PARKS COMMISSION MEETING
July 7, 2005
ATTENDING: Laura Dowlan, Michael Higgs, Jyll Smith, Wynn Cudmore, John Brandt, Robert Garrett, Tanya Beard.
ABSENT: Jeff Bickford, Orville Rice, Nick McDonnough
RECORDER: Diana Shamberger
GUEST SPEAKER: Jason Franz, owner of Full Line Sports, Silverton OR
PUBLIC ATTENDING: Andrea Nehera, Ken Tobin, Scot Walker, and Steven Farmer
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Delayed until the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Due to the recent loss of a close family member, Nick will not be present at today’s meeting. The Parks Commission (hereafter know as PC) group had no additions, changes, or comments to add to the last meeting minutes; John moved to accept the minutes. The motion was seconded and approved.
John started out the meeting with introductions for the public attending. He then asked Jason to begin by briefly familiarizing the group with his ideas for the placement of a BMX facility at Rogers Wayside Park. Jason explained that he has been working on the project for over a year and a half. With Silverton’s amazing recent growth, it would benefit the entire community. Pending the approval of this project, there are other beneficial plans for the park (i.e. horseshoes, playground equipment, picnic tables, etc.) set for the future. He has already received positive support from the community on his idea. Steven Farmer and his two brothers wanted to let the PC know they appreciated the opportunity to use this new facility.
Comments by interested citizens reference the proposed BMX track:Scot Walker is a concerned citizen from the area; however, he does not reside near the park. He had three (3) main concerns:
1) Safety. The concern is not for the facility safety, but for the commute between the park and Silverton. The highway speed is 65 mph near the park with a blind corner approaching the park near the Oregon Garden, where the traffic is 55 mph. The close proximity to Silverton will allow the kids to bike to the area where he contends the highway route is unsafe. A trail from the Oregon Garden would help, but if kids do not use the alternate path, they may be injured or worse.
2) Governmental Process. He stated that the PC does not really have a master plan for our county parks. If a private entity is allowed to use one of the County’s public parks for private gain, it may set precedence for future industries. He felt this set the county up for liability in the future.
3) Responsibility. Other agencies might not feel they are responsible. If citizens call the Silverton police regarding problems in the park, he feels they will not respond since it is a Marion County park. He also feels a county sheriff is not likely to respond either.
Andrea Nehera, another citizen in the area, explained that there are many opportunities for smaller children to make use of public facilities with playgrounds. However, she feels the older children in the area need organized activities as well. She said that kids should not be penalized for possible problems. She works for a dispatch center in the area and felt it is was unfair to say, “they wouldn’t respond to an emergency call.” They do respond on a regular basis to problems outside the city limits. Isaac, a young child was there and had positive things to say about a place to ride his bike. Andrea said although there would be no official persons to watch over the kids, she thinks it would be healthy to go there for entertainment.Ken Tobin is involved in emergency services in the Silverton area and had positive comments as well. He originally was against the idea, but after meeting the kids and learning more about the culture he now approves of this opportunity. He said the facility is not just for Silverton, but also for all of Marion County. Skateboards and BMX bikes do need a place to go. The group is looking for a safe place for kids to have an organized bike opportunity. The park is currently being underused; it could move forward with other opportunities in the future upon the project’s approval. In addition, this proposed facility could provide extra business for the county. He feels the area is the perfect venue for the BMX facility. The PC thanked him for his positive comments.
Discussion/response to citizens:
Mike asked Mr. Walker if the noise disturbance made him feel apprehensive about the project. He responded that his concerns were for emergency responses to any potential problems since he does not live near the area.
Wynn asked Mr. Walker about his concern for unauthorized use of the area. Is there anything unique about the use of this park over any other? His concern is that older kids with motor vehicles would cause further problems. Robert asked Jason if he is still explaining to folks that BMX is NOT motorized, just bicycles. Jason said that he has tried to get his name out to as many neighbors as possible and has offered them an opportunity to contact him for any questions. Jyll asked Jason how many kids ride BMX bikes in the area. Although Jason did not have any accurate number, in three (3) days he had 43 interested citizens sign a petition in support of the idea. John asked Jason about his plans for insurance. If Jason cannot acquire insurance, would that impact the opportunity to use the park for the proposed BMX facility. Tanya said there could be liability issues, however, Oregon state law and statute does not require the use. John asked the kids present how they would get to the park. Several responded that they would probably get a ride from parents or friends to the facility. One said he could ride his bike there because he lives close by.
Ken Tobin proposed checking on other areas with similar facilities where they have successfully dealt with these issues. He commented, “If you read the paper recently, officers are now using bicycles in the performance of their jobs.” Police could potentially use this facility to train their officers. This use could develop a possible opportunity to build relationships with kids.
Tanya asked the Parks Commission to address any more questions. She also inquired whether the time had come to make a decision and a recommendation to the county commissioners if needed.
John asked the other members if they still had concerns? One of his previous concerns was in regards to the insurance issue. He will put that aside as the county will deal with that. In addition, they looked at the safety issue closely and it could easily be solved. He said the Oregon Garden is now on board to provide an area for a safe trail off of the highway. He inquired about the extent of the property and the potential for a riparian nature site. Tanya confirmed that the vegetation had already been tested and it was not considered a “wetland area.” He felt the affected neighbors are adequately buffered from the noise and the houses are not even visible. One of John’s reservations consisted of the potential for the park’s sole use involving bikes. Jason said that he has already had offers from the community to donate and eventually build a playground area. In conclusion, John is prepared to support it if we can review in two (2) or three (3) years to assess how the project is working. Wynn approved of the idea to re-evaluate how the project works out over the next couple of years. He suggested that we might start with a review in a year with Jason and include a yearly review thereafter on the PC regular agenda.
