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Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes

Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes






City Council Chamber

Monday, November 13, 2006

6:30 p.m.





Chair Russell called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.



Commissioner Dalton  led the flag salute.



Present:          Kathleen Baier-Dalton, Kathleen Dasney, Craig Russell, Kathleen Shanfield, Nancy Spencer, Neil Swanson


Absent:           None


Staff:                           Parks and Recreation Director Ron Molendyk; Parks and Recreation Managers Dave Alkema, Grace Carroll Lowe, Alice Loya, Dannielle Mauk and Judy Peterson; Communications Assistant Michelle Isaac; Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan.




John Seminara, Vice President of the Fullerton Rangers Soccer - Provided an overview of their 41st season, saying they had 2300 kids and were having difficulty finding sufficient fields, especially since they “lost” Bastanchury Park on October 1 and are losing the Sports Complex on November 22.  He said the only lighted fields they would have would be Amerige Park and Pacific Drive, and that plans for Pop Warner moving to their fields during construction at Lions Field wouldn’t work.  While the Rangers are finishing up their regular season, they have All-Stars and Commissioners Cup, playing until February.  He said their fields get overplayed, but through unauthorized adult teams.    He introduced Mike Parrott as the new Director of Fields, saying that Fullerton fields should go to Fullerton players.


Chair Russell said both he and Commissioner Swanson were involved in East Fullerton Little League and understood Mr. Seminara’s concerns, and that he would follow up on these concerns.  He asked why Bastanchury Park was closed down, and Mr. Seminara said it was for turf renovation of damaged turf.


Scott McAulay, Board Member of Fullerton Rangers Soccer – Said the new sports complexes were great and really impressed the competition, and that their boys’ team under 19 is rated number nine in the nation.  He expressed appreciation for the City’s help, but asked for a little more flexibility in Maintenance’s schedule to allow for more play on the fields, and for screening to prevent balls from escaping at Bastanchury Park.


CONSENT ITEMS (Items 1 - 3)


Vice Chair Dalton MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Dasney SECONDED THE MOTION to approve the Consent Calendar items as corrected below.


AYES:             Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield, Spencer, Swanson

NOES:            None

ABSENT:       None


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.


1.         MINUTES OF THE OCTOBER 9, 2006 REGULAR MEETING         


Commissioner Dasney asked that the Minutes of the October 9, 2006 regular meeting be corrected on Page 3, last paragraph, third line, by striking the word “at.”




Commissioner Spencer asked Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan why tree plantings were not noted on the October report, and he replied that about 30 trees were planted but the report and billing from West Coast Arborists weren’t complete.  Commissioner Spencer then asked about erosion, weed abatement and brush clearance, and whether the winter rains would have an impact, and Superintendent Quinlivan said they cut down the brush to reduce fire danger, but do not pull the roots out. 


Commissioner Dasney noted the nice white swing gate at the Laguna Lake Recreation Riders corral, but asked about the horse trails along Euclid, asking if Maintenance is responsible for this.  Superintendent Quinlivan said Engineering had directed him to stay out of that area and post no trespassing signs, and he also removed any hazardous items.  When asked about the future of the area and whether it was in litigation with neighbors, he said it was in litigation but didn’t know the details.  When Commissioner Dasney asked, Director Molendyk said Parks and Recreation did oversee the Euclid trail and Maintenance took care of it; however, as Superintendent Quinlivan stated, until litigation was completed, Parks and Recreation was asked not to do anything there since it’s private property sliding down on City property.




Vice Chair Dalton asked for an update on the Museum project, and Cultural and Events Division Manager Dannielle Mauk responded, saying that the contractor is being charged $250 per day in damages until they are completed, referring to the lowest bid process as the reason for the problems.  She agreed with Commissioner Dalton that the project is nearly, but not yet completed.






Director Molendyk introduced Cultural and Events Division Manager Dannielle Mauk to present an overview of the New Year’s Eve “First Night” Event.  She invited the commissioners to attend, saying they would receive a letter and VIP parking pass for the event, and then turned the presentation over to Communications Assistant Michelle Isaac.  Assistant Isaac provided a slide presentation, noting it would be held December 31 from 7:00 p.m. to midnight.  Besides the sites from previous years, an additional entertainment site would be added.  She noted the live entertainment including musicians, magicians, jugglers, tethered hot balloon, karaoke, children’s activities as well as food, free museum exhibits and a fireworks finale.




Director Molendyk provided a brief overiew, saying that Park Bond funds are being used to renovate some of the older parks including Adlena Park.  He noted that the community was involved in the Adlena Park planning process; however, due to unforeseen expenses with the spray pool, Parks and Recreation staff needed Commission direction on how to proceed with the spray pool prior to going out to bid. 


