City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
May 21, 2012
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent: City Council Liaison Silbiger
CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – April 10, 2012
MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Special Meeting – April 16, 2012
Under “Budget Discussion,” in the question in which Landt asked “why the City felt Parks’ deferred maintenance projects totaled $350,000 in FY 13 while Parks said they were worth only $200,000,” Landt said he actually asked why the City suggested $350,000 in deferred maintenance while Parks staff only proposed $200,000. In the following sentence, beginning with “He stated,” Landt said Robertson was the speaker, not Landt, and was referring to a statement made by City Administrator Kanner. In the following sentence Landt said the sentence again began with “He said,” but Landt was the speaker, not Robertson. In the same section, in the sentence referring to Landt’s request to remove several slides, he asked for the concluding phrase, “from the presentation.” Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Regular Meeting – April 23, 2012
MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes [Landt abstained]
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
To accommodate a presenter in attendance, the commission agreed to reverse the order of the second and third items under New Business, with “Recycling Bin Project at North Mountain Park” placed before “Capital Improvement Project List.”
FOREST LANDS COMMISSION REPORT
Seffinger, a voting member of the Forest Lands Commission and Parks Commission representative, invited a member of the Forest Lands Commission to speak.
Frank Betlewjewski said the Forest Lands Commission set a goal of updating its 1992 Ashland Forest Plan. He said new information and better inventories and technologies would be utilized in updating the document. He indicated that 300 acres of City-owned land, including Siskiyou Mountain Park managed by Parks, would be included in the updated plan. He reviewed the draft plan outline and said it included climate, geology and soils, historical uses, and wildlife as well as current management practices for fire hazard reduction and forest and watershed health. He invited the Parks Commission to participate in the plan update process.
Landt asked staff to provide an outline of the differences between the management of Parks lands versus the management of forest City land not included in the Parks system.
Ashland Parks and Recreation Forestry and Trails Supervisor Jeffrey McFarland said he began working in Siskiyou Mountain Park in 1992 and used the Ashland Forest Plan as his guide to accomplish initial treatments for fuels reduction, recreation management, planting suggestions, brush field conversions, and other objectives. He said trail usage had increased in Ashland and several pedestrian-only trails created, including the Mike Uhtoff Trail. He said staff worked at honoring the conservation easement set in place at Siskiyou Mountain Park by the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy and also worked with Ashland Fire and Rescue on fuel breaks and the thinning of dead and dying trees. He said most of the original Ashland Forest Plan guidelines had been completed at least once.
Robertson asked Betlewjewski and McFarland to continue providing the commission and staff with updates on the plan. The commission thanked Betlewjewski and McFarland for their efforts.
RECYCLING BIN PROJECT AT NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK
Dials said North Mountain Park Nature Center staff and Ashland Recology worked together to move trash and recycling receptacles to a location more easily accessible to pavilion and ballfield users. She said the bins would be partially changed out to bring them up-to-date with current recycling streams for collection of trash, glass, and refundable plastic bottles and aluminum cans. She said mosaic artist Susan Springer designed an exterior sidewalk base with mosaic using recycled items such as glass, metal, stone, and ceramic to increase access and visibility for the recycling containers. She indicated that Ashland Recology would pay Springer $1,000 for her work and Parks would pour the slab and provide bin installations and relabeling, with the project completed in summer 2012. She said staff worked with the Public Arts Commission (PAC) during the process.
Nature Center Stewardship Coordinator Linda Chesney said Ashland Recology recommended using ClearMax containers for recycling items with deposits, with sports teams encouraged to service the containers and make use of deposit refunds. She said areas around the containers would be made more inviting, with particular attention paid to creating a level surface to eliminate trip hazards and liability issues.
Robertson said the project went through a normal Parks process for art installations in parks, with staff contacting the PAC (commission responsible for recommending art in parks) and asking them to review the process and provide feedback. He said the PAC’s role was advisory while the Parks Commission had final authority about art in parks. He said this was a project initiated by Parks staff but the PAC approved of the project.
Commissioners voiced support for the recycling bin project as presented.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT LIST
Robertson said staff developed capital improvement project lists for fiscal year 2013 consisting of projects funded from the Parks portion of the Capital Improvement Fund totaling $350,000 and from the Parks portion of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan totaling $1,275,000. He referenced the draft project lists and said estimated costs would be adjusted based on final bids. Identified within the CIP projects list was $40,000 for project management assistance which he said could be used for both CIP projects and Parks CIP Plan projects. Robertson indicated that the commission designated safety-related capital projects as their highest priority, with preservation of park infrastructure their second highest priority.
