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Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes

CITY OF FULLERTON

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

MEETING MINUTES

City Council Chamber

Monday, August 14, 2006

6:30 p.m.






CALL TO ORDER


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


FLAG SALUTE


Commissioner Swanson led the flag salute.


ROLL CALL

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

Absent: George Miller

Staff: Ron Molendyk, Parks and Recreation Director; Parks and Recreation Managers Alice Loya, Dave Alkema, Grace Carroll Lowe, Dannielle Mauk, and Judy Peterson; Parks and Recreation Analyst Chris Gerry, Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan


PUBLIC COMMENTS


None.


CONSENT ITEMS (1 – 3)


Vice-Chair Dalton made a point of clarification regarding Page 5 of the June 12, 2006 Commission Minutes, saying that the current Hillcrest Master Plan was, in fact, designed to historical standards. Director Molendyk thanked Vice-Chair Dalton for her clarification and also noted that at the appropriate time, additional items at Hillcrest Park would also be discussed including covering the culvert at Harbor, the new reservoir and other future changes.


Commissioner Dasney asked Landscape Superintendent Quinlivan for an update on the trail encroachments per the e-mail received from Vince Buck, and Superintendent Quinlivan said he was following up on that, and invited the other commissioners to go on a trail tour with Commissioner Spencer and him. Director Molendyk said he has discussed this with the City Manager, that the Parks and Recreation Department is trying to get more involved in the trails, and will provide a report soon to Commission.


Commissioner Spencer said the hill on Brea and Harbor above the old duck pond looked bare, and that erosion might be a problem in winter. Superintendent Quinlivan said there was a concern about fire there so Maintenance does weed abatement annually, but there hadn’t been a history of slippage although it might happen. He said a major design effort would be needed to address it. Commissioner Spencer said the trees in the median at State College north of Bastanchury were not looking well, and Superintendent Quinlivan agreed, saying they’ve learned Engineering needs to provide better specifications on soil needs.

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

Calendar items as clarified.


AYES: Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Spencer, Swanson

NOES: None

ABSENT: Miller


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.

1. MINUTES OF THE JUNE 12, 2006 REGULAR MEETING


Staff recommendation to approve the minutes of the June 12, 2006 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

2. LANDSCAPE DIVISION MONTHLY REPORTS FOR JUNE AND JULY 2006


Staff recommendation to receive and file the Landscape Division June and July 2006 Monthly Reports.

3. BUILDING AND FACILITIES DIVISION MONTHLY REPORTS FOR JUNE AND JULY 2006


Staff recommendation to receive and file the Building and Facilities Division June and July 2006 Monthly Reports.


REGULAR BUSINESS (Items 4 - 9)

4. LIONS FIELD RENOVATION


Director Molendyk introduced the item, saying that renovations at Lions Field are needed as was parking to increase safety at Brea Boulevard, and that priorities have changed on the use of the fields. He noted that Lions Field was the Commission’s number one priority, and that the Department is now ready to go forward since funding was received; however, costs needed to be reduced. Director Molendyk said that Parks Manager Dave Alkema worked with staff and user groups to develop a plan which would be presented tonight for Commission approval, and then it would go out to bid. He said construction would take about a year. He added that staff also met with the Maintenance Department to understand their issues and develop a maintenance plan.


Manager Alkema reiterated the Commission’s high prioritization of the Lions Field project, and said staff has reduced costs to the project while not affecting the overall design and improvements needed. He noted the rusted poles with safety issues, drainage problems which flood the Club House, and slopes eroding into athletic fields. He said that both softball and football are served, thus the fields have heavy maintenance needs which were discussed with Maintenance.


Manager Alkema went over the planned improvements at Lions Field, saying the facility will be totally regraded and everything demolished except for the Lions building, the restroom and parking lot. All new lights, irrigation, sod, backstops, infields, higher fencing, and football goal posts will be installed, the current score board relocated, dumpsters removed, and new storage built for sports equipment. There will also be increased parking behind the storage area, improved circulation away from Brea Boulevard, a new pre-fab restroom and walkway in the middle of the complex with storage for Pop Warner. Trees would be planted along Brea Boulevard, and a retaining wall up to 20 feet will be built along the south perimeter to hold up the slope with planting pockets and irrigation on top. Manager Alkema said the field lights are outdated and sometimes stop working, while the new lights will not create light intrusion into nearby residences. In total, there will be four new softball fields, a practice football field, and a regular football field.

An audience member asked if the Lions Field plan was a tentative plan, and Manager Alkema said “No,” and that if Commission approves the concept plan, staff will then develop and send out a request for bids. He was then asked how high the backstop near Brea Boulevard would be, and was told 32 feet. Director Molendyk said staff has received input from user groups, and were now providing information to the neighbors so they will know how the improvements will upgrade the area. He said it will take about one year to complete, so staff will have to find other fields for the current users.


An audience member said he had concerns about balls going into the street and Manager Alkema said staff consulted and complied with recommendations for a higher fence from a safety consultant, plus they received input from users and the Maintenance Department. Director Molendyk said staff is going to try to upgrade the level of maintenance to be better neighbors to the local area.

A resident living on top of Lemon Street with a clear view of street, asked how Brea Boulevard would be impacted during construction. Director Molendyk asked if the audience could come to the podium so their questions and input could be recorded.


Chair Russell then said the process was that Commission would ask questions first, then allow the public to speak, but he would make sure the resident’s question was answered later. Commissioner Swanson asked what the fencing heights would be at Lemon Boulevard and what the distance from home plate to the street was. Manager Alkema said the fence was 25 feet high and the distance 250’, which Commissioner Swanson said wouldn’t be a problem. Commissioner Swanson asked about use of dirt and turf for football, and Dave said with mixed use, it was the best compromise they could make.


Commissioner Swanson asked about extending the trails system, and Manager Alkema said those funds were used to improve the fields; however, trails might be improved at a later date. Commissioner Swanson then asked about the restrooms, and was told there would be two restrooms, one current one and a new one in the middle of the field.


Commissioner Spencer asked about the 20 foot high retaining wall, saying there was never any planting in the pockets, or if it was there, it was dead. Manager Alkema suggested that she look at the Amerige Heights Center near Target where cascading irrigation on top is keeping the plants green.


Commissioner Dasney said she heard “pre-fab” in the presentation, and asked if the storage and/or restroom would be pre-fab, and if there were pictures. Manager Alkema said both would be pre-fab, but the quality was really nice, they were a little less costly, and installation was very simple.


Vice-Chair Dalton asked about the two fields requiring 10-foot high fencing in the middle of the fields. She asked what the purpose was of the high fencing, and Manager Alkema said the fencing is to protect people leaving the restrooms from any stray foul balls. He clarified that fences close to home plate are 32 feet high and those further down are 10 feet high, and that previously, no fences were there, but the safety consultant recommended it.


Chair Russell asked whether the bleachers would be permanent or portable, and a discussion ensued regarding the benefits and maintenance levels required of both. Director Molendyk noted that the City has to provide for multiple user groups, not just one group so compromises were necessary.


Chair Russell asked about dual use and Winter Ball at Lions Field, and Manager Miranda said only Pop Warner would play there in the winter.


Commissioner Swanson asked about the holes from goal posts, and Manager Alkema said both sleeves and covers would be used and stored in the central restroom storage area.


Commissioner Russell asked about the planned outfield fencing when softball is in play, and was told that portable fencing would continue to be used. He asked about which divisions would be using the fields, and Bob Paul of Fullerton Softball explained how they delineate the fields for different play. Chair Russell noted the audience member who had asked about the impact of construction on Brea Boulevard, and also asked if the parking lot would be new. Manager Alkema responded that the parking lot would have to be new, and said there could be some disruption on Brea Boulevard due to sewer, electrical and water lines, but it would be temporary since most of the construction will happen within the confines of the fields.


Chair Russell asked Manager Miranda Lowe about temporary homes for Pop Warner and Fullerton Hills Softball, and she said staff is reviewing the matter and considering Pacific Drive School for Pop Warner while Bastanchury Park, Woodcrest Park, Commonwealth School and possibly Valencia would be used for Fullerton Hills Softball.


Chair Russell asked about parking, and if it would be further extended on Brea Boulevard. Director Molendyk said there are reciprocal agreements with the adjacent businesses to share parking; however, this project is focusing on fields and lighting replacement. Manager Alkema said they are reviewing the area where the Maintenance yard is, and how they can maximize that space for parking.


Commissioner Spencer asked how Maintenance can keep maintaining the parks without more personnel, and Landscape Superintendent Quinlivan said they can’t and are requesting extra staff and equipment. She asked how many parks there are, and was told 52, plus other venues around the City. Supeintendent Quinlivan added that sports fields were high maintenance, and when asked, said they also maintain the school fields. Director Molendyk said Parks and Recreation staff has met with Maintenance and is trying to assist them with their needs. He said the quality of the parks are a reflection of the community, and that Commission can support a better park system by recommending appropriate levels of maintenance funding to Council. Commissioner Spencer agreed and said she would like to talk with Council about this.


Commissioner Swanson asked whether the leagues or Maintenance are maintaining the fields. Superintendent Quinlivan said the leagues are doing most of the lining and dragging of fields although Maintenance helps with Pop Warner and soccer, and 100% at the Sports Complex and at Lions Field. However, Maintenance does all the mowing fertilizing, and aerating of fields. Director Molendyk said the Department is trying to have a standard of fairness for all users and facilities; thus upgrading maintenance would encourage users to use all fields, not just the Sports Complex.


Chair Russell then opened the item for public comment:


Ruben Castillo, Vice President of Fullerton Hills Softball
– Said parking at Lions Field was a problem on Saturdays. He said most families use office complex parking and there haven’t been any complaints from the complex. He suggested installing a gate at the fence between the Steve Hanna Attorney’s office and the maintenance yard so people don’t have to walk all the way down Brea Boulevard. He said everyone would like to eliminate Brea Boulevard because it is a blind corner and a safety issue. He said the design of the backstops causes safety problems due to stray balls and that attractive storage near fields would be helpful.

Manager Alkema said planned walkway and stairs from the businesses to the parking area to address the issue of access.

Commissioner Swanson asked about the backstop design, and Manager Dave said they are in the concept stage and will bring more detailed plans to Commission. Commissioner Swanson said that, especially for softball, the overhang really helps stop foul balls.


Chair Russell asked about concession stands, and was told there would be no new concessions.


Commissioner Dasney MADE A MOTION to approve the final concept plans for Lions Field, and Commissioner Swanson SECONDED THE MOTION.


AYES: Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Spencer, Swanson

NOES: None

ABSENT: Miller


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.

5. FACILITY DESIGNATIONS


Director Molendyk reminded the commissioners that Manager Judy Peterson provided an informational report at the June 2006 Commission Meeting regarding designations for facilities such as Chapman, Richman, Gilbert, Orangethorpe, and Garnet, and that Commission wanted to make facility designations an action item. He added that the Commission had expressed a desire to move away from the “neighborhood center” designation and use the term “community center” to send a message that the facilities were available for the entire community.


The commissioners discussed the advantages and disadvantages of various designations including “Community Center,” “Neighborhood Center,” “Parks and Recreation Center,” and “Recreation Center,” with most commissioners favoring “Community Center.”


Commissioner Swanson asked if the Commission should also decide whether or not all the facilities should be named after the parks they are in, so a discussion ensued, with the anomaly of Maple Center at Lemon Park noted, and Director Molendyk saying that the Commission could make a recommendation tonight to Council to have facilities on parks named after the park.


Commissioner Spencer asked about costs, and Director Molendyk noted that while there would be a cost, monument signs was the next agenda item, and that the Department wanted to dress up the parks and improve the signs anyway. He said the Commission would be reviewing any proposed sign changes in the future, but that tonight, staff was more concerned about developing a policy tonight.


Commissioner Dasney asked about the naming of Kiwanis Park, as discussed earlier. Director Molendyk said that was a separate issue of “who names parks?”, and that tonight, Commission was looking specifically at Garnet Center and the centers at Lemon, Gilbert, Chapman and Richman parks.


Commissioner Swanson MADE A MOTION to adopt a policy to rename all City centers “Community Centers” with a name associated with the park they are located in, e.g. Lemon Community Center at Lemon Park. Commissioner Spencer SECONDED THE MOTION.


Chair Russell said he supported the “Community Center” designation, but had some problems with going as far as renaming existing community centers with a different name, e.g., Maple Center changing to Lemon Center. Vice-Chair Dalton said she agreed with Chair Russell, and thought that while it was important to call “Maple Center” “Maple Community Center” instead, the name should not be changed to “Lemon Center” because “Maple Center” had been so-named for a very long time and had significance to the neighborhood there.


Director Molendyk asked if, with the completion of Richman Park, Valencia Center should continue to be called Valencia Community Center at Richman Park, or Richman Community Center. There was a Commission consensus to go with Richman Community Center.


Chair Russell called for the vote.


AYES: Spencer, Swanson

NOES: Dalton, Dasney, Russell

ABSENT: Miller


The MOTION FAILED.


Vice-Chair Dalton MADE A MOTION to name all centers “Community Center,” and specifically, “Chapman Community Center”, “Gilbert Community Center,” “Maple Community Center,” “Richman Community Center,” “Orangethorpe Community Center,” and “Garnet Community Center. “ Commissioner Swanson SECONDED THE MOTION.


