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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Monday, August 26, 2013

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES
August 26, 2013

ATTENDANCE
Present:  Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis Seffinger, Shaw; City Council Liaison Voisin; Director Robertson; Superintendent Dickens
Absent:  Superintendent Dials

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – June 17, 2013
During the commission discussion about using wood versus steel for a proposed Japanese Garden gateway in Lithia Park, Landt said he would have used the word “would” rather than “might” when speaking about additional maintenance requirements for a wooden gateway (versus steel). Staff subsequently checked the wording and revised the minutes based on Landt’s feedback.

MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as amended. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Study Session – July 15, 2013
During the Skate Park discussion, staff notified the commission that the City required a City / Parks staff person to remain on-site following cement pours “to prevent vandalism.” As the minutes did not reflect the vandalism prevention aspect, Landt asked for that amendment to the minutes.

MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as amended. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Regular Meeting – June 24, 2013
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes [Lewis abstained]

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Karl Pryor, 1221 Orchid Street, representing the Ashland Middle School cross-country team as its coach, said he was not able to speak with Recreation Superintendent Dials before the meeting. He said every year, since 1998, the AMS fall cross-country program had held home meets in Lithia Park. Until fall 2012, no fees were associated with the events; however, the program was charged a $25 event fee in 2012. At the end of that fall season, he reported learning that the program additionally would be charged $1 per runner for each home meet. He said the first home meet of the season was scheduled for September 12, which he’d learned earlier that day. He asked the commission to consider not charging the middle school athletes (approximately 100) the dollar-per-runner fee, as it could possibly prevent the team from using Lithia Park. He asked about offsetting the costs through a service learning project.
Commissioners discussed adding the topic to the evening’s agenda for further discussion.

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
MOTION Lewis moved to add “Cross-Country Fees Discussion” under “New Business.” Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Landt said the formation of a land acquisition subcommittee was requested for inclusion on the August 19 study session agenda but it was not included. He requested adding it to the evening’s agenda.

MOTION Landt moved to add “Formation of a Land Acquisition Subcommittee” under “New Business.” Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
CALLE GUANAJUATO RESURFACING PROJECT

Robertson said the Calle Guanajuato resurfacing project was presented to the commission at their August 19 study session. A question was raised about how the proposed pavers would look in relation to the overall appearance of the Calle. Staff notified artisans, restaurants, and the commission about an on-site review of the pavers along with a project overview. He reported hearing positive feedback from everyone who visited the site. In terms of the border around the pavers, he said the commission received information about the “soldier” versus “sailor” patterns. The border would be placed between the utility portion of the walkway and the concrete that framed the pavers. Soldier was reported as a perpendicular arrangement, while the “sailor” alignment ran parallel, with the border fashioned end-to-end. He said the total paver section would be eight feet in width, allowing for emergency access on the Calle. He asked the commission for their preference on “soldier” versus “sailor” paver alignment.

In terms of overall project details, Robertson said the Calle had been in a state of flux over a number of years and had undergone multiple utility cuts causing “toe stubbers.” The commission first heard about a possible resurfacing project several years prior and funding was received last year. The project would commence in fall of 2013 and conclude at the end of April 2014. Staff had been working with artisans, restaurateurs, and property owners on project details. Utilities would be reinstalled during the course of the project, with a utility chase included down the center to prevent future concrete cuts. The project would reduce or eliminate safety concerns and staff time. The paver pattern would be a modified herringbone with a “Jamestown blend” that would mesh well with the proposed “San Diego Buff” color. Robertson said while it was a commission decision, staff recommended using the “soldier” paver orientation, as the pathway meandered and it would make for an easier installation of pavers in both the narrow and wider sections.

After some discussion, commissioners agreed on the “soldier” orientation. Several other comments were heard about paver maintenance and the need for increased oil traps on the Calle to prevent oil bubbles going down the creek.  Robertson said the storm drains would be reconstructed during the project, with roof drains “undergrounded” so the rain didn’t “sheet” down the Calle. Additionally, catch basins and grease traps would be redone. Robertson said an article about the project would appear in a local paper in the near future.

NEW BUSINESS
CROSS-COUNTRY FEES DISCUSSION

Seffinger asked if the commission wished to allow the Ashland Middle School cross-country team to hold their September 12 meet in Lithia Park without charging them the dollar-per-runner fee.

MOTION Shaw moved to allow the Ashland Middle School cross-country team to hold their September 12 meet in Lithia Park, charging only the $25 event fee and not the dollar-per-runner fee.
The motion died for lack of a second.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt said he wouldn’t vote for the motion because it would set a precedent about not charging fees to user groups. He said the fee was not onerous as schools were well-funded within the community. He suggested reviewing the fee during the annual fees and charges review, normally scheduled for the fall timeframe, when everyone was in the same room at the same time. He said that was the time when fees for all programs and services were reviewed and amended (or not) for all user groups. He said it would also be useful to have the Recreation Superintendent in the room during the discussion.

Shaw said this was a one-time request and would not necessarily change the policy.

Lewis said communication about the policy change might have been inadequate. He suggested finding a creative way to resolve the situation, including allowing for volunteer hours in lieu of cash, with the policy reviewed again in the future. He said the middle school cross-country event was important to the community and the children.

Robertson said the dollar-per-runner fee was added to the policy last year in an attempt to share costs with user groups, as every event held in the park cost the department in terms of restroom maintenance, trash pickup, and other duties. He said staff communicated the policy change to all user groups in fall 2012.

Pryor agreed that the timing of the request was not ideal and said service learning in exchange for fees was a good idea.

