Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, September 24, 2001

City of Ashland

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

September 24, 2001

 

ATTENDANCE

Present: JoAnne Eggers, Sally Jones, Rick Landt, Jim Lewis, Laurie MacGraw, Director Ken Mickelson

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 - August 27, 2001 Commissioner Eggers said that she would like to change the first sentence under "Discussion among Commissioners" in the section related to charging for athletic events at North Mountain Park. She said that she would like the sentence to read "Noting that the term 'non-profit' does not have the same meaning as 'tax exempt,' Commissioner Eggers questioned the use of the term in the proposed policy," as she felt that was closer to what she said. There was no opposition among Commissioners. Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Commissioner Jones seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 1 abstain (McGraw)

Special Meeting - September 5, 2001 Commissioner Lewis made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 5, 2001 Special Meeting as written. Commissioner Landt seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 1 abstain (McGraw)

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

Commissioner Eggers proposed that the Perozzi Trail item from Executive Session be added to the agenda. With the agreement of the other Commissioners, Chair Landt placed the item under Unfinished Business.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Perozzi Trail

Director Mickelsen reported that a committee consisting of Commissioner Lewis and himself was formed to work on negotiation related to the proposed Perozzi Trail connection. Director Mickelsen explained that there were two issues facing the Commission. First, the Commission needed to decide whether or not to appeal the decision by Jackson County granting approval for the Perozzi property subdivision. Second, the Commission needed to decide whether or not to continue negotiation for establishment of a trail across the Perozzi property.

MOTION - Referencing discussion in Executive Session, Commissioner Eggers moved to appeal the Jackson County decision and to continue to negotiate for a trail across the Perozzi property. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

NEW BUSINESS

Discussion of policy related to use of athletic fields at North Mountain Park

Director Mickelsen explained that the issue of which organized groups would be able to use North Mountain Park because the fields were built specifically to accommodate certain sports had arisen in the previous Commission Meeting. Having received a request by Ashland Ultimate Frisbee to use the lighted soccer field at North Mountain Park, the Commission decided to place this item on the agenda in order to set a policy regarding utilization of the lighted field. Director Mickelsen explained that the fields were built to very high standards and were meant to withstand a certain amount of play. It was difficult for Staff to determine the exact amount of play the fields could withstand since so much depends on weather and conditions. Specifically, he noted that the fields needed a certain amount of down time to recover and that it was especially detrimental for the fields to be used under wet conditions. He said that Staff suggests that they be allowed to monitor and evaluate field conditions and limit access as necessary. Director Mickelsen indicated that the issue before the Commission is as follows: the fields were built for a specific use; other groups have requested use of the fields; does the Commission wish to grant those requests. Director Mickelsen noted that Ashland Ultimate Frisbee was the only group to come forward with such a request at this time. He said that he had met with the Soccer Club about the situation, and indicated that the that the Club had both provided a projected schedule of soccer use of the field and had drafted a letter to Commissioners about sharing field use with other groups.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Greg Howe (1555 Windsor Street), head coach of the Ashland Soccer Club, was present to speak. Mr. Howe summarized the Soccer Club letter to Commissioners by emphasizing that the Club's concern is that the field was built for soccer and that soccer should have top priority. However, he said, the Club doesn't feel that the field needs to be exclusively used for soccer. They are concerned about how much use the field can withstand and would hate, if usage increases, to have to curtail soccer activities in order to preserve the field. He concluded by saying that the soccer club would like to have a major role in field scheduling, and urged the Commission to avoid having an inflexible "hours of use" mandate that did not account for different seasons and differing field conditions.

James Clark (498 Lynn Street) was present on behalf of Ashland Ultimate Frisbee to ask for one night per week to use the lighted field at North Mountain Park for Ultimate Frisbee. He expressed Ashland Ultimate's desire to share field use with the soccer program, rather than to preempt soccer uses. Mr. Clark also explained that, in terms of impact on the field, Ultimate use is very similar to soccer use. He stressed that Ashland Ultimate is respectful of field protection issues and would not want to play during conditions detrimental to the field. He also noted that Ashland Ultimate was willing and capable of paying the fee for using the lights.

After discussion to clarify the scheduling parameters requested by Ashland Ultimate, it was determined that Ashland Ultimate's preference for field time would be for a two hour, mid-week late evening slot.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

In response to Commission questioning, Director Mickelsen explained that with proper coordination, there appeared be time to accommodate other usage of the lighted field without infringing on soccer usage. He went on to explain the priority list of field usage as: Parks and Recreation programs first priority, Ashland School District second priority (because of reciprocal agreements), and Ashland Soccer Club third priority.