He then introduced Parks Manager Dave Alkema, who said he came on after public input was elicited, although he was aware of the improvements through the Master Plan.  He described the recirculating system for a spray pool that was planned, and said the water-to-waste system was not appropriate due to environmental reasons; rather a re-circulating system with filtering and chlorination might be better albeit more expensive.  Manager Alkema described the newly proposed spray pool, estimated at $168,000. However, since staff thought the pool needed to be staffed, and with the increased cost, the pool should be available to the general public, not just the immediate neighborhood.  Maintenance gave estimates for maintaining the pool which included the need for two staff when going down into a vault feature for safety measures. Due to these unexpected considerations and costs, staff wanted to bring this back to Commission for review and recommend that the spray pool become part of the Independence Park “total swim environment.”  He asked for Commission’s advisement on installing the pool in a neighborhood park versus a community park.


Commissioner Dasney asked for the historical background on Adlena Park, i.e., how long the pool there had been empty, and if the wading pools could be re-filled.  Manager Alkema said they were empty before he came, and that the Health Department said they don’t permit wading pools any longer.  Commissioner Dasney confirmed that if no spray pool was built at Adlena, there would be no water feature there.  After Manager Alkema agreed that Byerrum Park had no water feature planned, Commissioner Dasney asked what was planned for Byerrum and Adlena.  Manager Alkema said Adlena’s proposed pool would become a landscape area, and Byerrum already had a landscaped area.  Chair Russell asked about Valencia Park, and was told that due to the trees with falling leaves and seed pods, there would be clogged filters on a daily basis.  Without trees, however, Valencia Park would be a very sterile park; thus they probably won’t take the trees out or have a pool.


Commissioner Dasney had concerns that the improvements at Independence Park wouldn’t happen for a long time.  She said there were few water features in the Adlena area, and suggested building one at Adlena Park to help take the pressure off of Lemon Park.  She also asked where a third site for a pool would be, and Manager Alkema said staff had not gone that far in evaluating park sites.


Chair Russell provided a little history on the pools, saying the pools were closed during his and Vice Chair Dalton’s eight plus years as commissioners.  He thought the plan was that one day there would be a new water feature and that there would be smaller spray parks throughout the City besides Independence Park.  However, now it seemed this wouldn’t be the case and although he understood budgetary restrictions, he hoped there would be a way to have water elements at other parks besides Independence and Lemon parks.  Manager Alkema said staff could bring alternatives to the Commission which would need to include restrooms per health codes.  Director Molendyk agreed with the commissioners that the plan was to replace wading pools with spray pools, and that automatic timers were considered.  However, staffing was needed due to the popularity of the pools.  Also, cost, including construction at $200,000 and maintenance and pool staffing, was an important factor as staff was instructed to minimize such installations due to cost.   


Commissioner Spencer asked for clarification on whether or not spray pools would be installed.  Director Molendyk said Manager Alkema was saying that spray pools at Independence Park would be more acceptable because it would be more cost-effective since more people would use it.  However, he said, if Commission and Council decide a spray pool should go in at Adlena, a spray pool would still be proposed at Independence Park.   Commissioner Spencer asked if more children would be served at Independence Park versus Adlena. Director Molendyk said the primary issue was cost, and that the neighbors had to know that a spray pool would attract others outside of the neighborhood with additional traffic and parking, and that the costs would be higher.  


Commissioner Spencer asked if those issues weren’t considered before, but Manager Alkema said there were unforeseen issues and that recreation staff is being consulted more, so they are learning more about maintenance and supervision needs at a pool.  Commissioner Spencer asked if staff didn’t want to build spray pools but Manager Alkema said they want to, but they have to build it in a different place and staff and maintain it properly.  Director Molendyk noted that the money is there to build it, but staff wanted the homeowners to know that the original concept was an automatic, non-staffed pool; however, any recommendation now would need to include staffing. 


Chair Russell said common sense would say staff was needed, but asked if Risk Management is mandating this.  Manager Alkema said staff’s experience at Lemon Park has dictated what the staffing needs are, and that the success at Lemon shows that the spray pools are very popular.  Commissioner Spencer asked if the spray element at the Plaza was similar, but was told it didn’t have the number of water and play features.  Commissioner Spencer said maybe staff should consider something like the Plaza’s, and Manager Alkema said Commission could make such a recommendation, but the plan would need to be revised.  However, he pointed out that the engineering costs would be similar.


