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Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, November 19, 2012

City of Ashland
November 19, 2012

Present:  Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:   City Council Liaison Silbiger

Eggers called the study session to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street, and welcomed newly elected Parks Commissioner Vanston Shaw (in attendance).

Cornelius Pardy, Talent Avenue in Talent, a master blacksmith, asked for the use of the old barn at Ashland Creek Park in exchange for barn maintenance and ironwork at the site. He said it would make use of the building and allow him to make a living.

The commission said a master plan for Ashland Creek Park had been designed and approved. They asked him to contact Robertson directly about any further discussion about the topic.

Eggers said the commission formed a subcommittee to evaluate an earlier version of the director evaluation form, with members Seffinger and Rosenthal providing revisions and requesting feedback. She said approval of the form was scheduled for the November 26 regular meeting, with the director’s annual evaluation set for December.

Commissioners discussed the form and agreed to minor revisions, including adding column “N” for “not able to evaluate” and making the lead-in words action-oriented. Landt asked for the director to see each commissioner’s evaluation along with the compiled evaluation, with the compilation placed in the director’s personnel file. Robertson said his 2011 review was conducted by the chair following an executive session.

Dials said the commission asked staff to obtain bids for the 272-square-foot addition at the North Mountain Park Nature Center. The bid closing was October 23 and seven bids were received. She referenced the bid tabulation form and said bids ranged from $133 to $183 per-square-foot, higher than anticipated. Todd Mills Construction provided the lowest bid but did not include the construction schedule and Green Meadows Building Company did not fill out the RFQ. The project budget was $25,000, with $10,000 additional generated from donations to the Ashland Parks Foundation on behalf of the Nature Center, for a total of $35,000. She asked whether the commission was interested in moving ahead with the project at one of the higher bid amounts. She reminded them about additional funds in the FY 13 CIP due to not receiving the grant award for Ashland Creek Park and resulting construction delays.

Commissioners expressed concern about the higher bid amounts for the Nature Center addition and said they were not comfortable approving the addition as per the bids received. They suggested rejecting the bids and requesting additional quotes. Robertson said he would check with the City Attorney to see if that was possible.

Robertson said the commission earlier agreed that the FY 12-13 budget process was unsatisfactory. Since then, small groups of commissioners met with Robertson, Mayor Stromberg, and City Administrator Kanner to discuss a revised budget process. He reported meeting individually with Kanner on November 8 to review the Parks Commission policy on ending fund balance. He discussed Kanner’s “working draft” of the Parks budget for FY 13-15 and said the City’s preference was a 12.5% ending fund balance, with the City protecting Parks for any additional funding needs, while the Parks Commission policy stipulated 30%, established before Kanner’s arrival.

He reported telling Kanner the commission was comfortable with the current level of $2.09 funding per thousand, the historical precedent, and said Kanner indicated the $2.09 would likely be unsustainable.

Commissioners expressed interest in participating in a working group with council on Parks / City budget matters and holding dialogues with key stakeholders. They requested an open and transparent budget process.

Robertson said additional budget details could be discussed at the December 10 study session. He asked commissioners to send him their lists of questions in advance. Commissioners agreed to read and digest the “working draft” along with Parks supporting documentation and to conduct another review on December 10.

Eggers said Rosenthal’s election to City Council left a two-year vacancy in his Parks Commission term. Robertson reviewed the memo from City Attorney David Lohman on filling the vacancy, which Lohman indicated needed to occur within 60 days of Rosenthal’s resignation. Robertson said council had the authority to either fill the vacancy or delegate the duty to the commission, with council approving the appointment. He said the matter would be placed on the December 3 council agenda for action.

Commissioners spoke in support of council’s December 3 process and said they looked forward to hearing their decision.

Enders Shelter

Dickens reported working with architect Jerome White and Anchor Inspection Services to review the poles at the Ender Shelter. The inspection showed five poles in need of replacement and Dickens recommended replacing the poles per SHPPO specifications.

Garfield Park Playground Equipment Replacements
Dickens said staff heard a presentation by Playcraft for a new Garfield Park playground and he was also looking through catalogs and narrowing down selections. He spoke of a manufacturer, whose products were introduced in Denmark, that studied how children learn and play. He showed the commission a playground design with equipment lower to the ground, providing opportunities for participation by wheelchair-bound children. He said the older style of playground was being phased out, with manufacturers focusing more on skills development. He said the footprint of the new structure would be nearly identical in size to the old footprint and would not include the basketball court or old skateboard area at Garfield. Dickens said a new structure would last 15 to 20 years. He recommended future master planning at that location along with possible waterplay feature upgrades.

Hunter Park Sidewalk Replacements
Dickens said the Hunter Park sidewalk replacement project was advertised and a pre-bid meeting held on November 15, with 12 prospective bidders attending. He said the project was expected to cost more than $100,000 and required council approval. Steve Ennis was reported to be the project manager and staff was working with the Parks horticulturist on tree root protections. Landt said he and a local engineer developed a new specification for dealing with tree roots and Public Works might have interest in testing it on this project. He offered to obtain the specification document from Public Works.

Lower Duck Pond Concrete Bridge Replacement
Dickens said the former concrete bridge at the lower duck pond, deteriorating for some time, was recently replaced with two granite bridges that were diamond ground and perfectly flush. He said a railing would be installed on both sides, engineered by the City and fabricated / installed by Parks.

Ashland Creek Park Sewer Line Project
Dickens said the sewer line project would be completed in approximately one week. He said staff reset fences and made other numerous adjustments at the site. Landt expressed concern that Public Works needed to clean up their area and hadn’t followed City planning rules for tree protections. He said delays caused the project to continue into the rainy season which was problematic.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:08 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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