Dickens reported meeting with a contractor who said it was difficult to estimate restoration costs for projects such as the three Lithia Park projects [reviewed at the May 14 meeting]. He said estimated costs for Perozzi Fountain repairs were more than $100,000. He said the Lithia Park bridge could be repaired in stages, with the underside handled first and the project completed within 2-3 years. He indicated that CIP projects involving asphalt could possibly be tied in with Streets Division projects to reduce costs. Robertson said if the commission approved the CIP projects list, staff could begin the bidding process and award contracts soon.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners’ comments and questions included: a report of concerns from City Council about safety hazards on Parks-managed land; discussion about postponing golf course parking lot repaving until a playground estimate for a modest neighborhood park in the parking lot was received [to meet a need identified within the City Comprehensive plan for a neighborhood park within that ¼-mile section of the City]; a question about the repurposing of $44,000 or placing it into a contingency fund this fiscal year rather than undertaking the three Lithia Park projects; the need to complete as many projects as possible rather than make temporary repairs; a re-evaluation of the Clay Street parking lot paving project in light of its $42,000 estimated cost and its location within a riparian zone; achieving the greatest good for the greatest number; building a contingency fund into the Capital Improvement Fund; paving the golf course cart paths or using decomposed granite to make them safer; contacting regulatory bodies interested in the work in Ashland Creek at the Lithia Park bridge; and the pressure capacity of that bridge in the event of a flood.
MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the CIP Fund project list as presented; directed staff to take a prudent and expedient approach to expending the funds as identified; and asked staff to provide the commission with follow-up regarding the Oak Knoll Golf Course parking lot and the Clay Street Park parking lot. Lewis/Seffinger seconded the motion.
Discussion of Motion
Landt said Rosenthal spoke favorably, before the motion, about repurposing the $44,000 designated for Lithia Park projects and placing it into a contingency fund. He said the projects already had momentum and, without funding, they could come to a halt. He agreed with the notion of a contingency fund and said it could be created by removing funding for paving the Clay Street Park parking lot. He asked Rosenthal if he would accept, as a friendly amendment, the creation of a contingency fund using the funding for the Clay Street Park parking lot paving. Rosenthal said he did not wish to de-fund the three Lithia Park projects and was hesitant about using the Clay Street Park parking lot funds as a contingency fund, as the commission might not meet its obligations under Federal statute [ADA requirements] if that were to occur. He chose to leave the motion as stated and said staff would let the commission know if project estimates came in other than estimated. Eggers said the commission could approve the list but also have flexibility within the list. Landt said he could vote for the motion in general.
The vote was: All yes
Commissioners talked about the second page, categorized as “Parks CIP Plan.” Projects included Calle Guanajuato improvements, Garfield Park playground, Ashland Creek Park development, ice rink cover, and Nature Center addition. Robertson provided updates on each project. For the ice rink cover, Eggers asked staff to amortize its cost over time. In terms of Ashland Creek Park, Landt said he was concerned about its current configuration as outlined in the master plan, as it encroached too far into the flood plain / riparian area and included too much concrete. He said there were ways the project could be modified to meet the needs of the citizens as well as the environment. Rosenthal said the commission went out for a local government grant from State of Oregon Parks and Recreation for development of that park and the commission would be in breach of contract if substantial changes were made to the master plan. He said if the commission decided not to adhere to the master plan, they might need to pull the grant application with the state. Robertson said it was important to honor the spirit of the master plan and subtracting from the plan might be easier than adding to the plan. He said eliminating the asphalt “plaza” entrance to the park would be a substantial change. He recommended moving forward with the plan and the grant process and said the commission would not want to build a park under false circumstances. He said the basketball pad, buildings, and / or plaza entrance could be undertaken later.
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Dickens shared a brief presentation on the newly installed Bluebird Park stairs. He reported walking the stairway earlier in the day and finding the rise and tread just right. He thanked Public Works for their assistance and said the stairs would be opened to the public once the concrete cured and the railings were completed.
Rosenthal thanked Robertson, Dickens, and Dials for attending the recent Golf Course Subcommittee meeting. He said key indicators at the course were up for the first time in many years along with food and beverage revenues and driving range receipts. He said hiring a full-time golf course manager with good customer service skills was a great decision by Parks management.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Seffinger asked staff to provide more publicity on the commission’s efforts toward public safety within the community.
Eggers said a regular Lithia Park walker reported on a trail conflict between walkers and cyclists. Eggers suggested leaving downed logs in strategic places to discourage cyclists from using pedestrian trails.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
Study session set for June 11 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street
Regular meeting set for June 25 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation