View Agenda for this meeting 


Thursday, March 10, 2011 – 7:00 PM


The meeting was called to order at 7:01 pm with Commissioner Dooley presiding.

Commissioner Dooley welcomed the newest Commissioner to the Novi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Commission, Mr. Harry Torimoto.

Commissioner Torimoto stated that he was appointed in February. He is proud that the people here have other things that they are committed to and they are here because they want to support the City and volunteer their own time. He looks forward to contributing. His background is in Administration, professionally. He is also a participant in the departments’ services. He is a volunteer coach.

ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Jewell (Present), Policicchio (Absent), Staab (Present), Tecklenburg (Absent), Torimoto (Present), Wingfield (Present), Kerbrat (Present), Raina (Absent).


It was moved by Commissioner Staab and seconded by Commissioner Wingfield to approve the Agenda as written.

Voice Vote Unanimous



  1. No January Minutes due to cancellation of meeting.

  2. Approval of February 9, 2010 meeting minutes
    A motion was made by Commissioner Jewell and seconded by Commissioner Staab to approve the Minutes as written.

Voice Vote Unanimous


A. Walkable Novi – Commissioner Policicchio

Commissioner Staab stated that he was at the meeting but still has to be approved by City Council. There was some good dialogue on the approval of the Master Plan on the pathways that City Council did this past week. Councilperson Staudt mentioned that we did get some PR on it on WJR on Tuesday. It was from a press release. The next meeting will be on May 12th. At that time they will look at some numbers for cost. Mark Spencer from Community Development went through the different segments that they are looking at to try and compete this year and next year as part of the Capital Improvement Project.

B. Novi Park Foundation – Commissioners Dooley & Staab

Commissioner Staab stated that there was a very good Foundation meeting on Tuesday night. The Golf Outing is tentatively set for August 4th, which is the first Thursday of the month. There is about a half million dollars in the Foundation. They did agree to support and follow through with a commitment on the sculptures in Fuerst Park. They agreed to go to the $6,000 platinum level. They are working on having more people involved in the Foundation. They moved to replenish the Scholarship Fund with $2500.


A. Administration Division – Acting Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services – Nancy Cowan

Acting Director Cowan stated that in the packet there was a comprehensive memo regarding the Landings Property and Fuerst Park Property. The Landings Property is located at Old Novi Road and Thirteen Mile Road on Walled Lake. It is an approximately 11 acre parcel. We received a recommendation from the Department of Natural Resources to receive a grant this year of approximately $437,000 for phase one development of that property. Last year when we did the Landings Property study we developed some concepts along with our consultant for that park. Those concepts were utilized to apply for the grant. What we need to do now is refine that concept. We are looking to go out for a request for a proposal (RFP) in the next month. What that request will be is a revised preliminary site plan and development of that property. Currently, we have not been officially awarded the funds for the grant until they go through the House and Legislature, which will probably be in August. This planning process will be utilized with City dollars. It is not a planning process that is reimbursable by the grant so we are allowed to move forward with the planning process. We intend to put a proposal out with three different parts, which are outlined in the memorandum. All of these can be bid on at this time and we can award them individually, we can award them to the same firm or different firms. We will just award the first phase at this time as our plan. What that will involve is working with City Council, this Commission, as well as staff, to revise and refine the concept plan. There are elements outlined in the memorandum that must be included by the grant but certain items can change or be added, which are not a part of the actual grant.

Fuerst Park is located at Taft Road and Ten Mile Road. We are in the second phase of development for that property, which is lighting and irrigation. We anticipate that will be complete in early June. In the original development there was a phase three, which included some of the lighting and some of the other enhancements which we have been able to do in phases one and two because of some of the bids and other information we have gotten. So we are further ahead on that park development than we anticipated. The only piece that has not been put in there is a $60 play sculpture. We have received in the last year of use of the park a lot of great input from community members from being there at community performances. We have had many requests for different elements in the park to make it a little more active. We are going to put out an RFP for a phase three of that park, which will involve bringing on a consultant to look at possible options of other amenities that could be included. This RFP is a little different in that it includes a lot more community involvement. It will include some work from Commission, City Council, staff as well as two public meetings with the community with what they would like to see at that park based on some of the usage.

Commissioner Staab asked if the two large gardens that the Novi Parks Foundation provided funds for was where the sculptures were going to be.

Acting Director Cowan replied that the sculptures are spread throughout the park and there is one sculpture that is located in the center of one of those gardens. This is what the Foundation will be supporting as well as the other sculptures that are throughout the park. We anticipate the placements will be similar to where they are this year but may be modified based on usage and what we know about that park.

Commissioner Staab stated that the nice thing is that the sculpture pads are reusable.

Acting Director Cowan stated that is correct. Last year we utilized the company Midwest Sculpture Initiative. We leased those pads from them and they did the call for artists for us. They have been a great company to work with. We have the Art Institute of Michigan that is now a part of Novi and has been a great partner of ours. They are going to be a partner with us for sculptures this year. Last year we spent significantly more on the sculpture project. This year it will be about a $6,000 cost to us which the Foundation is generously supporting. As a part of that we are going to make some permanent temporary pads that can be lifted up each year. We will make them as a city and with a contractor so we have those year after year. The sculpture program will be less money next year as well. The plan is still to do a jury selection of sculptures and to replace those every year so that the park can have a different feel and different pieces of art for the community to enjoy. This does not include the David Barr "Sonata" sculpture which he has generously loaned to the City of Novi for the next three years. It is in front of Township Hall and will stay there for the next three years at least.

Commissioner Torimoto asked if we reuse a lot of the input to apply to other parks to be efficient.

Acting Director Cowan stated that we do have all of the information and use it as a resource; however, each of our parks is unique. With these two properties, especially with the Landings Property being a new space we did an in-depth study on it last year. That is why we are not doing as much community input because we do have that from the plan. Fuerst Park was done a couple of years ago so we weren’t anticipating that we could get as much done with those funds as we thought. We want to look at finishing that park and making it a jewel within Novi because it is in the heart of our city and part of the Civic Center Campus. That is the reason we are looking for a little more community input. We consistently utilize the survey that the Parks Department and Novi Parks Foundation did a couple of years ago for the signature park even though that is a park that is not being built.

Commissioner Dooley stated that from time to time the City has some standing water issues. He asked what the citizens can expect to see as far as alleviating some of the irrigation problems especially when the Commissioners are out doing their park assessments as far as Fuerst Park.

Acting Director Cowan replied that is not a part of Fuerst Park phase two. There is a retention basin in Fuerst Park. It is in the open field where you see water sitting, which is planned. What will be addressed in phase three is how we can potentially make that area look better, potentially move it or do something different with it. Now we know, as we have started to use that park, to do our movies and some of our other pieces.

B. Recreation Division – Superintendent of Recreation – Nancy Cowan

Superintendent Cowan stated that many programs are getting ready to start and some winding down. This winter season we have had great participation in our youth basketball and volleyball programs. Those are finished and we are moving in to spring with soccer deadlines coming soon. We have more travel teams than we have had in the past. We have many late registrations coming in. Lacrosse is getting ready to start. Our Adult Softball program is seeing tremendous sign ups already. We have two league that are already full ahead of deadline. Our Summer Camp publication was just recently put out. If you have places in the community you know of where you would like to drop some off we would be happy to give you these. Our number of camps has grown significantly so we are able to do a special publication ahead of time to promote and get our camps out early. This will also go out as a section in our next "Engage!". This publication also lists a preview of our Sizzling Summer Arts Series on the back. There are twelve events. They are Tuesday mornings in June and July and Friday movies in July and August. We have done some testing the past couple of years with the community and from our assessment and evaluation we typically get anywhere from 300 to 400 when we do Tuesday or Friday morning performance which is why we have selected these days. We have some top quality groups and a lot of great sponsors. The Novi Library is also a big sponsor of the Tuesday morning series. This series is completely free to community members. It costs us about $12,000 each year and is completely supported by Novi businesses and other organizations so it is not tax dollars.

The next "Engage!" is coming out in mid-April. The staff has already worked hard on fall and winter activities. The next brochure will cover the April through September time frame.

"Gypsy" opens this weekend here at the Novi Civic Center and will be playing for the next two weekends. There is a cast of young and old. We had our first Groupon as Parks and Recreation this past week. On Monday we were featured on the Groupon site for "Gypsy". This is not something we anticipate doing all of the time for all performances. We sold approximately 260 tickets from that. As far as the number of ticket sales it puts us around 400 because there were two packet tickets or 4 packet tickets. We were able to get the mailing list from Groupon. That is a few hundred people that may have never come or heard of our theatre.

At the next meeting we will be talking about what we term our EAR days which is Earth Day, Arbor Day and River Day. We have many great volunteer opportunities at each of those.

Commissioner Torimoto asked if there is anything that can drive what we put in the park based on the programming needs we may not be currently fulfilling. He suggested canoeing because it is not something currently offered by surrounding communities. Is there any way we can look at the programming and then have that drive some of the park needs from a programming standpoint.

Superintendent Cowan said that there is and that is a large part of our involvement from staff and Commission. As a piece that we will look for from the Commission is feedback or things you hear from the community so that the amenities we put in the parks actually get used.

