Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Monday, April 25, 2016

City of Ashland
Regular Meeting
April 25, 2016

Present:  Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Miller, Shaw; Director Black; Superintendent Dials and Dickens; Executive Assistant Dyssegard; Assistant Manuel
Also Present:  Jeff McFarland, Supervisor of Forestry, Trails and Open Space Properties; Lonny Flora, Recreation Manager 
Absent: City Council Liaison Mayor Stromberg
Chair Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
Study Session – March 21, 2016

Gardiner noted a correction for Page 6 as follows:
Lonny Flora would not manage the Golf Clubhouse as part of his Recreation Manager duties.
Correction should read: 
Lonny Flora would manage the Golf Clubhouse as part of his Recreation Manager duties.
Motion: Landt moved to approve the Minutes for March 21, 2016, as amended. Lewis seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Regular Meeting – March 28, 2016
Landt noted a correction for Page 2 as follows:
Landt reiterated that while overlapping events are not the norm…
Correction should read: 
Landt reiterated that overlapping events are not the norm…
Motion: Shaw moved to approve the Minutes for March 28, 2016, as amended. Landt seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Joint Meeting with Council – March 29, 2016
Motion: Landt moved to approve the Minutes of March 29, 2016, as presented. Miller seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Ms. Jackie Bachman of 943 B. Street in Ashland was called forward. 
Bachman said she had been an Ashland resident for the past year and was a retired senior. She enjoyed participating at the APRC Senior Center and was actively involved in recreational opportunities such as line dancing and yoga. On behalf of the Senior Center, she served as an ambassador for the OLLI Program, an educational activity in support of lifelong learning.

Bachman voiced appreciation for the management at the Ashland Senior Program, headed by Christine Dodson. She said Dodson made sure clients felt welcome, safe and involved.

Bachman emphasized the importance of providing such services free of charge, noting that many members have limited resources and limited access to other programs. She highlighted the Center’s mission to provide a venue for social interaction through recreational and health-related activities.

There were none.
There was none.

