|View Agenda for this meeting
PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Staudt presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Bamsai (Present), Burke (Present), Enright (Present), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present) arrived 7:34 PM, Staudt (Present), Wagner (Present), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Moved by Enright, seconded by Burke to approve the agenda.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None.
A. Overview of Proposed Planned Re-Zoned Overlay (PRO) for Dixon Road Property – Blair Bowman, Manager, ServMan, L.L.C.
Mr. Bowman stated that he is providing and overview of a plan of a development of a planned re-zoning overlay which has a direct impact on the Commission and its activities. Part of the PRO is an agreement between the community and a development where benefits and conditions are negotiated between the City and the developer. One of the benefits that can be provided from this project is an investment in the active parkland initiative, which the City is now looking to pursue.
The site is on Dixon Road north of Twelve Mile and south of Twelve and a half Mile. It is across from what is now known as Liberty Park, which is the Sandstone settlement parcel. It is a combination of mostly existing residences and some residential parcels. Many residents have been long standing members of the community. They have been working with this parcel over the past three years and more seriously over the past year. In the last stages of the property assemblage it was brought to their attention that there may have been some historical orchard operations on the property, which raised the concerns that they may be confronted with conditions the City had been concerned with. In the historical orchard operations there may have been pesticides or arsenic and lead. They did some testing and found that there were high levels of arsenic contamination on various portions of the site. He included a 1940 historical aerial, in the packed, which you would not recognize today.
What they are proposing is a single-family residential project. Originally they had thought, given the surrounding uses, of a luxury townhome community like Central Park Estates located on Beck Road south of Grand River. They understood the goal in the community is to reduce apartments and that type of denser non-ownership type of projects.
What they are looking to do as part of the PRO is a $250,000 investment and contribution in to the active parkland program. Naming rights is a possibility of how this may be done but they are open to any type of approach.
Commissioner Staudt stated that before discussion he would like to point out that they are not Planning Commissioners and are not going to judge the merits of the project or the incidentals surrounding it. The Commissions interest has to do with the woodlands that are affected and the contribution and its facilitation.
Director Auler stated that since this is the first time that there has been a presentation regarding a PRO he wanted to give information on what a PRO is.
It is where a re-zoning is requested through the Planning Commission and then sent to City Council for approval. As part of a Plan Re-Zone Overlay there is public benefit to be provided to the community. An example is that the Wildlife Woods Park improvements will be done through a PRO agreement with a developer. This is a similar project that Mr. Bowman is proposing this evening. This is the first step in the process. It will go through the Planning Commission and their process and then to City Council for consideration. Once City Council approves of a project then there is a PRO agreement drawn up which identifies the specifics of what the public benefits are. Focus on what the public benefit will be for the park system would be of value.
Commissioner Staudt asked for some background on the possibility of getting land instead of money and why we pursued a financial benefit instead of land.
Director Auler stated that originally there was some conversation about a three or four-acre parcel of land that could be developed in to soccer fields or other sports fields for which we have a need. He has been an advocate of not going after small parcels of land because it increases our maintenance costs tremendously just from a transportation time of being able to move employees and equipment to the site to maintain the property. Part of the discussion was the opportunities for improvements within the park system of existing parks and potential partnership opportunities to develop other properties to meet the active recreation needs of the community by providing more sports facilities of a larger nature and decrease our maintenance costs. The opportunity of a cash contribution was discussed. This money at some point could be allocated for that type of improvement in the park system.
Commissioner Staudt asked if we have had any opportunity to receive a financial benefit as a result of a previous PRO.
Director Auler stated that we have not in terms of a cash donation. There has only been one PRO that has come in to date and it is a relatively new ordinance. We will receive benefit from the standpoint of Wildlife Woods Park. That PRO agreement is in the process of being drafted and prepared to go back to City Council. The public benefit for that park is going to be park signage, park benches, and connection to the existing pathway within the park to provide access. There will be some topsoiling and regarding and irrigating the main sports field areas at that park, which is were we have lacrosse, football and soccer.
Commissioner Burke asked Director Auler if he could put a dollar figure on that.
Director Auler stated that he did not have that with him. An irrigation system at that park is estimated to be around $60,000. The signage is from $3,000 to $5,000. The pathway system is probably another $10,000 to $15,000. Probably over $100,000 total.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the PRO was initiated by the developer or by someone from the City.
