PARKS, RECREATION & CULTURAL SERVICES
Thursday, December 9, 2010 – 7:00 PM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER – COUNCIL CHAMBERS
The meeting was called to order at 7:10 pm with Commissioner Dooley presiding.
ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Iszler (Absent - Excused), Jewell (Present), Policicchio (Present), Staab (Present - Late), Tecklenburg (Present), Wingfield (Present), Kerbrat (Absent - Excused), Raina (Absent).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
It was moved by Commissioner Wingfield and seconded by Commissioner Tecklenburg to approve the Agenda as written.
Voice Vote Unanimous
CITIZEN COMMENTS: None
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
A motion was made by Commissioner Jewell and seconded by Commissioner Tecklenburg to approve the Minutes as written.
Voice Vote Unanimous
Commissioner Dooley stated that there is a Foundation meeting on December 21st and year end items will be discussed.
A. Administration Division – Acting Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services – Nancy Cowan
1. Landings Grant update
Acting Director Cowan stated we applied in April, 2010 with the MDNRE for a development grant for the Landings property which is located on Walled Lake at Thirteen Mile and Old Novi Road. We were informed via letter that we have been
recommended for the grant totaling $437,500. The City will match 30 percent from a combination of funds from the City budget, the Novi Parks Foundation and a variety of other sources. We are excited to move along on the first phase of that project. The process is after recommendation, it becomes a bill and then goes through the Legislature. Once the process is complete we expect to get notification so those projects can begin in August when we get our final paperwork. This is one of the first development grants we have gotten in over twenty-five years. As we move forward you will be updated on the process. There will be some design process and other items that take place before we can get the project under way. The park will take more dollars to build than what has been funded here, however it is a great start for the first phase of a park.
2. Capital Improvement Projects
Each year, we as a department, put forth a schedule for five years of capital improvement projects. Individual projects total over $25,000 each. Our goal is to continually look for the projects which are significant. Some projects may move up the list or go down depending on the ranking each year. Our intent is to bring forth similar projects each year. The 2011/2012 schedule consists of the Landings Park match, which is spelled out in your packet as to where the money is coming from. In addition, the Power Park and ITC Community Sports Park fencing repair is a part of this packet.
The Power Park access road and parking lot resurfacing as well as the greenway development, phase one, which is the ITC corridor which is obviously still in very early phases. All of the other years are in the packet for reference.
Commissioner Tecklenburg asked how we prioritize the projects.
Acting Director Cowan replied that as a staff we have prioritized them based on what we feel are the highest priority. It is up to the Commission to determine if they feel that these are supported or certain items should be moved up or down. We look at things like safety, cost and other factors. The grant is one of the first ones because it is something that has to happen to obtain the funding.
Fencing repair has to do with safety and high use of the areas.
Once the Commission does your final ranking and approval it will move forward to administrative staff and City Council.
Commissioner Staab asked where we were going to get $2.4 million for item number four.
Acting Director Cowan stated that she did not know. She stated that the project has been on the docket for a very long time. She has a memo that outlines each portion of the project and how much each costs. There is a lot of grant funding which is available for trailways and some partnership opportunities. That would not necessarily be a number the City would look at funding completely but maybe portions of it or broken down in different phases. Our engineering department did an intense evaluation of that area and put it in phases and what each would entail. The first stretch has a lot of wetlands in it so it includes a lot of boardwalk which is a costly endeavor. That would be something which would take combined funding sources to obtain the money.
Commissioner Staab asked what would be anticipated on a grant basis as a percent.
Acting Director Cowan replied that it depends on the grant and the number of grants applied for because there are several sources. This is something we work on with Planning. They do the sidewalk prioritization and pathway plan.
Commissioner Staab stated that our top priority is going to be the Landings Property. He stated he has a concern about the Tim Pope play structure but will address it when it is a higher priority.
Commissioner Wingfield stated he would fully support the priorities as they are. Some of the items toward the bottom of the list are not worth talking about right now because they are not things we will be dealing with any time soon.
