City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
Present: Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Interim Director Gies
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Lewis called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – June 23, 2003 Under Unfinished Business item "Review of the Calle Guanajuato Stairway Project," Commissioner Eggers asked that the statement, "the changes will not affect the design in the least," be changed to read, "the changes made for engineering reasons will affect the sinuosity of the pathway." Also, under New Business item "Selection of Recruiting Firm," Commissioner Eggers pointed out that Avery, not Murray, was Commissioner Rosenthal’s first preference for a recruiting firm. Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Commissioner Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
Open Forum - None
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None
UPDATE ON GARFIELD SKATE PARK – Information only
Interim Director Gies updated the Commissioners about the desire of a local group to enhance the skateboard area of Garfield Park and raise $30,000 toward that end. The group had a deadline of July 1, 2003, to raise the funds. Unfortunately, the group only raised $100. Under the terms of the motion, the proposal must now be withdrawn and the single contribution of $100 returned to the donor.
APPOINTMENT TO THE YOUTH ACTIVITIES COMMISSION
Chair Lewis reminded the Commission about the new 5-year Youth Activities Levy and asked for a volunteer to serve on the Commission. Commissioner Rosenthal volunteered to serve and was duly appointed to it by Chair Lewis.
FORMATION OF TRAIL MASTER PLAN COMMITTEE
Chair Lewis volunteered to serve on the Trail Master Plan Committee, as did Commissioner Amarotico. Commissioner Eggers spoke in favor of allowing two Parks Commissioners to serve simultaneously. Chair Lewis appointed Commissioner Amarotico and himself to the committee. Commissioner Eggers asked for clarification on how this committee will differ from the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Plan. Interim Director Gies explained that the Trails Committee will identify and investigate specific easements and trail connections and will overlay the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Plan. Commissioner Eggers asked about the authority of the new committee and Interim Director Gies stated that the Committee is charged with working with various groups and recommending a plan to the Parks Commission and City Council for adoption.
Motion Vice-Chair Rosenthal moved to approve the formation of a Trail Master Plan Committee. The committee will consist of two Parks Commissioners, one City Councilor, two members from the Ashland Woodlands & Trails Association, two citizens, and Staff members in the Parks and Planning Departments. Commissioner Eggers seconded the motion.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
REQUEST OF TRAILS FOR TRAIL RIDES
Interim Director Gies introduced Leslie Hunter, a local trail rides business owner, and informed the Commission about her request to use Parks trails for her business.
Ms. Hunter spoke of her small business and asked for permission to use the Todd-Oredson Woods, White Rabbit Trail, the Wright’s Creek area, and the Hald-Strawberry area for 1-2 hour trail rides with 2-4 riders at a time. She has an outfitter’s license and business insurance.
Commissioner Eggers expressed concern about that type of trail usage and the potentially harmful impact of horses’ hooves on trails, because it powders the soil and renders trails vulnerable to erosion in the rains, and also creates more dust for other trail users. She asked for more particular parameters about numbers of rides per month and specific trails proposed for the rides. Commissioner Eggers suggested conducting a group walk over the requested trails, which would allow Commissioners to evaluate the potential viability of the request. Vice-Chair Gardiner asked for a map of proposed trails and an estimated amount of usage prior to the next meeting. Interim Director Gies volunteered to work with Ms. Hunter and Staff to compile a list of trail routes before the next regular Commission meeting.
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
QUARTERLY PROJECT UPDATE - Information only
Interim Director Gies referenced the memo outlining status updates for ongoing (and completed) Department projects. Commissioners commented favorably on the success of the new community garden project, as well as the newly completed Lithia Park bathroom and the upkeep of the Dog Park.
Commissioner Amarotico asked for a status update on the water quality system in Lithia Park ponds. Interim Director Gies stated that Paul Kay is working on identifying the leak in the water filtration system and believes that the waterfall might be the culprit.
With respect to the Hunter Park tennis court resurfacing project, Vice-Chair Gardiner asked about the likelihood of changing the landscaping around the courts to increase spectator visibility. Interim Director Gies explained that the old juniper bushes around the area might be removed or replaced, if the cost of the new landscaping can be contained within the budget figure previously approved by the Commission.
Commissioner Eggers asked about the North Mountain Park Knoll and quoted the portion of the memo that states: "The paved bike path and sidewalk… will be completed in the fall of 2003." After receiving confirmation from Interim Director Gies that the portion of the pathway under discussion is the section in North Mountain Park that recently received grant funding, Commissioner Eggers expressed concern about paving the pathway across the street on the new Greenway Extension section, since she has heard strong opposition to it. She would like to bring the subject [of paving that area of the pathway] before the Commission shortly after the Commissioners [and other interested parties] walk the path on September 13.
GREENWAY EXTENSION WALK UPDATE - Information only
Interim Director Gies confirmed September 13, 2003, as the date for the Greenway Extension Walk for those who expressed an interest during the study session in April. Commissioner Eggers stressed the value of creating an inter-disciplinary team, and "people with backgrounds in different resource areas, walking and having the discussion on-site" to look for possible trouble spots. She also asked for clarification as to the width of the Greenway Extension. Interim Director Gies confirmed that the proposed width is 12 feet, which is the standard width of the Greenway. Commissioner Eggers expressed concern about such a width at that point on the trail, citing the potential dangers to habitat. She proposed a future discussion about a narrower width – such as 6 feet – instead of automatically conforming to the Greenway standard of 12 feet.
Interim Director Gies informed the Commission that the first work party with Staff and Rotary members is scheduled for September 27, 2003, at which time certain areas will be cleared.
3-AM BICYCLE RACE REQUEST - Information only
Interim Director Gies referenced the memo from the City Administrator about the request from a local company to use portions of Lithia Park for a mountain bike event on October 3-4, 2003. He reported that there has not been any direct 3-AM / Staff contact and emphasized the need for a 3-AM representative to approach the Commission about the request.
Vice-Chair Gardiner discussed the State of Jefferson cross-country event scheduled for Saturday, October 4, and corrected Staff in terms of the number of cross-country runners attending the meet. Instead of 4-5 high school teams, there are 6 different divisions with approximately 20-30 runners in each division. The sheer volume of runners would completely prohibit the viability of a holding a bicycle race on the same day. Prior to the cross-country event, Commissioner Eggers requested that Staff not rake leaves away from pathways, citing the importance of leaves in protecting trails from the impact of rain and feet.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Commissioner Amarotico requested that two toddler swings be added or switched at the Briscoe School playground, since it is now a neighborhood park. Interim Director Gies agreed to take care of that.
Commissioner Rosenthal discussed a letter he received from Don Mercer, a Granite Street homeowner whose property is located directly across from the Parks maintenance shop, asking for the removal of the barbed wire at the top of the fence and replacing it with some type of plant screen. For the record, Commissioner Rosenthal also acknowledged the memo regarding the rope swing at the reservoir and mentioned that the swing violates three City ordinances. Finally, he asked for an update on the fencing behind the sand volleyball courts at Garfield Park. Interim Director Gies stated that he has not been able to attend to them yet.
Commissioner Eggers commented on various aspects of the swimming reservoir: the rope swing at the reservoir; parking concerns at the reservoir; and the need to post signs more visibly at the reservoir regarding the danger of swimming near – or sitting on – the dam.
UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
[Has since been scheduled for Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 10:30 AM at the Golf Course.]
ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Lewis adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Office Manager, Ashland Parks and Recreation