Director Auler stated that, as he understands it, the PRO requests come in from the developers and they provide opportunities that they would suggest for public benefit. The City has the opportunity to review those and determine if the public benefit outweighs any detriment that may happen as part of a re-zoning. There is an opportunity to have some discussion in terms of other opportunities.
Commissioner Staudt asked for an overview of the makeup of the property and an idea of what will be done with the property if it is developed.
Mr. Bowman replied that the entire parcel was an orchard operation and there are varying levels of contamination throughout. In order to remediate the site, at least a foot and upward needs to be cleared and soil exported and disposed of along with the vegetation and trees. Once that is done it will be shaped and dealt with for development of the subdivision. It cannot be dealt with in terms of preservation because the land needs to be cleared to be remediated. The basic make up of the property is residential now. One of the major pubic benefits they are going to be proposing in the PRO is that this site be self sustaining in its clean up. At least half of the cost, which is estimated to be around $2 million, will be borne by the site and the development itself. In addition, if the costs range in to that area, they have asked for the community to consider and support a brown field approach to the County brown field. Which allows, for a period of time, to draw from the additional tax base from the homes built to pay for up to one half of the clean up.
Commissioner Staudt asked the City Forester, Steve Printz, what the long-term forestry benefit is of having a lot that is largely orchard trees. He then asked City Forester Printz if he was familiar with the property.
City Forester Printz stated that he was not sure of the exact property. He stated that the orchard was in service 20 to 40 years ago. Fruiting trees, unless they are constantly maintained, will eventually tend to die off and decline in health.
Commissioner Staudt asked if it is likely that good quality trees would grow in behind those trees out of nature or will it take hundreds of years.
City Forester Printz stated that it depends. The land typically goes through a succession and confirmed that it is a transition area.
Commissioner Staudt asked Mr. Bowman what is on the site right now.
Mr. Bowman replied that there are six residential homes that are older. There are secondary growth trees there and a woodlands area in the north and east quadrant. Many of the orchard trees are dead. The problem is the arsenic does not naturally go away. The good thing in this situation is that the results of the "key clip" test, which deals with the leachablility and type of arsenic used, reveals that it can be cleaned up. He feels that if done properly, perhaps this can be used as a model as to how a community might deal with these circumstances.
Commissioner Staab: No questions.
Commissioner Schwarzlose: No questions.
Commissioner Burke asked the City Forester how second generation growth handle the arsenic and is there contamination in second-generation growth.
City Forester Printz replied that the second-generation growth is contaminated to a certain extent. They are actively growing within the arsenic infested area in the top 18 inches.
Commissioner Burke asked if has seeped into the water table.
Mr. Bowman replied that he couldn’t speak to that. The levels of arsenic in Michigan are elevated in many cases as compared to other communities in the area. The trees that would be planted on the site would be after the remediation.
Commissioner Wingfield asked Mr. Bowman if he owned the property now or he plans on purchasing it.
Mr. Bowman replied that it has been assembled under purchase agreements so they have the direct contractual right to purchase the property. At 4.4 units to the acre this will be the lowest density and will be a good marketable product.
Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she took a ride out to the property and saw signs announcing the rezoning. She asked where the trees were on that property that they were considering preserving.
Mr. Bowman stated that the trees are along the frontage of Dixon Road. He cannot speak with certainty because the whole site is contaminated. There techniques and methods which may establish and averaging and a blending to come up with an acceptable limit. He can’t speak with certainty as to the balance of the site. If the borings show a deeper cut near the frontage then it may necessitate the removal of the large trees.
Commissioner Enright asked if with the PRO it would bypass the City ordinance as far as putting money into the Tree Replacement Fund. She then asked if they have any idea of how much that would have been owed, if there had been no problem with the land, for the value of the all the trees on that 25 plus acres site.
Mr. Bowman stated that the PRO does bypass the City ordinance and that he doesn’t have a specific number but he can address her second question in two ways. Under normal circumstances they would have been able to preserve areas so they would not be subject to payment for all of the trees. That is where the inequity of the situation shows itself. It would be a substantial number of dollars but not anywhere near the investment in the parkland and the investment in the site itself for the clean up.
Commissioner Enright stated that her concern would be since there are other orchards out there that will be developed eventually are we setting a precedence to say, "OK you can bypass the City ordinances". She wants to make sure that the City gets what it is due.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he would like for the Commission to take a position on the $250,000, that if approved, the funds be dedicated to CIPs capital improvement project related to active parkland.
