City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
October 22, 2001
Present: Commissioners JoAnne Eggers, Sally Jones, Rick Landt, Jim Lewis, Laurie MacGraw, Councilor Don Laws, Director Ken Mickelsen
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – September 24, 2001 Regarding the last paragraph under Staff Reports that addresses the tennis court resurfacing project, Commissioner Landt said that he would like to strike both "and instead retain those monies for regularly-scheduled resurfacing" from the sixth line and also "and to retain those monies for regularly-scheduled resurfacing" from the first sentence of his motion. Instead, he would like to correct the motion to read "Commissioner Landt moved to postpone the tennis court resurfacing project in this fiscal year and put it back on its original timetable." There was no opposition among Commissioners. Commissioner MacGraw moved to approve the minutes of the September 24, 2001 Regular Meeting as corrected. Commissioner Eggers seconded.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
Discussion of citizen’s concern regarding cross country running activities in Lithia Park
Phil Selby (278 Idaho Street #4) was present to speak. Mr. Selby, a long-time Ashland resident, noted that he has been an active and regular visitor to Lithia Park since 1938 or 1939. He outlined some unpleasant incidents, involving both himself and others, with cross-country runners over the past three years. Mr. Selby feels that there needs to be some other area for the cross-country runners to practice in and hold their meets. He feels that the purpose of Lithia Park is not for cross-country racing but to walk in and admire the scenery and so on. He noted that the population of Ashland is growing, park usage is increasing and that much of this growing usage is by senior citizens. Due to that, Mr. Selby thinks that it’s time for a change. He requested that the Park Commission work with the city schools in finding places other than Lithia Park for the cross-country teams to practice and hold their races. He stressed that he was not requesting that cross-country have no races in the park system, just not in Lithia Park. In the interim, he would like signs posted when runners are active and for runners to verbalize warnings as they approach from behind.
Barry Peckham (40 Granite Street #8), a member of the high school cross-country coaching staff, was present to answer any questions the Commissioners might have. Mr. Peckham noted that many signs are posted for the large State of Jefferson meet. He also noted that cross-country practices vary—locations include North Mountain Park, Iowa Street, the TID Ditch trail, and other places as well as Lithia Park. When runners do come through the Park, he said, they come down through a section of the Park as part of a larger loop. If a practice includes Lithia Park at all, practice time in the Park is essentially limited to 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. on school days. Mr. Peckham pointed out that not all of the runners seen in Lithia Park are members of school district cross-country teams.
PUBLIC FORUM – None
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None
Discussion related to options for reducing electrical energy consumption.
Director Mickelsen noted that the original impetus for the 12% reduction goal set by the Commission was the concern for a potential energy crisis in southern Oregon. He explained that, as discussed before, reduction options included both conservation measures and curtailment measures. "Curtailment measures" would be those measures that reduce the level of service the Department provides to the community. He said that the Department would be making every effort to conserve. However, curtailment measures such as winter restroom closures would need to be approved by the Commission.
Director Mickelsen summarized the October 15, 2001 memorandum on the topic outlining suggested energy saving measures that could be taken which should significantly reduce electrical energy consumption related to restrooms without actually closing them. One of the suggested measures would be to replace each restroom’s indoor thermostat with an outdoor thermostat. While not intended to substantially heat the restroom facilities, this option – "Option 2" -- would permit the restrooms to remain open and to protect the plumbing from freezing by allowing the heaters to be activated when outside temperatures drop to 34° F- 36° F. As actual consumption is so highly weather-dependent, there would be no guarantee that Option #2 will meet the 12% goal. However, he said that staff believed that it will certainly "get us in the ballpark."
Public Comment – None
Discussion among Commissioners
Commissioner Landt noted that he would like to see the Commission hold firm to the original 12% reduction policy. However, he suggested that prior to closing the restrooms for winter months that the Commission first try some of the measures outlined by staff. If through analysis of usage, as the winter progresses, it appears that the reduction of usage is falling short of the 12% goal, then the Commission could start closing restrooms. He stated he would like to try to keep restrooms open if possible because they are such an important amenity.
He also inquired as to what it would cost to convert one or two of the larger restrooms to natural gas. Superintendent Gies said that he would estimate between $1,000 - $1,500 per restroom. Commissioner Landt suggested that if the Commission chooses to have the restroom thermostats changed as recommended in Option 2 that this would probably be a good time to change over a couple of restooms to natural gas, suggesting that the monies could come from that which had been saved by postponing the tennis court resurfacing project which had been planned for this year.
Commissioner Eggers agreed with trying to meet the 12% goal originally set and would be willing to try cutting back the heat in restrooms to see if that would be sufficient. She said that she felt that it was important to have restrooms available if possible. And, eventually, she felt it would be appropriate to convert over to a less expensive heating source. If we could convert a couple of restrooms to natural gas this year, so much the better.
Commissioner Lewis concurred with Commissioner Eggers but said that he would prefer changing out the thermostats immediately and then looking at what the costs would be to convert to natural gas.