There was general agreement among Commissioners that it was critical to protect field integrity from overuse or usage in detrimental conditions; with that in mind, they would also like to include other groups' use in addition to soccer's.

Commissioner Landt expressed his desire to create a policy that does not specify "Ashland Ultimate Frisbee." He suggested a policy that included the following points: On the lighted field, soccer use is a priority. Other groups may also use the field as a second priority. The Parks and Recreation Department would be responsible for scheduling of the field and would be authorized to limit use of the field based on its judgement of field condition.

Director Mickelsen noted that a potential problem with the suggested policy was that it gave soccer the ability to schedule the field entirely for soccer use, precluding any time for usage by other groups.

Commissioner Lewis agreed that although the Soccer Club deserved priority, he felt that other groups should be accommodated and would like to see Ashland Ultimate specified in the policy since Ashland Ultimate was the only group to come forward at this time.

Commissioner Jones agreed with Commissioner Lewis. Given Commissioner Landt's proposed wording, Commissioner Jones raised the concern that, if another group came forward, all non-soccer groups would be limited to sharing the same two-hour per week slot. She reminded Commissioners that they had already decided to review the policy related to the use of the soccer field lights at the end of the fall season. If other groups came forward, she said, any new requests for field use could be addressed at that same time.

After some discussion among Commissioners as to which group's access to the field would be limited should conditions warrant, Director Mickelsen explained that the decision to limit access would likely be based on immediate field conditions - i.e. a heavy rain on Wednesday would preclude field use by all groups scheduled for Wednesday. He stated his confidence in Staff's ability to work out scheduling details with all user groups.

Commissioner Landt modified his suggested policy to include allocation of up to two hours per week of lighted field usage for community activities other than soccer.

Commissioner Lewis reiterated his desire to specifically name "Ultimate Frisbee" in this proposal and suggested the Commission address other community groups' requests if and when they arise.

MOTION -- Commissioner Landt made a motion to approve the following policy: On the lighted field at North Mountain Park, soccer use is a priority. In addition to soccer use on the lighted soccer field, the Commission allocates up to two hours per week, as time and field conditions allow, for Ashland Ultimate Frisbee. The Parks and Recreation Department will be ultimately responsible for scheduling use of the field, and is authorized to limit use based on their judgement as conditions warrant. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Commissioner Landt said that as noted earlier in discussion, the policy would be reviewed at the end of this fall season.

Discussion of trail off Granite Street

In relation to the TID ditch maintenance right-of-way above Granite Street and the recent closures of portions of that ditch trail, Director Mickelsen explained the proposal to create a trail on park land above the old Granite Street quarry that would connect to the TID ditch. He noted that this new trail would create a loop so that people using the TID ditch would not have to turn around and return the way they'd come. Director Mickelsen explained that the Planning Department had been instrumental in developing this proposal. He went on to summarize the issue facing the Commission as whether the Commission wished to allow this trail connection on Park property and whether it was willing to pay for the construction and maintenance of said trail connection. Director Mickelsen noted that Real Corp had been contacted and was willing and able to construct the proposed trail connection. Based on the estimate, the cost of construction by Real Corp should not exceed $3,000, which was already available in the Parks and Recreation Trail Construction Budget. Director Mickelsen then introduced John McLaughlin, Planning Department Director and Jeff McFarland, Parks and Recreation Forestry Specialist who were present to answer Commissioners questions on this topic.

In response to questioning about the importance of this trail connection, Director McLaughlin explained that not only had this link been long-identified as an important aspect of the Open Space Plan, but was now especially critical in alleviating trail-user frustration with the recent ditch trail blockage.

Commissioner Eggers expressed her concern that the Lithia Park hillside erosion control priority identified previously not be "bumped" lower on the priority list in order to accommodate this trail project. Director Mickelsen assured Commissioner Eggers that the erosion control funding was still in place and would not be used for this proposed trail connection.

Public Comment

Ben Benjamin (323 Maple Street) expressed support for the proposal. He summarized this proposal as a chance to do something positive for the large number of trail-users in the community at a very low cost. Mr. Benjamin urged the Commission to proceed with the proposal.

Lou Nash (88 Baum Street) noted that there are 3 ad-hoc citizens trail committees in response to the recent trail blockages. He sees the proposed trail as an important first step in trying to rectify the issue between individual landowner rights and public access. He urged support of the proposal.

