PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
August 24, 2009
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson;
Absent: City Council Liaison Silbiger; Superintendent Dials
Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers,
Study Session – July 20, 2009
MOTION Eggers moved to approve the minutes as written. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no (Noraas abstained)
Regular Meeting – July 27, 2009
Under “Approval of Minutes” for the June 15 study session minutes, Eggers clarified that the Parks Commission, not Noraas in particular, held one voting position on the Forest Lands Commission.
MOTION Noraas moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
Daniel Sperry, 2305C
Commissioners agreed to discuss the matter during Items from Commissioners.
Robertson reported that Public Arts Commission member Dana Bussell and former Ashland City Council member Alice Hardesty attended the July 20 study session to request the placement of a sculpture and memorial plaque within the Japanese-style garden in
Public Arts Commission member Melissa Markell said Alice Hardesty offered to purchase the granite sculpture titled “Gift” by Wataru Sugiyama in memory of her husband, Jack Hardesty, and place it in the Japanese-style garden at the conclusion of the its two-year display period within the Arnie Kriegel Memorial Sculpture Garden along the Calle Guanajuato stairway. She said the sculpture was small—three feet high and fourteen inches at the base—and would not detract from the beauty of the garden. She said a small plaque was proposed for the base that would feature the names of Hardesty and Sugiyama. Sugiyama spoke about his association with Jack Hardesty and requested the placement of his sculpture within the Japanese-style garden in memory of his friend.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed the request, with Eggers voicing concern that it met neither the parameters outlined in the signs and plaques policy nor the spirit or character of the Japanese-style garden. She read aloud both a portion of the policy and notes gleaned from research about elements found in such gardens. She said she learned that ornaments placed in the gardens were typically stone lanterns, used only when a point of interest was desired, and said she loved the garden’s refuge, emptiness, and non-defined spirit. She encouraged fellow commissioners to attend a presentation on November 13 by Shozo Sato, an expert on Japanese culture and dramatic arts, who was expected to speak about the importance of space and emptiness in the Japanese culture. She expressed appreciation for the Hardestys and Sugiyama, stating that she valued their contributions and generosity, but said she could not support the installation of the sculpture in the garden.
Noraas said she also researched the matter and found that the Golden Gate Park Tea Garden in
Lewis said the signs and memorials policy did not include a reference to public art, so art in
Rosenthal expressed some comfort with the installation of the memorial sculpture but not with the plaque as proposed. He concurred that art in the park was a gray area in terms of the policy.
Gardiner voiced support for public art and hope for the commission’s acceptance of the gift but said he was not clear on placement options. He said installing the sculpture in the park could set a precedent. He expressed interest in moving forward with a decision before the conclusion of the sculpture’s two-year installation along the Calle Guanajuato stairway.
Commissioners directed staff to schedule, in the near future, a tour of the Japanese-style garden in
REVIEW OPTIONS FOR PESTICIDE POLICY DISCUSSION
Gies said a review of the Parks Department’s pesticide policy and practices was presented at the August 17 study session. He spoke of several options for proceeding and requested commission feedback.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed the options presented by staff, including scheduling additional study sessions, forming a pesticides subcommittee, hiring a consultant to study the issues and report back to the commission, and retaining the current policy and practices. Commissioners spoke of working with staff to compile a comprehensive list of questions and concerns, then directing staff to prepare answers and schedule an additional study session. Commissioners talked about the need to reduce or, in some instances, eliminate pesticide use in the parks system. They agreed to schedule the study session before the start of the budget season and invite experts to attend. Following the second study session, commissioners reviewed the possibility of forming a pesticides subcommittee—to meet in the winter—that would include commissioners, other agency officials, staff, and citizens. They discussed developing a unified policy for the community and including in the process the Parks Department,
Commissioners agreed to forward to staff their thoughts and concerns about pesticides. Staff agreed to compile and distribute the list of issues and provide the commission with potential study session dates.
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Gies provided the commission with a brief update on the Upper Duck Pond irrigation / pump house projects.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
The commission considered whether to include on a future agenda the request by the cellist to sell CDs in
Commissioners said all past exceptions to the ordinance prohibiting selling in city parks were made for non-profit organizations requesting permission to fundraise for the benefit of the community. They said making an exception for Sperry’s request would set an unwelcome precedent.
Commissioners agreed that they were not willing to place the item on a future agenda.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard,