City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
February 24, 2014
Present: Commissioners Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent: Commissioner Gardiner; City Council Liaison-Mayor John Stromberg; Director Robertson
CALL TO ORDER
Seffinger called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – January 13, 2014
Shaw moved to approve the minutes as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Regular Meeting – January 27, 2014
Landt referenced a staff amendment to the minutes: Seffinger and Lewis were appointed to the Signs, Plaques, and Memorials Subcommittee for 2014 (not Gardiner and Seffinger).
Landt moved to approve the minutes as amended. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
ANNUAL VOLUNTEER AND EVENTS COORDINATOR UPDATE
Volunteer and Events Coordinator Lori Ainsworth
provided 2013 volunteer and events program updates. She said volunteer numbers increased over the previous year. She talked about the value of volunteers, the increased number of hours donated over 2012, and the projects and events that occurred. Volunteers were utilized at parks throughout the City and at the Nature Center, Senior Center, ice rink, within the trails system and as park hosts. Volunteers assisted with annual events including the Bike Swap and Bear Creek Festival. Ainsworth reviewed the “Volunteer in Parks,” “Adopt-a-Park,” and “Youth Conservation Corps” (or YCC) programs. She said YCC provided an opportunity for students to earn community service hours while working on trails, restoring riparian areas and learning about the natural environment from qualified Parks staff.
Commissioners expressed appreciation for the volunteer programs and events coordinated by Ainsworth. Seffinger said she enjoyed the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. She suggested providing council with a copy of Ainsworth’s presentation. Lewis asked how to continue increasing volunteer enrollments. Landt asked about the saturation point of volunteer numbers. Ainsworth said she didn’t think saturation was likely because volunteers came and went. Landt clarified his question: At what point would extra staff be needed to manage volunteers? And if program numbers doubled, would there be enough jobs for volunteers? Ainsworth said staff worked with volunteers to match Parks needs with volunteer interests. Dials said Ainsworth received volunteer management assistance from staff at the Nature Center, Senior Center and divisional crews. Shaw asked about contact methods used with volunteers and Ainsworth said she managed a contact database, relied on the City website and utilized the Parks Facebook page. She also stayed in close contact with teachers and schools about students needing community service hours and with businesses involved with the “Adopt-a-Park” program.
Dickens said court-referred volunteers would begin providing labor for Lithia Park in March, 2014.
Commissioners thanked Ainsworth for her presentation.
REQUEST FOR AMPLIFICATION EXEMPTION REQUEST
Dials said the commission heard from two high school students during the “Public Input / Open Forum” section of the January 27 regular meeting. AHS seniors Eric Carlson and Tommy Hulick requested an exemption to the sound ordinance at North Mountain Park and permission to play amplified music prior to varsity baseball games during the 2014 season. The commission directed them to canvass the neighborhood and Nature Center staff and get feedback. The students were advised to research any requirements or restrictions posed by ASCAP. The students said their request also required approval by their Athletic Director.
180 Vista Street, and Eric Carlson
, 50 Mallard Street, handed commissioners a flyer they distributed to neighbors. It suggested a one-year trial period, listed all proposed game dates, and suggested 1.5 hours of music before games. They reported visiting 25 homes around the ball field but talking with only ten families at that time: approximately 5:00 p.m. They said 5:00 would be one hour after amplified music stopped playing. Hulick and Carlson said eight of the neighbors expressed enthusiasm for the project. Several neighbors requested sound checks using the music intended for the games. Music options would include Rogue Valley radio stations, pre-purchased playlists or iTunes Radio. Hulick and Carlson were not successful in contacting Nature Center staff but dropped a flyer in the mailbox and planned to visit the following day.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners asked if playoff games were included in the list of proposed dates. The students said music wasn’t proposed for those games. They indicated their intention to check sound levels after reserving speakers through their Athletic Director. Dials said she would assist with any sound checks. Landt suggested including a contact name and number for Parks staff on any flyer distributed to neighbors along with information about commission meetings involving that agenda item. Lewis said the young men clearly did their homework by creating and distributing the flyer and meeting with neighbors; however, additional community feedback would have been helpful. Landt said since Hulick and Carlson were not successful in contacting the Nature Center, the commission did not have all the information they needed to make a decision. Seffinger suggested tabling the item until the March 24 regular meeting. Shaw suggested advertising the project throughout the neighborhood and conducting sound checks before March 24. He said it was a good idea and he hoped it worked out. Landt suggested taking it one step further by announcing the sound checks and placing Parks office contact names and numbers on the flyer so the public could call with any questions or concerns. He suggested the potential inclusion of amplified music at playoff games and throughout the varsity baseball season.
