SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI AND PARKS AND
MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1995 AT 7:30 PM EDT
NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 7:52 pm with Mayor McLallen presiding.
Pledge of allegiance
CALL TO ORDER: Council Members, Crawford (present), Mason (present), Mitzel (present), Pope (absent/excused), Schmid (present), Toth (present) and Mayor McLallen (Present)
Parks and Recreation Commission Members, Atiyeh (absent), Colligan (present), Koneda (present), Pheiffer (present), Racey (present) Shaw , Jr. (Absent) and Staab (present)
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Toth
Seconded by Councilman Schmid
That the agenda be approved as presented.
Yes (6) No (0) Absent (1-Pope) MOTION CARRIED
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
CONSENT AGENDA - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION/DISCUSSION
1. Schedule Executive session to immediately follow special meeting on October 9, 1995
It was then,
Moved by Councilwoman Mason
Seconded by Councilman Toth
That an Executive Session be scheduled to immediately follow the special meeting on October 9, 1995 to discuss pending litigation.
Yes (6) No (0) Absent (1-Pope) MOTION CARRIED
2. Review of last year highlights
Commissioner Pheiffer said itís been awhile since we have had a joint meeting, about a year and a half, and I just wanted to cover a few of the highlights of things that happened during that period of time.
A. Christmas Tree Sales
The first thing on the list here is Christmas Tree Sales. What we have done over the past couple of years, before weíve tried to create some funds someplace to help supplement the money we get from the General Fund and the programs, weíve done some other things. Weíve had tent rentals and the tents have paid for themselves so we have had profits on those. We have the craft shows every year here over Thanksgiving; Christmas Tree sales has worked out the best for us over the last two years. In 1993 we had $22,385.00 and last year we had $26,000 plus. Obviously, this is a nice return thereís only so many trees out the there. The Commissioners walked the area last weekend and thereís still 100 trees out there and some of them are getting pretty large and weíll have to top some of them. It looks like we still have enough for this year.
B. Snowmobile Purchase
Snowmobile purchase - Again, we have adopted a rental and usage policy on that to make it available to community groups that need such a facility and cost is roughly being considered a form of percent return and it serves both purposes.
C. Strategic Planning Sessions
During the year we have had a couple of strategic planning sessions and talked about other years but hadnít really got around to doing it until this last year. Weíve interfaced with the staff quite a bit on different programs and helping out on events and so forth. We decided to set a half a day aside and sit down and compare notes as to what they think we should be doing, what we think they should be doing and explaining what theyíre actually doing and seeing if we have to adjust practices and policies.
We discussed new land and ideas and things to be done and also the park proposal. Weíve held four or five meetings and it started to take off and then it ran into the middle of summer and with a lot of activities going on attendance dropped off.
We did proceed to the point of having the Constitution and By-Laws drafted up and had not accumulated enough money to file for a tax exempt status so that is on hold for now.
D. Childrenís Theater
The Childrenís Theater is new and keeps expanding all the time. Linda Wickert runs this program and does an excellent job and additional performances and/or additional characters in the plays have been added to accommodate as many as possible.
E. Senior Citizen Pacific Rim Program
Another program that started this year is the Senior Citizen Pacific Rim Program and it has become quite popular. Again, we are trying to incorporate and meld the community together and reach out to more of the community.
A couple other things the cloggers program is still successful and we have dedication of our second van.
Councilman Toth said a couple of things. One is on the Childrenís Theater; it sounds pretty good is there any way we can contribute some support to her? It sounds like a one person show right now.
Mr. Pheiffer said it is mainly space that Ms. Wickert needs. She is really looking for some dedicated space because of the props and scenery and so forth theyíre running out of storage space. When we talked about the Fuerst Farm Theater they were extremely interested.
Mr. Davis said Marilyn Troshak, Recreation Supervisor, and I had talked about this program especially in light of overwhelming promotion and the problems that come with that and the possibility of some children not being able to participate. Space is the primary concern for props, costumes, etc., and the possibility of renting space in private venue to accommodate that. It is getting to be a lot of work for Linda and we are looking at the possibility of an additional staff person on a part-time basis to augment Lindaís services. Ms. Troshak oversees the program and is the liaison to the Arts Council.
Councilman Toth said how about another building on site for storage?
Mr. Davis said a building on site would help but the problem is we have some rooms here but theyíre not sprinkled with the proper fire protection, and we canít store permanent things in there. That is something we could look at, other buildings on site here, that obviously would have to meet all those codes and standards.
Councilman Toth asked is this stuff you need right away ? You canít use it one week and then put it away a couple of weeks.
Mr. Davis said it varies. The props and stuff that get reused from show to show and thereís some costumes that donít; either way youíre still looking at a public building.
Councilman Crawford arrived at 7:52 pm.
Councilman Toth said thatís all I have on the Childrenís Theater. The other things is you guys could help me, because people ask me, how many ballfields are opening up this year. If you could keep us advised periodically of the number of ballfields, opening up, soccer fields, etc.
Mr. Davis said we will be covering that in this next segment. There will be a brochure in November and it will include the status of all those fields, whatís happening, and where the constructions at. The Novi News is running an article this week with photographs of the development thatís ongoing.
Councilwoman Mason said, Dan I wondered how much space do we have that doesnít have sprinklers that we could use for storage?
Mr. Davis said the area that doesnít, I believe, is just the electrical room, one room.
Councilwoman Mason said so we donít really have space.
3. Park Development Update
A. Ella Mae Power Park
Mr. Davis said the Ella Mae Power Park project has been ongoing for over a year now. Weíre adding a couple sand volley ball courts, parking area, new playground equipment and walkways. Mr. Davis said I took the opportunity to do some video of whatís happening out there and I will play that and kind of explain some of the things as weíre going through. Mr. Davis said we added approximately, I believe, 35 or 40 parking spaces and added traffic control islands to help traffic flow coming in and out. Two sand volley ball courts with protective walls to keep the sand in and itís a plastic coating so itís safe for the players to play on. Mr. Davis said they will come back and do some additional landscape screening around there. Itíll keep the balls in and separate the uses.
Mr. Davis said this is the walkway that we have around the existing playground. We are in the process of working with a Boy Scout who is working on his Eagle Scout project and he will be coming in this week and repainting that whole structure to the primary colors of the new structure. The material at the bottom is whatís referred to as Phibar. Itís the only product on the market right now that is ABA acceptable. It allows for quick compaction, it allows for handicapped accessibility by wheelchairs and it also gives us the resilience for people falling and not hurting themselves.
Mr. Davis said this is the new playground arena that we have there on site. Again, under construction and we have just finished up putting the Phibar in there and getting it all graded. They still have to come back and finish some walkways. With the new playground area there, what we did was add a ramp so wheelchair users can actually come in off the walkways into the playground with access into the picnic shelter area.
Mr. Davis said there were two ballfields, theyíre 250 foot distance and will basically accommodate everything except adult mens softball. They will accommodate womens softball and any age boys and girls baseball or softball. The back stops are up and thereís enough distance on the edges to allow a safe distance away from residential. It has all protective fencing and weíve even put in a protective batters on deck area thatís fenced in; so only one person can actually be in that on deck circle. He said the grass is in and coming up but thereís spotting in some areas. We just got done fertilizing, which you can imagine the kind of drought conditions weíve had, it hasnít taken off as quickly so hopefully this spring it will.
Mr. Davis said this is the shot coming in from the walkway over to Russet Drive, Orchard Ridge Subdivision. The berm area was built up working in cooperation with the residents. A lot of them wanted to see some berming there and a lot of them didnít want to see as much so we worked to accommodate all their needs and still haul dirt off site. That was a primary concern. So in some areas the berm is higher and in some areas it comes down. It still drains fairly well and we will come back with some additional landscaping and some additional plant material back there for aesthetics. Then you have the walkway there that backs up to Russet Drive and then you have a choice to come down to the four diamond softball complex or you can head back to the new playground area. There will be a lot of people walking, bike riding and roller blading. We even had some vehicles that started to come back there so we had to install a sign that prevents that. It does work out good though because we do want accessibility for emergency and maintenance vehicles also. Thatís predominantly the Ella Mae Power Park project and down the service drive, this Council is aware, that at the Novi High School the School District has built new additional tennis courts. Theyíre in operation and are playable and they also resurfaced the existing ones and those are all done. The electric light bulbs will be installed hopefully later this week to provide lighting for all twelve of those courts. Mr. Davis said with those twelve courts centrally located here in the City itís going to go along way in meeting the growing demand of our tennis population.
Mayor McLallen said she just had a question of policy. Do we have a policy regarding roller blading/in line skating? We have a lot of skaters, skate boarders, etc. Are we going to encourage them or discourage them?
Mr. Davis said right now it hasnít been a problem so I donít see a need to try to discourage them. The only problem that we have encountered has been working with the school district on the new tennis courts. I am meeting with the Athletic Director and the Assistant Principle tomorrow to talk about the tennis court issue. When they were put in that was the first flat new surface and people started going there for in-line skating and playing hockey and they were concerned about that. So we are going to be talking about locking gates and some provisions like that. As far as our facility, right now, we havenít seen a problem in this new area so I guess it would be something we have to wait and see. If there is a problem then we can respond accordingly but right now, I think, we probably have to be more pro-active and if we could encourage some activities that would make more sense.