Commissioner Burke made a motion to support the proposed Planned Re-zoned Overlay (PRO) for Dixon Road Property and if approved the $250,000 would be dedicated the CIPs capital improvement project related to active parkland.
Commissioner Schwarzlose seconded the motion.
Commissioner Staab stated that he would like to know how many trees would have been involved if not for the contamination.
Mr. Bowman stated that trees are not an issue because the soil has to be removed because of the contamination. An exact count was not taken of the trees because they have to be removed with the contamination.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
B. Overview of the Forestry Division – Steve Printz, City Forester
Commissioner Staudt asked City Forester Printz from a forester’s and developer’s standpoint what do you do with old orchards. He stated that the one that everyone is most familiar with is on Ten Mile at Novi Road. Would the way to clean up property like that be to clear cut the trees and remove the soil?
Forester Printz replied that from what he understands that is the best way to remove arsenic from the property. It depends on how old the site is and what pesticides were used. The trees at the site at Ten Mile don’t look real old. He has seen pear trees that are 20 to 25 feet in diameter. Each site is unique. A soil sample would have to be tested.
Commissioner Staudt then asked Forester Printz if the City owns any property, which he is involved with directly which was a previous orchard.
Forester Printz stated that he is not aware of any.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the City has an obligation if they acquired land before we put in a park to clean up a site.
Forester Printz replied that he would assume yes if it is contaminated.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there have been other sites that have had to be tested and contamination removed.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that the only property that he is aware of is the Sandstone Property. He also stated that in all of our parkland we did not have to do any of that type of thing.
Commissioner Staudt asked if Lakeshore Park had any orchards.
Deputy Director Lewis replied that they did not.
Commissioner Staab asked about the old Tree Farm property where there are mountain bike trails.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that the orchards ended before that property.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the Sandstone Property every officially get used as parkland in this city.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that yes it was used primarily as walking trails and biking trails.
Commissioner Staudt asked if we had been required to test for arsenic.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that at that time we were not required because it never came up.
City Forester Printz stated that the Forestry Division has been very active over the past year. Some of the activities have been ash tree and stump removal, street tree replacement, the purchase of new equipment, grants received and applying for, future tree inventory and street tree pruning.
The Forestry Division has done well over the past few years with ash tree and stump removal. In 2005 approximately 1300 park and street trees were removed and approximately 1000 stumps removed. There are about 225 trees and 200 stumps, total, left to be removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer. These will be completed in the summer.
They are now focusing on replacement trees. In the fall of 2005 they planted 800 street trees to replace those removed due to the emerald ash borer. In 2006 they are getting ready to plant 1600 street trees, and this should replace all of the street trees lost due to the Emerald Ash Borer.
In the fall will begin the Catholic Central trees, which will be 233 trees a year for nine years. These trees will be used in the parks to replace trees lost there due to Emerald Ash Borer and as street trees to replace those that may be removed in the future. These trees will also be used to enhance our community gateways.
In the spring they were able to purchase stump grinder, which has been put to good use. The machine has been working very well. There was approval and the purchase of a new chipper, which has enhanced their operations and community relations. Residents don’t have to wait for months to have their stumps removed.
In 2005 they have received $20,000 Emerald Ash Borer replacement grant and a $20,000 tree inventory grant. The grants being applied for are another Emerald Ash Borer grant for replacement trees and a DTE Energy grant for $3,000 which will be used for tree replacement should they be received.
A new project coming up is the tree inventory. They will inventory the street trees. The inventory package will include the software to house the data as well as the management plan which are basically the recommendations based upon the information collected during the inventory. This will be completed by August. A GPS unit will be used to inventory the park trees. He will be doing that himself beginning this fall.
They are now working on pruning street trees. Short term, they are working on high priority areas where the canopy of the trees are so low that they are causing vehicle/tree and or pedestrian/tree conflicts. They are working on areas identified either by citizens or DPW. Within the next month the majority of those should be done. For long-term pruning, they want to set the City up in to management areas in terms of routine pruning, hazard tree pruning, etc. They would focus on one section of the City each year on a cyclic basis over a period of 5 to 7 years.
They have also enhanced their websites in terms of what they are doing and educating citizens.
Commissioner Wingfield asked how the $20,000 grant for tree inventory works.
Forester Printz replied that you cannot manage a valuable resource without knowing what you have. The loss of trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer is a good example. He is managing a resource and to do that he needs to know what we have.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if it someone goes to an area and actually plots the trees on a map or how is it done.
Forester Printz replied that they sent out proposals to several companies that inventory trees and create and develop management plans. These people are experts in the field, certified arborists, many of whom have been in the industry for over 100 years. They would inventory the trees and identify the location, the type of tree, diameter, any diseases, etc. They would put this information in to a database, which will identify characteristics based on the data.
Commission Wingfield asked if the trees in a large wetlands/woodlands area are included.
Forester Printz replied that it would be only the urban forest (street trees, public property and parks).
Commissioner Burke asked if he could come up with and average size and age of ash tree that was lost due to the Emerald Ash Borer.
Forester Printz replied that his estimate on average would be close to between 8 and 10 inches because we are a relatively young urban forest. There were some in the older subdivisions, which could have been 20 to 25 inches, and possibly some 50-inch trees in the parks.
Commissioner Burke stated that the reason that he asked is that there are many citizens who have backyards full of ash trees. He then asked how do we come up with a plan to help the people deal with these trees.
Director Auler stated that there is no funding available. The state came up with a program where they were looking to help the private property owners. What they ended up doing is having municipalities becoming the middleman and the state provided a bid list for contractors and the city staff would meet with the property owner to determine which trees are to be removed. They would negotiate this with the contractor. The contractor would do the work. If there were any conflicts or issues that would arise out of the process the city would resolve that as well. There were only 6 or 7 municipalities that are participating in that program because it places additional work on already strained resources for the cities. It does not provide the property owner with any cost benefit in terms of pricing. Forester Printz has shared with property owners who have contacted him are names of contractors we have worked with and who do a good job at good prices. There is no funding from the state to help with that situation.
Commissioner Burke then asked if Forester Printz was aware of any discussion among his peers, throughout southeastern Michigan of the state coming up with some funds to help like a tax credit.
Forester Printz replied that initially, President Bush had gone to Congress looking for $26 million to $30 million to help control the spread of Emerald Ash Borer last year. He was approved for three states and given $10 million. This $10 million has to be shared by three states. There is not much funding out there from what he is aware of and is running out. The DNR and the Department of Agriculture have to cut back manpower in trying to control the Emerald Ash Borer. He is also looking for the grants to run out.
Commissioner Burke asked if the initial EAB zone of the tri-county area has expanded.
Forester Printz replied that it has expanded significantly. They have found isolated pockets though out the state, including up north. It is in Canada, Ohio and Indiana. He has heard that we can expect to lose about every ash tree in the Lower Peninsula. Depending on the resources and the funding available we are looking to lose 700 million to a billion trees.
Commission Burke asked Forester Printz to keep them up to date on any plans from Lansing or the Federal Government that would help the citizens of Novi deal with their back yard trees.
Forester Printz agreed to do so.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked Forester Printz what the status and timeline is for the two grants he is applying for.
Forester Printz stated that the DTE grant was just recently submitted and are in the process of comparing all of the documents for submittal for the EAB grant. It takes two to three months to get a reply. He believes that the DTE grant was submitted a month to month and a half ago.
Commissioner Staab stated that he was in one of the effected neighborhoods for the EAB and thanked Forester Printz for the good job. He asked if there was a press release in answer to a letter to the editor in the Novi News.
Forester Printz stated that he has put information on the website and has talked to as many associations as possible. Before the inventory happens he looks for information to be in the newspaper but also SWOCC looking at the trees and talking about why it is important.
Commissioner Staab asked if a citizen could contact him if they have misplaced the information given when their tree was planted on how to care for the tree.
Forester Printz stated that they could contact him by calling or by e-mail because they want all of the trees to do well. He has also put information on the website and he contacted the associations before the plantings in each subdivision.
Commissioner Staudt stated that the City of Novi is fortunate to have a full time forester who is attuned to everything that is going on, especially with the problems we had with the Emerald Ash Borer. He commended City Forester Printz on the fine job he does. He then asked Forester Printz where the equipment is stored and if there has been any significant cost, which was not part of the acquisition of the equipment.
Forester Printz replied that the equipment is stored inside the forestry bay, which is at the DPW in a climate-controlled environment. There has been no maintenance cost except for the wear on the teeth of the stump grinder. The wood chipper is stored in a separate garage, which is detached from the main DPW garage.
Commissioner Staudt asked Forester Printz if he needs any additional funds to finish the tree inventory or is the $20,000 adequate to do what needs to be done.
Director Auler stated that $30,000 was allocated and we received a $20,000 grant.
Commissioner Staudt asked that if when the tree inventory is complete is there any potential to go out and inventory some of the more significant trees that may be on private property.
Forester Printz stated that they would be doing that especially for historic and specimen trees. They will be doing that especially in the GPS system. It gives a visual representation of where the trees are and can be used to identify the maintenance needs of every tree. That database will eventually be used to generate work orders.
Commissioner Staudt asked Forester Printz what is next in terms of capital improvement.
Forester Printz replied that 4X4 truck would be nice. This is because they work in the parks and in some not-so-nice areas.
Commissioner Staudt asked Director Auler if the 4X4 truck appears anywhere on the vehicle wish list.
Director Auler replied that we have a need to replace many vehicles. There are four vehicles that are being submitted this year. Two of the vehicles are for the senior fleet, one for park maintenance and one for forestry.
Director Auler stated that we recently had the bids opened for the planting of 2,000 trees starting in March and to be completed by June. We had budgeted $650,000 for that project and our total bid was $365,0000. So it came in at about $183 a tree. That is a tribute to the effort of the forester and the other people involved in the process doing it at the right time of year in terms of bidding and getting additional discounts because of doing it at the right time of year. They are utilizing a local contractor that is able to reduce travel time. He then confirmed that the saved money would be retained in the Tree Fund for future use.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he would write a letter to Senator Cassis and to Representative DeRoche about the potential of some type of tax credit for the City residents who need to remove and replace trees.
Student Commissioner Wagner asked Forester Printz where the Catholic Central trees are going to be planted.
Forester Printz replied that those trees will be used to replace some of the trees that have been lost in the parks and at some of the community gateways and also to replace any future street tree death.
Commissioner Burke asked if a vehicle could be purchased with the money saved on the bid for the tree planting.
Director Auler stated that the Tree Fund is a potential funding source. One of the things that City Council has to talk about as they deliberate the budget is what the priorities will be and how they wish to fund those particular items. If the Commission desires it could present a motion.
Commissioner Burke made a motion that the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission request City Council allocate funds necessary to procure a four-wheel drive vehicle for the Forestry division out of the Tree Fund as a result of the savings on the bid.
Commissioner Schwarzlose seconded the motion.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
COMMISSION COMMITTEE REPORTS:
A. Novi Parks Foundation – Commissioner Staab
Commissioner Staab stated that the Park Foundation Board had a meeting on January 31st. At that time they recommended and approved to two new members, Mark Adams and Brian Bartlett. This brings the membership up to eleven people. The total funds are around $36,000. The Golf Outing is on August 3rd at the Links of Novi. Kathy Cosentino and Brian Burke have agreed to co-chair this event. Naming Rights is their big topic. This week they received draft information for their brochures and pricing. Chairperson Staudt and Linda Blair are in the process now of getting the information together to get it to print and develop that marketing information. They have developed lists of different people they are going to present this information to in the process of tiering those prospects. That will be finalized at their next meeting on February 16th, which is their Executive Committee Meeting.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he received correspondence with Linda and they are meeting with ATC’s ad agency, which is Tangborn out of Detroit. Who is donating their services to help design the materials for the program. The meeting is early next week. A product will be ready to present to the City by March 1st or shortly thereafter.
A. Park Development Committee – Commissioner Zyczynski
Commissioner Zyczynski stated that the Committee did not meet this past month.
There were many things discussed at their last meeting that are being referenced in Director Auler’s report.
B. Strategic Planning Committee – Commissioner Schwarzlose
Commissioner Staudt stated that he was informed that they had not had an opportunity to meet this month.
A. Administration - Director Auler
1. Installation of Class Software System Update
We are in the second phase of the installation of the software program for Class registration. The Parks, Recreation and Forestry staff are in training this week doing the install and the training. There will be a final phase of training, which will take place March 7th through the 10th. Our goal internally is to be up and running in the middle of March with the program. Internet registration will start with some of the programs, since they will be phased in, beginning in May. More programs will be phased in over the summer with the goal of being fully operational in August or September.
The State is still in the final edit version of the procedures for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant Award so we are awaiting publication and final approval of that.
We have scheduled a meeting with a representative of the Novi School District to discuss partnership opportunities with them.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the Tree planting bid approved by City Council at the past meeting.
Director Auler replied that the bid has been approved and we are getting with the contractor to begin work in the spring. Council also approved the grant application for the Emerald Ash Borer tree replacement of $20,000.
On the last grant cycle we were the only community in the state to receive
full funding. Another item that came up at the Council Meeting was a formal resolution for designation of parkland and some suggested parcels. He will have that information available with maps at the next Commission Meeting in March. All of the parcels discussed at the City Council Meeting are already identified on the City’s Master Plan for Land Use as parkland. This will be a formal resolution designating those as parkland. We have been programming and utilizing many of them already.
Commissioner Staudt stated that listening to that conversation during the City Council Meeting he was confused about the statement that the Commission needs to approve it for the Master Park Plan or the Master Plan for Parks or was that a misstatement.
Director Auler confirmed that it was a misstatement. He stated that there were two plans that were being referred to. One was the Master Plan for Land Use and the parcels being discussed are already identified as parkland. The second document that was referred to is the Community Recreation Plan, which will be included as we continue to update our Recreation Plan. He does not think it is time to do a new 5-year Recreation Plan it may be time later this year to do an amendment to the plan which can be done annually and submit that. We would update maps and other things along with that.
Commissioner Staudt said from the conversation he got the impression that the City Council really didn’t do anything other than ask the Commission to bring it back to them in a formal resolution. His question is couldn’t it have been done anytime on our own.
Director Auler stated that it was brought up under Mayor and Council issues and was not meant for any kind of action that evening but to get a feel for City Council’s perspective on those particular parcels. There was some discussion about some other potential parcels to look at which he and the staff will be evaluating. He will bring that information to the Commission and to City Council and eventually there will be a resolution for Council. A motion would be made by the Commission to designate those parcels as parkland.
Commissioner Staudt stated that the reason he was asking is because there are other properties that were not part of that particular conversation.
His impression was that City Council was looking for the Commission’s guidance to make a formal resolution so that they could officially deal with it on their agenda. It sounds like there is some background work that needs to be done.
Director Auler stated that is correct. At the next Commission Meeting he will have some maps as well as information to send to City Council related to the parcels that were discussed.
Commissioner Staudt asked that there be a presentation on the parcels of land as well as the process. He was confused by the conversation he heard.
Commissioner Wingfield asked Director Auler where we are in the budget process and when will the joint meeting with City Council occur.
Director Auler replied that there is no joint meeting scheduled. All of the budget information has to be submitted by Monday. The Operating Budget, the Capital Outlay Budget, the Vehicle Request will be submitted on Monday. The next step is that all of the departments are compiled into one document and the process will begin. It is usually April or May when the City Council begins their deliberations.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if there is still time for a joint meeting with City Council.
Director Auler stated that in the past the joint meeting has been utilized to talk about our successes as relates to the goals and set the stage for goals, which are our priorities for the coming year.
Youth Commissioner Wagner asked what was meant by partnership opportunities with the school.
Director Auler replied that we meet quarterly with the school district to talk about opportunities for programming, facility usage and those types of topics in terms of being able to provide the maximum benefit to the community.
Youth Commissioner Wagner then asked when the next "Out of the Basement" band series date would be.
Director Auler replied that he thought that the date is May 26th, which is a Saturday night.
Commissioner Staudt asked how the first one went.
Director Auler stated that it went extremely well. There were between a150 and 175 participants that evening. There were three bands playing. He feels that if it continues like this there is a potential for doing it twice a month next year. He stated that the quality of the bands was tremendous. He was amazed and impressed. The students met all of the requirements, plus more.
Commissioner Staudt asked who came up with the concept.
Director Auler stated that this had been done in another community where he had worked.
Youth Commissioner Bamzai asked if there were any ideas for extending the advertising for the "Out of the Basement" series. She knows that at the High School it wasn’t advertised very well and not many people knew about it so she was surprised at the number of people who showed up. She feels that if more advertising were done at the High School and maybe even the Middle School.
Director Auler stated that this is a topic on the table to discuss with the school in terms of partnership. They have limitations and restrictions on what can be made available in the schools. We were able to put up some posters but primarily it was word of mouth.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he thinks that myspace.com would have worked effectively.
Commissioner Burke asked about getting in on the High School Newsletter.
Director Auler stated that it was in the newspaper and on the High School radio station.
Commissioner Burke stated that there is a monthly newsletter that goes out through the superintendent and would get it in front of the parents.
Director Auler stated they could talk about that with the schools.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he had talked to Sheryl Walsh and Dave Denyer about the Commission coming to the City Council and telling them what the Commission does because they do not know. He feels that it would be worthwhile to have a brief presentation and he is in the process of working on it. They will let us know when it is appropriate to make the presentation.
Youth Commissioner Wagner asked Director Auler if we are allowed to publicize City Events without the direct permission of the High School.
Director Auler stated that we always seek permission from the school district before we put information out in the schools. They sign off on what we send out.
Youth Commissioner Wagner then asked if he could go to a friend at the radio station and ask them to say something on the air.
Director Auler stated that the school newspaper and radio station contacted him asking for information to do a story. Written information like posters or fliers must be approved through the schools.
B. Recreation Services – Director Auler
Director Auler stated that the Recreation Guide will be going out this week and should be in homes starting this weekend. We are late on this process because we had staff out and a transition issue.
C. Park and Forestry Operations – Steve Printz, City Forester
Forester Printz stated that the Parks Division under Matt Wiktorowski is gearing up for spring. They are working on their equipment and making sure that it is running properly and is maintained and ready to go. The staff has been active in the recent snowstorm and maintaining the municipal lots as well as 22 miles of sidewalks. They have been working actively on the budget as well. They installed some bollards at Wildlife Woods Park to prohibit individuals and vehicles from accessing or entering the park and destroying the sod. They spent about a week putting an old trailer back together and enhancing it so it can be added to the trailer system and use it to take maintenance equipment to the fields. They have also been assisting Forestry with pruning and removal.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION ACTION/DISCUSSION:
A. Approval of December 8, 2005 regular meeting minutes and January 12, 2006 regular meeting minutes.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wingfield and seconded by Commissioner Staab.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Commissioner Staab stated that tomorrow night at Meadowbrook Commons the Choralaires are doing a concert for the seniors and will be serving ice cream with chocolate sauce. He believes that the tickets are sold out for this.
Commissioner Schwarzlose thanked Forester Printz for his great presentation and hopefully with the Commissions recommendation the truck will come through. He wanted to make a point on the efforts of getting information out at the Novi High School and that efforts be made at Catholic Central as well.
Commissioner Burke he also thanked Forester Printz for his presentation and involvement in the meeting.
Youth Commissioner Wagner stated that the Boy’s High School Basketball program started last Saturday and this is something that he is a part of. The people are having a good time being able to play and he wants to thank the Commission for the opportunity. It is a little rough around the edges. There are about 35 boys participating and hopefully as it continues there will be larger numbers. Most would like to be playing 5 on 5.
Youth Commissioner Bamzi thanked Forester Printz for his presentation.
Commissioner Enright thanked Forester Printz for his presentation.
Commissioner Zyczynski thanked Forester Printz for his presentation and noted how informative all of the presentations have been.
Commissioner Wingfield thanked Forester Printz for his presentation. He was glad Youth Commissioner Wagner brought up the High School sports programs because it something we need to focus and keep going on. Just like the "Out of the Basement" series, once it gets going both programs should do well. We need to provide programs for the 14 to 18 year olds.
Commissioner Staudt stated that there was an article in today’s Novi News that was about Kathy Crawford’s presentation to City Council and the Planning Commission during their joint meeting relative to some of the future issues related to the seniors. He would like to have her make a presentation to this Commission on some of the same issues just so we have it for informational purposes because many of the issues she talked about would probably be initiated by this Commission. It would be interesting to hear her perspective on that. He then asked when we can expect to have Power Park document completed.
Director Auler stated that it is on his desk awaiting edit and review. He hopes to have it next meeting.
Commissioner Staudt he feels that one of the conditions of us meeting with City Council is that we have that completed because it would be a prominent part of the discussion. He feels it illustrates the bigger issues we have and the costs of those issues.
A motion was made by Commissioner Staab and seconded by Commissioner Wingfield.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
The meeting adjourned at 9:05p.m.
_____________________________________ Signed, David Staudt, Chairperson
Signed, Harold L. Wingfield, Vice Chairperson