Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session

Monday, February 08, 2016

City of Ashland
February 8, 2016

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

Also Present: Jason Minica, Parks Project Manager
Absent:  City Council Liaison Mayor Stromberg
Superintendent Dickens welcomed Jason Minica, Project Manager for APRC. He stated that Minica would provide an update to the Commission on current and planned projects. Minica distributed a Gant Chart illustrating project timelines, including approximate start dates and projected completion dates. 
Minica noted that construction at The Grove was currently underway and internal walls were slated for drywall the following day. In addition, Oak Knoll Golf Course netting posts were being replaced and new nets were scheduled for installation in the near future. Ashland Creek Park projects and renovations were ongoing for the areas subjected to water damage after an underground street pipe recently burst on E. Hersey Street. The grounds would be re-graded, with the community gardens prepared for replanting. Installation of a swing set and construction of an overlook trail were also underway at the park. Garfield Park was slated for a major upgrade, including a new splash pad. The project was expected to begin in April 2016 and potentially completed by mid-August. The Golf Course Clubhouse project would begin in August, just as renovations to The Grove, Ashland Creek Park and golf course nets were wrapping up. Completion of clubhouse renovations was estimated for early November.
Not addressed in the report but also on the horizon was the proposed Clay Street Dog Park. Minica noted that it was still in early stages but could potentially begin in May.
 Discussion among Commissioners
  • The Grove
In response to a question by Shaw, it was noted that the new rooms inside the structure would not be floor to ceiling.
  • Garfield Park
There was a brief discussion regarding the new splash pad proposed for Garfield Park. Dickens noted that sand from a nearby volleyball court would be reduced (from entering the splash pad area) via foot showers placed in the vicinity. Dickens commented that organic matter would be the most problematic for the splash pad; however, filters designed for easy cleaning would catch most of the debris and the water chemistry would be re-balanced automatically, leading to fewer problems. 
Landt asked about the timing for moving forward with the splash pad project. Black stated that the goal would be complete the water feature first, with remaining amenities completed in phases.
  • Ashland Creek Park Restoration
Landt complimented Parks staff on their re-contouring of the area downhill from the fig tree. He inquired about the status of the rain garden, decimated by recent flooding, and noted that the original plantings appeared to have varying irrigation requirements. Landt suggested that the existing irrigation system might not adequately accommodate irrigation needs for both drought-resistant and drought-tolerant plants. He recommended researching water needs in advance of purchasing new plants to allow for more consistent water distribution.
Dickens noted that the rain garden had been designed and developed based on input from several interest groups. This resulted in a myriad of ideas for plants depending upon the point of view: deer-resistant plants; plants attractive to pollinators; and drought-resistant plants for the benefit of water conservation. Landt recommended that the rain garden design be simplified to allow for a variety of plants with similar ecological needs.  
  • Golf Course Netting
Minica displayed a picture of the torn netting at Oak Knoll Golf Course along Highway 66.  He noted that two new posts would be installed in the near future followed by fresh netting.
In response to a question by Lewis, Dickens said the City of Ashland Electric Department would assist Parks with installing the posts, which would result in a project cost savings.
  • Golf Course Clubhouse
Given the volume of maintenance issues at the Golf Course, Black said a separate study session discussion was warranted. The Golf Course Subcommittee would also meet to review each identified project.   
Minica reported that engineering for repairs to the Clubhouse rafters had been completed. The plan called for covering the rafters by extending the existing roof and adding skylights. Eliminating the rafters on the parking lot side has been mapped out as well. 
Black indicated that the project would begin after August 11, 2016, primarily due to the number of scheduled special events.  
  • Clay Street Dog Park
There followed a brief discussion about the Clay Street dog park. Black explained that the Dog Park Subcommittee would be exploring design options, which would then be developed into a concept plan for Commission review. The concept plan or a series of options would be scheduled for a March study session review.   
Dials noted a previous Commission request for a list of non-paying renters accompanied by specific rationales for waiving rental fees. She stated that five organizations currently or historically used APRC facilities free of charge:
  • Womenís Civic Club/Garden Club
Dials said the Club uses the Ashland Community Center on the first and last Friday of each month. The Garden Club donated the building to the City in 1930. In 1960 the building was renovated and renamed the Winburn Way Community Center. In 1985 the building was again restored and renamed the Ashland Community Center. In 1989 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Dials highlighted both their many hours of donated time toward beautification of Ashlandís parks along with their donation of the building to the City. 
  • Ashland Pinochle Club
Dials said the Club meets free of charge every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Ashland Community Center and a small storage area is provided for their equipment. APRC documentation was not available to explain the Clubís origins or subsequent use of the building. A letter received from the Club detailed its origin in 1944. The Club stated that they received assurance that their free use of the facility would remain in perpetuity.
  • AARP
AARP provides free assistance to Ashland residents from February 1 through approximately April 18 each year. Original documentation dates the organizationís use of APRC facilities from 1987. According to available records, no rental fee has ever been charged.    
  • American Legion/Boy Scouts
A 1986 memo between the American Legion and the City of Ashland documents an agreement between the two entities stating that Pioneer Hall would be available to the Legion and its sponsored associations, such as the Boy Scouts, free of charge. This agreement was extended for a period of twenty years, and is automatically renewed unless termination of the agreement is requested by either party. The American Legion currently uses Pioneer Hall one Monday per month from 7-10:00 p.m. and on the 4th of July and Veteranís Day. Boy Scouts use the facility every Wednesday from 6-9:00 p.m.
  • VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars)
The VFW combined their affairs with the Crater Lake Post in Medford, thereby cancelling their use of the Ashland Community Center as of July 2015.
Dials indicated that she would continue to accommodate the four remaining organizations without charge unless directed otherwise by APRC. She cited the long historical precedents and the community contributions as rationales for doing so.      
Discussion among Commissioners
Discussion focused on the financial impact of providing building space for non-paying organizations in relation to the ever-present need to decrease costs and increase revenues. Lewis suggested that quantifying annual lost rental fees would potentially serve as valuable information during budget negotiations with the City of Ashland. 
Landt rhetorically considered a fee schedule with gradient fees differentiating between for-profit organizations and not-for-profit groups. Shaw emphasized the historical precedents and lack of complaints from the community. Gardiner suggested quantifying the benefits provided by each organization as well as lost revenues for APRC. 
Lewis noted that the issue of lost fee revenues was reviewed each year. He proposed that the financial data be analyzed by the Commission and a policy devised to provide greater clarity and eliminate the annual discussion.   
There followed a brief conversation about the financial ramifications of imposing a fee schedule given that the Ashland Community Center was owned by the City of Ashland and APRC pays an annual stipend for using the property. Black noted that the value of the building is calculated by the City and fees are charged at 50% of value.  
It was agreed that a matrix of the cost of services provided and the offsetting benefits from each organization would be made available at the next business meeting. Lewis asked that ownership of the buildings be noted as well as any remunerations paid to the City of Ashland.
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned into executive session at 8:45 p.m.
Executive Session for Legal Counsel Pursuant to ORS 192.660 (2)(e) and ORS 192.660 (2) (h)
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of executive session at 9:25 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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