Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, March 24, 2014

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES
March 24, 2014

ATTENDANCE
Present:    Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Director Robertson
Absent:     City Council Liaison—Mayor John Stromberg; Superintendents Dials and Dickens

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – February 24, 2014
Under “Items from Commissioners,” Landt said he was attributed with asking for “established maintenance standards [to be] set in place” for protecting park land during construction projects. He asked for the removal of the word “maintenance.”

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

Study Session – February 26, 201
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Pete Jorgensen, 285 High Street, President of Ashland Lions Club, asked for Parks Commission sponsorship of a Feast of Will advertising banner over E. Main Street in the spring. The Feast of Will, held annually on the second Friday of June, was reported as one of two major annual fundraising barbecues for the Lions. Jorgensen said Feast of Will attendance dropped off in recent years and a banner could improve visibility for the event. Sponsorship by a major business or City commission was required for banner placement and the Lions would cover any costs of construction as well as permit fees. Jorgensen distributed a sample banner to the commission. He said it was short notice and asked for the item’s placement on the evening’s agenda.

The commission spoke favorably about adding the item under “New Business.”

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

LIONS CLUB BANNER REQUEST FOR FEAST OF WILL
MOTION: Shaw moved to approve “Lions Club Banner Request for Feast of Will” under “New Business.” Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK AMPLIFICATION REQUEST BY AHS VARSITY BASEBALL
Seffinger said two varsity baseball players attended two previous commission meetings seeking permission to play amplified music before home varsity baseball games at North Mountain Park. The commission directed them to contact local neighbors and Nature Center staff about their intentions.

Kami Carlson, 50 Mallard Street, the mother of AHS varsity baseball player Eric Carlson, presented a video prepared by Eric and his teammate, Tommy Hulick, in which they reported on sound checks at locations around North Mountain Park and within the Nature Center and their efforts to notify and include neighbors in the process. Parks staff members Don Robertson, Rachel Dials, Linda Chesney and Libby VanWyhe participated in the checks along with AHS Athletic Director Karl Kemper. Robertson said the normal sound level for Lithia Park bandshell amplification was 70 dB at the Winburn Way curb. Staff utilized the same dB meter for the North Mountain Park checks and levels ranged from 0 – 75 dB. Staff voiced a concern to Carlson and Hulick about possible impacts to wildlife in the natural areas and requested a shorter period of amplification (30-45 minutes rather than 1.5 hours). Robertson said staff received several letters of concern from neighbors expressing thoughts about the exemption request. Staff recommended eliminating two of the proposed dates—April 5 and 12—due to previous scheduling of Nature Center programs. Robertson suggested setting and keeping the volume knob at 1.5. When asked by the commission to monitor the volume controller at games, Kami Carlson said she would do that.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Most commissioners voiced support for a one-season trial for the eight remaining game dates, with any future extension dependent upon successful results and feedback. If approved, staff would be directed to monitor sound levels periodically during the season. Gardiner requested allowing amplified music at weekend games only (three of the eight proposed dates) for the trial period. Lewis suggested using only pre-mixed music libraries rather than commercial radio feeds. Shaw said the young men worked hard on the project and he voiced support for the one-season trial. Seffinger concurred, stating that it was important for youth to move successfully through a public process and feel a sense of connection to the community. Landt suggested either cutting some regular season games during the trial season to allow for playoff games or, if successful through the trial, possibly allowing music at playoff games. Commissioners agreed to provide staff with that latitude.

MOTION: Shaw moved to approve, per staff recommendations, allowing music amplification by the AHS varsity baseball team before eight regular season games at North Mountain Park with the following restrictions: set and keep the volume button to a maximum level of 1.5; eliminate April 5 and April 12 due to previously scheduled programs at North Mountain Park; give staff the latitude to approve amplified music at playoff games with the same restrictions if the trial period proved successful up to that point; and limit the timeframe to between 30 and 45 minutes. Landt seconded the motion with amendments limiting the timeframe to “not exceed 45 minutes per game” and allowing only pre-mixed music libraries rather than commercial radio feeds.
The vote was:
Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw – yes
Gardiner - no

NEW BUSINESS
2013-2014 ICE RINK REPORT
Robertson said the 2013-2014 ice rink season was successful and community members demonstrated strong support. He said the new cover allowed the rink to remain open, with no inclement weather closures.

