Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session

Monday, August 17, 2015

City of Ashland
Study Session  
August 17, 2015


Present:   Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Miller; Shaw; Director Black; Superintendents Dickens and Dials; Administrative Supervisor Dyssegard and Assistant Manuel 

Absent:     Mayor Stromberg

Chair Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street.    
Mr. Chayanne Montiel of 2287 Christian Ave. in Redding, CA, was called forward. 
Mr. Montiel stated that he was a dance teacher, specializing in Salsa dancing. He reported that he had been teaching in Ashland for the past 14 years, as well as working for Shenanigans in Medford for three. Montiel shared a video of a dancing class, noting that it was a healthy outlet for young people and their families. 
Montiel explained that he was concerned about the number of youths engaging in dangerous activities, including drugs and alcohol in Ashland. He suggested that dancing would be a suitable antidote – noting that kids were attracted to dancing because it gave them something to do. Montiel stated that his mission was to get people off the streets and into the dance studio for improved mind and body health. 
Montiel expressed a need for a facility to teach classes in the winter. He noted that there were enough participants to hold two classes per month. 
In response to a question by Gardiner, Montiel described a donation program instead of a fee to participate in the class. Donations collected would be directed toward facility rental payments. He stated that it was his goal to give back to the community and that he was not in it for the money. Montiel expressed his belief that this community service would help him remain in the United States.      
It was agreed that he would meet with Superintendent Dials to continue the discussion.
Director Black requested two additions to the Agenda:
  1. A discussion regarding priorities for the planned second dog park and sidewalks on Winburn Way.
This discussion was initiated at the request of Commissioner Shaw.
  1. Discussion regarding a potential subcommittee for the development of parks design guidelines.
Both topics would be informational only.
  • Continued Discussion and Consideration of Draft Advertising and Sponsorship Policy  
Dials said the Commission previously requested further clarification about the proposed policy, specifically with regard to varying sponsorship levels. The Commission was also interested in discussing the relevance of APRC’s mission statement within the policy.
Dials noted that the new policy would allow staff discretion over public requests for advertising such as banners displayed in areas within APRC’s jurisdiction. The policy would detail prescribed procedures that would assist both the public and staff. Staff could filter donation requests, bringing larger requests to the Commission for approval. Dials suggested a $10,000 perceived value as the threshold point for items requiring Commission approval. Items could include intangibles such as naming rights as well as larger tangible items within the parks system.
The policy would include specific criteria for approval, listed in order of importance. Dials noted that the most critical criteria would be an alignment between the sponsoring organization and APRC’s mission to provide and promote recreational opportunities while preserving and maintaining public lands. 
Discussion among Commissioners
Lewis spoke about the importance of having the Commission serve as decision makers for naming rights requests. He asked about the proposed list of prohibited affiliations and said it might be helpful for staff when determining whether an affiliation might be appropriate. He spoke in support of the pre-defined time period.

Landt suggested adding a needs clause to the policy to preempt any unnecessary donations or those that might require excessive maintenance. Black agreed, noting that the policy provided a guideline that would assist staff when determining the usefulness of a donation.

There followed a brief discussion in which the policy text was fine-tuned into workable language. It was agreed that the policy could extend to new organizations with no developed track records, allowing them to possibly qualify as sponsors. Changes were agreed upon as follows:
  1. Criteria #3 would read “That the potential sponsor has a positive record of responsible stewardship.”
  2. Recognition of Sponsors #4 would read “All sponsorships will be for a pre-defined period of time or the lifespan of the asset or program being sponsored; whichever comes first.”
  • Discuss Priorities for Second Dog Park and Winburn Way Sidewalks
Shaw called for a review of the two projects, currently listed in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). He stated that other priorities had depleted the funding originally dedicated to Winburn Way, leaving an estimated $35,000 to be divided between the two projects. 

Shaw advocated for setting aside the sidewalk project and combining the available funds for dedicated use on the second dog park. He suggested that the money might be better spent moving forward on the dog park rather than leaving both projects partially completed.     

Black stated that approximately $35,000 was earmarked for an engineering plan to develop sidewalks along Winburn Way. He explained that the funding was intended to prepare “a shovel-ready” project, ready to go once sufficient funding became available. 

Dickens introduced an alternative way to increase pedestrian safety without immediately constructing sidewalks. The plan would mark a pathway along Winburn Way in a manner similar to striping pavement for a bicycle lane.      

Landt expressed a concern that the pathway might be mistaken as a bike lane. Miller asked about the connection and process between the City, with jurisdiction over the street, and APRC, with jurisdiction over parkland, since the City street was located within Lithia Park. Gardiner questioned the validity of striping for pedestrians only. 
Black addressed the concerns, noting that delineation of a pathway would be vetted by the appropriate regulatory bodies and the striping would qualify under the NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) guidelines. He stated that the pavement would be striped with sharrows (shared lane pedestrian markings) to remind drivers that the pathway was set aside for pedestrians. He acknowledged that the striping would be an interim strategy until funding could be secured for sidewalks. 
Dickens presented a schematic outlining the pathway along Winburn Way. He noted that the cost for striping, with assistance from an outside vendor, would be approximately $.50 per lineal foot. The City of Ashland Public Works also had painting equipment available for small projects. Dickens encouraged consideration of the project, stating that the temporary striping would serve as research into the feasibility of sidewalks along Winburn Way. He expressed confidence that the project could be completed fairly quickly.
Black commented that the project would help APRC move toward providing a safer environment for pedestrians walking their dogs or strolling along the Winburn Way roadway.
Landt said there was logic in postponing sidewalk construction as a Lithia Park master plan would soon be underway.

Further discussion focused on the ingress and egress of the proposed pathway. It was agreed that Black and Dickens would develop the plan for future Commission review and possible approval once a budget was established. If approved for moving forward, the Commission would be asked to approve the transfer of the remaining fund balance from the Winburn Way project to the second dog park project.  
Black relayed that striping, if approved, would occur in the spring timeframe.
Landt shared a conversation about developing new sources of revenue for APRC projects. He stated that Ashland City Administrator Kanner was present at a recent subcommittee meeting in which an agenda topic included how to generate revenues. Kanner said by using the TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax, an economic driver for the community) and setting up a project budget earmarked for Lithia Park in the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan), funds could be transferred directly to APRC without the usual fees charged by the City of Ashland.

Landt highlighted the need for approximately $2.5 million for improvements associated with the Lithia Park Master Plan. He reported that using the TOT, as described by Kanner, would create a dedicated revenue source for Lithia Park improvements. 
  • Discussion about Convening a Subcommittee for the Creation of Park Design Guidelines.
Black noted that developing guidelines for park designs was a Commission goal. He explained that the guidelines would provide a template for developers to follow when creating designs for City of Ashland parks. Black contrasted guidelines with standards, stating that standards were absolute while guidelines would assist designers with upholding values espoused by APRC.
Black stated that he had argued against design guidelines in the past because of the need for periodic updates, i.e., materials preferred in the past might be out of favor in the present. In addition, design best practices tended to change over time as design trends and technology changed. Black stated that in a fast-paced environment, updating standards could become unwieldy.

Black introduced a template for guidelines that would concentrate on values rather than specifics. Prospective goals, developed by Commissioner Landt and Black, described a series of priorities beginning with an imperative to minimize long-term maintenance and manage long-term maintenance costs. Topics would address the protection of natural resources, citizen safety as well as education. The APRC expected to see the application of best practices, with an outcome that balanced aesthetic design with functionality.
Black stated that park design standards would be similar to the Planning Department’s neighborhood design standards. He expressed confidence that design criteria could be developed in-house, with input from a Commission subcommittee. In response to a question by Gardiner, Black suggested replacing a defunct subcommittee with the design guidelines subcommittee. He stated that the intent was to retire subcommittees once projects were completed. He commented that the scope of the project was yet to be determined but it was anticipated that the design creation process would be a longer-term project lasting from six months to a year.   
Landt relayed that the guidelines would provide good direction for designers who were required to comply with APRC criteria and values. 

 Black noted that the guidelines could be used internally as well as externally. He explained that the concept was to uphold important elements as identified by the APRC, in terms of park development, and to establish criteria to ensure desired outcomes. Black stated that the project would be cutting-edge, in keeping with a premier parks system.  

Commissioners Lewis and Landt volunteered to serve as subcommittee members. Staff said a formal proposal to establish a design guidelines subcommittee would be presented for a vote at the next regular APRC meeting. 
  • Update on the Performance Audit
Black reported that the Performance Audit Advisory Committee met and reviewed the scope of the   project as well as the request for proposal (RFP). At that meeting it became clear that the RFP would need some wordsmithing prior to approval. Once completed and approved, the RFP would be published, with an estimated timeline beginning in October and ending with the final report in March or April. The Ashland City Council would be apprised of the RFP and the final Performance Audit report would be presented to Council as an “information item” only. 
There followed a brief discussion about the level of experience required by the RFP and subcommittee members. Commentary also encompassed the estimated number of applicants and the possibilities for using the APRC Performance Audit experience as a prototype for other departments.
Black said he anticipated an RFP release in October.                      
  • Requests for Winter Pool Use
Black highlighted a number of requests for extending the swimming season at the Daniel Meyer Pool.  He stated that the Ashland High School and various swim groups were interested in renting the facility during the winter. In addition to competitive swimming, AHS water polo, a club sport, had an interest in using the Daniel Meyer Pool after the conclusion of its regular season.
Black said staff was in the process of estimating costs for operations and maintenance of the pool beyond the regular season. The poolhouse would need to be retrofitted at a cost of approximately $10,000. APRC had budgeted for a complete pool feasibility study and any unaccounted expenses would diminish the line item balance. Also included in the calculation would be the cost of equipment depreciation and associated costs such as a certified pool operator and lifeguards.                
Black stated that he would present cost estimates and other pertinent data to the Commission when figures became available. He cautioned that once the pool became available on a leased basis, demand for public participation might become a factor as well. The pros and cons of considering the requests were briefly debated.   
  • Lighting at the Tennis Courts in Lithia Park
Dickens reported that seven of the eight tennis court lights in Lithia Park had been refurbished, with parts on order for the eighth. The new lenses were much improved over the previous versions.
  • Performance Review for Director Black
Gardiner stated that Black requested a September performance review. Tina Gray from the City of Ashland Human Resources Department was working on a suitable form for the review. Once completed, the form would be forwarded to the APRC via an online survey. Completion of the evaluation would occur online for privacy purposes.         
  • BBQ
Gardiner reminded everyone that the APRC agreed to co-sponsor with Council a BBQ for non-elected City of Ashland boards, commissions and committees. The event was scheduled for Sunday, August 30, from 3 – 5:00 p.m. at the Oak Knoll Golf Course. He encouraged those present to attend.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:22 p.m.    
Respectfully submitted,

Betsy Manuel, Assistant

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