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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Paul presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Engebretson (Present), Enright (Present)
Kopeika (Present), Paul (Present), Place (Present- arrived at 7:35), Staab (Present – arrived at 7:37). Staudt (Present).
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director,
Jack Lewis, Deputy Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Commissioner Paul asked if there were any additions to the agenda, no additions were mentioned and a motion to approve the agenda was made by Enright seconded by Staudt.
I. Resource Development Committee – Commissioner Staudt
a. Park Foundation
The incorporators of the Novi Park Foundation have concluded their activities by announcing that we have selected three at-large Board Members, Bob Churella Sr., Kathy Cosentino and Lou Martin, which will fill our minimum requirement for the Board of five members and we will soon call our first special meeting of the Board to elect officers and start business. I want to thank publicly Commissioners Staab and Engebretson for their efforts as incorporators to basically take this from a piece of paper in February to where we have a Board in place here in June, and looking forward to our first Board Meeting. We have four outstanding citizens from Novi here to serve on the Board. I am looking forward to working with them as well as with Commissioner Staab. Additional good news is that we have had our first significant donation to the foundation in the amount of $5,000 from Mr. Jim Wickham, from Lender Limited and that money has been restricted to soccer facility improvements and when the Board gets in place we will begin considering some opportunities for that. I believe that Chairman Paul had a significant hand in soliciting that donation and we appreciate your assistance there. We will have our official meeting tonight as incorporators and make these appointments and close up shop. It sounds very positive and hopefully by the next meeting we will be able to report that we have had a Board Meeting and we are in business. Commissioner Paul added that he was pleased to hear of the contribution by Mr. Wickham, and was nice to see him step up to the plate and demonstrate his leadership to the community. Thanks very much.
II. Strategic Planning Committee – Commissioner Kopieka
a. Recreation Programs
Commissioner Kopeika stated that he had a brief meeting with Director Auler and Commissioner Enright about three weeks ago where we tried to determine what we thought was the direction of the Committee and I also contacted Commissioner Paul and had some further discussion with you and the Director to evaluate what we would like to do. We had a couple of good ideas on the overall community recreation plan which was to look at programming in other communities of like size with similar demographics and determine from a gap strategy where we might have gaps in our programming. Are there things that are being successful in other communities that we may not have or that are underdeveloped and the resources applied against it. The more difficult one that we discussed that we would like to get some input from you is current programming that may not be fully utilized by the citizens of Novi and have been legacy programming and maybe they are not achieving the type of revenue and cash flow that we need for the department. So what we (Auler, myself and Commissioner Enright) proposed to do was pull you in and find out a little bit more of what was in the scope and not in the scope. I am not really sure from a Commission standpoint if evaluating specific programs for a certain revenue level is really what we want to do. I am not saying that we should or shouldn’t but I am just not sure. I want to make sure that if we do that that there is certainly some down side to that – of looking at programming might have some risks. Commissioner Paul added that he was available this evening depending on late the meeting goes.
III. Park Development Committee – Commissioner Enright
a. Community Sports Park Ballfield #2 Project
On June 3rd the department staff met with the contractor and created a punch list of all the final items that were to be done. It was supposed to completed by the end of this week, but if you get out there and look at the fields, the fences are up, the turf is in, everything looks good, but we just have a few items on the punch list. We would like to encourage everybody to please stay off the fields, it is off limits until next spring. There were cases where I’ve seen balls accidentally go over the fence, they will be retrieved and put in the concessions area so if they are looking for their item, they can go there. But please stay off the field. As far as Lakeshore Park drainage, I’m going to turn that over to Director Auler.
b. Lakeshore Park Drainage Project
As you know, the Department of Public Works has been working on the entryway to Lakeshore Park, installing the drains project. They started out in late April, early May, and I believe the target date was to have everything done by this Friday, but the water main break and the rain obviously may delay that. They did get the asphalt down into the tunnel this week, so now you can actually access the beach through the tunnel and we are anxiously awaiting their completion of that project. Commissioner Paul asked if there were any questions, Commissioner Kopeika had a question, back on ball field two project, I think the field looks great, I have been out to CSP quite a bit and in regards to the punch list – I’m going to direct this to Commissioner Enright and Director Auler; I’m not sure of what type of payment is made with the contractor overall but is there going to be some kind of final walk through or some type of final approval given by your Department prior to payment. I’m not sure if we have paid a certain portion to this point and you are going to wait until the punch list is approved and then give the final approval to pay. Certainly I think that given that, we won’t be able to do like a test drive on the field until next year that making final payment until we are fully satisfied that they delivered all their deliverables – I’m just curious on what type of arrangement we have on that with the contractor. Director Auler stated that contract states and what we have been doing is that as items are completed at the quality level that meet the specifications we make a payment but we also hold retainage on each payment. So we have a retainage amount in balance as well as funds we have not paid for items that are not done. The punch list that is remaining – 12 items on that list to complete – once they complete that they are then responsible for the maintenance of that facility for 60 days and that includes also four mowings. It is very specific as to how and when that is to occur, once that is complete we will do a final walk through again, I anticipate that being sometime in August and that will give us an opportunity for staff to do a test run and make sure everything is in good condition. If everything checks out then we will submit final payment application and acceptance of the project to Council, which will happen sometime in the fall (September). But that is how the contract is set up but we do have retainage on the project.
Commissioner Kopeika - So once your team goes through in August and gives the final walk through and says the facility is ready, hopefully any small or minor issues we get next spring when we get ready to go for the next year for the full usage of the field, your team will manage that?
Director Auler – that is correct.
Commissioner Kopeika - OK thanks.
Commissioner Paul - Any questions, I had two questions, one is related to the ball field and the other one is related to Lakeshore Park. With regard to the ball field – it does look outstanding, it really looks like a first rate quality field. It looks exactly like we were envisioning it and really appreciates Director Auler’s efforts, because we know you have had to go to extra efforts and steps to make sure the contractors met their requirements and met their promises and that doesn’t go un-noticed and we really appreciate that. Secondly, with regard to Lakeshore Park Drainage Project, what would you say is the biggest issue from this point forward, as far as getting this complete?
Director Auler – right now we just need the ground to dry, we need sun so that they can finish up the work and be out of there. I know the D.P.W. staff has been working on that, if we can get the weather to cooperate and don’t have any water main breaks and so forth, we will be able to get out there and finish that.
Commissioner Paul – But people can access the beach at this point?
Director Auler – what we did earlier this week just for the Commissions benefit, is when they could not access the tunnel because the D.P.W. was still pouring asphalt, we escorted people over South Lake Drive and the beach area.
Commissioner Paul – Ok, great, thanks very much.
1. Deputy Director Report
Deputy Director Lewis stated that on facility use, I did have a meeting with Novi Schools and we are expecting to get full usage of all gyms that we had for the season of 2002/03. They are expecting the construction of the high school to be completed and also we are expecting to be able to use all their schools for our soccer this fall and next spring as well. Wendy has submitted all the necessary paper work and requests and we are just waiting to hear back from them. It looks like we are in pretty good shape there. We will also be requesting gym space again this year at Walled Lake, we are not sure if we will get that or not but we will still request it. The other issue I wanted to talk about was the concession stand at Community Sports Park baseball, at the present time; Oakland County Health Department is only allowing us to sell pre-packaged food. They have told us that we have to have a certified manager in that facility at all times. A certified manager has to go to a class for three nights a week for six weeks. It is actually the same requirement if you owned a restaurant and you were working in a restaurant. We have been talking with the County to see if there is some other option that we may have since it is a lot smaller version of a restaurant. I am waiting to hear back from them, until we get this resolved, that is the situation we are in right now, pre-packaged food only, cannot sell hot dogs, or popcorn or some of the other items we usually sell.
Commissioner Staudt - How does that affect Powers Park?
Deputy Director Lewis – A few years ago when this came out they told us that as long as we had a certified manager on staff, that that would take care of all of our concession stands. Since then, they said that it had changed and we have to have a certified manager at each concession stand. Now at Power Park, Kathy, who works there is certified. So we are OK there. They just told us this two weeks ago, when we were getting ready to open up the baseball side. They came out for an inspection and asked us about that and I asked them if Kathy who worked at Power Park would be able to go over there and work if we had to, and actually at that time, they did tell me no, but did change that and said "yes, she could". But basically they are telling us that we have to have a certified manager at each stand.
Commissioner Paul – what defines a certified manager?
Deputy Director Lewis – They have to go to a class three nights a week, for three hours a night for six weeks. Then take a test. We’ve told them that normally we just have college kids that work in these facilities and we have asked every question possible to try and get around this and right now.
Commissioner Paul – Is this a County issue, I wonder if maybe one of our County representatives might be able to help us out with this.
Deputy Lewis – that would be our next step. They are looking into it and see what else we might possibly do.
Commissioner Staudt - Any additional members of your staff certified?
Deputy Director Lewis – We used to have two people certified, Megan Much was a certified manager and she ran the concession last year at Sports Park on the soccer side, then we have Kathy Ballard, she works every night out a Power Park.
Commissioner Place - Would you need a certified manager at each of the locations at CSP?
Deputy Director Lewis – If they are open, originally, I asked, "why can’t Kathy come in here and work" and they said "no". Then they did tell us we could have her. But if we had all four stands operating at the same time, they are telling us that we would have to have four certified managers.
Commissioner Paul – Just the one item on Walled Lake, if you need some help with anything relating to the field court usage, I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.
Commissioner Staab – Memorial Day Parade
I worked the event and I think the move to the new staging area went very well. Especially after we got all the parents routed in the right direction, and it rained at the end so we couldn’t have the ceremonies but it was well attended. I look forward to working on it again next year. I think every year it gets bigger and there is more community pride involved.
Commissioner Engebretson – I see there was some discussion on the Novi Hockey Association contract, is that just normal for this time of year.
Director Auler – normally we try to have their contract completed in February, there was a meeting back in January, three members of the hockey association board at that time with myself, Kathy Smith-Roy and Council member Capello and they expressed what they perceived as some issues and concerns that they wanted us to review and discuss. We spent February reviewing those and we met in March. Particularly their concern was the hockey prices are too high and originally, we had parents coming to City Hall asking why ice rates were going up 20%. The fact is, they have not, do not and will not go up. Ice rates have gone up about 2% per year, it’s 4% this year, and again this year there is no ice rate increase. But they were having fees increased by their Board, so that initiated this discussion and really the three representatives at that time felt there may be a conflict of interest between summer utilization with Suburban running the camp and not really any other camps. We have two to three hockey camps in the rink in the summer, we try to maximize utilization. We did comparisons as they did and showed that we are very competitive in the market for rinks for similar types of facilities that have the debt service that we have and of those facilities, we are the only ones that are covering our costs. All the others are losing money and being subsidized. The way the rink was established through a revenue bond we cannot subsidize that, it has to be funded through the fees and ice rental rates and so forth. So we reviewed all that and went through those things with them. We talked about the possibility for them to open their Board meetings, their Board meetings are not open the public, they are closed. You can ask to be placed on the agenda. We have now instituted, and this last month was our first meeting, a monthly management meeting where the president of their association is meeting with Tom Anastos and myself. We meet at 6:45 or 7 AM and try to begin working through issues. Our goal is to make it a win/win situation from a rink management perspective. They are our biggest user and that is good, and maybe also not so good. If the market changes, you haven’t diversified enough, so we have that user proof, we have the adult hockey program that we manage and we also have the skate club and skate lessons. Out of the entire week that is scheduled there is about 3-1/2 – 4 hours of public skating, and that is not real good either but all the other time is really utilized by the school hockey teams, the club hockey teams or the Novi Youth Hockey Association. We have to make sure that their needs are met but also that they meet the requirements of the rink and communication and so forth. That is how we are proceeding.
