View Agenda for this meeting

PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY COMMISSION
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2007 Ė 7:30 PM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė COUNCIL CHAMBERS

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Wingfield presiding.

ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Goyal (Present), Kristock (Absent), Policicchio (Present), Radcliffe (Present), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

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

Voice Vote Unanimous

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Approval of August 9, 2007, meeting minutes.

Moved by Commissioner Radcliffe, seconded by Commissioner Schwarzlose.

Voice Vote Unanimous

DIRECTORíS REPORT:

Update on Capital Improvement Projects

Director Auler introduced Matt Wiktorowski, Superintendent of Parks, to present the update

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that in the packet there is a comprehensive list of operations division capital improvement projects from 2006 to 2008. The list shows the project description, various amenities, and the project status. He then asked if the Commissioners had any questions after reviewing them.

Commissioner Staab asked Superintendent Wiktorowski to go over the headings at the top of the page.

Superintendent Wiktorowski read them.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if Power Park phase two was exclusively the lights.

Superintendent Wiktorowski confirmed that it is and that it includes the removal of the existing system and the replacement of it.

Commissioner Wingfield then asked what the Community Sports Park soccer field renovation at $165,000 was exactly.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that project will be the regrading of soccer field A. It will be regarded and underground drainage and irrigation will be installed. The turf will be replaced with large roll sod. It will be one field.

Commissioner Zyczynski asked if Power Park phase one came in significantly under what was originally allocated.

Superintendent Wiktorowski replied that the project was completed under budget at $270,000.

Commissioner Staab asked if the project was completed under budget if the funds could be used somewhere else.

Superintendent Wiktorowski replied that there have been instances where those types of funds were able to be used for further enhancements on park projects.

Commissioner Staab asked if those dollars would stay in the department for capital improvements.

Superintendent Wiktorowski confirmed this.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if the money not used when coming in under budget is arbitrarily there to be used at your discretion as to how it would best serve the community.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that the department would see where we stand with the budget after the project is complete and take it to the Director and potentially reallocate the funds to different projects.

Director Auler then stated that is not extra cash because some projects come in under budget and some come in over budget. We have a certain number of capital dollars allocated for the year. Once the projects are complete and we come to the end of the year, if we have some left, we can then recommend some projects or keep that money in our budget and that money rolls over in the cash fund balance. It is not allocated at that point for capital improvements but it does help with the cash flow. With capital improvements you should always expect the unexpected. We do a very good job and have been under budget on almost every item. Over all we do not go over our total allocation and that is a testament to Superintendent Wiktorowski and his supervision out in the field with the contractors.

Commissioner Dooley asked if Superintendent Wiktorowski is satisfied with what work has to be done and what is being spent. Would he change anything?

Superintendent Wiktorowski replied that his is very happy with the projects which City Council has approved and the Commission has advocated. He would not change anything at this time. He looks forward to seeing what the future brings and hopes that we have more challenges and opportunities.

Director Auler added that City Council and the Planning Commission both approved what the Commission recommended for our capital improvement projects for this year.

Commissioner Dooley stated that when we come in under budget it shows that we are being fiscally responsible.

Update on Senior Services Plan

Director Auler stated that one of our priorities is to prepare a strategic plan for our senior services. We have a growing "Boomer" population and senior population. We are challenged with the ability to provide services at the rate of that growth.

He presented Nancy Cowan, Superintendent of Recreation, who is the team leader with Rachel Zagaroli.

Superintendent Cowan directed the Commissioners to the memorandum in their packet on the Senior Services Strategic Plan. We would like to be the leaders in the arena of senior services. Planning for the upcoming boom in population for this group is critical. Throughout the planning process we will be holding various focus groups and working with different stake holders in the community and surrounding areas and also working with experts. We will look at our current practices and assess if we are doing everything that needs to be done and in the right way, where we want to be in the future and how do we get there. The goal is to have this plan completed by November to be able to present to the Commission and community members to be able to plan for the future.

Commissioner Policicchio asked where the names would come from and who would be on the focus groups.

Superintendent Cowan replied that at this stage a list has been compiled of various community members, groups, partners, etc. This large list is being assessed to look at who we can get involved in the focus groups and then to invite them. Who to invite or the date has not been determined yet.

Commissioner Policicchio asked how many focus groups there would be and what the demographics would be.

Superintendent Cowan replied that the goal is to have at least two focus groups at different times to accommodate peopleís schedules. She also stated that they are looking to get a broad range of demographics.

Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she assumes that the survey that was recently completed will have data that will feed in to this.

Superintendent Cowan replied that the data from that survey will be completed by November and in that time frame we would like to have the plan in place for the strategic plan.

Director Auler stated that one of the goals is to have a lot of the planning done and in place by November so that when the budget process is started in December we have good tools for the Commission and City Council to consider for the budget appropriation in 2008-2009. The Senior Survey will have some preliminary information which we will be able to incorporate into the plan. Once the plan is complete we will use the data to test against the plan and adjust it.

Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she wanted to make sure that the plan could be adjusted.

Commissioner Policicchio asked if it will be a staff person doing this.

Superintendent Cowan replied that she, Director Auler and Rachel Zagaroli will be leading this project.

Commissioner Goyal asked about the survey that was sent out.

Superintendent Cowan replied that over 1,200 people received the survey and there was a very good return rate of about 49%. So there should be some good data from the survey.

Update on Naming Rights Program

Director Auler stated that Commissioner Dooley and Commissioner Staab are aware, due to their involvement with the Parks Foundation and City Council, that City Council recently accepted a donation acknowledgement agreement with Tom Holzer Ford for the naming of one of the ball fields at Power Park. The sign will be ordered and installed very soon. That donation will equate to approximately $25,000 to $26,000 at a minimum level over the next three years.

Director Auler invited Commissioner Dooley to talk about some of the Park Foundation activities.

Commissioner Dooley stated that the Parks Foundation has been very busy will the planning stages of the Gala that is going to take place on November 9th. There is a logo in front of the Parks Department. It is a well designed logo put together by the team. It ties in well with the James Bond black tie theme. He encourages everyone to take a look at the logo. Invitations will be coming out very soon to the public.

Commissioner Schwarzlose stated that there will be limited availability so when you get your invitations you should sign up right away.

Commissioner Radcliffe asked where the Gala will be held.

Commissioner Dooley stated that it will be held at Rock Financial Showplace on the evening of Friday, November the 9th. It promises to be a very fun, action filled evening affair. The theme is "Diamonds are Forever".

Director Auler stated that the team recently held a series of races in the Fit Novi series. The last one was held this past weekend. He was not able to attend but the team did an outstanding job. There were many participants.

Director Auler added that we are in the middle of our Senior Show. Most all of the shows are selling out and every show so far has had a standing ovation. There was a different approach to the show this year. It is called "Hit Parade". The seniors are very happy as well as the customers.

Director Auler stated that "Fall for Novi" is here at the Civic Center this Saturday. If you come you can learn more about the Foundation Gala as well as activities and services that our department provides and that our City provides.

Director Auler stated that in the packet there is an e-mail between Stacie Ringle and Commissioner Zyczynski. Commissioner Zyczynski did an excellent job in terms of taking information and getting it out to her fellow homeowners in her neighborhood.

Director Auler asked if there were any questions.

Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she worked at the triathlon on Saturday and it was so well organized. She congratulated the staff members who facilitated the event.

Commissioner Wingfield asked who does the raffle and how does it work.

Director Auler stated that it is a Parks Foundation function and the foundation board members sell tickets and he would encourage the Commission members to sell raffle tickets as well.

Commissioner Dooley stated that it is a nice opportunity to pick up a nice two year lease on a new Ford.

Commissioner Wingfield asked what kind of signage will there be for this sponsorship.

Director Auler stated that it is not a sponsorship but a donation. It will be the same kind of signage that all of our donors receive through the Naming Rights Program. An example is the Telcom playground sign which is at Power Park.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if the sign will be at the backstop. He noticed that Tom Holzer chose the green field.

Director Auler stated that the signs will be placed at the entryways to the facility as well as additional signage on the backstop.

Commissioner Zyczynski asked when the raffle will be held.

Commissioner Dooley stated that they hope to begin the raffle at "Fall for Novi" and the winner will be announced at the Gala.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that on Tracie Ringleís report she stated that on economic stewardship during the month of July the department received over $5,700 in sponsorships and in-kind donations. He asked what was that and where did the money come from and where did it go.

Director Auler stated that the money came from businesses and individuals within the community that sponsor events and programs within the department. That money goes in to those specific events and programs. For example, if a sponsorship is for the International Festival they get exposure at that event. There are team sponsors within our youth sports program.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if these are sponsorships that come in for specific programs not through the foundation so they are earmarked for that particular event or sport.

