City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
November 26, 2001
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Jones, Landt, MacGraw; Councilor Don Laws; Director Ken Mickelsen
Absent: Commissioner Lewis
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – October 22, 2001 Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the minutes of the October 22, 2001 Regular Meeting as written. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.
The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no
Special Meeting – October 24, 2001 Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the minutes of the October 24, 2001 Special Meeting as written. Commissioner Jones seconded.
The vote was: 3 yes – 1 abstain (MacGraw)
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - Open Forum - None
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None
Discussion related to electrical heating in restrooms and the possibility of changing to gas heating
Superintendent Gies summarized the November 19, 2001 memo related to this topic. The estimates for converting the YMCA Park restroom and the Hunter Park restroom total $3010. Staff estimates project that the 12% electrical energy reduction goal will be met with the new 32° F thermostat settings, regardless of whether these two restrooms are changed to natural gas or not. Superintendent Gies also noted that a cursory survey of a few key summer accounts showed that electrical usage was down 17% over the previous year.
Commissioner Landt inquired as to whether the maintenance budget had money to cover the cost of converting the YMCA restroom and the Hunter Park restroom from electrical heat to gas heat. Director Mickelsen indicated he believed it could, but would double-check.
Commissioner Eggers noted she was pleased to see the relatively short estimated payback period for changing to gas heating. If thermostats are kept at 32° F, the estimated payback period is 5 years; if thermostats are kept at 50° F, the estimated payback period is 2.2 years.
In response to questioning, Superintendent Gies' suggestion was to hold off on the changeovers if the restrooms were only going to be heated for frost protection (32° F). However, if the Commission wished to keep the restrooms a little warmer, he thought changing over now probably made sense. He mentioned that winter usage by the public should also be considered, especially for the YMCA Park, which generally sees a low amount of winter use.
Public Comment – None
Discussion among Commissioners
Commissioner MacGraw stated her preference to make the changeover and heat the two restrooms to a more comfortable 50° F.
Commissioner Eggers stated that she, too, would like to make the changeover. However, she would like to keep conserving energy in general and so would prefer to keep the restrooms at a much lower temperature. She suggested that perhaps the temperature could be set somewhere between 32° F and 50° F.
Commissioner Jones agreed with Commissioner Eggers and said that she would like to see the thermostats set very low as well.
Commissioner MacGraw suggested that if Commissioners wanted to keep the temperature closer to the frost protection level (32° F), it made sense to her to not spend the $3,000 to changeover, since the savings is not nearly as great at that temperature setting and the payback period is much longer.
Commissioner Landt stated his opinion that a five-year payback period was "awesome" and still a great savings. He also expressed his view that keeping high-use bathrooms at a comfortable temperature was a wise use of resources. He felt that making the changeover allowed the Commission some choices about temperature settings. He suggested focusing the discussion on just the changeover without getting into thermostat adjustment at this time.
MOTION – Commissioner MacGraw moved to change from electric heat to gas heat for two restrooms--the YMCA Park restroom and the Hunter Park restroom. Commissioner Eggers seconded.
The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no
2002 Oak Knoll Golf Course Rates
Commissioner Jones reported on a Golf Course Subcommittee meeting held with Oak Knoll Golf Pro Tom Kohler, representatives of the men's and women's golf clubs, and members of the golfing public to discuss rates for 2002. She explained that Pro Kohler had presented a report on the topic. Based on his research of comparable facilities in the valley, his recommendation was to raise the summer eighteen-hole rate by $2 and leave all other rates the same. Commissioner Jones noted that this recommendation had met with approval from those at the meeting and that his research had been appreciated by everyone present. Commissioner Jones finished by speaking briefly of some capital improvements needed at the golf course and reminding Commissioners that these items would be revisited at budget time.
Public Comment – None
Discussion among Commissioners
Commissioner Eggers noted her concern about not accumulating money for capital improvements. She expressed her support for approving the recommended 2002 rates, with some slight reservation about not raising fees because of the need for future capital improvements.
Commissioner Jones reported that Pro Kohler felt strongly that fees needed to be competitive with those at other courses.
Commissioner Landt agreed with Commissioner Jones and noted that "just because we need more money, we can't just raise our fees."
MOTION – Commissioner Jones moved to raise the summer rates for eighteen holes to $22 and to keep all other rates the same. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.
The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no
Discussion on smoking regulations at the Skateboard Park and at other Parks and Recreation Facilities
Director Mickelsen explained that the City Council had been working to draft a smoking ordinance for several months, during which time the issue of smoking at the Skateboard Park had been raised. He reported that, currently, there is no policy prohibiting smoking in Parks and Recreation facilities by persons of legal age. Oregon Law prohibits all smoking by minors. Director Mickelsen noted that courtesy signs were in place at the Darex Ice Rink and at Meyer Pool. Although most people seemed to honor the signs, there is no enforcement capability since the Commission has never officially adopted a park rule regarding smoking in these facilities. He pointed out that it was up to the Commission whether or not to address this issue at this time.
