Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, December 14, 2009

City of Ashland




December 14, 2009



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

Absent:       City Council Liaison Silbiger


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


Gardiner reviewed the evening’s agenda and welcomed Emily, an SOU student.

Robertson said the commission set study session topics for FY 2009-2010 based on annual goals and designated “goals / budget process” as the December study session topic. He said the city administrator proposed some changes for the council budget goals matrix. He distributed the latest version of the matrix along with the FY 2009-2010 goals list. He read the goals list aloud and provided updates for each category. Goal summaries / commissioner and staff comments / action items included:

§         Financial and Business Plan – Develop a long-term business, organizational, and financial plan that evaluates and identifies current and future funding sources. Explore how Parks works in conjunction with tourism, business and family relocation, property values, and jobs creation.

o       Staff spoke with an SOU business professor who indicated potential graduate student interest in using the goal as a capstone project.

§         Renew Food and Beverage Tax – Prepare a list of priorities for the expenditure of any new food and beverage funds, including acquisition and development along with major rehabilitation.

o       Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg advised the commission about bonding for the purchase of the lower Clay Street property.

o       Question about how to leverage funding.

§         Non-Native Vegetation Control Plan – Develop a prioritized plan for the removal and/or control of non-native vegetation in conjunction with a review of the current pesticide use policy.

o       Subcommittee formed to review potential changes to Parks pesticides policy.

o       Local toxicologist invited to attend subcommittee meeting and help staff and the commission make progress on this goal.

o       Second subcommittee meeting scheduled for December 15.

o       Staff update regarding progress on non-native vegetation control, with assistance from the State Forestry Department and a summer youth work crew.

§         Upper and Lower Clay Street Properties – Develop programs to guide the development of master plans for the two park properties.

o       Price for the commission’s purchase of the lower Clay Street property: $1.3 million (including a portion of the wetlands, with the City purchasing the remaining wetlands).

§         Oak Knoll Golf Course – Identify and implement new programs and activities to increase the versatility of golf course use by both golfers and non-golfers. Regard the course as a business enterprise with a goal of self-sufficiency.

o       Install non-golfing amenities, including a walking trail and disc golf course.

o       Use markers as identifiers for the walking trail rather than a surface.

o       Staff report on the removal of nearly two dozen aged poplar trees at the golf course, with replacement oak trees to be planted along the street and throughout the golf course.

§         Nature Center – Evaluate the mission of the Nature Center utilizing the existing advisory group. Look at its future role in relation to Ashland School District finances and overall values of the community.

o       Schedule a meeting with Nature Center advisory group and Nature Center staff.

o       Rework Nature Center mission statement in an effort to determine future direction.

§         Community Communication – Seek new ways to communicate with the community by organizing neighborhood meetings and other methods of “direct communication.”

o       Lap swimmers and all other pool users to be invited to participate in a focus group early in 2010, with other special interest focus group meetings to follow (e.g., runners, dog owners).

o       Parks staff reined in by City staff on City of Ashland Web site upgrades implemented in an attempt to improve usability and overall communication for visitors to Parks Web site.

§         Environmental Evaluations and Audits – Provide evaluations of all facilities and operations within the department; evaluate reports from individual facilities and make recommendations for improvements. Remain energy-consumption-neutral; reduce energy consumption from one year to the next.

o       Staff continuing to work on fixes for environmental oversights identified in Green Team audit report. Staff to prepare full report outlining fixes and repair dates.

o       Staff to investigate how the City assembled its internal Green Team and use that model in creating a Parks Green Team or join forces with City’s Green Team.

o       Commissioner comments on wariness about potential competitiveness among internal City Green Teams.

§         Preliminary Steps Toward Creation of Lithia Park Master Plan – Consider potential elements for inclusion in a Lithia Park master plan to provide care and preservation of Lithia Park and the portion of Ashland Creek within its boundaries.

o       Invite RVCOG staff member (familiar with Bear Creek Watershed) to support this goal with regard to water quality testing and preservation.

o       Consider this goal in terms of both water quality and historic preservation.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners voiced support for retaining / refining / completing all FY 2009-2010 goals. A commissioner suggested the additional goal of hiring a part-time volunteer coordinator in the new fiscal year.

Commissioners agreed to furnish additional goal suggestions at the next study session and to work with staff on condensing or enlarging current year goals, with the aim of creating achievable FY 2010-2011 goals.

Robertson said the city administrator proposed matching city council values with items found on the council matrix form and she also suggested scheduling a separate Parks / council meeting early in 2010 to discuss the tax rate prior to the Parks budget presentation.


Robertson said his annual review was scheduled following the December 21 regular commission meeting, with the review to be held in executive session.


Robertson said a Plaza merchant requested parking privileges behind his store along the Calle Guanajuato. He said the shop owner (who was not a Calle property owner) was invited to make his request directly to the commission at any future study session or regular meeting.

Robertson said staff found a Parks Commission public art policy that was created in 2002. He said the policy—which outlined proper placement for public art on dedicated park land—could be revised for current use or serve as a springboard for creating a new public art policy. He distributed copies to the commission, asking them to read it before staff distributed the document to the Public Art Commission.

Robertson reviewed the agenda for the upcoming regular meeting on December 21, stating that it included approval of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), a schedule of 2010 meeting dates, and an executive session. Commissioners agreed to review the CAFR document and provide questions to staff in advance (for forwarding to Tuneberg) so that Tuneberg would not need to attend.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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