Mayor McLallen said this is the first family area, well located, with a safe surface that we have been able to provide.
Mr. Davis said we have had some discussions recently with the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission who is trying to facilitate a county-wide in-line skating/hockey program. We are going to continue to have meetings with them to see if we can put together. What they were proposing to do basically, was to bring some affordable hockey walls that come to a site and you set up your own type of program. So we could have teams based out here and they bring their own walls for that type of use and put them up in the parking lot .
Mayor McLallen said, regarding Novi first usage, how are we going to determine residency?
Mr. Davis said Deanne Adaschik, Athletic Coordinator, is here. She coordinates our tennis lessons, meetings and so forth and has interfaced with all of our tennis people. Based on conversations that weíve had we donít feel there is a need to get into a reservation policy or system. Something, again, that we have talked about with the school district but there will probably not be that type of requirement at this point based on additional courts and lighting that we have added. Generally what we find, if itís a non-resident using it, itís a friend of a Novi resident coming to play with them. Again, it is something that we will monitor very closely and we will also monitor the light issue as far as how we are going to address the use of the lights and the time.
Councilman Mitzel asked how they propose to monitor it.
Mr. Davis said it would be tough but he would monitor it if the residents started complaining.
Councilman Mitzel asked what the delay of the development was and what the original completion date was?
Mr. Davis said the original completion date was June 15th and that he was working with the City Attorney to uphold the contract and follow through to make sure that contract stipulations are lived up to. Mr. Davis said we are pretty close to being done and the second phase is with a different contractor and it has been delayed because the original contractor is not done.
Councilman Mitzel asked that a project status time line be set as to where youíre at and where youíre supposed to be.
Councilman Toth said one of the things we did when we installed the computer in Lesís office is we put a penalty clause of $1,000 a day and negotiated it down to $500 a day. We do have the provisions to do the same thing to all your contracts and youíd be surprised how fast itís done on time.
Mr. Davis said we do have penalty clauses within the contract
Councilman Toth said the other concern I have is when I served on the Needs/Assessment Committee a few years back we brought up the subject of lighting tennis courts. I canít remember who it was that mentioned the fact that the very simple way other communities handle it was to go play tennis you put a couple of quarters in the slot and it turns the lights on for half hour or an hour. That pays for the lighting and you donít end up with lights on when itís raining or in the winter months because somebody forgot to turn the timers off. That seemed like a real fair way if you want to play tennis at night you get the coins out of your pocket and put them in the machine and the lights would turn on and you could play for an hour.
Mr. Davis said yes, as I outlined in my recommendation to award the contract I spelled out for City Council a couple points. We are looking at bringing electrical service into this building and it would be set where you have a time frame or master clock that will automatically shut off the power to the system out there at a predetermined time. Weíre anticipating the time being 10:30 pm which would coincide with our ball field lights during the months thatís in operation. In addition, we did some calculations and the maximum amount of every light on every bank on for the whole six month period, that we weíre anticipating, would use approximately $2,000 per year in electrical consumption. This will be monitored by the Building Supervisor here, which is staffed, pretty much seven days a week. In the event of rain, inclement weather or when we know we donít have use of them a staff member can simply lock down the electrical, hit the over ride switch and shut it down. We have some good control mechanisms versus the issue of coin mechanisms and damage to those boxes. In the research that weíve seen the amount, quarter or fifty cents, a pretty long time involved, versus the damage and down time associated with those operations. Weíre pretty secure that it will pay for itself for the inconvenience. So, again, we are looking at, realistically, probably close to $1,000 in operational cost.
Councilman Toth asked if they would track that separately?
Mr. Davis said we will be able to track it on a kilowatt hour basis.
Councilman Toth said on a separate meter and everything?
Mr. Koneda said it does require a warm up time too. So itís not like you put your money in the machine and the lights come on.
Mr. Davis said it was also split into banks of three different quartz. There will be four quadrants of lights so three quartz could be lit and the other nine would not be lit. Again, that can be overriden. So if itís a fall season like this when we think thereís only going to be minimal use we are only going to let three come on. We can control it and monitor it that way.
Councilman Toth asked if they had considered putting a request box out there?
Mr. Davis said that was the next thing and after we get a year under our belt and see how it works thatís another possible way to go is the reservation system. They could either call in or drop in here and request use.
Councilman Mitzel said he felt 10:30 pm seemed quite early especially in the summer when it doesnít get dark until 9:30pm or 9:45 pm it wouldnít be worth it.
Mr. Davis said during the summer weíre not anticipating a lot of light usage from those.
Councilman Mitzel said I thought the whole point of having lights was to play later.
Mr. Davis said the other thing is, and I think the Commissioners could talk about this too, we work so closely with the residential area thatís next to us. Even though weíre a ways away we still get some light spillage and we need to be sensitive.
Councilman Mitzel said itís not as close as the soft ball fields.
Mr. Davis said itís not as loud either.
Mr. Koneda said if the demand is there there is no reason we couldnít extend it.
Mr. Davis said weíre going to approach it in a cautious way. We really pick up the use though not in July or August but in May, June, and then September and October.
Councilman Toth said you have to be careful with the shielding on those lights because the lights that shield the ballfield they hit your eyes as soon as you come off of Ten Mile. I can see where the residents step out in the back yard or go to the window and those lights are right in their eyes. If you donít have those shielded right so they block the glare it hits the subdivision.
Mr. Davis said again, youíre higher over there and weíre talking a 20 to 30 foot difference in elevation to the light bulb, higher wattage and more fixtures themselves.
Mr. Pheiffer said where the picnic shelter is the intent is to have some sort of a dedication plaque for the Fuerst donation.
Mr. Koneda said I have a question concerning parking along the service drive. I know itís not posted and Iíve noticed on many occasions they park on both sides of the road and that leaves only one lane of traffic. Do we have a policy on parking for that road?
Mr. Davis said no, and itís our road and we have, as a matter of fact, dealt with some other traffic control issues here, speeding through the Civic Center with school in session. Weíre looking to put together a recommendation then pose it to Council and possibly a Traffic Control Order to request a 15 mph speed limit at the school and some No Parking signs on one side of the service drive going down.
B. Community Sports Park
Mr. Davis said the Sports Park is moving along and Jack England and Associates is the contractor on the project which is a 72 acre park property at Eight Mile and Napier Road. We are going to have 6 soccer fields, 8 ballfields, 2 sand volleyball courts, 2 tennis courts, playground equipment, comfort station and parking for almost 600 vehicles. Completed to date weíve got basically all of the storm sewers in the ground and they are pretty much done with the left grading and thereís one large area of stock piled material. Mr. Davis pointed out, on the video, the roadway thatís going to be entering in from Eight Mile; it will have a boulevarded entry. It will continue through and have a secondary entrance off of Napier Road. We are encouraging traffic to come in from Eight Mile although, we will get some coming in from Napier but I think most of our population will, obviously, chose to drive the paved roads. We have a wetland area that is in its natural state, pretty much it is dry year around. We have obviously the heavy rain fall so there will be some standing water.
Mr. Davis said this is where the six soccer fields will go and a large berm on the side by the roadway. The soccer fields are designed to go in a north/south direction. However, they are oversized to allow for us to set the field dimensions for smaller younger children to run on an east/west basis. We can accommodate them that way and also gives us a change to do some maintenance on those pole areas that always get heavily used and worn out. The soccer fields will all be irrigated, that was part of the contract, and this will allow for maintenance year around. This site location is looking in from Napier Road, our secondary road access.
Mr. Davis said the Englandís have made great progress in approximately a 6 to 7 week time frame. There is one baseball field thatís already in place and graded out. We are looking to start seeding this week. Obviously, the weather last week kind of threw them back a few days but dry weather forecasted they are ready to come in and start seeding in some areas. We already have some infield ball material in place. In the location of our cloverleaf ball diamond there are basically a couple different size fields, a 275 foot to 300 foot distances. We anticipate doing our backstop player protection fences down the sidelines. Right now we will not be looking to fence entire fields in weíll see how the budget comes in on fencing but right now we can get by and use them.
Mr. Davis said as far as timing the main consideration right now is one, that weíll be able to seed. If things go good weíll be seeding this week and thatís going to go along way in determining what types of uses that weíre going to have out there next year. Weíre anticipating having some baseball out there on site next year. Whether weíre out there early will be determined by what kind of fall and winter we have as far as grass combination, how wet it is and so forth. We are anticipating soccer a year from right now in fall of 97. Thatís going to give us all of next year for grass germination, fertilization and growth. Again, the soccer fields are irrigated so thatís going to allow us to go in and do a lot of fertilization and seeding throughout the course of 1997.
Weíll be moving ahead with roadways , the gravel parking lots right now and we did get a variance from the ZBA for the requiring of having the parking lots graveled. Thatís an 18 month variance and will allow us to deal with our financial issue of paving as itís required under our ordinance.
Councilman Toth said the gravel parking lots sounds good itíll get a chance to settle before you repave it. Do you have any plans for that pond on the west end? A nature trail or something around that pond?
Mr. Davis said right now we have internal walkway systems set up off the parking lot that will access into our athletic areas. Off of that weíd be able to do some walking paths. Right now from a aesthetic value thereís no large stands of trees anywhere on the property. So, weíre just looking at how we can move pedestrian traffic and put up walking areas for people who just want to take a leisurely walk while someoneís playing soccer or playing ball through these internal group linkages that would be throughout the site and we could mark them accordingly.