Commissioner Engebretson - What do you think about a time frame for getting this wrapped up?
Director Auler – we have the ice rental contract and we reviewed that again at the last monthly meeting, we had just a few tweaks to do on it and it should be wrapped up very soon.
Commissioner Engebretson - So we are almost done on it?
Director Auler – right.
Commissioner Engebretson - I have one other question on it, there was a note here about the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Association and the comment about the proactive safety approach in the parks and given some of the recent events that have happened, was there anything that came out of that that we should be considering?
Deputy Director Lewis – I have been a member of that committee for the last four or five years and those are issues that we talk about at every meeting, then what we do from that, as well as discuss certain issues that come up, we have members from all over the state. We also publish a small pamphlet information that we had out to other departments. We have talked about safety on the beaches, softball and soccer fields, walking trails, we talk about playground safety, so it is an excellent group to work with.
Commissioner Engebretsen - Are we trying to incorporate some of their suggestions?
Deputy Director Lewis – Yes, we have been over the last few years. I always bring back some really good information each time I go there and Matt and I will sit down and discuss some of the new issues that are coming up. Actually, ice arena’s as well, parks, all those types of park activities.
This weekend we have the Kid’s Fair, which is a first time for that event. We’re still seeking volunteers. If any of the Commissioners wish to volunteer, please contact Tracie, we could use your help certainly. It is at the Sports Park, for about 4-5 hours, we are utilizing the entire park; there are no soccer games, no baseball games. I did receive an e-mail today to umpire, so they are apparently trying to schedule some games and we are trying to improve that communication to make sure that we don’t have any issues with that this week-end. Also, later this month on June 24th, we begin the Kid’s Concert Series. It will be at a new location this year at Lakeshore Park, so that you can come out and have a family picnic, watch the show and also utilize the beach before the show if you like. So I’m looking forward to that. Also included in your packet is just a brief update from the discussion we had at our previous meeting regarding tree replacement program? Steve developed an executive summary, we’ve distributed that to the homeowner’s association presidents and asked them to get the information out or respond back to us. To date, we have received a good response; the number is somewhere in the 35-40 surveys that we received back. The final deadline for that is June 15th. We will tally all that information and sit down and put together a recommendation to bring forward and eventually take to Council.
Commissioner Paul – any questions?
Commissioner Engebretson – There was a comment here that we received 30 responses so far, any feel for how the vote is tallied out so far?
Director Auler – I haven’t tallied them up, and I meant to ask Steve that question today. I have glanced at them, all four options are receiving votes from residents paying 100% to residents sharing in the costs and ending at a certain time, or continue as an on-going basis, so I would hate to mislead you – I don’t know what that answer is, but I know we have asked them on the survey to prioritize those as well, to help us in the decision making process.
Commissioner Engebretson – so this is really an issue for July then?
Director Auler – yes, our goal is to bring this forward to you in July with a recommendation for what type of program it would be and then get that to council in August or September, depending on the agendas.
Commissioner Engebretson – OK, thanks.
Mr. Hogan – I am really happy to hear that you were able to get the $88,000 + the City Council regarding the budget. I wanted to say that I was checking the handicapped parking at Lakeshore Park and I was surprised to see that if you look at the park where the picnic area is, there is a long fence that goes to where the trails are, then a fence that goes in the other direction going north. There is one spot that people can walk through and that is exactly the same spot that the cars park when you are in the handicapped parking space, it literally takes the whole spot up, there is no where else to park and there is no where else for someone to walk by. I just sat there for five minutes to see what would happen and of course, everybody was complaining right away that – why would you park right where we have to walk through the fence, so perhaps when Benny has some extra cement or asphalt, someone can put some out there next to the patch that is there so that people can utilize the fence cut that is there. The other handicapped space that is there is in the same situation, there is a fence that goes towards to the north to the concession stand area and then there is the grass and building itself, and the only place to get between those two is on the handicapped platform parking cement that is there. So, I would like to see somebody do something with that so it can be used and the car won’t look like it is up on four flat tires when you come back. I was curious to hear how River Day went, when I left here last meeting, I went over to the storm water committee meeting and I found out that the D.P.W. were too busy to help out with the River Day this year, so I sent e-mails out to the City Council and upper level management at the City and they returned them and said they would have all the support plus this year. They were not aware that someone had said they would not participate and I was curious to see how the event went, along with how it worked in conjunction with the parks. I am very happy to hear that you will be happy to start working on the A.D.A. stuff and the capital projects.
Commissioner Paul – Director Auler, do you have any feedback on River Day or Deputy Director Lewis?
Deputy Director Lewis – Yes, Dave Maurice did take a group of volunteers and some of the park staff workers, Steve Printz from our Department, I can’t remember the name of the subdivision – Dunbar Pines – there was probably about 20 people that went out and worked on that area, it was a drainage issue I believe. Then at Lakeshore Park we had Barbara Greenberg planted some wildlife flowers at the back of the park and placed some mulch down and the D.P.W. had their workers clearing the ditch area at Lakeshore Park.
