Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Monday, February 25, 2013

City of Ashland

February 25, 2013

Present: Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:  None

Seffinger called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

Study Session – January 14, 2013
MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Study Session – January 28, 2013
MOTION Lewis moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Regular Meeting – January 28, 2013
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

City Attorney David Lohman said audience members might want to speak to the Garfield Park playground structure procurement process. He said the procurement met all City of Ashland legal and administrative requirements and a process reversal could subject the City to legal consequences.

Margaret Miller, 346 N. Sawyer Avenue in Cave Junction, a current employee of Krauss Craft / Playcraft and a council / planning commission / contract review board member for her community, said she was familiar with the commissioners’ positions. She reiterated the allegations outlined in the two Ashland Daily Tidings display ads purchased by Playcraft and said the playground equipment procurement was not a good process. She said Playcraft’s “back and forth” refinement of their bid after the Parks procurement of a structure from Landscape Structures was a common practice in the industry. Playcraft was the west coast local provider and if the commission considered all elements involved with their procurement, side-by-side with their competitor, they would have chosen a Playcraft product. She understood it was not desirable by the City to change course after procurement. She asked, with future purchases, that the commission consider all elements of procurement and make wise decisions.



Robertson said the annual IPM policy review was due. The commission eliminated pesticides in parks three years prior with the exception of an infield at North Mountain Park and the Oak Knoll Golf Course.

Dickens said pesticide-free parks were the right thing for the environment, especially around riparian zones. Parks staff adhered closely to the IPM policy over the past year and tried several organic products and other non-chemical techniques. Worry Free organic product showed little effect and two burner systems (propane and infrared) used in the downtown area and at Scenic Park were time-consuming and ineffective. Three glyphosate applications occurred at the infield of North Mountain Park per commission policy allowance. Volunteers and community service workers pulled weeds in Lithia Park and the outer parks but the weeds grew back. No non-glyphosate herbicides worked well. He suggested hiring more temporary employees to stay on top of weeds in parks on a rotating basis.

Dickens said staff did not have any major difficulties throughout the year and were requesting just one exemption to the policy:

  • Apply non-selective herbicide (glyphosate) to newly landscaped or re-landscaped areas, with hand-weeding following any application. Staff would stay fifty feet outside of riparian zones and post / fence areas before and after.

Robertson said the policy exemption request was specifically directed toward two potential restroom landscape restorations: Sherwood Park and Hunter Park.

Landt said the proposal, if approved, would modify the Parks IPM policy. He asked if the public was made aware of the possible renewal of selective non-organic herbicide usage in parks as defined in the exemption request. He suggested postponing the request pending adequate public notification about a potential policy change. He said Ashland Fire and Rescue earlier indicated that propane and infrared burners were not allowed in City limits. He asked staff what new information they received that allowed them to use those devices.

Robertson said staff worked with the Fire Marshal and received verbal approval for the use of infrared burners in limited situations (colder, damp weather on hard, non-flammable surfaces only).

Shaw asked for clarification of Landt’s point: Was staff required to notice policy exemption requests or other policy changes on agendas? Staff was directed to notice any future policy change requests on posted agendas.
Landt said staff was trying to balance good environmental practices with sound fiscal responsibility. He asked them to request the exemption in a more generalized way: for any new park built or any newly restored park area, allow limited non-organic herbicide use. This would allow the commission to make one policy change and give staff discretion to make decisions within those parameters.

Staff agreed to postpone the exemption request until a future regular meeting and to notice the proposed policy change on the posted agenda.

