PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY COMMISSION
The meeting was called to order at 7:33 PM with Commissioner Paul presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Engebretson (Absent), Enright (Present)
Kopeika (Present), Paul (Present), Place (Present), Staab
(Absent), Staudt (Present).
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director
Jack Lewis Deputy Director
Steve Printz, Forester
Matt Wiktorowski, Superintendent of Parks
Derek Smith, Recreation Coordinator
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Agenda was approved, with an addition of an Action Item to discuss and recommend to City Council related to a packet provided by Director Auler (Paul, Kopeika C - UN)
1. Park Development Committee – Commissioner Enright
This committee met the previous evening to discuss changes and improvements to Community Sports Park field #2. The well and electric are complete, the concrete slab on the well and backflow preventor have been installed, the electric panel and irrigation clock are all set, all but one drain has been installed and back filled with sand, many of the fence poles are drilled, the warning track surface has been applied, and all but two irrigation lines are in place. We are looking at a completion date of May 14, 2004, with utilization of the field to begin in 2005. The committee hopes to recommend in January or February, a plan for developing The Landing Property as parkland.
The committee also updated the Commission on the Power Park playground upgrades proposed by Liz Laney. She is still raising funds which are being deposited into a separate account. Commissioner Paul asked where donations may be sent.
Director Auler replied to send donations to the Department, with checks made out to City of Novi - Power Park Playground Project.
Commissioner Place asked if that information will be included in the brochure. Director Auler replied that the decision to advertise is currently being evaluated, depending on timing of when/if the project goes to City Council.
2. Strategic Planning Committee – Commissioner Kopieka
This committee has met several times in the last sixty days. Their discussions have included laying out a road map, roles and responsibilities of the committee, and how they would engage City Council, the Commission and citizens.
They talked about keeping an eye on progress of projects and if things were not at the point they should be, bringing that issue to the Commission. Additionally, they thought that it would be a good idea to pair up Commission members with City Council members.
Commissioner Paul asked where would the best place be to focus on budget recommendations. Commissioner Staudt thought the best place would be at Commission meetings.
3. Resource Development - Commissioner Staudt
The committee met prior to that night’s commission meeting. A package was handed out at the meeting with timelines and responsibilities regarding the Foundation. It looks like the city’s attorney may be able to provide access to resources to review bylaws and filing information. Discussion included some legal questions regarding Commissioner’s participation in the Foundation and fiduciary responsibilities. The drafts of articles of incorporation and bylaws are good starting points. The committee hopes to get legal determinations and put together a presentation for City Council in either February or March.
Commissioner Paul inquired regarding whether the committee was indeed applying for a 501C3 status. Commissioner Staudt confirmed that it is the goal.
Commissioner Paul asked what the time frame goal is for presenting the Foundation to the public. Commissioner Staudt thought it could be presented publicly as soon as it is presented to the City Council. Director Auler thought it would be at least six months before the status change will be in place.
Commissioner Paul asked what it is that the committee would actually be presenting to City Council. Commissioner Staudt replied that it would depend on "what level (from a policy standpoint) City Council would allow staff to work on foundation issues". He thought Council needed to make some policy statements and approve things that make the process easier and less costly. The alternative would be to go on their own, which would jeopardize the position of committee members. He pointed out that during the approval process for the plan and recent commission interviews, Council concurs that this is something very important. He can’t imagine any member not being behind the plan as it will really be of benefit to the community.
1. Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan – Steve Printz
Mr. Printz presented the background of the Emerald Ash Borer pest, the devastation it has reeked on the tree population in Novi, and a draft management plan for the City of Novi. The management plan he presented included steps in education, monitoring, and removal of dead/dying and infested trees. The presentation included a survey of several municipalities’ ash removal programs and outlined possible City of Novi tree removal options. The options included:
a. Current tree removal: Perform in-house removal plus $25,000 to
contract out tree removal.
b. Perform in house removal and contract out $100,000 worth of ash
removals. This would allow for an additional 222 ash trees to be
c. Perform in house removal and contract out $200,000 worth of ash
removals. This would allow for an additional 444 ash trees to be removed.
d. Perform in house removals and contract out $517,500 worth of ash
removals. This would allow for ash trees to be removed as they are
anticipated to die. All of the ash trees would be removed in 1 year
pending contractor ability to perform within this timeline.
