View Agenda for this meeting

THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2006 – 7:30 PM

The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM with Commissioner Schwarzlose presiding.

ROLL CALL: Commissioner Dooley (Present), Enright (Absent), Goyal (Present), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Wagner (Present), Wingfield (Absent), Zyczynski (Present).


Introduction of Commissioner Jay Dooley and Student Commissioner Ashima Goyal.


Moved by Commissioner Zyczynski, seconded by Commissioner Staab to approve the agenda.



A motion was made by Commissioner Schwarzlose to open the Public Hearing.

Director Auler commented that this Public Hearing will give many citizen members an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed grant and the property acquisition. A public hearing will be scheduled again for the City Council Meeting on July 24, 2006, and following that will finalize the grant application and submit that to the State by August 1st, 2006. In the past, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board and DNR staff review the applications, provide a ranking and then a series of Board Meetings take place. The announcements will take place in December. We were successful last year, thanks to the cooperation of many citizens and organizations and our elected officials and we are hopeful to be successful again.

The 16 acres of property is contiguous to our 253-acre property, which is currently referred to as the Singh Trail property. It is a significant property to acquire in terms of its listing and identification on the Michigan Natural Features Inventory map and is part of the southwest core reserve, which is one of our highest priorities in terms of preservation within the community. The location is generally the Nine Mile and Napier Road area. At this time, I would like to open the public hearing for anyone who would like to make a comment.


My name is LuAnne Kozma, I live at 23837 W. LeBost and I am Vice President of the Friends of Novi Parks. On behalf of Friends of Novi Parks I am here to lend our support for the City’s application. We are really pleased that you are trying for this particular property and we encourage the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission to approve the grant application and further the process along. We think it is very important for the City to apply for this program on a regular basis, whether it is land acquisitions or development grant applications. We are pleased that Mr. Auler and his staff are going forward with it. It also important for the City to pursue protection of significant natural resources and that is what this type of property will do. As Mr. Auler mentioned, it is a 16-acre piece that protects natural features, part of the southwest core reserve and that is what is important for wildlife habitat as well as wildlife movement through corridors. It connects many other pieces of land that then allows wildlife to roam. It also protects the Huron River watershed, which covers about a third of Novi. In general, whenever we set aside natural features, it benefits all the people of Novi equally, when we are talking about watersheds of the City. This parcel will also add to the park property that the Singh Trail will be going through, that is really important feature as well. For all those reasons, we think it is very important that you pursue it, and thank you very much.

Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if there are any other comments or questions?

Commissioner Dooley commented that it was a great presentation. He asked exactly where the property is on a map.

Director Auler pointed out the area on a map.

Commissioner Dooley asked what would be south of the 16.2 acres, going towards Nine Mile Road?

Director Auler replied that there are two parcels of property that abut the property, and they are single family homes.

Commissioner Staab thanked LuAnne for her presentation and Director Auler, for his clarification. He stated he supported going ahead with the grant application.

Commission Zyczynski – no comment.

Commissioner Wagner – no comment.

Commissioner Goyal – no comment.

Commissioner Schwarzlose thanked Ms. Kozma for the presentation and the Friends of Novi Parks support in previous grants and their support in this application as well.

A motion was moved by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Staab to close the Public Hearing.




A. Approval of the June 8, 2006 regular meeting minutes.

A motion was made by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Staab.


B. Election of Parks, Recreation & Forestry Commission Chairperson.

A motion was made by Commissioner Staab and seconded by Commissioner Zyczynski to nominate Commissioner Wingfield as Chairperson until October 2006, when the regular election of officers will take place.


C. Election of Parks Recreation & Forestry Commission Vice Chairperson.

A motion was made by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Dooley to nominate Commissioner Schwarzlose as Vice Chairperson.


D. Appointment of Parks, Recreation & Forestry Commissioner to the Joint Committee of the Planning Commission, City Council and the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission for the purpose of developing a greenway/pathway plan.

A motion was made by Commissioner Dooley and seconded by Commissioner Staab to nominate Commissioner Zyczynski to the Joint Committee of the Planning Commission, City Council and the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission for developing a greenway/pathway plan.


E. Appointment of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commissioner to serve on the Novi Parks Foundation Board of Directors.

A motion was made by Commissioner Dooley and seconded by Commissioner Staab to table the appointment until August.


