CITY OF FULLERTON
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
City Council Chamber
Monday, April 14, 2008
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Russell called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m.
Chair Russell led the flag salute.
Present: Shawna Adam, Sueling Chen, Kathleen Dasney, Craig Russell, Kathleen Shanfield, Nancy Spencer and Scott Stanford
Staff: Parks and Recreation Director Joe Felz, Parks and Recreation Managers Grace Carroll Lowe, Alice Loya, Dannielle Mauk, Judy Peterson; Event Specialist Ashley Glass; Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan; Building and Facilities Superintendent Lyman Otley
CONSENT ITEMS (Items 1 - 3)
Chair Russell requested a motion to approve the Consent Calendar items. Vice Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Spencer SECONDED the motion to approve the Consent Calendar items.
AYES: Adam, Chen, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield, Spencer, Stanford
The MOTION PASSED unanimously.
1. MINUTES OF THE FEBRUARY 11, 2008 COMMISSION MEETING
Recommendation to approve the Minutes of the February 11, 2008 Commission Meeting.
2. LANDSCAPE DIVISION MONTHLY REPORT FOR MARCH AND APRIL 2008
Recommendation to receive and file the Landscape Division March and April 2008 Monthly Reports.
Vice Chair Dasney asked Landscape Superintendent Quinlivan to explain the “wicking” irrigation system referred to in his report. He said it is a free pilot program, located at the Commonwealth and Nutwood median, consisting of a drip irrigation system that bubbles up and wicks across the surface through mulch or thatch within sod, retaining a constant moisture level versus the current spray system which wastes water through evaporation and run-off.
Superintendent Quinlivan said a weekend test looked good so far, and if it works, Maintenance may recommend it for future median projects. In answer to Commissioner Shanfield’s questions, he said the wicking system is supposed to be superior to the spray system and saves water, and although it’s more expensive to install, overall, it saves money. He also said there are control and test areas at the median to measure the effectiveness of the system.
When asked by Commissioner Spencer about a tree removal, Superintendent Quinlivan said a large jacaranda was removed for traffic reconfiguration at the 57 Freeway. He said Chapman and Commonwealth canopy trees were planned, noting that the City is planning on having “big showy” canopy trees at the entrances to the City, and agreeing that they will probably wait until Jefferson Commons is built to proceed.
Superintendent Quinlivan reported that Arbor Day was a success with 50 people participating including the Cub and Boy Scouts, Sunny Hills Eco Club, and Fullerton Beautiful. 21 trees were planted and seem to be in good shape.
Vice Chair Dasney asked if Parks and Recreation is figuring in rising water costs. Superintendent Quinlivan and Director Felz said the City owns the utility so water increases don’t have a direct impact.
3. BUILDING AND FACILITIES DIVISION MONTHLY REPORTS FOR MARCH AND APRIL 2008
Recommendation to receive and file the Building and Facilities Division March and April 2008 Monthly Reports.
Vice Chair Dasney asked about the “major discrepancy” referred to in the Building and Facilities Division report and was told by Superintendent Otley that it was any repair that wasn’t small or typical.
Vice Chair Dasney also asked about the location of the new light installation at the dog park, and was told by Director Felz and Bill Stefanski, Pooch Park Ad Hoc Committee President, that it was at the southwest corner, toward the gate and bridge, and was told it was a surplus light which was then attached to an existing pole.
Vice Chair Dasney referred to the field lights on timers at Adlena, Valencia and Byerrum parks, asking if there would be a problem for the neighbors at night if a game was cancelled but the lights were still on. Manager Grace Carroll Lowe said the timers are set with minimum and maximum times that the lights can be turned on, but the leagues would still have to use a key to turn on the lights; hence, the lights would never be on if no team was there.
REGULAR BUSINESS (Items 4 – 12)
4. DOG PARK ADVISORY COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
Director Felz said this was a routine item to expand the existing seven-member Dog Park Advisory Committee to nine members and, potentially, eleven members, all appointed by the Parks and Recreation Commission. He said the Department is recommending two long-time Dog Park volunteers for the Dog Park Advisory Committee, Megan Reed and Tammie Searfoss. When Commission Spencer asked about when the Advisory Committee would meet, he said it had been meeting monthly, and that the first anniversary is coming up. He added that the large dog area of the dog park would be closed for maintenance through May up to June 6, the day before its first anniversary. He added that the Dog Park’s non-profit status has not yet been established and that they are ad hoc at this time until the Dog Park is given permanent status.
Vice Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Stanford SECONDED the motion to approve the recommended appointments of Megan Reed and Tammie Searfoss to the Dog Park Advisory Committee.
AYES: Adam, Chen, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield, Spencer, Stanford
The MOTION PASSED unanimously.
Commissioner Shanfield asked when the Advisory Committee meets, and Director Felz said the committee meets the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at Hunt Branch Library, and that they would be added to the e-mail list for the Dog Park meetings.
Commissioner Chen said she had some questions on the homeless at Pacific Drive Park next to the dog park, and Director Felz said, if it was okay with her, he would have some comments regarding this issue towards the end of the meeting. She gave her assent to wait.
5. EVENT TRAFFIC CONTROL
Director Felz said traffic control plans are developed through Traffic Engineering in coordination with the Cultural Events Division, and are also reviewed for liability before going to City Council for approval. However, in view of the serious incident last year of a gentleman passing out behind the wheel of his car at the Fullerton Market, he said he wanted to present an overview of traffic control for the three major events, Fullerton Market, Fourth of July and First Night. He confirmed with Vice Chair Dasney that Police and Fire were also involved in the planning.
Events Specialist Ashley Glass used a Power Point presentation to provide aerial views and maps indicating where street closures and traffic signs were at the three major events. She also provided information on how traffic is controlled at the Market, noting that Parks and Recreation staff post more than 20 street closure signs around noon that day. She noted the large “Type 3” barricades, sliding gate and swing gate arm installed at the ends of the Market to prevent access from the parking structure and alley. She said vendors are in place half an hour before the Market begins, and all vehicles removed except the farmers who do not leave until after the Market is over.
Regarding the Fourth of July, Specialist Glass said mostly Maintenance and Police close the street although some street closure signs are posted by Parks and Recreation staff. She said they also distribute notices to residents two weeks prior, and various street and parking lot closures are posted. The Fullerton College Parking Lot #3 is closed for the fireworks firing zone, and the entire campus is closed and monitored the day of the event for safety reasons.
For First Night, businesses are also notified, and street closures begin December 30, the day before the event (although a flashing Harbor closure notice is erected one week prior), and notices and barriers are taken down the day after the event.
Commissioner Shanfield asked whether the police car at the Market would continue, and Specialist Glass said “yes,” and that the Museum van would remain on the other end. Commissioner Shanfield said that seemed like a good safety measure, and Director Felz noted that the vehicles are not officially required and not on the plan, but are an added safety measure.
Commissioner Spencer asked about the status of the market accident in Santa Monica. Director Felz said it was his understanding that it was under consideration by the court. It was noted that while Santa Monica had a traffic control plan, it was considered out of date, therefore Santa Monica may have some some financial responsibility. Director Felz said there are probably some cars blocking the street there, but that Fullerton’s plan is much more extensive than what Santa Monica had prior to their accident. Director Felz noted that all similar operations (markets) have been influenced by the Santa Monica tragedy.
Commissioner Shanfield asked about getting more flashing light signs for First Night, and Director Felz said police vehicles parked at both ends of the street and “K rails” filled with water used one year were acceptable deterrents. He said what keeps First Night under control is controlling traffic, and some of the commissioners agreed. Commissioner Shanfield said Palm Springs uses a lot of visual flashing lights. Specialist Glass said some of those are used for the Fourth of July by the Maintenance Department. Cultural and Events Division Manager Mauk said their newly updated signs and barricades have reflectors and should be sufficient for those speed zones. She noted that “Type 3” barricades are very large and substantial with three reflector bars.
6. 2008 – 2009 BUDGET PREVIEW
Director Felz said the City is in the middle of its two-year budget, and staff has been discussing how to get meaningful input prior to going to Council. Thus, he said, the manner in which the budget review process is being handled is a departure from previous budget agenda items as there would be an opportunity for Commission to provide input one meeting prior to Commission officially reviewing and recommending approval to the Council. He said this process would be much more important next year when the new two-year budget is proposed, and will probably include a workshop in the fall prior to going to Council.