Mr. Printz reported that the Forestry division recommends that an additional $200,000 be allocated to assist in house staff in the removal of hazardous trees. This will enable the project to be completed in approximately four years. He also reported that the situation also presents a problem with stump removal, for which he recommends purchasing a stump grinding machine and utilizing in house staff.
The presentation also included a survey of several municipalities’ street tree replacement programs and possible City of Novi replacement program options. The options included:
a. Current street replacement program: City of Novi continues to replace
street trees at no cost to residents, but can plant only a certain number
of trees per year depending on tree fund monies. The number of trees replaced with the current informal policy is substantially inadequate.
b. Property owners fund 100% of the cost for tree replacement. In an
effort to reduce cost, we can allow residents to purchase
trees, at wholesale cost, directly from city contractors.
c. Property owners pay for 50% of the estimated cost and the City pays
to the remaining 50%. It is an affordable cost sharing program and
has been welcomed in several neighboring communities.
Mr. Printz reported that the Forestry division recommends that a cooperative street tree replacement program be instituted. The program would require that residents pay for 50% of the estimated cost for replacement street trees, with the City tree fund paying the remaining 50%. Since limited monies are available in the tree fund, and money may be needed for tree removal, we recommend that $25,000 per year (depending on tree fund balances) be allocated for street tree replacement.
2. Power Park Needs Assessment – Derek Smith
Mr. Smith presented a report of the current status of Ella Mae Power Park including to structural integrity of the facility, how it compares to other communities and standards of modern softball, and how it effects the implementation and quality of the programs. A comprehensive report on the facility included the concourse and the fields, both the criteria and the current status. The focus on the fields was in the areas of:Materials/Soil/Irrigation-Infields Materials/Turf/Irrigation-Outfields Bases Fencing Lighting
Also included were reports on program participation, revenue/expense report, a benchmark comparison analysis and survey.
Mr. Smith’s recommendations included:
a. Infields – Replace the infield soil with a higher profile dressing and install an irrigation system.
Cost: Soil Estimate $10,000.
b. Outfields – Aerate, install irrigation, and incorporate a turf management plan.
Cost: Irrigation Estimate $8,000. per field (Total $32,000).
c. Bases – 2003 Hollywood bases
d. Fencing – Install up-to-date safety standard fencing which includes:15 foot backstops with 4 foot overhangs, 14 foot foul line fences, and outfield fences no less than 8 foot tall.
Cost: Fencing Estimate $20,000 per outfield,
$40,000 per infield fence and backstops
e. Lighting – Install an up-to-date lighting system.
Cost: Lighting Estimate $70,000 per field (Total $28,000).
f. Concourses – Install protective netting from the building to the bleachers.
Cost: Custom Netting Estimate $5,000-$8,000.
Mr. Smith presented a few funding recommendations (advertising and the "Musco Pennant Program) and the cost analysis totals.
3. Americans with Disabilities Act Improvements – Matt Wiktorowski
Mr. Wiktorowski reported that he has identified hazards and safety concerns in the transition plan with the focus on parking, playgrounds, restrooms and picnic facilities. The areas of greatest concerns are those areas which posed safety hazards. Wood ground cover was needed at playgrounds, pathways that lead to benches, hazardous footings were removed from old playgrounds, hazardous tennis courts and a backstop removed. Other items addressed in the Summer, 2003 assessment were non-compliant restrooms, Power Park parking and van lane that leads to a handicap accessible path way, asphalt pad added to restroom satellite facility at Lakeshore Park, two asphalt pads at the Tim Pope Memorial Play structure and accessible handicap parking.
Monthly updates will be included in packets. The far right column will show the action on the barrier, another column will show what date the action will take place, and another column will show the estimated cost.
4. Re-Use of Fire Station #4 – Jack Lewis
Mr. Lewis reported that the City Assessor evaluated the fire station and found it has little fair market value and would be very expensive to convert. The City of Livonia tried to market a similar fire station for one year, they were unable to sell it, and ultimately demolished the building. The Department contemplated moving the Forestry Division to that facility, but decided it would be best used as a storage facility. Currently, the Department pays $4,000. annually to rent 800 square feet at a private storage facility for theatre and recreation equipment. At the fire station, we would double the space and pay about $2,000. annually for utilities. The facility would also be used to store water, flashlights, and other equipment needed to implement the emergency disaster plan.
