PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
April 25, 2011
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendent Dials; Interim Superintendent Hammers
Absent: City Council Liaison Slattery
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
Study Session – March 21, 2011
MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: Eggers, Lewis, Seffinger – yes
(Landt and Rosenthal arrived after Approval of Minutes)
Regular Meeting – March 28, 2011
Under “Problematic / Invasive Plant Management Plan Approval,” in the section in which Seffinger asked about removal of blackberries in terms of the effect on the deer population, she said she had asked about the effect on the bird population, not deer. In the same section, in the sentence referencing Eggers’s request to include “a section in the front of the document about protecting and preserving certain values in each park section,” Eggers said one reference to “preserving certain values” was sufficient.
MOTION Seffinger moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: Eggers, Lewis, Seffinger – yes
Colleen Shanahan, 579 Fordyce Street, a contracted dog behavior class instructor through the Parks Department, said she and other dog owners formed a group called “Ashland Loves Dogs” to help people understand responsible dog ownership. She said the group hoped to see more Ashland parks opened to dogs on leashes.
Vicki Bamman, 330 E. Hersey, said the newly formed “Ashland Loves Dogs” sought to change the perception that Ashland did not love dogs. She said they hoped to work with the commission with a goal toward opening more park areas to dogs on leashes. She asked about the proposed walking trail around the golf course and suggested making it a dog friendly option.
Vanston Shaw, 180 Lithia Way #208, thanked the commission and acknowledged their installations of dog waste bag stations along the Ashland bike path and the Bear Creek Greenway. He said the bags encouraged dog owners to pick up after their pets. He asked the commission to include a goal of reviewing dog issues in the upcoming fiscal year.
MOTION: Landt moved to add, under New Business, a discussion about a property owner’s unauthorized tree removals from Parks property and construction encroachment onto Strawberry-Hald Park. Rosenthal seconded the motion. By consensus, the motion was approved and the item was added to the end of New Business.
APPROVAL OF FY 2011-2012 GOALS
Robertson said the commission could refine, reconsider, or approve the draft goals. Commissioners offered suggested revisions to a number of goals and discussed forming a subcommittee to review the goals in greater detail. They agreed that no additional goals were needed on the list. Rosenthal suggested refining the goals as a full commission at a study session rather than at a regular meeting. Other commissioners spoke favorably about forming a subcommittee and Seffinger and Landt volunteered to serve if the commission agreed to its formation.
MOTION Landt moved to form a subcommittee to review and refine existing FY 2011-2012 draft goals, with Seffinger and Landt serving on the subcommittee and reporting back to the commission at the next study session. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Seffinger – yes
Rosenthal - no
LIONS CLUB CONCESSIONS REQUEST
Robertson said the Lions Club of Ashland had served prepackaged ice cream products at City Band summer concerts in Lithia Park the past several years and were requesting the same concession sales in summer 2011, with all proceeds directed to the Ashland Middle School and Ashland High School band programs.
Ashland Lions Club members Mark Haneberg and Herman Schmeling said this was the third or fourth year for the Lions to come before the commission and request summer concessions sales at the Lithia Park bandshell. Haneberg said 100% of the dessert concession proceeds were directed to the local school band programs. He said concert attendees appreciated the opportunity to purchase a dessert and school band programs appreciated receiving donations. He said the Lions Club held liability insurance in the event of an accident.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners asked staff if any complaints were heard in past years and staff reported receiving no complaints. Landt suggested allowing the Lions to sell the dessert concessions on an ongoing basis each summer, with the commission becoming involved only in the event of a complaint or problem.
MOTION Rosenthal moved to grant approval to the Ashland Lions Club to operate dessert concessions in Lithia Park during Ashland City Band concerts in summer months, with all proceeds directed toward charitable causes. He further moved that no annual concessions approval would be needed and staff would report any complaints requiring commission attention. Landt seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
HUNTER PARK TENNIS COURT LIGHTS
Robertson said the commission set aside $75,000 in the current fiscal year’s Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Fund for upgrades to tennis court lights. He said the commission previously discussed it, heard public feedback, and directed staff to investigate options for upgraded lights.