Administrative Manager Loya said the budget revision is the second year of the two-year 2007 – 2008 and 2008-2009 budget, adopted last June. Tonight, she said only significant changes would be highlighted:
· Expanded Programming at Richman Center – Funded by $32,000 from reduced administrative costs for general programming and $40,700 for youth programming. This was paid last year by Cal State Fullerton last year through federal Housing and Urban Development funds, but they didn’t apply this year, hence, Police gang prevention monies will be sought. If funding isn’t available, programming would be scaled back.
Vice-Chair Dasney asked why Cal State Fullerton didn’t apply for HUD funding for this year and was told by Director Felz it was essentially due to Dr. Castro’s passing and some things slipping by, but they can apply next year. Manager Loya said that there will be some startup money from the Police Department asset seizure funds.
Chair Russell noted that he hadn’t been an advocate for the program due to the structure being placed on Richman Park. He said there were assurances before that no City funds would be expended, and asked why no one else was overseeing the funding. He had questions whether CSUF would apply for and receive the funding in 2009-10, felt this should not have happened, and would be looking at it closely when it came back to the Commission. Director Felz said staff concurred with Chair Russell’s comments, said staff met with the CSUF President’s Office to express their concerns, and that Commission comments would be included prior to going to Council.
· Gilbert Neighborhood Center - Will be temporarily erected on a two-year trial basis with construction completed sometime in the summer. Program funding proposed is approximately $60,000 with $22,000 from reductions in administrative costs, and the $37,000 balance from the fund balance. Programs will be similar to those at Maple, Richman and Garnet centers. Director Felz said this item was an anticipated expense.
Commissioner Adam asked if participants were charged a fee, and was told “no” by Family and Senior Services Manager Judy Peterson, that most of the programming is free or very minimal for excursions such as with Garnet and Richman centers due to low participation when fees are charged in this low-income area. Commissioner Shanfield asked how many children were expected, and was told, based on other similar programs, probably 90 children or more. Commissioner Shanfield asked how success was measured in two years, and Manager Peterson said attendance there versus other centers would be one measure, also how the programming affects the neighborhood, and if it becomes a neighborhood focus. Commissioner Shanfield reiterated the importance of having evaluation tools. Director Felz agreed the raw numbers were important as were the responses expected from the West Fullerton Improvement Committee. Commissioner Spencer said the new center was a good idea as she’d received a lot of feedback from West Fullerton residents that they’d been neglected. She asked about the trial basis, and Director Felz said while the Center would be on a trial basis, there was also a strategic plan to serve the west side and feedback from the community. Asked by Commissioner Shanfield about the eventual size of the building, Manager Peterson said it would be 36’ x 60’, the same size as the current Richman building but with a different configuration.
Commissioner Adam said she would concur with Commissioner Shanfield about data collection over two years to show the need for the program, which could be used to apply for grants. Manager Loya said there are performance measures and objectives for each program that are reviewed quarterly and submitted to Council.
Commissioner Chen asked who would be the supervising agents, and Manager Loya said it would be City of Fullerton, Family and Senior Services Division under Manager Peterson. Commissioner Chen asked how the program is different from YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, and Manager Peterson said there were no other programs for youth in the west end other than a couple of school programs that were full. Manager Loya said the YMCA is fee-based, and the Boys and Girls Club is only for children, whereas the City’s will be for all ages. Director Felz said the code enforcement officer will also be at the Gilbert Center.
When Commissioner Chen asked if the City was stepping in because there were no non-profits able to assist, Director Felz said the City was one of the major youth recreation providers in the City. When she asked about the separation of younger children with teens, Manager Peterson said this was done with all programs except with youth mentors. Commissioner Spencer asked about the code enforcement officer planned for the Center and was told the officer would be more approachable and accessible there. Manager Loya noted that the west side residents also have transportation problems.
Commissioner Adam asked whether other groups could get a temporary structure, saying there’s a group in need in an apartment complex at Imperial and La Puente. Director Felz said any groups could apply, and that the City does its best to offer programs City-wide. He added that the west side is a significant geographic area with years of documented need.
Commissioner Stanford asked about reduced administrative costs related to the Richman and Gilbert centers, and was told no one would be laid off, and that there were reduced costs from Laguna Lake’s new contractor plus new City staff whose salaries were less.
