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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:39 PM with Commissioner Paul presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Enright (Present), Kopeika (Present),
Paul (Present), Place (Present), Staab (Present),
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation, and
Jack Lewis, Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: Agenda was approved as written.
(Place, Staudt C-Un)
1. Park Development Committee
a. Community Sports Park Ballfield Project (Phase 1 Update)
Commissioner Enright stated proposals were reviewed which included drainage, grading, irrigation, turf restoration, infield mix replacement and dugout construction on one (1) to two (2) fields. A short list of four (4) firms was interviewed on Monday, April 28th. The committee selected M. C. Smith and Associates, an architectural group. They have successfully received bids that have come in consistently within budget costs and projections. An extensive and impressive display of their sports facility and athletic complex projects, which they had previously completed, was presented during the interview process. It is the recommendation of the Park Development Committee that M. C. Smith and Associates, an architectural group, be awarded the bid for Phase 1 of Community Sports Park.
Commissioner Kopeika asked if they had done anything in Novi.
Commissioner Enright responded that she knew of none in Novi but they have worked all over the Midwest and she believed that West Bloomfield was the closest.
Director Auler noted that they were recently awarded a contract with the Northville Parks Department and will be working on their community sports park and master planning some additional property that Northville received. They are also currently doing work for the Troy Parks and Recreation Department. Director Auler also brought a copy of the proposal with samples of their work that can be considered as an action item on the agenda.
Commissioner Staab asked what distinguished this group over the others.
Commissioner Place stated that they are well known. They have also done a professional (Triple A) ballfield and the others have not.
Commissioner Staudt asked the financial scope of the project.
Director Auler stated that there is a budget of $100,000 for actual construction and their proposal comes in at $7,900 with some reimbursable and there is no reimbursable for travel.
Commissioner Paul commented that what differentiated M. C. Smith was their ballfield experience, park experience, and quality proposal. The references for M. C. Smith had discussions with Director Auler and gave him feedback on their experiences.
Commissioner Kopeika asked if a service like this one was used when Community Sports Park was first designed and developed? What was learned from that experience?
Commissioner Staab replied that a service was used but the process was very slow.
Deputy Director Lewis commented that he remembered that there was a problem getting electricity and it took about 2 years to finally get it.
2. Strategic Planning Committee
a. Strategic Master Plan Update
Commissioner Staab asked the commission to look at page 125, which shows key objectives. He would like to establish a ranking of the objectives. Ranking would be Highest Priority, Lowest Priority, and whether they are short term or long term.
Commissioner Kopeika clarified that short term would be something that could be accomplished in eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) months. Long term could be as long as five (5) years.
The items were discussed and ranked as follows:
Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance
This is a requirement and the highest short-term priority
Emerald Ash Borer
An estimated 2,000 trees have been affected and need removal. With our current staffing, between 200 and 250 trees can be removed each year. Director Auler stated that Novi could be a possible marshalling site for disposal of wood affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. If we became a marshalling site we would have higher priority for possible grant money if and when it becomes available. This is also highest, short-term priority.
Capital Improvement Program
This is part of the annual budgeting process. We have been under funded and awareness needs to be created within the City. This is a high, short-term priority.
Achieve Staffing Level to Meet Service Expectations
This supports service at all levels including NRPA (Mode2) park maintenance, tree management and recreation services. This is high, short-term priority.
Enhance Revenue Opportunities to achieve Financial Target.
These opportunities include sponsorships, advertisements,
Park Foundation, grants, etc. This is high, long-term priority.
Achieve NRPA Mode 2 Park Maintenance Standards.
The mode designates a service level. Mode 2 is what municipals parks usually follow. Most of our parks are mode 3 to 4. We can reach Mode 2 in about 5 years if we can get the staffing. This is a high, long-term priority.
Establish Street Tree Management Plan.
