• Email
  • Print

Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes

Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes




City Council Chamber

Monday, June 12, 2006

6:30 p.m.


Chair Russell called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.


Commissioner Miller led the flag salute.


Present: Kathleen Baier-Dalton, Kathleen Dasney, George Miller, Craig Russell, Nancy Spencer, Neil Swanson

Absent: None

Staff: Ron Molendyk, Parks and Recreation Director; Parks and Recreation Managers Dave Alkema, Dannielle Mauk, and Judy Peterson; Events Intern Ashley Glass; Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan; Landscape Supervisor Phil Kisor; Landscape Supervisor Tom Moreno; Chief Planner Jay Eastman, Senior Planner Bob St. Paul


Chris Heusser, Lark Ellen Drive
– Thanked the commissioners for their time and effort spent on reviewing the gate issue at Mountain View Park, saying the modified gate made a “tremendous” difference. She also expressed appreciation for their hard work, but also suggested that the $200,000 to be spent on the Master Plan for Hillcrest Park be used, instead, to study tot lot safety in Fullerton.


Commissioner Swanson MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Dasney SECONDED THE MOTION to approve the

Consent Calendar items as corrected.

AYES: Dalton, Dasney, Miller, Russell, Spencer, Swanson

NOES: None


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.


Commissioner Swanson asked that one correction be made to the May 8, 2006 minutes: On Page 10, the minutes should read “Chair Russell” not “Chair Swanson.”


Commissioner Dalton asked Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan to clarify tree planting and replacement goals for the year, who said there were fewer valid planting sites than trees taken out so fewer trees would be planted. He said the Landscape Division is taking inventory of its whole system, which will provide accurate information on how many valid vacant sites there are. He added that residents sometimes decide not to re-plant trees after trees have been taken out.

Commissioner Spencer said she took a four-hour tour with Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan and landscape supervisors Tom Moreno and Phil Kisor, saying they were doing a very good job and worked hard. She said they would be taking a tour every couple of months, and Landscape Superintendent Quinlivan welcomed the other commissioners to join him.


Director Molendyk said he spoke with Maintenance Director Bob Savage and was told that the Maintenance Department would provide the Commission a combined Landscape Division and Building and Facilities Division Report. Director Savage said if there were specific issues, either he or a Building and Facilities representative would attend Commission meetings to answer questions. However, since the Landscape Superintendent had volunteered to attend the Commission meetings, he would be providing the follow-up report on repair or replacement items.

Chair Russell asked if the longer May minutes meant that the format was reverting back to the previous longer format. Director Molendyk noted that, as mentioned at a prior meeting, the Commission could discuss the minutes format; however, he said the length of the minutes would depend on the issues being discussed. If the meeting issues were pro forma, like tonight’s, the minutes would be quick; if there was a need for more detail, the minutes would be longer.



Director Molendyk introduced the topic, saying that the related agenda letter was in reference to the Commission’s question on why some parks would be considered a neighborhood park and others would be considered a community center. He referred to the City’s General Plan, currently being updated, which provides descriptions of neighborhood parks and community parks. He said that a monument sign at Richman Park will be ordered soon, so the wording would have to be confirmed via the park/facility designation.

Family and Senior Services Manager Peterson referred to the relevant portions of the General Plan included in the agenda packet, noting the definitions of parks including neighborhood, specialized, regional, and vista parks, and recreation trails. Given these definitions, Manager Peterson said “neighborhood park” would be the most appropriate designation for Richman Park, with the Valencia Community Center designated as the “Richman Neighborhood Center.”

Manager Peterson introduced
Acting Chief Planner Jay Eastman and Senior Planner Bob St. Paul to answer questions on the General Plan. Director Molendyk said Valencia Center got its name when it was a modular building on the corner of Valencia and Highland, but had since been moved to Richman Park, and since the park is being renovated, the staff recommendation would be to refer to the park as “Richman Park” and the Center as “Richman Neighborhood Center”.

It was clarified that staff wanted to get a definition tonight specifically on Richman Park and the Valencia Center so that the monument sign could be ordered for Richman Park. However, Director Molendyk said staff was trying to get a Commission recommendation on park designations in general to provide consistency in the naming of other parks as well.

It was clarified with Commissioner Dasney that Chapman Park was a neighborhood park, that the School District owns Ladera Vista Park but that the City owns a portion of Nicolas School Park. Commissioner Dasney noted that Nicolas Park was misspelled in the General Plan. Commissioner Dasney also asked if the Tennis Center should be under specialized parks, but Commissioner Dalton said it was under the Brea Dam Recreational Area.

Chief Planner Jay Eastman said the City is starting to look into updating the General Plan and is soliciting bids for consultants. He said the Plan would take about two years to complete, outlines the goals, objectives and policies of the City, and assists in approving development projects.

