Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

City of Ashland




April 13, 2010



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

Absent:       Commissioner Noraas; City Council Liaison Jackson


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


Robertson said the commission asked landscape architect Laurie Sager to work on construction documents for the Ashland Creek Park. He said they also asked her to work with flood consultants to model high water at the site and consider possible impacts to the proposed facilities in a flood situation. He said she attended a pre-application meeting with Planning staff to discuss any concerns regarding Ashland Creek Park plans.

Laurie Sager displayed a set of drawings created by Thornton Engineering as part of their flood study along with preliminary grading plans. Based on flood study results, she said minor revisions were made to the Ashland Creek Park site plan. She read a letter from Thornton Engineering outlining their analysis of existing conditions and describing a preliminary plan depicting the flood elevations and floodway boundaries. The project site was said to be located within the flood plain, but any flooding would minimally impact adjoining properties directly across the creek.

Sager said the preliminary grading plan indicated the need to import up to 1,260 yards of structural fill, as the soil study showed the existing material to be potentially unusable. She said the ADA pathway was moved further east due to the grading change along Hersey. She said the planning pre-application meeting produced comments from the Planning Department indicating the city’s support for the park with the implementation of minor changes. One potential change involved the water resources ordinance requirement of not developing within 50 feet of the creek. She said the south side of the proposed rock wall was within 50 feet of the creek and could be moved.

Sager said outstanding issues included the need for a further flood study, which could be completed within three months, along with refinements to the grading plan to help balance the cut and fill. She asked the commission to provide feedback to allow the project to move forward.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked about the side channel within the creek and Sager said the commission decided in 2008 to handle it as a separate future project. Commissioners asked about the permit time limit and Sager said she thought it was a one-year permit that could be extended.

Robertson said gardeners reported seeing possible archeological elements at that location. He suggested bringing a consultant to the site to help the commission research the matter before beginning construction. He also suggested building the park in phases due to high costs.

Public Input

Bryan Holley, 324 Liberty Street, thanked the commission and staff for the community garden at the Hersey Street location. He said the culvert beneath Hersey Street was problematic during floods, as it was under-engineered above the under-road culverts, causing flooding at the seven-acre site. He suggested having Parks staff talk with Public Works staff and the city administrator about “waterproofing” by bringing the culvert up to current flow/flood standards, thereby reducing project costs and addressing safety concerns. He invited everyone to a May 15 seed ceremony celebrating the eighth growing season at the Ashland Creek Park community garden.

Ted Loftus, 295 Beach Street, questioned whether the sidewalk on the north side of Hersey Street had been budgeted and requested that it meander. He asked if there were any on-street bump-outs for parking or any parking permitted within the park itself. He asked the commission to save the fig tree.

Katherine Mahoney, 295 Beach Street, said the gardeners worked hard over the past eight years to amend the soil and make it rich. She asked the commission to allow the gardeners to move their soil to the new garden location at the park site. She said both experienced and inexperienced gardeners joined together at garden locations to grow food and share gardening tips.

Carol Carlson, 509 N. Mountain Street, said the gardeners were concerned about Bermuda grass and other soil deficiencies beyond the current gardening plots. She said the proposed new garden location at the park site was a wetland area and expressed concern about possible soil issues.

Steven Koskella, 215 Scenic, asked additional questions about the culvert mentioned by Holley. He said water could not be pushed, as it would go upstream of the road and flood there.

Commissioners directed staff and Sager to proceed with the project.


Robertson said staff developed a list of capital improvement projects in January. He talked to the commission about bonding against future receipts for Food and Beverage Tax proceeds. He reported meeting with City Finance Director Lee Tuneberg who previously met with bond counsel. He said Tuneberg indicated that the commission could not bond for their payback of the purchase of the lower Clay Street property and Tuneberg advised the commission to do a full faith and credit loan in which interest would only be paid on money used. He said staff developed a proposed payback schedule of $208,000 per year for 6-1/2 years and the money would come from Food and Beverage Tax funds, estimated at $400-$450,000 per year. He asked whether the commission wanted to leverage the remaining $192-242,000 per year for projects or use it as it was collected. If leveraged, he said the formula would be $200,000 (available for debt service) times 20 years (term of loan) = $4,000,000 divided by 1.6 (principle and interest) = $2,500,000 available for capital improvement projects. Robertson said the commission could also apply for grants to complete targeted CIP projects even if they chose to bond.

Robertson said the commission needed to borrow money to develop parks such as the Ashland Creek Park. He asked for direction from the commission.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed the possibility of bonding. They agreed that some parcels of land identified within the Open Space Plan were purchased for neighborhood parks but funding had not been available for development. They said careful bonding and borrowing could provide them with an opportunity to catch up on development projects. Commissioners said that if they decided to bond, they could spend some of the borrowed funds and allow future commissions to spend the remainder for future projects. Rosenthal asked when the commission voted to purchase the lower Clay Street land as he did not recall voting on it. Robertson said staff would look into it.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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