Director Auler stated that the only formal program the Parks Foundation has for that is the Naming Rights program. Sponsorships for events and activities are department staff driven.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that it seems like in August that 69% of the registrations came in by on-line registration. At one time we were charging them to register on-line and now we are giving a five dollar discount if they register on line.

Director Auler stated that we have restructured how we do that. We are at 69% now so the word is getting out and it is a customer service standpoint to be able to register on line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The effect is that our team can focus on other types of activities within the department.

Commissioner Radcliffe asked of the online discount will continue to be offered.

Director Auler stated that we currently donít anticipate eliminating it. We want to encourage people to utilize the internet from a customer service standpoint and an operational standpoint.

MATTERS FOR COMMISSION DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION:

Review of drafted five-year Tree Fund Planting Strategy

Director Auler stated that City Forester, Steve Printz, was not able to attend the Commission meeting. In his absence Superintendent Wiktorowski will give an overview. He then stated that the Tree Fund is money that is from a developer who cannot meet planting requirements due to restrictions on his site. This money is used to plant trees in other locations in the community. Over 3,000 ash trees were removed and replaced with no cost to the taxpayer. This cost approximately $900,000. The Tree Fund is a critical tool of the operations of the Forestry division. It has also enabled us to purchase additional equipment including a stump grinder. There has been no long-term strategy in terms of how we want to utilize the Tree Fund and at what balance level do we want to maintain the Tree Fund. We are recommending maintaining a healthy balance because if another situation arises like the Emerald Ash Borer we will have emergency monies in place to deal with the situation.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that in the Commission Packet there is a five-year strategy for the Tree Fund for the operating division. The Tree Fund has about $900,000 in it currently. These funds have been typically used by City Council in the past to provide care and maintenance for existing public trees, tree planting on public property, removing hazardous public trees and limbs and providing and maintaining specialized equipment necessary to perform the care.

On page two of the document is a five year plan for spring and fall plantings. We would like to plant approximately 700 to 750 trees each year on different corridors throughout the City. This includes Park properties, interchanges, neighborhoods and arterial right-of-ways. Some of these plantings will require special permits from County and State agencies. The numbers are based on an average tree price of about $325 per three inch caliper tree. An important thing to think about when going over a five-year strategy to use these funds is what conditions we are planting these trees in and what kind of maintenance and care will be associated with them. An urban street tree only has a life expectancy of thirteen years which is quite short when you think about trees like the oak which can live hundreds of years. They require special attention because of things like road salt and the poor soil conditions that are along our roads. Some of the special care that is needed is the watering requirements, mulching requirements, pruning, staking and inventory to monitor the tree population. City Forester Printz has implemented the fertilization of some of these trees so we can extend their lives and that they remain healthy. In order to do these things they are suggestion two seasonal staff during the summer to water, inventory, stake, and partially prune. They will not be arborists but will be trained by our arborists or forestry technicians. We are also suggesting an additional 4X4 truck so there is adequate transportation for all of the staff, a small 6-inch capacity chipper to be used for pruning and also along the sidewalks and trails, and a watering container and/or gator bags. Each tree requires 100 to 300 gallons of water a year so the staff could stay busy all year long simply watering trees. Page 3 of the document shows the projected Tree Fund cost revenues for the next years. For 2008 we have conservatively estimated that the revenue in the Tree Fund will be $150,000 and the projected planting expenditures, given the amounts City Forester Printz has listed in this document, is going to be $243,750. The maintenance cost associated, given the past, will be approximately $60,000 and the interest earnings from the money in the Tree Fund will be $25,965. This will leave a balance in the Tree Fund of $738,715. As you look at the following years you will see how the balance slowly dwindles. We are able to maintain a large number of trees, get the equipment needed, and the additional summer staff. To be proactive with the Urban Forest we can continue to maximize Tree Fund money by applying for and receiving grants, which City Forester Printz has been very successful with, implement revenue generating programs and maintaining services, incorporate tree establishment and long term maintenance costs in to all capital project plans that have trees, develop private and public sector partnerships, explore fundraising opportunities, and continue to further explore opportunities to generate future revenue and wisely spend the Tree Fund money by going out for competitive bid and making sure that we have quality contractors and well trained staff through continued education and training opportunities. We recommend that we keep about $500,000 in the Tree Fund at all times in case there is a disaster like we experienced with the Emerald Ash Borer.