Volunteer Coordinator Lori Ainsworth presented her 2012 Volunteer in Parks program annual report. Key points included:

  • 512 volunteers / 12,126 total volunteer hours in 2012
  • 3,986 hours of weed and invasive species removals in parks and on trails
  • 39 park cleanups or “work parties” at: Ashland Pond, Beach Creek, Bluebird Park, Calle Guanajuato, Clay Street Park, Dog Park, Garden Way Park, Glenwood Park, Hunter Park, Japanese Garden area of Lithia Park, Lithia Park, Nature Center, North Mountain Park ballfields, Oredson-Todd Woods, Railroad Park, Riverwalk, Scenic Park, and Siskiyou Mountain Park
  • Ten areas adopted: Bluebird Park (Recology), Calle Guanajuato (Albertsons), Clay Street Park (Siskiyou School), Dog Park (Louise Shawkat), Garden Way Park (Soroptimists), Hunter Park (Ashland Tennis and Fitness), Japanese Garden (Richard Anderson and Alison Date), Oredson-Todd Woods (John Muir), Railroad Park (Wells Fargo Bank), and Scenic Park (Friends of Scenic)
  • Youth Conservation Corps – land stewardship for 8th, 9th, 10th grade students (two sessions) performing restoration and riparian work in parks and on trails while earning 25 school community service hours and learning about maintaining healthy parks and trails. The 2013 program would expand to three sessions.

Commissioners spoke favorably about the volunteer program and acknowledged its growing momentum. Landt said the number of volunteer hours was equivalent to two FTEs. He requested a method for determining efforts toward recruiting and training volunteers versus the amount of work generated. Robertson said the benefits of volunteerism in parks went beyond FTE numbers. Many volunteers in parks were not officially counted because they came on their own. Additional benefits were eyes on facilities, rules enforcement, and preventative maintenance. Seffinger said the volunteer program related to Parks goals in terms of community involvement and implementing the invasive species policy. She said the program needed to increase, not decrease, and Parks was doing better than the national average in their volunteer efforts. Landt suggested setting an annual goal of increasing volunteer numbers by 20-30% each year. He suggested setting similar goals in each section of the parks system.

Robertson said the commission started its budget planning process every year in late fall. A CIP projects matrix was prepared annually (under Public Works) showing all potential projects with associated funding sources over a rolling six-year period. He said funding for CIP projects included Food and Beverage Tax receipts, systems development charges, grants, and bond sales. He reviewed the draft list of CIP projects:

  • Golf greens—two greens rebuilt in FY 12; two more rebuilt each year until completed.
  • Open Space Land Acquisitions—the commission keeps cash on hand for any willing property owner identified on the list.
  • Lithia Park Master Plan—with an estimated 1M visitors per year, the park is over-loved. A master plan would identify each park element and amenity, including flora, fauna, and Ashland Creek. The most expensive aspect of a park is not development but the cost of maintenance.
  • Perozzi Fountain—restore the fountain with similar products (estimated at $500,000), use more durable products in restoration, or move the fountain to another location.
  • Ashland Creek Park Development—an unsuccessful park development grant was submitted in spring 2012. Staff will resubmit grant in spring 2013 after downscaling and tightening up the proposal. Landt and Lewis to assist with the process.
  • Calle Guanajuato—this well-loved extension of Lithia Park is used by tourists, citizens, and merchants. Utility cuts have settled and heaved the concrete in a non-uniform manner despite best efforts to patch and repair. The surface presents possible trip and fall hazards and resurfacing is needed. Staff has worked with property owners to identify “hidden” utilities, all of which require repairs for the safety of businesses, people, and the creek.
  • Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink—the 2012-2013 season was successful but past years saw multiple delays and closures in poor weather conditions due to no cover. CIP budget funds were set aside for a temporary cover.
  • Sign Plan—Ashland park signs are neither readable nor uniform. Staff has tested new paint colors that provide more readability. Additional improvements are needed throughout the system. An informational kiosk is proposed for the front of the Lithia Park office building.
  • Garfield Park Water Play—the current system, in place for 20 years, has outlived its lifespan and does not meet Health Department codes. Significant improvements and reconstruction efforts are necessary.
  • Lower Clay Street Park Development—may need to be pushed out for a number of years. In time, the project will be coordinated with an Ashland YMCA Park development plan.
  • Upper Clay Street Park Development—pushed out for a number of years.
  • Softball Lights at North Mountain Park—pushed into the “Unfunded” category until the softball community raises 35% of project costs.
  • Multi-Generational Recreation Center—Unfunded
  • Artificial Turf Field—Unfunded
  • Lithia Park Shop / Yard Relocation—Unfunded.
  • Daniel Meyer Pool Bathhouse—scheduled for basic improvements in 2015: roof replacement, windows, doors, basic building structure repairs.