Commissioner Policicchio stated that he agrees with Commissioner Wingfield. He especially agrees with the priority of the first four items. He stated that whomever put together the grant proposal for the Landings property is to be commended because these are tough times and it is hard to get money from the State. It is also remarkable to get that amount of money. He does serve on the Walkable Novi Committee with Commissioner Iszler and the concept is really good and is a cooperative effort because the greenway is not just within our City but in a number of communities and it ties in all of the plans that the State, County and City has in terms of connectivity and making our communities more accessible without motorized vehicles. It adds tremendous property value according to every study he has seen when you have these types of developments in the community. This is a beginning but he is not sure where the 2.4 million is going to come from. It is a lot of money but because so many communities are involved there is a good probability of being able to access and leverage other monies elsewhere.
Commissioner Staab stated that many of the items, like Power and fence repair, we will see what City Council will approve. The Novi Parks Foundation can then look at other issues once the approvals are granted or not granted to see where they can help.
Commissioner Dooley read the description of the Greenway Development Project.
Commissioner Jewell stated that he also agrees with Commissioners Wingfield and Polocicchio and recommended moving forward.
Commissioner Tecklenburg stated that the Landings is the top priority and that $2.4 million is a substantial amount of money.
Acting Director Cowan stated to clarify she will send a memorandum tomorrow on the details ITC numbers. The numbers are accurate, but like with the Landings Property, the whole $108,000 won’t come out of the City’s budget for it, we put the full number in so you see the total of the project. Part of the funding comes from several sources.
Commissioner Staab asked if after the Commission’s recommendations were made that it goes to the Planning Commission and to City Council for their recommendations on the priorities of the projects.
Acting Director Cowan stated that this is correct.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if the motion is just on current projects and not those lower on the list. He asked if this needs to be done tonight to be able to go to the next step.
Acting Director Cowan stated the those items lower on the list will be looked at on an annual basis. The whole list will be passed along but the first priority when the Planning Commission and City Council look at it are the projects that are listed currently.
A motion was made by Commissioner Staab to support the 2011/2012 prioritization of projects as shown. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jewell.
Voice Vote Unanimous
3. Quarterly Park Maintenance Standards – July through September by Matt Wiktorowski, Field Operations Senior Manager, Novi Department of Public Services
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that the Park Maintenance Standards are a great help to him and the Park Department in taking care of all of the park maintenance needs that are generated through all of the recreational programs. He wants to bridge a gap between the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Department of Public Services and to help answer questions. When he was part of the Parks Department he would come often to the Commission Meetings and give reports on the parks. With his transfer to the Department of Public Services that role has changed some. He and Acting Director Cowan decided it would be a good idea for him to come quarterly and answer questions about the parks. Overall, he is pleased with the score generated. We have a 90.15 percent total. The one area that does concern him is the sand volleyball courts. They have received low marks at fifty-eight percent. Everything else is in the mid eighty to ninety percentile. For future quarters he will bring reports to Acting Director Cowan to present to the Commission on items that have been addressed from the comments the Commissioners have generated so everyone knows that actions have been taken on them.
Commissioner Tecklenburg stated that he is new to the Commission and has spent a lot of time in the parks. Overall, he has been impressed. He asked Senior Manager Wiktorowski if specific smaller items are normally addressed quickly.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that they get the list and he reviews and prioritizes them as to immediate concern, mid-range or long-range. Something that would be an immediate concern would be a safety hazard like on a play structure. A work order would generated and have someone on it either that afternoon or as soon as he gets the report. Something which might be considered long-range would be something like flaking paint on a picnic table depending on when it is generated.
Commissioner Tecklenburg then asked about the winterization of the parks and when it might occur.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski replied that generally October 31st is when the winterization begins.