Commissioner Staab stated that he is in a neighborhood where many of the trees were replanted. A good job was done of the planting and good information was given at the time of the planting as to care of the tree. This was approximately one and a half to two years ago. He would recommend that a mailing or information in the recreation guide as to the care of the new trees regarding fertilization and mulching to be able to extend the life of the trees.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that they have made up door hangers which they place on residents doors where there may be some care concerns like over mulching or over watering. He will explore the idea of the mailing with City Forester Printz.

Commissioner Zyczynski asked if the City comes in and waters trees in the commons areas of subdivisions which do not have watering systems in those commons areas.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that it is his understanding that any tree in the right-of-way, whether it be in front of a commons area or residence would be the responsibility for initial watering and mulching from the contractor from a two year warranty guarantee standpoint. If it is not watered adequately or if it dies due to improper mulching the contractor will be responsible for replacing that tree. Past the two year point the tree should be somewhat established and be able to maintain itself.

Commissioner Zyczynski then asked what the survival rate is for new trees.

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that he does not have that number to give to her to be accurate. The first two or three years are the most critical time for newly planted trees. He would like to say 25% of the trees are expected to not survive.

Commissioner Policicchio asked if the City of Novi is responsible for the maintenance of the area around the freeway intersections. The reason he asks is because he has noticed we have been planting a lot of trees in those highway intersection areas which is a good idea because it will make the City look nice. If it is the Stateís responsibility to maintain those freeway intersections then they should be paying for the trees and we could be putting those trees elsewhere in the community.

Director Auler replied that it is an MDOT responsibility; however we are working in partnership with them to improve the interchanges because some of them donít look very good and it is not a high priority on their list. So we are taking more of a leadership role with MDOT to negotiate the ability to plant and/or manage and maintain some of those areas and we want to go interchange by interchange.

Commissioner Policicchio stated that it is wise that we do it so that it will be done better because it is our community. He then asked if they pay for the trees or do they come out of Noviís funds.

Director Auler replied that he is not sure if we planted any City trees in the interchanges at this point. We have not worked out the budget for that. If we do we will end up using Tree Fund monies because MDOT tells us they are not being maintained because they do not have any money due to the State situation. If we end up using Tree Fund money to make that happen, he feels it is a good investment in our community because it is an entryway and it helps with economic development and community pride. He has also been in discussions with some corporate partners who are potentially interested in participating in that program because those entryways lead right to their business location. That could entail them installing irritation for us or some beautification work along with additional plantings of other plant material. This is something that we are not very far along with but we are having discussions with MDOT and those seem to be favorable so far.

Commissioner Dooley stated that the vacant locations which were identified on the map were performed by the Davey Resource Group. How did the Davey Resource Group go about identifying, strategically, where these trees were going to be placed in the next five years? What was their rational?

Superintendent Wiktorowski stated that he would have to get back to Commissioner Dooley with the answer.

Director Auler stated that he would have City Forestry Printz follow up on that question. He then stated that we received a grant from the State to do a tree management plan and a tree inventory. The purpose of the tree inventory was to tell us the number of trees we have, the type, the condition, the location, and the health of the tree. The management plan in terms of the types of trees we should look at planting and the locations of where we should begin to look at planting them based on the variety of species within our community so that we are not in the situation we were a couple of years ago where almost every street had ash trees on it. The height, condition and the space a tree would require are also considered. This was all included in the grant for the tree management program. All of this information is put into a computer software system that City Forester Printz can use with a GIS and can track the trees. We have now submitted a grant application with the State and if we are successful we will do the same thing with the trees in the Park System. The first grant was for street trees and the second grant will be for park trees if we are successful with that grant.

Commissioner Dooley stated that he is looking to see if the Commission will have any input at all, in Director Aulerís opinion, as to maybe some areas which they may have identified as they have seen them, or will it be pretty much the recommendation that City Forester Printz is going to make with the Resource Group.

Director Auler stated that it is really the City Foresterís roll to determine the location of the planting. If Commissioner Dooley is aware of some locations that may need tree planting please forward them to the department and the City Forester can take a look at it. Because the City Forester is an expert he determines the planting locations and utilizes the tree management plan as a tool to help determine those sites.

Commissioner Dooley stated that he would talk to City Forester Printz because he does have some recommendations.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he had done his homework on the report and went through the 96/Beck interchange this morning and realized what a beautiful, state-of-the-art interchange that is but noticed that there were not trees there at all. He feels it would be nice to have some trees there since it is a prime entryway into our community.

Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if there needed to be a motion to approve the Tree Fund Planting Strategy.

Director Auler replied that he would recommend it especially since he has not heard any significant concerns or issues regarding the plan or the strategy of maintaining a minimum balance of $500,000 in the Tree Fund, or any concern about allocating some of those dollars when it comes to budget time for equipment and/or additional resources to be able to implement the plan. The Commission has two options this evening. You can bring it back as an action item to adopt at the next meeting or if you want you can take action this evening and adopt the plan as is and we can begin the implementation.

Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she would like to take additional time to look at the plan because she has not had time to review it.

Review of drafted Park Land Acquisition Strategy

Director Auler stated to go back and review the 2003 to 2008 Community Recreation Plan we had nine priorities and eight of those are accomplished. The one that remains is the acquisition of active use recreation land. One item that is missing in terms of our process before we begin to consider sites is to develop a policy to provide a framework for park land acquisition. This would include what types of land we are looking for. It can be not only active land but passive land and trail land. Trail land provides an opportunity to build a trail system to connect the community. There may be opportunities adjacent to different parks. To put together a draft of a land acquisition strategy is to provide a framework and a direction for how to evaluate property. There has to be an evaluation tool in place of how you evaluate property. There needs to be a document that can go out to the community saying that these are the types of properties we are looking for and the types of properties that are needed within our park system to provide better service. The strategy outlines five different program areas. It did not include specific properties. In Director Aulerís opinion you donít ever want to do that because when you do it puts you at a major competitive disadvantage. You never negotiate unless you are in a position of strength. The format is the same for all program areas.

The first program area is extended outdoor recreation opportunities. We have a significant need to acquire an additional eighty to one hundred acres of active use park land. It could be for soccer fields, baseball fields, cricket fields, football fields, dog park, etc. The next part is preferred property characteristics. It outlines what are the types of property we are looking for that will fulfill our need for active use park land. It gives us the tool to say yes or no to a property. If someone wanted to donate land to us it may not be the best opportunity to take.

That section under each program area is the property ranking criteria.

The second program area is pathway corridors and connections. We recently adopted a pathway and connection plan so that people could ride their bikes, rollerblade, etc and get from parks to schools or neighborhoods, etc.

The third program is adjacent property. We may have a property owner who is selling their home, moving away or a business wants to be a good neighbor and negotiate the use of additional land that they may have available that they are not utilizing that is adjacent to a park. This tool helps us review those properties and rank them in terms of our criteria.

The last area is natural areas or passive areas. We have passive use areas and we have natural areas which are sensitive that we want to minimize the effect of people on it. It is our roll as Commissioners and department staff to be stewards of those environmentally sensitive parcels within our community. The City has done a very good job through our wetlands and woodlands ordinances but this strengthens that further so we can evaluate those.

The last page, which is the chart, is the actual rating criteria that you go through when properties come in. Down the left hand column are the evaluation criteria. 1) Availability of land. 2) Development status. 3) Operating budget impact. 4) Use 5) Service area. 6) Intensity of use. 7) Location. 8) Economic impact 9) Availability of funds. 10) Public support. Each parcel of land is evaluated as it relates to each of these criteria and each one is assigned a point value of 0, 1, 2, or 3. The total score is weighted based on our current need. If you have a table of parcels you can then begin to prioritize which parcel you want to focus on in terms of meeting our goal.

This is something that was presented to City Council in draft form and it received a very favorable response. It is something that can be brought back to the next meeting and be voted on in terms of adopting. It is a tool for the committee of the Commission to really focus on acquisition and identifying some potential sites, ranking them and bringing the information forward for City Council consideration in the near future. The goal is to try to get as much in place as possible before going in to the next budget cycle. Then City Council has all the information they need to make good and informed decisions on all of the projects from our department.

Commissioner Policicchio asked if in a circumstance like where the department was trying to put a trail in and they got all of the parcels but one, would eminent domain be involved.

Director Auler stated that is not in this strategy. That would be a City Council discussion and decision. He is not aware if that has happened in this City or not. It did happen in a city where he previously worked. This is something we do not want to have to do but he believes that is an option to City Council but not at our level.

Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she has not read the document word for word but she thinks it is a very rational way to go about ranking parcels and it is important that this be done. She was impressed.