Commissioner Paul – Sounds like things went pretty well then with regard to that.
Commissioner Staudt - Related to that, is River Rouge their cleanup, is that past or is that coming?
Deputy Director Lewis – It initially started as the Rouge cleanup and over the years, Ford Motor Company was involved, Channel 2 was involved and then I’m not exactly sure what happened but they no longer sponsored the event and the former Forestry Director changed it. They changed the name to River Day, I’m not sure how that happened either. It’s called River Day, I’m not sure why it’s called River Day because we really haven’t been working in the river too much the last few years. We are going to be looking into it and making some changes for next year. It is a local group out of the Detroit area that heads that up and they work with various cities and we just work in conjunction with them.
Commissioner Staudt - My biggest issue is the Rotary Park area where we did that clean up - was absolutely jammed. Somebody advised me that there was this River Rouge group that was going to do a cleanup but they probably weren’t going to do anything in the Rotary Park area, it doesn’t appear that it was going to get done this year at all. That is something that I would like to add to the agenda to figure out how do we get these massive blockages in Rotary Park alone, I don’t know about other areas, but there were at least three or four that were as big as cars. I had heard there was another cleanup coming down the road but this is major. I just wanted to know if they had done anything, I don’t think that they did.
Deputy Director Lewis – Actually, on Saturday, June 26th, the Rotary Club along with our department is having another cleanup day at Rotary. When I asked some of the questions why weren’t we going into the river like we used to, there was some environmental concerns. Some of the log jams that they didn’t want us to remove and there were some questions on health going into the river. But I think we will sit down and look at that when we do Rotary Park and see what we might be able to pull out of the river.
Commissioner Paul – With respect to Mr. Hogan’s issue with the handicapped parking space, can somebody talk to the D.P.W. about that, or what would be the best avenue or recommendations?
Director Auler – We’ll talk to the D.P.W. but actually our staff installed all that, there is a second entryway through the fence that people access the shelter at, that site is not paved. My experience has been, he brought up a good point, we’ll look at expanding that or doing something with that, so we’ll take care of it.
Commissioner Paul – OK, great. Thanks Mr. Hogan
1. Approval of the May 13th regular meeting minutes – Commissioner Enright - I have a change to them that is very minor, I believe that it refers to Mike Fenton, it is Mike Stratton, the President of the Jaguars, so I would like to accept them and motion the acceptance with that change, it begins at page 7 in the audience participation and on page 9, he’s mentioned 4 or 5 times, and with that I move to accept them, I second.
Commissioner Paul – All in favor
1. Allocation of $88,000 in budgeted funds for 2004/2005, I believe there is a description in Director Auler’s Director’s Report, Item #4 on that report that talks about the actual budget money and a recommendation from the Department for allocation. Director Auler can you share with us a little bit about that.
Director Auler – Yes, as you are aware, we have many meetings that we identify in our Community Recreation Plan and our Capital Improvement Plan and we are extremely grateful that Council allocated $88,374 for improvements this year that will assist us. In terms of what I did and staff, we reviewed the budget discussions, community input, community recreation plan and our capital improvement plan and provided a recommendation this evening that we allocate $24,000 for improvements related with A.D.A. Those would be to specifically install an accessible pathway system to Lakeshore Park beach and waterfront. We have had requests from physically challenged citizens to be able to access the beach and included in your packet is a letter that was sent to City Council in regards to that particular item. We believe that that will provide a lot of different opportunities for individuals and families to utilize. Additionally, would be to install an accessible pathway to Lakeshore Park restroom day camp building. During the audience participation, referred to the concession restroom day camp building, but it is a challenge to get to if you are physically challenged or in a wheel chair or walker or visually impaired. So this would install a cutback ramp system that would replace the current sidewalk that is too steep and do some enhanced landscaping. That would be almost the final phase to the renovation of that building. As you recall, we have installed a new roof and some other things at that site. The third item related with A.D.A. would be to improve the accessibility pathway system to Community Sports Park soccer restroom and concession stand. When that facility was built, somehow we missed the pathway, or a pathway wasn’t included to be able to access around some of the pillars to access that building, so it becomes a challenge there. So that was one of the things identified in our transition plan. So it will be three projects that we feel that will enhance accessibility, enhance the user experience and based on feed back that we have had, as we went through the planning process and involving citizens in that, those were some of the top priorities that we had. Another item would be to install the infrastructure of the irrigation system at Community Sports Park for the baseball/softball field side of the complex. This essentially included a memo that we distributed to City Council during their budget discussions, it would extend the existing irrigation system from the soccer field north to field #8, east to field #7 and #6 and then south to where the baseball concession stand is now. It does put in the infrastructure as we talked out at a previous meeting, I believe would run it out of the pond system or detention pond we have at Eight Mile and Napier, similar to what golf courses are doing now. The pond serves as a filtration device, takes the iron out of the water, it is one of the issues we may have on field #2 to give you a heads-up on that. We may have iron on the fences after a while and may end up painting them or doing some other work there. That is why this process would be utilized; it puts the infrastructure in place for all the fields to be irrigated. Our goal is to irrigate if the bids come in well, we would be able to irrigate one field, it costs about $10,000-$12,000 to irrigate one field but we definitely feel we can get the infrastructure in and we believe we can get one field irrigated and feel confident with that. We’ll know once the numbers come in. Our goal based on Commission’s discussion this evening, we’ll take that back and our hope is that we can begin some of the work on these things this summer once the new fiscal years kicks in and we get the items out to bid. We would really like to get accessibility to the beach done this summer and have that available in July or August, the accessibility to the restroom day camp building and also the soccer complex before the soccer season kicks in. Also, following baseball season this fall begin work on the irrigation system if that is the route that we go. The last item would be maintenance equipment – to be able to purchase two pieces of equipment, one is an aerator and the second one is a mower that would enable us to maintain the sport turf. Our challenge right now is that we have facilities that are in need of repair, and one of the reasons they are in need of repair is that we don’t have the equipment to maintain them at the same levels. We have five mowers in the entire park operation to take care of all of the mowing that we do, so you can see we are challenged in that area. Those mowers are old and we have a lot of repair on those. The addition of this mow would enable us to mow the parks and facilities but would enable us to mow the grass at an even level on our sports fields. This would help the youth at the sports park with the ball fields and the adults at Power Park with ball fields as well.