Interim Parks Superintendent Brenda Hammers said three vendors provided product quotes: Musco, Kogap, and Qualite. She talked about the products’ quality, cost, energy efficiency, spills, and warranties. She said Musco and Qualite were more in line with Parks’ standards and did not provide installation but could assist with finding installers. She said the commission could use the existing light poles or purchase taller poles. When asked about the lighting controls, she said each light had its own control in the form of a push-button activator but potentially could be programmed into a key code system like the one at North Mountain Park fields. Robertson said the Musco and Qualite products had better product warranties and many years of technological advancement that contributed to their higher cost. He said if the commission wished to proceed with the project they would need to decide about lighting all eight of the Hunter Park courts along with those at Lithia Park or some portion therein. He asked if they wanted contributions from the tennis community and said the commission could direct staff to explore options beyond the three quotes using the state bid process. Commissioners asked for additional information on product features and pricing before making decisions about light purchases and Landt suggested providing the lighting contractors with the Parks Commission’s policy on outdoor lighting.
Gail Patton, 822 Michelle Street, said she taught tennis lessons at Hunter Park in the summer and fall and lost some enrollees in fall evening classes due to poorly lit courts. She said the lights preceded her 1985 move to Ashland and their upgrade was a maintenance issue.
Public Input, cont’d.
Vanston Shaw, 180 Lithia Way #208, said he played tennis at Hunter Park during the day, as the lights were poor for evening play. He said the lights were a safety issue for community members and he thanked the commission for their efforts in considering upgraded tennis court lights.
Dick Streng, 1255 Munson Drive, said he coached middle and high school tennis boys and also played tennis in the evenings at Hunter Park. He spoke favorably about upgraded, improved, brighter lights and urged the commission to move forward with the project, as tennis provided a healthy activity option for all ages.
Mike Gardiner, 349 Orange Avenue, urged the commission to gather all pertinent data about tennis lighting systems, develop a best plan, set a completion date, and move forward with implementation. He asked them to not require tennis court users to pay for upgraded lights, as the lights were a maintenance issue, and said it would be more cost effective to upgrade all the tennis lights at once rather than in piecemeal fashion.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Lewis said the tennis lights were not the same as soccer or baseball field lights and suggested moving forward with the project. Rosenthal agreed and said he wanted to see an RFP issued that included annual energy costs and programming capabilities for the various systems. He said Hunter Park courts were a premiere facility and this was a quality issue and he suggested lighting all the courts at once. Seffinger said tennis was an activity appreciated by the older population and she’d visited the courts in the evening and noticed the lights were not sufficient. She spoke favorably about moving forward. Landt said the commission received a verbal commitment from Allen Baker to work on securing a $2,500 USTA grant, with possible matching funds from the tennis community.
MOTION Landt moved to direct staff to obtain tennis court lighting bids based on the evening’s discussion. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Rosenthal suggested accepting the gracious offer from Allen Baker. He said he was not comfortable setting a percentage of contributive funding from the tennis community as the equipment was worn out and needed to be replaced. Eggers said other sports groups requesting lights had contributed 35% toward their projects.
MOTION: Landt moved to proceed with the lighting project at Hunter Park, with the tennis community contributing 10% toward the costs of lights. Eggers seconded the motion.
Discussion of motion: Rosenthal asked who the user group was—the contracted tennis coach, the middle/high school tennis coach, citizen tennis players?—and indicated that the commission was the user group. Landt said tennis had a constituency and it was fair to ask tennis court users to contribute toward such a major upgrade, just as the soccer and baseball groups contributed toward lighting projects at the North Mountain Park fields. Lewis said the commission needed to stay current with the latest in lighting technologies at its facilities and suggested accepting the gracious offer from Baker. Eggers said asking for a 10% contribution from user groups for such projects was a fine precedent to set and other sports groups also assisted with the cost of electricity. Robertson said a coin operated lighting system (user-paid electricity) was not a good option.
The vote was: Landt, Eggers—yes
Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger—no
Motion failed for lack of majority support.
MOTION: Lewis moved to direct staff to obtain bids for the lights at Hunter Park tennis courts, to graciously accept the proposed $2,500 USTA grant attempt, and to not ask for remuneration from the tennis community toward upgraded lights. Seffinger seconded the motion.
Discussion of motion: Landt asked for the removal of the phrase “to graciously accept the proposed contribution” and Eggers spoke with concern about fairness to the community in not requiring tennis players to contribute toward lights when other user groups contributed to sports lights. Landt said he would vote for the motion because the larger picture required support for upgraded tennis court lights.
The vote was: Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger—yes
COOLING WASTEWATER INTO ASHLAND CREEK
Robertson said the City of Ashland Public Works Department was trying to determine how to cool effluent from the sewer treatment plant into Ashland Creek based on a DEQ mandate. He introduced Scott Fleury of Public Works and invited him to speak to the commission.