Chair Russell asked about school district involvement at Gilbert, and was told the school district only served school sites, and Gilbert Park wasn’t on a school site. He asked if there were other after school programs on the west side, and Manager Peterson noted the City program at Orangethorpe School, the District program at Pacific Drive School, and the Boys and Girls Club program at Valencia Park. However, she said these have grant limitations and are already full. Commissioner Stanford asked about outreach to recruit students, and Manager Peterson said staff will use summer program waiting lists, the West Fullerton Improvement Committee, and Center Coordinator Eddie Burciaga to conduct outreach. When asked, she said they would have no problem filling the program, and Director Felz noted the need is so great they don’t expect to serve every child with needs.
Commissioner Stanford asked if there would be Buena Park children at Gilbert, Director Felz said he didn’t think there would be many due to physical barriers, but that there were also some needs for seniors the City will try to address. As a 10-year Commission “veteran,” Chair Russell said there had always been two areas of confusion for him regarding Parks and Recreation, namely budget and after school programs. He said there seemed to be no central strategy for all the entities serving youth to ensure cost effectiveness and that all the children were being served. He expressed willingness to get involved in a workshop to really understand what agencies, schools and City programs were doing in after school programs. Director Felz said if the Commission gave direction, he would be willing to set up the workshop with the other after school partners. Chair Russell said it would be up to the other commissioners as well, and the other commissioners concurred this would be helpful.
Commissioner Stanford said he had concerns about taking money from one program and putting it into another as he had never known of a trial program that actually went away after funding ends, e.g., Richman/CSUF program. He wanted to support the programs but also wanted to ensure there was a funded, coordinated effort. Commissioner Chen asked if there were school district data on Orangethorpe, Valencia and Pacific Drive; Director Felz said staff could get that data. Commissioner Spencer said she is a commissioner with the schools and the data would be easy to obtain. Director Felz said they could set up the workshop with the school district, YMCA, and Boys and Girls Club.
Commissioner Shanfield asked about volunteers and ages needed for the after school programs, and Manager Peterson said the age depends on the activity, but they are always looking for volunteers of all ages. Commissioner Shanfield suggested National Charity League (NCL), and Manager Peterson said they’ve used NCL before in their programs.
· The Fullerton Market – will be extended five weeks to mid-November with a cost of $11,000: $4,500 from revenue and $6,700 from administrative reductions. When asked about the Market extension, Director Felz said the numbers provided were “very conservative,” and that the extension was a long-time request by many market goers and the City Manager. He and Manager Mauk had some doubt it would be successful due to darkness and the busyness of the holiday season, but there was low risk and it would be on a one-year trial basis. Manager Mauk said one benefit was that Oktoboofest could be moved to the week of Halloween.
· Night in Fullerton - Was originally held in November, and is going back there to November 8th from April which has too many community events. Manager Mauk said attendance had been lower in the last two years, and a new date might give it a fresh look. Vice-Chair Dasney asked if the program would be re-evaluated, and Director Felz said “yes,” and that a committee would “reinvent” First Night which is 43 years old. Commissioner Chen said she’s always enjoyed the program and had concerns that November might be too busy, but if it works, she would support it. Vice-Chair Dasney noted that “All the Arts for All the Kids” moved from May to October for some of the same reasons. Director Felz agreed, saying the City also has to work with the needs of their partners, e.g. CSUF, where fall works better for them.
Manager Loya said the Commission would receive more detailed numbers regarding the budget at the next Commission meeting. Chair Russell thanked her.
· Capital Improvement Budget - Director Felz said the funding for the now-defunct Amerige Heights Community Center plan will go to the proposed Fullerton Community Center program, and the concept plan would come back to the Commission. Vice-Chair Dasney asked about how the Amerige Heights Home Owners Association felt about the change, and Director Felz said they were very supportive of it and would have a final vote soon.
Commissioner Stanford asked if the Community Center was related to the presentation a year ago, and Director Felz said “yes,” although the library portion has moved forward more quickly with a big step back on the proposed separate building for the Boys and Girls Club due to City Council objections. Council was asking for mixed use and Senior Center involvement also. He said staff has looked at successful models and will be meeting with the seniors in the next few weeks as well as other user groups. He added that staff would return to Commission on this around July, August, or September. Commissioner Stanford asked if the general concept was of one center with amenities for all groups, and Director Felz said “yes.”
· Richman Field Lighting – Has been technically changed to a HUD-funded project so the remaining money from the Athletic Field lighting funding can be used on other fields.
