Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Monday, September 22, 2014

City of Ashland
September 22, 2014

Present:  Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis Seffinger, Shaw; Director Black; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:   City Council Liaison: Mayor John Stromberg

Seffinger called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

Special Meeting – August 18, 2014
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

Regular Meeting – August 25, 2014
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes (Lewis abstained)




Dials provided a staff report: The commission was asked to sponsor a banner for the Mt. Ashland after-school ski program for 4th through 8th graders, a program held in January and February. The banner would be placed over E. Main Street from November 3-9, 2014. Without City sponsorship, the banner could not be approved by the City. Dials said staff felt the program was in line with the mission of the Parks Commission and a precedent was set when the commission approved a Lions Club banner for the Feast of Will earlier in the year.

Dan Shulters and Donna Jones of Mt. Ashland Ski Resort provided additional details about the program: 130-175 students enrolled per five-session season; skiing and boarding lessons offered; kids learned a new lifetime sport while spending time outdoors; high school students served as chaperones while earning community service hours; no child turned away for inability to pay; children transported via buses; scholarship families asked to pay for transportation but several complete scholarships provided.

MOTION Landt moved to approve the Mt. Ashland After-School Ski Program banner request as presented, with the banner spanning E. Main Street from November 3-9, 2014. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

NRPA Director’s School Report
Black thanked the commission for the opportunity to attend the NRPA Director’s school in Wheeling, WV, from August 22-28, 2014. The program was held in two parts: one week in 2014 and the other in 2015. The school was sponsored by the Oglebay National Training Center, National Recreation and Park Association, and the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University. As a representative of Ashland Parks and Recreation, Black spoke of his personal objectives in attending, the teaching format of the program, and the schedule he followed while in attendance. Course offerings included: management; economic benefits of parks; agency planning; organization and administrative operations; public engagement strategies; creating a culture of excellence in parks and recreation; legal issues; human resource management; best practices; marketing, public relations and branding; and leadership. Black was able to engage with a network of qualified parks professionals from throughout North America. He spent more than forty hours in the classroom learning newest, best practices in the field of parks and recreation management. He met one particularly notable person: the Parks Superintendent for Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Her office was located in the same building in which John McLaren worked and died. Black learned that John McLaren did not design Golden Gate Park but was instrumental in its design. Key management points conveyed at the conference included the importance of communication, honesty, goal setting and sharing of information with community members. Change was reported to be a key topic, a necessary element toward providing the best parks system for citizens.

Black thanked the commission for allowing him the opportunity to represent them at the training.

Ashland Creek Park Construction Report
Dickens spoke about the on-site study session at Ashland Creek Park on September 15. Staff met with the commission and community members to talk about orientation, progress to date, project phasing and site features such as the playground, garden, gates, plaza, natural meadow and restroom layout. Project manager Steve Ennis covered many of the specific construction details that evening. Discussion also included raised beds in the community garden area and materials used for walking surfaces around ADA sections. Dickens indicated that the project was ahead of schedule and had a tentative completion target of late December.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed adding Ashland Creek Park to the list of dog-friendly parks in Ashland, posting signage at the park, and possibly allowing raised beds at the park. Landt said no evidence had been found to support using raised beds toward water conservation; instead, evidence showed that raised beds required more water than non-raised beds. He asked for raised beds to not be promoted at this park. If allowed, he asked that those plot fees to increase to cover the cost of additional water. He said raised beds were not approved at the commission level for Garden Way Park. Other than for handicapped gardeners, he asked that raised beds not be allowed and for existing raised beds to be disassembled. Shaw suggested inviting gardeners and agricultural experts to speak to the commission about water use in raised beds. Gardiner said there were valid reasons for using raised beds if people wanted them. Before making a decision, he suggested having a broader discussion on the topic. Seffinger said the senior population was growing and it would be important to prioritize requests for ADA plots. Dials said garden plots at Ashland Creek Park would be assigned in the February timeframe and waiting lists moved along fairly quickly. Lewis said hose bibs with timers were also discussed at the study session. He suggested educating people about responsible use of potable irrigation water. Dickens said hose bibs would be included in each garden plot. Landt stressed two principles: water conservation in Ashland’s semi-arid climate and promoting walking to community garden plots. He suggested giving priority to gardeners within one-quarter-mile distance of their closest neighborhood park. He asked these points to be included in a future community garden policy.

Black said community members would be asking for raised beds and he wanted to research the topic at the staff level and work on a draft community policy. He suggested working out logistics and placing the item on the October study session agenda.

Cascade-Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway
Black said the Cascade-Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway would be hosting an open house on September 30 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Pioneer Hall. The proposed starting point for the 60-mile loop would be Garfield Park. The state was asking for a letter from the commission indicating their acceptance of that starting point. Hearing positive feedback from the commission, Black said he would draft a letter the following day on behalf of the commission.
Bear Creek Greenway Celebration
Gardiner said he served as a volunteer on the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation. The foundation planned to celebrate 20 miles of completed Greenway on October 12 from 2-4:00. The completed miles spanned from the Ashland Dog Park to Upton Road, just past the expo center in Central Point. He distributed invitations to the event at the expo and invited everyone to attend. He suggested continuing to work on partnerships with the Bear Creek Greenway agency toward completion of the Greenway out to Emigrant Lake. Landt encouraged and challenged his fellow commissioners and others to travel to and from the event by bicycle approximately 20 miles one way).

Parks Employee Communication / Style Guide
Gardiner asked if the proposed Parks employee communication / style guide were one and the same and staff said yes. Black said that until Parks created its own guide it was bound by the City’s guide. Dials said several local guides had been located that would serve as useful tools for Parks.

The commission and staff agreed to add the topic to an upcoming meeting agenda.

  • Study session set for October 20 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street. Topics:
    • Community Garden Guidelines; Ashland Creek Park Discussion
    • Annual Dogs Review; Recommendations from Dogs Subcommittee
    • 2015 Subcommittee Assignments Discussion
  • Regular meeting set for October 27 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topic:
    • Ashland Creek Park Construction Update
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 7:53 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard, Executive Assistant
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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