Chair Russell asked about the spray pool cost, and Manager Alkema said it would probably cost close to $200,000, and that the estimate was provided by Vortex, the premier company for water parks in North America.  Commissioner Swanson asked about how many people would be coming to Adlena, and where they would come from, noting that parking might be a problem.  When asked about Lemon Park’s experience, Manager Peterson said they don’t collect that kind of specific data at Lemon, but they know that people, even from surrounding cities, rent the park especially to use Lemon Park.  Commissioner Swanson noted they’ve received only positive press regarding Lemon Park, and Manager Alkema agreed.  When asked, Manager Alkema said he didn’t know if a spray pool at Adlena Park would draw some of their numbers from Lemon Park.


Director Molendyk said they were here to update the Commission on the cost, and to update the community to the fact that the spray pool might be considered an attractive nuisance.  He said he wouldn’t want the neighborhood or Commission asking, after it was built, to turn the pool off.  However, if both parties want to go ahead with the project, they can do so with the understanding of the increased costs. 


Commissioner Dasney said she’d visited Adlena Park and quizzed park users about notification of the proposed spray pool and no one seemed to know about it.  Manager Alkema said he sent out notifications within a 300-foot radius.  Commissioner Dasney asked if the same people were notified, and Director Molendyk said there were two community meetings at the Maintenance Yard, where neighbors gave input and a conceptual drawing was developed.  He said that due to the subsequent working drawings, costs increased on maintenance; thus, the neighborhood was invited tonight to provide its input again. 


Chair Russell opened up the meeting to the community for feedback, saying they would then return for Commissioner comment.




The following individuals spoke in favor of a water feature at Adlena Park:


Sheridan George, 233 Florence Place

Mike Parrot, 334 King Place

Jean Howard, 1704 W. Chapman Avenue

Richard Rocha, 313 Diana Place

Rob Britten, resident across from Adlena Park

Ron Sorprenant, 219 Wanda Drive


There were no speakers against a water feature at Adlena Park although some provided additional input as to what kind of water feature they would like to see including a smaller spray pool or a wading pool and possibly closing on Sundays as well as input on additional amenities such as trees, more play and picnic areas, and play opportunities for younger children.  Mr. Britten said he wouldn’t want to take his son to an Independence Park spray pool due to the questionable people using the skate park there.  When staff was asked about the age limit for the spray pool, Director Molendyk said there was no official limit, but the users are children and there hadn’t been any problems with inappropriate use.


Chair Russell confirmed with Mr. Britten that there were three alternative designs, that the neighbors didn’t want a large Lemon Park-like spray pool, and that costs could be partially offset by renting the picnic area. 


Chair Russell brought the issue back to Commission, and asked Manager Alkema to provide an overview of other park improvements.  Manager Alkema said the picnic area shelter and restrooms would be renovated as would the play area, basketball court lighting, landscaping and walkways.  However, the baseball fields won’t be touched.  He said 99% of the plan check is back from Engineering, along with the Valencia and Byerrum Park plans, and he would be setting up a meeting next week with the architect to make corrections.  With the bidding process, a contractor should be on board by February or March, with nine to twelve months for renovation of all three parks as one project.


Chair Russell asked what the Commission options were, i.e., if the spray pool wasn’t built, what would be put there instead.   Asked if smaller spray ground could be installed, and if so, if there would be delays, Manager Alkema said landscaping with turf and trees would be installed if a pool wasn’t approved.  He said a pool with fewer play elements could be built, but it wouldn’t be much more cost-effective because there is still need for chlorination, filtering, holding tank, etc.  When asked about something like the Downtown Plaza system, he said the water feature there is complex and breaks down.  Commissioner Spencer said the Plaza pool doesn’t require staffing which is costly, and Manager Alkema agreed although maintenance costs there are very high.


Director Molendyk said staff was prepared to move forward and wanted to do so because of grant deadlines.  Manager Alkema said downsizing the pool was possible, but this would cause some delays.  Commissioner Spencer asked if staffing would still be necessary, and was told recreation staff would have to be consulted. 


Director Molendyk reminded the commissioners and audience that the spray pool could bring additional people into the area, and that if that wasn’t seen as a problem, they could go forward with the plans.  Manager Alkema said any minor changes would require another Health Department review, causing a two- to four-week delay.


Commissioner Shanfield said she appreciated the discussion of a filtered wading pool, asking if it was possible.  Manager Alkema said he could explore a chlorinated and filtered pool with the Health Department, and Commissioner Shanfield said she didn’t know if a spray pool versus a wading pool had been worked out or not.  Manager Alkema said this issue had probably already been worked out during the conceptual plan stage.