Commissioner Schwarzlose stated that he thinks it is a well prepared and well thought out document. He would like to move that the Park Land Acquisition document be approved tonight.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he also thinks it is an excellent document based on what was gone through with several other proposed acquisitions. This gives us a basis to start from and to make decisions from. He then asked if the five program areas are listed by priority.

Director Auler stated that it is not by priority it is just the five categories that go in to making a quality park system.

Commissioner Wingfield then asked if for a city the size of Novi, both geographically as well as demographically, there are certain standards for passive and active recreation land. For active recreation land we are estimated at 80 to 100 acres short and passive we have a surplus as far as the standards go.

Director Auler stated that we are adequate on passive park land currently. We are deficient 80 to 100 acres in active use land.

Commissioner Radcliffe asked what the Commissions roll is in determining in how land should be used.

Director Auler stated that this strategy provides the framework for how we evaluate what parcels to pursue, if any, to recommend to City Council. The Commissions roll, he would envision a Committee working with the staff team, would work on identification of parcels, ranking them by criteria, doing a review, and bring them forward confidentially to City Council. We do not want to be at a competitive disadvantage. This is an opportunity to evaluate parcels. Just because we are doing this doesnít mean we have to acquire land with cash. We can do it through donation or a partnership agreement. The Commissions roll is to help identify and go through the process of evaluating parcels, prioritizing them, and bringing the information forward. Once we have parcels in hand we start planning the use of and master planning those parcels and also the ones we have now. We really donít have a master plan for each one of our parks within our current system. That is why we have some of the issues we have. We have a branding issue, logos. When you go to a park you have different entry way signs at each of the parks. That goes back to the fundamental of having a master plan for each of the parks. What is the look going to be? What purpose will the park serve? How is the mix of activities going to occur? How is it going to minimize the cost on maintenance and operation? What is the function of that park within the system? We do not have that for our existing parks. We have seen t-ball fields disappear. We have a ball field by an oil field at Wildlife Woods which we get complaints about. Maybe with a master plan we would have looked at that differently. One of the Committees he will recommend is for a master plan process.

Commissioner Goyal asked how soon the City will be able to find such property.

Director Auler stated that he thinks it is our roll as a Commission and staff to identify opportunities and to bring those forward for City Council to consider. It will depend on dollars, donors, or partnership opportunities. It is the priority of our department and the Commission as identified in the Recreation Plan. He also believes it is a priority of City Council because it is in one their City Council goals that were recently adopted as one of the seven major goals for City Council.

Commissioner Dooley stated that the City Council recognizes Parks, Recreation and Forestry as a real model to many creative ideas. He looks at the project priority rating and this is the best process for all of the Commissions and all of the departments in this City. He feels it is a great idea to pass this strategy this evening.

Commissioner Staab asked on the project priority rating, what non-city land with interlocal agreements means.

Director Auler replied that it is land that the City does not own that could be acquired through a partnership agreement or could be another governmental agency, a school district, or another service agency.

Commissioner Staab asked that it wouldnít be a situation like Dearborn has where they have parks in Dearborn and they have Camp Dearborn out by Milford.

Director Auler replied that it is not like that at all. Non-City land is land that is not under City ownership. It may be under ownership of an individual corporation, another governmental agency that could be done in a creative way through a partnership agreement. An example from a previous position in Carmel, the Indianapolis Water Company had a plant in Carmel. Outside of their boundaries they had 40 acres of land that they owned but werenít using. An agreement was reached with them that enabled that land to become a 40 acre park. The city invested in the development of that park. If the water company ever needed to expand their plant the land went back to them, however when it went back to them they would have to reimburse the city for any money they invested in that property. It was a win-win situation for the community. That is an example of City owned land that has the potential for an interlocal agreement versus if we have an example of non-city land that has been approved for use of an interlocal agreement. That is the agreement already in place with that type of structure, whether that is a corporation, an individual, a school district, etc.

Commissioner Staab stated that from that information he can support the document.

Commissioner Policicchio asked if there was any State, Federal, or County owned property within Novi other than intersections.

Director Auler replied that he did not recall offhand but he will get that information to the Committee. A map has been prepared of all parcels within Novi which identifies their ownership. We are in the process of color coding those by whether they are state, federal, corporation, residential, individual, quasi-government agencies or school district.

A motion was made by Commissioner Schwarzlose and seconded by Commissioner Policicchio to approve the draft of the Park Land Acquisition Strategy.