So it serves both ends of the spectrum. The aerator is very important. We need to aerate our fields more. It helps the turf, it cuts down on compaction. Right now we aerated them last year one time only and we were able to utilize the school aerator and tractor to do that. We were not able to do that the year prior because the schools have all of their turf they needed to maintain and we couldn’t work it out it terms of timing. In terms of frequency of aeration, ideally we want to aerate them at least once a month. To give you an idea right now, we have done it once in the last two years, so that is why we feel those two pieces of equipment are important. With that, a recap - $24,000 for A.D.A., $44,000 for Sports Park irrigation and $16,000 for sports turf maintenance equipment. I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have and interested in hearing your discussion.
Commissioner Paul – Any questions, thoughts, feedback.
Commissioner Place – Director Auler with the irrigation machine, we would go from park to park, like it would be at Community Sports Park one day or Power Park, so we would get just one – the entire city.
Commissioner Paul – the aerator,
Commissioner Place - Right
Director Auler – that’s correct.
Commissioner Paul – Additional questions, feedback
Commissioner Staudt – Are the recommended improvements for the A.D.A. listed or identified in our A.D.A. action plan?
Director Auler – Yes they are.
Commissioner Staudt – Where are they prioritized, I remember that plan to be by date or by year, what year were they prioritized in?
Director Auler – I don’t recall, if we take a break I can check and come back and tell you. When we reviewed those, those were the top priorities along with the improvements that we already completed from the citizens that participated in that process. I can’t tell you specifically today but I believe they were to be done last year.
Commissioner Staudt – All three are in the beach?
Director Auler – That’s without the infrastructure?
Commissioner Staudt – I mean to complete. So after the initial investment the completion costs is approximately $60,000.
Director Auler – It’s $70,000, no you are correct, I’m sorry, we’ll have six , sorry I stand corrected.
Commissioner Staudt – Finally, my other comment is I have heard rumblings about equipment maintenance and storage issues, primarily that we have a tendency to leave our equipment in exposed areas which lead to quicker deterioration. Please comment on that.
Director Auler – We do have a storage facility need, we have this equipment at the D.P.W. yard. Some is stored internally and some is stored outside. We have storage crates, if you will, at the Fuerst Farm, in addition to equipment stored in the barns. We have storage crates at Sports Park. We are not able to get all of the equipment in to those sites. We keep equipment on site at the Sports Park because it cuts down on windshield time. We get as much as we can into those storage units and some of the items are left outside. It is one of the things that Jack and Matt and I have been discussion and trying to evaluate how we can improve that. Our ideal situation is that we don’t want any equipment outside for two reasons, one is for safety issues and secondly for longevity of the equipment. We are utilizing Fire Station #4 for storage of supplies and evaluating currently how we store equipment in there and still minimizes the impact on windshield time. The aerator will be stored inside, as well as the mower.
Commissioner Staudt – Finally, my last comment with regards to the correspondence that we received today from Novi Youth Baseball League, from the President Bruce Haffey. . The words that I have written on my sheet are offensive and misleading and I don’t believe that this correspondence has served them well; it doesn’t in my mind reflect a cooperative attitude from that organization. I would like to have seen somebody here to support it; I’m a little leery of getting e-mail or messages when there is nobody. We have a form here to communicate these types of issues directly. I am concerned that there is a possibility – quoting from this letter "what could happen had been prevented by having certain first aid or medical equipment or communication capabilities on the fields" I’m not sure what this means.
Commissioner Enright - I believe part of that is the cell phone calling for 911. There was an issue a couple of weeks ago with a soccer coach who had a health distress problem and it took over 25 minutes for an ambulance to get there and I think possibly what he may be referring to is that the Parks and Recreation make sure they get this phone number that you have public local access or contact to 911, instead of being re-directed all around to Ann Arbor, or Northville, so that they can get a quick response to the ball field. And I believe this is something that is now going to be posted at all the fields, all volunteers are going to have this number, all coaches are going to have this number. I think that is where that is coming from, or part of that is. The response for medical.
Commissioner Staudt - What in the context of this letter dealing with condition of ball fields, I just feel that this was an entire inappropriate and unnecessary comment and I’m just making myself known. I’m going to support Director Auler recommendation, we may have some amendments here or have some kind of additional discussion but I am satisfied with what he has presented. I attended the budget meetings, I got up in front of the council and I asked them to give us the opportunity to make decisions on behalf of the community and make recommendations to them. They gave us that opportunity, this money came to us without any strings attached whatsoever. I appreciate the opportunity to do that and I’m supporting staff’s recommendations, unless we agree to something else.
Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much Commissioner Staudt. Additional questions, feedback.