Director Molendyk said most cities have gotten away from wading pools due to liability and costs.  He suggested that commissioner support would be helpful if they thought this was important, and that budgeting for maintenance was important.  Commissioner Shanfield thought supervision was needed at a water feature, regardless, and Manager Alkema agreed.  Director Molendyk said times had changed, and that people now want supervision at the parks. 


Commissioner Swanson said it was refreshing to consider maintenance, and that he supported keeping the spray pool at Adlena rather than taking it to Independence.  He said the community seems to support the pool, too.  He asked if the Commission was also being asked to approve the additional costs for maintenance.  Director Molendyk said staff was still considering putting in a spray pool at independence Park regardless of whether the Adlena spray pool is approved or not; however, the Commission would have to consider and vote on maintenance and operational costs for the second year of the upcoming two-year budget.  He added that he would like Commission’s support at budget time, and that it could also help develop Parks and Recreation’s relationship with Maintenance by recommending the appropriate maintenance budget needed.


An audience member asked about operating hours at the proposed spray pool and was told 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. daily during the summer from Memorial to Labor Day. 


Vice Chair Dalton asked about the Capital Improvement budget, and was told by Director Molendyk that the costs were included in the budget for the three parks although Manager Alkema said he was always leery of estimates from architects.  She then asked about the additive alternatives and was told the alternatives were additions dependent on the bids that come in, especially the base bid.  She received clarification on the items included in the plan.  She noted that the current play equipment was poor.  Manager Alkema said the Commission can prioritize what features it wants at the park. 


Vice Chair Dalton asked about maintenance costs, expressing concerns about $27,000 being added for operating and maintenance at Adlena, and what Lemon Park costs.  Manager Alkema said he tried to get costs for Lemon Park, but couldn’t get an answer.  He said he can ask the manufacturer for typical estimated costs for electricity, agreeing it was a high voltage system.


Vice Chair Dalton said she wasn’t in favor of a water feature due to costs, but agreed to it because of neighborhood support for it.  She was concerned the Department could get “burned” because its budget is getting cut all the time, that they might not have the money to operate it or that Risk Management might want to close it.  She also had concerns about others coming into the neighborhood due to an active water feature.  Manager Alkema said staff was concerned about those exact issues, and was told by Building and Facilities Supervisor Rick Stock that he couldn’t maintain this without extra funds, and that was why Independence Park was considered.  Manager Alkema said Maintenance is at Lemon Park two to three times daily because of problems.  Vice Chair Dalton asked about using the area at Adlena without trees, and was told it wasn’t considered due to the lack of proximity to the restroom. 


Chair Russell agreed with Vice Chair Dalton’s and staff’s concerns on maintenance but felt that it was owed to those parks with water features in parks to keep them there.  Also, since the community supports the project, the Commission and the City would have to take on the maintenance issues.


Commissioner Swanson MADE A MOTION to continue with the proposed Adlena Park water feature with the proviso that the City Council provide funding for the spray pool maintenance, operations and staffing for daily summer operations between noon and 5:00 p.m.   Commissioner Shanfield SECONDED THE MOTION. 


Commissioner Dasney asked if the motion would die if Council voted against it, and was told “yes.”  She said that, in that case, the motion should not say “with the proviso,” but rather “with full knowledge that the Council must provide funding…”


Chair Russell said he would prefer to make a motion to approve the spray pool at Adlena Park as planned without the proviso. Commissioner Swanson agreed, but said it was important that Council was aware of the full costs involved, thus the addition of the proviso.


Commissioner Dasney suggested a motion starting with “With full knowledge that there are ongoing maintenance costs involved…”  Vice Chair Dalton said she was inclined to support the motion, but that Commission would have to come up with a way to budget those costs and might need community support when looking at the budget.  Commissioner Swanson said Council will see there are maintenance costs, and MODIFIED THE MOTION to state that the Commission would like to approve construction of the spray fountain at Adlena as presented by staff tonight.  Commissioner Dasney SECONDED THE MOTION.


Chair Russell called for the vote.


AYES:             Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield, Spencer, Swanson

NOES:            None

ABSENT:       None


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.


Chair Russell asked when the item would go to Council and was told by Manager Alkema probably in January 2007.




Director Molendyk noted the Civic Center Plan, and said when it was ready for Commission, this would be brought to them.


The Richman Park plan is out to bid as of November 16, 2006.  Manager Alkema said demolition would begin in January.  Since this is a CDBG project, it would have to be done by June.


Independence Park locker room renovations will be rededicated on December 4th at 5:00 p.m.  City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be invited.


Aimee Aul, Museum Educator, will receive an exceptional employee performance award. Former Recreation Coordinator Aaron Orozco has been promoted to Recreation Supervisor.


