Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, November 24, 2014

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

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

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – October 20, 2014

MOTION Shaw moved to approve the minutes as presented. Gardiner seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes [Lewis abstained]

Regular Meeting – October 27, 2014
MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
DOGS AT ASHLAND CREEK PARK
  • The Commission will consider approving dogs on leash in designated areas
A staff packet memo outlined the topic: At the October 20 study session, the Dogs Subcommittee proposed opening two additional park areas to dogs on leash: “Rocky Top” at the upper section of North Mountain Park and Ashland Creek Park, Ashland’s 19th park located at 27 E. Hersey Street.

The Commission voted to designate Rocky Top as a “dog friendly area” during their normal business meeting of October 27. At the same meeting, they requested another public meeting to discuss the designation of Ashland Creek Park. A notice was placed at the construction site for Ashland Creek Park, informing members of the public that the Commission would consider a policy change in which dogs might be allowed on leash within certain portions of the park. The notice included two meeting dates: November 17 and 24.

The discussion on November 17 established that there were two areas where dogs would not be permitted by current policy: 1) the playground and 2) the community garden. Deliberations and action were set to occur at the November 24 business meeting.

A map of the new park was referenced, with garden and playground areas highlighted in orange.

Black said the term “dog friendly” referred to dogs on leash. Dogs were only allowed off leash at the Ashland Dog Park. For Ashland Creek Park, Black asked what access areas the Commission wished to designate for dogs on leash.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Shaw recommended allowing dogs on leash with their owners at Ashland Creek Park, with signage installed in the creek drainage portions. He understood that dogs would be restricted from the playground and community gardens. People were currently allowed to walk their dogs at other parks and Parks-managed areas featuring creeks. Parks that were opened to dogs over the past few years posed no greater concern about dog waste than before the parks were opened to dogs. He advocated for the use of the new park for responsible dog owners and their dogs.
 
MOTION: Shaw moved to approve allowing dogs at Ashland Creek Park except for those areas where dogs were not permitted: in playgrounds and community gardens.

The motion died for lack of a second.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Lewis agreed that responsible dog owners should be allowed to use the park with their dogs; it was the riparian areas that concerned him. Once the park was more developed and access points clearly established, he might be interested in discussing the matter again.

Gardiner asked for the names of current parks in Ashland with creeks and a dog friendly status. Staff named the parks: middle Clay Street, Bluebird and the Kestrel property. Black said dogs were not allowed in Lithia Park or North Mountain Park because of sensitive habitats. Gardiner asked the commission to consider eliminating access to riparian areas for dogs.

Public Input
Colleen Shanahan, 320 E. Main, a local dog owner and trainer, spoke in support of allowing dogs at Ashland Creek Park. She suggested posting educational signs and Woof Waste bag dispensers with garbage cans. She asked the commission to move forward rather than backward in terms of dogs in parks.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Lewis asked whether the commission needed to hear Landt’s input before moving ahead. Black said Landt’s objection, noted from the last discussion, involved improved public process and creek protections. Staff had complied with his public process request. Shaw thanked staff for their public process efforts.

MOTION: Shaw moved to approve allowing dogs at Ashland Creek Park except for areas where dogs were not allowed: in playgrounds and community gardens.

AMENDMENT: Lewis asked for a friendly amendment regarding posting appropriate signage at key places in the park. Shaw accepted the amendment.

Discussion of Motion
Gardiner said he was concerned about future parks and trails in terms of access to the creek. The current motion would not prevent anyone from going into the creek with their dogs. Black said it might be good to have a sign prohibiting dogs from accessing the creek. Lewis asked if it would be best to add to the dog policy a ruling about restricting dogs from creeks. Dickens said restrictions in riparian areas also included not operating power equipment. A dog signage policy of the commission could be educational and also comply with riparian area and creek access restrictions. Black said the commission could refer to those restrictions in the motion.

FINAL MOTION WITH AMENDMENT: Shaw moved to approve allowing dogs on leash at Ashland Creek Park except for areas where dogs were not allowed: community gardens, playground areas and Ashland Creek, with staff posting appropriate signage. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

NEW BUSINESS
LITTLE LEAGUE ADVERTISING BANNER REQUEST
  • The commission will consider approving Little League’s second annual request for an advertising banner to be placed on the inside portion of the outfield fence
A staff report reviewed that the Commission voted, in January 2014, to allow a banner to be placed at Hunter Park on the inside portion of the outfield fence. The banner was to be a one-year trial period to determine the effectiveness of the advertising and the visual impact of the sign.

The banner was in place for the 2014 Little League season and removed at the end of the season, as reported by Ashland Little League. A letter from the league indicated that $2,400 for scholarships was raised from the league’s advertisement campaign.

Ashland Little League was requesting a second advertising banner at Hunter Park. Their recent letter requested a recurring approval rather than a year-by-year approval.

Public Input
Linda Hopkins, 608 Forest Street, said she came before the Commission in January 2014 to request the banner. She again asked for a sign exemption request to allow businesses to advertise on the inside outfield fence at Hunter Park. Eight banners were sold by Little League in 2014 and the funds used for scholarships. She thanked the Commission for their approval in January 2014 and asked for a second Little League advertising banner at Hunter Park.

MOTION: Shaw moved to approve placement of an advertising banner on the inside portion of the outfield fence at Hunter Park for the 2015 Little League baseball season. Gardiner seconded the motion.

Discussion of Motion
Lewis asked if any complaints were heard in the 2014 season and Dials said no complaints were heard. Shaw said he often played tennis at Hunter Park and had heard no complaints. Lewis said that since it worked out for Little League and there were no complaints, he could vote in favor of the motion. Gardiner said he would vote to approve the banner but asked for a year-by-year approval rather than a recurring approval.