Hulick and Carlson said they had an out-of-state spring break tournament the week of March 24 and asked if they could send a representative. The commission said it would be worked out.
Dials broached two potential Nature Center issues around the request: 1) two of the dates conflicted with previously scheduled Nature Center events; and 2) the amount of time requested per game might be too much amplified sound in close proximity to a nature preserve. The commission asked Hulick and Carlson to address those concerns with Nature Center staff.
The commission agreed to include the item on the March 24 regular meeting agenda.
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Ashland Creek Park Update (Staff)
Dickens said the Ashland Creek Park groundbreaking was set to begin in three to four months. He talked about the park’s location along Hersey Street and between Oak and Helman, its current uses and the proposed construction schedule: construction docs ready by mid-April; bids and permits concluded by mid-May; and construction beginning in June and ending in late November. The project archaeologist was reported to be a neighbor of the park. Dickens said a letter from the Department of State Lands indicated that the department would not need a wetlands delineation permit; however, several physical and environmental permits were required. Parks staff would handle landscaping, irrigation and concrete work and a State of Oregon grant was awarded for $309,000 toward construction costs. The basketball court would be included in Phase II. All project progress would be noted in the “Map Center” on the City of Ashland website.
Calle Resurfacing Report (Staff)
Dials said utilities along the Calle Guanajuato were being upgraded with the help of Electric, Water, and Parks departments. The contractor, KOGAP, was working on installing the remainder of the electrical conduits, transformers and secondary vaults and pedestals. The water line was installed and the Water Department would finish chlorinating and pressure testing by the end of the week. KOGAP would install the storm drain and start the wall and swale prep. As soon as the underground work was completed, KOGAP would begin removing the remainder of the surface on or around March 17. KOGAP expected to begin pouring the lean concrete base after the surface was removed. Pavers and landscaping would be the final step.
Dials said many items were found while digging for the water and electric lines: old foundations, abandoned utilities and live, unlocated utilities requiring repairs.
Dials said the Street Division and a citizen expressed concern about a lack of erosion control measures for the project. After some weather delays, staff was able to consult with City Engineering to resolve those concerns.
Dials said the initial completion date of April 1 might not be feasible. Landt said construction delays were common. Dials said staff would have more solid information about a completion timeframe next month.
Parks Facebook Page Update (Staff)
Dials said the Parks Facebook page went live on January 25 and the page currently had 400 “friends.” Staff placed an ad in the Ashland Daily Tidings,
talked to the media, sent emails to all Parks contacts, and included updates on the City of Ashland webpage. The intention was to notify park patrons about current events and details in parks. At least one item was posted each day and any comments posted to the page were addressed that day. The top posting to date, a bear sighting in Lithia Park the previous week, generated 2,100 views. Staff hoped to have 500 “friends” by the following month.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Landt said a recent Medford Mail Tribune
letter to the editor asked to name Ashland Creek Park “Vogel Park” based on the discounted price Parks paid for the land (previously owned by the Vogel family) and their contributions to the community. Landt said the Vogels were great people and Parks was glad to purchase the property but the price was not discounted as Parks paid at least fair market value if not more. Since it was not a land donation, the Vogel name would not be included in the park name.
Shaw said he recently walked by Ashland Creek Park several times. He also expressed appreciation for the new restroom in upper Lithia Park.
Landt said he talked with Dials earlier that day about projects with the potential to harm the environment. He said Parks staff had not developed checklists or guidelines for protecting the land during projects like the Calle Guanajuato. Instead, a private citizen brought protection concerns to Parks’ attention. In terms of the Ashland Creek Park sewer line project, Landt said, again, that no guidelines or checklists were utilized. This indicated a hole in the system and he wanted to see established maintenance standards set in place. He suggested meeting with Robertson and Dials to work on a full set of protections. Shaw asked whether it was standard operating procedure for contractors to use such guidelines. Lewis said the City had protective ordinances and Parks needed to ensure that all contractors were aware of the strict building ordinances and tree protections. The concerns expressed on the Calle were due to contractors not adhering to those standards. Landt asked for the checklists and guidelines to be in place within six months. Dickens said he would work with Dials to create checklists in conjunction with the commission.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
- Study session set for February 26 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street. Topic:
- Projects for Special Reserve Funds
- Joint meeting with Council set for March 12 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topic:
- City / Parks Memorandum of Understanding
- Study session set for March 17 at 7:00 p.m., Ashland Senior Center, 1699 Homes Avenue. Topic:
- Tour of Senior Center and Daniel Meyer Pool
- Regular meeting set for March 24 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topic:
- North Mountain Park Sound Exemption Request
- Public Arts Commission Presentation for Calle Guanajuato Stairway Art
- 2013-2014 Ice Rink Update
– By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:00 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation