Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Council-Parks Joint Meeting

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11, 2015
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street
Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Voisin, Morris, Seffinger, Rosenthal and Marsh; Commissioners Gardiner, Shaw, Miller, and Landt were present. Councilor Lemhouse and Commissioner Lewis were absent.
Park & Recreation Director Michael Black presented the Goals and Objectives for 2015-17 for the Park & Recreation Commission.  He stated that the goals were adopted by the commission on January 26 in a public meeting. He explained the process they used and the six categories of Trails, Open Space and Land Conversation; Volunteers; Facilities and Programming; Planning and Development; Organization and Parks and Recreation Governance.  The top five goals were as follows:
  • Facilitate a partnership between Parks and Recreation and a community partner, such as the YMCA, SOU and Ashland School District to build new competition-style year-round indoor swimming pool for the community
  • Work with the City to facilitate the full transfer of The Grove into the long-term care and control of APRC
  • Move forward with sidewalks on Winburn Way and Clay Street Dog Park
  • Update Trails and Open Space Com Plan
  • Move forward with the process of selection for a consultant for the Lithia Park Master Plan and begin planning process
It was clarified that the Park & Recreation Comp Plan is a guiding document for the future over the years.  It was noted that there are very outdated items in the plan and that trails is an important element. Further clarification was made regarding the partnership between the City and the US Forest Service regarding use of trails.
Mr. Black explained the timeline for the project that includes Winburn Way and the Dog Park.  He stated that funding has been explored but that this is not in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  The Dog Park does have a place hold through the use of Meals Tax and it was discussed that funds from the Ending Fund Balance could be used for these two projects.  Staff is working on these projects for appropriation.  City Administrator Dave Kanner explained that the Ending Fund Balance is lower than what was expected but agreed that these funds would be used for these two projects.  Staff expects to have the projections for the Ending Fund Balance until the end of the Budget process in late April 2015. Mr. Kanner expects the amount to be close to $100,000 and the Ending Fund Balance is a projection.
Continued discussion and clarification on how the Ending Fund Balance is determined and that no funds have been moved.
Mayor Stromberg stated that members of the Park Commissioners, himself and a councilor can discuss this more thoroughly and bring back to the bodies for discussion.
Park & Recreation Director Michael Black presented the current use of The Grove and plans on the long-term disposition of The Grove. Mr. Black emphasized Customer Service, central location and the following:
  • “Open hours” for drop in recreation use by youth and other members of the community
  • Increased operation of senior programs
  • Increased operations of new and general recreation programs organized by APRC for the benefit of the community
  • Increased use of individual rooms to be rented for public use
  • Physical relocation of the recreation division of the APRC
  • Continued use as an emergency shelter option
  • Relocation of APRC Study Session meetings
Benefits that could be achieved by a more permanent APRC arrangement of the facility are:
  • Accessibility
  • Ease of access by the public
  • Visibility and perception
Mr. Black explained that this is “visionary” rather than “temporary” and used past examples that have been undefined.  It was clarified that Park & Recreation pays $45,000 annually for maintenance. Mr. Kanner offered options that could be worked out with Park & Recreation for the use of The Grove building. It was noted that having Park & Recreation at The Grove would provide a “face” for the service that is provided to the community.
Park & Recreation Director Michael Black presented the discussion regarding Southern Oregon University (SOU) McNeil Pavilion Pool closure and the entities that have partnered to work on a solution.  He explained that Representative Buckley has been involved and would be willing to help secure State funding for a pool at the SOU location. 
Costs associated with operation and maintenance of the pool is estimated between $250,000 and $500,000.
Mr. Black noted conversation with Ashland YMCA and how building a new pool might conflict with their programs.  He stated that the Ashland YMCA may be willing to discuss building a new pool at their location if land could be donated.  They could provide the fundraising for the pool and this would provide a partnership between APRC and Ashland YMCA.
From this discussion the following is being presented as an option for a new pool at the reconstructed McNeal Pavilion:
  • Location – SOU has agreed that a new pool can be attached to the reconstructed McNeal Pavilion on their property
  • Capital Cost – SOU cannot add a new poll to their construction plans without a new funding source.  Once a “certain dollar amount is determined” the users will be expected to come up with the rest of the capital.  SOU cannot pay for the difference.
  • Operating Cost – SOU does not want to operate a new pool.  An ongoing contract administered by the user group would be required.  Operation costs will have to be paid for by the users through fees for use and other sources.
Mr. Black is requesting discussion on this matter on the priority for a new pool, support for location, role by APRC and City, budget proposal for operations and maintenance of pool. Mr. Black stated that there are opportunities available and hopes to have discussion regarding these options.
It was noted that there are several issues that would need to be discussed that include parking space and use of visiting schools. Mr. Black explained that parking concerns had been reviewed and that additional parking could be included in the CIP for parking at SOU and understands that Ashland YMCA does have the capability of parking.  He also shared that there has been discussion regarding the size of a new pool and how the current Daniel Myer pool is utilized.
Comment was made that all depends on the support by the public and those entities that currently use a pool, for a new pool and what kinds of use would be determined for the pool.
Rebecca Kay/2350 Ranch Road/Shared that her reason for moving to this area was that a competition pool and active masters swimming program were available. She explained that there is a huge difference between a recreational pool and competition pool. She felt that costs could be offset by youth clubs fees.
Charles Roome/25 Allen Lane/Shared his swimming experience and use of the SOU pool for health reasons.  He explained that he is not able to use the Ashland YMCA pool for a realistic workout.  He felt that there would be many people who would be willing to come to a competition size pool from elsewhere in the valley.  He also stated that this would be a positive economic impact to our community.
Todd Lamtry/11158 Corp Ranch Rd/Shared his family and personal swimming experience.  He shared that the High School had their last swim practice at SOU and that having a year round pool would be a resource to the community. He felt that SOU is not committed and supported another plan that would be viable. He clarified that the current four core groups are the ones that provide for the funds associated with operation and maintenance at SOU.  He also shared the year round calendar and how a new pool would be fully utilized.  In addition, full programs help with the costs associated with operation and maintenance funds. Mr. Lamtry provided detailed information on what the needs would be for swim programs.
Dorsey Dobry/1725 Bristol/Shared her view on the positive community activity in our area. Shared her personal swimming experience and the lack of swimming programs in our community and the importance of sports for our youth.
Deneice Zeve/2710 Siskiyour Boulevard/Shared that she is a member of the Ashland School Board and that her son is a swimmer.  She does see a need for a new pool in our area and commented on the positive support by APRC for various programs in our community. She noted that the Ashland School District has a bond being presented to the community and felt that the School Board would be welcome to discussion on partnering on this matter.
SOU Director of Facilities Drew Gilliand shared some of the challenges involved with the timing for this project and it would relate to their reconstruction.  Mr. Black explained that there would be a timing issue with the Ashland YMCA as fundraising can be a long-term event.  He shared concerns regarding acceptance or non acceptance of a $3million funding option.
Concern was voiced for APRC taking on a project of this size and the need of those using the pool.  Mr. Gilliand shared that the SOU Student Body was clear in that they were not supportive of funding a pool of this size. Continued discussion and concern regarding the costs associated with maintenance and this should be the focus as a larger pool would provide for a larger share of revenue.
It was clarified that SOU cannot commit without knowledge of participation and this would need to be determined by March 2015. It was stated that this is a question of what the community can get and what is needed.  It was suggested that more discussion from the Ashland YMCA and a community forum scheduled to bring more information forward and involve the public.
Suggestion to authorize Park & Recreation Director to gather further information, which may require a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.  He estimated the costs, timeline and public input which could take up to nine months.  Any feasibility study would include the Ashland YMCA based on a competition size pool and use by the community.
Continued discussion was held on the timeline involved depending on the direction that is taken either through the State or Ashland YMCA. Continued discussion was held on all the issues surrounding the decision of going forward with using funds through State or partnering with the Ashland YMCA.
Suggested next step was for staff to provide a written description on the option of partnering with the Ashland YMCA that could be brought back for discussion and review by both the City Council and Park Commissioners.  Important to include public input.
It was noted that this may need to be considered an Aquatic Center rather than a “pool” and that costs associated with operation and maintenance should be clearly considered.
It was suggested that a “regional” Aquatic Center should be considered in options discussed.
Mr. Black explained that a Feasibility Study would focus on the need of the community and could offer other alternatives that do not include the Ashland YMCA.  Mr. Kanner suggested approaching the Ashland School District in assisting with the funding for a Feasibility Study.
Mr. Black explained that the SOU option is not based on what we need but what we can get.  That the Ashland YMCA may offer all that is needed but a Feasibility Study would provide clear information on what is needed in our community.  He stated that the Ashland YMCA Board would be willing to meet with elected officials to discuss their partnership.
It was suggested that a joint meeting with the City Council, Park Commissioners and local community agencies that would be willing to participate in this project.  The question of conducting a Feasibility Study will made clearer once more discussion has been held with interested partners and agencies.
Consensus was for staff to move forward with scheduling a joint meeting that included Councilors Voisin, Morris and Rosenthal; Commissioners Shaw and Gardiner.  It was suggested that the Mayor or Park Commissioner reach out to Representative Buckley on the direction that the City is taking.  Concern was raised that Representative Buckley understands that the option involving the State is still being considered.
Peter Foil/225 Sunset/Stated that the City of Newberg just completed a Feasibility Study and that this information could be shared.
Mr. Black explained that it is difficult to look at another City’s feasibility because their needs, population, etc. is different than our community.  He suggested that getting the community involved to ensure that there is widespread support prior to committing funds.  Mr. Foil explained that the City of Newberg pool is similar to the SOU pool.
It was suggested that this issue be made a priority due to the critical timeline.
Request to have further discussion on agenda items was noted.
It was noted that there are still items to discuss regarding budget that should be addressed at a joint meeting.  It was noted that there is an upcoming Citizen Budget Committee scheduled.

Meeting adjourned at 9:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen
City Recorder

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