  • Calle Guanajuato Mural Request Recommendation to City Council  (Action)
Dials introduced Barry and Kathryn Thalden, sponsors for a proposed art project along the Calle Guanajuato. She said they retained an artist from Sister City Guanajuato to paint a full-sized mural on the Sesame Kitchen building. Dials reported that the design of the mural had been approved by the Public Arts Commission with conditions:
  • Prohibit artisans from hanging their wares on the mural wall. 
  • Reconfigure the sunshade.
  • Change the direction of the gate that allows entrance onto the Calle so the gate swings against the fence rather than obscuring the mural.
  • Relocate the sign for the Fire Lane that currently hangs on the mural wall to the opposite side of the Calle.​
Dials reported that working with the sunshade in place was discussed and possible solutions considered. She noted that changing the gate would be more complex as it would require engineering. The proposed placement of bollards to prevent access by vehicular traffic from entering the Calle was a possible solution. APRC staff recommended that costs associated with the placement and painting of the mural be the responsibility of the project’s sponsors.
Barry and Kathryn Thalden of 550 Ashland Loop Road in Ashland were called forward.   
Mr. Thalden indicated that the project was an effort to promote the Ashland/Guanajuato connection. He stated that local artist Denise Baxter would be assisting Guanajuato artist Loreta Villasenor. Art students from SOU would also participate. Ms. Thalden underlined a broad base of support for the project, including encouragement from the Amigo Club.   
Dials explained that a recommendation for approval would move the project forward for a final review by the Ashland City Council on May 17, 2016. Lewis reported that the Public Arts Commission had thoroughly vetted the project and there were no major barriers for approval. It was estimated that the mural would be completed by the Fourth of July. 
Landt highlighted background information about the gate, clarifying that placement of the gate would remain as it was. He suggested that condition three be modified by deleting the year 2016 so the agreement did not expire. He also recommended inserting the word alterations into condition four to broaden the scope and clarify the responsibilities. 
Gardiner conferred with the Thaldens regarding costs that might impact the project. Mr. Thalden replied that their commitment covered expenses related to the project. He pledged to continue working with the Public Arts Commission and the Lithia Artisans Market for solutions to any issues that might arise. Both sponsors assured the Commission that the sunshade would be left in place if no other suitable solution could be found.
Motion: Shaw moved to recommend to the Ashland City Council approval of the Calle Mural Project. Miller seconded. The recommendation for approval of the Calle Mural Project included the following conditions:
  1. Prohibit artisans from hanging their wares on the mural wall.
  2. Relocate the Fire Lane sign that currently hangs on the mural wall to the opposite side of the Calle.
  3. Schedule artist’s work so as not to interfere with the Lithia Artisans Market or other Calle operations.
  4. All associated costs, repairs or alterations related to the mural project not to be the responsibility of the Lithia Artisans Market or APRC.​
Black stated that APRC staff would retain authority to choose the best solution with regard to the bollards.   
                                                      The vote was all yes. 
  • Bear Creek Management Plan / JPA Proposal (Action)
Jeff McFarland introduced Jenna Marmon as the Bicycle, Roads and Trails project manager for Jackson County. He noted that Marmon was an administrator for the Bear Creek Greenway Trail. The topic for discussion would be updates to the Joint Powers Agreement. 
Marmon noted that the Bear Creek Trail was currently twenty miles long, connecting the Ashland Dog Park from the south with Dean Creek Frontage Road, north of Central Point. Jackson County originally coordinated construction of the trail and currently managed grants and other sources of funding while individual Jackson County jurisdictions provided basic trail maintenance. In 2008 a Joint Powers Committee was established to represent the Bear Creek Greenway as a decision-making body with the authority to strategize long term, provide consistent financial support, and oversee maintenance. Funding was set aside for staffing and major maintenance expenses. The agreement also described each jurisdiction’s responsibilities for routine maintenance. The agreement was applicable in perpetuity although subject to updates every three years.   
Marmon explained the rationale for changes to the funding table which assigns jurisdictional financing based upon the number of miles of Greenway per municipality and the population of each. She stated that the cities of Phoenix and Talent paid for staffing but did not contribute to major maintenance expenses based on the ratio for miles/population.       
Marmon outlined Jackson County’s role, noting that coordination for the Greenway included meeting coordination, project management, grant funding and facilitation of a volunteer program. She highlighted four major maintenance projects, including pavement repairs, bridge inspections and repair and facility-wide improvements such as signage and trail counters. Marmon reviewed completed or current projects such as increased repair and replacement efficiencies. She noted that a major trail reconstruction project leveraged $167,100 into $1,713,000 by seeking funding from a series of grants. As a result, trail counters were strategically placed along the Greenway to provide information about the direction of travel, whether passersby were on foot or riding a bicycle. Signage included more educational information like creek crossings. Marmon reviewed completed projects in Ashland, emphasizing that the $11,931 actually provided $107,000 worth of trail restoration.
Marmon introduced proposed updates for the 2017 Joint Powers Management Plan. These included reassessment of the Management Plan every five years rather than every three years, properly surveyed jurisdictional boundaries, maintenance efficiencies and more equitable jurisdictional funding. Marmon also proposed the establishment of an emergency fund to assist with flooding and other extraordinary damage to the trail system. Other changes included increased vegetation management by contracting with workers from Community Corrections and more dependence upon volunteers. Marmon proposed hiring a half-time volunteer coordinator to manage that part of the program. The funding table was revised to include funding from Phoenix and Talent. 
