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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Staab presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Burke (Present), Enright (Absent)
Kopeika (Present), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Staudt (Present), Wingfield (Present).
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director
Jack Lewis, Deputy Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Commissioner Staab asked if there were any additions or deletions to the agenda. The agenda was approved as presented.
I. Resource Development Committee
a. Novi Parks Foundation
Commissioner Staudt stated that there was nothing significantly new to report on the Novi Parks Foundation. He is still waiting for a response from the Internal Revenue Service on the 501c3 application. The next Foundation meeting is September 21st.
II. Park Development Committee
Commissioner Enright was unable to be present so Commissioner Staab asked Director Auler to give the report.
a. 2004/05 Capital Improvement Project Progress Report ($88,348)
Director Auler stated the $88,348 that has been allocated for capital improvements are on track and will have all of the items completed within the fiscal year. Bids were recently opened regarding the irrigation project. $44,000 was budgeted for this and it was estimated that would provide extension of the main line irrigation system to the ballfield and enable other ballfields to be irrigated at a future date, once funding becomes available. It was also anticipated that an additional ballfield could be irrigated from that money. The low bidder is an excellent contractor and has installed irrigation at Comerica Field, the Detroit Lion’s football practice field and some other high profile projects. The bid came in and will allow for the irrigation of three ballfields. Since field number two is currently irrigated, four of the eight fields will be irrigated by this fall. The contractor is prepared to begin work immediately and estimates that the project will be completed in two to three weeks, which would be the end of September or early October.
There is $25,000 allocated for ADA improvements. Many of those improvements have been completed. The Lakeshore Park parking area, pathways to the concession stand, shelter, playground and day-camp building are completed. The only remaining item at Lakeshore Park from that money is the accessible pathway to the beach for physically challenged people. He anticipates bidding that out this November or December and will be installed before the beach opens on Memorial Day of next year. The last item related to ADA is the expansion of pathway and pad at the soccer concession stand at Community Sports Park. That work will begin once the soccer season ends this fall if the weather holds, otherwise it will be done next spring before the soccer season starts.
The last item is the purchase of maintenance equipment. The purchase of an aerator has been put on hold until December. We are currently borrowing the City of Northville’s aerator and top dresser to assist with the field preparations. Money was also allocated to purchase a new mower which would take us to five mowers; however it will now be a replacement mower for one that is no longer operable. The mower came in where it was projected and it will mow twice the amount of grass in the same amount of time.
b. Community Sports Park Ballfield Project
Director Auler stated that he had been out to the site of the Ballfield #2 project today. The last piece of windscreen is up and the grass is growing. A final walk through meeting with the contractor and the architect will occur in the next week or two. It will then be taken to City Council to close the project. The field will be ready for next baseball season.
Director Auler asked for any questions
Commissioner Staudt asked where the $4,000 for the mower repair would have come from and if that still left us short a mower, would the old mower be repaired.
Director Auler replied that the repair would have come from the park maintenance budget and that the old mower would not be repaired.
Commissioner Kopeika asked if there would be some kind of event like a dedication or opening for Ballfield #2 in the spring. He also asked if all of the funds for the field came from Parks and Recreation and not from Novi Youth Baseball League.
Director Auler stated that all of the funds did come from Parks and Recreation.
Commissioner Kopeika then stated that he would save his comments until closer to spring on the type of event done to dedicate the field. He wants to make sure that the community knows who improved the field for when we look for sponsors for signs, etc. when planning the event.
Director Auler stated that there has been some discussion by Novi Youth Baseball League about having an event. He does feel that it should be a department led event. The planning process for that has not yet begun. The City funded the architectural fees as well as the development fees. He sees it being a partnership as we plan for the opening day ceremony, what ever it may be.
III. Strategic Planning Committee
a. Request of joint meeting to be held with City Council
Commissioner Kopeika stated that the committee would like to set up a plan to have a special meeting with City Council to review progress with the Community Recreation Plan which was put together about a year ago. This would establish a one-year status on the actions put in place. He would like the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission to participate, as they did last year, to help set up the agenda with Randy and his staff. Commissioner Kopeika would like to plan the joint meeting for mid to late October. The City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of every month. He would like to e-mail everyone on the Commission for availability dates. He asked Commissioner Staudt and Commissioner Staab to help him with the pre-plan by going back and putting the numbers back together and deciding how they want it to look. After the information is put together, Commissioner Kopeika stated that he would be willing to develop a power point presentation. Commissioner Kopeika asked if the Commission thought they should include capital budget items in the presentation again to reinforce our budget needs and have this as a closing piece.
Commissioner Burke stated that he agreed that it would be a good way to close the presentation. It would be a start to let them know that we are under funded for projects that we need to take care of.
Commissioner Schwarzlose stated that coming in to the budget process is definitely when we need to bring out the point of where we are and where we need to go.
Commissioner Wingfield concurred that it would be advisable to tie the funding and budget process to this presentation.
Commissioner Staab also concurred that this would be the perfect opportunity to address where we are, what we need to achieve and where we need to go. This is the time, for budget planning, to present this information.
Commissioner Kopeika stated that he noticed the Recreation Plan was used several times in the over all City budget planning. When it came down to the $88,348 they actually went back and looked at our priorities.
1. Deputy Director Report
Deputy Director Lewis reported that this Saturday at Lakeshore Park the local DEA and Novi Police will be having a picnic at the large shelter. At Power Park the Police Department and the Fire Department are going to be playing a charity softball game on the yellow field starting at noon on Saturday. The Novi High School is also having their Band Fest on Saturday and will be utilizing the lower parking lot to park the buses and the bands will warm up on fields one and two at Power Park before they go over to the High School football field. At Community Sports Park, the opening day for soccer will occur.
The Novi Youth Baseball League is going to have their first annual work day at Community Sports Park. The Parks, Recreation and Forestry
Department will be out with the maintenance staff. The plan is to bring in some topsoil and fill in low areas in the outfields and bring in crusher dust to fill in the infields. Some painting will be done in the dugouts and some fencing will be repaired. This will take place from 9am to 1pm.
The Annual Fuerst Farm Family Picnic will be on Sunday at the Fuerst Farm and Old Township Hall from 1pm to 4pm. Also on Sunday, at Power Park, a local company who has had their softball tournament there for the past ten years, will be using all four softball fields. The staff and the maintenance staff have been busy preparing for all of these activities.
2. Director Report
Director Auler stated that along with the work day that the Novi Youth Baseball League will be participating in they have also submitted a design, which was part of the conceptual plan, for an entry way into the baseball fields. They are looking at building an arbor (two beams up and a beam across) and landscaping the area. They are looking at putting it on the pathway between diamonds one and two and eventually building another one in the future. They are trying to get the material donated from Home Depot. If they are successful they will move forward.
Director Auler included a memo from Kathy Smith-Roy, the finance director, which was submitted to the City Council previously. This memo highlights the refunding bonds for the Ice Arena. It comes out to about $354,981 in savings over the twenty-year period in payments on the bonds.
Commissioner Staudt asked for an update on what happened at Lakeshore Park regarding the retention ponds that have been built. He had talked to some of the cyclists on Sunday and Monday and they were disappointed.
Director Auler stated that as part of the Sandstone settlement agreement there is a provision that as developments occur there could be some retention ponds placed on City parkland adjacent to the Sandstone property. Pulte Homes, as part of the Liberty Park project which was submitted to City Council and approved, installed one of the retention ponds. We are working with them and trying to schedule a meeting to talk about location for the other two ponds, if they are needed and the best place to locate them to minimize the impact on the mountain bike trail system. We apologize for the breakdown in communication and will make sure that this will not happen again. We are working with Kevin Campbell, who is the liaison from the Michigan Mountain Bike Association (MMBA).
Commissioner Staudt asked what the cumulative effect, on our property, of the retention ponds that are going to be built now and in the future will be. How many acres?
Director Auler stated that he did not know the size of the one currently being installed. The other two have not come in to the planning department for review yet because they are conceptual design. That is why we want to meet with the developer and talk about location. The current one is entirely on park property.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he was out at the beach (Lakeshore Park) on Sunday evening and he asked if the metal case where the safety equipment was kept was regularly left unlocked.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that it should have been locked up.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there was a lot of use of the beach this year through the holiday.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that the last couple of weeks in August, the beach hours had to be shortened due to lifeguards going back to school. The week prior to Labor Day it was closed because most of the people who use it were in school. We were open over Labor Day. Derek will be preparing a report in November that will address these issues.
Commissioner Kopeika asked about the Novi Theatre report that was missing from this packet.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that this week was her show, which was sold out all four days, and she was very busy. He believed she had a report in the last packet.
Commissioner Kopeika asked if the retention pond mentioned before is permanent.
Director Auler replied that he believes that this one is permanent.
Commissioner Staab asked for clarification that it was approved by the Court to put the retention pond on our property.
Director Auler replied that it was in the Sandstone settlement agreement that was approved through the Court process. It was part of the total agreement package.
1. Approval of the August 19,2004 regular meeting minutes.
A motion was made to approve the minutes as written.
(Kopeika, Staudt C-UN)
DISCUSSION ITEMS: None
Commissioner Wingfield thanked Director Auler and Deputy Director Lewis for the tour last week. He felt it was very worthwhile.
Commissioner Schwarzlose also expressed his thanks for the tour because it set the stage for those new to the Commission.
Commissioner Burke expressed his thanks for the tour. He thought it was beneficial to see the parks and to see what goes on behind the scenes in the parks. He was impressed that Council member Paul was on the tour as well. He can see the need to get the rest of the City Council out on that same tour, perhaps as a follow-up to the joint meeting planned, which may go a long way in our request for funding.
Commissioner Staab felt the portion of the tour he was able to attend was excellent. He appreciated Council member Paul being there in support or seeking knowledge. He thinks Commissioner Burke’s suggestion of City Council taking the tour is excellent. He encouraged all of the Commission members to attend "Fall for Novi".
Commissioner Kopeika asked that if the Commission wanted City Council to take the tour would it be best to do that before the joint meeting because after the meeting it would have less effect.
Commissioner Staudt asked what kind of permanent ten by twelve storage building, which would be purchased by the Novi Bobcats, was being referred to in Deputy Director Lewis’s report. What kind of financial ramifications does this have?
Deputy Director Lewis replied that the Bobcats have given him some prices. They had been checking with Home Depot and Meijer. It would be a wooden type storage shed. They do want to purchase it this year and put it out at Wildlife Woods Park. We are talking to them about waiting until next year and looking at the property behind the Ice Arena as their permanent practice area and possibly building a nicer storage shed for them there. Director Lewis told the Bobcats that he felt uncomfortable having the shed at Wildlife Woods Park because of vandalism. They agreed, so this item is still in discussion.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn. (Kopeika, Staudt, C-UN)
The meeting was adjourned at 8:05.
Signed, Charles Staab, Chairperson
Signed, Marie Enright, Vice Chairperson