Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


City of Ashland

February 19, 2013

Present:  Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:   None

Seffinger called the study session to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

Seffinger welcomed Ann Auble and thanked her for generously donating toward Japanese Garden upgrades. Robertson said she was one of the Parks Department’s dedicated volunteers, a park host. Dickens said the Auble donation could be used to repair the teahouse and replace the entry gateway. He reported meeting with Auble and a local expert on Japanese gardens, Ian Wessler, to review some of Wessler’s designs. An improved gateway with seating would help identify that section for park patrons and the removal of two drooping yew trees at the top of the entrance stairs would open up a panorama of the garden.

Commissioners thanked Auble for her donation and asked to see design plans before having a full project discussion. Lewis said many Japanese gardens featured similar gateways. He recommended using large timbers for the attached seating.

Ann Auble said she enjoyed seeing Wessler’s design ideas and meeting with staff. She expressed appreciation for the commission’s consideration of garden renovation projects.

Dickens said Wessler would be invited to the March study session and staff would work on a plan and budget. Upon approval by the commission of both the plan and budget, the project could go out to bid.

Robertson said the commission applied for a 50/50 matching grant in 2012 through OR State Parks for the construction of Ashland Creek Park. The grant was not received but staff heard constructive feedback about reducing the grant size, possibly phasing the construction, and resubmitting the grant request in 2013. He said staff wanted to confirm the process before submitting another grant application in the spring.
Commissioner comments:

  • Seffinger: reduce project numbers with assistance from a landscape architect.
  • Landt: Ashland Creek Park development conceptually similar to North Mountain Park development. Scaling back the plan and moving impervious surfaces away from the creek would serve the Ashland community well. The park design was over-refined and overblown for a neighborhood park.
  • Shaw: some park design concepts intentionally went beyond the scale of a neighborhood park.
  • Lewis: review the plan again and determine how and what to scale back. Much time and money already spent on creating the current park design.

Robertson said the commission had two months to prepare a grant application and presentation. The original grant request was for $750,000 but the park did not have to be fully built at once and could be phased into completion. He agreed to bring the original plan back to the commission for a review with landscape architect Laurie Sager.

The commission formed an Ashland Creek Park Subcommittee consisting of Landt and Lewis.
Robertson said the commission previously adopted a set of annual goals with objectives and timelines for FY 2013 and he distributed an updated version. He said council recently developed draft goals with objectives and encouraged the Budget Committee to use them as a guideline for budget decisions. The mayor wanted to incorporate Parks goals into the process and staff worked on reformatting both the commission’s annual goals and core goals to include with council goals. He asked how the commission wanted to proceed.

Shaw recommended forming a subcommittee of two commissioners to attend Budget Committee meetings through the biennial budget planning period (spring 2013 for FY 14-16). He said this would provide an opportunity for Parks representation, since Parks commissioners were not able to sit on that committee.

Shaw and Seffinger offered to attend the spring 2013 Budget Committee meetings.

Commissioners spoke favorably about Robertson’s draft goals document. He asked them to provide him with suggested changes via email and said the topic would be added to the February 25 regular meeting agenda for discussion and adoption. Seffinger read a brief statement about the importance of stable funding for Parks.

Robertson said estimated expenditures for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) were due by the end of February. Two funding sources for CIP projects were identified as Food and Beverage Tax receipts (F&B) and systems development charges (SDCs), with SDCs used for acquisition, planning, development, and major rehabilitation. Robertson referenced a table showing projected CIP expenditures over a six-year period, with uncompleted projects rolled forward rather than removed.

Robertson reviewed proposed CIP projects and projected funding for fiscal years 2012-18:

  • Oak Knoll Golf Course irrigation replacement / rebuild additional greens
  • Open space acquisition / park development
  • Lower Clay Street purchase
  • Lithia Park master plan / rehabilitation
  • Ashland Creek Park Development
  • Calle Guanajuato improvements
  • Ice rink cover replacements and improvements
  • Deferred infrastructure improvements / replacements
  • Sign plan
  • Garfield Park water play
  • Nature Center remodel
  • Lower Clay Street development
  • Upper Clay Street development
  • Sherwood Park restrooms
  • Softball field lights at N. Mountain Park
  • Multi-generational recreation center
  • Artificial turf field
  • Lithia Park shop / yard relocation

Robertson said the commission joined with the City on an $18M revenue bond with a very low interest rate. The Parks portion ($500,000) could be used for Perozzi Fountain rehabilitation or other projects, with the funds leveraged against F&B Tax receipts and spent within three years.
The commission receives approximately $450,000 per year in F&B taxes. Robertson asked if the commission had interest in repairing the fountain and if they preferred a long-term (more permanent) repair or a short-term (lighter) repair.
Discussion Among Commissioners

  • Make the Lithia Park master plan a top priority.
  • Either restore the fountain to its original historic level or make quick fixes.
  • Park amenities have life spans. Has the fountain reached the end of its life span? In another 30 years, the fountain will need equivalent restorations.
  • What happens if bond funds are not utilized within three years?
  • The Perozzi Fountain is an important tourist and community feature and the commission is expected to restore it.
  • Make land acquisitions a primary goal in the next fiscal year to meet commission targets: additional dog park, two key trail links around the Greenway, the purchase of neighborhood park land, and the relocation of the Parks shop. Land prices are on the upswing and if the economy expands, fewer options will be available. Staff was directed to look at key land parcels in the next two to three months.
  • The Dog Park is crowded and therefore less safe. Possibly add a second dog park adjacent to an existing park.
  • Schedule a commission tour of Parks facilities in the spring timeframe; possibly consider second dog park options at that time.

Robertson welcomed Steve Ennis, an architect and project manager helping with many of the Parks deferred maintenance projects in FY 12-13 under the direction of Dickens.

Robertson said he would incorporate the comments and suggestions received into the CIP spreadsheet and bring it to the next commission meeting.

Harvey Rogers Draft

Robertson said a second opinion was received on the effects of Measures 47 and 50 (tax law changes) from Portland attorney Harvey Rogers. He asked the commission to email their questions to him directly, with all City and Parks questions rolled together and submitted to Rogers by City Attorney Lohman. Landt suggested memorializing the “gentleman’s agreement” for Parks for the $2.09 per thousand in property tax receipts. He proposed taking the matter to the citizens for a vote and said there was no downside in advocating for a separate funding source for Parks. Robertson said additional options for Parks included making it a regular City department or turning it into a special district. At present, Parks was still considered a policy-making body responsible for managing park lands per Ashland City Charter.

Forest Lands Commission Update
Seffinger said the trail area known as “Alice in Wonderland” would be closed, along with trails in close proximity, for helicopter forestry thinning in the next few weeks.

With no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:53 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation


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