There followed a brief discussion about maintaining Ashland’s portion of the Bear Creek Greenway. McFarland noted that his crew conducts regularly scheduled maintenance such as periodic hazardous tree assessments, vegetation and brush removal, light repairs, trash removal and more.
  • Clay Street Dog Park Public Input
Black summarized the background for the Clay Street Dog Park, noting that APRC had worked diligently to become a more dog-friendly environment. He detailed efforts to provide basic comfort stations for people walking their dogs, identifying parks where dogs are permitted on leash and culminating with the land purchase intended for a second dog park bordering Clay Street. Since that time, there has been a series of public meetings regarding the site.  
Black referred to Commission goals for the biennium, noting that the Clay Street Dog Park was one of the top five goals slated for completion. Funding for the project had been secured and APRC was working on the design concept. In order to move forward, it was important to Commissioners that additional public input be solicited while in the design phase of the process. APRC had approximately 2.6 acres set aside for the dog park. Encumbrances included a future right of way, preservation of a heritage tree, a utility easement, a drainage easement and an historic pathway through the property.
Black stated that the zoning surrounding the property on three sides was zoned R2 for medium-density housing, including multi-family dwellings and some single-family dwellings. The dog park would include creation of separate spaces for large and small dogs, leaving a small open space area that could potentially be used for community gardens or other uses. There would be approximately 15 to 20 off-street parking spaces, depending upon financing. 
The YMCA Park was maintained by APRC per agreement. The agreement stated that the YMCA had full use of the soccer fields, which are used intensively for their programs. When not in use, the fields were open to the public. A park restroom and playground were open to the public during park hours.  
Black discussed the proposed budget for the project, explaining two potential options:
OPTION 1 with five off-street parking stalls
  •  Dog Park construction - $223,000, Contingency 10% - $ 23,00
TOTAL - $246,000
OPTION 2 with 15 off-street parking stalls
  •  Dog Park construction - $263,000, Contingency 10% - $ 27,000
TOTAL - $290,000
FUNDING:         Sale of Property to City                          $136,000
                        Capital Improvement Plan                      $110,000
                        TOTAL                                                 $246,500
Black noted that the funding shortfall for Option Two could be managed by completion of the project in phases as financing became available.
Discussion among Commissioners
Lewis clarified the number and location of parking stalls and the 90 degree markings. Black said there would be enough room for vehicle turnarounds if striped in that way.
In response to a question by Gardiner, Black detailed efforts to determine a standard for dog park parking. Signage for the new parking stalls would specify parking for dog park users only. Landt noted that the proposed 90 degree parking would interfere with existing parking, resulting in a loss of on-street parking. Shaw asked whether off-street handicapped parking was planned. Black replied affirmatively.
Public Comment
Ms. Sarah Breckenridge of 1235 Calypso Ct. in Ashland was called forward.
Breckenridge noted that she was President of the HOA for the McCall Condos. She expressed appreciation for Director Black, stating that he walked the property with residents, answering questions about the proposed use.  
Breckenridge asked the Commission to consider creation of a community garden in the area of the property closest to McCall Drive. She advocated for open space and more aesthetically pleasing fencing for the Dog Park. She suggested mesh fencing with wooden posts as a suitable alternative.
Ms. Mila Valenta of 349 Engle Street in Ashland was called forward.
Valenta presented a list of desirables for the property, including a new playground for nearby residents. She commented on the number of open spaces or parks in west Ashland versus the number of spaces east of Mountain Avenue, presenting a map as visual confirmation. Valenta referred to the YMCA portion of the property, noting that the playground was small and insufficient for the population nearby. She stated that a second restroom would be welcomed. She finished by stating that there was a greater need for a park for children than a park for dogs.
Ms. Marian Crumme of 321 Clay Street in Ashland was called forward.
Crumme expressed a concern about traffic on lower Clay Street, stating that parking is allowed on both sides and it creates a narrow passage that restricts the throughway. The intersection of Clay Street and East Main was another challenging area due to disrepair of the roadbed. Crumme suggested that a comprehensive plan be developed by the City to address the roadway issues. 
Mr. Scott Peterson of 2271 McCall Drive in Ashland was called forward.  
Peterson noted that the proposed dog park property houses a small blackberry patch that provides habitat for a wide variety of birds. He asked that consideration be given to preserving the nesting site.
Ms. Mary Ann Shank at 321 Clay Street in Ashland was called forward.
Shank reiterated concerns about the narrowness of Clay Street, stating that it was unsafe for the children who live there. She requested that a small portion of the property be set aside as housing for the homeless. Shank proposed that two or three homes be placed throughout the City’s open spaces to be used by those in need.
Ms. Nancy Willson of 321 Clay Street in Ashland was called forward.
Willson expressed appreciation for the proposed Dog Park, stating that parks and open spaces were planned for the enjoyment of Ashland residents, leaving very few safe opportunities for their canine partners. She encouraged the Commission to continue to support the proposed dog park on lower Clay Street.
Ms. Collen Shanahan of 320 E. Main in Ashland was called forward.
Shanahan stated that she was a dog trainer by trade. She noted that the proposed dog park would be appreciated – particularly plans to separate small dogs from larger dogs. She stated that opportunities for providing appropriate space for dog owners to allow dogs off leash was limited and the dog park would help to alleviate this pressing need. She noted that the existing dog park was overcrowded, jeopardizing the safety of dogs and their owners.     
Ms. Allison Wildman of 420 Clay Street in Ashland was called forward. 
Wildman was appreciative of Director Black for explaining APRC concepts and goals.
She asked that Commissioners continue to be responsive to the community by creating a space that included pleasing aesthetics from landscaping to fencing. Wildman noted that the adjacent YMCA Park playground was not sufficient for the neighborhood and was appropriate for younger children only, up to seven years of age. She said older children in the area had no or limited access to City parks.
Wildman reiterated concern about traffic, stating that traffic along Clay Street was currently problematic and might become dangerous when people traveled from other parts of the City to walk their dogs. She advocated that decreasing the dog park to one acre would allow for more community space. 
Mr. Michael Trembley of 2263 McCall Drive in Ashland was called forward.  
Trembley explained the hazards of driving along Clay Street. He noted that intersections were particularly troublesome and suggested that a traffic engineer be engaged to consider traffic patterns in the area and possible solutions for bottlenecks. 
Discussion among Commissioners
Landt thanked those present for their presentations, expressing appreciation for the clear, concise commentaries before the Commission.
Shaw testified that the sidewalk along Clay Street was a much needed improvement, alleviating some of the dangers that walking on the street entailed. He acknowledged that the possibility remained for additional safety measures.
Black noted that a traffic analysis was conducted when the high density subdivision was planned. Improvements were made at the time, including widening of the roadway at the intersection of Clay and Ashland Streets. He stated that once the design process for the Dog Park was completed, the Planning Commission would review the plan and reevaluate traffic impacts at that time.
Gardiner also thanked those in attendance for their comments. He explained that APRC meetings toward establishing goals and objectives and setting priorities were open to the public. Gardiner commented that Commissioners were acting proactively by seeking public input while still in the design process.           
  • Ice Rink End-of-Season Report
Recreation Superintendent Dials introduced Lonny Flora, Recreation Manager overseeing the Ice Rink, Daniel Meyer Pool and the Oak Knoll Golf Course Clubhouse. She said his responsibilities included hiring, training and supervising operations of those facilities.
Flora noted that winter session for the Ice Rink began in November 2015 and continued through February 2016. He reported that it was a successful season, with the Rink open every day during that time with the exception of 16 hours when the weather was too warm for the ice.
Program changes included earlier opening times for classes and other scheduled activities. Other changes included additional Youth Hockey sessions and a well-attended adult hockey tournament. Overall, attendance for recreational ice skating increased from 12,970 admissions in 2013-14 to 14,803 admissions in 2014-15 and 18,462 admissions in 2015-16. The number of participating school groups increased significantly, as did youth and adult hockey and private rentals. Staffing expenses increased 17% due to the expanded hours of operation. Materials and Equipment costs decreased by 2% over the prior year. Revenues improved by 24% over the previous season.
Flora shared a video highlighting activities on the ice, including interactions with the Ice Rink mascot.  
Discussion among Commissioners
Landt questioned estimated figures for past staffing levels. Dials replied, stating that benefit figures were not readily available and were estimated for this presentation.  
Shaw noted the positive trend, questioning whether the increased revenues resulted in a profitable outcome. Dials reported that not all expenses were captured, namely the set-up and tear-down of the rink itself. This would add approximately $16,000 to expenses. In addition, Flora’s time was not considered in the staffing figures.           
Landt called for more detailed information about the budget for the upcoming seasons while thanking Flora for the information presented. Dials stated that all full-time staffing data would be captured in the upcoming Fees and Charges report.
Shaw complimented Flora on his presentation and the successful season.
Lewis highlighted the hockey tournament, asking whether there was room to expand the service. Flora explained that tournaments were normally scheduled for three-day weekends in order to minimize the impact for local clientele. Staffing for early weekend time was added this year to accommodate early participants and cut down on unauthorized use. Flora further discussed safety concerns and neighborhood complaints regarding use of the rink after hours.  
  • Senior Center
Black said he recently participated in a ride-along with the Food and Friends meals program in conjunction with the Ashland Senior Program. He said Food and Friends regularly organized and delivered meals to housebound seniors. He expressed admiration for the program’s management, stating that volunteers focused on meeting individual needs and providing services and/or extra care for those unable to provide for themselves. He encouraged those present to participate in a ride-along.  
  • Bike Swap
Dials reported that the annual Bike Swap event was held on Saturday, April 16, and attended by a record number of people, resulting in a substantial increase of revenue. She complimented Lori Ainsworth, APRC volunteer coordinator, and emphasized her outstanding organizational skills in recruiting 58 volunteers to assist at the Swap.  
  • Bee City USA

Gardiner commented that the Pesticides, People, Pollinators and the Planet Conference on April 16 was a great first effort, with approximately 75 people attending.
Gardiner asked for Commission feedback regarding a proposed change in starting time for Study Sessions. He suggested an earlier time, such as 5:30 p.m.     
Study Session        May 16, 2016 @ The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street—7:00 p.m.
Regular Meeting     May 23, 2016 @ Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street—7:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. 
Respectfully submitted,

Betsy Manuel, Assistant
The Minutes are not a verbatim record. The narrative has been condensed and paraphrased to reflect the discussions and decisions made. Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Study Sessions, Special Meetings and Regular meetings are digitally recorded and available upon request.  

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