View Agenda for this meeting



THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2001, AT 7:00 PM


Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.



COUNCIL: Mayor Clark-absent/excused, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi-absent/excused, Cassis, Csordas, DeRoche and Kramer


PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION: Colligan, Kerbrat, Kozma, Place, Shaw, Staab,



CM-01-05-122 Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Cassis; CARRIED

UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as presented.

Vote on CM-01-05-122 Yeas: Lorenzo, Cassis, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer


Andrew Mutch said the Southwestern Core Reserve-Grant Application was a special opportunity to preserve the best wildlife habitat, woodland and wetland area left in the City. The application was sent from Planning to Council to Parks and Recreation. Normally, the focus is on recreational opportunities but the focus of the grant is preservation. Mr. Mutch felt the Parks and Recreation Master Plan needed to be amended to reflect the desire to protect the property and that is driven by the requirements of the Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant, which the State requires. Council needed to give direction to administration on who would complete the application. Then a Public Hearing had to be held to garner support. All of this had to be done by the deadline of August 1, 2001. The State has created a special funding cycle for land trust acquisitions. We need to be creative for the city’s 25% local match. He suggested talking with property owners to see if they would be willing to do a land donation as the local match. It might be more beneficial for a property owner to make a donation rather than be paid by the city. He felt they should also look at the Storm Water Fund because much of the area was designated for storm water retention basins and it would be another funding opportunity to look at. Also, find out if land conservancies could provide financial support. This would be a challenge but it can be done. Mr. Mutch contacted several land conservancies and organizations. Both the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy and the Huron River Watershed Council indicated they would look favorably upon providing letter of support for our application to the state. That would not be enough and we need to step up to this challenge and seize this opportunity.






1. Park Development Update

Mr. Klaver acknowledged the Parks and Recreation staff and introduced the new Forester Steve Printz.

Jack Lewis prepared a presentation of Park facilities. Began with Lakeshore Park at Walled Lake, displayed the play structure, concession area, walkway to the beach area. Noted old storage shed needs to be replaced. The restroom, concession and meeting room needed work to be contracted out. The new restroom facility at the park is now under construction. North Novi Park is now under development and has a very popular mountain bike trail. Community Sports Park is very popular with the Tim Pope play structure in place. A new restroom facility has been completed and another restroom/shelter building should be completed by August. There are many maintenance needs at the park and there are now two trailers on site. Ella Mae Power Park Trail has walking path, ball fields and play structure. Wildlife Woods Park at 11 Mile and Wixom Road requires a permit for use of the soccer fields. Rotary Park at Roethel and Ashbury has nature trails, play structure and picnic shelter. Brookfarm Park needs resurfacing of tennis courts and Spirit of 76 Park needs a new park sign. Wherever there is flat ground, Parks and Recreation has a soccer field and this one is for peewee soccer. The Fuerst Farm Barn is used for park maintenance storage for Power Park.

2. 2001-02 Budget Review

Commissioner Staab noted they were in the process of updating Park Master Plan/Community Recreation Plan. They will go through the preliminary budget numbers and review Capital Improvement Plan. The Commission felt very strongly about the North Novi Park Master Plan and funding for upgrades to Brookfarm Park. Mr. Klaver noted Tower Automotive would be donating $50,000 and Commissioner Staab asked for direction on how that would be funded.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo noted that with regard to North Novi Park, the reason it has not been funded was a matter of limited resources and prioritizing. It had nothing to do with the Sandstone Vistas lawsuit. Council is committed to parks and recreation but the greater obligation is to public safety, police, fire, etc. This is followed by road maintenance issues, Parks and Recreation for restroom facilities, play equipment that is safe and then the balance would be for master plan, storage sheds, etc. She would be willing to consider placing the $50,000 from Tower Automotive towards the Master Plan of North Novi Park. If the grant funds were still available and a grant person with expertise and resources was available to pursue the grant she would consider placing the $50,000 towards the Master Plan of North Novi Park.

Member Kramer asked for priorities and recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Commissioners. He felt staff should assess their needs and give Council a list of prioritized recommendations.

Member Cassis noted this property is such a jewel and wondered why they were contemplating what to do with it eventually. He wanted to use it in the interim as a nature trail, etc. rather than let it sit.

Commissioner Kozma noted the park is open to the public, has a trail system, and is being used. Almost any of the things on the Capital Improvement would be in line for grant funds. She said her understanding was the grant application had to be made for a single project. She thought the real priority was to get the master planning done for North Novi Park sooner rather than later because the real money to pursue through the DNR grant program is for the development of the park. So if the Tower money or whatever money could go towards the master planning, the planning would be done and then they could go in with a super grant for the design/development services stage.