Robertson said the commission could prioritize the CIP list at any time. In the short term, staff was expected to submit photos, descriptions, and estimated costs to Finance for inclusion in the City budget book. The City went out for an $18M revenue bond for projects, with $500,000 set aside for Parks (potentially used for Perozzi Fountain renovations). He said the Ashland Parks Foundation had an interest in fundraising for fountain repairs.

Robertson reviewed the draft deferred maintenance list for FY 13-14. An additional item was identified as the Parks office stairway which was not code compliant, too steep in pitch, and rotting.

Robertson reported that hiring a project manager, architect Steve Ennis, was a great help in accomplishing Parks deferred maintenance projects over the current fiscal year.

Robertson said the commission budgeted $250,000 in FY 11-12 for deferred maintenance but the amount was bumped up to $350,000 with the help of the City Administrator. All projects listed posed potential safety hazards. Staff is expected to present an “add package” to the Budget Committee in spring 2013 for $350,000 worth of deferred maintenance projects, with 2% added for growth.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners provided feedback:

  • Clearly outline any budgetary requests so Parks is not left out of the funding loop.
  • Use a similar format for deferred maintenance as for CIP projects—a multiple, rolling year format—so projects are moved beyond current fiscal year cycles and not dropped year to year.
  • Create a modest Garfield Park master plan (approximately $5,000). Upcoming Garfield Park renovations will be significant: new water play structure, volleyball court relocation, Skate Park installation. Add a Garfield Park master plan to either the CIP list or the deferred maintenance list. Staff proposal: add it to the General Fund under “Contracted Services” (budgeted for less than $10,000).

Robertson said council prepared a goals document for presentation to the Budget Committee that would serve as a road map. Council invited the commission to participate in the development of a Parks Department goal along with objectives for the City budget book. The topic was discussed at the February 19 study session. Draft Parks and Recreation core goals, the Parks and Recreation goal, and Parks objectives were reviewed.

Robertson said the mayor suggested a joint council / commission study session with a proposed date of March 11. The topic would be Parks and Recreation goals and objectives. Core goals would not be discussed but would be included in the budget document. Council and the Budget Committee would use the adopted council / Parks Commission goals as a judgment tool in determining the outcome of add packages requested.
Commission input on the goals document included:

  • Support education related to environmental issues;
  • Ensure safety within the Parks system;
  • Provide ongoing evaluations of recreational programs to ensure future relevance.

Robertson said staff was preparing tactics for each of the goals.
Shaw suggested a Parks Commission presence at every Budget Committee meeting to respond to any Parks-related question or concern. Additional benefits would include a greater understanding of the budget process and possibly enhanced funding for Ashland Parks and Recreation.

Commissioners talked about having each commissioner attend one of the five remaining Budget Committee meetings in spring 2013. During public input portions of meetings, they agreed to speak if appropriate.

Standing Subcommittee Appointments

Forest Lands Commission
Seffinger will continue serving in the Parks Commission position for 2013

Golf Course Subcommittee
Gardiner and Lewis will serve on the Golf Course Subcommittee in 2013

Signs and Plaques Subcommittee
Landt and Lewis will serve on the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee in 2013

Seffinger voiced interest in forming an ad hoc Dogs Subcommittee to explore purchasing land for extra dog parks and discuss enforcement of dog rules, trail cleanups, and other dog-related topics.

Dogs Subcommittee
Seffinger and Shaw will serve on the Dogs Subcommittee in 2013



  • Joint study session set for March 11 at 6:00 p.m., Community Development Bldg, 51 Winburn Way. Topic:
    • Joint interests
  • Study session set for March 18 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
  • Regular meeting set for March 25 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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