View Agenda for this meeting

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2006 – 7:30 PM

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

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


It was moved by Commissioner Wingfield, seconded by Commissioner Zyczynski to approve the agenda.

Voice Vote Unanimous


My name is Greg Dale, I live at 24490 Jamestown, I have been a Novi resident for 15 years and I would like to talk about soccer tonight and field conditions.

I’ve been coaching soccer for ten years and have coached about 30 teams over those ten years. My concern is the field conditions and the degradation I’ve seen over those ten years of field conditions. It is not just Community Sports Park. It wasn’t built originally with topsoil put down, grass was thrown down and now to balance that out they crown the fields. Crowned fields make it very difficult to play soccer; it is very hard to play soccer when the ball tends to roll out of bounds all the time. The crowned fields are why we have had trouble with water and the game cancellations recently. They have irrigated within the past couple of years to tried and improve things but it is still not sufficient and they are the poorest field conditions within the Western Suburban Soccer League. Even going back to September, I apologize before each game to the opposing coaches about our field conditions now. I would like to know what our plan is to improve the conditions of the fields, adding soil and leveling the fields. The other concern is the practice fields. This year, my travel team that I am currently coaching at the middle school fields at Wildlife Woods, is relegated to a half a field. The field has one goal on our half of the field but the fields are unlined. The fields have been unlined on the practice fields for the past seven years. It is very difficult for me to instruct kids on how to play the game when there are no lines to instruct them on specific plays. I assumed that Community Sports Park would improve at some point but it has gotten worse. It really needs to be leveled and topsoil added. Is that in any plan that you are working on? Or is it just being overlooked?

Commissioner Wingfield thanked Mr. Dale for his comments and noted that we did have a presentation on the conditions of the soccer fields last month.

Deputy Director Lewis stated that field conditions will be covered under staff reports, soccer field conditions and game schedules.


Steve Printz, City Forester gave a presentation on the Street Tree Inventory Management Project by Davey Resource Group.

  • Why Perform a Tree Inventory?
    • Investment in community’s future
    • Public safety and municipal liability
    • Tree stocking levels
    • Improve the environment
  • Objectives of the Tree Inventory
    • Prioritize maintenance
    • Identifying trends
    • Identify planting sites
    • Establish benchmark
    • Develop a management plan
  • What Was Recorded
    • Location, species, size, condition maintenance need and priority, observations, hardscape damage, growing space type/size, and clearance needs, potential planting sites.
  • Results
    • Totals
    • Age of the tree population
    • Health and Condition
    • Value
    • Diversity
  • General Health & Condition
  • Tree Species Breakdown
    • Totals, Diversity and Significant species
  • Priority Maintenance Work
    • Objective, Work Completed within 1st year
  • Safety Related Maintenance Needs
  • Other Identified Maintenance Work
    • Routine prunes, training pruning, clearance pruning, stump removal and other maintenance needs.
  • Recommendations
    • Encourage species diversity, enhance public relations, develop a street tree preservation ordinance, inventory park and major road trees, address improper mulching and over watering.
  • Summary
    • Reduce potential safety hazards
    • Develop annual pruning programs
    • Reduce future work and costs
    • Continue to increase species diversity


Commissioner Dooley asked if 92% of our trees being in good or fair condition was acceptable.

Forester Printz replied absolutely. His goal is to get the fair condition trees into good condition with education, pruning and understanding on how to manage and maintain trees. We need to do a better job of educating individuals on how to take care of these trees.

Commissioner Dooley asked if a tree in fair condition would have a better than 50/50 chance of survival?

Forester Printz replied absolutely. A tree in fair condition will still thrive, it may have a few broken limbs, it may be stressed out, but essentially it will live. A tree in good conditions is one with a straight central leader, nice branches, not over mulched, and not over watered.

Commissioner Dooley thanked Steve.

Commissioner Zyczynski asked about educating the public in terms of the care of trees.

Forester Printz stated that we give out information as the trees are planted, on watering, mulching and fertilizing. We also have put information on our website and encourage the public to visit our website. We also would like to have seminars on proper watering, fertilizing and mulching etc. within the next year.

Commissioner Zyczynski commented that the trees are being taken for granted.

Forester Printz started putting door hangers on homes where he saw trees being over mulched and said he checks back every quarter to see if it has been removed.

Regarding stocking levels, we are doing well, probably at 90% now, because the planting was taking place at the same time the inventory was taking place. I am sure there were some trees that were missed or locations that now have trees on them. Our goal is to get to 100% or as close as possible in the next several years. These locations are in common areas or subdivisions where they have never had a formalized street tree planting, such as Whispering Meadows, our goal now is to get into those locations and start establishing plantings in those areas.

Commissioner Zyczynski asked if there was potential for another unknown pest such as the emerald ash borer?

Forester Printz stated that the potential is always there. Our goal is planting a wide variety of trees.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if some of the naturalized areas are counted in the inventory.

Forester Printz stated that some of the naturalized areas would be difficult to inventory. With the GPS unit, I will be able to inventory the trees in the park and those in the trails, those trees deep into the woods will not be part of the inventory. Anything in open areas and along the trails will be identified.

Commissioner Wingfield asked Forester Printz if the tree inventory is something that gives him direction in doing his job?

Forester Printz replied that the tree inventory was the forestry action plan for the next five years.

Student Commissioner Wager asked what would cause the priority three removals?

Forester Printz replied it could be transplant shock, when a tree is small it takes two, to three years to establish a tree, it could be over watering, over mulched, weed whips could all contribute to the death. Essentially, the first three years are critical. The average life span of a City tree is 12 years. In Novi, one of the biggest problems is over watering and over mulching, it kills a lot of our trees.

Commissioner Wingfield asked about the proper way to trim a tree.

Forester Printz replied that the standard height over sidewalks is ten feet. What we try to do is balance it out by pruning 10 – 17’ over the roadway. We will talk to the homeowner about proper pruning if they want to prune but we prefer to do it ourselves.


A. Park Foundation – Commissioner Dooley

Commissioner Dooley spoke of the importance of the Park Foundation to the City of Novi. He stressed the importance of local businesses working with the Parks Foundation and Commission to give something back to the community. He asked local businesses to come forward and help out with the field conditions at Community Sports Park and help the children and the City of Novi.

B.  Greenway/Pathway - Commissioner Zyczynski

Commissioner Zyczynski reported that the process is moving along and we are revising the final priorities in the proposal to City Council.

C. Park Development – Commissioner Zyczynski

Commissioner Zyczynski reported that they have not met in the last month and there was nothing new to report.

D Strategic Planning – Commissioner Schwarzlose

Commissioner Schwarzlose reported that Strategic Planning did not have an official meeting since the last Commission meeting but are continuing to work with Director Auler in drafting the Community Recreation Plan.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if we were on the time frame to get the Recreation Plan in line for next year’s budget?

Commissioner Schwarzlose replied yes.



A. Administration – Deputy Director Lewis

Deputy Director Lewis stated there was no report on Administration this evening.

B. Park and Forestry Operations – Matt Wiktorowski, Park Superintendent

Park Superintendent Wiktorowski gave an update on the conditions at Community Sports Park soccer fields. He reported that the facilities were only open two days since his last report due to inclement weather. The soil is still saturated with moisture and has not been allowed to dry out. If we get some dry weather the fields will re-open. It is important to remember that the complex was designed with six fields in mind, they were constructed with a

1-1/2%, 2-1/4% slope, but the amount of use that these fields have gotten has created low depressions and those areas hold water. The problem we face is that the amount of play that these fields receive. 126 events per field, per season – when the average is 40 events, per field, per season. We are over the amount of use that these fields can take. We need to effectively work with our partner groups, our businesses in town to find space for our teams to practice, and other game facilities. It is important to work with everyone to try and make sure that all the park patrons get their athletic needs accommodated. We as a department are doing that currently, exploring some options through the schools, open up some other green space in our parks, potentially setting up some other alternative playing surfaces so we can get our games in for the fall season. Our maintenance practices continue to stay consistent when we can get on the fields for fertilization, aeration and rolling, over seeding. We are trying to mow as frequently as possible, and rotate when we can. Some of the equipment that we will be purchasing in the future is a top-dresser to amend the soil and help along the sidelines.

Commissioner Zyczynski reiterated that we need to increase the number of fields available so that we can decrease the over use of some of these current fields. Our long-term goal would be to build some partnerships within the community where land might be made available for us to use.

Superintendent Wiktorowski agreed. He stated we would like to enhance the partnerships that we have and encourage other groups to work with the City to find additional space.

Commissioner Wingfield asked about the usage of the fields. He suggested that the four fields at the middle school on Eleven Mile be lined for practice. He asked about the need for green space.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that with the amount of users that we have in the soccer program, there wasn’t enough green space made available. We didn’t know that the soccer program would get this large. With all of our groups, schools, football programs, lacrosse, baseball and soccer our green space is very limited.

Commissioner Wingfield added that the weather hasn’t helped. He also asked about the Jaguar program and the house leagues at Community Sports Park. What is the percentage break down? Is it 80% Jags, 20% house?

Deputy Director Lewis stated that 80% Jags, 20% house is accurate. The Jags have 12 – 13 teams playing there.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that the Jags play all of their games and up until a few weeks ago played a majority of their practices at that facility. The house teams play their games at Community Sports Park and practice at different locations.

Commissioner Dooley commented that as a WSSL coach he knows that many communities around Novi have designated fields that are only used for games. They do not practice on those game fields. That is why they look and wear as well as they do. In Novi, unlike other communities, we practice on our game fields and that is where the challenges have been for Matt and the department to get those fields in game condition. It is not just the weather that has contributed but it is the level of play and practice that goes on those game fields that other towns do not use during the week.

Commissioner Wingfield agreed that other surrounding communities do not practice on their playing fields.

Student Commissioner Wagner asked about the average usage per field at other cities such as Northville or Canton.

Superintendent Wiktorowski answered he did not have that information.

Student Commissioner Wagner asked what the solution to this problem would be.

Superintendent Wiktorowski asked for clarification.

Student Commissioner Wagner asked what will it take to play our games, a different fertilization system? What will it take to get these fields good for the rest of the season?

Superintendent Wiktorowski replied that we need to limit the amount of games at Community Sports Park, be conscience of the weather and if the fields are soft and could be damaged; we will need to find an alternative place to play. As a recovery standpoint for the turf, it will not recover by the end of the soccer season. The thatch layer was destroyed, which leaves blades of grass in the clay soil and with any moisture; it turns into a mud pie. After 3-5 games or up to 8 games on the same field on the same day, we have a huge problem. There is no time for that field to recover. We need to manage the amount of use on our space provided for future use.

Deputy Director Lewis commented that not lining the soccer practice fields at the middle school was an economic decision made a few years ago with the increase of soccer fields and parkland. It is very time consuming to do the practice fields.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if we lined the practice fields once a year, or not at all?

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated they have not lined the practice fields for about four years. It was primarily an economic decision to not line the fields any longer for the amount of time it takes a staff person to go out once a week. It is not just the Wildlife Woods Middle School; it would be Village Oaks, Orchard Hills, Brookfarm Park, and all the Novi Woods fields. We roughly have 32 fields in the community and it is a tremendous undertaking. We go through approximately $1,000 worth of paint every 15 days as it is, just doing game fields and the football fields. There are some things we could explore, maybe partnering with some organizations to help maintain the striping of the practice field once it is initially layed out in the spring.

Commissioner Zyczynski asked if this was something the Foundation could help with?

Commissioner Wingfield commented that we could work out a solution of lining the fields maybe once or twice a year to improve the quality.

C. Recreation Services – Deputy Director Lewis

Deputy Director Lewis stated that the Japan Foundation has chosen Novi as the only Michigan stop for its Kokeski Doll Exhibit. The exhibit will be on display from November 6 through November 30, 2006, here at the Civic Center in the atrium. The welcoming reception will be November 8th from 6 – 7:30 PM. We are very honored to host that exhibit.


A. Approval of September 14, 2006 regular meeting minutes

A motion was made to approve the regular September 14,2006 minutes as written.

Moved by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Dooley.

Voice Vote Unanimous

B. Annual election of officers.

1. Chairperson

A motion was made to appoint Commissioner Wingfield as Chairperson.

Moved by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Schwarzlose.

Voice Vote Unanimous

Vice Chairperson

A motion was made to appoint Commissioner Schwarzlose as Vice Chairperson.

Moved by Commissioner Dooley and seconded by Commissioner Wingfield.

Voice Vote Unanimous

C. Establish Parks, Recreation & Forestry Commission Committees and appointments to committees.

Deputy Director Lewis stated that Director Auler had three committees that he would like to establish for the next year. 1) Strategic Planning Committee, 2) Partnerships (a new committee) to be established, and also #3) Park Foundation committee. Basically the Partnership committee would be taking the place of the Park Development committee.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he liked the way it was structured and thinks the Partnership committee would be a viable beneficial committee to go forward with now.


1. Strategic Planning Committee

Commissioner Staab and Commissioner Schwarzlose and a future commissioner to be assigned.

2. Partnerships Committee

Commissioner Dooley and Commissioner Wingfield and Commissioner Zyczynski.

3. Park Foundation

Commissioner Staab and Commissioner Dooley.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if the Park Development Committee should continue?

Commissioner Zyczynski replied no, that she thought partnerships should be the direction now.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that they will stay with the three committees.


Commissioner Comments:

Commissioner Zyczynski commented that the senior show was great and she had a wonderful time. She also went to Fall for Novi and was impressed with the information available and thought it was a great event.

Commissioner Wagner asked if the "Out of the Basement" band series was continuing?

Deputy Director Lewis replied that it was.

Commissioner Wagner asked about the dates. He also asked about boy’s basketball for the high school. He suggested that the Commission meet with the Novi Youth Council.

Deputy Director Lewis stated that he will contact Sheryl Walsh to arrange a meeting.

Commissioner Dooley asked if the Commission should sit in on the Novi Youth Council meeting?

Commissioner Wagner stated he didn’t think so, he thought the Youth Council might not understand what we do, so they might want to start establishing high school programs.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if they should sit in on our meeting or have a joint meeting?

Commissioner Wagner replied that he thought nothing like that, when it was first recommended a presentation was suggested so that we both have an understanding of what our jobs are.

Commissioner Wingfield stated it was a great idea, that it is proven that in any city, parks and rec loses the kids at 13 or 14 and gets them back between the ages of 20 and 21. In the last two or three years we are making strides in what can we do for the high school age group, even though you do your own thing through school, it still doesn’t hurt to have dialogue on how we could help out more.

Commissioner Wagner stated there are opportunities there, the Youth Council is going to do a movie marathon. If we get in contact with them, we could greatly expand the high school program.

Commissioner Wingfield asked about the high school basketball last year.

Commissioner Wagner stated that it was successful and he believes it will be even more successful this year. He thought there was interest in girls basketball, or volleyball or soccer also.

Commissioner Goyal stated that the Youth Council has been talking about the high school programs, and are having the movie marathon and would like more information putting some programs together.

Commissioner Schwarzlose stated that Cinderella in New York will be playing October 27, 28, and October 29th, and encourages everyone to buy their tickets. He thanked Steve for his tree presentation and thanked Matt for his update on the field conditions. He also thanked Mr. Dale for speaking on the condition of the fields. He stated it is not an easy fix, it will be one of compromise and concessions and something we will have to work through. Our community should know that it is top priority in the Recreation Plan, and we can work together to get to a solution.

Commissioner Dooley stated that he agreed with Commissioner Schwarzlose and advised citizens to come in and voice their opinions. He thanked Mr. Dale for coming in and thanked Deputy Director Lewis for a great job.

Commissioner Wingfield asked Deputy Director Lewis about the bids on the softball fields.

Park Superintendent Wiktorowski replied that plans were drawn up for 12’ fencing to go from foul pole to foul pole and 8’ fencing go from the foul pole into roughly first and third base respectively, then back up to 12’ from third base into the 20’ back stop. They will go out to bid on the 16th.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if the backstops will have an over hang to keep the balls from going back?

Park Superintendent Wiktorowski replied that we will have the traditional style back stop which is slightly bigger than what we have now and as an alternate, we are also going to get a bid on the California style backstop. This will give the Commission, as well as Council a broader picture as to what we can offer the community.

Commissioner Wingfield asked Deputy Director Lewis about Suburban’s Management fee of $95,000. He asked if the City paid the people who worked at the ice arena?

Deputy Director Lewis replied that the $95,000 fee goes to one person for managing and the City pays all he salaries of the people work at the ice arena.

Commissioner Wingfield stated it was a nice incentive fee for running the ice rink properly. He also asked about registration for basketball and volleyball, was it up or down?

Deputy Director Lewis stated he thought boys basketball for some of the grades was full but he did not have all the information with him.

Commissioner Wingfield thanked Steve and Matt for their presentations and

Mr. Dale for his comments.


It was moved by Commissioner Schwarzlose and seconded by Commissioner Zyczynski to adjourn the meeting at 8:39 p.m.

Voice Vote Unanimous

_____________________________________ Signed, Harold L. Wingfield, Chairperson


Signed, Reagan Schwarzlose, Vice Chairperson