We are at least 18 months from catching up on the current inventory level of having an accurate inventory. There are an estimated 25,000 street trees (excludes park trees). Volunteers are helping with the inventory. Director Auler stated that at the last City Council meeting there was a first reading of a Landscape Ordinance. A part of the ordinance is related to the planting of street trees as part of new developments coming into the community. The developers would be responsible for planting the trees and maintaining them for 2 years. This is a low, short-term priority.
Acquire 80 to 100 acres of Park Land for Recreational use.
This is a low priority at this time.
Commissioner Paul thanked the other commissioners for their input for the ranking. It will help the committee working on the Master Plan.
3. Resource Development Committee
a. Sponsorship Program Update
b. Park Foundation Update
Commissioner Staudt brought attention to a letter from a law firm and stated he has secured copies of the by-laws for one of the local community foundation which he will proved to Director
Auler. He feels that the Foundation is critical because one of the biggest issues about the grants is that we need to have a matching vehicle for much of what is available. Going back to City Council each time we have an opportunity to secure money will be an extremely difficult process. If we have our own foundation established, each time we have the opportunity to get a grant we can go out and raise matching funds. The Foundation will become critical to our long-term plans as we get the Strategic Plan in place. The structure of the foundation is flexible and will be determined by City Council because they are going to be an important part of the process. There is a five (5) to seven (7) month period from the time of incorporation to the time of getting the IRS certification. In the next few months we may be in a position to make a recommendation to City Council. Commissioner Staudt stated that we will probably want to be a
501C3 because the implications of the charitable organization are far more tax beneficial to the contributor.
Rotary Park restroom facility is a total loss. We are in the process of having the contractor determine the cost for replacement and working with the insurance company. Within the next two weeks this should be done and reconstruction should begin.
We have been successful so far in the budget process in getting a forestry technician position on the budget.
Our recommendation to receive the donation of sixteen (16) acres adjacent to Lakeshore Park was approved by City Council at the last meeting and he is in the process of working with the donor and the attorney to get the paperwork finished.
On Monday, June 16th, from 11am to 1pm we are looking at holding a "Kid’s Concert" at Lakeshore Park. The new playground at that site will also be dedicated on that date. Commission members as well as others will receive invitations to this two (2) hour special event. The entertainer for that day will be "The Rhythm Man."
The Summer Concert Series had an article in the newspaper. A small change will be that the first hour of the program will be a kid’s concert.
Commissioner Staab asked whether we know if we will be able to use Fire Station number 4.
Director Auler stated that a decision has not been reached. It is part of the budget proposal. It will be in October or November before the station is available. We would use it as equipment storage and eventually a field office.
Deputy Director Lewis mentioned that this is a very busy season for the department. Adult Softball Leagues, Youth Baseball, Youth Soccer Leagues, Tennis Leagues, the opening of the Parks, spring street tree planting. We had a very successful Arbor Day with about fifty (50) volunteers planting over three hundred (300) seedlings. Preparations are being made for the Memorial Day Parade with forty (40) entries so far. The parade will be Monday, May 26th starting at 10:00 am. The parade is starting at Town Center then going down Novi Road to Ten Mile Road and ending at the Civic Center.
This weekend the Novi Jaguars are having their Mother’s Day Soccer Tournament.
"Annie" opens this weekend at the Novi Middle School.
Commissioner Place stated that the residents next to Community Sports Park had complained about parking and asked if anything had been done to take care of the problem.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that after last year, "No Parking" signs had been place on the east side of Napier Road. Barricades and cones will be placed on the west side of Napier Road to prevent parking on that side.
Volunteers from the Jaguars will be there to help as well as the Novi Police.
Commission Staab asked how the concession operations went for the first several weeks of Adult Softball
Deputy Director Lewis stated that so far it has been slow with the biggest night profit being $80 or $90. He suspects this is due to the weather.
Commissioner Staudt commended Derek Smith on making a good decision in calling off the games last Monday Night.
AUDIENCE PARTICIAPTION: None.