Recreation Coordinator Lonny Flora provided an overview of the 2013-2014 Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink season, which he described as terrific. Staff made many improvements to rink operations and the cover improved the main product, the ice, by keeping the elements off. He said the ice rink was a good example of how the Parks Department came together to successfully reach a goal. Throughout the season it was clearly demonstrated to staff that patrons were excited about rink improvements and program upgrades. Staff attempted to capture data from rink users about their activities within the community beyond ice skating. Using ZIP codes, they asked where patrons stayed and what else they did in Ashland. Responses included OSF, Scienceworks Museum, other plays and patronage of local shops and businesses. 80% of ZIP codes recorded were outside Ashland. Amounts spent in the area ranged from $80 to over $600.

Flora said new or special events included: an opening night ceremony, attended by over 200 people, that involved a DJ emcee, skating performances, hockey demonstrations and ice sculptor Roger Butterfield; and a President’s Day weekend adult 3-on-3 hockey tournament that ran for the second consecutive year. He said a staff goal to increase skating numbers was achieved. New challenges included long lines leading up to the entrance fee / skate rental windows, running out of skate sizes, the need for improved skate sharpening, and issues with skate storage in terms of safety. Staff was looking into better and safer storage and distribution processes. In terms of improvements, Flora said the quality of the ice was much improved—stronger and less brittle—largely due to fresh ideas provided by the new rink manager, Craig Scott. Despite the new cover, Flora said there were several early rink closures due to the large-volume snowstorm in early December. He ran through increased attendance numbers by program for the 2013-2014 season over the 2012-2013 season. He reviewed expenses for the two seasons along with revenues. He reported a $20,000 increase in revenues over all skating categories from 2012-2013 to 2013-2014.

In summary, Flora said the department pulled together, including all three maintenance divisions, to assist with running a successful ice rink program and the new cover protected rink products and improved rink services. He thanked department staff and the commission for their support and assistance.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Shaw asked about rink marketing and Flora said Parks received assistance from the Chamber of Commerce and local motels / hotels and also placed ads and flyers with the help of Promotions Coordinator Dorinda Cottle.

Seffinger said she attended the ice rink opening night celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony and found them to be magical.

Landt asked if cover removal expenses were included in the overall cover expenses. Robertson said costs for take-down, clean-up and storage were an additional $7,000. Landt said it was important to include all direct costs in the overall price. By his calculation, given the total, the cost of the structure would take 17 years to pay off if expenses were kept low and revenues continued to rise, which he considered an excellent timeframe. Lewis said the commission made sizable investments in the rink by embedding cooling coils in the parking lot concrete and purchasing a new cover. He said increased rink usage would lessen the amount of time for debt repayment.
Flora said schools were visited and contacted about rink opportunities at the beginning of each season, with primary focus placed on Ashland schools but some as far away as Eugene. Shaw said it was good to see increased school group usage and suggested notifying Siskiyou County schools.

Commissioners thanked Flora for his presentation.

PUBLIC ARTS COMMISSION PRESENTATION
Robertson said the Parks Commission installed a stairway on the west side of the Calle Guanajuato ten or eleven years ago. Following that installation they worked with the Public Arts Commission to establish the Arnie Krigel Memorial Sculpture Garden. Two PAC commissioners were on hand to speak about a proposed permanent art installation entitled “Fall Splendor” by local artist Annette Julien for one of the memorial garden pedestals.

Public Arts Commissioner Margaret Garrington said one of the Calle pedestals remained empty for some time. The PAC finally acquired funding for a new art sculpture but needed to find one with the correct dimensions for the pedestal. After submitting an RFP, the PAC received just one submission, a piece by Annette Julien entitled “Fall Splendor” that the PAC deemed a good fit for their criteria. It consisted of steel and sturdy blown glass, was 4-feet tall and 3-feet wide at the tips, and included steel meant to rust, with the interior consisting of solid glass balls. The artist drew inspiration from the Chinese lantern plant, a plant that grows a pod encompassing a flower. In the fall the flower becomes a berry and turns bright orange and the heart-shaped leaves turn a coppery color. The PAC would not purchase the piece before first obtaining approval from the Parks Commission and then seeking and receiving council approval on April 1.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt asked how blown glass could be sturdy. He asked what would happen if a rock struck the glass. Garrington said there were laser cuts in the steel and the glass was solid, not hollow, and very hard. When asked who would take responsibility for any damages, Garrington said it was the City’s responsibility to repair damages and Julien, being a local artist, could make any necessary repairs. The proposed piece was said to fit well on the pedestal near the top of the sculpture garden stairs. Gardiner pointed out that a maintenance fund was established at the time of the garden’s creation. Robertson agreed and said it could help with any vandalism repairs along with the City’s liability insurance policy. He pointed out that very little vandalism occurred to the art pieces on the Calle stairway through the years, as people seemed respectful of them.
 