The vote was: All yes

BEE CITY USA DISCUSSION AND ACTION
  • The Commission will: 1) Recommend a resolution to the Ashland City Council for Ashland to become a Bee City, and 2) Create a Bee Subcommittee comprised of at least one Parks Commissioner, several citizens and Parks staff.
A staff report outlined Council’s request for the Commission to review the benefits of becoming a BEE CITY USA and make a recommendation to Council. After reviewing and discussing the topic at the October study session, the Commission chose to move forward with making a recommendation to Council to become a BEE CITY USA.

Black reviewed the benefits of becoming a BEE CITY USA and outlined required standards for that designation:
1.       Establish / maintain a Bee Subcommittee of a municipal body or department, comprised of citizens and a Parks Commissioners and staffed by employees. The subcommittee would be responsible for assembling and disseminating information on topics of pollinator-friendly habitat and policies to municipal departments, residents, businesses, and developers.
2.       Adopt the BEE CITY USA Resolution.
3.       Publicly acknowledge the community’s commitment by agreeing to: a) install / maintain at least one authorized BEE CITY USA street sign in a prominent location, and b) create / maintain links on appropriate pages of the municipal website which includes the municipality’s BEE CITY USA liaison(s), links to a PDF of the signed resolution and the BEE CITY USA website, and summaries of the pollinator-friendly activities the municipality undertook or accomplished the previous year(s).
4.       Commit to annually celebrate National Pollinator Week (third full week of June) or some other appropriate occasion through events, proclamations, and promotions to showcase the municipality’s commitment to being a BEE CITY USA affiliate.
5.       Committee to annually apply for renewal of the community’s designation and submit a report of BEE CITY USA activities following the format provided.

For the Bee Subcommittee, Black suggested including one Parks Commissioner; three members of the public with expertise or interest in pollinators, pollinator policy or pollinator education; and one Parks and Recreation staff member (staff liaison). He spoke in favor of having the Commission recommend to Council approval of the BEE CITY USA Resolution and implementation of the resolution’s requirements.

Lewis asked how often the subcommittee would meet and Black said they could meet quarterly at first and then decide how often to meet going forward. Black could identify no issues of concern for Parks in terms spearheading this process.

MOTION: Shaw moved to establish a BEE CITY USA Subcommittee under Parks as outlined by Parks staff. Lewis seconded the motion.

Discussion of Motion
Shaw said the subcommittee could help educate the public about careful use of pesticides for the preservation of bees. Lewis said the subcommittee could provide recommendations to Council, the Commission and the public.

The vote was: All yes

MOTION: Lewis moved to approve the resolution for becoming a BEE CITY USA per the requirements outlined in the recitals. Shaw seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Program Cost Recovery Report
Dials said it had been two years since the last cost recovery review and she apologized for the delay. For FY 12-13 and FY 13-14 she reviewed fees associated with the Oak Knoll Golf Course, adult recreation, Daniel Meyer Pool, Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink, NMP Nature Center, Ashland Senior Center, Calle Guanajuato, special events, adapted programs, facility rentals, sport field rentals and lighting, and community gardens. She said the reviews normally kicked off the Commission’s annual budget planning process. Subsidy levels were reviewed along with percentages of costs recovered. She walked the Commission through each program and reviewed assumptions for how her spreadsheet was established. Expenses and revenues were reviewed as well as direct and indirect costs. Costs of capital projects were not included.

Black said the administrative fee of $45,000 charged by the City to Parks would need to be reviewed by the Parks Commission, Council and the Budget Committee. In terms of the wedding package, despite a lowering of costs several years earlier, staff heard nine out of ten renters stating that the fees were too high, with renters not willing to pay them. Dials said it was time to look at those fees and possibly adjust them. She talked about challenges with historic buildings rented through Parks – the Community Center and Pioneer Hall – and the groups that were “grandfathered in” and able to use the buildings free of charge. Case in point: The Pinochle Club used the Community Center every Wednesday evening at no charge. When asked to relocate their event to the Senior Center and become a club operated through the Senior Center, staff was told the Pinochle Club helped the City obtain the building many years earlier, though no documentation could be found. After hearing the stories of club members, Dials decided to relinquish her notion about relocating the Pinochle Club. In terms of sports field lights, she said sports groups were reducing their use of the lights because fees had gone up too quickly over three years’ times. Dials suggested charging a field maintenance fee for soccer, baseball, softball, and Ultimate Frisbee groups. She said some groups used the fields without notifying the Parks office. For community gardens located at Scenic, Clay Street, Garden Way and Ashland Creek Park, fees charged covered water and materials expenses.

For the December regular meeting, Dials said she would bring back the CIP budget information on the golf course and would propose charging a higher percentage for special events. She could answer any additional questions from commissioners at that time.

Ashland Creek Park Construction Update
Dickens said meetings were held at Ashland Creek Park every week with the contractor, Parks staff and the project manager. Park updates included:
  • CMU block placed at the playground
  • Restroom framing underway
  • Base materials in place for sidewalks
  • Curbing around walkways poured
  • Garden topsoil in place
  • Garden fence installed and fabric attached
  • Gates coming soon
  • Forming of stairways and walkways underway
  • 11 yards of exposed aggregate poured the next day
  • Most of the main irrigation infrastructure installed
Dickens said the irrigation system could not be completed until warmer weather arrived in spring 2015. The grand opening would also occur in the spring.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Shaw voiced appreciation for recent upgrades and improvements at Hunter Park.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
  • Strategic Planning meeting set for December 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., SOU McNeal Pavilion, Room PE 116.
  • Regular meeting set for Wednesday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topics:
    • Program Cost Recovery Report
    • 2014 End-of-Year Report
    • 2015 Meeting Calendar
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard, Executive Assistant
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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