Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Thursday, February 08, 2007

City of Ashland





February 8, 2007




Present:      Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Teige

Absent:                   Commissioner Rosenthal; Interim City Council Liaison Navickas


Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.


Eggers reported that the Housing Commission conducted a meeting on January 24 and discussed the Oak Knoll Golf Course in terms of its suitability as a potential location for affordable/workforce housing. She stated that many in attendance were golfers and/or neighbors opposed to the concept, and she reviewed her notes from the meeting.

Steve Hauck, a Housing Commission liaison for Parks-related issues, indicated that he was not aware of the intended discussion until it appeared on the meeting agenda.

Staff was directed to work with interested commissioners in crafting a memo to the City Council and/or Housing Commission asking for advance notification and discussion about Parks-related topics before placing items on agendas. Lewis agreed to provide a report on the Parks/Schools/City Council Housing Subcommittee meeting [at which a brainstorming session to target available lands for use as affordable housing would be discussed] at a regular meeting of the Parks Commission.


Robertson reported that the Calle Guanajuato Subcommittee—comprised of two commissioners, a Plaza business operator, a Plaza restaurateur, a representative of the artisans, and staff members Teige and Robertson—conducted a series of meetings for the purpose of resolving conflicts between property owners, artisans, and business operators along the Calle Guanajuato. He distributed a document he prepared entitled “Framing the Issues” and summarized its contents, which included three steps. He explained that “Step One: Issue Identification” was discussed at the first meeting for the purpose of brainstorming issues of concern. “Step Two: Grouping the Issues” was summarized as the process by which the group categorized the topics from the first meeting into three sections: Facilities, Policy, and Administration. He indicated that “Step Three: Goal for Groups” included recommendations for the three identified categories. He reported that the subcommittee identified recommendations for the first category, “Facilities,” as follows:

1.       Agree upon new property lines with all property owners.

2.       City needs to provide accurate map.

3.       Resurfacing of Calle.

Robertson indicated that recommendations for the other two categories, “Policy” and “Administration,” would be developed at upcoming meetings.

Robertson reported that the subcommittee reviewed costs associated with maintenance of the area, including restroom/custodial, recycle area, trash, general repair, irrigation, and landscaping, and the group agreed that the most logical and fair solution would be to develop a formula for a square footage rate to charge artisans, business operators, and restaurateurs for hourly usage.

He stated that the subcommittee was waiting for the results from the Calle survey and would schedule another meeting after receiving them.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Gardiner, a subcommittee member, reflected on the discrepancy between what historically had been charged by the department for use of the Calle by restaurateurs and artisans, pointing out that restaurants, which occupy the space seven days a week during the season, collectively pay $3,058, while artisans, occupying the space only on Saturdays and Sundays during the season, collectively pay $5,900.

Robertson talked about the subsurface paving [required for withstanding loads driven across the Calle’s surface] and provided details about potentially charging rates to cover resurfacing costs. He expressed appreciation for the cooperation of the subcommittee and said that all recommendations would be forwarded to the commission for review and approval.


Eggers reported that she met with three citizens—Jim Moore, Randall Hopkins, and John Stromberg—regarding the Parks portion of the city’s budget and indicated that they were concerned about the Parks Department’s diminishing fund balances.

Robertson distributed pages from the current fiscal year budget and reviewed them in detail, focusing on revenue. He identified funding sources for the department, including taxes, fees and charges, intergovernmental revenue, interest on investments, and miscellaneous donations. He reported that the projected ending fund balance for the current year was $667,000, which represented the working capital carryover for the new fiscal year, and stated that Parks historically spends approximately 95% of its budget, with remaining funds carried over into succeeding fiscal years. He indicated that the projected beginning fund balance for ‘07-‘08 was $702,250, with an additional $100,000 of working carryover.

Robertson explained historical budgetary details and demonstrated fluctuations in long-term budget outlooks based on changing circumstances. Much discussion ensued about the need to actively manage long-term budget projections to ensure that up-to-date, accurate information was used. He reported that the Parks budget presentation to the Budget Committee was set for April 30 at 6:00 PM—Council Chambers—following Police and Fire presentations.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Eggers talked about broadening the pool of people providing input at study sessions and suggested creating a “Subsidy Chart” to show the public the variety of programs and services subsidized by Parks and the levels to which they are subsidized. Gardiner stated that most members of the public assume that Parks is doing their job and only come out for meetings if they have specific concerns. Noraas suggested listing the services and facilities, along with names and ages of individuals using facilities, numbers of times used per person, and costs associated with the operation  of the buildings, so the public could be made aware of usage rates and operational expenses required for subsidizing recreational activities. Robertson expressed that it would be difficult to accurately measure unduplicated usage but agreed to work on providing some information to the commission. Teige reported that the Recreation Division intended to include a survey in the upcoming summer recreation guide, as well as on the department’s Web site, to capture information from the public regarding programs, facilities, and services provided by the division.


Teige distributed the 2006 Nature Center Annual Report, which was prepared by Nature Center staff. She stated that she spent time reviewing the structure of the Nature Center, which led to a review of the structure of the entire Recreation Division. She listed the programs and services offered by the Nature Center, including:

·                    Demonstration gardens

·                    Heirloom gardens

·                    Building exhibits

§                     Community events such as the Salmon Festival, Earth Day Celebration, Migratory Bird Day, Garden Tour

§                     Coordination of 2,700 hours of volunteer hours for assistance with reception, programs, school groups, and others

§                     Maintenance and oversight of natural areas

§                     Coordination of  school programs with Ashland School District and other school districts

§                     Service Learning Program

§                     Stewardship Program

§                     Evening talks and community programs throughout the year

§                     Oversight of Community Garden program

Teige indicated that she met with Nature Center staff both individually and as a group, identifying staffing gaps and needs and clarifying accuracy of job descriptions. She reported that the two co-directors of the center, Kari Gies and Linda Chesney, worked with the Nature Center Steering Committee over a period of years to identify and address those needs. Teige presented a current organization chart of the Recreation Division and explained the positions and their functions, including positions at the Senior Center, Nature Center, and Parks office.

Gaps were identified as:

§                     Volunteer Coordinator – for entire department (possible shared position with city and Parks)

§                     Promotions and Designs Specialist – for in-house development and production of recreation guide, among others

§                     Nature Center Office Manager/Receptionist (downgrade of Administrative Assistant position)

§                     Interpretive Coordinator (from part-time temporary to full-time permanent)

§                     Customer Service Specialist (floater for entire department)

§                     Part-time additional employee (duties to be determined)

Staff asked for input from the commission about the role of the Nature Center Steering Committee for the potential Nature Center reorganization and reclassifications. Noraas stated that the Steering Committee consistently served as a sounding board and brainstorming entity for the center. Robertson expressed that the group was critical at the early stages of the center and had functioned more as an advisory board than a steering committee. Noraas agreed that it served in that capacity in the early stages but had since transitioned into serving as a sounding board. Robertson asked whether the Steering Committee should provide input on the reorganization plans.

The group agreed that the Nature Center Steering Committee could be incorporated into the staffing reorganization discussion and that Parks staff should be tasked with making reorganization and staffing recommendations to the Parks Commission for consideration and possible approval. Gardiner expressed that the organizational alignment at the Nature Center needed to be established in such a way as to allow the center to function beyond current staff members’ tenures.

Teige proposed implementing a phased reorganization over a period of four years, with the most critical positions phased in first. She also expressed interest in focusing on reclassifications and “cleaning up” current job descriptions to more accurately reflect duties and responsibilities.

Teige indicated that in 2003 Parks staff took 425 registrations, mostly for the pool and ice rink, while in 2006, staff took over 5,000 registrations, further justifying the need for increased staffing levels to support recreation programs in the community.

Staff was directed to meet with the Nature Center Steering Committee to inform them of the evening’s discussion and to continue providing the commission with updates throughout the process.


            Executive Session: Real Property ORS 192.660


ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

Online City Services

Pay Your Utility Bill
Connect to
Ashland Fiber Network
Request Conservation
Proposals, Bids
& Notifications
Request Building
Building Permit
Apply for Other
Permits & Licenses
Register for
Recreation Programs

©2023 City of Ashland, OR | Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A




twitter facebook Email Share
back to top