Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Monday, March 28, 2011

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

 

MINUTES

March 28, 2011

ATTENDANCE

Present:     Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; City Council Liaison Slattery; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Gies

Absent:      None

CALL TO ORDER

Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Joint Study Session with Council – February 1, 2011

MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

Study Session – February 16, 2011

MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

Regular Meeting – February 28, 2011

MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

OPEN FORUM

Dick Streng, 1255 Munson Drive, speaking as the Ashland High School tennis coach, asked the commission to upgrade the tennis lights at Hunter Park. He said his tennis players regularly used the courts, which were an asset to the City, and better lighting would allow for longer hours of tennis play and healthy children.

Allen Baker, 1042 Oak Knoll Drive, said he spoke to the commission in the recent past about improving the lighting at the Hunter Park tennis courts but was unclear about how to get the item onto a commission meeting agenda during the budget season. He reported speaking with Gies about the existing lights and said Gies indicated the lights predated his 31-year Parks employment. He said the commission considered the lights a capital improvement item but he considered them a maintenance issue. He said the courts were often unusable due to the poor quality of the lights. He said he contacted the US Tennis Association and they indicated they might be able to provide $2,500 toward improved lights, with Baker raising another $2,500. He spoke with concern about the safety of young tennis players who used the courts in the dark.

Mike Gardiner 349 Orange Avenue, spoke in support of improved lighting at the Hunter Park tennis courts and asked for the item to be placed on a commission meeting agenda. He agreed with Baker’s assertion that the improved lights would be an upgrade to an existing lighting system, not a new capital improvement project. He said that when playground equipment wore out, it was considered a maintenance issue and replaced without solicitations for contributions from the users or their parents. He said the courts were a great asset to the City and upgraded lights would benefit the City and help attract more players for large tennis tournaments.

Commissioners agreed to place the item on an upcoming meeting agenda.

Sherry Smilo, 3405 C Ashland Street #281, asked about the new configuration of the YMCA Park field in relation to the lower Clay Street Park land and commissioners said the master planning process had been postponed until fall 2012.

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

BUDGET PRESENTATION AND APPROVAL

Robertson said the commission reviewed their FY 2011-2012 budget figures and long-range budget forecast at the March 21 study session. He read through a draft budget speech that would be read by the Parks chair at the Budget Committee meeting on Monday, April 18. Gies and Dials gave overviews of the Parks, Golf, and Recreation Division budgets, including major categories of expenditures. Robertson said the Youth Activities Levy (YAL) category, which was replaced by the Youth Activities and Academic Levy (YAAL), had expired and the tail of the funds, reflected in the Parks budget, were not accessible to the commission as the commission had taken its cut on the front end and the remainder was earmarked for the school district. He said the overall FY 2011-2012 Parks budget totaled approximately $5.4 million and the ending fund balance, representing 33% of the overall budget, was used to cover departmental expenditures between July 1 and early November, when tax revenues became available. Rosenthal expressed frustration about what happened with the Parks ending funding balance in past months. He asked if the commission had the ability to designate what their ending fund balance could be. Robertson said that with the passage of Measures 47 and 50, those responsibilities were removed from the commission’s control and given to council. He said council set policies for the City’s General Fund and the commission adhered to those policies. Landt asked what amount was set aside in the next fiscal year for problematic plant removals and Gies said $20,000 was set aside for pesticide reductions, with an additional $15,000 earmarked for problematic / invasive plants.

MOTION: Landt moved to approve the Parks FY 2011-2012 budget as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

UPDATE ON EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK

Robertson said the commission directed staff, at a January 2011 meeting, to review and revise the Parks employee handbook and bring it back to the commission for a review at their March 28 regular meeting. He said the timeframe seemed realistic at the time but several factors prevented Parks staff from completing the task. He asked for an extension of the deadline.

The commission approved the extension.

NEW BUSINESS

PROBLEMATIC / INVASIVE PLANT MANAGEMENT PLAN APPROVAL

Gies said the commission set an earlier goal of reviewing problematic plants and staff presented an initial overview of the topic in August 2010. He said the document was a work in progress and he asked Forestry and Trails Supervisor Jeffrey McFarland to speak to the commission about the project.

Jeffrey McFarland gave an overview of the problematic / invasive plant management plan document, which he reported working on for over a year, and said that it showed initial conditions of problematics in each park location along with initial work completed, desired outcomes, and post-initial treatment prescriptions. He said he estimated staff labor hours for each property, including volunteer hours, and provided maps for each location. He said the final page of the document was a prioritized list of problematic areas, with highest priority given to properties with noxious weeds, second highest priority given to developed park properties and/or properties with fire hazard risks, and lowest priority given to informal parks or less developed areas. Robertson said Parks staff and GIS Specialist Lea Light put a great deal of work into the project.

Landt said the document was a good starting point in terms of eliminating problematics, reducing fire dangers, and being good neighbors. He said the document was in its nascent stage and could use some fleshing out. Eggers suggested including a section in the front of the document about protecting and preserving certain values in each park section. Seffinger asked about removals of blackberries in terms of affecting the deer population, as deer used them as an alternative feed source. McFarland said blackberries were removed in many areas but not all areas, including Ashland Creek pond, where blackberries remained for thermal cover.

Robertson said the commission could review the document at their leisure and provide staff with any thoughts or concerns. Commissioners agreed to provide staff with feedback by Monday, April 11.

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Eggers reported meeting with Dials the previous week to discuss the work of Recreation Division staff in establishing standards for signage within parks. She said former Parks Commission member Mike Gardiner, who served on the Signs, Plaques, and Memorials Subcommittee, was no longer on the commission and the subcommittee needed a replacement. Rosenthal volunteered to serve and was appointed to the subcommittee.

Gies said the Garden Way Park community garden plots were under construction and scheduled for completion within two weeks. Dials said Garden Way plots had been assigned to gardeners and the garden was full. She said there was a waiting list for all City-owned community garden plots.

Gies said concrete was poured under the Little League fences at Hunter Park the previous week as part of the pesticide reductions project.

Dials said the 21st Annual Ashland Community Bike Swap was scheduled for Saturday, April 16, from noon-4 p.m. at The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street in Ashland. She said the event provided opportunities for buying and selling bikes and staff was looking for additional volunteers.

Robertson said the Forest Lands Commission had a vacant seat that was a regular voting seat normally filled by a Parks Commission member. Seffinger volunteered to serve and was appointed to that commission.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Seffinger and Landt requested adding “Hunter Park tennis court lighting improvements” to a commission meeting agenda. Robertson said the evening of the April study session (Monday, April 18) would be the evening during which Parks presented its budget to the Citizens’ Budget Committee. Commissioners agreed to place the item onto the April 25 regular meeting agenda or the May 16 study session agenda, space permitting.

Landt asked for further discussion about an aspect of the pesticide policy: organic pesticides and their projected annual cost of $100,000. He asked for the item to be placed back onto an agenda in the near future. Eggers requested clarification on the word “pesticides” and asked whether that referred to synthetics or all pesticides. Lewis and others suggested reviewing the policy during the annual review in one year. The commission agreed to review the IPM policy in one year.

Rosenthal acknowledged Gies for his 31 years of service to Ashland Parks and Recreation.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES

  • Budget session set for April 18 at 6:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
  • Regular meeting set for April 25 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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