Voice Vote Unanimous

Review of proposed Commission Committees:

Director Auler stated that during the October meeting the Commission does its annual reorganization, election of officers, and determines the committee structure. What drives our work this year is the Community Recreation Plan and the Strategic Plan that was adopted by the Park Commission and the City Council. That Plan has then been broken down in to segments within staff performance agreements and for our progress reports. To that end, he has listed three committees for the Commission to consider forming at the October meeting. One is the Strategic Planning Committee and some of the key objectives of that committee would be the acquisition and development process, to deal with the adoption and implementation of the Strategic Plan for the senior services and the "Boomer" services.

The Master Planning Committee would begin the planning process for the 5-year Community Recreation Plan and the 6-year Capital Improvement Plan. That can be intensive and takes a lot of thought and time to move it forward. The State has also changed itís guidelines on how it does some of those things.

For the other committee he would recommend a change of name because it is more a customer service committee. The types of things they deal with are organizational development and program development in terms of how we are doing in providing better customer service. This may be on-line registration, strengthening our connection as alluded to by what Commissioner Zyczynski was able to do. This is how we get our message out and build more support and continue to move forward.

These are the three committees he would recommend bringing forward at the October Commission meeting. In terms of a structure for those you could have two Commissioners each on the Strategic Planning and Master Planning Committees and three on the Customer Service Committee because that one tends to be a larger "piece of the pie" in terms of opportunity.

Director Auler then stated that one thing he wanted to share with the Commission is that Mallery Wethers, our Recreation Intern, is with us tonight. He stated that he wanted to share some of her successes. She has an event on September 21st called Fireup Fest. He then introduced Mallery Wethers.

Mallery Wethers stated that Director Auler challenged her with getting teen programming started in Novi. Previous Commissioner Wagner, Commissioner Goyal, some interested students from the High School and four Youth Council members got together and brainstormed ideas of what they would like to see in Novi. This turned in to three different events. The first one is a big kick-off event just to let teens in the community know that we want to provide opportunities for them and let them know they are important to us. The event is going to take place on the 21st from 9:30p.m. to midnight in Power Park on the Green field. It is after the Novi Wildcats home football game against Lakeland. At the event there will be a Battle of the Bands competition. There were 8 bands that applied and the committee selected the band. There will be an inflatable obstacle course, a jousting arena, rock climbing wall, a henna tattoo artist, food, prizes and a bon fire. This is a safe alternative for after the football game.

Director Auler stated that Mallery started sixteen additional programs in the short time that she has been here. Those programs are taking off. We believe for Fireup Fest we will get 500 to 600 youth. She started a fencing program that started this week. That is at the Senior Center. Many of the participants didnít even know that we had a Senior Center. She has an event kicking-off on October 13th that he hopes goes because he is going to chaperone. It is a trip to Cedar Point. The bottom line is when Mallery was interviewed he felt very strongly that she was going to be a good intern. There is now doubt in his mind that he made the right decision. He wanted the Commission to know the effect an intern is having on the department. She is here until December. Please share your thoughts with her when you see her out at the events. She drives and hour here every day and an hour home which shows dedication and she has never been late.

Commissioner Wingfield asked since he has a daughter in the eighth grade, is the Fireup Fest and some of the other activities you have come up, focusing strictly on High School or is the Junior High group welcome.

Mallery Wethers replied that the Fireup Fest is geared toward 9th through 12th graders. We are trying to create that atmosphere. The Cedar Point trip is geared for 7th through 12th grade. There will be other programs for Middle School students. There is a flag football league coming up and Middle School students are also encouraged to participate in that. Another program coming up is called "Girls on Track" which will be for 7th and 8th grade girls. It is a program where you train to run a 5K but it is more than that. It helps you build self confidence and deal with issues that girls are facing.

Superintendent Cowan added that there are other programs we are working on, too like an Eco-teen program which is mainly focusing on the Middle School age group. There is also a day off school where Mallery has planned a program at the bowling alley and that also targets some of our younger elementary school children to give them something fun and active to do on their day off school.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that last year at the High School football games it is unfortunate that there were a few incidents that scared all of the 7th and 8th graders away. They added security and there is a feeling now that the High School doesnít even want them to show up at football games. The first two home games went without any incidents. Seventh and eighth graders donít really go to football games so much to watch the game and he thinks we need to make them feel more part of the community and have things like this. If this isnít geared toward 7th and 8th graders then that is still an age group we need to try and come up with something for. They are at that critical age where you want them around positive things.

