CITY OF ASHLAND
Ashland City Council, Ashland School Board,
and Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission
JOINT STUDY SESSION
June 27, 2005
Present: City Councilors A. Amarotico, Chapman, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger; Mayor Morrison; School Board members Amrhein, Littleton, Marr, Parker; Parks Commissioners D. Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal.
Absent: City Councilor Hardesty; School Board members Alexander and Patton
Staff: City Administrator Grimaldi; School Superintendent DiChiro; Parks Director Robertson
Moderator: Mayor Morrison
Notetaker: Parks Director Robertson
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Gardiner called the joint study session to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Senior Center, 1699 Homes Avenue, welcoming all present. He invited members of the City Council, School Board, and Parks Commission to introduce themselves to those in attendance.
The group reviewed both of the proposed agendas and agreed to use the agenda submitted by Councilor Hartzell.
BRIEF UPDATE BY EACH ELECTED BODY
Morrison [who arrived shortly after the start of the meeting] asked the group to voice their most pressing concerns about the future of the city. Each elected official spoke of at least two issues; Robertson recorded each in turn.
Issues included affordable housing, co-housing, homelessness, the future of Briscoe and Lincoln Schools and playgrounds, short- and long-term open space plans, senior services, city demographics, transportation, safety and security at schools and school events, traffic safety, pedestrian safety, increasing the number of employment opportunities within the city, formalizing agreements between the three elected bodies, rising housing costs, land costs, energy conservation and consumption, and others.
Morrison opened the floor to the public, inviting attendees to express concerns to the group.
Bryan Holley, 324 Liberty Street, read a statement on behalf of the Ashland Tree Commission [of which he is a member] regarding the importance of resuming and maintaining a proper irrigation regimen for the health and well-being of the trees at Briscoe and Lincoln School playgrounds.
Jim Young, 265 N. Main Street, spoke on behalf of the Lithia Arts Guild [of which he is the chair] about the success of the Arts Festival, a Lithia Arts Guild fundraiser held on June 11 on the front lawn of Briscoe School. He stated that the fundraiser was a new way of using open space to communicate with the public, and he advocated for finding other creative ways to use both the Briscoe and Lincoln school grounds for educational and entrepreneurial endeavors.
Melissa Mitchell-Hooge, 271 High Street, read a prepared statement on behalf of the “Save Our Schools and Playgrounds” Committee, [for which she serves as president]. She reported that SOSP is currently researching towns around the nation that are facing similar challenges as Ashland [with respect to the declining numbers of children entering public schools each year]. She listed a number of issues affecting SOSP and the citizens of Ashland, and expressed deep concern about the need to restore water to the Briscoe and Lincoln School grounds and trees.
Zane Jones, 227 W. Hersey Street, a neighbor of Briscoe School, requested that water be restored to the school grounds. He also spoke about the need to properly maintain the grounds and asked that the School Board and the Parks Commission continue to work together to jointly resolve issues of mutual concern.
Rivers Brown, 1064 Asland Street, spoke about the special qualities within Ashland and the need to maintain neighborhood schools, as they may be needed in the future.
Paul Copeland of Ashland expressed urgent concern about the need to resume watering the two school grounds.
Phil Miller of Ashland talked about finding creative solutions for the schools’ watering needs.
DISCUSSION AND SELECTION OF TOPICS FOR COOPERATION / NEXT STEPS
Staff volunteered to type the list of issues and concerns and a representative was appointed from each elected body as the conduit through which information would flow. Designated representatives include:
§ Heidi Parker, Ashland School Board
§ Cate Hartzell, Ashland City Council
§ Mike Gardiner, Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission
The group set a follow-up meeting date of Thursday, July 28, 2005, at 7:00 PM – place TBD. At that time, the list will be sorted and priorities will be set.
ADJOURNMENT – With no further business, Morrison adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation