Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, November 25, 2013

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES
November 25, 2013
 

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

Absent:  None

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – October 21, 2013
Under “Public Input,” in the section summarizing the comments of Ashland resident Matt Warshawski, Landt recalled how Warshawski asked for public input in early project stages. He said this was an important point to reflect in the minutes.

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

Regular Meeting – October 28, 2013
Under “Public Arts Commission RFP for Calle Guanajuato Public Art,” in the section in which Dana Bussell of the PAC spoke about the PAC budget for placing a new sculpture on the stairway, Gardiner said their budget was $6,500, not $65,000 as referenced in the minutes.

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

Joint Meeting with Council – October 29, 2013
Under “Discussion and Recommendations” on the first page, Landt said the statement about council and the commission directing Mr. Robertson and Mr. Kanner to create an MOU based on the “Management: Planning; Organizing; Budgeting; Directing and Evaluating” document was not correct, as no motion was made and the two elected bodies could not provide direction without a motion.

Robertson said staff would check on that point and get back to the commission.

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

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
GARFIELD PARK RFP MOTION RESCINDMENT
At the October 28 regular meeting, Dickens said the commission approved an RFP for a Garfield Park master plan. City of Ashland procurement procedures for personnel services under $35,000 allowed staff to award services directly as needed for basic design work on existing features in the City. The motion was approved based on the notion that Garfield Park required a complete master plan redesign. Staff was suggesting a different approach in the form of a direct award to a landscape architect and engineer for laying out the site and identifying best locations for a new splash pad in proximity to the sand volleyball court along with some landscaping upgrades. Dickens said new foot showers could be installed near the volleyball court and the splash pad to prevent sand from entering and damaging the recirculation system of the splash pad.
 
Landt said the motion for an RFP was based on the need to provide a fair and open process for local landscape architects’ involvement. If deemed appropriate, he suggested incorporating other modest changes into the project, not just the identified elements of a new splash pad in proximity to the sand volleyball court, foot showers, and landscaping upgrades. Robertson said staff could contact qualified firms in the Rogue Valley and request estimates.

MOTION: Shaw moved to rescind the motion from the October 28, 2013, regular meeting requiring an RFP for Garfield Park improvements. Lewis seconded the motion.
Vote: All yes

Robertson said a motion for a direct award was not required. Landt said the meeting minutes would reflect the decision-making process of the commission. Seffinger summarized that staff would move forward with contacting local qualified architects and engineers for Garfield Park improvements.

NEW BUSINESS
NATURE CENTER PRESENTATION
Dials said it was her pleasure to introduce Libby VanWyhe, the new Nature Center manager, who would share stories about the Nature Center and its programs.

Libby VanWyhe introduced herself and said she would speak about her favorite place, the North Mountain Park Nature Center. Her slideshow included topics related to:

  • Interconnectivity: Quote from Terry Tempest Williams
  • Transcending barriers: The spirit behind the work of blending recreation, education and stewardship
  • Mission of the Nature Center
  • Numbers of people served in all categories – from the 2012 annual report
  • Stories of the Nature Center
    • Student Opportunities: crossing disciplines and generations
      • Volunteerism
      • Exploration
      • Community programs: Bridging recreation and education
      • School programs / Innovation / Building bridges
      • Connecting to your passion
    • Breakthroughs in stewardship: Interweaving learning and service
    • Teaching an ethic of stewardship
    • Relevant education through service
    • Meaningful service through education
    • Experiences beyond barriers
    • First-time exposure is scary / Pushing the limits
    • Wonder and curiosity / Getting into it / Breakthroughs of many kinds
    • Natural habitats nearby
    • Interpretation / Self-guided quests
    • Gardens: Welcoming visitors and volunteers
    • Private experience of connection
    • For wildlife…. For us
    • Increasing access to wildness: Because it’s wild
    • Visitor experiences: Building personal connections to nature
  • Conclusion
  • Transcending barriers: Quote from Richard Louv
Voisin asked if tours were free to schools and VanWyhe said many school program field trips were offered and teachers were charged between $150-200 per full-day class but expenses could be off-set through service learning. Dials said partial scholarships were also available through the Ashland Parks Foundation. VanWyhe said APF grants, along with grants from Kiwanis and Lions clubs, allowed for class scholarships of up to 50%.

Gardiner asked about current Nature Center projects and VanWyhe outlined them: interpretive projects in the Discovery Lab; hooking up the Weather Station to a monitor in the Discovery Lab; water saving tips; gearing up for another season of school programs; and the convening of the teacher council. She said the Stewardship Coordinator was busy lining up community programs for the winter / spring recreation guide.

Seffinger said she attended the National Recreation and Parks Association annual conference and heard about similar programs as if they were new ideas, yet the Nature Center had offered them for years. She talked about the importance of such programs for the future of our environment.

When asked by Shaw if Nature Center staff worked cooperatively with ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, Van Wyhe said the two organizations sat on a council together, along with other environmental organizations, to discuss current programs, ensure cross-pollination and eliminate competition. Shaw suggested a full-day program in which students spent a half-day at ScienceWorks and the other half-day at the Nature Center.