· Lemon Park Improvements – Currently in the budget, but is being moved up one year. The City had some difficulties with the contractor, and the restrooms were especially in need of repair, but staff is now moving forward with the planning process.
· Grants Approved – For improvements to Laguna Lake and Union Pacific Trail.
7. CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM UPDATE
Director Felz said that, after several months on the job, it was time to provide an update of ongoing projects, noting that, per direction from the City Manager’s Office, staff is making a significant push to complete these projects. He referred to the information received by the commissioners and asked for questions.
Commissioner Spencer asked about the Hiltscher Trail / Park land swap, and Director Felz said it pertained to property owned by the Alexander’s, at Crestview at the narrowest part of the trail with a utility pole, storm drain and their fencing. He said it would have been costly to move the trail; instead, the Alexander’s have been very cooperative, and will change their back fence line, providing the trail with an additional 15’ feet and making the trail safer to use. He further explained that the Alexander’s would be getting the exact same amount of land in exchange plus getting new bougainvillea planted at their newly realigned fence.
Commissioner Stanford asked about the status of Lions Field. Director Felz said the Commission- and Council-approved concept plan was sent out to bid, requiring an efficient design-build process, and two firms were interviewed two weeks ago. Council approved one, WEC, which is very strong with a lot of experience in retaining walls and fields. City staff has already met three times with WEC and are suggesting some small changes, but believe the project can be built in 14 months.
Vice-Chair Dasney asked about the last Council meeting when the West Coast Arborist contract and Lions Field issues came up. She suggested Commission be notified of related Council agenda items so commissioners could be in the audience if needed. She asked if tomorrow’s Council meeting included any Parks and Recreation items on the agenda, and was told the Hillcrest Advisory Committee recommendations from Commission would be going to Council and that nine members were recommended including two at-large who would be recommended/approved by Commission. Director Felz noted the difficulty in obtaining any historical information on how the committee was formed or authorized by a previous director.
Vice-Chair Dasney asked if potential members with expertise in certain areas, e.g. trails, Veteran’s memorials, would be sought, and Director Felz said the at-large members would bring whatever expertise they possessed ‘to the table,” and that staff and consultants for the Master Plan would also be available. He also noted that if the committee wanted, they could meet with the trails group, for example.
Commissioner Chen asked about playground resurfacing. Director Felz said Acacia Park, Emory and another park would be resurfaced, but Acacia Park was the one with the greatest need. He said the life span of rubber surfacing will be budgeted for only about 5 years versus the 10-15 year manufacturer estimate.
Commissioner Shanfield commended Director Felz and staff for the movement forward on the projects, e.g. wheelchair access to the dog park to make parks accessible to everyone.
8. PARK DWELLING FEE REVIEW
Director Felz introduced the topic, saying that staff wanted to clarify the original intent of the Park Dwelling Fee as well as City Council’s intent, saying replacing one old house with a new house will not trigger a Park Dwelling Fee. However, a new granny unit with a kitchen or a lot split would trigger a Park Dwelling Fee. He added this item would not need to go to Council because it was just clarifying the fee’s and Council’s intent.
Commissioner Shanfield asked about apartment units, and Director Felz said all units were subject to the park dwelling fees. Manager Loya said this also includes mobile homes; only nursing homes or homes for the homeless were exempt. She said the rationale behind the fee is that every dwelling unit adds to the population, which adds to the wear and tear and use of the parks.
Chair Russell asked if special projects such as University Heights or affordable housing units were subject to the fee, and he was told “yes.” Commissioner Shanfield asked what account the fees go into, and Manager Loya said they go into the Park Dwelling Budget, which is used for and restricted to capital projects. Director Felz said the park dwelling fee accounts for a majority of capital project funding.
9. 2008 - 2009 POLICY STATEMENT AND FEE SCHEDULE
Administrative Manager Alice Loya introduced the proposed 2008 – 2009 Policy Statement and Fee Schedule, saying all fees and policies of the department are included in the Policy Statement and Fee Schedule with changes in fees based on the market, rising costs, public usage and if the fees are having their intended effect or not. She said the expected additional revenue from the increased fees is then included in the budget, thereby allowing for a balanced budget. She noted that the changes, all fairly minor, would be highlighted in red or struck out.