Discussion among Commissioners

Commissioner Jones voiced her strong support of this opportunity to provide better access to the ditch trail. She also invited the three trail groups mentioned by Mr. Nash be active in the upcoming Open Space and Parkland Acquisition Program Community Meetings.

Motion - Referencing the Granite Street Quarry Trail Extension memo of September 21, 2001, Commissioner Jones moved to support the proposal to link the stairway on Granite Street to the ditch trail. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

DISCUSSION ON WHETHER OR NOT TO CONTINUE YOUTH ACTIVITIES LEVY GRANTS

Director Mickelsen gave background on the Youth Activities Levy Grant Program and explained that as the monies available for grants shrinks, Staff wanted direction from the Commission as to whether to continue the grant program. Although grant requests in FY 2001 topped $64,000.00, the Department estimates that only $2,000 - $3,000.00 will be available for funding grants in FY 2002 and even less will be available in subsequent years.

Public Comment

Estelle Voeller (1365 Tolman Creek Road) was present to speak on behalf of High School Tai Chi Chuan. Ms. Voeller explained that the Tai Chi Chuan group was a recipient of a Youth Activities Levy Grant last year and that the grant was critical in starting this group. She urged the Commission to continue the grants program.

Commissioner MacGraw expressed her pleasure at receiving feedback from a grant recipient and said she wanted to support those programs but noted the difficulty given the current financial situation.

Discussion among Commissioners

There was general agreement among Commissioners that, although they would like to see all of the activities supported, it did not make sense to continue the entire grant procedure for such a small amount of available funds.

MOTION - Commissioner Landt moved to discontinue the Youth Activities Levy Grants and to utilize these monies for general recreation and community activities. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

INFORMATION PERTAINING TO NATURE CENTER AND PROGRAMS

Linda Chesney and Kari Gies, Environmental Education Coordinators at North Mountain Park Nature Center, presented a recently completed multi-layer map of North Mountain Park. They also invited the Commissioners and the general public to attend the Nature Center's upcoming Open House on October 13, 2001.

GFOA CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT FOR EXCELLENCE IN FINANCIAL REPORTING FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000

Director Mickelsen informed the Commission that it had again earned the highest financial reporting award from GFOA. The Parks and Recreation Commission has earned this prestigious award thirteen years in a row. The Commission congratulated Director Mickelsen and Staff on their excellent and conscientious work.

COMMITTEE REPORT - UPDATE ON PROPOSED TRAIL THROUGH PEROZZI PROPERTY

The Commission and Staff agreed that this item had been thoroughly covered under New Business and agreed to move on to the next item.

DISCUSSION ON TENNIS COURTS RESURFACING

Director Mickelsen recapped a memo to the Commission explaining that the tennis courts have shown some "bubbling," which seems to be worse during the wet season and less noticeable during the dry season. These courts were last resurfaced in 1997. Experts in the field have indicated that there is no guarantee that bubbles with not reappear unless the courts are entirely redone, not just resurfaced. In light of the information provided by experts in the field, Staff recommended that the Commission postpone the tennis court resurfacing project in this fiscal year and instead retain those monies for regularly-scheduled resurfacing. He alerted the Commission that if the courts eventually need to be completely redone, the cost will be substantially greater than the amount currently budgeted.

MOTION Commissioner Landt moved to postpone the tennis court resurfacing project in this fiscal year and to retain those monies for regularly-scheduled resurfacing. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

STAFF REPORT - FY 2002 PROJECTS UPDATE

Director Mickelsen briefly updated the Commission on FY 2002 projects including: North Mountain Park Phase 2 Development and Pump Station, Greenway Park Node, and Updating the Open Space and Park Land Acquisition Program.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS None

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

Commissioner Landt reiterated the need to schedule meetings on the Open Space Program and on the Perozzi Trail and indicated that those meetings would be scheduled at a later time.

Director Mickelsen noted a possible upcoming Study Session on the Upper Duck Pond. He explained that he would keep the Commission posted on that possibility. He also noted that the first public forum on the Open Space Program update will be scheduled for late October or early November.

Director Mickelsen also explained that an upcoming agenda item would consider the 12% Department energy use decrease and its ramifications on restroom closures and ice rink schedule. He said that he would try to arrange for Dick Wanderscheid, Administrative Services Director, to be present to speak on behalf of the City on this issue.

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

Respectfully submitted, Robyn Hafner, Department Secretary, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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