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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, August 20, 2012

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
 
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES
August 20, 2012

 

ATTENDANCE
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent: City Council Liaison Silbiger

CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the study session to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

EASEMENT REQUEST
Robertson said a citizen adjacent to the Westwood area requested an easement over a small portion of Parks property. He distributed a surveyor’s description of the easement request and said the homeowner wished to widen and pave the driveway serving his property. The area under consideration was described as both a park land boundary issue and a City of Ashland property issue. The City was reported to have previously granted the owner an extended driveway without officially recording the activity. If Parks chose not to grant the easement, Robertson said the property owner would need to remove oak trees on one side to shift the driveway but the owner preferred not to do that. The owner initially was said to claim adverse possession of the land. After meeting with staff and attorneys on both sides and not reaching agreement, both attorneys recommended granting the owner an easement to allow him to widen, pave and make use of the driveway along with his neighbors. Robertson said the easement would not be a property transfer as the City would still own the land and have access to it, including for emergency needs. He said the property owner would be responsible for maintaining the easement road and adjacent trees and had expressed interest in installing a gate. When asked about whether this would set a precedent, Robertson said the City and Parks granted numerous utility and access easements through the years.

Discussion Among Commission
Commissioners considered the easement request in terms of potential gains and losses. Eggers asked for a “no parking” stipulation on one side of the easement road and Seffinger asked for no gate. Lewis said Parks was not losing any value by granting the easement and nothing was changing other than some demarcation on the roadway.

Staff was directed to place the item on the regular meeting agenda and provide answers to commissioner questions at that time.

PARK PROJECT UPDATES
Lower Duck Pond Concrete Bridge Repair
Robertson said staff worked with the Engineering Department to design a cap for the structure that would prevent further rust on the rebar, with a new slab poured over that. He said a new railing would not be required and efforts would be made to match existing structural elements. Dickens said staff would be going out for estimates on the bridge repair soon. The project was described as small in scale as the structure was being repaired to its former condition.

Senior Center Door, Nature Center Remodel, Enders Shelter Renovation, Garfield Park Parking Lot
Robertson showed a photo of the new Senior Center door and said it would have a powered door operator.
Dials said the construction documents for the Nature Center remodel were nearly completed and the project estimate came in higher than the budgeted $25,000 set aside by the commission.

Dickens said architect Jerome White was working on a plan and construction documents for the Enders Shelter renovation. Robertson said the Planning Department indicated the project would require standard permitting so the project could move forward fairly quickly.

Dickens said the Garfield Park parking lot was newly repaved, with nine-foot parking spaces and an ADA space.
 
CIP Projects Budget
Robertson distributed an updated FY 12-13 CIP projects list provided by Dickens. He said one item on the list, the gravel Clay Street parking lot, was included because current conditions did not meet City code. Robertson said the commission could choose to delay projects while keeping them on the list. Commissioners agreed to retain all items on the list but to delay the Clay Street Park parking lot paving project.

Commissioners discussed the three repair estimates for Lithia Park projects: main concrete bridge, Perozzi Fountain, and Enders Shelter. Rosenthal said the fountain made the park special and the community might be interested in donating for repairs.

Landt asked for projects to be undertaken that would provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

BUDGET UPDATE
Robertson reviewed the FY11-12 budget memo prepared by Dials and distributed a statement of resources, requirements, and changes in fund balances provided by the Finance Department. He said Parks spent 99% of its Parks Division budget, 94% of the Recreation Division budget, and 95.7% of the Golf Division budget in FY 11-12, with an overall expenditure rate of 97.2% for the fiscal year. Without contingency, he said the total came to 98% expended. Other highlights of the memo included:
·         101% of projected taxes collected;
·         $17,000 over budget in facilities revenues;
·         $10,000 over budget in ice rink revenues;
·         $9,000 over budget in Nature Center revenues;
·         $2,000 over budget in Senior Center revenues.

Robertson said the ending funding balance previously estimated at $1.7M came in at $2.2M but he was checking into the accuracy of the figure.

DIRECTOR EVALUATION FORM REVIEW
Rosenthal and Seffinger said they worked on revising the director’s evaluation form. They referenced the two-page draft and asked the commission to review it and send suggested changes to them. Seffinger asked for the comments to be discussed the following month. Rosenthal asked for the adoption of the document by November at the latest. Robertson said the document would be used not only for his evaluations but for future directors’ evaluations. Eggers said the commission could also review themselves in terms of how well they worked together and request public input.

HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS
Ashland Creek Park Grant Report
Robertson said a grant request submitted by Parks staff for the development of Ashland Creek Park was not accepted for funding. He said the commission could either begin construction of the park using matching funds set aside for that purpose or resubmit the grant in 2013. He said staff recommended resubmitting the grant.

Commissioners expressed support for resubmitting the grant request in 2013 and highlighting particular park elements or amenities for development. They said a revised submission would help the committee better understand how grant funds would be used.

Request for Horse and Carriage Business Permit in City Parks
Robertson said staff received a copy of a permit application from Public Works for a horse and carriage touring business that proposed beginning their tours at the parking lot of North Mountain Park, then traveling through Lithia Park. He said staff had requested clarification on the request.

Donation for Japanese-style Garden Renovations
Robertson said a Parks Department volunteer offered a donation for renovations of certain elements in the Japanese-style garden in Lithia Park. He said suggested improvements included replacing the gateway, the teahouse, and plantings, with possible additional improvements made to the irrigation and water course elements.

ORPA Conference Registrations
Robertson said registrations were due for the annual Oregon Recreation and Parks Association Conference, scheduled for September 9 through 11 in Medford. He said commissioners could attend single sessions or the entire conference.

Replacement of Parks Fire Suppression System
Robertson said the fire suppression system in the Parks office was repaired and brought up to code.

Date for Joint Meeting with Council
Robertson said the joint meeting with council to discuss budgetary matters was tentatively scheduled for the evening of the Parks Commission regular meeting on Monday, September 24. Eggers said she met with the mayor several times to discuss budget issues and Robertson and Kanner sat in on the last meeting. Eggers said she would contact the mayor and schedule another meeting in the near future.

Baldwin Tree Removal Update
Robertson said Keith Baldwin, a resident who illegally removed and topped trees from park land adjacent to his property, had not yet submitted his fine to the City. When asked, Robertson said he did not know whether Baldwin had pled guilty is court as yet but said he would check into it and report back to the commission.

ADJOURNMENT
By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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