In terms of social media, Seffinger said the Nature Center was listed as a reason to visit Ashland. She thanked VanWyhe for her presentation and said she appreciated all of her work.

JAPANESE GARDEN DESIGN APPROVAL
Seffinger said a local donor provided funding for a Japanese Garden entrance gateway. Proposed materials would be sustainable and last for generations to come. Dickens said Ian Wessler of Wessler Design Associates created the initial design and William Olsen of William Olsen Designs presented a refined three-dimensional mock-up at the commission’s November 18 study session. The entrance gateway would help identify the Japanese Garden and aid in the future teahouse design. Olsen’s concept included upright steel columns and wood harvested from the former Lithia Park monkey puzzle tree. Olsen would use wood for the upper beams and the proposed bench attachment at the base. Dickens invited Olsen to speak to the commission.

William Olsen shared his thoughts for the Japanese Garden gateway, presenting a three-dimensional traditional wooden wedge joinery model and demonstrating how the parts fit together. Timbers from the monkey puzzle tree were substantial and the steel would help regulate them. Three big joints would be included in the structure, with wedge joinery locking the wooden pagoda top to the steel.

Seffinger commended Landt on leading the commission toward a sustainable design and materials. Robertson said the benches at the base would add stability. Lewis said the header member made of powder coated steel would carry the structural load. He expressed appreciation for the mixed use of materials and said it was a Japanese-like garden entryway and a good fit for Ashland, with the materials providing a long lifespan and rot resistance. Olsen said he visited the mill and looked at a face cut and the timbers were beautiful: amber with dark cocoa streaks and straight. Pure quarter sawn material would be possible from the timbers, the strongest and most stable option. He said there was enough timber for this project and others.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt reported asking a previous question for which he had not received a clear answer: How would the water feature be reconciled with the bench? Would it go under the bench? Robertson said the water feature would go beneath the sidewalk and out the other side near the benches. The sidewalk would need to be extended and the water feature “daylighted” beyond the bench rather than under the bench.

Landt said the commission had an original plan, then they considered metal for the sake of sustainability, then they looked at a plan using steel, then the current plan emerged. He asked how the current plan would fit with the donated budgeted amount of $15,000. Robertson said the latest design would fit within the donated budget. Site prep might be needed and the sidewalk adjusted to daylight the creek four feet deeper than its current location. Landt said a water feature was under discussion, not the creek. Roberson corrected himself.

Shaw asked where the posts would be in relation to the yew trees, which were currently set for removal. Dickens said they would be in the same general location but slightly closer in. Landt said an all-metal design or the latest design would be acceptable and reasonable. The monkey puzzle tree died in Lithia Park and could be incorporated into this project. The longevity of the structure would be somewhat diminished by the wooden portion, but weighing all factors, he could support the design if it did not exceed the budget provided by the donor.

MOTION: Landt moved to approve the design as presented, contingent upon its coming within the budget provided by the donor. Lewis seconded the motion.
Vote: All yes

Seffinger said she appreciated the way the commission worked together on the project. Landt said the fencing could be left to staff’s discretion. Lewis said perhaps another donor would provide funding for the teahouse.

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Signs, Plaques and Memorials Subcommittee Report
Dickens said the subcommittee met with staff on Friday, November 15. The last policy revisions were completed in 2008. Staff reviewed current inventories and said they received many ongoing requests for memorial picnic tables and benches in Lithia Park but did not recover all associated expenses. Staff researched other agencies and found they charged a great deal more for memorial items, including costs associated with shipping, installation and maintenance. In terms of current plaque requests, Dickens said the subcommittee discussed:
 
  • Japanese Garden: Gateway donor requested a haiku for her plaque, with words exceeding the maximum allotment of six.
  • Enders Shelter and Atkinson Bridge: Small, simple plaques to commemorate the recently restored structures, with words including the name of the structure, year built and year restored.
Dickens said while standard plaques were 1x4, the subcommittee discussed 3x4 plaques for the gateway, the Enders Shelter and the Atkinson Bridge. He said the group also discussed creating a sponsor-a-bench form for potential donors, with prices and policies clearly outlined, including a 10-year limit for memorials. For donation amounts above $5,000, staff would be authorized to approve a 3x4 plaque with as many words included as space allowed, Times New Roman font, size 14. He said all proposed policy changes would require approval by the commission and the item would appear on the December regular meeting agenda.

Landt said the summary provided by Dickens were subcommittee recommendations, not their suggestions.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Commissioners spoke favorably about opening night at the ice rink on Saturday, November 23. They said it was a magical event and Dials did a wonderful job. Dials said recreation / promotions coordinators Lonny Flora and Dorinda Cottle were responsible for the successful opening night event attended by several hundred people. Shaw said the cover was impressive and would be helpful.

Shaw reported attending that evening’s Thanksgiving meal at the Ashland Senior Center hosted by Ashland Fire and Rescue. He said it was well done and much appreciated.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
 
  • Study session set for December 16 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street
  • Regular meeting set for December 23 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:04 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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