Student Representative Kerbrat asked if information for Earth Day and the other events going to the High School because many of the students like to get involved with these kind of volunteer activities.

Superintendent Cowan stated that we are getting ready to send a packet of fliers over to the High School about those events as well as the Ice Arena is getting ready to plan some DJ open skates on Friday night and some other items that are targeted directly to High School students. Last year on River Day we had at least 20 to 30 High School students come out and help so we will definitely be getting the fliers over to the High School. She stated that she would appreciate any help Student Representative Kerbrat could give to getting out the word would be appreciated.

Commissioner Staab stated that he wanted to congratulate Superintendent Cowan on her selection of the movies. Two of the movies he believes are Academy Award winners.

Superintendent Cowan stated that Michigan Recreation and Park Association does Community Service Awards each year. This is the first year that we chose to nominate a few individuals on staff and in our organization to be recognized. One of the awards specifically that they recognize is the Youth Sports Coach of the Year. One of our staff members, Theresa McClure, has been working with Gary Frick for a long time. He is one of our long time coaches. She along with Matt Ostermeyer wrote up a nomination together and submitted it on Gary Frick’s behalf. He was selected as the Coach of the Year. He will be recognized next Wednesday in Lansing for his efforts with the City of Novi. We already have Press Releases and pictures ready to go after he is awarded. He is a modest individual and was not expecting the nomination or the win but is very excited to recognize all of work and efforts he puts in to our department. We work with hundreds of volunteer coaches a year and our youth sports would not be possible without dedicated volunteers such as him and all the other individuals as well as several of our Commissioners who have coached. We are proud and excited to recognize him this year. We will share the information with you after he is awarded next week.


Commissioner Dooley stated that because of the inclement weather in March that the first Park Standards reports be moved to April. He feels a fair assessment could not be given at this time.

Superintendent Cowan stated that it is their prerogative as Commissioners to look at that opportunity. As staff we are following the policy and looking forward to the Commissioners reviewing the parks each month. There was a request made to stop it during the winter months since there is not as much use of the parks. There is a lot of use at Lakeshore Park still for trails and sledding.

Commissioner Dooley stated that they would like to postpone the Park Standards reports until April. He then asked Superintendent Cowan when the April reports would need to be in.

Superintendent Cowan stated that Evie would follow up with an e-mail tomorrow to send everyone the standards and the timeline. She will probably be looking for them at the beginning of the month so that there can be a report for the May meeting. She also stated that we will be looking to bring Matt Wiktorowski back in the late spring to talk about parks and field conditions as we get ready for the season. Commissioner Dooley stated that the Commissioners do place an emphasis at looking at the parks in the City and do a thorough investigation of everything that has to do with a particular park.



Student Representative Kerbrat stated that she is looking forward to all of the volunteer opportunities and spreading the word.

Commissioner Torimoto stated that it was an informative meeting for him and that it is exciting to be involved starting with the planning stages but it is a lot of responsibility as Commissioners.

Commissioner Jewell had no comments.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that at the last meeting it was discussed about the Commission becoming involved with the MRPA (Michigan Recreation and Parks Association) and he now has an envelope at his desk. He asked if this was something that came through the department and if he wants to join that he could but the department would not sign the Commissioners up.

Superintendent Cowan stated that is correct. There are no funds in the budget to sign up Commissioners but it is something that the Commissioners can do individually on their own for both MRPA and also NRPA (National Recreation and Parks Association).

Commissioner Wingfield then asked if there was any progress on the Director selection process.

Superintendent Cowan replied that the posting closed last Friday and that they are planning for the first round of interviews very shortly.

Commissioner Winfield stated that he thought at some point that it would be appropriate for at least one of the Commissioners to be part of the interview process somewhere along the line.

Commissioner Staab encouraged people to attend the performance of "Gypsy" this weekend and next weekend. He wanted to remind people of the Novi Parks Foundation Golf Outing on August 4th. He stated that we are in a very enviable position from a city standpoint that we have fund access as compared to other communities. This is noted by us being advanced on the list for the Grand River Avenue project. We want to keep the strong infrastructure going and augment it with excellent Parks and Recreation and Cultural Services programming and facilities as we have done in the past.

Commissioner Dooley stated that he thought it was a very productive meeting. He wanted to remind everyone that this weekend is daylight savings time.


A motion was made to adjourn by Commissioner Jewell and seconded by Commissioner Wingfield.

Voice Vote Unanimous

The meeting was adjourned by Commissioner Dooley at 7:37 pm

DATE APPROVED:___________________________________________________________


Jay Dooley, Chairperson


Paul Policicchio, Vice Chairperson