Laura pointed out that there is no written plan for the park and they need a better map as well. A single document is needed compiling all of the information. This would provide a big picture of the process. Laura felt the insurance piece and comments from the public were critical.
Mike felt that the open house at the park could have been done sooner in the process. He also felt that if the park were used for a positive activity it would alleviate some of the current safety problems. Although the highway already has a bike lane in place, we need to confirm it is up to current safety standards. Mike would also like to see the baseball diamond upgraded and use that area to place future playground equipment.
Jyll asked if we have documentation of contacting all adjacent property owners.
Tanya said we did get feed back from adjacent property owners at the public meeting. Most of their concerns were from possible noise disturbances and bad activities.
Robert asked, what is the next step?
For the next step, Tanya would put together a proposal and list the details of the whole plan as Laura suggested. Then she would prepare a report form that could be used after the PC review to present the project to the BOC. John wanted to make another comment regarding the policing issues. He informed the group that the park is very visible from just driving by and this should help alleviate some concerns. Tanya offered the citizen group the chance to communicate with her and to follow the process to monitor the project’s progress. The citizen group then left the meeting.
Laura proposed that in the future it would be helpful to set up a formal process on how to review requests from citizens when evaluating proposed projects. Other similar projects could be proposed in the future if this one is successful. John felt the process on this proposal was a bit more complex since the project proposal occurred at the first meeting when the BOC was present to hear the idea before PC group had a chance to review it. The PC group noted that Tanya did a great job dealing with the negative response at the park’s open house.
John asked if we have left the notification process to Jason. Tanya confirmed that we have copies of what was sent out to property owners. Mike was pleased with the newspaper article on the open house for the project. The group agreed that we should maintain records of what was sent out and any submitted public comments. Tanya said we have adequate answers to respond to negative comments.
Tanya will prepare a draft proposal by July 15. Diana will be receiving comments from the PC on the proposal and passing any comment on to Tanya. A compilation of all of the public comments could be posted once Tanya assembles the proposal. The group could then come back together to vote at a special meeting scheduled. John asked to set up a special meeting. John entertained a motion, Jyll seconded, Robert moved, and all approved. The meeting was set for August 1, 2005, 9:00 a.m. at the PW complex. Tanya will reserve the meeting room.
Parkdale Park – There are some issues with wetland concerns. We may be getting some help from the middle school kids in replanting the lost vegetation due to vandalism, in hopes of also providing them with ownership of the area. Tanya reported that our AmeriCorps volunteer, Emily, has gleaned 500 student surveys and we plan to utilize the information in deciding what to do with that park area.
Keizer Rapids is two (2) to three (3) months from resolving the grant issued around the acquisition. The next part of the project will involve beginning the master plan process. John also mentioned that Tanya is supporting the Stayton Park and the restoration of that park area. That park has 51 acres and John would be glad to give tours to PC if they are interested.
Discuss Grand Opening of Santana Park - Tanya said a trip to that park might be rescheduled along with the tour of the Cain property. A new 300’ fence has been installed with native plants all along the fence. The fence is similar to residential fencing. Mike had some ideas of a less expensive way to replace equipment when the need arises by just using water pipe fittings. This park has progressed in the space of a year to a great facility with lots of play equipment along with a great deal of new vegetation. A new sign will be placed with park rules on one side - donor recognition is listed on the other side. A formal opening with BOC could be arranged after the sign has been placed.
Reschedule field trip to Cain property - Tanya would like to set a date to review the Cain property at our next regularly scheduled meeting. The PC group needs to start an evaluation/inventory process of the property. If the property were sold, the money would remain in the Parks Department. The group confirmed the next PC regular meeting date is set for October 20, 2005 at 9:00 a.m. We would meet at the BLM office in Salem. Laura will send a confirmation to Diana for the date, room, and time for the meeting.
Present guidelines/policy for tree removal - Tanya will get the document to Diana to scan and send to the group before the next regularly scheduled meeting.Aumsville trail, current and future plans - This project will serve as an opportunity to make excellent use of the NW Youth Corp. They will be constructing a trail around the perimeter of Aumsville ponds. They will even be installing some bridges within the trail. They are proposing to complete a ¾ mile trail around the pond along with some spurs showing interpretive areas.
Review new draft of bylaws/vote to approve/disapprove - Tanya will make the revisions as specifically discussed. Together, Tanya and Diana implemented the minor grammatical changes as requested at the meeting. Laura motioned to accept the bylaws. John seconded the motion and all approved. Diana will post them on the web after they have been through the final approval and the BOC officially accepts and adopts them.
Other Business - Mike asked the PC group for any ideas pertaining to a grant proposal his wife is currently writing for another agency in their area. They are looking to offer an opportunity for open market places and a chance to show their wares by tying in small businesses, similar to the Farmers and Saturday markets held in downtown Salem. He is asking for the PC group with promotion and vendor ideas for his area in Gates. His idea could dovetail into the Canyon Trail plan.
Wynn made a motion to adjourn. John seconded, all approved, and the meeting was adjourned.