Officer Teri DeSilva (Ashland Police Department), the Central Area Patrol Officer in charge of enforcing the rules at all of the parks in Ashland, was present to share some of the input she had received from citizens and parents while on patrol, particularly at the Skateboard Park. She noted that there was much concern over smoking at the Skateboard Park, especially in such close proximity to small children. However, without any park policy in place, officers are limited to enforcing only the State Law prohibiting smoking by minors. She also related the problem with an overwhelming amount of cigarette butts littering the Skateboard Park, despite cans provided for that purpose. Officer DeSilva went on to explain that Park Patrol Officers have asked repeatedly for people not to smoke in the Skateboard Park, citing reasons such as setting a bad example for the young skateboarders and consideration of nearby non-smokers. She reported that the repeated requests for voluntary compliance were ineffective, commonly eliciting the response of "show me where it says I can't (smoke here)." She noted that it was not unusual to see riders smoking on their boards while riding in the bowls.
In response to questioning about enforcement, Officer DeSilva compared a potential smoking rule to the current helmet rule at the Skateboard Park. In general, her approach is first to try informing an offender of the rule and asking for compliance. However, having a rule in place allows an officer the discretion to issue a citation if that is what becomes necessary.
Ben Benjamin (323 Maple Street, Ashland) was present to speak on this topic. He stated that the damage to other people by secondhand smoke is very well documented and should not be ignored. He noted that to a non-smoker, smoke can really invade a person's space and could really taint a nice experience. He urged the Commission to take a strong stand for the health of people and to let smokers stay outside the bounds of the public Parks and the Parks facilities.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioner Jones offered her perspective that the Ashland Parks and Recreation message to its users should be that of healthy lifestyles. She referenced the health risks associated with smoking and with secondhand smoke as well as the invasiveness of secondhand smoke on non-smokers. In her view, it would be a step forward to take a proactive stand prohibiting smoking in all of the parks, with the exception of Oak Knoll.
Commissioner Eggers noted that no one from the public had come forward to speak against prohibiting smoking in Parks and Recreation facilities. She also stated her understanding that most people who smoke as adults started when they were 9-13 years old and said that she felt it was pretty offensive to have examples of smoking, particularly where people can't avoid it.
Commissioner MacGraw explained that she was glad the Commission was addressing this issue. She stated her strong support for prohibiting smoking in the active Parks facilities--such as the Meyer Pool, the Darex Ice Rink, the swimming Reservoir and beach area, and the Skateboard Park-- but explained that she was not prepared to ban smoking in all of the parks. Although she personally is against smoking, she felt that, as a public official, it was not "our right at this time to pass a rule prohibiting smoking in all parks."
Commissioner Landt stated his view that, since only one person had come to speak on this issue, there was no "public mandate" for smoking regulations at Parks and Recreation facilities. He voiced his reluctance to "add another no" to the signs posted at Parks. Commissioner Landt likened a ban on smoking to Prohibition on alcohol, which "didn't work very well." He stated that he could not support a motion banning smoking, and that his preference was to deal with the problem by asking for voluntary compliance before resorting to "something more specific."
MOTION Commissioner Jones moved to prohibit smoking in all public Parks and Recreational facilities except for the Oak Knoll Golf Course.
The motion failed for lack of a second.
In response to Commissioner questioning, Staff offered the opinion that prohibiting smoking, particularly in active facilities with lots of young people, would set a good example and show the Parks & Recreation commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Staff also felt that banning smoking in active facilities was logical and that there would be public support--and even appreciation--for such a rule. If the Commission wished to pursue a more comprehensive ban, Staff suggested the Commission might want to spend more time discussing that issue before taking action.
MOTION Commissioner MacGraw moved to prohibit smoking at the Darex Ice Rink (on the ice and in the area between the concession and the entryway but not including the stands), in the Meyer Pool (inside the fenced pool area), in the Skateboard Park (entire facility), and at the Reservoir (the sandy beach area). Commissioner Jones seconded.
Commissioner Eggers asked to include an amendment prohibiting smoking all park playgrounds. Commissioner MacGraw declined to accept the amendment.
Commissioner Eggers explained that she was vacillating between asking for voluntary compliance as a first step or supporting a park rule. It seemed to her that, given the time of year, there was time to ask for voluntary compliance--knowing that she would ask for a regulation if voluntary compliance does not work.
Commissioner Jones reiterated her support of the motion, noting that officers need this type of help for enforcement. She went on to say that this was exactly the time of year to enact such a regulation so that when the season does come, the rule is already in place.
Commissioner MacGraw concurred with Commissioner Jones, and stated that "if this indeed riles up a lot of discussion, we'll have time to process it and maintain the regulation when the seasons do open up again."
The vote was: 3 yes - 1 no (Landt)
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR ASHLAND CREEK RESTORATION LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Director Mickelsen reported that the Ashland Creek Restoration Landscape Design had received the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Institute of Architects People's Choice Award--First Place. He presented the plaque to the Commission.
SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT ON UPCOMING DECEMBER 10, 2001 OPEN SPACE PLAN COMMUNITY MEETING
Commissioner Landt reported that the subcommittee was continuing to meet to prepare for the December 10 Open Space Plan Community Meeting.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Commissioner Landt advised the Commission that he will be writing a letter to the City Administrator urging that the portion of the N. Main/Scenic property that will not be dedicated as parkland be sold as quickly as possible.
UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Robyn Hafner, Department Secretary, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department