Councilman Toth said we could put up a fishing peer or something for the kids.
Mr. Davis said it is basically dry pretty much year around; itís heavy cattails.
Councilman Toth said the other thing that Iím concerned about is the fact that this corner of the City, at Napier and Eight Mile, now I really think that you people should sit down and give a little thought to that corner, Napier and Eight Mile, there should be something that identifies it. Maybe some type of structure there with landscaping and something made out of fieldstone to announce that this is the City of Novi.
Mr. Davis said thatís something that we did talk about a little bit. We did erect a sign that acknowledged the parks purchase of the site thanking our voters for that. We do anticipate something to say Welcome to the City of Novi.
Councilman Toth said something natural thatís probably a combination of fieldstone and a sign that looks permanent and announces the City of Novi.
Mr. Koneda said that was put on our to do in the future list because we ran out of funding.
Mr. Davis said it was a financial thing more than anything.
Councilman Schmid said there were no trees mentioned. Is there some landscaping plan down the road?
Mr. Davis said weíre working with our Forester, Chris Pargoff, and weíre going to put together a landscaping plan. Basically what weíre going to do is pull the nursery stock, whatever we can selvage out of the creek pond, and bring it onto the site. What weíre anticipating is to line the roads with a shady type of trees and weíre going to find where we have pedestrian traffic flow concerns and weíll want to block areas from people walking through using Pine Trees and of that nature. Weíre leaving the vegetation and trees along the roadway here, (pointing to video) for two purposes it was requested by the residents who are on the other side of Napier Road and it would also help keep the soccer balls in and so forth. We could accent or augment those plans with some additional trees too. So we see a variety of areas weíre going to incorporate into that landscape plan.
Councilman Schmid said I assume this is pretty much clay land?
Mr. Davis said it is a mixture out there. We thought it was more a mixture of clay and loam but what weíre finding out is there is a lot of clay.
Councilman Schmid asked is that good or bad?
Mr. Davis said itís not bad. Itís not going to hurt us.
Councilman Schmid said what peaked my interest was you were talking about being in there in the spring and so forth and so on, what kind of affect will it have in the spring as to how soon you can get in and so forth.
Mr. Davis said it would have minimal impact because right now is the critical time.
Councilman Mitzel said the entry might be a good task for the Beautification Commission. Also, you mentioned the area of the tennis courts are basketball and volleyball proposed there too?
Mr. Davis said yes, there will be 2 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts and 2 volleyball courts and they will be near the control building.
Mr. Koneda said those will come with the phasing. We show those on the plan but thereís no effort going on currently to put these amenities in.
Mr. Davis said the tennis courts are.
Mr. Koneda said the tennis courts are?
Mr. Davis said yes, tennis courts are in and I believe the other two are out. The other things that are not budgeted are the comfort stations and the playground play area. We pulled those out and our original reason for pulling those out was we were waiting to hear from a DNR grant that we had submitted for a quarter of a million dollars. We did not get the grant so now weíre back to square one basically, how are we going to meet those financial obligations to finish up Phase 3 and Phase 4 and whatever it takes to finish it up.
Councilman Mitzel asked about the five foot sidewalk.
Mr. Davis said it called for a five foot sidewalk right now. We pulled it out of the first phase.
Councilman Mitzel asked if they had a ZBA variance?
Mr. Davis said no, we are going to phase it in and if we need to go for a variance we will do so and then, again, phase it in as a second component. Thereís about a $50,000 budget item but we are running so tight on it financially that we need to do it but in prospective to what we require to make the site functional.
Councilman Mitzel said if they were not going to loop the sidewalks around the park then he suggested they leave them out and look at putting them someplace else where they would link up and that they be eight foot sidewalks to allow for roller blading. etc.
Mr. Davis said funding was a main concern.
Councilman Mitzel said we need to provide for it. Sports parks are one of the fastest growing recreational things and I think we should make a loop for use or donít put in at all and if needed get a variance.
Councilman Mitzel asked if there was a policy for private organization use?
Mr. Davis said we are working on a policy and looking at costs and it had already been communicated that there was going to be a fee.
Councilman Mitzel asked if it would be adopted as formal policy?
Member Koneda said I noticed, in my neighborhood, a lot of rollerblading. There were young kids who set up rectangular courts on the street to play hockey and a lot of adults rollerblading for cardiovascular health. I think there should be rectangular courts as well as safety paths.
Councilwoman Mason said in the Parks and Recreation Program brochure it shows where you can rollerblade.
Member Colligan said there is one thing that I just wanted to add, what Councilman Mitzel was talking about, I think that is going to be something that is going to top off the use of this park. Iím a big advocate of putting a trail system through there somehow. I agree with you I think weíd be wasting our time with a five foot wide section. We should make it eight and I donít think it would take that much to run an L shape and then loop it in there and then back out. Some of the parks we visited when we were planning this initial phase had that. They had a nice trail system through where you could rollerblade. I donít think weíre going to loose sight of that because itís so hard to look at that. Itís a flat piece of land and itís hard to see where that would be. Thereís not many breaks in there to see where this is going to be and thatís going to be. So until we get situated and see some actual trails, roadways, parking structures and where the actual fields are going to be I think we should keep that in mind and find a way we can move them in there somehow and then bring them back around for a nice 3/4 mile, mile, mile and a half run. I think that would really add to the versatility of the park.
Member Colligan said in north Novi there is well over 400 acres of prime park land and it was made up of park purchases and it is contiguous to Lake Shore Park and Shawood Lake. I guess where weíre at right now, and obviously Councilís well aware, the Commission has been in the process of studying this issue as far as park plan for that whole area. We started back in January, at the direction of the Council, to look at all uses for the park site taking into consideration what our needs are within the community and apply those needs in the form of getting an architect on board to design it. We have money budgeted in our Community Development Block Grant Program that was approved two years ago funding at $17,000 to embark on that design for the park property. I guess I was going to turn it over to Bob at this point. Bob spearheaded, as the Commission Chair, the process that we undertook for the study of the design features of the park.
Member Pheiffer said it will take a couple of minutes to go through the process that we went through and arrived at the recommendation that we sent to Council at the last meeting. Like Mr. Davis said the resolution indicated for us to consider all possible recreation uses for the property and asked for a report back in ten months. The first thing we really did was start out with a brain storming session where we gathered all the ideas and didnít throw anything out. Then we went back around and gave ratings as to whether we thought it was applicable/not applicable, made sense didnít make sense. Based on that we listed items to be dropped and the rationale behind it. Then, we tried to group like uses together where it would tend to make sense; for instance all trails, small area activities, golf driving ranges, batting cages, volley ball, basketball, horse shoes, roller deck, etc. What we did from this was go to a decision making system, that had worked on a few things, and tried it on here. Basically, we took these different groups and decided what we needed from this piece of property and those were like the givens. If they didnít qualify for that that group was automatically eliminated. What we defined as givens were that they had to benefit the majority of the people in the City, there was a documented need for this type of activity, and it was suitable for the site. If any of these things didnít qualify under those three items they were thrown out. Then from there, the items that still remained, went into a wants list, environmental friendly, revenue or profit producing, grant opportunities, whether it was immediate benefit, low maintenance. These were kind of a struggle and we spend four or five meetings going through these activities. Items were grouped A through I, we went through all these, added the scores and multiplied them by a rating factor and lo and behold we got all done and the spread really wasnít that wide. The highest score was 468 and the lowest was 382. Again, we went back to look at the size of the property and looked at the size that would accommodate the vast majority of these and decided to go out with the Request for Proposal. The one thing that kind of stood out of here was the golf course and that it would take a big chunk of the property. So we decided that if that wasnít on there it would be a problem accommodating most everything else but we didnít know whether it could accommodate the golf course and still accommodate the other things. Thatís why the Request for Proposal is in two phases. The discussions weíve had during the interviews and so forth indicated it would probably take somewhere between 125 and 150 acres and there would still be plenty of property left to accommodate most of the other issues. At this point we felt, following the direction given by Council to investigate all recreation opportunities, we had enough money for the study to cover both of these options. Going back and looking at the old needs assessment the Golf Course did come up high on the needs assessment. Granted, thereís been additional golf courses that were not being considered ,at that time, but the population has grown considerable since then also.
This is the process that we went through and it was kind of an agonizing process. I think when we got it done we all felt pretty good that we were abiding by the resolution that was given to us, we met the time frame in reporting back in ten months and I guess we were kind of surprised that it was on the Consent Agenda.