Commissioner Chen asked about a decrease in the contract class non-resident fee from $10 to $6, and Recreation Manager Grace Carroll Lowe said the actual practice was to charge $6 as it was unreasonable to charge $10 for classes that were, for example, $18 or $9. She added that the Department would soon be upgrading its software so that staff would be able to automatically charge either a percentage or a tiered non-resident fee.
Other proposed changes included tennis court fees adjusted for peak and off-peak hours, and a new monthly pass for open gym play at Independence Park. When Manager Loya noted the addition to the Policy of the current and long-time practice of not accepting reservations at City parks on holidays, Chair Russell asked what specific holidays applied. Director Felz and Manager Loya said the holidays could be listed as recommended by the commissioners and be part of the proposed changes brought to City Council for approval.
The commissioners were told the alcohol use fees at City facilities would all be adjusted to $150, and as the Adlena and Richman pavilions were new, they would be added to the rental schedule. The Senior Multi-Service Center kitchen fee increased from $75 to $100; the document preparation fee was increased from $80 to $85. Maple Community Center will no longer be allowing rental of its kitchen.
Vice-Chair Dasney asked about the vehicle entrance fee charged at Hillcrest Park, and was told by Manager Loya that it isn’t actually charged but is part of an ordinance so it would still exist even if the fee were taken off the fee schedule. She also confirmed for Vice-Chair Dasney that Hillcrest Park is listed under “Special Facilities” due to its “jewel status.”
Manager Loya spoke on the park dwelling fee, saying there had been some reduction in the fee due to the housing slump. Although a market study is conducted every two years to ensure the City’s fee is “in line” with other cities, this year, staff studied how the park dwelling fee relates to current development. In looking at housing usage, it was found that the average number of people per unit, obtained from the State Department of Finance, had increased slightly from 2.96 to 3.08; thus, this would be part of the formula for the new park dwelling fee, along with the Consumer Price Index, which was now $10,580 per dwelling unit.
Manager Loya also noted that, due to the timing of the CPI report, she used the February to February CPI; however, when the March to March index comes out, she would need to use that for the policy statement instead, per the City’s practice. She predicted the CPI might decrease slightly; hence, the park dwelling fee might also drop to, for example, $10,200 per dwelling unit. She confirmed with Chair Russell that the number of persons per household was a Fullerton number. Chair Russell asked if the Department had ever changed this figure before, and Manager Loya said it was last changed in 2002 after the 2000 census.
Director Felz said as this was an action item, the Commission would have to vote on it. Manager Loya said if the Commission wants to specify the holidays when park reservations could not be made, it would need to be included in the Commission’s recommendation. There was a discussion of which holidays were considered “major.”
Vice-Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION to recommend approval of the proposed 2008 – 2009 Policy Statement and Fee Schedule with adjustment to the language to specify the major holidays for which park reservations could not be made. Commissioner Stanford SECONDED the motion. Chair Russell called for the vote.
AYES: Adam, Chen, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield, Spencer, Stanford
The MOTION PASSED unanimously.
10. REPORT ON CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS
Director Felz noted the items listed on the agenda were mostly routine:
· Fall 2007 Adopt-A-Park stipends awarded to non-profit organizations.
· Spring 2008 Adopt-A-Park Memorandums of Understanding approved.
· A grant and a grant request for Laguna Lake improvements were approved.
· Amerige Heights Development Agreement Reviewed in Closed Session – Director Felz said the agreement was the document that guides the development of a major project. He said the points discussed would be included in the 5th amendment. As the parties move closer to an agreement, including wrapping up old Amerige Heights business (community center and trails to Bastanchury Park), the Commission will also receive information on the new requirements for Sun-Cal if they receive entitlement on a new 136-unit project called Barona, a condominium development behind Bastanchury Park. Although the economy hasn’t been good for condominiums, the developer appears to be moving forward. He added that Commission does not vote on amendments but will be forwarding their recommendation to Planning Commission’s on proposed negotiating points, which will then go to the City Council. When asked, he said the proposed Amerige Heights Community Center was one of about 20 negotiating points related to Parks and Recreation.
· Opening Ceremony at Byerrum Park for Improvements at Byerrum, Adlena and Valencia Parks – The ceremony was nice, all parks are operational and the water features at Adlena and Valencia parks will come online on Memorial Day. A Good Neighbor Policy will also be developed regarding operations and times.
· Additional Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Funding - Approved for programs at Richman Community Center.
· Lions Field Design Review and Bid Award - Approved, as noted earlier, and moving forward quickly.