DOG FRIENDLY PARKS STATUS UPDATE: KESTREL, GLENWOOD AND BLUEBIRD PARKS
Seffinger said the item was on the table because the Chamber of Commerce and others within the community were working on a map of trails, parks and open spaces. She said it was a big project and the commission wanted to accurately reflect dog-friendly areas on the map. The review committee recommended including Bluebird and Glenwood parks along with the Kestrel property in terms of dog-friendliness. Shaw said adding Bluebird would allow for one dog-friendly area in the downtown section of the City. He said a dog waste bag dispenser could be added if the commission approved that park for dogs.

Dickens said Bluebird was included as a dog-friendly area but then rescinded due to its close proximity to Ashland Creek. He shared photos of Bluebird, Glenwood and the Kestrel property along with a sign indicating park rules.

MOTION Landt moved to approve the inclusion of Glenwood and Kestrel as dog-friendly parks. Gardiner seconded the motion.

Discussion of Motion
Lewis asked if the Dogs Subcommittee ever discussed liberalizing Lithia Park for dogs. Seffinger said it was discussed in terms of creating a sidewalk where dogs would be allowed to walk safely on leash with pedestrians along the roadway; however, the community wasn’t ready for that change at this time. Landt said Glenwood was a concern but the meeting topic had been noticed and no one came out to speak of any concerns. He said the park lent itself to dogs and he hoped the motion would pass and the park added to the list of dog-friendly areas.
The vote was: All yes

Further Discussion Among Commissioners
Shaw asked why Bluebird Park was first included as a dog-friendly area, then rescinded. He said the riparian area adjacent to the park was small and the area of Lithia Park along Winburn, which allowed for pedestrians to walk with their dogs on leash on the public sidewalk, was just as close to the creek as the Bluebird Park sidewalk. He said the installation of the dog waste bag dispenser on Winburn Way improved cleanliness. He said in terms of riparian sections, additional dog walking paths along the south side of Lithia Park and the TID trail on the north side of the park were allowed for dogs and dog waste dispensers were provided, which reduced dog fecal contamination in those sections. He said including Bluebird as a dog-friendly park would send a message that dogs were permitted on downtown sidewalks and people could use Woof Waste bags to pick up after their dogs. He said Bluebird would be a place for people to sit in quiet contemplation with their dogs.

MOTION Shaw moved to include Bluebird Park as a dog-friendly park. Lewis seconded the motion.

Discussion of Motion
Landt said dog droppings along the TID sections ended up in Ashland Creek and each summer the water quality deteriorated and creek access was shut down. As for Winburn Way, he said the close proximity of the sidewalk to the creek indicated 19th century planning and was seldom done in modern times. He said the commission was trying to protect the creek and he would vote no on the motion.

Lewis said Glenwood and Clay Street parks were also adjacent to creeks so why set Bluebird apart? Landt said at Bluebird there was very little space and a dog and its owner would be next to the creek. Lewis said Ashland, planned 150 years earlier, was built in a riparian area. Seffinger said the TID area was cleaner due to the doggie bags and installing more doggie bag stations would help even more. Lewis said the commission was getting in line with the times and its rules and ordinances needed to be adjusted accordingly.
The vote was:
Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw – Yes
Gardiner, Landt - no

REQUEST FOR A SUBCOMMITTEE ON LAND ACQUISITIONS
Landt said the commission had a goal of locating land for dog parks, neighborhood parks, and trail corridors and connections. Lewis said, years ago, when Landt led the Open Space Plan revision project along with JoAnne Eggers, there was discussion about defining and quantifying needs for park land. He said the needs were defined and land parcels identified to fit those needs. He suggested bringing back the 2001 or 2002 documents and forms and reviewing them, as a good deal of work had been done. Landt suggested reviewing items already on the plans for parks and trails, then reporting back to the commission.

Several commissioners volunteered to serve on the subcommittee and Robertson reminded them that the chair appointed subcommittee members.

Seffinger appointed Landt and Gardiner to serve on the Land Acquisitions Subcommittee.

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Ad Hoc Committee Update

Seffinger reported on the progress of the Ad Hoc Committee. She said management duties were delineated for the City Administrator versus Parks Director and budget and funding issues were identified, especially in terms of property taxes. She reported that a joint meeting had been scheduled in late October with council and the commission, at which time more items would be reviewed. She said the chair would be invited to attend “sweaty little room” (budget planning meetings) during the budget process with the mayor, Budget Officer, Finance representatives, and the Parks Director.

Landt said the committee was formed in order to find a stable, dependable revenue source for Parks. At the present time, future Parks budgets were at the mercy of the Budget Committee and the Budget Officer. He expressed hope for a creative solution but said, so far, no solution had been identified. He asked staff to distribute all minutes for Ad Hoc Committee meetings to the commission, with all future minutes sent to the commission on a regular basis. 

Voisin said by the time the “sweaty little room” meetings occurred, all budget assumptions had already been decided and approved by council. She asked what influence the Parks Commission chair could have in the meetings. Robertson said the chair’s attendance would allow for more direct input and for a better pleading of the Parks Commission’s case than could be done by the Parks Director. Shaw said it would be an opportunity for better understanding of the City budget process, since Parks Commission members were not allowed to serve on the Budget Committee.

Enders Shelter Report
Dickens said Ender Shelter renovations were close to completion, the safety fence would be coming down soon, landscape thinning would provide better visibility, and the project was considered a success.

Dickens said staff was also landscape thinning at the Butler-Perozzi Fountain and implementing improvements at the Skate Park.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Shaw thanked staff for installing Woof Waste dispensers and bags along the ditch trail near Westwood.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

  • Study session—cancelled for September due to scheduling conflicts

  • Regular meeting set for September 23 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

  • Joint meeting with council set for October 29 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

ADJOURNMENT
By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:29 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

 

 

 

 

 

 

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