of a policy in the event the Commission chose to address establishing a policy at this meeting. If not, then the request from Babe Ruth could be addressed as a "one-time" event.

public comment

Karen Fieguth, President of the Mt. Ashland Babe Ruth League, was present to answer any questions Commissioners might have about the request. In opening statements, Ms. Fieguth explained that the primary reason Babe Ruth was making the request was to raise monies to offset its cost associated with hosting the tournament. She said that the organization would work cooperatively with Department staff before making its plans related to setting up the area which would be used for the "admission seats" but then would be fully responsible for the cost and logistics related to setting up the seating area and monitoring the area. She said that the general public would still be able to view the games but would simply be restricted from the "admission seats".

discussion among commissioners

Commissioners Eggers and Landt said that they would prefer not to address a comprehensive policy at this point in time because it had not been published in the agenda. They indicated that they would prefer to address the policy after other sports groups had been able to provide some input on the topic.

MOTION - Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to grant "one time" approval to the Babe Ruth organization to charge admission to the District #4 tournament as outlined in the letter dated April 11, 2001. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Chair Landt said that discussion related to adopting a policy related to charging admissions at events would be discussed at a future meeting. He suggested that the neighbors surrounding North Mountain Park be notified when the discussion was to take place.

Presentation and approval of design plan for park property at E. Main and Wightman - Reviewing background information for the topic, Director Mickelsen reported that the property under discussion had been purchased as part of the Open Space / Park Land Acquisition Program. At that time, the Commission agreed that a sediment basin and wetland area would be constructed on the property as part of the City's storm water treatment plan and the Roca channel improvement project. He said that Steve Koskella of K & C Environmental Services would be presenting information on the design and that both the Public Works staff and Parks staff supported the project as outlined in the memorandum dated April 13, 2001.

MOTION - Following Mr. Koskella's presentation and brief discussion among Commissioners, Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to approve the sediment basin and wetland project on the property located at E. Main and Wightman Streets as outlined in the memorandum dated April 13, 2001. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Approval of Employee Negotiations for FY 2002-2003

MOTION - Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to approve the employee negotiation package identified as #1 in Executive Session for both non-management and management personnel for FY 2002-2003. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Offer of donation by Ashland Soccer Club related to field lighting at N. Mountain Park

Referring to the proposal made under Public Participation, Myron Hudson and Scott Kurtz, representatives from the Ashland Soccer Club, said that it would be important to them to have a decision soon so that the lights would be ready for use this coming fall. They said that they would be able to participate in a Special Meeting early in May if the Commission decided it needed more time to consider the proposal.

MOTION - Indicating that she would like to see whether or not there was sufficient support among Commissioners to approve the proposal this evening, Commissioner Jones made a motion to accept the Ashland Soccer Club's proposal to donate $15,000 towards the cost of installing lights on the main soccer field at North Mountain Park with the understanding that the Commission would pay for the balance of the cost by contractual agreement with Musco which would cover one or more years beginning in FY 2002-2003. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

discussion of the motion

Commissioners MacGraw and Jones spoke in support of the motion indicating that the Commission had indicated that it plans to allocate capital improvement monies for "athletic fields" in the future and, by entering into an agreement whereby the cost to the Department could be spread over several years if needed, accepting the proposal would not have a negative, long-term affect on future years' budgets.

Commissioner Landt said that he would like to see more information about the impact such an agreement would have on future years' budgets prior to making a decision. Commissioners Eggers and Lewis also indicated that they could not support the motion without the opportunity to consider it further.

The vote was: 3 no - 2 yes (MacGraw, Jones)

Commissioners indicated that a Special Meeting would be set for early in May to address the topic.

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Development of the 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan - Director Mickelsen reported that Commissioners have chosen to continue to work on development of the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan in conjunction with the process of updating the Open Space / Park Land Acquisition Program.

Park Projects Update - Director Mickelsen gave a brief report on the status of the following projects: North Mountain Park development, the new clubhouse and practice range at Oak Knoll, construction of the Greenway Park node and Dog Park improvements, drainage for the YMCA City Park fields, web page development, and construction of school playgrounds.

Progress report on Lithia Ponds water quality project - Director Mickelsen reported that in May Paul Kay will be ready to present the information he has been developing related to the various methods that could be used to improve water quality in Lithia Park ponds.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS None.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

The next Regular Meeting will be held on May 21, 2001, the third Monday instead of the fourth Monday of the month, due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Having previously set a Study Session date for May 2, 2001, Commissioner chose to add a meeting on May 8, 2001 in order to cover the following topics in the timely manner: Reviewing a public process related to updating the Open Space / Park Land Acquisition Program, addressing the Soccer Club's proposal related to lighting a soccer field at North Mountain Park, addressing setting a price for the portion of the Cline / Bryant property which has been approved for sale to the ACLT, and reviewing the information related to various methods for improving water quality in Lithia Park ponds.

ADJOURNMENT - By consensus, with no further business, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Ann Benedict, Business Manager, Parks and Recreation Department

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