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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Dooley presiding.
ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Iszler (Present) Policicchio (Present), Schwarzlose (Absent), Staab (Present), Wingfield (Present), Bharadwaj (Absent), Venigalla (Absent).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
It was moved by Commissioner Policicchio, seconded by Commissioner Wingfield to approve the agenda.
Voice Vote Unanimous
AUDIENCE COMMENTS: None
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Moved by Commissioner Policicchio, seconded by Commissioner Wingfield to approve the June 12, 2008 meeting minutes.
Voice Vote Unanimous
Moved by Commissioner Policicchio, seconded by Commissioner Staab to approve the July 10, 2008 meeting minutes, with the correction of City Manager, Clay Pearson’s last name on page 1, Matters for Discussion and/or Action, A.
Voice Vote Unanimous
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION:
A. Update on the development of the Capital Improvement Plan – Matt Wiktorowski, Superintendent of Parks.
Matt Wiktorowski, Superintendent of Parks gave the Commission a brief update on the development of the Capital Investment Plan. Currently the department is working on an audit of assets for the Parks Department in an effort to develop the capital investment plan. All the assets will be available to the Commission in the September meeting. Our current capital assets are essentially worth over $25,000 and what we will do is look at the assets that we currently have and look at their longevity and project a replacement date. By doing so we will be able to formulate that into our investment plan, as well as some of the other amenities that may be associated with our different parks that are coming on line (Signature Park and Fuerst Park).
B. Update on the Pathway and Sidewalk Prioritization Project and appointment of two parks Commissioners to serve on their committee – Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry.
Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry stated in regards to the Walkable Novi Committee and the Venture Team that is working on that project, he gave the Commission background on the project. In late 2006, staff working with Committees of the Planning Commission and the Parks Commissioner who served on that committee, prepared a Sidewalk and Pathway Prioritization Analysis. The committee identified existing sidewalks and pathways within the community as well as gaps within that system. The gaps were prioritized in terms of funding opportunities for those projects to be done and incorporated into the capital investment budget process, through Engineering and DPW. In March of 2008 City Council created a committee that is called the Walkable Novi Committee and the purpose of that committee is to take that sidewalk pathway prioritization process to the next level and look at linkages within the community, with adjacent communities and identify what those opportunities might be and then prioritize those opportunities. Whether that is through sidewalk system or the development of a greenway system or filling in the gaps within the community or looking at opportunities perhaps such as the ITC transmission corridor to develop a greenway and connect on up to the Providence Park greenway system that they developed as part of their hospital campus. That committee consists of two (2) City Council members (Staudt and Mutch), three (3) Planning Commission Members (Greco, Larson and Lynch) and then there are two (2) positions from the Parks Commission to serve on that committee. The next committee meeting is the 25th at 6pm and they generally meet 1 hour to 1 ˝ hours prior to Council meeting and it is not on a monthly basis. The different component of this and the working group is the Pathway and Sidewalk Venture Team and that consists of staff members and it is a cross departmental team that really does the work and then brings it forward to the Walkable Novi Committee for their input and guidance and eventually ending up with a document and components that can be incorporated into the capital investment budget process for Council, Planning Commission and Park Commission consideration. The staff representative on the Venture Team from our department is Derek Smith. The other representative from the committee is from the Business and Community Relations Department, Community Development, City Managers Office and Engineering. Tonight we are asking that the Commission consider appointing two (2) Parks Commissioners to that committee and following those appointments, Derek Smith will contact the two (2) commissioners that are appointed this evening and give an orientation prior to that first Walkable Novi Committee meeting.
Moved by Commissioner Staab, seconded by Commissioner Wingfield to nominate Commissioner Policicchio and Commissioner Iszler to the Walkable Novi Committee. Both Commission members agreed to the appointment.
Voice Vote Unanimous
C. Community Recreation Plan Update – Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry.
Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry reported on the 2009-2013 Community Recreation Plan. A brief overview of that process was included in the packet and a revised timeline was distributed to the Commission. Director Auler said between now and the September meeting, our focus is on completing the community description section of the recreation plan and also working on the recreation inventory and hope to have drafts of both of those items in the packet at the next meeting. One item he wants to point out is we are going to ask the Department of Natural Resources for an extension of our current plan and we expect they will grant it. That will enable us to have a little more time to complete this plan and one of the key components the Commission spoke about at the last meeting was engagement and community involvement. One of the things that is going to occur as part of our work with the Signature Park is part of the feasibility study process is a statistically valued random sample survey being administered to the community focused on our parks and recreation services. Out of that it won’t just focus on the Signature Park, it will give us an opportunity to gather information as it relates to other projects (The Landings property, Fuerst Park, etc.), but also program opportunities, things that we do well and things that we don’t do well, things we shouldn’t be in the business of, that we are not in the business etc., and just really get a gauge on the communities perception. It has been quite a while since a statistically valued survey was done for this department as it relates to parks and recreation services specifically for the community. Given that process we need to back up the timing of this plan, because that document will hopefully be implemented and the information gathered in October/November of this year and that will serve as one key component to this document in terms in preparing the plan. We look to have this process completed in January and have the final approvals by late January, mid February.