Commissioner Engebretson – Director Auler, I’m new to the Commission, I’ve only been here a year, could you offer me what our funds have been spent on over the last five years. Even three
Director Auler – Last year we had $123,000 for the Community Sports Park ball field project when everything is complete there. We had $30,000 for improvements to renovation of the Lakeshore Park day camp building, to bring that up to expectations of the users. We had $45,000 or $50,000 for the Lakeshore Park playground project as well as the accessibility improvements as well as the pathway systems to the restrooms, pathway system to Wildlife Woods, park restroom facility and the soccer field. One year we did not receive any funding and the year prior to my beginning and Jack can speak to this, we received $600,000 for the construction of four restroom/concession facilities in the parks.
Deputy Director Lewis - We had the new restroom and shelter at Community Sports Park near the play structure, restroom at Lakeshore Park and Wildlife Woods restroom/shelter and at Rotary Park, that was about 3-4 years ago and it was $600,000 also a couple of playground units that went into Lakeshore Park and Rotary.
Director Auler – I do recall the number I think was either $230,000 or $280,000; I can put that in your packet next month. Then one year we didn’t receive any funding. And then we have $125,000 for the Sports Park project this year.
Commissioner Paul – Two other items I think – did you mention there was $30-40,000 for removal of tennis courts at Brookfarm Park.
Director Auler – We did that internally.
Commissioner Paul – And then the other was playground equipment at Power Park.
Director Auler – That was all part of that $280,000, again, I will give you a breakdown of that.
Commissioner Paul – Essentially the money for ball field #2 was actually budget not from last year but from two years ago.
Commissioner Engebretson – Last year was zero?
Commissioner Paul – Last year was zero, exactly.
Commissioner Engebretson – I just wanted to get an overview of how we had spent our money last three – five years. One more question, the comments that you made here about the turf maintenance and the irrigation; give me a feeling – how much is one going to help compared to the other as far as the stability in the fields and the unevenness.
Deputy Director Lewis – Could you repeat the question?
Commissioner Engebretson – We have two items here that are recommended, the irrigation and the sports turf equipment. Is one going to help the field’s unevenness and some of the safety issues more than the other.
Deputy Director Lewis – I believe the aerator and the water both are going to help as far as safety. The aerification, as far as Randy had mentioned, whenever I used to talk to people in the field, experts from Michigan State, they said aerate as much as you can, whenever you can. That is something that we haven’t been doing, we used to, we had a used aerator that I bought about 15 years ago that was 10 years old at that time and that has finally fallen apart. Obviously the water has always been an issue. If you can put water on the field every other day and aerify, that is going to make the grass grow faster, softer and will be safer.
Commissioner Engebretson - So it’s a combination.
Deputy Director Lewis – Yes, a combination, along with additional top soil too, it’s not just doing that, don’t think that we are going to aerify and water and everything is going to be perfect out there. We still need to do some grading on the fields, we need to place some top soil down, some areas probably need to be repaired completely, where we remove certain sections and either put sod down or seed.
Commissioner Engebretson – Is that something that the community can help with?
Deputy Director Lewis – Yes
Commissioner Engebretson – OK, then I just have one other comment. I agree with Commissioner Staudt, I’m going to support your recommendations because I believe that the Parks and Recreation Department is in the best position to decide where the funds should be spent. But I would again ask the baseball league to come forward. We need help, if we want to play on diamonds like we have in Northville, or some of the other communities around here then we need as much help as we can get, and I would really like to see them come forward and help us.
Deputy Director Lewis – And we have also had those discussions with the Novi Colts Football Association as well as the Jaguars to help us.
Commissioner Paul – Additional questions or feedback.
Commissioner Enright - Director, would you be able to tell us if we were to get irrigation on a field, would that close that field down for any period of time, would we lose it for a season?
Director Auler – I believe it would, it depends on what we do to that field, all those fields need improvements. My thought is that I’m not sure that it has to be a two-fold approach, if you are going to put irrigation in and it needs some grading or top-soil, you want to do all of that first. We have to figure out – obviously we don’t have funding for that – unless we re-allocate. We would have to get that done from some other means. Our approach is going to be to the field that needs the least amount of work, which would probably be diamond #1 or diamond #3 or diamond #7 – it will not be #4, #6 or #8.
Commissioner Place - Also in regards to the letter that Mr. Haffey wrote, President of the Novi Youth, I think if we could perhaps key in on the last paragraph, where they say the organization is eager to work with Parks and Recreation and are committed to reviewing their budget and other sources for possible donations of funds or equipment to the City, if that would help enhance the City. So I think that is something that we should be keying in, we may want to disregard other parts of the letter but that is something we should key in on and I think it’s a source that we need to work with and they do perhaps have some means that would help us tremendously. It seems like we all have a goal of making those fields safe for the kids. This organization puts hundreds of kids on those field every evening and they are the ones we should be working with. They have the resources and the means and we should be working with them.
Commissioner Place – I have a question for Director Auler. Have they ever stepped forward and given us any funds?
Director Auler – I do not believe since I have been here that that has happened, I’m not sure about prior to that time. We would welcome any support.
Commissioner Paul – I can correct that Director Auler, because they did give $1,500 in funds to kick off the initial design of the Community Sports Park upgrade along with ball field #2 upgrade. They also donated in-kind services through McKenna Associates.
That is all that I am aware of, and we would certainly encourage more of that.
Commissioner Kopeika – Director Auler, I’m going back to your document of April 26th to Craig Klaver. The irrigation plan for the allocation of the $40,000 looks like, either verify this or correct me if I’m wrong, we’re going to take a tap off this existing 4" water main underneath the street and bring it up by field #6 and #7, then come down. When I first looked at this, it appears that it is a long way to go, are we laying it out that way because we are anticipating that we will irrigate #6, #7 and #8?
Director Auler – I’ll address that and defer to Jack for a portion of that as well. If we are going to irrigate the fields, it makes sense to do it so you have the infrastructure in to supply the whole system.
