PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY COMMISSION
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2005 Ė 7:30 PM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė COUNCIL CHAMBERS

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Enright presiding.

ROLL CALL: Commissioner Burke (Present), Enright (Present)

Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Staudt (Present), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).

ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Moved by Wingfield, seconded by Staab: to approve the agenda as written.

Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None

COMMITTEE REPORT:

A. Resource Development Committee

1. Novi Parks Foundation Update

Commissioner Staab stated that the Foundationís introductory event and press conference held on March 18th was a success. He thanked Kathy Cosentino and Sue Engebretson for their hard work.

Commissioner Staab stated as of March 21, 2005, the Foundation has assets of approximately $4000.00. The next big event will be the golf outing held August 4, 2005, at the Links of Novi. We ask all Commissioners to set up their teams, and bring four (4) teams each to the golf outing. Updates will be coming soon. The next Foundation meeting will be held next week.

Commissioner Staudt reported the policies were presented to City Council and Director Auler will report on the progress. He also noted that Singh Development will be the keynote sponsor for the golf outing and their support was appreciated.

Commissioner Zycynski asked if there is a flyer being made for the golf outing.

Commissioner Staudt stated there was a flyer in the works and will be finalized next week.

Commissioner Staudt said at the last board meeting there was a motion to expand the Board of the Foundation in the near future. The current number is 9 and the bylaws state we could increase the number to 15, so there will be some opportunities in the future. As Commissioner Staab stated, we need a golf committee. Anyone who is interested, please call and volunteer to participate. Commissioner Burke has expressed an interest and an individual from the Planning Commission has volunteered. Anyone interested please call Director Auler or myself.

Commissioner Enright asked what time the golf outing would start.

Director Auler stated it would begin at 10 a.m. with a shotgun start, lunch and dinner provided, auction items and more to be announced.

STAFF REPORT:

1. Director

The second budget session is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th, starting at 9 a.m. until approximately 2 p.m. The irrigation system at Power Park was rejected at the first meeting. There has been no action taken on the other items.

The Resource Development Committee and myself attended the Council Meeting on March 21st. The Naming Rights Policy, and the Program Sponsorship Policy were on the agenda that night and we had positive input from the Council. Following that meeting, we revised the policies and sent those out to Council for consideration and action on April 18th.

We are planning on an opening day ceremony for Sports Park Field number 2 on June 4, 2005. It will be in partnership with the Novi Youth Baseball Opening Day. We are going to have a day similar to major league baseball, a parade of the teams, a ceremonial first pitch and the games. As details become available we will get that out to you and certainly encourage you to put that on your calendar.

Distributed this evening is a brief schedule from Matt with all the citizen involvement with the park cleanup/work days that we have scheduled. Several of those dates have already occurred. We have had the workday with the Novi Jaguar organization out at the soccer fields. We have a workday with the Mountain Bike Association at Lakeshore Park, they are helping us put in the trail signage. Novi Youth Baseball is helping with repairing and upgrading the electrical wiring for the pitching machines, for their pitching machine league. They are the body that utilizes that equipment. We have some landscaping planned for both City Hall and some of the parks. We have a Rotary Park cleanup scheduled with the Rotary Club. River Day will also be held at Rotary Park this year on June 4th. At Lakeshore Park, we have the second annual mountain bike race. Last year we had almost 350 participants, itís an excellent event to see.

Regarding the equipment that we had bid, the aerator has arrived, the electronic scoreboard that is funded by Coca Cola as part of our contract with Coke will be installed by Memorial Day. The accessible pathway arrived this week for Lakeshore Park beach, we are now working with Department of Public Works on resolving the drainage issue on the other side of the tunnel, and should have that installed Memorial Day weekend.

Council items Ė on April 4th we presented the two bids for the fence out at Lakeshore Park. The bids came in extremely favorable and Council elected to go with the low bid on the black vinyl fence for a total of $21,000. The decorative fence came in at $37,400, so there was a $16,000 - $17,000 difference. That contractor has already ordered the supplies and equipment and we should have that fence in by Memorial Day. The stump grinder is on the agenda for April 18th, the bid came in at approximately $23,000 and we believe we can get a trade-in on the old piece of equipment.

Arbor Day celebration is coming up on April 30th, at Community Sports Park starting at 10 a.m. We are going to plant approximately 300 seedlings as part of the celebration and also have some of the soccer players participate with that as well. Additionally, we recently received the Tree City U.S.A. award for the 13th year. We are pleased with that designation and it speaks to our continuing efforts towards tree plantings and forestry urban management.

INFORMATION/DISCUSSION ITEMS:

Commissioner Staudt stated that there is a notation about the Beautification Commission, that they have some current projects on the way. Is this a new group, or is this a group that has re-energized.

Director Auler replied the Beautification Commission has been around for a while and recently they have elected to begin some new programs such as the "Eye on Novi" which is recognizing citizens who have landscaped their properties and they will be presenting those citizens with awards throughout the year. They are now beginning a program with beautification projects such as having volunteers working with the National Honor Society students to come in and plant flowers around the Civic Center grounds. Other projects include park entryways and other locations throughout the community.

Commissioner Staudt stated that at the last meeting we submitted a recommendation for the tree chipper. Is that something that is on the table for budget, or is that post-budget?

Director Auler replied that the tree chipper is part of the proposed budget. It is a recommended item.

Commissioner Wingfield asked about the parks report, the Tim Pope play structure, is this the fence that we were talking about that will separate Eight Mile and the play structure, or is this a different fence?

Director Auler replied that the fence you are referring to is the fence that encloses the playground.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if this will suffice the issue we have with safety, or are they still going to put another fence in?

Director Auler stated that we do not have funding to put another fence in at the front of the road. That would be another $35,000 to $40,000. So our efforts within our operating budget is to focus on getting the fence completed around the perimeter of the playground.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that would definitely take care of the issue of little kids wandering over to Eight Mile if it is completely enclosed. Another question on Wendyís report for girls volleyball, she says registration would be the 19th and 22nd of September, but the program starts in August. Having a daughter involved in this, last year it ran from the first of November through January, and then basketball started after that. I wondered, especially for the 5th through 8th grade, if she would start it in early October and run it through Christmas.

Director Auler replied he would check with Wendy on the registration dates. In terms of the season dates, we are trying to align our seasons with the high school seasons if we have enough gym space. We think we will have enough space with Catholic Central opening. The volleyball season will move up to August/September so it will be concurrent with the high school season.

Commissioner Wingfield stated for the 5th and 6th level if we start in August you are going to lose a lot of girls playing soccer vs. if you wait until October, you might pick up a few more playing that October/November time. You are not going to start 5th/6th grade girlís basketball until the end of January anyhow. Iím just trying to get as many girls into the program you can and I think you might lose a few if you start it in August.

Director Auler stated that there was not that great of an overlap with our seasons. There is a one-week overlap at the most two weeks through the seasons.

Commissioner Enright asked about the Michigan Mountain Bike Association installing the signs along the trails. Is that something that they will be doing when they have their workday?

Director Auler stated we are in the final design phase for the signs, the Michigan Mountain Bike Association has along with our staff created a GIS map of the trail system at Lakeshore Park and we have now transferred that into where the signs would be, what they will look like. We have two signs left to resolve in terms of the wording and design. They will help install the posts and are fabricating the plates, (which saves us a significant amount of money) which the signs will actually attach on to. We will get the plates for about half of the price, thanks to their efforts and work from their membership.

Commissioner Enright asked if they will be installed before the race?

Director Auler stated the goal is to have them completed by Memorial Day weekend. We have 36 or 37 signs plus 2-3 different kiosks throughout the system.

Commissioner Enright asked if Owen Tree Service is still working on the tree removal and is going as expected?

Director Auler replied that they were supposed to start this week and had an issue with some of their equipment regarding maintenance repairs. They will start the work next week and they are still under contract to get the work done within a 90-day period.

Commissioner Enright asked about the Superbowl Tree program.

Director Auler stated that the only thing we have been able to find out is that it was a project that they started last year in Jacksonville. They had 1,000 seedling trees contributed. They are looking for one or two sites for almost a mitigation type of project where they can plant them all in one location at one time.

Commissioner Staudt added the Woodward Avenue Access Association is one of the recipients of that program and we have something called the Woodward Cleanup where we are planting trees during that time as part of that program. It was very limited with very few people involved. Woodward Avenue is close as we can get to the Lions Club as possible.

Commissioner Enright brought up the fact that Commissioner Burke had asked if you could prepare the budget that was in the tree fund. If we could get that for the next meeting.

Commissioner Staudt asked about Mattís report regarding the roof decaying and replacement at Lakeshore Park. Is this replacement going to be a staff function at this point?

Director Auler stated that if we can get the materials donated, it could be a staff function, but we will have to time it as to when we have staff available. Certainly we will seek volunteers. If we are able to get it funded through the budget, it would be a contractual arrangement and would happen much quicker.

Commissioner Staudt asked if it was a budget item at this point?

Director Auler stated that he needed to look at it again; I think it was before, but I need to verify that.

Commissioner Enright asked the age of the roof. Is it 23 years old? I know a City Council member thought it was only 10 years old and thought it could be repaired.

ACTION ITEMS:

1. Approval of the March 10, 2005 regular meeting minutes.

Moved by Staudt, seconded by Zyczynski: to approve the March 10, 2005 minutes.

Voice Vote Carried Unanimously

 

INFORMATION/DISCUSSION ITEMS:

1. Approval of the Recreation Scholarship Program, this is where participant fees are waived for individuals in financial need. We did have some discussion on this the last time.

Director Auler explained the scholarship was an income-based program for families in financial need to participate. The fee will be subsidized from the donation to the Park Foundation for that program. Our ultimate goal is to not turn anyone away because they canít afford it. We will begin to implement this as the Foundation allocated $1,000 towards this program.

Commissioner Staab stated that he reviewed it in depth and fully supports the document as presented.

Commissioner Staudt stated that he is concerned about community service for a charitable function. Is this something that you are looking to do whether or not Foundation money is being used?

Director Auler replied in terms of offering a scholarship program?

Commissioner Staudt asked if there is a scholarship program without Foundation money?

Director Auler stated that right now, we do not have a formalized program. It is something we would like to create.

Commissioner Staudt questioned the community volunteer hours, he wanted to know where that concept was coming from and thought that it was never discussed it at the Foundation meetings. You are talking about adults and teenagers to do the community service portion, this does not include 10 year olds.

Director Auler stated that at the last meeting there was some discussion of having a community service component, so it wouldnít be an open ticket. It certainly doesnít have to be a component of this. The goal of the program is to make it as successful as possible for those families who need it. The community service program can add to that or be a detriment.

Commissioner Staudt stated that his concern would be a single parent household that is financially strapped in the first place and then we are asking for somebody to come in and perform community service that may not necessarily have enough resources to get here. Iím concerned that we are going to limit the opportunities for kids. I fully understand that for an adult, if they want to participate in a softball league and they qualify for this, then I believe thatís a good point. But somebody who is a parent of a ten year old who is struggling would give me concern. I would like to see that part be stricken and concentrate on the adult side.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he concurred with that thought. We did touch on community service last week but I would like to see that waived. When you are looking at the levels that qualify, what level are you looking at, the left, middle or right. If somebody turns in an application, what level of qualifying would you look at?

Director Auler stated that it was the very low to extremely low. Jack has done all the research on this. If I recall correctly, it was extremely low and very low columns.

Commissioner Wingfield added when he was coaching volleyball this year, there was a girl on our team that probably could have used this but I would hate to think it was $85 for her to come and play and then the mom has to come in and do six hours of community service to do this. I just donít think this is the appropriate thing to do.

Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she agreed with the two previous commissioners. This was one of the issues that raised my level of concern, not that I donít think it might be something that could be a volunteer kind of thing. For example, a parent who might be laid off from a job a long time might feel he would like to do something to give back. I wouldnít want a child to loose out because their parent could not provide that community service. Also, on the application page, it says under income verification wages - annuities, what is that referring to. Income?

Director Auler replied yes, income.

Commissioner Staab stated he would like to see the volunteer hours segments stick. It would make it a little more reliable in my estimation.

Commissioner Staudt remarked the community service element of this is being performed already through the Foundation. Part of that has already been performed through the Foundation and generally you donít ask somebody who is receiving assistance for children to justify it. I am concerned about this comment that says, "Community volunteer hours must be completed prior to the award of the scholarship". If you have an irresponsible parent, should the child suffer?

I would not support that part of it at all.

Commissioner Enright stated she would agree. She suggested that perhaps for older teenagers or adults that are asking for scholarship funds that having something that they could do would not make it feel like a handout. That they are giving back to the community. I would like to see that this is available for those who are able to perform it, but I donít think minors or parents of minors should be required to do this.

Commissioner Staudt stated the funds are limited right now. The other thing I would suggest is that we limit this to children for the time being until we are able to build up adequate funding to reach out to seniors and others.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that some of the private places that have hockey will waive the fee if the parent coaches or will help out. It is just a thought that if Mom gets the $85 for her daughter to play volleyball maybe she could be the team Mom, help coach or get involved.

Commissioner Enright stated that she doesnít think it needs to be required and be fulfilled before the child can participate in the program.

Commissioner Wingfield stated rather than coming in and helping with cleaning the building or something like that, maybe you could recommend that they help out with the program. They should be qualified to do it.

Director Auler said he will make some revisions and bring it back.

 

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS:

Commissioner Staab stated that he received the updated Event and Program Sponsorship policy and Naming Rights policy and from his review it would be in conformance of what City Council wanted us to bring back. So I fully support the policies as submitted. I would like you to mark on your calendars, May 7th the Choralaires will have their annual spring concert at Fuerst Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available here and at the senior center.

Commissioner Burke stated that the Resource Development Committee has received the updated Event and Recreation Program Sponsorship policy and Naming Rights policy earlier today. A brief re-wording is requested by City Council giving them a little more oversight. I do support the language revision in both the Naming Rights policy and the Event and Program Sponsorship policy.

Commissioner Staudt asked if the Event and Recreation Program Sponsorship policy has been passed out along with the revised Naming Rights policy. He would like to support this policy going to City Council on the 18th. From a standpoint of the Resource Development Committee this is the end of a lot of work if it is approved and I think it is worthwhile to show our support. I just want to express my support for the policy, both the Naming Rights and the other policy as the chairman of the Resource Development Committee.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that Novi Youth Baseball will have some cleanup days and the Pinto coaches would like their cleanup day to be at Power Park. Would that be viable? Is there work a group of people would be able to do here? We could use your feedback and input. Director Auler replied we will wait to here from Jeff or Mike, our two contacts.

Commissioner Zyczynski Ė none.

Commissioner Enright stated that regarding the Naming Rights policy and the Event and Recreation Sponsorship policy that she fully supported what we had before and hopefully with the changes that City Council will be on board with this as well. Also, the Suburban Lifestyles article is great, great press for the Foundation and a great boost for the Foundation.

 

Approval of the revised Naming Rights Policy and Event and Recreation Program Sponsorship Policy

Moved by Staudt, seconded by Burke: to approve the Naming Rights Policy and Event and Recreation Program Sponsorship Policy as written.

 

Commissioner Enright asked specifically where the changes were.

Commissioner Staudt stated it was a clarification of things we intended and largely a restructuring and easier way to read. It does give City Council ultimate authority on virtually every aspect of the Naming Rights and Facilities Naming Rights policy. It is very consistent with what was written in the past, it clarifies City Councilís role. We expected that to happen through an agreement. They were very clear during our conversation that they wanted to be in charge of what is going on here, and we agree completely.

Voice Vote Carried Unanimously

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting was adjourned at 8:18 p.m.

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Signed, Marie Enright, Chairperson

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Signed, David Staudt, Vice Chairperson