Commissioner Staab asked what Commission assistance does Superintendent of Recreation Cowan need. Director Auler replied that it is not needed at this time, but it will be here in the future. Our approach is going to be to gather the information, get a lot of the basic leg work done and then feed it back to the Commission for your review during the Commission packets and the discussions at the Commission meetings. Once we get the information in from the survey document maybe at that time the Commission would consider appointing a committee to help review that information and begin the development of some draft strategies to bring back to the Commission as a whole. He believes that may take place sometime in October/November.
D. Fuerst Park Update – Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry.
Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry gave the Commission a brief update on the Fuerst Park Update. He stated they have required proposals from design firms for refining the design and preparing construction documents for Phase I development of the Fuerst Park and received eleven (11) proposals and have reviewed those utilizing a qualifications based process and that is essentially the fees are not opened, we base them on criteria and there is a standard for each of those to review to make sure we are getting the best firm that can do the best job for what we are trying to accomplish with the process and once we have determined that then we bring in three (3) firms for interviews. That process has begun and then we open the fees and prepare the documentation and take that to City Council with a recommendation for award and begin the design phase and working on the construction documents and getting that project out to bid. We hope to have recommendation to City Council at the August 25 Council meeting regarding a firm, work this fall/winter on refining the design/preparing the construction documentation, going out to bid and as soon as the weather breaks, which hopefully would be April, then we will be able to begin development on the site. Target to have that done by the end of June, early July and to have the park available for community use from July on. We also will have a committee within our department that will focus on programming for that site, to encourage people’s use. Director Auler said the north barn has been removed in accordance with the contract and we are working with the contractors to proceed with the removal of the house and then working with the contractor for the removal of the two (2) barns to be relocated.
Commissioner Dooley asked if they are planning on expanding the parking lots area or are they going to utilize existing parking lots. Director Auler replied that is part of the discussion that will be once a firm is on board for refining the design. He said one concept plan that we currently have shows some additional parking as well as sharing parking facility with the school and the Library. It is too early to answer that question.
Commissioner Dooley asked if Council has established a dollar amount to spend on this project. Director Auler replied that Council budgeted $347,250 dollars for initial improvements of the park and out of that includes the design and engineering funds, as well as the relocation of Township Hall.
Commissioner Dooley asked if whatever plan is actually going to be the final plan for Fuerst Park, is there anyway we could have a schematic drawing (topography) drawing of what it is going to look like, so if residents want to come into City Hall during the winter months and get an idea visually as to how it is going to look, and our job of course is the public relations part of it to really impress upon anybody that asks, to tell just how much a beautiful place this is going to be when it is completed. Director Auler replied that certainly through the process once we get that plan refined we will make it available for the community to view in a number of media opportunities, as well we are going to have this discussion continuously at our Parks Commission meetings so it gives the community the opportunity to come and participate in the audience participation section.
AUDIENCE COMMENTS: None
Director Auler stated that Commissioner Radcliffe had to resign from the Commission. She has accepted a new position and has quite a bit of traveling involved as well as she is taking on the challenge of attending graduate school and working on her MBA. She didn’t feel she had enough time to really devote to the Commission with the types of things that were on our plate and wanted to be fair to the community and fellow commissioners and wanted to convey she really enjoyed her time here and is going to miss this experience.
Commissioner Policicchio thanked his fellow commissioners for the opportunity to serve on the Walkable Novi Committee and looks forward to reporting back to them.
Commissioner Staab wants to thank the commission for supporting the Foundation Golf Outing. There were approximately 180 golfers. He stated the committee is anxious to wrap up the final expenses and report our earnings for that event, but is sure it is going to be an all time high. He appreciates everybody’s commitment and it was an excellent event. Commissioner Staab said now there are raffle tickets available at the Parks Office or call him at home.
Commissioner Dooley said Director Auler’s presentation prior to the dinner was just spectacular. Commissioner Dooley stated that soccer is beginning again at ITC Community Sports Park and speaking of raffle tickets it is a great opportunity to go out there and represent us as commissioners to attend that first weekend of the fall session. He will be coaching, but will be selling raffle tickets as well to his parents.
It was moved by Commissioner Policicchio and seconded by Commissioner Staab.
The meeting was adjourned by Commissioner Dooley 7:59 PM.
Voice Vote Unanimous
DATE APPROVED: September 11, 2008________________
_____________________________________ Signed, Reagan Schwarzlose, Chairperson