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Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes

Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes





City Council Chamber

Monday, October 9, 2006

6:30 p.m.





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



Commissioner Swanson led the flag salute.



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


Absent:           None


Staff:               Alice Loya, Acting Parks and Recreation Director; Parks and Recreation Managers Dave Alkema, Grace Carroll Lowe, Dannielle Mauk and Judy Peterson; Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan.






CONSENT ITEMS (Items 1 - 3)


Vice-Chair Dalton MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Dasney SECONDED THE MOTION to approve the Consent Calendar items as written.


AYES:             Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Spencer, Swanson


NOES:            None


ABSENT:       None


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.



Recommendation to approve the Minutes of the September 11, 2006 regular meeting.




Recommendation to receive and file the Landscape Division September 2006 Monthly Report.



Recommendation to receive and file the Building and Facilities Division September 2006 Monthly Report.






Acting Director Alice Loya introduced the Power Point review of the Department’s summer programs.  Supervisor Espinoza, representing Family and Senior Services Manager Judy Peterson, outlined the various programs and the sites overseen by Family and Senior Services, and introduced coordinators Aaron Orozco, Eddie Burciaga, and Rosemary Castro-Bryant.


Youth Services Coordinator Aaron Orozco provided an overview of the summer activities at Independence Park including the gym, racquetball courts and swim complex.  Commissioner Spencer asked what the attendance numbers were pre- and post-FAST management.  Acting Director Loya said Manager Peterson would provide numbers at the next Commission meeting or in a memo.


Parks and Recreation Coordinator Eddie Burciaga introduced the Garnet Community Center, saying the Center served more youth than ever this summer through arts and crafts, tutoring, sports, community projects and special activities for the entire neighborhood including blocking off the street.  He also highlighted the new Teen Center for high-risk youth, Parent Committee, Adult Education and volunteer programs.


Commissioner Dasney asked why the Center didn’t use the Topaz School playgrounds instead of the street.  Coordinator Burciaga said they collaborate with the school and use its fields, but sometimes the fields are being used, and sometimes they want to use the neighborhood as the site for their activities.


Parks and Recreation Coordinator Rosemary Castro introduced the Richman Community Center and its programs, highlighting the Youth In Action program, Valencia Task Force, and the volunteers.


Commissioner Dasney brought up the sewage smell near the restrooms at Richman Park; Acting Director Loya said the improvements would create new restrooms that might reduce the smell, and that Manager Alkema would be looking into the problem.


Community Center Supervisor Espinoza spoke on the Senior Multi-Service Center, noting the successful merger of the Maple senior programs into the Fullerton Senior Center.  She described health and wellness, recreation, and support services programs, adding that the Senior Center was a good venue for events.


Supervisor Espinoza spoke next on Maple Community Center programs highlighting Camp Lemonade, the popular Lemon Park Spray Pool, and the Lemon Park Pavilion.  She also mentioned the closing of the Tool Bank, and that the inventory would be distributed to the previous users of the Tool Bank through a lottery.


Commissioner Spencer asked if only those who have rented would be involved in the lottery, and Supervisor Espinoza said “yes.”  Commissioner Dalton asked about the hours for the spray pool, and was told that during the summer it’s open seven days per week, staffed, but closes on Labor Day.


Commissioner Dasney asked about senior meal numbers, and was told they were comparable to last year’s numbers.  Supervisor Espinoza provided Commissioner Swanson information on what service units were, saying they were duplicated attendance records and also provided information to grantors. 


Manager Grace Miranda Lowe spoke on the Recreation Division summer activities including youth sports, the contract with Major League Softball, facility rentals, Tennis Center, contract classes, a new program called ‘Get Outdoors,’ and the newsletter. 


Chair Russell asked whether the Department charges the Library for promoting its programs in the Parks and Recreation newsletter.  Manager Miranda said she asked that question a few years ago, and was told that because the library is part of what the City does and General Funds funds the newsletter, the City Manager decided that the library information should be covered.  Commissioner Dasney agreed, saying the library allows other departments to use their facilities for free, for example.  Manager Miranda said Parks and Recreation also gets about $4,000 in revenue from advertisers.


Other Recreation Division staff who presented were: Sports Facility Coordinator Dave Mann at the Tennis Center; Carol Whitaker who oversees the contract classes, league scheduling, and production of the newsletter; Yvonne Pedersen, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator, who is overseeing the new “Get Outdoors” program including hiking, fishing for all ages and levels, campfires, and horse riding, and assisting with fish stocking and the improvements at Laguna Lake; and Recreation Supervisor John Clements who now oversees the Sports Complex, Bastanchury Park, facility rentals and special events.


Commissioner Dasney asked about the closing of the Sunny Hills Racquet Club, and its impact on attendance at the Tennis Center and was told most players went to the La Habra Center, but some are coming over to the Fullerton Tennis Center, and that more courts were, indeed, needed, but there was no more space available.


The commissioners were encouraged to review the newsletter and were invited to audit the classes.  Commissioners Spencer and Dalton expressed interest in the “Getting Outdoors” program.  Commissioner Dasney asked where kayaking would be held, and was told Newport Beach.  She also asked for and received information about the park rangers and their schedules in the parks.

Cultural and Events Division Manager Dannielle Mauk described the programs, galleries, and facilities her division was responsible for.  She also noted the education and docent program, school tours, City-wide events, and the hosting of major events at the Museum Plaza.  She then introduced the division staff:  Exhibit Specialist Richard Smith who described the museum exhibits including ‘Rhinestones and Twangin’ Tones’ and the Leo Fender Gallery, both of which had considerable public, media and international attention; Operations Assistant Kelly Chidester; Communications/ Production Assistant; Michelle Isaac who talked about the 7th Annual Dog Days and other activities to increase museum membership; Museum Educator Aimee Aul who spoke on museum programs such as docent and school tours, hands-on art education for children as well as high-risk teens, and other summer art activities at the museum, outreach events, and Family Thursdays every other week at the Market; and Events Specialist Stacy Michalak who spoke on events including the Fullerton Market, the 4th of July, and the Summer Concerts.


Commissioner Spencer asked if they were running out of room at the Beer Garden, and was told “yes” even with the expansion.  Commissioner Dalton asked about neighbor complaints at the Summer Concerts and was told there were no complaints.


Acting Director Loya closed the program by acknowledging the work of the program staff, and Commissioner Spencer said the reports were excellent and that she was glad to hear what was happening in the Department. 




Acting Director Loya explained that December is traditionally a “dark” month for the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting although there was a December meeting last year due to the Kiwanis Youth Park issue.  Commissioner Dasney MADE A MOTION to cancel the December 2006 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, and Commissioner Dalton SECONDED THE MOTION.


AYES:             Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Spencer, Swanson

NOES:            None

ABSENT:       None


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.




Acting Director Loya spoke on the Civic Center Master Plan meeting held September 26, 2006 by Redevelopment and the LPA Architecture firm, which commissioners Dalton, Spencer and Swanson attended.   She said the meeting was held to get input from stakeholders on the conceptual plan for the Civic Center Master Plan which included all of Amerige Park, the library, and the park space between the library and City Hall.


The result of the meeting was plans to expand the Senior Center, leave Duane Winters Field as is, leave the open space, tear down and rebuild the Boys and Girls Club, moving it towards the back of the park, and add more parking. Further decisions would have to be made on the tennis courts and the extra baseball field used by Pony Colt.  It was decided that a bridge would connect the library and Senior Center, and Short Street would continue into Amerige Park. 


Acting Director Loya said between now and the next Commission meeting, LPA will be talking with the affected facilities to discuss programming and space needs.  The final conceptual plan would then come to the Parks and Recreation Commission in November for approval and recommendation to the City Council.  Acting Director Loya noted that she had to clarify with Redevelopment later that Amerige Park encompassed the entire property discussed other than the library, not just Duane Winters Field.


Commissioner Swanson remarked that there was a lot of buy-in at the meeting with a hybrid consensus to tie up the various sections.   Acting Director Loya agreed it was a “really well-run meeting.”  Commissioner Dasney asked about the attendance and was told there were about 30 people, and that it was a good cross section with a lot of user groups and people.  Commissioner Dalton said the consultant was good, had worked with the user groups previously, presented three possible options at the meeting, and that one option, modified, was preferred by all the user groups and the public at-large.  Acting Director Loya said the concept plan would be essentially finalized by the time it comes to the Commission.  Commissioner Dasney asked how they felt about the bridge and elevator, and was told everyone was positive except for one member of the Senior Club.


Regarding Kiwanis Youth Park, Acting Director Loya said Kiwanis should be finished in about a week with the 19 corrections on their plan check, and could then obtain a building permit.  Enough money was raised to fully fund Phases 1 and 2, and partially fund Phase 3 of four phases, and working hard to raise the additional needed funds.


At the last Council meeting, a $250,000 grant application was approved for submittal to the State Department of Parks and Recreation Transportation Enhancement funds to finish the trail and staging area at West Hiltscher Park on the west side of Euclid.  The City will have to resolve an encroachment issue there prior to completion of the work.



Acting Director Loya described the Council presentation to the two neighborhood leaders of the Skyline Drive beautification project.  Commissioner Spencer said they are still raising money for maintenance.  Commissioner Dasney asked about the City’s involvement in maintenance, saying she’s seen women running hoses from neighbors’ houses to water, and was told the water tanker trucks will be coming by.  Chair Russell expressed concern that that intersection was a traffic hazard. 


Regarding the Closed Session on the Children’s League Lease, Acting Director Loya reported that there was a mutual agreement that Children’s League would give up its lease since it had only one overworked employee and lost its 501(c)3 non-profit status in 2004.  However, there was some question about what to do with the sub-tenants, Child Guidance Center and Fullerton Community Nursery School, due to radon found by the Army Corps of Engineers at the site as well as deteriorated facilities.  She said they would hire an outside EPA-certified radon testing company to re-test the levels.  In the meantime, she said staff will be working with the tenants to find a safe alternative site as the repairs were costly compared to the condition of the building. 

Commissioner Dalton said “costly repairs” was relative when compared to the value of the programs provided, and that the community should step forward to keep the school at its current location if the radon levels are minimal.  Commissioner Spencer said she spoke with the nursery school director, who was very upset because she didn’t believe she could find another location.  When she asked about Child Guidance Center’s plans, Acting Director Loya said the Center had hired a broker.  She said the rumors were not true that those actions were taken to benefit St. Jude; rather the City, as landlord now, would be liable for any problems at the property.




Commissioner Swanson acknowledged the program review and the staff pride, saying the information provided made him feel proud, and that it would be nice to have these programs better publicized so others would know how many people are served.  Commissioner Dalton thanked the staff for the “fabulous job,” saying it was ironic that the Parks and Recreation Department gets the biggest budget cuts and is asked to make the most with the least, and yet tonight, the staff showed a lot of pride and how they do so much with less and less each year. 


Commissioner Dasney agreed, and said staff was also being “innovative all the time.”  She complimented staff for their collaboration on the St. Jude Clinic Opening, and said she got a copy of the partial Hillcrest Master Plan but would like to see more information.  She noted the attached memo from the Director which said more work would be done when there was a full Commission, and said she hoped to revisit the issue with more information soon.


She then asked for a timeline for the Rolling Hills parking lot neighborhood workshop.  Acting Director Loya said Manager Alkema would be working with Director Molendyk when he came back from vacation, and that the item would either come to the Commission in November or would be a workshop.


Chair Russell commented on the St. Jude dedication, saying it was well-attended but he was disappointed in the lack of involvement or appreciation of the Parks and Recreation Department, with only passing reference that the City donated the property.  Commissioner Spencer asked who organized the program and was told it was St. Jude.


Director Loya introduced newest staff, Nancy Blinzler, Clerical Assistant III.


Commissioner Spencer MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Swanson SECONDED THE MOTION to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,





Ron Molendyk, Secretary