Councilman Schmid said he left town Thursday morning because he had to go to San Antonio, Texas and I came back late last night. I read an editorial about some of the things that I might have said at the Council table including that I voted against senior citizens, which I did not. I voted for senior citizens. I would like to clarify some things for those who have difficulty with this project. The reason I was in San Antonio, Texas, at my own expense in case anyone has any questions about that, I think it was my wife who went, sheís on the Parks and Recreation Commission for Oakland County. There was 7,500 people there and I have to say I was impressed with the activity that goes on with these events. In addition to that, if anybody knows anything about San Antonio, Texas, they have the beautiful river walk. So, this trip worked out well for me because I talked to a lot of people about the river walk which the City of Novi has been considering for some time and I hope we have a Council at some stage that would be amenable to looking at that. Additionally, I talked to a lot of people about parks and particularly golf courses because thatís one of my interests. The paper suggested that I only had an interest because I want to play. Well frankly, I belong to a golf course which I pay large sums of money to play so I donít need a public place. In addition, I play in a league out at Links of Novi so I think that was a little bit unfair too. Notwithstanding that, I think Rob brought up a point that we have three golf courses. I donít know if you play golf or not Rob but thereís a nine hole course which is not considered a golf course in most worlds of golf. It barely can support a very small number of people and probably would never be able to support even the Maples of Novi once that gets filled up and people live there. The golf course over here at the hospital someday is designed, and Iíve talked to that gentleman, to get eliminated. The hospital, someday, will grow and it will take most of that land or all of that land, so that course wonít be there. The only other existing course in the City of Novi is the Links of Novi which I have played also since itís been opened. I had a league there, very fine course, however itís very expensive and if you talked to golfers they would tell you the league there is one of the most expensive leagues in the tri-county area. Now I happen to belong to a league that goes there so thatís OK but the seniors have a very tough time playing there. The seniors even have a tough time playing at the course at the hospital because thatís also expensive.
The idea of a golf course in the City, let me go back to San Antonio, Texas and there is no way you can verify this but I think you could probably look up and find out that what I tell you is basically true, and I didnít attempt to talk to everybody that was there, obviously, with 7,000 people, but virtually everybody I talked to from a major City, and Iím talking 30,000 or 40,000 people and up, have or are in the process of planning a municipal golf course. A couple of reasons, two or three reasons, number one it serves the senior citizens whereby they traditionally give lower rates. Iím a senior citizen so I suppose I could be accused now of wanting the golf course to give me a lower rate. As I said before I belong to a golf course which is fairly expensive. Secondarily, itís good for high schools. High Schools have a difficult time getting on the golf course, privacy and so forth. They use them for leagues, they use them for practice and it is a very, very important element for the high school and the senior citizens of the community. Thirdly, traditionally, the golf courses are just slightly cheaper than, normally, the private owned golf courses because you donít have quite the expense. You donít have the taxes to pay and some of those items so they can give you golf somewhat cheaper than municipal golf courses. The paper alluded to the fact that theyíre going to build another, I donít know how many trillion, golf courses in the State of Michigan. Michigan has one of the largest number of golf courses but they only build them because thereís a demand for them. The demand is continuing and they anticipate the demand to continue on up to who knows when. So I donít think there is any question that there is a need for golf courses in this area. I know of three additional golf courses that are going to be built out Ten Mile way outside of Novi out towards South Lyon and beyond that. In fact, the owner of the hospital course is planning to build a course out there because he knows full well that this course is going to be a foregone conclusion. In reality when you talk about the three courses there is one nine hole course, one that is going to be eliminated and one 18 hole course that is extremely expensive. That donít make it a bad course and doesnít make it bad people but they can demand those kind of charges. So it is supply and demand. The municipal course, on the other hand, can be very profitable from that standpoint. Additionally, everyone I talk to, and I havenít talked to the County at some length, they have four or five golf courses. The City of Southfield has four or five, Livonia has six or seven. Every City Iíve talked to, not recently as much to the City as to the County, they make substantial amount of dollars in spite of the fact that they give good breaks on the prices. A golf course, once it is established and once itís moving can support, and theyíll tell you this all you have to do is check it out, many of the Parks and Recreation functions that go on. Weíre talking about some areas that need subsidizing and golf courses can do that. They are money makers in spite of the fact that you can buy cheaper golf. So, I have no personal interest, no personal Bob Schmid interest, in the golf course. By the time this thing is built Iíll probably be, maybe, to old to play golf anyway but I think itís good for the community. I would guess that if we took surveys thereís probably more golfers then there are roller derbys, roller bladers, tennis players or many other things put together. It is a very, very popular sport. So, I hope nobody gets the impression that Iím looking for a golf course or trying to put something over on the City, thatís not my intent. Since 1980 we almost bought where the hospital is, as some of the historians will tell you, we could have bought that for a million and a half. Had we done it at that time we would have had a golf course and we would of done nothing and we could have sold the land across the street where the court now is and we would have had a fantastic deal. Now, we have another opportunity, ideal land which will not hurt the land one bit, in fact it will enhance the land, to build another golf course and Iím considering it a major mistake if we didnít at least explore the possibility of building a golf course and see what kind of dollars you are talking about and so on. I donít see this as a tax burden on the citizens of Novi. I think you could probably sell, and Iím not sure Mr. Kriewallís a better judge, either revenue bonds or something of that nature. We sell the bonds and the course pays it back. This is not going to be a tax burden. This should be, and if youíre going to believe every other City around this area, a money maker. It may take some time to break that money making thing. I think it is a very, very positive project. I think the revenues from a facility such as this could supplement much of the park activity in that area, for the passive parks and some of the other activities in other areas as well. So I would hope Council has the wisdom if not tonight at some future date, maybe a new Council whatever I donít know, Iíd like to see you adopt this. Itís a benefit for the City 20 years from now, 30 years from now not necessarily today. I wanted to bring that up and clarify my position and I would hope Council would give it consideration.
Councilman Toth said Member Schmid makes a couple of good points. Although, my problem is all the calls Iíve taken and the people Iíve talked to have been against the golf course. They said it wasnít in the bond issue and we didnít advertise the fact that we were going to buy land for golf courses. Iím not against a public/private venture to have a private company come in and construct a course and operate it for a fee. The figures we looked at the last time we looked at Bob-O-Link, approached a half a million dollars a year. Quite frankly, the City doesnít have that kind of funds and I doubt if we could come up with those funds. The construction of the golf course, my neighbor built one about 12 years ago, and his sons owned a landscaping and construction company and it cost $15,000 a hole on property they already owned. So we are talking about some hefty costs on the construction end of that and theyíre probably upwards of $50,000 a hole is a rough estimate from a few people I talked to. So, to construct an 18 hole golf course youíre probably talking somewhere on the order of $5 to $9 Million dollars. If we have to come up with the money I think that has to be addressed first.
Member Koneda said I think your numbers are drastically off, thatís if you buy the land. Typically a new golf course cost $6 Million today if you start and have to go out and buy the land.
Councilman Toth said I havenít constructed a golf course. Iím just throwing some numbers out that I heard.
Member Koneda said Iím just trying to make your numbers more realistic. If you want to talk about constructing a golf course where you have to pay for the land in addition to the construction costs that is about $6 Million. If youíre talking about just building the golf course on land you already own youíre talking about $2 Million.
Councilman Toth said second of all is that if you do construct a golf course on it you in effect are subsidizing that golf course either through donation of the land, no taxes being paid on it and so forth. Thatís an issue that we should really have a public hearing on because there may be an amount of citizens that resent the fact youíre subsidizing a semi private operation.
Councilman Toth said the other thing is in discussions with people who constructed the Links of Novi and a few other golf courses the design of a golf course is rather sophisticated to insure that you have a good course and they go around and hire golf pros to design some of these courses. I would not really feel comfortable giving the design to a contractor. I think it would be better placed through a private operation and let them come in with their so called expert and that would be critical. My concern is that when you look at some of these good golf courses they werenít designed by just any architectural firm or any design firm. There are people who specialize in designing golf courses and so no matter who you come back with unless they had experience in designing golf courses itís kind of a risky operation. Again, I would say to look at the property and solicit some private companies to look at the idea of constructing a course and having it done that way. I donít want the City to get involved in hiring the staff, trying to maintain that as a separate function. Itís a rather risky operation and itís a seasonal operation.
Councilwoman Mason said first I wanted to take off probably when you were talking about senior citizens making deals with non-profit organization that we have a Federal Grant and you did vote against that because you said it was better for the private sector to build senior citizen housing.
Second thing is with our teenagers there is not a problem, as far as I know, because my grandson is 15 and has golfed since he was 6 years old. Tanglewood provides, thatís where they go to try out for the team and then thatís where they go also to play and they have reduced rates for them there. Dan, is Parks and Recreation involved in anything like that at any of the golf courses with reduced rates for the young people to golf?
Mr. Davis said no, not really.
Councilwoman Mason said just for driving ranges and things like that?
Mr. Davis said not any more.
Councilwoman Mason oh, we donít do that any more but we did do that?
Mr. Davis said about four or five years ago. They are lessons through private driving ranges.
Councilwoman Mason said I feel we can have a golf course eventually but we never told the citizens that we were going to take any of this park land we put together to take care of one segment of the population. The child population is growing by leaps and bounds. Every time you put two adults in a household out here, and your putting 500 a year in, youíre putting 2.5 children and now I see some are having four and five children again. You know, there seems to be larger families and I think that really our motivation and the fact this bonding that was put through, people voted because they were assured at that time that it would be family recreation, children recreation, soccor. Weíre growing bigger than what we can put people on. Like you said about charging for baseball fields, you know, we own the property itís going to be up now. Itís going to be up for everybody. In fact it is up right now for adults or people coming in from outside, right? Iím looking at that more and more and more. So, I feel if we take a big chunk of our park land and ask people to pay to develop a golf course I think thatís taking us way off track from what our Parks and Recreation Program was.