Commissioner MacGraw voiced her support for Option 2, changing over the thermostats. However, indicating that the Commission would be planning for the next budget year soon, stated that she would need some more information about budget ramifications before she could support changing over to natural gas.
Commissioner Jones concurred with implementing Option 2. She also said she would like to know what the budget implications would be for this year if we were to change over two of the larger restrooms to natural gas this year.
MOTION – Commissioner Landt moved to direct Staff to implement Option 2 of the October 15th memorandum concerning reducing electric consumption as soon as practical and also to replace the heating units at restooms at YMCA City Park and at Hunter Park with gas systems assuming that the costs for all of these things are within the estimates given in the memo. Commissioner Eggers seconded.
Commissioner MacGraw expressed her inability to support the motion because it doesn’t state where the money will come from. Commissioner Landt said that as previously stated, the money could come from the savings related to postponing the tennis court project.
Commissioner Jones asked staff opinion. Director Mickelsen said that prior to converting to natural gas it may be appropriate to determine the payback to doing the conversion. He suggested moving forward with Options 2 while giving staff time to research the costs for replacing the heating systems with natural gas.
Commissioner Lewis asked whether or not Commissioner Landt intended to keep the restrooms warmer if they were converted to natural gas. Commissioner Landt said no, the restrooms would still be kept "just above freezing" to keep the pipes from freezing. Commissioner Lewis said that, in that case, he could not see spending the money for the conversion.
The vote was: 2 yes – 3 no (MacGraw, Lewis, Jones)
MOTION – Commissioner Eggers moved to direct Staff to implement Option 2 of the October 15th memorandum and to ask Staff to work up some estimates on payback periods for installing gas heaters in the YMCA City Park bathroom and the Hunter Park bathroom. Commissioner Lewis seconded.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
Council Liaison Don Laws expressed his concern that implementing this option would not enable the Commission to meet its 12% reduction commitment. Realizing that weather is always a factor, he said that without an analysis of the energy savings, he did not see that this option would allow the Commission to meet it goal. He said that as a Councilor, he was concerned how this would impact the City’s overall plan to reduce electric consumption. In response to Councilor Laws' concern, Commissioner Lewis asked Staff how long it would take to winterize and close the restrooms should it become apparent that Option 2 alone would not achieve the 12% reduction goal. Superintendent Gies said that Staff could winterize and close the restrooms on short notice.
After additional brief discussion, staff was asked to develop some clear estimates related to what the savings would be related to Option 2. Staff was also asked to come back to the November meeting with an estimate of what the payback period would be if two of the larger restrooms were converted to natural gas.
Review and approval of First Addendum to OSF lease
Director Mickelsen explained that City Attorney Paul Nolte had contacted the Department about the need for the Commission to approve the Addendum to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Lease. Although the Addendum has nothing whatsoever to do with Park property, the Commission’s signature is necessary on the Addendum because the Commission is a signatory to the original lease. Director Mickelsen suggested that the Commission had the option to approve the Addendum contingent upon the City Council approving the Addendum as well.
City Attorney Nolte was present to answer any questions Commissioners might have.
Commissioner Landt stated his concern that if the City Council made any changes to the Addendum, the Commission would need to readdress the issue. Councilor Laws suggested that, since the matters being discussed have nothing to do with Parks Commission land or area, the Commission could approve the Addendum contingent upon any changes the Council might make.
MOTION – Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the First Addendum to OSF Lease contingent upon Council approval, noting that if anything changed, "it will have to come back to us." Commissioner Jones seconded.
Commissioner Landt stated that he would be voting "no" as he had not had time enough to review the Addendum thoroughly enough to feel comfortable voting either way.
The vote was: 4 yes – 1 no (Landt)
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Proposed September 24, 2001 7:00 p.m. Study Session to prepare for the November 7, 2001 OS Plan Community Meeting
Director Mickelsen inquired as to whether Commissioners would be available to attend the proposed Study Session. It was agreed that the Study Session would be set as proposed. Director Mickelsen also publicly thanked the City Council for graciously rescheduling its November 7 meeting so as not to conflict with the OS Plan Community Meeting.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Commissioner Eggers reminded the Commission that she was the Parks Commission representative to the Forest Lands Commission and offered to provide reports back from those meetings if the Commissioners would like. She also invited Commissioners and the public to attend an October 27th workshop regarding monitoring the fire hazard reduction proposal for the Ashland Watershed.
UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
The Commission agreed to continue meeting the 4th Monday of every month during 2002 with the exception of May and December. In those two months, because of holiday conflicts, the Commission will meet on the 3rd Monday of the month.
Director Mickelsen reminded Commissioners of the November 7, 2001 7:00 p.m. Open Space Plan Community Meeting. He also proposed a 6:00 p.m. Study Session before the November 26, 2001 Regular Meeting to present information related to the golf course.
Proposed Agenda items: Pay back period for recouping costs if restrooms are converted from electric heat to gas heat and analysis of electrical "savings" that would be anticipated when electric thermostats are changed over.
ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Robyn Hafner, Department Secretary, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department