5. Deputy Director Report
Deputy Director Lewis reported that Lakeshore Beach will be open Memorial Day to Labor Day and the Department will attempt to staff the beach with lifeguards. Mr. Lewis stated that the problem with lifeguard staffing is usually the last two weekends in August.
6. Director Report
Director Auler reported that the Department’s relationship with Michigan Mountain Bike Association will be recognized with a community service award on January 7th from the MRPA.
Mr. Auler highlighted the articles in the packets regarding creative, private-sector funding opportunities. The national trends and discussions currently are regarding the need for parks departments to have foundations.
Mr. Auler also reported that the Department is accepting proposals for contractual services for grant writing. All proposals are due December 18th; the proposals will be reviewed, interviews will be conducted, and he would like to have a recommendation to Council by the second meeting in January or the first meeting in February.
1. Approval of November 13, 2003 regular meeting minutes. Approved as written. (Staudt, Enright C – UN)
2. Approval of Recommendation to Novi City Council for a seven (7) year contract with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. for the provision of beverage products at city facilities in the amount of $156,100.
Commissioner Kopeika asked how a seven year contract was arrived at. Director Auler recommended the duration of the contract for the significant increase in the amount of revenue, both guaranteed and in-kind services.
Motion was made to recommend to Novi City Council a seven (7) year contract with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. for the provision of beverage products at city facilities in the amount of $156,100.
(Staudt, Enright C – UN)
3. Approval of the 2004/05 Capital Improvement Committee Budget recommendation to the Novi Planning Commission, Capital Improvement Committee and City Council.
Commissioner Paul asked if he was correct that item #11 and #13 were identical. Director Auler said that the figure in item #13 should read 25,000.
Commissioner Paul asked about the item regarding the resurfacing of the Rotary Park tennis courts. He wondered if the funds would be better utilized on the Power Park improvements that were presented at that evening’s meeting, as he didn’t believe that Rotary Park was in that bad of condition.
Director Auler said that would be at the discretion of the Commission.
Motion was made to approve the 2004/05 Capital Improvement Committee Budget recommendation to the Novi Planning Commission, Capital Improvement Committee and City Council, providing the $15,000. allocated for the Rotary Park tennis court resurfacing project be allocated to the Power Park line item.
(Staudt, Enright C – UN)
4. The Singh Development Packet
Singh Development is currently negotiating Quail Hallow, a new development at the Links of Novi golf course site. The developer presented a plan to City Council to donate 65 acres of land to the City of Novi for a future park. This 65 acres is contiguous to two city owned parcels that total 135 acres. The City Council gave administration the opportunity to work with the developer in terms of the development agreement to improve the project. A planning team was formed to identify needs for the land to meet the community’s goals and enhance the park system. A memo was included in the commission packet to City Council from Director Auler and Singh’s representative that outlines a plan for Singh to donate to the City of Novi 73 acres of land, construct an approximately mile/mile and a quarter-long, eight foot wide paved pathway and boardwalk (where necessary through wetlands), an 8-10 car parking lot and trail head, and a $45,000 donation to be used as a maintenance endowment.
Commissioner Staudt verified that the trail would be called "Singh Trail" and that the development also would include a 65 acre community park for the development.
Director Auler confirmed both points.
Commissioner Kopeika commented that he is supportive of the proposal and that it fits the goals of the Commission.
Commissioner Paul asked where the contiguous city owned property was located and if that land was dedicated park land.
Director Auler clarified that it presently is not, but a change of designation would be part of the recommendation to City Council.
Motion was made to support the recommendation of the proposal to the Novi City for their December 13th meeting.
(Staudt, Kopeika C – UN)
Commissioner Enright – Commented that the reports from Steve Printz, Derek Smith, and Matt Wiktorowski were "very well put together".
Commissioner Kopeika – Commented that he has drafted a letter of Commission accomplishments for Commissioner Paul to provide to Mayor Csordas for the State of the City Address. He would like to see the Commission get some recognition.
Commissioner Paul – Commented reiterated Commissioner Enright’s comments regarding the reports. He sent out congratulations to Michigan Mountainbike Association on their award. He also wished the staff and the commission members happy holidays.
Commissioner Place – Commented that her family enjoyed the Ringing in the Holidays event.
Commissioner Staudt – None.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:02 pm.
(Place, Staudt C – UN)
Signed, David Paul, Chairperson
Signed, Charles Staab, Vice Chairperson