City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
August 25, 2008
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Teige
Absent: City Council Liaison Navickas
CALL TO ORDER
Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – July 21, 2008
Under “Request to Sell Concessions at City Band Concerts,” Eggers asked that Rogue Ballet be correctly substituted for Ashland Ballet. Under “Other Commission Business,” Eggers asked that the sentence referring to “Lions Club vehicles” be clarified as follows: “Eggers reported seeing vehicles used by the Lions Club parked in Lithia Park by the creek during 4th of July festivities.”
MOTION Noraas moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no [Rosenthal abstained]
Regular Meeting – July 28, 2008
Under “Ice Rink Contingency Plan,” Eggers asked that the sentence referring to the costs associated with embedding coils into the concrete of the Winburn Way parking lot be clarified to reflect that the $200,000 was not for an “ice sheet” but for all the work needed to embed the coils [plus parking improvements] at that location.
MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Noraas seconded the motion.
The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no [Lewis abstained]
Mark Haneberg, 657 Prim Street, reported on the success of the Lions Club’s trial fundraising concession sales at three City Band concerts in Lithia Park.
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
POTENTIAL WESTWOOD LAND SUBDIVISION AND SALE
Robertson read through the staff report and requested direction from the commission. Commissioners agreed to hear public input before discussing the matter.
Cathy Shaw, 886 Oak Street, talked about the process undertaken for the creation of the 2002 Open Space Plan and suggested that the Parks Commission consider divesting of park land in as careful and public a manner. She suggested taking future land decisions to a vote of the people.
Kenton Gould, 201 W. Rapp Road in Talent, spoke in opposition to subdividing and selling the land on Westwood, stating that it was odd to use a park to generate revenue. He said selling the Westwood land would be moving in the wrong direction.
Keith Baldwin, 1176 Beswick Way, said he was opposed to subdividing and selling the Westwood land. He said the process undertaken by the Parks Commission had not been welcoming of public input and should have mimicked the 2002 Open Space Plan process. He expressed that the parks “inventory list” was incomplete and the creation of such a document required public involvement.
Suzanne Frey, 1042 Oak Knoll Drive, said Westwood Park is a community resource that adds value to the fabric of citizens’ lives. She said parks are a buffer against global warming and there are already a number of open spaces and parks in the Clay Street area. She indicated that Westwood Park’s natural and wildlife elements are unique and require preservation.
Ken Barnes, 523 Strawberry Lane, expressed opposition to the potential subdivision and sale of the Westwood acres and asked the commission to honor past agreements between community members and elected officials. He said the Parks Commission’s proposal disregarded the carefully crafted Open Space Plan.
Paula Musich, 342 Wrights Creek Drive, expressed displeasure with the term “surplus property” and questioned the motivation of the Parks Commission with regard to the potential sale of park land for other park land, especially considering the current shift in demographics.
Catherine Dimino, 423 Strawberry Lane, read from the city’s Comprehensive Plan and said she strongly supported including public input in the creation of a list of criteria used in labeling city-owned lands as “surplus.”
Darren Borgias, 503 Strawberry Lane, representing “Friends of Westwood Park” and speaking as a neighbor and ecologist, said he invited a number of experts to consider the land and received responses indicating that the land is unique and deserving of preservation. He read through a number of points and spoke in support of the commission’s goal to purchase land on Clay Street but expressed strong opposition to the sale of Westwood land to acquire the Clay Street parcel.
Gaia Layser, 503 Strawberry Lane, asked the commission if their role was to liquidate park land instead of protecting it. She described the circumstances that allowed her family to purchase property in the Westwood neighborhood and talked about “fire” and “ice” in terms of the difficulty of getting in and out of the area in the winter or in the event of a fire.
Michael Donovan, 320 Hemlock Street, a former neighbor, spoke of the value of Westwood Park. He expressed confusion about the commission’s motivation to potentially sell off a section of the land, stating that it was premature, and said the Open Space Plan involved a coordinated community-wide effort. He suggested working together as a community to find funding sources for park acquisitions and urged the commission to look for a broader strategy for such acquisitions.
Joan Cresse, 838 Blackberry Lane, said Westwood Park is a unique property and a treasure requiring protection. She asked the commission to protect it for the entire community.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed the potential land subdivision and sale at length. Rosenthal said he was not in support of the proposal but the commission was required to explore every possible funding option for land acquisition and park development. Noraas requested a tour of the Clay Street property, for the purpose of seeing how much park land was needed in that location, and suggested investigating other funding options for purchasing the Clay Street parcel. Lewis asked staff and commissioners to determine whether Open Space Plan goals in the Westwood area were being met, with trail development and connections, open space, and a neighborhood park. He asked for a schematic of the Westwood / Hald-Strawberry neighborhoods showing existing elements and those that could be accomplished. Gardiner said there was potential for a neighborhood park at Westwood whether or not the land was subdivided and sold. He said the commission was looking for ways to meet park goals in several areas around town, and he asked for the patience and understanding of community members while the commission researched funding sources to meet their goals. Eggers requested a tour of the Clay Street area to consider the community’s needs at that location. She asked about any time constraints with respect to the city’s desire to place affordable housing units onto the acres at Clay Street. She also asked that a potential council communication emphasize the importance of the Clay Street parcel to the commission. Noraas and Rosenthal requested tabling the Westwood proposal indefinitely.
Staff was directed to schedule a study session at the Clay Street property in early September and to focus the discussion at the regular September study session around the Westwood / Clay Street topic.
MOTION: Lewis moved to conduct a site visit at Clay Street and to discuss the Westwood / Clay Street topic at the September 15 study session. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: Lewis, Eggers, Gardiner – yes
Rosenthal, Noraas - no
FOREST LANDS COMMISSION REPRESENTATIVE
Robertson reported that Lewis, the commissioner most recently representing the Parks Commission on the Forest Lands Commission, was unable to continue serving in that role. Robertson asked the commission for a volunteer and Noraas agreed to serve for one year.
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Park Project Updates
Gies reported on three park projects currently underway:
§ Ice Rink Rehabilitation – bid package preparation in progress, including construction drawings, surveying, mapping, and geotech inspections
§ Upper Duck Pond – irrigation line installed, quoting of pumping items in progress, and pump house construction in near future
§ North Main / Scenic Park – underground work, retaining walls, backfill, sidewalks, and landscaping
Lap Swim Hours Extended
Teige reported that lap swim hours at the Daniel Meyer Pool were extended into the middle of September.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Centennial Subcommittee members agreed to meet the following week.
UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
§ Centennial Subcommittee meeting set for September 2 at 10:30 a.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
§ Clay Street tour to be set for first week of September.
§ Study session set for September 15 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
§ Regular meeting set for September 29 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department