Commissioner Staab said the first part would be the $50,000 master planning piece and then the design and development of services which would be $100,000. It is a matching program so the grant would pay for most of that.

Member Csordas noted there was no extra money in the budget. He asked about the Tower funds. City Manager Helwig stated the agreement with Tower was that the money would be forthcoming in the fiscal year beginning July 1. There was no exact date. Member Csordas was astounded that the $50,000 was for just one park. He asked who would do the master planning and spend $50,000 for one park?

Commissioner Staab stated they spent $15,000-$20,000 just for drawings on specific parks and another $100,000 for design and development. Member Csordas thought that was a lot of money and suggested they shop for another consultant. Council would need justification and a lot more detail and recommended they consolidate some of the funds because there were no funds for North Novi Park. He thought they should go for the smaller parks that are far more advanced in development and they are utilized more. It was good business sense to take the limited funds and apply them to the projects that could be developed the most and in the areas that are utilized the most. He could not imagine any money being allocated for this.

Mr. Member Kramer thought the Commission should re-think how they would execute their projects as the plan is to have an in house landscape architect that could work with them. This might be another means of stretching the funds.

Member DeRoche commented that the Council wanted to remain the decision making body when options came before them. It remains the preference of the Council to have ideas put before them for action. He thought most things would come through the administration and then make it to the agenda. At this time, the city is in a bind. Last year they had found $360,000 that was shifted to Parks and Recreation. This year those opportunities were not there and he agreed with Member Csordas. He asked that the Commissioners not to be discouraged as the ideas would eventually gel with park improvements.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo noted it was important for the Commission to submit their thoughts, ideas and needs to Council throughout the year and not just when these joint meetings were held.

Member Cassis thought it was important to recognize there had been a lot of effort going into deliberations from the Commission. He asked where Council failed. They had expended time, effort, sweat, and they come before Council and are told no, and you don’t go this way. He asked where we are with this procedurally? Are we informing them of funds that will be available and they should come up with these kinds of ideas so that they could constructively steer themselves in the right manner? What is Council’s direction to the Commission?

Commissioner Staab thought this gave them the opportunity to clarify their direction for the future. They thought the citizens and the Council wanted something happening with North Novi Park recognizing it would take quite some time. The money they can obtain could be used for specific projects like Brookfarm Park.

Mr. Helwig responded he didn’t see miscommunication occurring. A Commission of this stature and importance should constantly be challenging the community, Council and staff with short term and long-term thinking. Other priorities have superseded the parks and recreation priorities. This represents a greater understanding of shortcomings that the community must address. The priority for amassing the land and its development should be first. He hoped no one was frustrated or discouraged as Novi is a very vital community looking for ways to fund opportunities presented to us. He thought what was done in this current year’s budget for Parks and Recreation was really pretty extraordinary given our financial circumstances.

Commissioner Wingfield stated the North Novi Park is a jewel but as a commission, they would like to see something done with it. He thought the $50,000 did seem like a lot of money and he would like to see something happen with it.

Commissioner Kozma said Council asked the Commission to put a master prioritized list together every year. The list was really pared down to the very top things and the frustration and disappointment is that nothing made the list. The park didn’t make the cut even in the generous year. She said we save a couple of pennies today and missing out on the thousands tomorrow because we are not entering into this DNR program where we could be accessing those funds for years and getting the project done.

Commissioner Colligan thought the Commission and Council might be philosophically close. The excitement of owning the park has to satisfy us for now and the reassurance that it won’t be used for a settlement with Sandstone was important to all of us. They needed continue to nick away at some of these parks. We are getting closer and closer to finishing some of these parks and agreed the Commission didn’t need to be in a hurry. He thought there was still movement forward. They will continue to submit their needs each year. He did not appreciate being told they were lucky last year because they got some City money.

Member Csordas recommended they look at Brookfarm Park tennis courts because they need work and the bridge needed to be brought up to a much safer standard. He asked that they consider making the safety and refurbishing of the existing parks to a safer level.

Commissioner Kerbrat thought safety was of the utmost importance and Brookfarm Park was not safe enough for families. Any money from Tower Automotive should go to make play equipment safer, the tennis courts usable at all parks and putting signage up so parks can be located.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if we had the ability to have the signs done in house? He said absolutely.

3. Ice Arena Oversight-Point of Clarification

Commissioner Staab asked Council what they wanted the Commission to do with regard to the Ice arena.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo noted she had been opposed to having a Community Club or other organization overseeing the ice arena. We have a very capable manager who communicates with Council. There might not be much need for oversight now. Ice rates, times, etc. would be the responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Director and the City Council to decide.

