PARKS, RECREATION & CULTURAL SERVICES
Thursday, September 9, 2010 – 7:00 PM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER – COUNCIL CHAMBERS
The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM with Commissioner Dooley presiding.
ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Iszler (Present), Jewell (Present), Policicchio (Present), Staab (Present - late), Tecklenburg (Present), Wingfield (Present), Kerbrat (Absent), Raina (Absent).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
It was moved by Commissioner Jewell and seconded by Commissioner Policicchio to approve the Agenda as written.
Voice Vote Unanimous
CITIZEN COMMENTS: None
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
A. Approval of August 12, 2010 meeting minutes
A motion was made by Commissioner Policicchio and seconded by Commissioner Iszler to approve the Minutes as written.
Voice Vote Unanimous
A. Walkable Novi – Commissioners Iszler & Policicchio
Commissioner Iszler stated that the last meeting was primarily the presentation of the draft and analysis by Norm Cox and Carolyn Prudhomme with Greenway Collaborative. They were talking about the presentation that will be happening at the end of the month for public response. They are putting out a survey for people to respond to ahead of time which will give them more direction.
Commissioner Policicchio stated that he was very impressed with the presentation. It was very comprehensive. He feels that it is a well thought out public plan which will enhance the community. The first workshop is on September 29th and there will also be one on October 26th.
Commissioner Dooley asked if citizens are welcome at the meetings.
Commissioner Policicchio stated they are encouraged to come.
Commissioner Dooley asked that for someone who may not know who is part of the Walkable Novi Committee could they say who comprises the committee.
Commissioner Iszler stated the member list is comprised of City Council Members, Planning Commission Members and Parks and Recreation Commission Members. They are David Baratta, Brian Bartlett, Linda Blair, David Grecko, Elizabeth Iszler, Andrew Mutch, Mark Person, Paul Polcicchio and Dave Stec. Mark Spencer runs all of the meetings and coordinates the information.
B. Novi Park Foundation – Commissioners Dooley & Staab
Commissioner Dooley stated there is nothing to report for this month.
Administration Division – Acting Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services – Nancy Cowan
Acting Director Cowan stated that in the packet is a media release for the two completed gardens at Fuerst Park. David Beschke was the lead on the project. The two formal gardens mark the place of the former barns. It will be a three season garden with continuing color. There is still one sculpture to be delivered to the center of one of the gardens which should be completed in the next two weeks. The sculpture is a Monarch butterfly. This project was made possible by funds through the Novi Parks Foundation. The gardens will be maintained by the Novi Beautification Commission and volunteers.
A. Recreation Division – Superintendent of Recreation – Nancy Cowan
1. Fall Family Fun at Fuerst Park activities
Superintendent Cowan stated the Sports Supervisor position has been offered to an individual who has accepted it. As soon as all of the paperwork comes through we will have a new staff person starting on September 27th. She will provide more information at a later time.
The new edition of “Engage!” is out and also on the website. It is from September to December.
2. Ethnic Taste & Tune Fest
The International Festival is now going to be on Main Street and tied in with the Farmer’s Market. It will be Sunday, September 19th. We have a full stage of performances, great food from all different cultures, arts and crafts and things for kids to do that will be tied in with the Farmer’s Market.
The FireUP Fest takes place on September 24th. It is our teen event for High School students. This is partnering with the Novi Boosters. We are looking for adult volunteers for this event.
3. Fall for Novi Family Festival
Fall for Novi is the morning after FireUp Fest. Novi Parks will have a booth there. It is a way for people to come and learn about the City of Novi and all of the services that are provided not only by the City but other organizations within the City. It is an “open house” day. The hazardous waste day is now on another day and not on the same day as Fall for Novi. This should help alleviate some of the congestion around the building.
Our Senior show kicked off today and is a tribute to the USO. Attendance is looking great this year. There are three more lunch shows and two matinees left.
This program is a national effort of which Novi Parks is one of only a few in the state to do this. We have created a full week of fun activities for parents and children to do outside. It includes things from kayaking to story time outside. We also have our Fall Family Fun Night and Campout, which is September 17th. Anyone can come out to that for only two dollars a person. There is music in the park, roasting marshmallows, crafts and a climbing wall. If you are a little more adventurous you could camp out at Lakeshore Park. Breakfast will be provided in the morning.
We have been without a full time sports supervisor position for a while. We have tremendous part time staff. Theresa McClure is one of these individuals who have done a tremendous amount of work with soccer and flag football. The kick off day for these programs are this Saturday at ITC Community Sports Park.
Our Adult Softball leagues are now running. We have four more teams than last fall.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if we have always charged five dollars at the door for FireUp Fest.
Superintendent Cowan replied that we have.
Commissioner Wingfield stated that his kids have gone and always enjoyed it. He asked what role the Commissioners would play if they decided to volunteer.
Superintendent Cowan stated that they could put them any place they felt they were up to. There are bouncers, the cash cube station, the “Battle of the Bands” area. We need people to supervise those areas as well as the games. Our new partner this year is Best Buy who is doing a “Battle of the Bands” under their tent and giving away prizes. They have sponsored naming rights for one of our fields as well. We could put you to work from general supervision to working a station.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION:
Commissioner Staab apologized for being late. Commissioner Staab then asked if they were going to see a synopsis of their surveys of the different parks.
Superintendent Cowan stated that there is a standard that is to happen quarterly. Our quarters run with the City quarters. In October you will see the July, August and September reviews. He asked if there was any insight by what has been seen so far. She believes that the standards give a baseline and it is subjective so each individual is different as to what is seen or thought. The more detailed comments that can be given on the standards are better. DPS is taking these and categorizing things as short term items, mid-term items, and long term items. Some of the projects are more capital projects or larger items that need to be looked at in a different way.
