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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Wingfield presiding.
ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Goyal (Present), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Wagner (Absent), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
It was moved by Commissioner Schwarzlose, seconded by Commissioner Staab to approve the agenda.
Voice Vote Unanimous
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None.
A. Strategic Planning – Commissioner Schwarzlose
1. Community Recreation Plan
Commissioner Schwarzlose reported that the plan currently is "close to its’ final stages". He reported that Director Auler shared the report with the committee and showed them that it is broken down into a trend analysis section, a history section, resource inventory, recreation inventory, and administrative structure. He noted that each category is written out in draft form, Director Auler is doing a final edit, and the Commission should receive a draft of the project in early September.
B. Park Development – Commissioner Zyczynski
1. Status of 2006/2007 Capital Improvement Projects
Commissioner Zyczynski stated that the Commission received a status report in their packets that is self explanatory. She asked if Director Auler had anything he would like to highlight. He added that the 16 foot mower came in under budget and is on the City Council agenda for Monday.
C. Parks Foundation – Commissioner Staab
1. 2006 Golf Outing
Commissioner Staab thanked the Commission and those in the audience for a fine support of the golf outing on August 3. He reported that even though there was a weather delay, they were able to get everything in for thirty foursomes and made upwards of $16,000-$17,000. Commissioner Staab announced that the Foundation currently has a balance of approximately $60,000 in both restricted and unrestricted funds. He gave a special thanks to Director Auler and his staff, Brian Burke, Kathy Cosentino, Sue Engebretson, David Staudt, Peggy Schwarzlose, Linda Blair, and corporate supporters. He is looking forward to the 2007 golf outing.
Commissioner Staab added that the Naming Rights Program was unveiled at the dinner portion of the event. He thanked Senator Cassis, Mayor Landry, and City Manager Clay Pearson for their help in the kickoff.
Commissioner Wingfield noted that the committee did a great job and it was a great event. He added that Brian Burke will be missed on the Commission and hopes that he helps out with the golf outing next year.
D. Greenway/Pathway - Commissioner Zyczynski
Commissioner Zyczynski reported that she attended the first meeting and that for the first few meetings the committee would be determining the categories that will be used to prioritize sites. The next meeting held will be Monday.
Commissioner Wingfield asked how the Singh Trail is moving along now that the development of the golf course has stopped.
Director Auler answered that the southern portion that is being constructed by Provincial Glades is still on track, but that Singh will not start building the trail until they start the development.
A. Administration - Director Auler
1. 2005 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant
Director Auler reported that the City of Novi has received the project agreement form the DNR, the money has been appropriated from the State Legislature, and the bill has been signed by the governor. He noted that the next step is to get some of the due diligence work done. The environmental assessment is currently under way; the legal description and boundary map both should be completed the following day completing the title search. These reports will be attached to the project agreement for City Council approval at the second meeting in September. The following step would then be the appraisal process, with an estimated time of three-six months. He noted that we have until June 30, 2007 to complete the acquisition of the property.
Director Auler also reported the he, Tracie Ringle, Coucilmember Mutch and several citizens had the opportunity this week to attend the 30th anniversary of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund; where the Department had a marketing material booth. The event celebrated the millions of dollars that the trust fund has been able to allocate across the state, the Novi property was mentioned at the presentation.
Commissioner Wingfield noted that at one time there were concerns regarding the property appraisals. He asked if this was still an issue or since we’ve already been approved for the grant is the appraisal no longer an issue.
Director Auler replied that the numbers are always a concern. He noted that he is currently trying to set up meetings with the DEQ regarding the conservation easements on one parcel and he thinks there is a good case to use a document that will help with the appraisal process.
2. CLASS Software Registration
Director Auler reported that the online component of the software system is ready for kick off on September 1 and the recreation guide will go out in late August. He noted that we are eliminating the lottery system for basketball. If participants sign up by the registration deadline we will place them by utilizing other school district partnerships, such as Catholic Central.
Commissioner Dooley asked Director Auler if checks would be accepted for internet registrations.
Director Auler answered that internet registrations would be by credit card only, but that customers may still come to the counter or mail/fax in registrations. He announced that the internet will be used as a tool to improve communication as every person that registers must provide an email address to get a password, which will give us the ability to send out communications electronically.
Commissioner Staab asked if we will have the ability to sweep accounts to avoid the fees associated with internet credit card charges.
Director Auler answered that he would check with the IT Department and email an answer this week.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked where we are on obtaining the computer/kiosk for the atrium at the Civic Center.
Director Auler answered that we are "still having discussion on that, in terms of the best location and the best way to secure that and what opportunity that presents in the evening".
B. Park and Forestry Operations – Deputy Director Lewis
1. Status of Tree Inventory and Management Plan
Deputy Director Lewis announced that the tree inventory is completed and they have surveyed over 20,000 street trees in subdivisions alone. He noted that the top three species include the red maple, norway maple, and the honey locust, with most trees falling in the 1-3 inch diameter classification.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that the management plan is scheduled to be completed by August 25, 2006.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked what the timeline is regarding the ADA plan, commenting it seems that there is only about 5% of the items left to complete.
Deputy Director Lewis answered that the only items withstanding are in the Township Hall building. He explained that there are some possible changes and that the Department hopes to complete the items this fall.
C. Recreation Services-Director Auler
1. Kids on Broadway – Director Auler announced that the program this weekend is a near sellout everyday. He noted that this second annual program is totally written by staff and is being filmed to be submitted for a national award at the NRPA conference in Indiana next year.
2. International Festival – Director Auler announced that this festival scheduled for August 19, celebrates the cultural diversity of our community. The festival will have more countries participating this year, more entertainment, and a march of nations has been added.
3. National Alliance of Youth Sports/Michigan Parks & Recreation Association Start Smart Program – Director Auler explained that this program focuses on parent and coach training, certifications for sports administrators, and a variety of opportunities to provide standards and quality programming for youth sports across the country. The Department has been selected as one of the five cities in Michigan to participate in the Start Smart pilot program. This program is an opportunity to provide a quality sports experience as a fist time entry program for youth in the 3-5 and 4-6 age group. The program focuses on fun, learning and socialization skills; not on winning.
Commissioner Goyal asked how many children are participating in the Kids on Broadway camp.
Director Auler replied that he wasn’t sure, but guessed 90-115.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if the NAYS program was for all youth sports or just the younger groups.
Director Auler replied that NAYS has programming for all age groups, but the Start Smart program is geared toward the 3-5 year old. He noted that NAYS also offers coach certification, which comes with liability insurance. He added that he was a district manager for the program many years ago and has been slowly starting to implement the program within the sports program here.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION ACTION/DISCUSSION:
1. Approval of June 8, 2006 corrected meeting minutes
2. Approval of July 13, 2005 regular meeting minutes
A motion was made to approve the corrected June minutes and to approve the regular July minutes with a correction on page 4. The correction should read that Commissioner Dooley made the motion, not Commissioner Schwarzlose.
Moved by Commissioner Staab and seconded by Commissioner Zyczynski.
Voice Vote Unanimous
3. Appointment of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commissioner to serve on the Novi Parks Foundation Board of Directors
A motion was made to appoint Commissioner Dooley to serve on the Novi Parks Foundation Board of Directors.
Moved by Commissioner Schwarzlose and seconded by Commissioner Staab.
Voice Vote Unanimous
B. Commissioner Comments:
Commissioner Staab – Thanked the Novi News for all of their support of the golf outing and the naming rights kickoff. He also noted that the last two weeks the Detroit papers had articles regarding the Department, one on the golf outing and one on the Kids on Broadway Camp.
Commissioner Schwarzlose – Commended the staff on the many grants the Department is finding and applying for. He commented that it seems that at every meeting a grant is being contemplated or awarded.
Commissioner Zyczynski – Dittoed the comments regarding the grants and commented what a great service it is. She also commended the Parks Foundation on the golf outing and the money it was able to raise.
Commissioner Wingfield – Agreed that the press the Department is receiving is very important for the value of the community. He also commented that the Commission needs two more members and that he heard City Council was waiting for the January appointments. He noted that if members are missing, there would not be a quorum.
Director Auler replied that he sent a memo to City Council informing them that the Commission is operating with only five members and to ask that they take applications early, but has not heard back.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if the budget included improvements to the baseball fields at Community Sports Park, noting that the kids always comment that they want to play on Field #2.
Director Auler replied that upgrades will be made to the infields there, but it has not been identified which field yet. The Department is working with a turf specialist and there is a possibility that two fields may be improved.
Commissioner Wingfield commented that he thought we were looking to improve four of the eight fields, making them somewhat comparable to field #2.
Director Auler replied that this budget includes infield improvements only, but is looking to the partnerships with Novi Youth Baseball for further opportunities for improvements.
Commissioner Wingfield asked about the improvements at Power Park and if the fences will be higher there.
Director Auler replied that we are looking at 8 foot fencing and where it’s already high the fences will be 14 foot. Construction will begin the day after fall softball season ends.
Commissioner Wingfield commented that the fence on the red and green fields were too short and if the improvements are being made to lure tournaments, going higher would enhance the play ability.
Director Auler replied that the type of pole and the gage of the fence that’s required to go up further greatly increase the costs. He said that the improved fields would allow us to compete for E and D, fast pitch, and women’s tournaments, which are very lucrative to the local economy.
Commissioner Wingfield asked what the material would be on the infield at Power Park.
Director Auler replied that it will be a turf mix.
Commissioner Wingfield said that people are very impressed with the planned improvements. He also congratulated the Foundation on a successful event.
Commissioner Dooley – Asked if an update on Parks and Recreation and WSSL youth soccer could be placed on next month’s agenda.
It was moved by Commissioner Schwarzlose and seconded by Commissioner Staab to adjourn the meeting at 8:19 p.m.
Voice Vote Unanimous
_____________________________________ Signed, Harold L. Wingfield, Chairperson
Signed, Reagan Schwarzlose, Vice Chairperson