Commissioner Jewell thanked Senior Manager Wiktorowski for coming to the meeting. It is great to hear that their comments and suggestions are being reviewed and they have input. Overall he thought the parks were in great condition. There were only a few minor things like in the flowerbeds there were weeds growing through the mulch. Another thing is that some of the baseball fields look like they are pretty weathered and worn out.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski asked that for clarification on the ball fields he wanted to know if this was all season long or just recently in the past quarter.
Commissioner Jewell stated that at some of the fields he looking at it was in the past quarter just after the season had ended.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that they shift their maintenance priorities from sport to sport. In the spring they take care of the ball fields to get them prepped for the Spring leagues and then take care of soccer. They will then go back to baseball to get the fields ready for Summer and then to soccer for the Fall.
They go with the seasons with the resources they have. They should never get to the point where they are unsafe or unsightly. That is where the Commission’s comments help.
Commissioner Staab asked what more the Commissioners could do with the reports they are providing. Are there specific areas they could concentrate on that would be helpful?
Senior Manager Wiktorowski replied that right now they are quite good. The more comments that can be made, the better. It is important to not be overly critical or complacent. Try to look at it as an outsider coming in to the park. Also it is good if you hear comments from players or patrons to report those.
Commissioner Staab commented that he had been out to Lakeshore Park, which is his assignment this month, and he noticed that as it does at the end of every summer has chuck holes. This seems to be a common problem.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that in the transition from the asphalt paving in to the gravel lot there is always going to be a depression created there as well as water collecting there and the freeze/thaw cycle. One of the items they are doing to address that is to put the paving of that lot in to the Capital Improvement Projects.
Commissioner Staab stated that is an excellent idea. He state that it was nice to see the new garage out at the park. It looks like it was built this summer. The turf on the soccer field looked really good for this late in the year and the play structures were well maintained. The large shelter at the front is in good repair.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that the garage has been out there for a little over a year.
Commissioner Wingfield stated that this is a good tool to give feedback. He feels that assessing Brookfarm Park or Rotary Park is different than ITC Community Sports Park or Lakeshore Park. Each Commissioner because of their backgrounds and interests will evaluate each park differently and for that reason may spend more time and see more things at certain parks. He hopes that the time spent is fruitful for everyone.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that the reports are not only read by him but are also sent to the City Manager and reviewed and a follow up is done. Your efforts are appreciated and they do help our parks.
Commissioner Policicchio stated that the Commissioners do take seriously the assignment to assess the parks. He was also concerned that what they are doing is worthwhile. He was pleased to hear about how the reports are being used. He asked if a checklist could be made from their suggestions and given to them quarterly. He feels that the parks are going to be an essential part of this community in terms of how people view the City.
Commissioner Dooley stated that he agreed with the other Commissioner’s comments and commended Senior Manager Wiktorowski on being a part of the meetings. He feels that people move to Novi for two reasons; the schools and the parks. He asked if we will someday have recycling bins in the parks because it is something people are talking about. Would it be something we could potentially do in Spring of 2011?
Senior Manager Wiktorowski replied that he is working with Acting Director Cowan to make that happen. She has provided options for barrels for some of the parks and the funding for them. He imagines there will be some capital outlay sheets that will be submitted for funding for those types of items.
Commissioner Dooley stated that a few years ago the Senior Manager Wiktorowski gave a presentation to the Commission on field usage at ITC Community Sports Park. It was very valuable from the standpoint of looking at the number of hours that were being used on each field. He asked if that is something that will be entertained before the Spring season to see how it has been more efficient or effective from that last presentation with regard to the condition of the fields at ITC.
Senior Manager Wiktorowski stated that he would be willing to give a report to the Commission on field use.
B. Recreation Division – Superintendent of Recreation – Nancy Cowan
Superintendent Cowan thanked Senior Manager Wiktorowski for attending the meeting.