Commissioner Wingfield then asked if there was any discussion or thoughts on the proposed Committees.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that last year there was a Partnerships Committee and he felt it was one of the best Committees the Commission has ever had. There were several groups we made progress with. He then asked if it had achieved its goal or do we not need it any longer.

Director Auler stated that it has not achieved its goal and he sees it as part of the Customer Service Committee.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that the Commission should think about the Committees and come back with their ideas next month.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None

COMMISSION COMMENTS:

Commissioner Policicchio stated that if you reflect on the discussion and the agenda it is clear that Parks, Recreation and Forestry is focused and on track with improving the quality of life in Novi. The tree planting and the land acquisition is clearly focused on maintaining and improving the quality of life and that is what this is all about and why we are here. There is a good grasp not only on what is needed now but in the future so we are not a reactive entity but proactive.

Commissioner Dooley stated that this past weekend the fall soccer program started. He felt it was very successful. He applauded Superintendent Wiktorowski on the fields and also Theresa McClure for her work at Community Sports Park. A great job was done aligning different fields, giving some of the fields a rest. He remembers a year ago when the condition of the fields was discussed. One of the best things the Commission has done is to relax the amount of playing time at Community Sports Park. If we have some rain this month the fields should hold up much better than they did a year ago.

Commissioner Zyczynski recognized Tracie Ringle and stated that it was a great time at Community Sports Park last Saturday for Fit Novi. She thanked Tracie and stated that the event was very well organized and that she should be proud.

Commissioner Staab stated that he appreciated the preparation of the packets for this monthís Commission meeting. They were very comprehensive. He wanted to remind people that "Fall for Novi" is this weekend and raffle tickets can be purchased there. Look in the media for the debut of the Gala on November 9th and the availability of those tickets for the Parks Foundation.

Commissioner Goyal stated that she really liked the events that are planned and they will really help improve the community in the future. She has been passing out fliers for Fireup Fest and everyone is excited about it.

Commissioner Schwarzlose thanked Mallery for her efforts and new ideas. He thanked Rachel Zagaroli for the walk through and overview she gave to Commissioner Dooley and him of the activities and programs at the Senior Center after the Volunteer Breakfast that was held there. This really falls in line with the senior survey that was mentioned earlier.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he thought it would be best to receive their packets the Friday before the Commission Meeting because there is usually a lot of material to go over. This would give them time to go over it during the weekend. He then asked Director Auler to give the Commission a brief overview of the two things that happened at the Ice Arena.

Director Auler stated that the Ice Arena is open and operational. It reopened shortly after Labor Day. The restoration company that was hired came in and did an excellent job and in a timely manner. Right before they were getting ready to reopen there was a power outage from the storms that came through. Unfortunately, due to the length of that power outage all of the ice was lost and had to be removed. It takes four to five days to redo the ice. We were able to locate a generator and get it in but by that time the ice was already gone. There was a brief power outage earlier this week. Sixty units, including the Ice Arena, were affected. The power went out about 5:15 a.m. and was restored about 11:00 a.m. We did not lose the ice in that instance. The team at the Ice Arena did a great job of managing that. The Ice Arena is back in full operation. Chris Barnes, Nate and the whole crew over there, Matt, Nancy, Tracie and he put in a lot of hour in trying to communicate with our user groups and with the community and co-ordinate the cleaning operation. There were days when we had the cleaning operation going 24 hours. The entire fire damage was restored within 72 hours and then it was just a matter of getting the hazardous material removed and getting the arena operational. The Ice Arena is now good and we are now in the process of working with the insurance company and claims unit.

Commissioner Wingfield then asked if we have generators at the Ice Arena to sustain the ice for a period of time if there is a power outage.

Director Auler replied that we do not have a generator and typically the other arenas do not have back-up generators. We are soliciting proposals from companies to allocate a generator to have on stand-by so we are at the top of the list in the event that we need that. This is to see what the cost would be and if we can afford it within the Ice Arenaís budget.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that it has been a good meeting and that there are many things to accomplish in the next few months.

ADJOURNMENT:

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Commissioner Dooley and seconded by Commissioner Zyczynski at 9:06 PM.

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Signed, Harold L. Wingfield, Chairperson

 

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Signed, Reagan Schwarzlose, Vice Chairperson