Councilman Mitzel said Bob brought up many good points. I guess one of the reasons I had raised the flag or brought up the issue last time was my concern about competing with the private sector. Weíve never really had a discussion on whether or not the City should be in a position of providing a service as already provided by the private sector to the citizens. The point is that there is the fact that weíd be taking a bond issue that was all park land, developing a facility that would directly compete with the private sector facilities which already, within the City, are paying taxes to the City. True, theyíre possibly different and thatís a valid point. We even had some discussion last week about this over the banquet and restaurant facility that may be in the ice arena and how those would compete with the private sector. Iím sure that would probably have to be a big issue that we discuss with the Lake Shore property; whether the City should develop a facility that would compete with the private sector. Thatís one area that we havenít really discussed and I think we probably need to address it now and get a consensus on how much we should be involved in areas such as that.
Councilman Mitzel said one area we havenít discussed and we should sit down and discuss,
regarding this golf course issue, where we cross the line and start getting into private sector facility as opposed to providing needs that the private sector isnít providing but are yet out there. Thatís what, typically, you donít see as many private sectors coming in and building soccor fields or cross country ski areas or swimming beaches and such. So thereís that issue.
Councilman Mitzel said from the limited feed back Iíve had on this I have also heard some concern about that area being very pristine and a lot of concern over clearing that area for a golf course. Granted it can be done and done right and not disturb much but there is a concern by some members of the community about disturbing that area. Minimizing it to oppose the extreme that that is a big jewel as a passive wildlife type of park. We have our sports parks, we have our tennis parks and that area up there has two lanes, headwaters of the Rouge, very dense forest, rolling hills and small animals and such and the feedback Iíve had from those people were that that is what they appreciated that land for and itís what they envisioned it for. So I think at some point in Councilís time we have to have a serious discussion on this issue of private sector in competition with our facilities and what direction we want to go.
Councilman Mitzel said I see no reason this park land canít be used on a limited basis. You could designate some areas for cross country skiing. The parking could be provided right through Lake Shore Park. There is a parking lot right there and we could have the trails tie right into that parking lot and anyone from out of town could pay two bucks to get into that area. There are possibilities to get some use out of it right now. We use it for the Christmas Tree Sales and the trail system that I understand is going to be out there that could be, probably, quite economically converted over for cross country skiing, hiking, nature walks or what have you. Then in the meantime Council could discuss how we see the private facility/public facility issue.
Councilman Schmid said I have talked with the owner of Links of Novi and he encourages this. In fact, he wants to come in and be a partner and encourages the City of Novi to build a golf course. Why does he do that? Why would he want direct competition? He knows the more people, the more young people playing on a municipal course will someday be playing on courses around the City. So, actually golf course owners encourage these types of facilities. The owner of the Links of Novi has talked to me several times on that variation.
Secondly, one thing that the county and several cities pointed out, absolutely they said, whatever you do to build a golf course do not go private/public. They said thereís just plain to much money in it to give to a developer. They come in and build you the golf course, then $5 or $6 Million or $3 or $4 Million, then theyíll take up to 20 years and theyíll take the majority of the profit away from us and in 20 years theyíll give it to you. But they, the county people, and these people know they have been in this business for a long time, they say what ever you do donít do that. Iím talking, when I say thereís some profits, I donít know what this goes for but your talking in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year profits you could make and still provide the service to the community. This would supplement many, many things including some of the passive parks and so on. We are criticized in the newspaper again this evening by a letter to the editor they insisted that MDOT give us 100 acres of passive land which I think someday weíll be able to utilize out on Garfield Road or out in that area. I think thatís going to be another passive area thatís going to be able to utilized at some point in time once itís developed and once itís done. All Iím suggesting is that we should try and get some land that would not only benefit the citizens and Iíve talked about this many times. Iíve talked about going out and getting a citizens group together and Iím confident if you want to fill up the Council room we could fill it in ten minutes with golfers. Thatís not my intent but there are many things that you talk about Rob and theyíre true but some of the owners donít mind and some facilities they would. Weíll talk about the Parks building a banquet hall and there are hotels that, quite frankly, got upset when we suggested we might do that. So this will be discussed and I know that and I think youíre right it should be discussed further and see what happens.
Mayor McLallen said Iíd like to take one slightly different tactic before we get off of this and go on to other major issues tonight. The other night the Council was unable to give direction to the Parks and Recreation Commission on the awarding of their Master Plan bid. We took essentially no action and thatís going to delay the development of this area because there is nothing being projected to go on. I personally think we have an obligation to explore the merits of the golf course. Public Hearings will be held when this Master Plan is brought forward but I think it would be remiss because golf courses are considered a revenue stream. In this day and age of limited revenue municipalities we have to explore everything. It doesnít mean we have to take it but I think we are missing an opportunity if we do not direct the Parks and Recreation Commission to get on with the Master Plan, do the analysis, find out the pros and cons, and find out whether it works here or not. All of those issues will come back after that body has done the research and held the Public Hearings and then this body can make an informed opinion as to whether or not to proceed with anything. At this point, I think, weíre closing a door somewhat short sightedly. There have been a lot of very positive comments brought out this evening but the issue is weíre not going to go anywhere unless we authorize the Parks and Recreation to get on with their Master Plan. So I would encourage the Council to revisit that issue.
Councilwoman Mason said I disagree with you again. We did not do this from the beginning when this all started. The golf courses were not an issue and I specifically remember one time when we discussed it Mr. Kriewall said, in a Council meeting, that there were courses that were making money and he named a couple of them. They were like Livonia or Redford or something, you did, you did because I have nothing either way. You said public courses loose money.
Mr. Kriewall said public ice rinks.
Councilwoman Mason said no, public courses and that kind of gave me a mind set, at that point, it was during that Council meeting.
Mr. Kriewall said I said ice rinks not golf courses.
Councilwoman Mason said no, we werenít talking about ice rinks we were talking about golf courses.
Mr. Koneda said Iíve done a little bit of research on golf courses and Iíve been told by people in the business that a poorly run golf course after debt retirement will make a little bit of money maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year. Thatís a poorly run golf course. A properly run golf course your talking several hundred thousand dollars. The number that Iíve been told is $250,000 to $400,000 after debt retirement. If you look at the surrounding communities, Livonia has three public golf courses. Everyone of those golf courses makes money and thatís why they keep building them. The City of Taylor has a municipal golf course called Taylor Meadows. They made money off of that golf course and they have now built a second municipal golf course because they made money off of it. Wayne County has the old Warren Valley golf course which was built in 1920, itís a county course. They make in excess of $400,000 a year, they have two 18 hole courses and it is not very well run either. They make $400,000 a year after debt retirement. They are building another golf course in Wayne County. They are building golf courses because they make a lot of revenue.
Mr. Koneda said if you talk to the kids in the community, I have two sons and they were both very active in Parks and Recreation Programs and youth athletics, they are 23 and 20. They no longer play soccer, baseball, and they canít play football any longer. Theyíre now playing golf. Golf is the only sport that you can play from youth to the time you die. Itís the only sport. You donít see any hockey players playing past 70 years old but you will see 90 year old people on the golf course. Itís the only sport that covers your whole population.
Mr. Koneda said you mentioned the high school team is playing at Tanglewood. I know the high school team. They played, for ten years, their home course was Pebble Creek out in South Lyon. They wanted to come to Novi and came to the Links of Novi and the Links let them play there one year. At the end of that year they said your teams not welcome back because I can sell that time for more money to other people and I donít want you back. Tanglewood took them in, for that reason and we are grateful. However, at some point Tanglewood could say we donít need your team to keep coming back here and they could do that at any time because itís a public course. Where ever there is a public course, a lot of public courses have gone out of business or have been sold off because the land is very valuable. Brooklane Golf Course in Northville is a good example. That golf course will not exist in another year or two. It has been sold off and will be a subdivision. In Livonia, Dunroven Course, another good example, a very nice golf course was there for 50 years and somebody came in and said I see condos on this site, made an offer and bought the land. So privately owned golf courses could come and go as the market for land goes up and down. Municipal Golf Courses could stay forever.
Mr. Davis said the whole process that the Commission went through was strictly, if you look at it, a land use study. How much space do we have up there, how much recreation facilities could we put in up there given, as Bob outlined, our decision making process. All the different recreational facilities and uses and activities that we know that citizens of Novi want including the golf course. Golf, again, that the land use required with a golf course mandated us to look at that along with all those other things and how they could blend together. The carts way down the block in front of that horse right now. Weíre down to making commitments one way or the other from the Parks Commission standpoint whether we should pursue a golf course or not. Weíre strictly looking at can it fit there, what other types of recreational uses could fit along with it or stand alone on its own. Thatís important. So, then we can go to a Public Hearing process and get the residential community to tell us which one do they like better. Then we can pursue all those other questions out there, how do you finance it, how do you run it and things of that nature. Within our RFP we called out both of those avenues to allow us to get all the information thatís necessary for us to make an informed decision. We asked then about getting a specialized architect and design team involved because it does take a specialist to design a golf course profitability. Thatís why we called out, especially in the RFP, that the firm that we employ has to have some experience, good experience, in golf course design and thatís why we recommended not the low bid but the second low bid.
Mr. Davis said I guess the only point, for whatever reason Bob, there was some erroneous statements in the editorial that I want to make clear to the Council and obviously the Commission knows, at no time has the Commission looked at any type of residential development site. Mr. Davis said very quickly, we had a response letter back from Farrand Associates outlining a reduction of their cost down from $17,200 down to $15,400. In their letter they wrote back saying this is what our fee is going to be however, we do offer some of these other services associated with our architectural design team. We could look at residential, weíve had experience working a golf course design with residential and we also talked about bringing in a specialist to work through Public Hearing processes and they outlined both costs and services. That was in their summary letter that I passed on to Council in my back up material and the paper picked up on that and apparently wrote that we were considering that as an option. We are not. This is going to be a public recreation facility use up on the site and I want to make that perfectly clear since I canít get return phone calls back from the paper.
Mayor McLallen asked if the Council, at this time, would like to reconsider a vote on the wording of the. . .
Councilwoman Mason said is this a vote?
Councilman Toth said you canít do that.
Councilwoman Mason said you canít do that. Why would we?
Mayor McLallen said there isnít another Council meeting next Monday. At this point, I have to go in on Tuesday and put the agenda together and if this Council has any interest in revisiting this issue it would be appropriate to know it so the Parks and Recreation Commission can get on with their jobs.
Councilman Toth said put it on the agenda Monday and weíll discuss it.
Councilman Mitzel said it says in our rules that a member of the prevailing side . . .
Councilwoman Mason said it didnít prevail.
Councilman Mitzel said the prevailing side would have to put it in writing to the City Clerk to consider it.
Mayor McLallen asked that a member of the prevailing side have that into the City Clerk by Thursday.
D. Eleven Mile/Wixom Property
Mr. Kriewall said the latest on that property is that the attorney, Mr. Winer, is attempting to clear the title on this property and itís the intention of the levy company to continue with the sale process on the property. So thereís a continual dialogue between the school district and the levy company because they have some urgency if it comes to us. The levy company has allowed the school district to send surveyors to start laying out their plans for the location of the school on site.
Mr. Davis said the school has been very open as far as including us in the process administratively, getting our dialogue, getting acquainted with their planning process, where schools are going to be, how can we share infrastructure of roadways, park land and some of the other facilities possibly put on the site. We donít have the necessary financing or funding to move forward with some of those things but at least we could incorporate it into the Master Design of the entire site.
E. ROTARY PARK
Mr. Davis said this is the park at Nine Mile and Rock Hill Drive. We are working with the local Rotary Club. They have been using the proceeds that they make off the car raffle to help fund what theyíve committed is a $100,000 contribution back to the community, match that with a DNR Grant that we received last year of $75,000 to undertake the construction of this site. JCK, Mr. Kapalczak as a Rotary Member has donated some architectural design services on the layout here. We are trying to move this along. One of the first things that we had to do was remove that large dome, the sewer holding area that came off line a couple years ago or last year. It has been demolished, the place has been cleared up and this form was built. The layout that weíve done to date is we had a Public Hearing at a Parks Commission meeting a while back with the adjoining residents. We had some good input from them and the primary concern, obviously, is associated with the property boundaries farther to the south of the location. We concentrated our efforts to put most of the recreation facility in this corner section, which is near the industrial business. Tennis courts, picnic shelter, restroom, play area, walkways that would meander through the site following the site of the Middle Rouge River. They will connect up to Nine Mile which will have a safety path that will be a contiguous link in the Nine Mile segment. Then again, some of the things that we will be able to do later on, what we are envisioning, is bank fishing, nature trails, cross country skiing and so forth.
Timing, right now, we were hoping to do something to put it out for bid yet this fall. Thatís possible to get bids out, get it locked up for construction and start this spring. We have a parking area that will be right off Ashbury Drive that will allow for approximately 25 parking spaces. Again, we are looking at this as more of a neighborhood district type of park to service that quadrant of the City. We are not looking at this as a 100 acre regional type of draw facility. We do have some connections of trails already in place out there. Rob, youíve been involved with some of these along with the Rouge Rescue missions that have taken place over the last couple years. Weíve got the area and I think weíve got a good start on it.
Again, been a little slow with this one. Again, we have been, in the past, trying to get some services provided on a donation basis as far as some design work and that put us a little bit behind. The Rotary Clubís financial status as far as the revenue coming in has been a little slow and I think they have been a little disappointed in the amount of money that they have been able to put towards the $100,000 commitment. The last calculation I received from them they were upwards of $45,000 to $50,000 in their Fund Balance for this project. We were a little concerned 6 months ago that we didnít want to proceed to rapidly without that money being in place where the City would have to underwrite that cost. We talked with Ed about that and weíre moving it forward now to get this thing built and be ready for operation in 1996.
Thatís about it, obviously now that we got Power Park and Community Sports Park ground breaking moving this is our top priority as far as the next park to develop.
Councilman Mitzel said thatís just a partial picture of the development?
Mr. Davis said yes.
Councilman Mitzel said I have never seen the overall map of the park and at one point it was proposed that there would be a river walk or a walk along the river all the way down connecting up with Ashbury and then up to the north part. Is that still in the picture?
Mr. Davis said yes, the site goes all the way down and meanders following the railroad to a southwesterly direction. It actually hooks down . . .
Councilman Mitzel said to River Ridge and Chase Farms.
Mr. Davis said right, it actually comes up to, thereís an easement area that comes up to Ashbury. That will follow the river course and have a couple crossings throughout down the southern part of the property along with the eastern part of the property.
Councilman Mitzel said I guess my question though is that to be built in conjunction with what you show right here it will all be built at once?
Mr. Davis said thatís our plan right now. Obviously, given the financial consideration might cause us to phase in where we might have to do it internally. Again, weíre looking at woodchip trails basically for those areas.
Councilman Mitzel said about three years ago we were talking about areas the Rouge cleanup has done and those donít go anywhere and every year we woodchip them but they donít go anywhere so no one uses them. So, by this time next year weíll be able to walk from Nine Mile down?
Mr. Davis said yes, but maybe not all the way though. The question would be how far down this way and the connections to the east. We do have some temporary bridges that are in place that donít actually cross the river but cross some wetland areas.
Councilman Mitzel said I wouldnít think finances should be a problem with that because we have so many Eagle Scouts looking for projects.
Mr. Davis said thatís what weíve been doing with some of those, repairing those . . .
Councilman Mitzel said I would feel a little more comfortable if I saw a big map that showed the whole picture and that was included in it.
Mr. Davis said we will be going through the site plan review process and of course we will have the full map.
Councilman Mitzel said the other question I had was back at the Public Hearing I asked the Commission about the possibility of including asphalt areas and would it be appropriate for the young people who live in the south part of the City to play roller hockey. At the time, your statement, was youíd rather let the roller dek get established and you didnít want to compete with the roller dek. Now that roller dek is out of the picture. You have two tennis courts provided and tennis is needed. I donít know what it takes to provide a flat asphalt area that would be appropriate for the young kids that live down in that area. We will have the bike path going from Meadowbrook Road all the way to the site. Theyíll be able to get to the site.
Mr. Davis said we do have some areas here that are outside the wetland boundaries that we left, right now, uncommitted and I think that could fit in very well with that demand.
Councilman Mitzel said it seems like you said this would be more like a small neighborhood park.
Mr. Koneda said it would be nice to have that just to keep them off the tennis courts.
Councilman Mitzel said and also off the roads. Iím glad to see it is finally moving forward.
Mr. Kriewall said what about that free gazebo?
Mr. Davis said it turned out not to be free. Nothing in this world is ever free. What they wanted to do was they were going to zone a "gazebo" as part of the Rescue Rouge Program and they were determined to go back to the business community seeking donations for all the costs involved. So in turn it wasnít going to be free it was going to be something that the community would have to undertake as a donation.
Councilman Mitzel said the last Rouge letter I think I saw they decided to place it down somewhere in Hines Park closer to Northville.
Mr. Davis said we talked about it a little bit initially and if it is under those terms we face either a work effort by the Rotary Club who wants to do some actual pounding some nails and building could have done the same thing. Weíll go out and work to get the necessary materials to build it and if we have to do it that way weíll do it that way. It was turned out to be not a donation but another venture.
G. Public Park and Security/Signage
Mr. Davis said, lake property, Rob had requested this to be on and thereís some members from the, Bob Pheiffer, is a member of the Lake Property Site Committee. Edís here, Billís been involved with it. Iím not sure Rob, if you had specific questions about it.
Councilman Mitzel said youíre just giving status reports.
Mr. Davis said I think Sarah Gray came back to the Council and gave a status report that they were still considering a banquet facility/community building. Since that time we met with Glen Oaks and reviewed how they run their facility and they put us in touch with an architect and we have a meeting coming up October 19 to kind of get their input. I think thereís supposed to be one meeting after that to come back and finalize it and come back to Council. The only thing thatís happened between there was their request that talked about putting a temporary facility there. We discussed that at a Commission meeting and decided that for the amount of money that weíre short developing Eight Mile and Napier and not knowing what was going to end up there, it really isnít a safe position right now for doing anything the way it is. We decided it was not the time to invest money in a temporary kind of usage until we get some kind of decision of what itís going to be.
Councilman Mitzel asked about graffiti clean up.
Mr. Kriewall said Tony Nowicki was working on that.
Councilman Mitzel said once again we were talking about the golf course and I have some concern over whether or not we need to get into that area of competing with the private sector. The more often I drive by that site the more I see it being able to be a nice open park. The more I think about it the more I see it that way as opposed to an intense use on that site.