F. Re-Appointment of Commissioner Staab to serve on the Novi Parks Foundation Board of Directors.

A motion was made by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Dooley to re-appoint Commissioner Staab to the Parks, Foundation Board of Directors.




A. Strategic Planning – Commissioner Schwarzlose

Commissioner Schwarzlose stated that the committee is in the final stages of putting together the draft of the Community Recreation Plan. It will be distributed to everyone for review. We will also need to appoint a Commissioner to that committee.

B. Parks Foundation – Commissioner Staab

A meeting was held on Tuesday, July 11, 2006. The golf outing is coming up at the Links of Novi; sponsorships are available, at various prices. Contact Brian Burke at 248-561-0255 or the Parks office for more information. He thanked ITC and LaSalle Bank for their corporate sponsorships.

The Naming Rights program will be unveiled at the golf outing. He thanked Linda Blair and Dave Staudt for their efforts. Total assets run in the $37,000 range.



Director Auler reported on the 2006/2007 capital improvement plan:

Five different models of the wide area mower have been tested at Community Sports Park. The mowing time has been reduced by 75% using the new model mower. Additionally, the soccer fields are now taking less than two hours vs. ten hours to mow. We are very pleased with the improvement of operations.

We have purchased a zero radius turning mower and are pleased with the results. We will be replacing the fencing on the fields at Power Park, installing irrigation on all four fields and removing the infield dirt and replacing it with up-to-date dirt, similar to field #2 at Community Sports Park. We hope to have that project out to bid very soon and start in mid-October and completed by the end of the year and be operational with the spring softball program. The fall program will run as scheduled, if we run into a situation where playoffs need to be re-scheduled, we will re-locate to four fields at Community Sports Park.

Another item will be the replacement of the infield at Community Sports Park. We believe we will be able to get one infield and part of another infield done within our budgeted amount this fall.

One other project is the addition of an operations building at Community Sports Park. We are looking at available options, whether we construct that as a stand-alone facility or whether we can attach that to our existing restroom/shelter facility with the access drive at the park. We will be doing a request for proposal for architectural services on that project. The rest of these projects we will be utilizing in-house expertise. There is a cost savings there. We will begin the design specification process. We will keep Council updated and get the Park Development Committee very involved in the near future.

We will be adding an additional shelter out at Lakeshore Park to handle the overflow of shelter reservations.

Here at City Hall items include the replacement of the chiller, a significant investment of about $350,000. The elevator will be updated and a new fire alarm system will be installed to bring us up-to-date with ADA compliance. In terms of capital improvements, it is an exciting year.

Some other items that are underway are the lease contract with Performing Arts Academy, which is a dance studio that will be operational at the Novi Ice Arena in September. One of the multi purpose rooms have been converted into the dance studio, and it will be available for birthday parties, meetings, etc. It has a positive impact in terms of bringing in additional revenue.

Also, it appears we will have no rate increase at the ice arena. That will be two years in a row that we were able to accomplish that.

We are progressing with the implementation of our on-line registration program. You can go on-line now and request your PIN # and Login Name and Password. We’ve been getting a fairly good response to that, and to continue we are unveiling a marketing plan in the near future in terms of communicating how the program is going to work. We will go live with on-line registration on

September 1, 2006.

On a separate note, we have been invited to participate in an Open House, hosted by DNR in Farmington Hills. I will pass that information along to you. We are involving Friends of Novi Parks and other significant partnerships. We will have a display table and exhibit and will show the video that Ms. Kozma put together. It is an opportunity for us to promote not only that project, but also some of the other grant projects that we have. For example, two ball fields at Power Park were built with grant money from the late 1980’s. I want to be able to highlight our progress; participation, use, community involvement and hopefully setting the stage for future grant opportunities. Our goal that day is to have the best exhibit and display.

We also have the opportunity to work with the Oakland County Department of Planning and Economic Development in terms of developing a green infrastructure plan to connect green spaces and preserve those green spaces and the impact they have on their community. Oakland County recently did a study that if you reside within two miles of a greenway, trail or pathway. There is a premium on your property value that increases by 20%. Additionally, if you live adjacent to natural areas, that are preserved and protected through parks, there is a 12% premium increase on your property value. Parks, Recreation and Forestry services have a significant economic impact everyday in our community. We need to continue to communicate our messages so that everyone understands the value that we bring. The green infrastructure project is an opportunity to develop a master plan on how you can preserve and connect these types of spaces, as well as work with other communities that will enhance their projects through the planning process. More information will follow.

This is our second year for Kids on Broadway, if you have an opportunity to come in any time from 12 – 4 pm. We rotate 80-100 kids through a variety of sessions for performing arts, choreography, and creativity during this camp. We then put on a show in August. We are doing a short video production out of that program, and will submit that video to the National Recreation & Park Association for the Dorothy Mullins Arts & Humanities Award. I’ve been involved in the NRPA for 25+ years and I feel this program is phenomenal. We find out the decision at the National Congress, which is in 2007, in Indianapolis.


Commission Wagner asked what other spaces are available for the new building at Community Sports Park.

Director Auler replied that there were some alternative sites; one site was off Ten Mile Road to the West and the other was further back in the park. We haven’t made a decision yet as to what location that it will be in and what we can get for the amount of funding that we have available.

Commissioner Wagner asked what would be inside this facility.

Director Auler replied the maintenance equipment to reduce our drive time. This will enable us to deliver better service and product.

Commissioner Zyczynski complimented Director Auler in his efforts in using the workforce as efficiently and creatively in this situation.

Commissioner Staab also thanked Director Auler for his efforts and what has been accomplished in the last four (4) years.

Commissioner Dooley asked Director Auler about the infield replacement at Power Park and the advantage to having a grass infield.

Director Auler replied that the current condition which is white chalker dust has several disadvantages. One is a safety issue in terms of being able to see the ball. The focus has been to re-do the fields in partnership with Novi Youth Baseball. We hope to continue that partnership and collaboration. We went to the red clay mix and fill, which is what is on field #2, with a grass infield. It is a safer product in terms of picking up the ball, and sliding and drains well. The grass infield has advantages in picking up the ball quicker; grass slows the ball down on a hard hit ball, which helps with reaction time.

Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if the partnership with Novi Youth Baseball would mean re-doing two fields?

Director Auler replied that there is a possibility of doing a grass infield, and red clay dirt with our funds, as well as an additional field with our existing funds. We need to meet again with Novi Youth Baseball and with Novi Jaguars and create a vision and plan. We hear that we need more fields, but maybe we could work smarter on the fields that we have, maybe lighting on some fields, maybe sport turf on some fields. The impact we have on our existing fields now is that they are over-used. Our game fields and practice fields are over-used. This year we took a field out of operation and just finished laying 1,000 yards of sod in the field. In the future, if we have sport turf down, we could eliminate all that and increase the usage.

Commissioner Schwarzlose asked about the resignation date of the Cultural Arts Coordinator, which was to be negotiated by Director Auler.

Director Auler replied that unfortunately Sheri Sansom, our Cultural Arts Coordinator has resigned. Sheri has done wonders for the level of the theatre program, dance program, camps and workshops for opportunities to get involved have increased dramatically over the last year. The quality has increased along with ownership and team participation. Unfortunately, Sheri’s husband’s company is closing their operations in Michigan and relocating to Ohio. Sheri will be here through March, and we are developing a strategy for her replacement. The three people we have in that job are doing phenomenal; Sheri is the leader and the creative operations person bringing planning and coordination to the program. We also have Christine Borello who is part-time and handles behind the scenes stage production and the business component. Sally LePla-Perry, a part-time person has coordinated the communications plan. We have all worked together to form a strategic plan for the theatre. Some of the results include a feature in Metro-Parent, they have committed to us a full-page colored ad next year again and doing partnership opportunities with us. Our participation has increased, we have been featured in the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and additionally we are now being contacted by many of the key artistic directors from other theatre companies to participate with us. I can’t say enough about what we have been

able to accomplish under the leadership of those three, all the directors, the costumers, the volunteers, it takes a lot to put on a production. We are putting together a plan to carry on, continue to improve, and build up what has been established.


Commissioner Staab reminded everyone about the golf outing on August 3, 2006, sponsorships available, and thanked Tom Holzer Ford for sponsoring the hole-in-one contest.

Commissioner Zyczynski congratulated the Senior Center on extending their transportation services.

Commissioner Wagner – none

Commissioner Schwarzlose welcomed Commissioners Dooley and Goyal.



A motion was made by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Staab.


The meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m.



_____________________________________ Signed, Harold L. Wingfield, Chairperson





Signed, Reagan Schwarzlose, Vice-Chairman