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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session

Minutes
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES
February 26, 2014

ATTENDANCE
Present:   Commissioners Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens

Absent:    Commissioner Gardiner; City Council Liaison-Mayor John Stromberg

 

CALL TO ORDER
Seffinger called the study session to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

PREPARATIONS FOR MARCH 12 JOINT MEETING WITH COUNCIL
In preparation for the meeting, commissioners and staff scored a list of potential projects on which to spend $470,000 in reserve funds. Robertson said he compiled the list based on staff and public input. The purpose was to discuss and possibly reach a consensus of project(s) to present at the March 12 joint meeting. Seffinger said each commissioner and staff member had five minutes to talk about their top three projects.

Dials selected 1) fund the current CIP because those projects were important and safety concerns would be addressed; 2) purchase ice rink concessions stand because it provided permanent storage and could generate income year-round, and 3) Daniel Meyer wading pool because it eliminated the need for the baby pool.

Landt’s top three choices were 1) Lithia Park master plan, 2) second dog park, and 3) fund current CIP.

Shaw’s choices were 1) second dog park 2) fund current CIP and 3) extension of Clay Street Park in conjunction with second dog park. He said funding the current CIP provided financing for other important projects such as a splash pad at Daniel Meyer Pool and repairing the water feature at Garfield Park.

Seffinger picked 1) purchase ice rink concessions stand because of its income-earning potential, 2) second dog park because it was listed in the CIP and the current Dog Park was unsafely crowded, and 3) Lithia Park master plan because of the park’s important historical features and value to the community.

Lewis chose 1) fund current CIP because it financed a wide variety of important projects, 2) build a second dog park because it was a top priority for some time, and 3) Daniel Meyer wading pool. 
Dickens listed 1) Parks office building repairs to address seismic and safety concerns, 2) ice rink concessions building because it could benefit the department and the public year-round, and 3) Daniel Meyer Pool building repairs because the building currently required a great deal of maintenance.

Robertson’s choices, in no particular ranking, were 1) purchase ice rink concessions building because it generated revenue and provided parking, 2) fund the current CIP because it was fiscally responsible to reinforce the CIP in which projects were added each year, and 3) Parks office repairs if the commission determined that the structure would continue to be used as staff headquarters.
 
Commissioner / Staff Choice #1 - Summary Choice #2 - Summary Choice #3 - Summary
Rachel Dials Fund Current CIP Ice Rink Concessions Stand Daniel Meyer Wading Pool
Rick Landt Lithia Park Master Plan Second Dog Park Fund Current CIP
Vanston Shaw Second Dog Park Fund Current CIP Extension of Clay Street Park w/Second Dog Park
Stefani Seffinger Ice Rink Concessions Stand Second Dog Park Lithia Park Master Plan
Jim Lewis Fund Current CIP Second Dog Park Daniel Meyer Wading Pool
Bruce Dickens Repair Parks Office Ice Rink Concessions Stand Repair Daniel Meyer Pool Facility
Don Robertson Ice Rink Concessions Stand Fund Current CIP Repair Parks Office

 
Other Project Ideas
Robertson shared his concern about Mt. Ashland’s inability to open this season due to drought. He thought a stabilizing loan with the City of Ashland might help sustain them into the next season. Shaw expressed support for the idea.

Dickens wanted a new, sustainable Parks and Recreation headquarters with meeting rooms and plenty of office space because the current building was cramped and required seismic upgrades.
Dials spoke in favor of a multi-generational recreation center, currently unfunded in the CIP. She reported that the Ashland Senior Center and Daniel Meyer Pool were both aging and outgrowing their current structures. Linking with Dickens’ previous idea, Parks staff headquarters could be incorporated with the new center.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt thought it was important to choose a project that actually cost $470,000 and served multiple functions. In terms of funding the CIP, the commission would still have to convince City Council to support that idea. He said the ice rink concessions stand had been for sale for a number of years and the sellers were firm on the price (around $500,000). If the department generated revenues from the concessions stand, annual earnings would need to be $25,000 a year to justify the expense.

Lewis said two main projects were voted on several times: Daniel Meyer wading pool and a second dog park. He thought the ice rink was subsidized by the department more than the pool, which was heavily used by the public.

Shaw listed the projects he thought would be most supported by City Council and most appealing to the community: a second dog park, the ice rink concession stand and the water feature at Daniel Meyer Pool. 

Landt made the point that installing a $500,000 water feature in the current Daniel Meyer Pool facility, which might need to be heavily renovated and/or relocated, would not be smart.

Dickens said spending the funds on a seasonal facility was a hard sell and eliminating the Daniel Meyer wading pool first required community input. Seffinger said she supported a splash pad at Garfield Park (which was free and more sanitary) over a wading pool at Daniel Meyer.

Shaw brought up the second dog park and the option of using Clay Street property versus purchasing more space for a second dog park on Mistletoe Road.

Landt said using property the department already owned was a good idea as long as more soccer fields would not be needed in the future on lower Clay Street. He also suggested constructing sidewalks along Winburn Way and Granite Street. Commissioners supported this idea because it increased public safety and could calm traffic by narrowing the street.  

Robertson said using the funds for multiple projects would appeal to council and serve many community groups.

Dickens requested the commission’s strong consideration of safety improvements at the Parks office. The commission shared his concern and said they looked forward to receiving the seismic report clarifying whether the building was unsafe and if the issues could be addressed and fixed.

FINAL THOUGHTS FROM COMMISSIONERS
The commission reached a tentative consensus about using half of the funds for a second dog park on lower Clay Street off Villard in connection with the YMCA Park and using the other half to construct sidewalks along Winburn Way in Lithia Park. They agreed these were beneficial, visible projects that would increase public safety and not be funded otherwise. The commission planned to present their choices to council once staff provided cost estimates. A special meeting was set for Friday, March 7, 2014, at 8:00 a.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street, to vote on commission choices for the special reserve fund.

Landt thanked staff for their work in providing an effective framework for discussing the many project options. Seffinger commended her fellow commissioners on their thoughtful responses. Dickens appreciated the collaborative approach between commissioners and staff during the elimination process.
 
ADJOURNMENT – With no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Amanda Glass
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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