Commissioner Staab stated that he knows the survey is all encompassing and hits many different facets. He agrees a baseline is essential but a narrative piece would be helpful as well.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if some of the things like weeds and backstops or broken benches or picnic tables are presented to someone to take care of.
Superintendent Cowan stated that those go to DPS right away and Matt Wiktorowski looks at those. If you see anything that needs attention or is a safety concern please let us know immediately.
Commissioner Dooley stated that he had the opportunity to call Bingo again this month and he asked Superintendent Cowan to talk about some of the concerns we had regarding transportation with the seniors. A great story has come to fruition.
Superintendent Cowan stated we used to have two portions of transportation which were Community Cab and the City Van transportation program. Around fifty individuals were using the Community Cab program. In assessing that the administration brought forth an option that could possibly phase out or utilize it when our transportation does not run. We went out to bid to look for a cab company to provide service outside of our normal transportation hours. We did not receive any proposals so we could not provide the Community Cab program any longer. We took it upon ourselves to expand our current transportation hours on weeknights and on Saturdays to accommodate for doctor appointments and work appointments outside of that timeframe. The transportation program is quite a large expense. While individuals pay a fare, there are other funding mechanisms which go into it. We did increase the transportation fare up one dollar from three dollars to four dollars for a ride within the City and then also a dollar increase outside the City. We had some feedback from some of the seniors, especially those who live at Meadowbrook Commons, that a ride to Busch’s is a pretty short distance and fairly expensive for some of them. We worked to find a resolution to do a group trip on Tuesdays, which happens to be Busch’s senior day. As long as we have six individuals signed up for it, they get to ride there for a two dollar rate each. We have been working to educate the seniors more. Some of them felt that the prices were rising and we inform them of the reason. In this month’s “Enhance,” which is our senior newsletter and is mailed to everyone 50 and older, we provided a basic pie chart which shows where some of the funding comes from. It shows that nearly seventy thousand dollars of the program is still paid for by the City. We are not making money from that program but working to recover more of our cost for the program. We understand it is a vital service for individuals in the community.
Commissioner Dooley complimented Superintendent Cowan and City Council for the resolution to the seniors’ concerns.
CITIZEN COMMENTS: None
Commissioner Iszler stated that she is looking forward to the Camp Out. It is their third year to participate.
Commissioner Tecklenburg stated that being new to all of this; the breadth of things the Parks group is taking on is pretty impressive. It seems that there is very little opportunity not to do something.
Commissioner Policicchio stated that it seems we haven’t missed a beat since the transition and that we are as active as ever. It is a good eye opener to really see all of the parks because we are specifically looking at them. In general, Novi does provide very good parks which are very well maintained and very well designed and available for public use. Obviously there is always tweaking that can always be done. DPS is very responsive. He and his wife were at Fuerst Park and the grass was a little high. He happened to be here and make a comment and the next thing he knew there was someone on the phone calling to ask what he observed and it was immediately taken care of.
Commissioner Jewell thanked Superintendent Cowan for all of her hard work in putting everything together. He stated that Taste Fest is September 24th at the Novi High School. It is put on by the Novi Athletic Boosters. Immediately after that is the FireUp Fest. He encouraged the citizens to come out to Taste Fest. Eight to nine of the local area restaurants will be there. Novi High School is playing South Lyon East High School in football. Any child from grade K to eight accompanied by an adult will get into the game free. His September survey is completed and he turned it in prior to the meeting. He encourages all of his fellow Commissioners to get theirs done.
Commissioner Wingfield complimented Superintendent Cowan on the job she has been doing since the Director has been gone. He stated that a contract or the roster sheet is signed for Adult Softball. He said that he has told people it is for risk or liability and insurance. He asked what the validity is of that.
Superintendent Cowan replied our legal expert, Tom Schultz, could speak more to that. By National Standards for Parks and Recreation, for any program we do we are directed to have individuals sign a waiver. You can see a lot of research out there which says in some instances they may help and in some they may not as much. It is always best to err on the side of caution. So to insure the Parks and Recreation Department and City overall and for the safety of our participants, umpires and everyone involved in any games or programs it is a basic step of any programming piece we make sure we take care of wiavers.
Commissioner Wingfield made the comment that after a while the contracts were thrown out and not worth anything.
Superintendent Cowan replied that there are actually record retention laws for Michigan that directly apply to Parks and Recreation. Those waivers are saved from five to seven years and that is a piece of any program we do.
Commissioner Staab stated he also appreciated all of Superintendent Cowan’s hard work. He announced that starting this Tuesday the Choralaires will start with their fall practice schedule and will be having try-outs. If anyone has questions they can call his house at 248-348-2919.
Superintendent Cowan stated they can also call the Civic Center.
Commissioner Dooley stated that ITC Community Sports Park is looking stellar. He stated when they go to other cities and other facilities that ours are as good as anyone’s. He asked that anyone in the community go to ITC Community Sports Park this Saturday for Opening Day of soccer. He recognized Theresa McClure. Without her expertise none of this would go as smoothly as it does. She is a tireless worker. She is there for the coaches, parents and children.
On the 25th of September, besides Fall for Novi, it is also picture day out at ITC Community Sports Park. The Novi Athletic Boosters have been kind enough to sponsor a free hot dog cookout at that time. There will be some give-aways for families and children.
A motion was made to adjourn by Commissioner Jewell and seconded by Commissioner Tecklenburg.
Voice Vote Unanimous
The meeting was adjourned by Commissioner Dooley at 7:25 pm
Jay Dooley, Chairperson
Paul Policicchio, Vice Chairperson