Landt suggested leaving the question of aesthetics to the PAC. Since maintenance and vandalism repairs would not come from the Parks budget and the art piece was not as fragile as first imagined, he would be able to support the art sculpture as recommended by the PAC.

MOTION: Shaw moved to approve the art sculpture installation for the piece entitled “Fall Splendor” by local artist Annette Julien in the Arnie Krigel Memorial Sculpture Garden along the Calle Guanajuato Stairway as recommended by the Public Arts Commission. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

LIONS CLUB BANNER REQUEST FOR FEAST OF WILL
Commissioners asked when the banner was proposed for placement over East Main Street. Jorgensen said the banner could only be placed for one week and it would be the week of the Feast of Will: either the Friday before the June 13 dinner or the Monday prior. Landt asked for the addition of the date to the banner. Jorgensen said the banner would be used for several years and the event always occurred on the second Friday in June. He said the Lions Club would look into adding a removable date in the event the banner vendor could accommodate that request. Landt asked Jorgensen to not assume people knew when the Feast of Will occurred each year. He again requested the addition of a date on the banner.

MOTION: Shaw moved to approve Parks Commission sponsorship of the Lions Club’s 2014 Feast of Will event banner over East Main Street. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

PARKS DIRECTOR RECRUITMENT
Robertson said HR Manager Tina Gray could not attend the evening’s meeting. He suggested a correction to the staff packet memo: After speaking with Gray and the City Purchasing Department, he was told an RFP would be required for the Parks and Recreation Director recruitment. Landt later questioned whether that was necessary so Robertson met with the City Attorney and Gray. After further research, they determined that an RFP would not be necessary as a direct appointment could be made if the contract fell at or under $35,000. He said a direct appointment would carve a month off the recruitment and selection process and eliminate at least one Parks Commission meeting. Staff could contact each of the last three satisfactory recruitment firms for the City, notify them about the specifications for the position and request bids, then work with the commission on making a direct appointment. He asked to begin the process the next day.

MOTION: Landt moved to direct staff to proceed with contacting three recruitment firms at the earliest possible date, with a direct appointment made to a recruitment firm for recruiting and hiring a new Parks Director. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Robertson said a Land Acquisition or “Open Space” Subcommittee meeting would be scheduled in the near future for subcommittee members Shaw and Landt.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Gardiner reported stopping by the Oak Knoll Golf Course and finding the clubhouse and golf course in good condition. He said he heard feedback about getting things in order before the start of the season. Robertson said a Golf Course Subcommittee meeting would be scheduled for Gardiner and Lewis in the near future. 

For the amplified sound request from AHS varsity baseball, Landt asked staff to include an additional amendment to the motion regarding using only pre-arranged playlists rather than commercial music, as insightfully suggested by Lewis. Robertson said staff would include that within the motion.

Shaw reported visiting the Ashland Skate Park several times in the past few weeks and finding it busy and in better condition than six months prior.

Robertson reported that Dials and Dickens, who were taking family time, were not in attendance.

Seffinger said the Forest Lands Commission was busy revising and updating the Ashland Forest Plan. She said Mayor Stromberg recently visited Washington, D.C., to look for more funding for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project. She reported attending meetings and speaking on the Mayor’s TV show about looking into an art aspect for the Forest Lands Commission.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

  • Study session set for April 21 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street. Topics:

    • Parks Director Recruitment Process

    • Annual IPM Policy Review

  • Regular meeting set for April 28 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topics:

    • Parks Director Recruitment Process

    • Annual IPM Policy Review

    • 2014 Calle Guanajuato Contracts

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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