Member Pheiffer said the Commission has always supported that whatever ends up there either has to be a no cost kind of thing or a revenue break even kind of thing.
Councilman Mitzel said whatís the difference between this and Rotary Park or Sports Park?
Member Pheiffer said right, itís one more park.
Councilman Mitzel so you donít want anything there thatís going to cost money then why should we even consider buying more park land at this time that would cost money?
Member Pheiffer said you have a point. From the Commissionís standpoint we need to wait for the Property Site Committee to complete their task as directed by Council, finish that and then we will be able to respond accordingly.
Councilman Mitzel said I would be curious in the next budget session to know what the development process will be for the park land, if we have it. Including this and Rotary, Eleven/Wixom so we can kind of see what weíre eventually going to need in the long run.
Mr. Davis said that would be something that we address through our Capitol Improvement Planning process that we will undertake in the next 60 to 90 days which will dictate all those costs.
Mayor McLallen said the lake property, as you know, I do not support it but the facility there I think is from the last vistas that this City has and is completely unique to the City. Thatís the most costly developed area on the actual gorgeous, view of the lake thatís owned by us. I think thatís something that we need to be really, really careful about. As that area develops we know that there are some major projects southeast of that area whose impact we have not even begun to see. It makes me want to guard this particular site much more jealously and take it into particularly open space. I have an immediate concern, I think we should probably be practicing with complete planning and clear potential before making decisions. That seems to go season to season and every season the most wonderful piece of property in our City is most visually put off and unattended. As Rob pointed out, he and I, both walked the site and thereís usually a lot of trash, and graffiti on the site, and the mowing schedule up there is not terrific. I realize that it all comes back to our direction to use it, with the budget tight, but this is one area that friends of the park need to highlight. This is a real jewel and I hate to give it up to another season and leave it so unattended.
Councilman Schmid said you recall that the committee was charged with what those uses would be and youíll also recall that the survey done throughout the community probably disagreed with you and Rob. Now that could change tomorrow but I think at that time it was somewhat in the direction of where we were going. So I have some mixed emotion about it and whoever sits at Council at that time will make a decision.
Councilman Toth said first of all I think everybody is pointing their finger at Dan and number one itís not his property. It doesnít belong to the park and has never been designated park land. That was bought out of road funds for the purpose of aligning Thirteen Mile Road and we, as a Council, or any Council that Iíve served under or on itís never given that property over to Parks and Recreation to clean up and build. So technically he doesnít have that property so letís not point at him and say heís responsible to clean it up. If anybody Mr. Kriewall and Mr. Nowicki are responsible. Thereís other property along there that is also owned by the City and we have never given it to the Parks and Recreation Commission. So in fairness to the Commission and in fairness to Dan Davis they are not liable for that right now.
G. Public Park and Security/Signage
Mr. Davis said Rob had asked me to also put this on. I guess Rob, to paraphrase, basically the concern that I share and that Robís brought up weíre getting into a lot of these park areas all over the City. The new purchases where theyíre not the best and we donít have an aggressive signing program in place to delineate where the Cityís property starts and stops and so forth. One area that we know that we are going to have or have a problem with right now is going to be in Rotary Park. Residential back yards awash with the City owned property and we are all aware where we had a couple occasions where encroachments have occurred where all of a sudden a playground unit gets put up half on City property and half on private owned property, a garden gets planted out there things of that nature. We are going to be undertaking that here in the next year basically because we have so much area but using Boy Scouts, Eagle Scout Projects, our maintenance staff and coming up with the consistent signage program thatís going to be able to put out in a staggered fashion, maybe 50-75 feet or so, just nice aesthetically pleasing signs that delineate where our public property starts and where private property does. I think it will go a long way, proactive, saying private people you canít encroach on ours this is for everyone to enjoy. At the same time, also, letting people on these trails know where their rights end as far as encroaching onto the private sector private properties.
Itís tougher obviously up in the north area where we have 400 plus acres. How we are going to do that is going to be a little tougher and these other smaller parts, thatís what weíll start with first, where we are near residential areas and try to address it that way. Itís a good point and a good suggestion and itís something we have to get on the first burner with a maintenance staff and some volunteer help.
H. Park Bond Fund Update
Mr. Davis said to summarize, basically we have completed acquisition activities, couple pending items that weíve previously talked about. Where weíre at with improvements we are getting right to the very end and itís getting tight. Obviously, as we talked about the community Sports Park we already know that weíre very tight out there. Originally we had somewhere around $1.8 Million of items listed for development on that site. Weíve got $1.3 Million budgeted right now. We still have potential to recoup a couple hundred thousand dollars out of the Storm Water Funds that are going to be a part of the north Novi area basin that were purchased with Rec Bond monies that should be reimbursed back. Itís more of an editorial comment on my part but should be reimbursed back to those Rec Bonds because it is going to be a basic area. Thatís something that this Council will have the final say so on. This gives you a summary of where weíre at and we are getting down to the last. Mr. Kriewallís handling those last negotiations and weíre going to finish those up shortly and we are going to be tight.
Councilman Toth said you are missing one item on this list right now. Where is the interest made off this money? We sold the bonds and youíre talking about $9 Million whereís the interest?
Mr. Davis said the interest is calculated in here at the $10 Million figure, ten million fifty thousand dollars.. We sold bonds and it was $9.9 Million Bond issue and then that was calculated back in. This is the number I gave to Les Gibson.
Councilman Toth said you better check on it. I got Ten Million dollars Iím sure youíll make a lot more on interest then what youíre showing me there.
Mr. Davis said these are the numbers that we pulled out of all the financial records from finance. Iíll check with them.
Councilman Toth said could you get it on paper to us for Mondayís meeting.
Mr. Davis said well, this is part of the budget and it shows up in the annual budget too.
Councilman Toth said I would still like to see this as one line item how much interest was made on $9.9 Million that weíve collected over the last two years, I believe, right?
Mr. Davis said Iíll ask Mr. Gibson to put a report together and see that you get it by Monday. Weíll try for that.
Member Pheiffer said the only comment that the Commission has is there any way, weíve got all the money and all the land that we were promised we were going to get, is there anyway we could hurry more money and do this development of this property. We are extremely interested in getting these bids out and you might want to keep that in mind.
Councilman Crawford said how short are we?
Mr. Davis said anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 depending on how you approach this.
Councilwoman Mason said the Storm Water Reimbursement, from what I understand, would make us break even. This is extra money weíre going to have, right? $200,000 is really bringing us even. There is over cost over the 9.9 budget that we have, correct?
Mr. Davis said the storm water money that, I summarized it at approximately $200,000. Thatís not calculated into the ten million fifty thousand dollar line item.
Councilwoman Mason said so if we donít get the $200,000 we are over budget with the 9.9.
Mr. Davis said no, we are not over budget.
Councilwoman Mason said did we spend ten million fifty thousand?
Mr. Davis said that is the number that, with the interest thatís been calculated by the finance department, indicates thatís what we should be able to spend within budget.
Councilwoman Mason said and then we had the 9.9 in the first year. So we have to know the exact interest, as Joe said, but we donít have that $200,000 that comes from the storm water reimbursement is not extra money to develop it.
Mr. Davis said no, thatís not correct.
Councilman Toth said no, if itís bought for the storm water program then the storm water program would pay for it.
Councilwoman Mason I guess my point is though weíre not going to have $200,000 in our hands from the Storm Water Fund Reimbursement.
Councilman Toth said no, itís a transfer of funds.
Councilwoman Mason said yes, but it wonít be $200,000 that we can take and start developing park lands.
Councilman Toth said well effectively you can because that part isnít reserved for storm water and that can be used for park land.
Councilwoman Mason said but not for development.
Mr. Davis said it would go as a Rec Bond it would read reverse the Recreation Bond and that money could be . . . .
Councilwoman Mason said I think that should come from our bonding people or our attorneys.
4. Park Maintenance Division Analysis
Mr. Davis said basically one of the things that Council had asked us to do is forecast a maintenance and we told Council weíd probably be back before the end of the year. This is kind of a spasm at this point to show you what weíre doing. We donít really want to get into a detailed discussion at this point in time. Weíve had a Summary Committee that worked with Jack Lewis, basically the procedure was to put together an estimate of all the number of hours required for different types of maintenance and upkeep and applied that to all the current property objective what itís going to be for new property. Heísís got about 30 days of backup for this thing. One page shows the hours required for the current existing and thereís one on the bottom and one on the top. The easiest way to look is the difference between the two. Thatís the real figure that weíre concerned about. If you had enough experience with what the staff has done this summer is kind of track the actual hours. The feedback that weíve been getting is that the estimates were pretty good. What we predicted for the existing requirements matches up with what theyíre coming out to be for this year. That gives us a lot of confidence that what weíre projecting for 96 would also be very good. So, you can see the gap of providing six people during the busy hours, April through October, the question comes up is how do you handle that. Is it with permanent staff, itís not year around things and youíd hate to have permanent staff unless there is something else in the City that they can do the other months. If you go to temporary, part time staff and all of a sudden it balloons up quite a bit then who do you have to supervise that. You really donít want to have some part time staff supervising the other part time staff spreading the permanent staff too thin. Can you contract this kind of work out? Those are the kinds of things weíre taking a look at.
Councilman Toth said right now we are on three grass cutting operations. Parks and Rec is cutting grass, DPW is cutting grass and we are contracting out to cut grass. Why not just take the whole grass cutting operation and dump it in with the DPW? That would relieve you of grass cutting and youíve got all that other maintenance you could do on the ball fields. Right now, Iím getting a little concerned that we are operating two different fleets to cut the grass plus we are contracting out. Your getting a work load right now that you can maintain your people with no problem at all if you eliminated the grass cutting and pass that on to the DPW. Theyíre looking for staff for the winter time and for other operations but I personally think we should have just one grass cutting operation and logically it should fall with the DPW. Thatís not to say it couldnít be with Parks and Recreation.
Mr. Davis said that was something that he would like to look at because what theyíre saying makes sense on the surface our grass cutting requires a little bit more specialized grass cutting and on a demand basis. It just not taking the brush hog out and cutting the boulevards and islands and things like that. We are getting into where we might have to cut more than once a week.
Councilman Toth said do you want to talk to some of our homeowners who live across from some of these islands? They donít want a brush hog out there. They want those islands to look just as good as your ball fields. So, Iím not saying that they should whack some of these islands down with a brush hog; they should cut them just as nice as your ball fields.
5. Aquatic Facility
Mr. Davis said just to let Council know based on your appointments here recently the recently appointed members and six citizens at large have the first meeting is scheduled for next week and the communications have already gone out to those citizens on the Committee. I will continue to put you on the mailing list so that you are aware of the reports following each meeting. We want to make sure that we have everything addressed from a community input standpoint and we donít want any surprises out there.
Councilman Toth said one or two meetings or discussions on TV might not be a bad idea because there are an awful lot of people concerned about this.
6. Future Communications
Member Pheiffer said we just added that because we are a little concerned about some of the things that happened. In fact, we do send the meeting summaries out and I get a lot of feedback that they like them but I never get any questions about things that are in there. We try to point out and we include attachments sometimes but yet when it comes time to bring something formally before the Council we tend to get surprised. Whatever it takes to get better lines of communication we are all for whether it is some things that I had jotted down like have a report at the Council meeting maybe be on something at the front of the agenda to answer questions or give you the feedback rather than sending it out in the mail. Schedule a joint meeting right now, I know what happens it comes to spring and we put it off a little bit and all of a sudden your in budget season and in meetings every night of the week. If we could, somehow, get on the agenda far enough ahead of time to make sure that this kind of meeting happens especially come spring this year, Dan, youíll be ready to dedicate some of these parks and maybe we can do a joint tour of the park facilities. After the senior van closes up for the evening maybe we could use the senior van to tour the park facilities. We are open for suggestions, I guess, is what weíre saying.
Mayor McLallen said I was calculating quickly forward. Five months would bring us to March 15 which would be slightly before budget issues. Six months would put us to April 15.
Councilwoman Mason said I would like to wait until after the election to set the dates. Second, when you have a committee that has been given a specific places to be and then it comes back as, and I know, a Three Bear Water Park. I mean then I have these parents who have their children in all kind of programs for swimming, because theyíre very serious about it in other communities, and then they say Oh my God what are we doing here? I donít know how that happens and I donít know how it comes from A the Aquatic Committee to Z where we end up with this big water park. Where does this happen in between?
Member Shaw said that thing went full circle. We had a Committee for a year and a half or more that started out and was a base lane pool and then went to a whole outdoor/indoor competitive swimming pool, then it went to a aquatic facility . . .
Councilwoman Mason said what Iím saying is that wasnít Parks and Rec though that was the people sitting on the pool committee. So I think that when we get to the point youíre going to go off the guidelines then I think the Council should get a small thing saying now weíre going to have something here on Taft. Then we could say as a Council "oh this is not what the people said" or poll constituents and say "is that what you wanted" because this took a lot of good time from those volunteers to come up with this great thing that we wanted, see. So I think that maybe every couple months a sheet should be given to the Council saying is this the direction we were supposed to be going? Hereís the original direction and hereís where weíre at.
Member Staab said being new to the Commission this year I want to make sure I understood this correctly. I believe our committee has gone full circle like you mentioned, Carol, and our continuing communications vehicle has been via our notes and so on and so forth on a monthly basis of where it was progressing and so on and so forth. So we werenít trying to blind side anyone we were trying to keep everybody appraised of what was going on and we were kind of surprised that it came back to us like it did.
Councilwoman Mason said I donít ever remember seeing anything that, you know, it started a serious aquatic facility and went to this big recreation park thing. I donít ever remember reading anything that told me that weíd gotten off the track just beyond reading the Aquatic Committee meeting minutes. So we didnít really know what was happening. I think the direction from the community is what people who are on committees, Councils, Parks and Rec or whatever we do, the direction from the community is what weíre always looking at.
Member Staab said well thatís what the Committee was giving us. The Committee didnít determine Cedar Point or whatever.
Councilwoman Mason said no, but actually it was direction from the group of people who sat on that committee and it went totally away from any parents that had children who were interested in serious aquatics.
Councilman Mitzel said that was an unofficial Committee but now just two items on the communications. We have asked, now, that all our Boards and Commissions including the Committee keep us informed and I think that will keep us in the loop and make sure that we are aware of what goes on. The other issue about the joint meetings, our schedules been extremely full. We honestly havenít had a joint meeting with anyone for almost a year. I think it was the end of last October. I think we had a joint meeting with the School Board. Previous to that was in February with the Planning Commission and earlier in February with Parks. Thatís been it for the last two years. We may be able to, once the election is over with the new Council, will decide to have a master calendar for a full year. The Planning Commission may be in line for a joint meeting, we have considered possibly meeting with Farmington Hills to talk about the Haggerty Road corridor and we havenít met with the school. There are a lot of people waiting in line for joint meetings and itís kind of hard with work and home life so we may be able to get a master schedule to at least accommodate each group one time during the year.
Councilman Toth said I feel that the Parks and Recreation should do a quarterly report. I think we should take full advantage of the video and apply it to a 5 or 7 minute video clip with the progress of your parks and how theyíre developing. A good example right now, the next one should probably be on your tree farm. On a Christmas Tree you could do a little advertising and so forth and do a video clip of where itís located, where the trees are at, what youíre selling them for and everything else and do a clip on that on a quarterly report. The other one is the Childrenís Theater; until you gave me this flyer here all Iíve done is read about it. It would be a good idea to put a 5 minute video clip, show it to the people, this is where their money is going, on their programs. The same thing is true on their Rotary Park and some of these other parks. Focus on one, come in for a status report, 5 minute presentation, 5 to 7 minute video clip and at 10 to 15 minutes we could put you on the front of the agenda. I think, one is, you are informing the public on TV what youíre doing giving a status report and your also informing Council.
Member Koneda said I feel that I have to defend the Aquatic Committee since itís been brought up several times about not getting direction. The original Aquatic Committee was set up by the Parks and Recreation Commission and not by City Council. We essentially set up, and went to the community and asked three questions: is there anybody in the community interested in an ice arena, is there anybody in the community interested in a field house, is there anybody in the community interested in an aquatic center, it was called a swimming pool at that time, please come in and we want to set up some sub committees to start looking at it, is there a community need, does it make sense to pursue and should we continue with these types of studies? We know the way the ice arena went or is going as an outcome of that. The field house kind of, we didnít get a whole lot of support for it, and then with the addition to the high school and some of the things that were happening and we knew were going to happen, we felt the need for having our own indoor recreational facility was diminishing. So we did pursue that. The third one was the Aquatics Center. It was a group of citizens that I think Dan and I served on that Committee with a group of people that most of them were people who had kids that were in competitive swimming programs and they wanted the Parks and Recreation to build a 50 meter Olympic type swimming pool complete with a diving platform. Thatís what they wanted for $6 Million. We looked at it and said is that the role of Parks and Recreation to provide competitive swimming when we donít even have it in the high schools. Thereís only two pools in the whole state like that. Oneís at the University of Michigan and the other one is at Eastern. Is it the duty of the Parks and Recreation Department to provide that level? So we kind of skirted it and said we want to appeal to the families in the community, the recreational swimmers in the community, the families. What do they want and we had a different group of people come in and essentially the whole make up of the Committee changed. A different group of people came in and we said what would you like to see in this facility? They told us they didnít want a swimming pool they wanted an aquatic center because they wanted something where their kids could come and spend a couple of hours not go for 15 minutes and be bored and want to go home. They asked us for that. Thatís the reason it went in that direction. We spent an awful lot of work and then we said if it is the right thing to do now we will go to City Council and see how City Council feels to determine what the next step should be. We think we followed the rules. We think we did what we were asked to do. Iím not disappointed in the outcome, Iím not sure itís the right thing to do on the right location but itís what a large segment of the population said they wanted was an aquatic center. The reason they wanted an aquatic center was that it appealed to a wide age group. So anyway, my apologies for sermonizing but I felt that it needed some explanation because a lot of people put in an awful lot of time and it wasnít as fruitful as the Ice Arena Committee. Thank you for your patience.
Mayor McLallen said Iíd like to thank all the Park and Rec Commissioners and ladies. You guys have really put in an extraordinary year that will bring fruit to the City soon. I mean everybody keeps waiting, when is it coming. It really is coming and thank you for all the hours. Itís really an incredible amount of park land being delivered in a short time.
Mayor McLallen adjourned the meeting at 10:11 pm.