The Fairway Village Home Owner Association had concerns about golf balls hitting their homes.  Department staff is working with American Golf to conduct a study analyzing the trajectories of balls.  New netting will then be installed in the next month.




Director Molendyk said staff submitted an application for grant funds from the California Department of Parks and Recreation Recreational Trails Program in the amount of $250,000.




Chair Russell asked new Commissioner Shanfield for her comments, and she said she felt very welcome to be at the meeting.


Commissioner Dasney asked for a Child Guidance Center update.  Administrative Manager Alice Loya said there was no update, but Maintenance is supposed to hire a certified radon testing company, and staff is obtaining three bids.  She said testing takes 120 days to conduct, then analysis follows.  When asked, she said the preschool isn’t looking for a site yet, but Child Guidance Center is, for a Plan B.  Thus, if the tests come back positive for unacceptable levels of radon, Child Guidance will resort to their Plan B.


Commissioner Dasney made a recommendation that staff make a presentation at City Council similar to the one they did at last month’s Commission meeting.  She said she was “blown away” at the Outdoor activities and the sheer number and types of activities Parks and Recreation does.  She felt certain Council didn’t know half of what Parks and Recreation does, and that it should “toot” its horn at an upcoming meeting.


Vice Chair Dalton suggested the Department go to the Council to make them more aware of maintenance needs and costs at the parks, i.e., a lobbying effort.  Commissioner Spencer said it helped when Superintendent Quinlivan and she took the Mayor on a three to four-hour tour that educated him on the maintenance needs at the City.


Director Molendyk said he appreciated Vice Chair Dalton’s thoughts and agreed that educating the Council was important.  He said he could also provide Commission workshops to provide information on costs and the budget.  He noted that besides the three parks, Lions Field would also require higher maintenance. 


Commissioner Spencer said the Commission should advocate at the budget hearings.  Chair Russell said more effort should be put in before the budget hearings, noting that the politicians often tout the things related to Parks and Recreation, and said he’s willing to assist with this educational effort.  Vice Chair Dalton said Bob Ward Nature Preserve is closed because of the City’s inability to maintain it safely, just as West Coyote Hills maintenance will be an issue.  She said the issues are getting bigger each year while the budget is getting smaller, and that besides making the Council aware, it was important to make the public aware of the resources and their needs.  Chair Russell noted that two former Parks and Recreation commissioners were voted onto Council; thus, perhaps the community was seeing the importance of Parks and Recreation.


Commissioner Dasney said she was told Parks and Recreation has hired an architect to look at the Hunt Branch Library for the dog park, and Manager Alkema said Peter Weisbrod would be putting together a concept plan in a month or so.  He said they will meet with the Library Board this week which seems to support the dog park as a way to reduce the homeless problem.  The plan will then be brought to Commission. 


Vice Chair Dalton asked about the Commission positions and the reappointments.  Director Molendyk said he hadn’t been told, and would notify her as soon as he knew anything, hopefully in January.  There was discussion on Commissioner Shanfield’s appointment which was a completion of George Miller’s term.  Commissioner Shanfield explained the guidelines since she was on the applicant review committee, saying everyone has to reapply when a term comes up.  It was agreed that the process requires clarification, but there was a chance that commissioners Dalton and Shanfield would not be there in January.  Chair Russell asked if there were Commission term limits, but there was no definitive answer.


Chair Russell said there was an effort to follow-up with groups leasing City properties, and asked how they could find out the status of the leases.  Manager Loya said the commissioners could call her to get updates and they could also ask Kiwanis to make a presentation.  She added that Kiwanis went through the plan check and had 17 items to be approved, and are moving along as expected per Council’s wish although there were no firm dates per Council’s wishes.  Commissioner Dasney confirmed that Kiwanis had raised sufficient funds for three phases.    Manager Loya noted the Building Department didn’t approve some of the materials donated, causing some delays; however, those issues were addressed.  Chair Russell asked if the City shouldn’t be more lenient when non-profits are using donated materials; Manager Loya said tenants still have to meet the building codes.  Director Molendyk noted that, in this case, a City park is still having improvements made that are not under the purview of the Department.


Chair Russell said he would talk with staff next month to have Kiwanis make a report to Commission early next year.


Chair Russell said per the Maintenance Report and his own observations, the Richman Park soccer field was torn up.  He asked about the status of that, and Superintendent Quinlivan said the field would be hydroseeded next week.  Director Molendyk said it would be fenced off for eight weeks for the grass to establish itself. 


Commissioner Spencer MADE A MOTION, and Commissioner Shanfield SECONDED THE MOTION to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,





Grace Carroll Lowe

Acting Parks and Recreation Director