Engineering Technician II Scott Fleury said the City operated the wastewater treatment plant on Oak Street and its discharge was regulated by the DEQ. He said the five-year DEQ permit was due for renewal but the DEQ had tightened the restrictions and was requiring the City to remove some of the heat load of effluent before its entrance into Ashland Creek. He outlined six options for removing heat load and said the topic would be presented to the Ashland City Council on May 3, with Public Works asking for approval from council to formally investigate one option that involved the use of Ashland Pond off Glendower Street. He said the proposed mechanism for cooling effluent was to provide shadow and shade by creating baffles, allowing water to meander toward the outfall into Ashland Pond, then into Ashland Creek. He said Public Works had presented the project to the Bear Creek Watershed Council and walked the site with Freshwater Trust. He said the proposed Public Works project was in its conceptual phase and intended to complement existing restoration efforts in that area. He said the City hoped to have a renewed DEQ permit in place by the end of November 2011.
Mia Driscoll, 365 Kent Street, a Helman Elementary School teacher who said her students informally adopted Ashland Pond, asked if the proposed project would change the nature of the pond. She requested that the pond water be directed into Ashland Creek in a fish friendly fashion.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Lewis said improvements or enhancements to the relatively undeveloped area might be valuable. Other commissioners said they wanted an opportunity to provide meaningful input to council on the dedicated park land under discussion. They asked to be included in the design, development, and approval process for the wastewater treatment project. Landt said that from a City Charter standpoint, council did not have authority to make determinations about park land and any major changes required approval from the Parks Commission.
Commissioners discussed touring the area to review the proposed project site and Robertson said he would join the commission at the May 3 council meeting if they chose to attend.
BLUEBIRD PARK STAIRWAY
Robertson said the Bluebird Park stairs were old, unsafe, and in need of replacement. He said Parks staff met with architect Greg Covey who created preliminary drawings for replacing the stairs. He said the estimated project cost was $38,000, including demolition of the existing stairway, and the commission set aside $25,000 in the current CIP Fund for the project.
Commissioners discussed using the same entry point into the park and constructing the stairs with wood or synthetic wood products rather than steel. Robertson said he would take their comments back to the architect.
MOTION: Landt moved to extend the meeting to 10:15. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Robertson said a citizen removed a large pine tree and topped another tall pine tree—both on Strawberry-Hald Park—several weeks earlier. He said Parks staff contacted Planning, Police, and the City Administrator’s office and learned there were no tree removal permits in place and the acts were considered criminal mischief or worse. He said the park land adjacent to the private home had suffered severe erosion from the construction site encroaching onto park land. He said a retaining wall would need to be erected, with debris removed from Parks property, before a certificate of occupancy could be issued to the property owner.
Lewis said this appeared to be a code compliance issue and asked if the City was lacking in detection or enforcement layers.
MOTION: Landt moved to 1) direct staff to determine the park property boundary where erosion was occurring and fill might be spilling onto Parks property; 2) once boundary was determined, erect a construction fence at the boundary or limit the fill incursion into Parks property; 3) monitor the boundary and construction fence at regular intervals to ensure the fence was not moved, damaged, or that incursion of equipment or material did not occur beyond the fence; 4) work with the property owner / contractor to have any fill that had already intruded onto Parks property be promptly removed from the property owner’s side of the boundary, with no equipment permitted on Parks property in the process; and 5) work with the property owner / contractor and the City to halt the sources of continued unnatural erosion into Parks property and correct them so that only preexisting water sources would flow onto Parks property. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Update on Parks Superintendent Search / Interview Panel
Robertson said 33 employment applications were received during the recruitment period and he pared them to 13 and sent each a list of questions, further paring the list to 10 for interviews. He said the interview panel would consist of no more than two commissioners, the Recreation Superintendent, another staff member, and an HR representative. He said the interviews would take two days and two of the interviewees requested phone interviews. Seffinger and Lewis volunteered to assist with interviews and Robertson said they would be scheduled for mid-May.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Seffinger reported attending a Forest Lands Commission meeting at which trails and trail usage were discussed.
Robertson said staff submitted a grant application for replacing playground equipment in Lithia Park.
Dials said the 21st Annual Bike Swap on Saturday, April 16, was a successful event.
Robertson said the new irrigation pump station at Oak Knoll Golf Course was finished and operating efficiently.
Dials said the Eden / Recware integration was completed and working well.
Commissioners asked when the dogs issue would be placed back onto an agenda and Robertson said he would review the matter and respond to the commission in the near future.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 10:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation