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SPECIAL JOINT MEETING OF THE COUNCIL AND THE PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION AND HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF

THE CITY OF NOVI

THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 1999 at 7:00 PM

 

Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

 

 

ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford (absent/excused), Council Members DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid

 

 

ALSO PRESENT: Ed Kriewall, Craig Klaver

 

 

PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING

 

  1. HISTORICAL COMMISSION ISSUES

 

Members of Historical Commission: Alan Kohring, Linda Krieger, David Lussier, Kathleen Mutch, Alan Rothenberg

 

 

Kathleen Mutch introduced the individual members of the Historical Commission.

 

Alan Rothenberg advised the Commission is pleased to announce they had a very successful first annual Fuerst Farm picnic late last September. Commissioner Rothenberg reported this idea was brought forward by the Commission to bring attention to the property known as the Fuerst Farm located to the immediate west of the Civic Center and historic Town Hall. Commissioner Rothenberg noted the historic Town Hall was moved to this site in 1986 and has been refurbished to its former grandeur. Commissioner Rothenberg noted they would also like to see this kind of restoration happen with the Fuerst Farm. He believes they can accomplish this with public awareness.

 

Commissioner Rothenberg advised the Commission wanted to bring attention to the Fuerst Farm by holding some kind of a public event (i.e., concert and picnic) that would have been reminiscent of what may have happened around the farm during the time it was in use. He continued by stating their idea was to have families bring picnic lunches, enjoy the music provided by the community band, and then provide a tour of the facility. Commissioner Rothenberg reported approximately thirty people participated and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Commissioner Rothenberg would like to see this event continue and he believes there is a potential for doing many other things with the history of Novi in mind.

 

Councilman Kramer suggested they do more advertising (i.e., banners) under their Special Events budget.

 

Commissioner Rothenberg advised the 30th Anniversary Committee has accepted the idea of using the Fuerst Farm picnic as their closing ceremony on Sunday, September 26.

 

Alan Kohring reported they have booked Fanniganís Isle for the summer concert scheduled for August 12.

 

Commissioner Rothenberg noted the historical significance of the Irish Band is related to the fact many of the early Novi settlers that migrated from New York are of English and Irish descent. He explained many of Fanniganís Isle songs are old wailing songs from the early to mid 1800ís.

 

David Lussier reported the majority of their budget is a status quo (i.e., utilities and maintenance) and the printing line item is for various promotions (i.e., flyers). Commissioner Lussier reported the amount under Conferences is targeted for members to attend various historical conferences. He noted Historical Markers will be discussed later in their presentation. In regard to Building Renovations, Commissioner Lussier recalled this request has been before Council in the past and he is uncertain where it stands at this point. He reminded Council they propose to provide access in the Town Hall from the main floor to the basement without going outside. He explained the After School Program is currently using the site on a daily basis and if they were going to develop a continuous use for the building, they need to find a way to get to the bathroom in addition to making the building safe. He added the rendering they submitted to Council for the renovation is designed in a way that it is in line with the architecture of the building.

 

Councilwoman Mutch added the entire Commission supports the proposed renovation to the Town Hall.

 

Mr. Klaver advised they attribute the high quote to the fact that architects are currently busy and they only consider the more profitable projects. Mr. Klaver believes even the architect who provided the current quote is not very interested in doing this project. Mr. Klaver then advised an architect recommended they speak with the architect who is designing the renovations to the Police Station. When Mr. Klaver spoke with that architect, he advised they would agree to include it in their contract for the Police Department renovation and before he provides an actual quote, he would like to review what is involved in the renovation. Mr. Klaver believes this would be a more efficient way to accomplish this project. Mr. Klaver expects to receive a quote within the next few weeks.

 

Councilwoman Mutch reminded Council the expectation was that this funding would come out of this yearís budget and added the budget was prepared with other projects in mind. She explained they still need to paint the inside and although it may not be the full amount, she would not be too quick to draw a line through the amount.

 

Mayor McLallen is concerned that the project may exceed the amount allocated. Commissioner Lussier stated the amount presented is for the original design. He explained they plan to complete the first part and the last part would address the aesthetics of the whole building (i.e., painting) into this coming yearís budget.

Commissioner Krieger advised two usable entrances will also better comply with the ADA code.

 

Commissioner Krieger advised they are also in the process of obtaining the marker for the Fuerst site from the State of Michigan by October 1999. Commissioner Krieger added that the Fuerst site is also federally recognized.

 

Commissioner Krieger advised the Commission is working on making the stone markers more presentable at the Knapp Cemetery on Nine Mile Road. She added they have also discovered historical markers at the Novi Road cemetery.

 

Commissioner Rothenberg added there are 1812 veterans buried at the Novi Road cemetery and sometime in the distant past, there were cast iron markers that were placed next to the stone where a flag was to be inserted. He noted the markers are inscribed with the year 1812. Mr. Krieger reported the paint has worn off the markers and they were planning to petition the Veterans Administration to provide more markers to place on the 1812 markers.

 

Commissioner Krieger advised the Commission has also published a piece of literature about the history of Noviís Town Hall.

 

Councilwoman Mutch believes the work of the Commission has heightened the awareness and appreciation for local history. She advised Frank Brennan was able to interview one of his neighbors (Hildred Hunt) who is over one hundred years old. She continued by stating Lou Martin was able to reproduce that videotaped interview and build it into a program for cable viewing. In addition, Mr. Martin is making arrangements to have many of her old city documents videotaped as an additional historic resource.

 

Councilwoman Mutch continued by stating Mr. Martin repackaged some of the videos so they are more uniform and so they emphasize the historical nature of the interviews.

 

Councilman Schmid asked for further clarification about how the Commission was formed. Councilwoman Mutch reminded Council that the Commission was formulated because the Historical Society wanted to move the Township Hall to its current location. She explained because of the complexity of moving a building onto city property, Council decided to create an ordinance that created the Commission. Councilwoman Mutch continued by stating the Historical Society was the driving force and they made up the membership of the original Commission. She noted this group dominated until the last four years.

 

Councilman Schmid asked who is responsible for obtaining grants to help defray costs? Mr. Klaver replied they have made applications for grants in the past, but at this point in time there has not been much grant activity. He reminded Council that of their goals is to provide an individual to assist in grant preparation.

 

Mr. Klaver added this Commission does not have the same staff support that other boards and commissions have. Consequently, they are limited because they must do much of the work on their own.

 

Mayor McLallen believes it may be time for some of the groups to expand and consolidate their members. Councilwoman Mutch stated one problem with that is the ordinance that created the Historical Commission gives it its authority specifically for the Town Hall.

 

Councilman Schmid agreed it is time to combine the efforts of the various historical groups so that more citizens can become involved.

 

Commissioner Rothenberg believes the more community awareness of this Commission there is, the more appreciation the city will have for its history. Commissioner Rothenberg continued by stating the first anniversary birthday party was a great example of how much interest there is in the history of Novi. However, he asked how do they bring that history to the people within the city and their busy schedules? He believes the Fuerst Farm Picnic is one, the concerts are another, or holding open houses at the Town Hall is yet another. However, he added that the ratio of Commission members to spectators is disappointing and they are trying to publicize themselves as best they can.

 

Councilman Kramer believes the Historical Commission is doing a good job but he wonders if it is time to generate additional synergy by some kind of union with the Historical Society. He believes they can accomplish more if they have a broader volunteer base.

 

Mr. Kriewall advised the problem is that it is difficult to recruit additional volunteers with limited staff resources available.

 

Commissioner Lussier advised prior to becoming a member of this Commission, he was part of a Historical Society that was very active in Barrington, Illinois. He advised this community assigned a full time staff person for the purpose of preserving historical information. He believes if Novi can find a way to hire a coordinator of these various elements, they may be able to have a stronger program.

 

Councilman Kramer suggested that a historical office can be established by assigning a person part time to the Historical Society who may also be interested in contributing to the function of the historical effort.

 

Mayor McLallen believes they need a plan and suggested that the Commission formulate a Historic Master Plan.

 

Councilwoman Mutch advised the Commission is limited to what they can do and what they have the authority to do. She explained their approach in the past has always been that each member finds something that they would really like to see accomplished and then the individual formulates a plan. She continued by stating the Commission then regroups and comes together to move forward with the plan to see what the public responds to. Councilwoman Mutch advised their plan is to gradually build on things they know are working well and then add new ideas as they come forward.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo appreciates the role the Commission has played in preserving Noviís history, buildings and cemeteries. She believes it is very important to preserve Noviís history.

 

Councilman DeRoche supports the renovations to the Township Hall because he believes the sooner it becomes more useable to the public the better.

 

Commissioner Kohring thanked Kathy Mutch for all the historical research she has provided, Mr. Klaver for his leadership and Council for their continued support.

 

 

BREAK Ė 8:00 until 8:05 p.m.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Sarah Gray Ė 133 Maudlin, advised she would like to see the golf course issued placed on the ballot.

 

Mayor McLallen replied Council has no answer to Ms. Grayís request at this time.

 

 

2. PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION ISSUES

 

 

Members of Parks & Recreation Commission: Fred Atiyeh, Dennis Colligan, John Keuth, Rob Mitzel, Robert Shaw, Charles Staab, Harold Wingfield

 

 

ALSO PRESENT: Dan Davis, Marilyn Troshak

 

 

Mayor McLallen thanked the Parks & Recreation Department and Commission for the comprehensive packet information they provided for tonightís meeting.

 

 

A. Park Development

1. Community Sports Park

 

Fred Atiyeh advised some of the fields at the Community Sports Park were burned up over last summer but noted they were reseeded in the fall.

 

Mr. Davis reminded Council that they received their approval to hire Dave Miellock & Associates to prepare the design on the restroom and concession buildings (soccer field and baseball field areas) that are funded in the current yearís budget. Mr. Davis further advised that they currently have an Edison service out to the site that will enable them to get the irrigation system running. He added Mr. Lewis is working with all parties involved to get the irrigation system functional before the seasonís kick-off.

 

Mr. Davis advised they are facing a challenge with the school shifting their construction schedule in such a way that they are pulling some fields that Parks & Recreation typically had access to for their practice locations.

 

Mr. Davis reported there have been preliminary discussions about building a picnic shelter this year near the Pope Play Structure.

 

Councilman Kramer asked whether there will be electricity and well water available? Mr. Davis advised there are three transformers in place; one services the septic field, one services the ball field area, and one services the soccer field.

 

Councilman Kramer understands the shelter will have electricity and water; Mr. Davis agreed.

 

Mr. Kriewall asked what service group will build the shelter? Mr. Davis replied they are looking to have the Lions Club construct the shelter.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked whether the access issue to the park has been addressed? Mr. Davis replied they addressed that issue last fall by permitting residents to have access to the parking lot near the Pope Play Structure. However, he added they will still be unable to access the back of the park after hours.

 

Commissioner Atiyeh recalled the last time they met that Councilwoman Lorenzo mentioned setting money aside for additional trees along the roadway. Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled she questioned whether they could program money from the tree fund toward more landscaping. Mr. Davis will check with Mr. Pargoff.

 

 

2. Rotary Park

 

Mr. Davis reported they have developed nature trails and updated signage at Rotary Park. He added they also plan to construct a split rail fence along the perimeter of the active areas, plant additional landscaping, and complete the repair of the tennis court fencing this spring. He explained this work will be done internally and no additional monies are necessary. Mr. Davis added they are starting to see some increased utilization of the park by the nearby residents. In addition, Mr. Davis reminded Council about the additional property that was acquired from the Audubon Society.

 

Mr. Kriewall advised the Rotary Club has announced that they will build a picnic shelter this summer and they are looking for Parks & Recreation to design it. Therefore, Mr. Kriewall suggested they coordinate that project with the Community Sports Park shelter. Mr. Davis advised Jack Lewis is coordinating that with a member of the Rotary Club and he understands the design has already been completed. Mr. Davis added they are projecting an August build date in a cooperative effort with the Rotary Club.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked whether there is a need for another shelter anywhere because she just met with members of the revitalized Jaycee organization and they are looking for a hands on project? Mr. Davis advised there is a need.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked whether there is a possibility to provide an on site program to take advantage of the nature trails at Rotary Park? Mr. Davis does not believe they looked at that for this year. Marilyn Troshak added they can take a closer look at the potential for an on site program.

 

 

3. 11 Mile City/School Park

 

Mr. Davis reported the school district is moving forward rapidly with the construction of the junior high at Eleven Mile and Wixom Roads. He continued by stating as part of that, much of the infrastructure and site work is being completed on the cityís behalf for park development. Mr. Davis reported the soccer fields are in, the ball field ground is in, but they still need to construct backstops and need to complete the parking lot. He continued by stating as they finish those items, the department has budgeted for items that need to be funded to finish the park. Mr. Davis continued by stating as the school district continues to bid out elements of the development, they would bid some things as alternatives that the city would look to make a savings on because of the economy of scale by completing the work at one time. For the ease of their construction and site construction, Mr. Davis advised the school is willing to front some of the construction costs with a reimbursement process to take place after the fact. Mr. Davis reported the schoolís goal is to complete construction this year and open the school this fall.

 

Mayor McLallen advised a citizen raised a concern about better defining the boundaries between the school and the adjacent industrial district. Mr. Davis replied the area along the entire northern section of the property is fairly heavily wooded. In regard to the area closer to the well site, Mr. Davis advised additional landscaping may help to buffer the area where the trees are not quite so dense.

 

Mayor McLallen asked whether there is a necessity for further demarcation of the fence? Mr. Davis believes it may be too early to make that determination but it is something they can look at as they get closer to making the site accessible to the public. Mr. Davis predicted if they had to do any fencing, it would not necessarily be a large amount.

 

Mayor McLallen suggested that the Parks & Recreation Commission attend the joint meeting with the school district and Council scheduled in the spring at the site.

 

 

4. North-Novi

 

Mr. Davis reported nothing has progressed since last year on the North-Novi Park area. However, he advised that they did go back to the consultants who prepared the original site analysis in 1995-96 and asked them to update three components of the plan that has changed over the last two years. Mr. Davis advised those included the specific location of the Taft Road extension and intersections, the potential for the DPW site to be relocated just west of the treatment plant and the updated information of the mitigation site north of Thirteen Mile Road. Mr. Davis reported that the consultants are still working on their analysis and they will provide their update of both options as soon as possible. He noted the analysis will not offer new philosophical information and is only an update of the base map components.

 

Councilman DeRoche asked whether the Parks & Recreation Commission has ever formally considered recommending whether or not this issue should be on a ballot? Commissioner Atiyeh believes that is a Council action.

 

Councilman DeRoche agreed, but believes the Commission has an opinion about whether this should be on a ballot. Commissioner Atiyeh replied that the Commission has not discussed that issue as a group and he does not want to give his individual opinion.

 

Councilman DeRoche understands the Parks & Recreation Commission is waiting for direction; Commissioner Atiyeh agreed.

 

Councilman Kramer is disappointed that the analysis was updated slightly because he understood that they were going to look more closely at the feasibility of intermixing the uses. Mr. Davis replied the golf course option already includes the intermingling of other recreational uses.

 

Councilman DeRoche asked if there are plans to provide signage for the North-Novi Park? Mr. Davis replied staff has been working on signage for all of the cityís trails. However, he added he would not recommend using anything other than Lake Shore Park as an entry point to the tree farm at this point for safety reasons.

 

Councilman DeRoche believes they need to construct a sign with an arrow at the Novi and Twelve Ĺ Mile Roads that directs traffic to where the entrance is located at Lake Shore Park. Mr. Davis agreed they could do that.

 

Councilman Schmid asked what was the last direction given to the Parks & Recreation Department regarding the North-Novi Park? Mr. Davis recalled the only thing they had talked about as far as specific direction was that there was still a consensus to continue the process and bring back any recommendations regarding additional architect design services that would be required during the budget sessions. However, Mr. Davis added there was no clear direction from Council about which plan they should continue to move forward with. Mr. Davis believes both plans are good, but that they need to focus on one or the other option.

Councilman Schmid believes both plans should be brought back.

 

Mr. Davis advised to get additional information beyond what they currently have, they would need to get additional developmental architectural services done specifically with a golf course architect if that is the direction they are headed.

 

Mayor McLallen asked what are the plans this year for funding to address safety and activity issues in the North-Novi Park? Mayor McLallen added that they need to let people know where the park is and she does not believe the public realizes how enormous the park is. However, the Mayor is uncertain whether the city really wants people using the park at this time until the liability issues are addressed. Further, Mayor McLallen believes they really need to address these issues before they can consider the possibility of a golf course.

 

Councilman Kramer believes the city is in the desirable position of having a considerable amount of undeveloped park property but they first need a management plan to determine what they can do with the land as it is. At a minimum, he suggested they should propose minimum improvements to secure the property at a modest cost. Councilman Kramer suggested they should look at master planning the property so the development will evolve over time. Councilman Kramer would support putting a modest amount of funding into the park for passive uses because passive uses require minimal management.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo agrees they need to maintain the park now to make it accessible and safe for the citizens. Councilwoman Lorenzo does not recall those kinds of things being specified in the CIP and she believes these basic items must addressed first before any grandiose planning should take place. Councilwoman Lorenzo suggested they start thinking about those kinds of things in terms of costs before the budget sessions begin.

 

Councilwoman Mutch supports the Mayorís comments regarding safety liability and suggested that an operational plan be included in their recommendation.

 

Because they do manage Lake Shore Park, Mr. Davis advised there are procedures in place from Memorial Day through Labor Days for staff to also monitor the tree farm. However, Mr. Davis agreed they still need to look at the site being accessible in a safe way because of the vast acreage. Mr. Davis advised they will look at their options from a management standpoint during the budget process.

 

Rob Mitzel believes other than size, that the trail system is safe. He explained staff has put in a lot of work in maintaining the trails and they are actually monitored more than the Power Park trail.

 

Mayor McLallen advised the other city parks are adjacent to neighborhoods and the North-Novi Park encompasses an area all the way to West Road. Further, she understands people are participating in inappropriate and dangerous activities (i.e., hunting).

 

Commissioner Mitzel believes since the trail has opened, there are more eyes patrolling the park.

 

Mayor McLallenís point is that they are responsible for an enormous amount of land and she hopes they have a land master plan that is cognizant of the cityís responsibility and liability.

 

Robert Shaw asked whether there are adequate ordinances in place for punishment of people that hunt or take off-road vehicles into the park? Mayor McLallen believes the ordinances are effective if they are able to catch the offenders.

 

Commissioner Shaw asked whether the penalties are sufficient to be an adequate deterrent? Mr. Kriewall believes they are.

 

Commissioner Mitzel advised there is a city posting prohibiting hunting or off-road vehicles.

 

 

5. Garfield Road Mitigation Property

 

Mayor McLallen asked whether they have negotiated the settlement yet? Mr. Davis advised he is unaware about whether the deed restriction easements have been taken care of yet. He continued by stating the city attorney is currently working on that issue and Tony Nowicki has been overseeing it. Mr. Davis reported the city would like to see this area developed as a passive recreation site and have discussed what that would include to make certain the various types of recreation would be permissible in the deed restrictions that came forward from the Michigan Department of Transportation. Mr. Davis believes the 106 acres will go a long way in servicing an area of park system that they typically have not concentrated on. Further, Mr. Davis reported there is still a funding issue and he will review that later in tonightís discussion.

 

 

B. Parks and Recreation Master Plan

 

Mr. Davis reported the Commission has currently been working on the update of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. He advised the document in the packet is a rough draft and they are approximately two thirds of the way through it. He noted they are now getting into the important aspects of the document (action plan elements) that will parallel their Capital Improvement Plan and then they will put it into an implementation mode. Mr. Davis advised this is a five-year plan and they will need to go through some processes over the next couple months that will include a public hearing before Council for adoption. Mr. Davis reported the plan is DNR approved and the DNR is starting to get additional funds available for grant application. He explained because of the 1998 Proposal C passage, more state and federal funds are becoming available. However in order to become eligible in terms of the Master Plan, Mr. Davis advised they must take a step back and have a very specific prioritized implementation plan in place. Mr. Davis noted they never had the need to do this in the past. Mr. Davis continued by stating they now must look at everything on their table within the CIP and create a more prioritized schedule of when they think they can actually implement those items. Mr. Davis added one spin-off effect this will have is that it will probably require them (Commission and Council) to review the Master Plan twice a year as they are getting ready to go into funding cycles for grant opportunities. He explained they will need to see where they are at and amend the Master Plan to reflect what a priority is for that funding cycle. He continued to explain they will then amend the Master Plan and get it approved so when that funding cycle comes up, they are on board to get it as far as the cityís top priority. However, he added it does not guarantee state or federal funds, but that is the direction and change that has occurred at the DNR level. Mr. Davis believes this has created a more systematic approach as to how they determine what their priorities are. Mr. Davis advised they are looking to have this approved mid-July which will put them in line for the September 1 second round of funding that is available through the Clean Michigan bond proposal.

 

Councilman Kramer advised he reviewed the Master Plan and asked as they are completing it that they would consider finding a little more linkage back to the surveys that were conducted within the last year. Councilman Kramer continued by stating the old information addressed acreage and fields, but the justification and need is not included. He believes they need to build in acreage as one type, but they also need to build in the kinds of uses on a customer priority basis that may help drive which of the items will become the higher priority. Further, Councilman Kramer believes they should also provide a wish list for Scout/Eagle projects because there will still be work needed to be done in the parks. Councilman Kramer encourages public input and priority setting.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo is concerned because she sees some discrepancies and questions some of the justification. Under the heading of "Planning Process" Councilwoman Lorenzo noted it states that, "Input is extremely important throughout the planning process. The Master Plan is an effort to address present and future needs of residents." Councilwoman Lorenzo noted the department recently completed a survey particularly relating to facilities and when they get to the existing facilities portion, it addresses the national standards and what exists now, etc., and the numbers and information do not agree. She explained she recalled the golf course ranked after a nature center and a swimming pool, and according to the national standard, Novi is not short a golf course. In fact, Councilwoman Lorenzo noted they have three times the amount of golf courses at build out that the national standard suggests. However, she noted under citywide facilities a golf course is ranked as number one. Councilwoman Lorenzo would like to know how that was justified based upon citizen input and the national standards.

 

Mr. Davis agreed that they can reference some of the survey information, but that was not a citywide, scientific survey. He explained it was a participation user group survey of people that have been in the Parks & Recreation program before and their objective was to assess their satisfaction of the facilities and activities they have used currently. Mr. Davis continued by stating that some of that would be applicable into the Master Plan. He advised in some cases (i.e., national standards), they are only one component of determining what is needed within a community. Mr. Davis advised interest and suggestions from the community are just as important, and the standard offers a guideline from which they can work. However, Mr. Davis noted each community across the country is very different based on the demographics (i.e., senior population, children, etc.) and therefore, they need to look at all of that as an all encompassing justification for what actually becomes the recommendation.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo stated that is what she is asking and wants to know why isnít the survey linked. She explained if they link where a golf stands in the national standards with the citizenís suggestions, it does not agree. Further, she believes if they are linked, a golf course does not rank as the number one priority.

 

Mr. Davis restated they need to be careful and although they can use some of that information in the development of the Master Plan, they did not ask for input about every facility that is listed as part of the national standard. Therefore, he believes they cannot weight the survey issues on an equal for equal basis when compared with the national standard. He agreed they must be considered and he would suggest that the public hearing process would be just as important if not more important in terms of what the community wants and they have not done that yet.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo would like to know what the justification is at this point. Mr. Davis replied they have not updated that section yet and the information before them is actually from five years ago.

 

Councilman DeRoche asked whether Mr. Davis would think it would be more beneficial to place the golf course on the November ballot instead of conducting another survey? Mr. Davis believes they need to continue with the public hearing process in the Master Plan for public input. Mr. Davis added the Commission serves as a cross representation of the community to provide their own input and the information they are hearing from the public. Mr. Davis asked that Council not base everything on the national standards because of the differences in every community across the country and they should weigh standards based upon local needs.

 

Councilman DeRoche understands the survey, the national standard and the public input should not be given all the consideration. Consequently, the only thing that seems to make sense to Councilman DeRoche is to put the issue on a ballot and let the voters decide.

 

Councilman DeRoche understands and respects that Mr. Davisí role as director in terms of how to develop the parks is to be concerned about the revenues that actually support the Parks & Recreation program. Councilman DeRoche continued by stating if Council budgeted more money that would also influence whether they would think a golf course would be at the North-Novi Park. Mr. Davis agreed and added long term funding is a dilemma they need to address. He advised they pointed out numerous times that the golf course can provide the financial security for maintenance and long term operational needs of the department. He believes it is a predominant issue that needs to be looked at when they develop an entire park system. Mr. Davis believes if they focus on only one element and leave that out, they are missing the point.

 

Robert Shaw believes they must remember before putting an issue on the ballot that they had more residents indicating they wanted a pool more than a golf course and the pool proposal failed. Commissioner Shaw believes if they asked the voters whether they want to spend $7.0M on a nature preserve, they would reject that readily too. Commissioner Shaw believes they have to get away from the idea of balloting individual items and look at the overall good of the city. He explained individual items get the support of the entire city on very few issues.

 

Charles Staab also has a deep seeded concern about the ballot, but has a strong conviction that if they had to go to a ballot for the ice arena, they would not have an ice arena today. Commissioner Staab believes the ice arena is a fabulous facility that services the needs of Noviís residents.

 

Commissioner Atiyeh agreed and believes Council should do what they think is right for the community. He believes nothing would be built if they had to get the support of the voters. He asked that they forget about putting the issue on the ballot and do what is right for the overall community.

 

Councilwoman Mutch agrees that as elected officials they should make the best decisions they can and when there is not a clear majority consensus of Council, then the issue should go before the voters. Councilwoman Mutch believes Council is elected to make difficult decisions and if they cannot, then she believes Council is not accepting the responsibility of making decisions they were elected to make for the citizens.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo respectfully disagreed and believes as an elected official she is obligated to serve the people. She continued by stating she believes in true democracy when these kinds of issues come forward, that if Council makes this decision without going to the voters that it is government without representation. Councilwoman Lorenzo believes there are other democratic ways of placing this issue on the ballot and Council may not have any say over that.

 

Councilwoman Mutch would support those members of the community that want to submit petitions to put an issue on the ballot.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo added there is also an economic consideration on Councilís part. She asked how far do they go with a proposal in terms of how much money should they spend on an issue before it goes on the ballot when there is funding needed to maintain the existing parks, to complete the parks and to make the parks assessible. She asked how much money will they have wasted when all that money could have been spent on the other park needs.

 

Harold Wingfield believes the golf course is an important issue and he believes they owe it to the community to bring it to a head within the next three to four months one way or another.

 

 

C. Federal and State Grants

 

1. Clean Michigan Initiative

 

Mr. Davis reminded Council that the Proposal C issue on the November ballot passed with almost 70% of the voters in favor. Mr. Davis explained it is now beginning to come forward through the Department of Natural Resources with grant opportunities. Mr. Davis advised there is a summary sheet before Council and noted it talks about the master planning process that will put them in line to make submittals for grant opportunities. In the past, Mr. Davis advised it was difficult because the Natural Resources Trust Fund was the only option for state grants and that fund was set up for land acquisition or preservation. However, Mr. Davis advised that the Clean Michigan Initiative program will be available for funding recreation infrastructure improvements, community recreation facilities and the development of recreation facilities that emphasize the tourism component. Mr. Davis stated they will obviously be addressing the issue of prioritizing and putting everything in place.

 

2. Land and Water Conservation Fund

 

Mr. Davis advised the second component is the reestablishment of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Mr. Davis reported it has not been funded since 1995 at the federal level and noted Novi was a recipient of Land and Water Conservation Funds years ago. He explained the initial two softball diamonds and the tower at Power Park were constructed with Land and Water Conservation Fund monies. Mr. Davis reported the Senate and House are looking at using some outer continental shelf oil and gas lease revenues to reestablish that fund at approximately $900M annually. Mr. Davis advised that will mean money will begin to trickle down through the state and then through the local municipalities for funding. In addition to recreation sides of that component, Mr. Davis reported there is also a provision for historic preservation. Consequently, Mr. Davis advised they see an opportunity for historic preservation locally. Mr. Davis reminded Council there are no guarantees and it is a very competitive grant process.

 

Mr. Davis believes good things are finally happening at a federal level. Further, Mr. Davis advised Marilyn Troshak is involved with the state association and he is starting to get involved with their Public Policy Committee so the department will be able to monitor those things on a more frequent basis.

 

Councilwoman Mutch believes it is amazing what Noviís neighboring communities are getting primarily for land acquisition from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Councilwoman Mutch believes if they do not acquire as much land as they believe they will need by build out, the green space that they do not want to see built on will be gone.

 

Mr. Davis agreed and added the Natural Resources Trust Fund is a component that follows through with a common application process through the DNR. He restated with the procedures currently in place, they must be very specific and have their priorities in place. Mr. Davis explained that would mean they would have to find a piece of land, option it, make sure it is in the Master Plan as their number one priority and then hope that they will get the funding for it. Mr. Davis added it is a tough process because although they may try to prioritize and plan, they cannot rely on the grants to get them to that point unless they are willing to commit and go through a long tedious process.

 

 

Councilwoman Mutch is just asking that they keep this in mind because it is more than just land acquisition; it is development of land and outdoor recreational facilities, and for the preservation of significant natural resources.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo wholeheartedly agreed.

 

D. 1999-2000 Budget Preview

 

Mr. Davis advised they have included an organizational chart representing what they are looking at on a long-term growth basis for the Parks & Recreation Department. He explained they have included the potential of opportunities to look at cultural arts as a division within the department and adding a major interpretive program or division as they start developing natural passive recreation sites. On an immediate basis and subsequent to the participant user survey they conducted last fall, Mr. Davis advised they have already implemented some of the participantís suggestions (i.e., acceptance of credit cards). Mr. Davis continued by stating they are using the survey as a mechanism to implement policy changes and procedures. He continued by stating one thing resulting from the survey was that the department was not doing a good enough job in telling the community what programs they are offering. Mr. Davis explained they should be providing separate brochures about what is available (i.e., trails, picnic shelters, group activities) at the different park sites. He added they would also like to provide a brochure on a large-scale basis for the entire park system. He noted they are currently moving into the development of their web site and will serve as a key component of this goal.

 

Mr. Davis added they are also considering the addition of a "Marketing Specialist". He explained this person is someone who would specialize in communicating the Parks & Recreation message to the public and bring the marketing of the department together in an organized fashion.

 

Councilman Schmid understands people who are interested in participating in Parks & Recreation activities are already aware of the programs offered by the department through the departmentís mailings, the brochure and so forth. Mr. Davis agreed that to a certain degree people will seek out the information they truly want. However, Mr. Davis noted as a cost savings measure that they currently only distribute their brochure to those who actually participate. Mr. Davis would also like to target those people that might not be the constant user of the departmentís programs.

 

Councilman Kramer commended the Parks & Recreation Department and the Commission for significantly flushing out their budget. Councilman Kramer stated as they started the CIP process this year, it was a little on the lean side and he restated that he believes they flexed it out very well. He added they have time to master plan and he thinks the correct process in budgeting prioritization will really help. He noted there are items covering Yorkshire, covering Garfield, covering the Fuerst property and there is much future foresight and planning. Councilman Kramer would challenge them to continue to focus on that and keep this representative of their current thinking as they continue through the budget process.

 

Councilman Kramer asked whether the common areas at the senior housing site will be funded by the bond fund? Mr. Davis understands the funding will be inclusive of the development that comes from building the facility.

 

Councilwoman Mutch noted there was a reference made to designating a Manager under Cultural Arts and questioned whether this person would work somewhat with the Historical Commission. Mr. Davis is uncertain what the connection would be at this point, but realizes they may determine that connection at a later time. Mr. Davis advised they currently have good programs that sets the foundation for their arts division and they will continue to build upon the programs that make up that foundation. Overall, Mr. Davis believes they need to first lay the foundation for the staff to bring the entire program full circle.

 

Although Mr. Davis did not hear the earlier discussion with the Historical Commission, Councilwoman Mutch advised him that they did discuss the Historical Commissionís involvement with the outdoor concert program and the Commissionís own outdoor community event component seems to fit in with the Parks & Recreation cultural arts component.

 

Commissioner Shaw appreciates Councilman Kramer for picking up the total of $400,000 but he hopes Council understands the cost for North-Novi Park is all to be determined and that anything for North-Novi Park is far beyond that.

Councilman Kramer stated once they fill out the chart it will give them a long-term vision of what their task is and he does understand it is substantial.

 

Commissioner Shaw is hearing that they are probably up to three-quarters of a million dollars a year if they do what Council has indicated what they want them to do with the park on a short term basis.

 

Councilman Kramer replied the Commission must advise Council.

 

Commissioner Shaw believes Council must tell them first.

 

Councilwoman Lorenzo believes the 1999-2000 is filled in with some basic things they could do.

 

Commissioner Shaw believes they can come back to that. Commissioner Shaw then referred to Line Item 12 under the Fuerst property and asked if it is a sign of things to come. He explained the Commission has not really known that they would be inheriting the Fuerst property.

 

Mr. Davis explained they included the Fuerst site and landing site because they wanted to be certain to include everything that is potentially a CIP item. He advised he has been sitting in on the discussions with the Fuerst Property Study Committee as they are looking at opportunities that may be coming down the road regarding that site. He added they have also shared the suggestion about the utilization of the barns in cooperation with Community Education and those discussions may be come before Council some time this year. Mr. Davis advised they want it included in their plan for potential funding from grant opportunities.

 

Councilwoman Mutch does not see the responsibility of the Fuerst site being shifted to the Parks & Recreation Department soon.

 

Commissioner Shaw asked whether Council wants them to include the Fuerst site in their Master Plan? Councilwoman Mutch believes if the site is included in their Master Plan for grant opportunities that they may not be eligible for otherwise, then she believes it should be included.

 

Commissioner Shaw added the landing site is not included at this time and he would like to see it included. From a CIP perspective, Councilman Kramer advised it is included in the Parks & Recreationís out-yearís plan and he does not oppose discussing whether it belongs there or not. Councilman Kramer added if the landing site was not in the Parks & Recreationís Master Plan, it is not in anybody elseís plan and if the CIP is going to be a meaningful document, they should include everyoneís future view.

 

Councilwoman Mutch stated for those past Parks & Recreation Commissioners who have strongly stated that they were opposed to making the Fuerst property their responsibility should be assured that nobody is "dumping" it on the Commission now.

 

Commissioner Atiyeh noted the North-Novi Park costs need to be determined and therefore, the Commission needs further direction on that issue.

 

If they want a golf course, Councilman DeRoche would recommend that the Parks & Recreation formally vote on the issue. Further, if they want Council to send it to the public that should be included in their vote. Councilman DeRoche would like to know what the Park & Recreationís formal opinion is on this issue.

 

Commissioner Colligan reminded Council they have already submitted two recommendations to Council on two different dates. He explained one recommendation was that they would support the property as a golf course and total recreational facility, and they would support a total recreational facility that would not include a golf course on the site. Commissioner Colligan advised they went as far as showing two different sites and two different specific plans. He continued by restating one was with a golf course and one was without a golf course. Commissioner Colligan advised they still assume the Parks & Recreation Commission is a recommending body; not a decision making body. He stated they have made a recommendation twice to Council and now Council asking them to make it again for a third time. Commissioner Colligan restated their recommendation is to develop the property as a total park with a golf course included. He advised they now need to know what direction does Council want them to proceed in. He added they are not going to tell Council whether they should vote on it, approve it or have a referendum. However, Commissioner Colligan advised they are telling Council that their recommendation will fit on the property and will serve the community. Commissioner Colligan then asked whether Council wants the Parks & Recreation Department to be cognizant of revenue producing activities?

 

Various members of Council stated no. Commissioner Colligan stated that is okay.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked whether they are taking that as a whole? Commissioner Colligan replied he is not, but he is taking it as their budget is going to include this. He appreciates the no response because now there is no reason to say no to increasing budgets.

 

Councilman DeRoche understands Commissioner Colligan is speaking for the board and that he advised Council of their most current recommendation, and that is the way it should continue.

 

 

E. Long Term Funding

 

1. Capital Development and Operational Needs

Mr. Davis advised they have summarized the CIP and there are many park development issues that are coming forward within the next five to ten years. Mr. Davis added they have also summarized where they see the department from a staffing level, a division level, and how that equates to dollars. Mr. Davis understands Councilís position regarding General Fund transfers and the whole issue of how much money is available for capital, personal services, and similar items. Mr. Davis believes they are at a point where they need an analysis of what are they going to do for long term funding stability in the department for maintenance, operations and the build out of the park system. Mr. Davis believes if that means looking at the millage in general, additional bonding or other revenue sources, then all of those need to be on the table to be considered.

 

Commissioner Shaw added if they are to go to a Headlee override, then they will need voter support and it would be nice to tell the voters what the department is doing (i.e., 106 acres of nature preserve at Nine Mile and Garfield, planning for 400 acres at the North-Novi site, operation of the Fuerst property, additional responsibility for historical activities, etc.). Commissioner Shaw sees the department getting more responsibilities and if the intention is to get a Headlee override, then he believes Council must let them know what they can expect so they can prepare their campaign for the voters.

 

Mayor McLallen understands that the Parks & Recreation Department has a voted millage years back because of Headlee and that Council would have to hold a public hearing; it is not a vote. Mr. Kriewall disagreed and advised the residents must vote on it at large.

 

Councilman Kramer understands a Headlee override would put them back to a half mil which is roughly $120,000.00. Councilman Kramer is uncertain about what Parks & Recreation believes they need in the way of budget support other than by looking at the history of what they have been given over the years on a General Fund contribution basis. Councilman Kramer suggested that they may want to go beyond a simple Headlee override to the half mil and instead get them what they need to develop.

 

Politically, Mr. Kriewall believes they need another bonding proposal to develop all the parkland they have. He believes the public would support this because they would understand what is exactly being done with the money. Further, Mr. Kriewall also believes they still need the half mil to three-quarters of a mil increase just to operate the department effectively. Mr. Kriewall believes the problem is that they keep sending more General Fund money there every year as they grow and the difficulty is that the entire operating millage for the city is going to Parks & Recreation.

 

Councilman Schmid is not supporting going to the public for additional funding and is supportive of generating revenue for Parks & Recreation with a golf course.

 

 

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

 

 

____________________________ ______________________________

Kathleen S. McLallen Tonni L. Bartholomew

 

Transcribed by:

 

_____________________________

Barbara Holmes

 

Date Approved: April 5, 1999