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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
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 (Absent), Zyczynski (Present).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Moved by Burke, seconded by Schwarzlose to approve the agenda as written.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None
1. City of Novi Greenway/Pathway – Darcy Schmitt, a City of Novi Planner made a presentation to the Commission regarding the City of Novi’s Greenway/Pathway Study. The study will utilize the experience, qualifications, and input of members of the community; as well as the City Council, Planning Commission, staff, and the Commission. The purpose of the study is to create a master plan for greenways and pathways within the community. The first focus will be to connect the sidewalks, followed by pathways to connect to pathways in surrounding communities. She hopes to have 7-9 meetings this year; the first meeting was April 28th and although it was a small turnout it was "fabulous".
Commissioner Burke asked what the difference was between sidewalks, pathways, and greenways.
Ms. Schmitt replied that we are using pathways as a generic term . Greenways are natural areas that we can take pathways through, land that can we can acquire and enhance; it may be pathway it may not. Pathways are things that can get people from point A to point B.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the plan had components that would promote usage.
Ms. Schmitt replied that programming would be a small component. She noted that we will need that component as people find opportunities to volunteer for pathway maintenance. She said she is beginning to notice that other departments are working on things that can all be brought under this project to enhance it.
Commissioner Staudt asked if she had any idea what funding was required.
Ms. Schmitt replied that it will be "huge". There will be figures in a spread sheet broken down by segments. She noted that surrounding communities are communicating their interest in getting involved. We need to count on developers to help out, in addition to small grants that may be available.
Commissioner Staudt asked how many dead end sidewalks are in the City.
Ms. Schmitt replied "there is an awful lot". She noted that in the past year the City has done a phenomenal job connecting many core areas. She thought people are concerned that tax dollars would pay for these improvements. She felt we need to take our time to research alternative funding.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this is a side budget or would the funding come from the capital improvement fund.
Ms. Schmitt replied that this is all cumulative; a whole city project.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked what the meeting schedule would be.
She made a tentative schedule starting with June 4th from 11 am – 1pm, as there are a lot of activities going on within the city. There will be no meetings until September, as they have noticed people don’t attend summer meetings.
Commissioner Zyczynski said that she has lived in Novi a long time and is thrilled to see this is finally happening.
Commissioner Enright asked where the meeting will be on June 4th.
Ms. Schmitt replied she will be making presentations at the Michigan Mountain Bike Race at Lakeshore Park and possibly the River Day activity at Rotary Park.
Commissioner Enright asked if the school district will be involved in the project.
Ms. Schmitt replied that they are working on that.
2. Overview of Senior Services - Rachel Zagaroli, the Senior Services Manager for the City of Novi gave a Power Point presentation on the various senior programs the City offers. The presentation highlighted the various programs available including senior transportation, homebound and senior center meals, travel, social programs, special events, golf leagues, health and fitness, and most of all fun.
Commissioner Staab commented that this is a well managed program that we are lucky to have.
Commissioner Burke commented he has only been on the Commission for a year and that he wasn’t aware of the Senior Programs offered by the Parks and Recreation Department and he is learning more every day. He commented that the Senior Division does a great job.
Commissioner Staudt commented that the people in the golf league need to be aware that the Park Foundation is holding a golf outing and some volunteers would be appreciated. He also asked if they have speakers that come to the center and mentioned that some friends may be interested.
Ms. Zagaroli advised him to have them contact her.
Commissioner Zyczynski said that she has only been on the Commission for three months and she had no idea of the scope of the senior programs.
Commissioner Enright said that she would like to thank City Council for approving the new van and thanked Ms. Zagaroli for her presentation.
COMMISSION COMMITTEE REPORT:
A. Resource Development Committee – Commissioner Staudt
Commissioner Staudt noted that they have had two meetings since the last commission meeting. He noted that there is a letter in the Council’s midweek packet to advise them that the committee had passed a resolution on the Naming Rights Policy. The Foundation is looking to expand from seven board members to fifteen. They have also set the date for the charity golf outing for August 4th at the Links of Novi. They are currently looking for foursomes, sponsorships, and items for the silent auction.
Commissioner Staudt noted that regarding the Naming Rights Policy , the committee would like to have everything in City Council’s hands by July 1st so that the kickoff can begin. He noted that lost in the naming rights policy was a corporate sponsorship program. The corporate sponsorship program is an event driven, very important policy.
Commissioner Staudt put a call out for volunteers to join the Parks Foundation Board. He noted that the Board is also looking to build affiliations with some of the community organizations and they will be contacting those groups soon.
B. Park Development Committee – Commissioner Wingfield
As Commissioner Wingfield was absent from the meeting, this item was tabled.
ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF REPORTS:
Commissioner Staudt asked Director Auler why the meeting format was changed. Director Auler explained that he and Commissioner Enright met to talk about changing the agenda format, to allow staff to provide an overview of services. A staff member would provide a report on key points of the entire staff’s monthly reports. Commissioner Enright noted that they thought it would be helpful for new commissioners and allow for them to connect with staff and get involved.
A. Recreation Division – Rachel Zagaroli, Senior Services Manager
made a presentation that included information regarding updates which included: hosts of 23 tournaments this summer, registration for Camp Lakeshore, soccer clinics, Wendy attending a class to certify her as a Youth Sports Administrator, Memorial Day Parade, Kid’s Fair, and the Novi Theatre’s presentation of Oliver.
Commissioner Staab asked why the time for Oliver on Saturday and Sunday was moved to 2:00. Deputy Director Lewis said that Linda sets that, Commissioner Staab said that in his opinion they would get a better attendance in the evening.
Commissioner Enright asked if it was true that the Department will not be changing the seasons for youth sports, since the high school will not be changing.
Director Auler answered that the high schools have two different schedules, that the Supreme Court sent the decision back to the Appellate Court.
B. Park & Forestry Operations Division – Deputy Director Lewis updated the Division’s projects including:
Lakeshore Park - Fencing should be finished by the end of the week, the handicapped accessible pathway should be completed by the following week, and he noted a big increase on shelter rentals.
Community Sports – Field #2 is almost ready for the June 4th opening day of Novi Youth Baseball League.
Forestry Division – The stump grinder arrived early and staff is utilizing it to accomplish the goal of 50 – 60 stumps per week. The contractor will be planting 560 street trees this spring.
Commissioner Staab asked where we stood on getting a roof on the shelter.
Director Auler answered that the roof was an item that was approved in the new budget, with funding available July 1st.
Commissioner Staab complimented the staff on the Community Sports Park fields, commenting that they are "getting up to the caliber that we always wanted".
Commissioner Staudt asked Director Auler if he has received any notification of the Michigan DNR Tree Planting grant.
Director Auler replied that he hadn’t checked his E-Mail.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the Commission could receive another park tour, including a demonstration of the stump grinder. He noted that in an April memo from Kathy Smith-Roy included an item of $260,000.
Director Auler replied that he thought it was from developer’s escrow accounts.
Commissioner Staudt verified that the money was not from the tree replacement policy dollars. He also verified that the replacement policy was not finalized.
Commissioner Staudt verified that the chipper was approved in the budget.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked about the trade in value on the old chipper, which was discussed at a previous meeting.
Director Auler replied that the trade in value would be addressed in the bid process.
Commissioner Schwarzlose verified that the irrigation system installation would not interfere with the many tournaments scheduled this summer.
Commissioner Enright commented that she was out at Lakeshore Park and it looked fantastic, she thought the staff deserved some recognition.
Deputy Director Lewis added that River Day this year is June 4th at Rotary Park at 9:00 am and he is definitely looking for volunteers.
C. Administration Division – Randy Auler, Director
Director Auler reported that the budget was approved effective July 1st. The funding was approved for the ADA improvements, CSP irrigation system, the chipper, Lakeshore Park shelter roof, registration and on-line software system, two trucks and trailers, and a van.
The Forestry Division is working on presenting a tree replacement policy to Council in July.
Director Auler reported that the management contract for Meadowbrook
Commons expires June 30th. The Department has requested
proposals, they are currently being evaluated, and should be presented to
Council at the beginning of June.
Director Auler reported that June 4th volunteers are needed for the many activities the Department is involved in that day. At Rotary Park we will hold the River day Cleanup, at Lakeshore Park the Michigan Mountain Bike Association Race, and at Community Sports Park & Power Park (Pinto Division) the Novi Youth Baseball opening day ceremonies.
Director Auler thanked the Novi Jaguars for their partnership and noted that the Mother’s Day tournament was successful, with 286 teams participating. He received many comments that our facilities were the best.
Director Auler had the Commission note on the radar screen the Singh Trail in October (trail maintenance policies), Catholic Central High School opening in the fall (gym use policies and tree replacement policies), and the High School schedule (high school offerings by the Department).
Director Auler also noted some opportunities for the Commission to get involved with partnerships within the community, in terms of meetings.
Commissioner Enright asked if Darcy Schmitt would be involved with the Singh Trail plans, utilizing the information she is collecting.
Director Auler replied that the trail would be one of the key connectors within the greenway pathway master plan study. The design is pretty much done, they are waiting on one or two MDEQ permits, and Director Auler has a call in to see how close they are to the agreed on October, 2005 completion date. As a side note, as a part of that agreement there is a $45,000 commitment by Singh allocated for maintaining that trail.
Commissioner Staudt commented that since the trail keeps being referred to as the "Singh Trail", how does the park naming policy fit on the radar screen.
Director Auler replied that the policy is on there as well. He explained that initially a draft of a naming policy was sent to Council and did not pass. He said a committee needs to talk about park naming; is it a component of the naming policy. Right now this is decided on a case by case basis.
Commissioner Staudt replied that this situation is exactly why a policy is needed. He asked if this has been stopped by the administration. He thought that the Commission had adopted a parks naming policy and thought that the Commission asked that it be submitted to Council.
Director Auler replied that it was submitted, Council did discuss it, and it should go back to them eventually.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he didn’t remember what the Commission had passed regarding the tree replacement policy.
Director Auler replied what was passed was a 50-50 match program.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this is what will be brought to Council for approval.
Director Auler replied that is what it currently is; he hasn’t had an opportunity to devote much time to that lately.
Commissioner Burke asked if the Lakeshore Park shelter roof is in a condition to last this season.
Deputy Director Lewis replied that the plan is to temporarily repair the roof to last the season and completely repair it at a later date.
Regarding the Catholic Central trees, Commissioner Burke asked who determines where the trees will be planted in 2006.
Director Auler replied that the agreement is for 233 trees for nine years to be planted by the students, and coordinated by our department. The City Forester will oversee the locations and the plantings.
Commissioner Staab noted that Saturday he attended the Novi Choralaires concert, with about 250 attending. He asked if the Park Naming Rights Policy could be incorporated into what the Commission is doing as of July or should it be a separate item.
Director Auler replied it could be incorporated, but essentially there is just one property, and he thinks it needs to be talked about in committee.
Commissioner Staab asked if the temporary repairs that are being made to the Lakeshore Park shelter roof are being sufficiently done, so that the renters don’t need an umbrella under it during the rain.
Deputy Director Lewis replied yes.
Commissioner Staab urged everyone to put August 4th on the calendar for the Foundation’s golf outing.
Commissioner Enright commented that we need to have the Street Tree Replacement Policy on next month’s agenda for Commission’s review so they can make sure it is ready for Council. She feels it needs to be passed and rolling in July.
Commissioner Staudt asked where we are with the scholarship program, he remembered that although there was a lot of a discussion, the policy was not approved. The Foundation has an allocation that they would like to make, pending finalization of the policy.
Director Auler replied that the policy will be on next month’s agenda.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION ACTION:
Approval of the April 14, 2005 regular meeting minutes.
Voice Vote Carried Unanimously
Commissioner Staab – Reminded everyone of the golf outing on August 4th.
Commissioner Burke – Pointed out that the Detroit News had an article in the local section that had some incorrect information regarding the upcoming golf outing. The correct price is $100 per golfer and includes driving range, putting green beforehand, 18 holes, cart, lunch, dinner, five golf tees and a silent auction.
He also noted that the Department and the Foundation will have a tent at the Fifties Festival.
Commissioner Staudt – On June 4th he and Commissioner Zyczynski have volunteered to promote the Foundation and the Parks and Recreation programs at the Michigan Mountain Bike Association race. He noted that Commissioner Enright and Commissioner Zyczynski are up for reappointment. He added that there were over $300,000. in capital improvements in Commissioner Enright’s first term as chairman. He asked the Commission to support both in the application process.
Commissioner Staudt noted that Singh has had a rough week in the Council Chambers and he would like to recognize the considerable donation that they have made to the Parks Foundation. He said their donation will be important to a lot of kids and others that use the facility.
Commissioner Schwarzlose – Reminded everyone that the Council has invited the youth of the city to apply for commissions and boards, the deadline being June 8th. He invited all youth to apply for this Commission.
Commissioner Zyczynski – None.
Commissioner Enright – A group will be at Novi Youth Baseball League’s opening day collecting used baseball equipment for the Department to distribute to those in need. She also mentioned that she spent the weekend at the three locations for the Novi Jaguar Soccer Tournament, compared to the other locations Community Sports Park looked "like a gold mine". The staff did a phenomenal job on the park.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:47p.m.
Signed, Marie Enright, Chairperson
Signed, David Staudt, Vice Chairperson