1. Approval of April 10, 2003 regular meeting minutes. A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes as presented. (Staab, Enright C-Un).
2. Consideration to recommend to the Novi City Council, a contract for design, engineering, and construction observation services for the Community Sports Park Ballfield Project-Phase 1. A motion was made and seconded that it be recommended that the contract be awarded to M. C. Smith for the Community Sports Park Project-Phase 1. (Place, Enright C-Un).
DISCUSSION ITEMS: None.
TRACKING TABLE ITEMS:
1. Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission Organizational Rules. Commissioner Paul and Director Auler will be talking about this over the next month and will make a presentation to the Commission in June. By the City Charter these rules are mandated.
4. Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission Liaison to Novi Community School District. A grid or matrix will be developed to identify all of the facilities available in the school district and city owned with seasons and usage periods. This will be used as a starting point of discussion in how we can strengthen out relationship and better benefit the community. Deputy Director Lewis will be working on this and will schedule a first meeting with Bob Steeh, Director of Community Education, and is also in charge of scheduling their facilities. Walled Lake Schools can also be involved in this process.
5. Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission recommendation to Novi City Council to accept a land donation of 16 acres for park purposes. This was accomplished at the last City Council meeting and passed.
Commissioner Paul asked if there was any progress in the High School Volunteer Program. Director Auler replied that Mr. Saxon’s class at the High School is working on a GIS format mapping system for the trails at Lakeshore Park. Matt Wiktorowski, Superintendent of Parks, is coordinating this process.
Commissioner Staudt thanked Director Auler for including publications in the packet. He asked if this is the first time we have had an investment program. Director Auler stated that we have always solicited sponsorships but we have not had a formalized approach. What we are attempting to do is have a better structure. The initial phase is dealing with advertisements for the brochure, sponsorships for events and sponsorships for youth sports teams. Commissioner Staudt stated that he published an article in the homeowner’s newsletter for Village Oaks and agreed to do one every month which summarizes some of the activities of the Commission. He was also asked to do a presentation at the Homeowner’s Association meeting. He was amazed at how little that people know about Parks and Recreation. Commissioner Staudt noted that on the Adult Softball the revenue is $10,000 more than anticipated. Is that due to an increase in fees or an increase in participation? Deputy Director Lewis noted that there are still some expenditures that will be coming out of that amount. Director Auler noted that the revenue that was more than anticipated came from an increase in fees and that he will verify this with Derek Smith.
Commissioner Enright asked if the recommendation of M. C. Smith to do the Phase 1 at Community Sports Park had to be presented to the City Council or is a line item. Director Auler replied that the contractual language will be worked out and then the information to be presented to City Council will be prepared. A recommendation with all of the Commissioners’ signatures will be included in that packet. Director Auler hopes to have everything prepared and on the May 19th agenda. If not, it will go on the June 2nd City Council meeting. But we would still be looking at a construction beginning in late August or early September.
Commissioner Staab noted that there is a Saturday night Choralaires Concert at Fuerst Auditorium at 7:30 pm. He also noted that the Commissioners received tickets and their support would be appreciated. Commissioner Staab asked if there might be comments about the budget as we approach the end of the fiscal year. Director Auler stated that he believes that we are on track to reach our revenue goal and also to come in below our anticipated expenditures.
Commissioner Place had no comments or questions.
Commissioner Kopeika asked that in next month’s packet they receive an expanded report on how the Jaguar’s Mother’s Day Tournament went since it is the first commitment with the agreement. It would also be good to hear from a Jaguar representative to see how they felt that the tournament went. Director Auler stated that his intent is to have Wendy DuVall-Angelocci, from the Parks, Recreation and Forestry staff, at the June Commission meeting. She would give and update on the tournament and also all of the youth sports programs.
Commission Paul commented that Commissioner Jennifer Kerbrat has resigned as a commissioner and he commends her for her work and participation on the Commission. He also thanked the Department and Commission for the efforts as relate to the Master Plan.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 pm.