Commissioner Dalton said the General Plan was timely since there is dissension in the community about the direction the City should take. Director Molendyk agreed, and said corrections and new parks such as the Sports Complex and Bastanchury Park will be put into the plan. Commissioner Dalton said the General Plan should start with one acre instead of ten acre parks, since so many parks are under ten acres. Chief Planner Eastman said the Commission’s recommendations would be reviewed and incorporated into the updated Plan.

Chair Russell said he didn’t have a problem with the building name having the park name, e.g. Chapman or Richman parks’ centers would also be named Chapman or Richman. However, he said, when the buildings have “neighborhood” in the names, it appears that the building is only for the neighborhood rather than for everyone in the community. He asked what the other commissioners’ opinions were, and said a consensus was important so staff would know what kind of signs should be made.

Commissioner Dalton agreed with Chair Russell because the City doesn’t have a comprehensive community center, adding that she hoped the Senior Center could also be renamed.

Commissioner Dasney asked what the official name was of Maple Center and was told it didn’t have an official name, as was the case with several other centers. Director Molendyk said the Commission could make a policy decision on the naming of the parks and centers to provide for consistency and, when asked, said staff was willing to change all the signs on all the relevant parks once Commission and Council agreed on a policy, although not all at once.

Commissioner Spencer asked what other cities do, and Parks Manager Alkema said Costa Mesa had two centers, one called Downtown Community Center which was located in a community park, and the other was called the Balearic Center and was in a smaller neighborhood/school park. Manager Alkema said each city was unique but that the designations for parks should be standardized. Commissioner Spencer said she agreed with Commissioner Dalton and would eliminate “neighborhood.” Commissioner Swanson agreed that the community center designation was broader in concept and preferable. Commissioner Dasney asked if the City should change the centers to “recreation” centers instead of “community centers,” noting that Development Services is changing its name to Community Development. Commissioner Miller said “neighborhood” should be eliminated from staff’s vocabulary.

Director Molendyk summarized that the Commission would like to refer to all the City buildings as “community centers.” Commissioner Dalton said the staff report did not ask Commission to make a determination about the park designation although she was prepared to make a motion. Director Molendyk said staff planned to have the item as informational this month because the Muckenthaler item, which was postponed at the last minute, was to have been very time-consuming. The Commission and staff agreed to have park designation returned for the next meeting as an action item.

Commissioner Dasney asked why Beechwood School was not listed as a park, and was told there was no park there but that there was a piece of land to the north that used to be an adventure playground. Director Molendyk said this could be clarified in the General Plan, and that the only discussion on Beechwood School had been a Little League question on whether it would be considered for athletic lighting.


Cultural and Events Manager Dannielle Mauk introduced the topic and introduced Events Intern Ashley Glass, noting that Events Intern Glass was “doing a fantastic job,” and asked her to make the presentation. Intern Glass provided a Power Point presentation on the 17th Annual 4th of July event which would include fireworks, music, booths, food vendors, political booths, and singers. The event will start at 5:00 p.m., and the fireworks show is at 9 p.m. with higher aerial fireworks to accommodate the higher parking structure at Fullerton College.

Director Molendyk said Mayor Wilson wanted the event to be very patriotic, and to emphasize the 230th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Manager Mauk announced a bicentennial museum exhibit highlighting the event, curated by Museum Educator Aimee Aul. She said the commissioners would all receive their VIP passes to the Fourth of July event.

Commissioner Dasney asked if the vendors pay for the booths, and Manager Mauk said they all do, but that all the vendors come in under the non-profit title because even commercial vendors are required to donate some of their profits. She and Director Molendyk said revenue to support the event comes from vendor and ride fees, a budget from Parks and Recreation, and donations from the local disposal company and other businesses.


After some discussion, it was agreed that the July Commission meeting would be cancelled.

Director Molendyk reported on the June 6th Council meeting and 2006-07 budget, saying that the Parks and Recreation projects were approved, and that Mayor Pro Tem Bankhead was interested in re-evaluating Independence Park, the Master Plan and lighting there rather than at Richman School since the City owns Independence Park.

Director Molendyk said that there is about $6.5 million for Hillcrest Park; and that it may not be necessary to use all of the $200,000 allocated for the Master Plan; however, a re-evaluation of the aging plan was needed. He added that the City Manager would like to start improvements at Hillcrest from Harbor Boulevard, and there was some discussion of “undergrounding” the flood control ditch to level out the ground in front of the park. Director Molendyk reminded the Commission that in its recent workshops, it had identified major repairs needed, and that $900,000 was allocated in the budget. He also noted that the Centennial Monument was just completed.

Director Molendyk said the new tile work at the Independence Park locker rooms was not satisfactory, and would have to be re-done, and would probably not be finished before an upcoming FAST event. Commissioner Spencer asked whether the tile work was being inspected; and Director Molendyk said “yes.”