The best system to do that was running that through the well at Eight Mile and Napier and then into the pond. The reason that you can’t cut over and cut up if I understand it right, and Jack worked with us quite a bit, is water pressure, the more angles you have the more reduced water pressure you have. We are going to be pulling a lot of water to irrigate the eight soccer fields and eight ball fields within the time period that we have. Based on our discussions with all of the consultants and irrigation experts and well experts, what we proposed, all of them agreed was the best system.
Deputy Director Lewis – Our original plan was to go up just a little north of the concession stand near field B to go over, but then when we talked to our irrigation person, as Randy indicated, he said that we would lose too much pressure doing that. So his recommendation was to take it all the way up to A field, then over, because each time you make an additional connection we would lose pressure.
Commissioner Kopeika – I certainly claim to be no water expert. It does look like it is going the long way, and I thought we were doing it so we could in the future, tee right off and do #6 or #7 if that was the plan. But I thought that maybe to save a little bit of money now you could cut over from field B, and then extend at a later date. But if you have already done the work, I’ll take your word. Then this $41,000, is this is an official estimate we have already gotten, a company or group of companies?
Director Auler – Those are estimates from irrigation people and a well company that we have talked with to gather their knowledge and we have also shared that with the person that would be preparing the specifications with us and he felt comfortable with that as well.
Commissioner Kopeika – Commissioner Paul, I’m not sure how you want to progress on this but as far as the initial memorandum from the Director on how to allocate the $88,000 – did you want all comments now or were you going to come back and ask for additional – how are you going to handle that?
Commissioner Paul – I think that whenever somebody wants to make a motion we can certainly make a motion, I did want to make a few comments when at the end of this when we are complete.
Commissioner Kopeika - I think I will comment now, so you will know where I’m at. I am very happy we have the opportunity to allocate almost $90,000 in funds for the City. I am in support of the $44,000 for the ball fields and the A.D.A. portion. To me the lawn maintenance equipment is important, I know it’s not like it’s a package deal, water and mowing equipment. It was somewhat of a surprise to me that not having discussed it before – I know we have a lot of equipment needs - that your recommendation to take a little bit of what we had out of the $88,000 and buy basically maintenance equipment. That’s fine, this is a Commission where we all have different views. I think if I were to make a proposal, I would probably allocate the $40,000 and I’d change dollars for the fields, and allocate the rest towards the A.D.A. plan since it was an original community rec plan and one of our highest needs identified, that is just where I’m at.
Commissioner Staab – I fully support what Randy has put together on the ball fields and the A.D.A. piece and so on, then I’ll get back to the equipment needs. I am concerned about the letter. What I’d like to use this forum for now is to speak to the community both the Youth Baseball and Youth Football people and the Jaguars, we would appreciate and encourage them to give us their plans of allocation of resources and dollars and so on and now it’s time to step up, and not say well maybe we’ll give 50 people and maybe I can come up with some money and so on. We something specific we can hang our hat on so we can go forward. That’s the way I deal in dollars and cents and now is the time basically for the rubber to hit the road. So I would encourage people to do that. As far as equipment, I initially looked at that and said why do we need that, it wasn’t big on our priority list and so on and so forth but I reflect back to when we initially irrigated the field in CSP right after we had the initial design done and from an equipment standpoint we lacked power to run the irrigation system for many a day, so our beautiful field became a wheat field. While that is going to obviously be taken care of with irrigation, so to reflect back on that and I equate it to our equipment request here and aeration (as I see in my own personal yard) if I do it once a year it’s good, twice a year is even better. As far as the mowers, I defer to better minds than myself, and if that is what we need, let’s get it and go forward with it so I support the presentation as so presented.
Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much Commissioner Staab. I have a couple of brief comments to make and I would like to echo Commissioner Staab’s comments and I think that they were very well spoken and it is time for the rubber to meet the road. I thought that the City and the City Council members did an excellent job in coming forth with some dollars for the community, specifically to improve the parks and that is what we are doing here this evening, it’s the first start. We would like then to see now the community’s part to come to us with specific plans. Just to share with you briefly, I do not have anything concrete to share with you this evening but I do know there are people on behalf of the City, on behalf of Novi Youth Baseball and on behalf of the Novi Park Foundation that are actively pursuing donation of equipment, as well as donation of top soil and other field top surfaces for the in-fields and things like that. So those are actively being pursued right now, which I think is a good thing. But I couldn’t agree with Commissioner Staab more that we would encourage both the Novi Jaguars, the Novi Northville Colts and Bobcats and Novi Youth Baseball to come here with specific plans. That is really key and important for us and it demonstrates to City Council and to the City the importance that this is to the community. With that in mind, I have one question to maybe to help with Commissioner Kopeika’s comments in regards to the equipment. That is if we were successful with one of those organizations that I had mentioned earlier or the Foundation in obtaining some of that equipment from a donation standpoint for the City, Director Auler what would be your recommendation then as far as spending the additional $16,000? Would it be to put it towards the A.D.A. then or what would be your recommendation?
Director Auler – My recommendation would be to re-allocate that money towards A.D.A. to make some more needed improvements we could revisit that at that time if those items came forward but the next items on our A.D.A. list are pretty big ticket items. The $16,000 will go a long way to get help us get that done.
Commissioner Paul – OK, so with that in mind, those are my comments and feedback and I’m open for any motions that anybody may want to present.
Commissioner Staab - I’d like to make a motion that we as a Commission approve the allocation of the $80,000 as described in Director Auler’s memorandum of June 7th, which by topic area would provide $24,000 for A.D.A. improvements, $44,000 for the installation of irrigation systems infrastructure and so on and so forth, and the last item – purchase of turf maintenance equipment of $16,000.