"Light Up the Night in Novi" was formerly known as "Ringing in the Holidays" and had been held downtown at The Atrium. It was held this past Friday, December 3rd, here at the Civic Center Campus between the Civic Center and the Library. It was a tremendous event. Kudos to Matt Wiktorowski and his team for all of their work on the outdoor lighting and decorating. On Friday evening from 6pm to 9pm we hosted an annual holiday celebration here. We lit our holiday tree, had ice carving, a hockey shoot out, crafts, Santa, over twenty-one holiday craft booths, performances, games by Best Buy, and a touch a truck display. The Library was involved and had face painting and a magician. We estimate that near five thousand people attended that event. It is the largest special event that she has seen in Novi or participated in since she has been here. Over $13,500 was raised in sponsorship dollars to provide a lot of the lighting on the campus as well as the other supplies for the event. The event was offered free to the community. We had some individuals ask how we are able to do this in our economy. We have tremendous business support in the community of Novi to be able to do this. Over fourteen local vendors came here to the Civic Center to provide free samples of food that evening. Several departments were involved including the Library, DPS, IT, Community Relations, and the Police and Fire Departments. She wanted to recognize our sponsors who gave monetary value to the event. Providence Park was our platinum sponsor this year. ITC, Twelve Oaks, Community Financial Bank, Busch’s and the Friends of the Novi Library were our other sponsors. We look forward to next year. Our staff is already planning that event and looking at ways we can enhance it and make it better. It was a great problem to have the first year that we felt like we had already run out of space.
Our "Melodies of the Season: A Holiday Cabaret" is taking place this weekend. There are three performances and she encouraged everyone to attend.
The next edition of "Engage!" which is the January through April guide is coming out in the next week and a half. It should be in mailboxes soon. There are a lot new fitness classes.
Here at the Civic Center we are going through a project in the next four weeks which will put hardwood flooring in our conference rooms, which are commonly known as conference rooms A, B and C. This area will then be heavily utilized for dance and fitness classes in the future. We see from our community surveys that fitness is a high priority for individuals in Novi and this is an area we would like to build on. It will also serve as a great meeting room space for individuals to rent the area. We anticipate the surface will hold up better than a carpet would in that space based on the use of it.
Elizabeth Iszler, who has been a Commissioner for about a year and a half, has had to resign due to other work commitments. She has been a great addition to the Commission. Superintendent Cowan thanked her for her service to the community and her time on the Commission.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION: None
CITIZEN COMMENTS: None
Commissioner Staab commended the department and the City for moving the holiday event back to the Civic Center Campus. He thinks it is an excellent location and always nice to showcase what we have in Novi. He attended the Novi Choralaires concerts this past weekend. The one Friday night was in Farmington Hill and the one Sunday was in Novi. He wished the community happy holidays.
Commissioner Policicchio stated that he heard about Commissioner Iszler resigning. She served with him on the Walkable Novi Committee. He wishes her well. He wished the community a happy holiday season.
Commissioner Tecklenburg stated that he was able to attend "Light Up the Night" and he thought it was a great event. He thinks everyone did an outstanding job. It was beautiful seeing the trees. It was very crowded and it was great to see that many people coming out to attend event. As a participant it was a great success. He congratulated the department.
Commissioner Jewell thanked Superintendent Cowan for all of her hard work. He was unable to attend the "Light Up the Night" event due to a prior engagement but he heard that it was a very well attended event and very well received. He wished everyone a happy and safe holiday season.
Commissioner Dooley commended Superintendent Cowan for the "Light Up the Night" event. He heard that CERT was also out and was instrumental in the safety of the event. He commends them and the time they give to the City. He stated that Matt Wiktorowski’s department did a fabulous job. The campus looks festive. He wanted to acknowledge Wendy DuVall and that her group did a fantastic job with the safety and the organization went like clockwork. She put a lot of time and effort in to the event and she should be acknowledged. He wished the community a happy holiday and new year.
A motion was made to adjourn by Commissioner Jewell and seconded by Commissioner Staab.
Voice Vote Unanimous
The meeting was adjourned by Commissioner Dooley at 7:57 pm