· Library Space Needs Study and Funding for Design Phase - Approved (as part of the Civic Center Project).
11. DIRECTOR’S UPDATE
Director Felz noted that the Pacific Drive homeless issue, a long-time concern, has spiked up recently. He said the Armory nearby, which houses the homeless, is expelling people during the day so they come over to Pacific Drive Park. Parks and Recreation staff are trying to address the situation, but there are few enforcement tools other than a camping and drinking prohibition. This is a serious, but seemingly intractable problem, especially in light of the recent cold weather bringing even more people to the Armory. Long term, Director Felz is having discussions with Maintenance Superintendent Quinlivan, the Library, and Grace Ministries. Also, the City Manager has a meeting in two weeks with the County, which provides the shelter for the homeless.
Vice-Chair Dasney said she had previously noted problems of impeded access to the restrooms at Pacific Drive Park due to “stacks of personal items” belonging to the homeless, but said because a resident went before Council, there seemed to be more interest regarding this issue. She hoped this issue could be addressed, not just blocked access, but also to find a safe place for the homeless to sleep. Director Felz noted the leagues also expressed their concerns regarding the homeless at the park, and reiterated the recent spike there.
Director Felz said he spoke with Chair Russell regarding meeting at City Hall for the June Commission meeting and taking a site visit to Hillcrest Park and Laguna Lake. He said he would have the lake management specialists provide information on the lake. Vice-Chair Dasney asked to consider meeting earlier, and it was agreed to meet at 5:30.
12. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS
Commissioner Shanfield asked when the No Smoking Policy would be reviewed again, and Director Felz said that would be at next month’s Commission meeting in May.
She also asked about a stabbing at Emory Park, and Director Felz said there was an investigation of the incident, which appears to be gang-related. He added that there’s been a spike City- and nationwide, and that Police resources were being shifted to address this problem.
Commissioner Stanford commented on the three newly-renovated parks, and said the one he sees everyday, Byerrum Park, has been beautifully renovated, and now has more life, young families and usage. Director Felz commended Senior and Family Services Manager Peterson as well as Engineering, the architects, contractors and Maintenance, including Landscape Superintendent Quinlivan, for their team work and effort. Commissioner Spencer said the ceremony was nice, too. Chair Russell thought all the park details were “wonderful,” especially considering the low cost.
Vice-Chair Dasney said she’d fielded three complaints from dog park users that they are having problems on Sunday with Grace Ministries church goers using all the parking spaces. Director Felz said he was just made aware of the problem but that Grace Ministries is very cooperative. He said he would explore this issue and any agreements signed. Vice-Chair Dasney said she was aware of some kind of agreement for Grace Ministries to use the parking lot, although it wasn’t particularly advantageous for the Library other than increasing exposure to more people. She said there is a bike patrol guard hired by the Ministry.
Commissioner Stanford said parking becomes a problem at the Sports Complex due to many leagues using the fields at one time. He wondered if the Rangers Soccer could be approached for reducing their usage during baseball season, saying there were five or six soccer practices going on at once. Recreation Manager Grace Carroll Lowe said her part-time staff mentioned a little problem with this, but it sounded like it had increased, and that she would check into it.
Commissioner Adam commended the Museum and Manager Mauk for their photography exhibit with Gail Moody, calling it “an extraordinary event.” She said the community doesn’t know the time and effort that goes into such an event, and that everyone had a good time. She encouraged the other commissioners to attend these events. She said they were equal to events at LACMA and MOCA.
Commissioner Adam said she is Activities Director with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that she had toured some parks looking for community service tasks which she will be overseeing at three City parks. She also learned about the Adopt-A-Park program, and suggested getting more groups involved in and more publicity for the Adopt-A-Park Program.
Director Felz said they would close the meeting on a sad note, informing the commissioners that Coach Kevin Perry of FAST passed away. He said the funeral is scheduled for April 15 at 12:30 at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center. Chair Russell agreed, said Coach Perry was a very positive person who created an outstanding program, and thought a Commission presence at the funeral would be good because he was a friend of the City. Commissioner Shanfield asked about a memorial fund, and Manager Peterson said there isn’t one yet, but there probably would be.
Commissioner Chen said she was glad she didn’t fall asleep, having just flown in from overseas. She said she was happy to see the capital projects completed.
Chair Russell adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.