Commissioner Paul – Is there a second?
Commissioner Engebretsen – Can I make an addendum to this?
Commissioner Staab – I second.
Commissioner Paul – OK, now you can make a motion.
Commissioner Engebretsen - I’d like to make an addendum to this that any excess funds that may arise because of donations or coming in under bid be allocated to A.D.A. That’s what I’ve heard several of the Commissioners say, and I think that would be in line with Director Auler’s recommendations.
Commissioner Staab - I’m agreeable to that amendment.
Commissioner Staudt - And I would also second it.
Commissioner Kopeika – So could you restate in total what you are proposing? I just want to make sure I vote on it right.
Commissioner Staab - OK, here’s what we will allocate, a motion will be that we will support the recommendations as presented by Director Auler that includes the following: $24,000 for A.D.A. improvements and the items as so listed in the memorandum of June 7, 2004. Installation of irrigation systems infrastructure including irrigation of one ball field at Community Sports Park for $44,000, that is what we have allocated. Item number three would be purchase of turf maintenance equipment also as stated in the memo of June 7, 2004, with the understanding that any monies that would be left over due to the fact if we could bring in a bid lower than as projected or if we receive in-kind donations through the Foundation or other means that these funds would be re-allocated then into A.D.A. Does everybody understand that, are we all on the same wavelength.
Commissioner Engebretsen - I second that motion.
Commissioner Kopeika – Should we consider not to be too restrictive with details, but we might want to consider a time limit on that. That if donations are not received from the participating organizations by x date then we just move ahead and purchase the equipment, we can’t wait, we shouldn’t wait because some of this is probably seasonal, if we do not aerate, you want to do it prior to this snow. If there is a reasonable time period that we should allow for the NYBL or the Colts be solicited for a donation, then we say OK, it’s not coming in then, we’ll go ahead and purchase. It’s just an idea.
Commissioner Paul – Would October 1st be a recommendation for you Director Auler? Or would it need to be sooner than that, given that you would want to aerate in the fall?
Director Auler – My preference would be sooner, and that is because right now our soccer season is over, so now is the time to aerate the soccer field. In October, we have the soccer fields back in operation.
Commissioner Kopeika – But temporarily, you can either use equipment or rent equipment, right?
Director Auler – Right now we are not aerating them, and what if we did this, we give it 60 days, that would be the August meeting, where we could discuss it at that meeting, if we don’t have a donation at that time then we can proceed with the equipment purchase. That way, we would have it in September. If we wait until October, by the time we go through the bid process, we are in the middle of winter.
Commissioner Paul – I think that is fair.
Commissioner Kopeika – I think that would help whoever is talking to the organizations to say we only have…
Commissioner Paul - Right, I would agree with you
Commissioner Staab – It puts more immediacy to the decision making.
Commissioner Paul – I agree, and the fields do need aerating, that is a good time to do it. So, are we ready to call roll, everybody has a good indication as to
Commissioner Staab – Just for point of clarification, Chair Person Paul, so what we will be voting on is what I just verbalized plus we will have the sunset here of our August meeting for any donations or whatever, then we can go out to bid for anything we need equipment wise after that. Correct?
Commissioner Paul – Correct
Commissioner Engebretson – Yes
Commissioner Enright – Yes
Commissioner Kopeika – Yes
Commissioner Paul – Yes
Commissioner Place – Yes
Commissioner Staab – Yes
Commissioner Staudt – Yes
Vote carries 7-0
Commissioner Paul – The next item on the agenda is Commissioner Comments – any comments this evening.
Commissioner Staudt – I’d just like to give kudos to Tracie and her team, Derek that worked on the parade, it was awesome. It was great to see some new kinds of things in the parade, that we haven’t had in the past, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was great.
Commissioner Staudt - I understand that Commissioner Place is elected not to seek re-appointment to the Commission and I just to let her know that it has been a pleasure serving with her and we hope that we can incorporate you in some of the volunteer activities that we’re encouraging and I hope you stay active.
Commissioner Place - Thank you, I plan to. I was going to say something at the end, so I appreciate you bringing it forward. It has been some great years, we’ve had some battles over this table but we’ve all had the same focus in mind and that definitely has come out with the great accomplishments that we’ve been able to do. Thank you, I appreciate it.
Commissioner Paul – Thank you.
Commissioner Staudt – One final comment, I just want to go back to Novi Youth Baseball, the letter does not reflect my feeling towards that organization and the good work that they do. I’m responding to a specific circumstance. I join with the other Commissioners in hoping that they come to the table with some very pro-active solutions and they have 650 youths that are very important to our community and it is important that we really do build some type of relationship that allows us to expand their activities and our offering. Thank you.
Commissioner Paul – Additional comments?
Commissioner Staab – My comments are that I wish Melissa well, and again I hope she stays active in whatever she so desires to work on within our Commission focus or department focus and the other item is that anybody that could help Tracie out for this event on Saturday, I’m talking not only to us sitting here at the table but people out in the audience and in the community that are listening over the TV waves. It is a grand event and a first time event. I think you’ll get a better appreciation in working the event than just attending the event. There is a very good opportunity here this weekend.
Commissioner Paul – My comments are likewise the same. Commissioner Place, thank you very much for serving. We really appreciate your volunteer efforts and work and looking for your volunteer activities continuing. Thank you very much. With than in mind, is there a motion to adjourn?
Commissioner Enright - Second.
Commissioner Paul – All in favor?
Commissioner Paul – Alright, this meeting is adjourned.
The meeting ended at 8:51p.m.
Signed, David Paul, Chairperson
Signed, Charles Staab, Vice Chairperson