Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Monday, April 24, 2006

City of Ashland






April 24, 2006



Present:    Commissioners D. Amarotico, Eggers, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Gies

Absent:     Commissioner Gardiner; City Council Liaison A. Amarotico; Superintendent Teige

CALL TO ORDER         

Rosenthal called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.


Budget Session – March 14, 2006

MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as written. D. Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

Study Session – March 20, 2006

MOTION Eggers moved to approve the minutes as written. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

Regular Meeting – March 27, 2006

In the “New Business” section entitled Clay Street Park Entrance Request, Rosenthal noted that Gardiner, not Rosenthal, “asked the Parks Commission to wait for the outcome of the March 28 Planning Commission meeting before making a decision.”

MOTION Eggers moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no


Open Forum

Melissa Mitchell-Hooge, 271 High Street, speaking on behalf of Save our Schools and Playgrounds [SOSP], updated the commission on the work of the Lincoln and Briscoe volunteer cleanup crews, reporting that they saw a record turnout on April 22 and stating that, at each successive work session, increasing numbers of volunteers provided assistance.

She expressed that the grounds maintenance “experiment” [in hiring Jackson County to maintain the school grounds] proved to be a failure, as the quality of work fell below standards set by the Parks Department. She voiced her support for option “B” [proposed to the School District’s Board by the Parks Director] wherein Briscoe and Lincoln school grounds would become neighborhood parks, with ownership transferred to the City. She expressed that SOSP wanted the two properties to become dedicated parks within the City and that, should Parks agree to compromise on ownership in the interest of providing quality maintenance services to the Schools, joint ownership between Schools and Parks would be acceptable.





Robertson introduced the topic and requested the commission’s consideration of recommendation for approval of the 2006-2007 budget. He reported that staff prepared the budget in the most austere manner possible, using the City’s recommended guidelines and a great deal of commissioner input, and he outlined a number of its specific details. Robertson reviewed topics he planned to include in the budget narrative, which he reported Parks would present to the Budget Committee at their May 10 session.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed both the proposed $5.4 million general operations budget and the proposed $337,500 Capital Improvements Fund (CIF) budget. Items listed on the proposed CIF budget were reviewed and most met with approval; however, costs associated with improvements at the Oak Knoll Golf Course were debated at length. Funds associated with a number of items were altered based on extensive review and discussion. Items and their costs included:

§         Ice rink repair                                                $242,000    [revised to $50,000]

§         Lower pond waterfall                                       $20,000    [revised to $10,000]

§         Park development                                         $100,000    [from City CIF budget]

§         Softball lights                                                  $30,000

§         Upper duck pond                                            $50,000

§         Sherwood park restroom                                 $40,000    [removed from list]

§         Miscellaneous playground equipment              $35,000    [revised to $100,000]

§         Cart paths at golf course                                $250,000    [revised to $50,000 - for seed money]

§         Driving range lot                                              $20,000

§         Riverwalk “park” request                                    $7,500

§         Extra golf expenses                                        $20,000

Robertson asked the commission to consider a number of other budgetary matters, including: potential review of fees associated with programs and services provided to the community; reconsideration of SDCs in terms of facility development as well as redevelopment of existing facilities based on population growth; the near-term “brain drain” among Parks staff, 33% of whom could retire in the next five years; and fuel costs associated with operations and the possibility of moving toward hybrid technology. Robertson talked about Parks’ diminishing fund balances and the commission’s need to find creative solutions to its future challenges.

Robertson referenced two pieces of budget-related correspondence that were brought to staff’s attention—1) Sue Parrish of the Summer Outdoor Program asked for continued financial assistance for the program; and 2) Commissioner Gardiner, who could not attend the meeting, expressed his support for allocating funds for cart paths at the golf course and for ice rink repairs.

Eggers stated that she could not support a budget that included golf course improvements, since she did not agree that Ashland taxpayers should subsidize golf at Oak Knoll. Rosenthal stated that rounds played had been down over the past four years and that the commission needed to find strategic solutions to help the course become more competitive within the golf market and to increase revenues, and he indicated that cart paths would provide a partial solution. He reported that a survey he conducted with 100 citizens showed that 82 out of 100 people—both golfers and non-golfers—felt that the best use of Parks funds would be to spend money on advertising and marketing for the course and to make capital improvements at the course. He strongly encouraged the commission to retain the proposed $50,000 allocated for cart paths. Eggers stated that it would be important to schedule a study session in which community members could be asked whether they wanted to continue subsidizing golf at Oak Knoll.

Robertson suggested placing the $50,000 [revised amount allocated for cart paths] into an “undesignated funds” section of the budget and continuing the discussion at a later date. Alternatively, he suggested the funds could be used as “seed money” to challenge the golfing community to help raise funds for the remainder needed for the paths. Rosenthal called for a motion.

Motion Eggers moved to recommend approval of the general operations budget. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

Motion Lewis moved to recommend approval of the Capital Improvements Fund budget with the following amendment: $50,000 originally designated for cart paths to be allocated as “undesignated” funds. D. Amarotico seconded the motion.

                                         The vote was:     D. Amarotico, Lewis, Rosenthal  – yes; Eggers – no



Robertson outlined staff’s request to show three movies at the Oak Knoll Golf Course driving range in the summer. He reported that the proposed dates would fall on Fridays in July and August: July 7 and 21 and August 4. He stated that US Cellular asked to sponsor the events, including paying for licensing fees, and that they requested publicity for their efforts, including displaying their logo in the summer recreation program guide and setting up a table [with a displayed US Cellular banner] for each movie event, at which they would hand out snacks and water.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners spoke favorably about the proposal but expressed that it would need to be done on a trial basis only. They questioned whether parking would be a problem, to which staff responded that the golf course parking lot probably could accommodate up to 100 vehicles. Rosenthal called for a motion.

Motion Lewis moved to direct staff to pursue the movie and amplification request as presented. Eggers seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no


Robertson reported that the commission is required to review Calle Guanajuato restaurant agreements each year and that he and Teige interviewed interested Plaza restaurant owners and found that six establishments wished to serve meals on the Calle walkway in the 2006 tourist season. He stated that the restaurants would occupy the same areas along the walkway as in past years and reported that Kip Keaton, Community Service Officer, would monitor the crafts fair along the walkway to ensure that contract and safety guidelines were met.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked how the $22 per chair per season fee had been established and staff responded that it was set prior to the hiring of the present director and recreation superintendent. Rosenthal called for a motion.

Motion Eggers moved to accept the Calle Guanajuato Restaurant Agreement plan as presented. D. Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no




Eggers reported that she and Robertson met with former City Administrator Brian Almquist to discuss the possibility of Parks maintaining the Briscoe and Lincoln School grounds. Eggers requested feedback and participation from the commission—prior to the May 2 joint subcommittee meeting—about how best to move forward with the three proposals presented to Schools by Parks.

In her absence, Robertson read a correspondence from Teige reporting that the 2006 Earth Day festival was very successful and thanking the many volunteers who helped with the event.

Robertson announced that the 16th Annual Bike Swap was scheduled for Saturday, May 13, from 12-4:00 PM at the parking lot of The Grove, 1195 East Main in Ashland.


§         Study session set for Monday, May 15, at 7:00 PM—Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Topic to include:

§         Executive session regarding staff negotiations

§            Regular meeting set for Monday, May 22, at 7:00 PM— Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.

§         Joint study session set for Thursday, May 25, at 7:00 PM—Location TBD.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Rosenthal adjourned the meeting at 9:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks & Recreation Department

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