Commissioner Dasney asked about the timeline on the Hillcrest Park Master Plan, and was told there was no time frame. Director Molendyk said there was an understanding that the park would be renovated to historical standards; however, the current Master Plan would change that, so this was an issue the Commission should look at prior to the plans going out to bid. He said the City Manager wanted to start renovations from Harbor Boulevard and repair the fountain. He added that from his and Manager Alkema’s perspective, parking was Hillcrest’s “biggest issue,” and that more people could use the park if parking was expanded.

Director Molendyk said, with new commissioners and new staff, it would be helpful to review the plans, and that after the Department budget is formally approved and project priorities are set, the Hillcrest Master Plan could be brought to Commission for review, noting the importance of getting proper maintenance support. He said that Lions Field was the first priority, and then Hillcrest would be next. He said the documents regarding Hillcrest Master Plan could be provided along with a briefing, which the Commission agreed was a good idea. Commissioner Dalton said there would be many members of the previous Master Plan committee who would be willing to again be involved.

Commissioner Dalton added that the new reservoir would have to be integrated into the Master Plan, and that parking in Hillcrest was intentionally kept at a minimum because it was intended as a passive park, with people expected to park at the perimeter of the park and walk in. She agreed that it probably was time to re-visit the Hillcrest Master Plan as well as other master plans prior to any new developments. Director Molendyk concurred, saying the intent was to enhance the existing plans, not start all over.


Director Molendyk said, at the request of the West Fullerton Improvement Committee, City Council proclaimed May as Asthma Awareness Month.

He noted that Council also approved Amendment #2 to the Kiwanis Club Lease Agreement. Commissioner Swanson asked what the agreement was, and Director Molendyk said there was a 25-year lease extension instead of the shorter term recommended by staff and the Contracts Sub-Committee. However, there would be more oversight and that Council said if Kiwanis doesn’t keep its commitments, the lease could be broken. Director Molendyk said Kevin McCarthy of Kiwanis made a lot of public commitments to the Council, and that he (Director Molendyk) would keep Commission informed on a quarterly basis. He added that the plans were with Development Services, but that when approved, each phase would have a timeframe.

Chair Russell confirmed that the new Kiwanis website did not exist prior to the new lease. Director Molendyk said the Council vote was four to one, and that the dissenting vote thought it wasn’t appropriate for an outside agency to program a City facility. Chair Russell asked about the naming of the park as Kiwanis Youth Park, per the previous discussion on the naming of parks, and whether it was appropriate for an outside organization to re-name a park to its liking.

There was a discussion on the naming and maintenance of Kiwanis Park with Director Molendyk saying that Kiwanis agreed to take over maintenance and repairs, and that the facility would be open to the community when available, although it appeared that the play equipment wouldn’t be available to mothers and children, as presented by Kiwanis at a previous Commission meeting.

Chair Russell emphasized the need for consistency in the naming of parks, pointing to the General Plan, and the inherent value of naming rights. Commissioner Dalton asked if Kiwanis would be putting up any park signs, to which Director Molendyk said he didn’t know. Commissioner Dalton asked for copies of the new lease and Chair Russell said he would write a letter to the Mayor expressing concern that a City property was named by a non-City entity per its website, and Director Molendyk suggested that he clarify with the Mayor if this was what Council agreed to when it voted on the lease.

Commissioner Miller asked who would decide on which groups would be accepted on the use application for Kiwanis Park, and the other commissioners said “Kiwanis.” Director Molendyk said, in closing, that staff would monitor the lease and provide a copy to the Commission.


Chair Russell asked about the signage at the medical center at Richman, saying he didn’t want the park to “look like the St. Jude Medical Center Park,” and that he hoped the sign would be discreet and in keeping with previous City standards on signage. Director Molendyk and Manager Peterson said St. Jude’s first proposal of two 9-foot wide signs was not acceptable to staff, and said a final rendering could be brought to Commission for review and approval. When asked, Manager Peterson said there would be no Cal State University Fullerton signage.

Commissioner Miller asked where the signs were to be, and Manager Peterson said St. Jude had wanted two signs, one on Highland and one on Elm; however, staff has proposed the monument sign on Highland near Elm with a small St. Jude sign on it, and small directional signs on security lighting poles, in addition to the sign on the clinic.

Commissioner Dasney said she didn’t want a clinic sign on the monument sign at all. Director Molendyk agreed that there had to be standards and consistency, and Commissioner Dalton said she wanted to have a discussion, was against the clinic sign on the park sign, and would be willing to “fight that one politically” if need be to prevent future encroachments.

Commissioner Swanson agreed a precedent needed to be set, and that it was important to say that parks shouldn’t have names of sponsors.

Commissioner Swanson MADE A MOTION to adjourn, and Commissioner Spencer SECONDED THE MOTION.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Molendyk
, Secretary