Member DeRoche stated he didn’t think the City should own an arena but concurred with Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo and felt it is being managed quite well. Since it is a public facility there should be some Board that a citizen could go to with issues and concerns.

Mr. Klaver met with Tom Anastos and Sid Fox to discuss City support, improvements of trees in the boulevard and maintenance issues. Mr. Anastos assured that if something came up and they felt it was a public policy issue, they would refer it to Commission for review.

4. 11 Mile/Wixom Park name

Commissioner Kerbrat reported that Deerfield Elementary students were asked to name the park. They named it Wildlife Woods Park and the Commission is looking for a way to thank the students. She was hoping to plan a park dedication with the children this fall.

Member Kramer complimented the Commission on the public process and encouraged them to continue in this manner.



5. Director position update

Mr. Helwig reported that he and Mr. Klaver met with members of the Commission over the last two weeks on this and it was decided to re-visit the job description. Hiring the director and deputy would be a tandem relationship. They desired Parks and Recreation Manager certification and someone to fill out the overall leadership team.


6. Southwestern Core Reserve-Grant Application

Mr. Klaver noted the information for this topic was in the packets. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked if we knew how much the property was worth, what the sellers wanted for it and if there was concrete information about this. Mr. Klaver stated it was based on previous sales and assessed values. The information was obtained from Commissioner Shaw as a possible scenario. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked about matching funds. Mr. Helwig noted that Council must authorize submission for any grant. It was strictly conceptual at this point until they heard from the Commission.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo thought this was too premature. She said they did not have the money to place toward the purchase of this or any other property. Much of the land appeared to be wetlands and would be protected by State and local laws. We should tread carefully regarding the amount of land we can lawfully require to be preserved.

Member Kramer had a different perspective. He wouldn’t support spending Parks and Rec dollars to acquire this project. He would look favorably upon receiving and developing it as a passive and wildlife study area with nature trails and overlooks as it has great educational value. He would support moving the program along but not by this August.

Member Csordas agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo. The area is core wetlands and woodlands preserve. It made no fiscal sense to purchase this property and to spend money on it as it wouldn’t change much anyway and nobody would buy it.

Commissioner Staab gave a brief history on this as it landed in their lap last month and were reacting to that situation. Regarding the numbers, the $1.4 million could go up to $1.5 million. It is divided up at a million dollars of the MDNR grant, $300,000 local donations land conservancy, etc. $50,000 park fund and $150,000 City General Fund. That is what they were estimating at this point in time.

Mr. Klaver noted this was an ongoing grant program. It is a two-cycle application process. In the spring, they accept applications for development and in August they accept application for purchase.

Commissioner Kozma stated the first hurdle, prior to application, was to have this document revised. She felt that the City was fortunate to have thousands of dollars of work completed by Bob Shaw. They put a draft together to talk about and it also needed community input. It is a prioritizing effort, inventory of all existing facilities and parks and compared it to the 2000 population and put it all into perspective. It is a huge work in progress.

7. Headlee Override

Mr. Klaver noted information was in the packet from the Finance Director and he concurred with her suggestions. Mr. Helwig noted it was his understanding that the Commission wanted to air this as a possible way in the future to enable more resources to be dedicated to Parks and Recreation.

Commissioner Staab wanted to learn more about it as an alternative for funding.

Member Kramer felt there was an historical chart that indicated the proportion of the budget that comes from the General Fund increasing at a steady pace through time. He thought that discussion of this type might be appropriate for everyone to understand the process. Citizen support needed to be cultivated if we are to head in this direction. He thought functionally they were getting the millage needed to fund their operations and functionally they were getting a portion of that from the General Fund. He would much rather have the millage tagged for them and let Council use the General Fund for other purposes. They would need more discussion to find the route to arrive there.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked if Mr. Klaver suggested they get the attorney’s opinion on this? Mr. Klaver said it would certainly be one more piece of information. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo suggested it be an agenda item for the next meeting to direct the attorney to give his opinion. Mr. Klaver said there was some history on the General Fund subsidy that is provided in the budget information.

Commissioner Kozma spoke about the Community Recreation Plan, if they are able to finish the job and do their part, a recommendation letter would come back to Council to accept it by a resolution, which is written into the plan.

Commissioner Staab noted tonight they were going to review the priorities, the Capital Improvement Plan, budgeting and general rhetoric in the plan. Then the Commission would review it and go forward for a public hearing in conjunction with their June 14th meeting and then it would be returned to Council.



There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.



__________________________________ ________________________________

Laura Lorenzo, Mayor Pro Tem Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk




Transcribed by: ___________________________

Charlene McLean


Date approved: May 21, 2001