AYES: Dalton, Dasney, Russell, Spencer, Swanson

NOES: None

ABSENT: Miller


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.


6. PARK MONUMENT AND REGULATORY SIGN REPLACEMENT POLICY


Director Molendyk introduced Parks Manager Dave Alkema who pointed out the poor state of signage in Fullerton’s parks and said staff is recommending that Commission approve standards for monument signs as well as standards for the replacement or improvement of the regulatory signs.


Manager Alkema noted the photos of deteriorated and haphazard signs as well as samples of attractive and sturdy proposed monument and regulatory signage in the agenda letter. He said concrete monument signs which cost about $8,000 - $10,000 installed four or five years ago, would last 40 – 50 years or more, and would denote longevity, caring and pride in the parks. He asked for commissioner comments and guidance, saying he would like to inventory and prioritize park signage replacement, install inexpensive temporary metal signs in parks that currently have no monument signs, and replace signs as the budget allows. Director Molendyk said the Maintenance Department agreed that some of the existing signs were a hazard.


Director Molendyk referred to the photo of the Bastanchury Park sign, noting that the flowers surrounding a sign were, unfortunately, often later replaced with wood chips. He said a lighted sign was also an option, depending on the area and activities.

Chair Swanson expressed his preference for both the concrete Shiffer Park and the Bastanchury Park signs, noting that some of the new signs might fit on the concrete bases that existing signs were on, and that he liked the new metal regulatory sign, too. Commissioner Spencer asked how to remove graffiti from concrete signs, and Manager Alkema said power washing or light sandblasting was usually used. There was a discussion on whether there should be concrete or dirt for flowers at the bases.


Vice-Chair Dalton said all the signs didn’t need to be identical, and that some parks demand a different kind of sign, noting that a large concrete sign in a small park might be too large. She said she liked the wrought iron Ketchum Park sign for some parks that have a similar design. Director Molendyk agreed with her, saying that the sign should match the design of the park or neighborhood, e.g., Hillcrest Park wouldn’t look right with the Bastanchury Park sign.


Vice-Chair Dalton said the larger sports-oriented parks such as Lions Field, Bastanchury Park, Sports Complex, and Independence Park would demand the larger, more modern concrete signs. Director Molendyk summarized that everyone was in agreement that the signs need to be standardized and replaced. Vice-Chair Dalton suggested designating signs to be replaced on a rotating basis depending on visibility and need.


Commissioner Dasney suggested the commissioners visit Walnut Grove Park in Anaheim on Anaheim Boulevard near Vermont. It was similar to the wrought iron Ketchum Park sign, but even nicer with polite, welcoming wording, even in the regulatory sign.


Chair Russell asked for discussion on the regulatory signs. Commissioner Spencer said the signs are busy and the writing so small, she wondered if anyone reads it. Director Molendyk agreed no one likes the signs, but that it provides some authority for the police to refer to when trying to enforce regulations, and said they could emphasize different rules for different parks. Commissioner Spencer asked if there were specified locations for the signs, and Manager Alkema said no, but that signs should be placed near entrances where visitors would see the signs. Director Molendyk explained that staff wanted to replace the current signs posted haphazardly in multiple locations with one larger sign. Commissioner Spencer suggested that the lettering be large enough to read.


There was discussion on the materials to be used for the signs: wood, metal or stone. Chair Russell had concerns that the ordinances might change, creating a need to replace a sign, but Manager Alkema said most of the regulations were universal and shouldn’t need to be changed.


When Manager Alkema asked, the Commission agreed that the current signs needed to be replaced, wood wasn’t good, scale was important, and there should be some kind of uniformity to the signs, e.g. City seal and name. He also noted an address on the sign might be important for emergencies, and the commissioners agreed.


Manager Alkema said he would, with the Commission’s approval, conduct an inventory of park signs, prioritize and provide suggestions for signs, and bring these back to Commission for its input and approval. The commissioners agreed with his suggestion.


Chair Russell said he liked the single regulatory sign, but thought, as Commissioner Dasney suggested, that the sign should start with a welcome, then a statement such as “for the enjoyment of everyone, here are the rules…,” rather than just saying “you can’t do all these things.” The other commissioners agreed, and Vice-Chair Dalton said she also agreed with the single sign concept, but that because Hillcrest is on the National Registry, that signage would have to be designed with a historical perspective in mind.


Commissioner Swanson asked if each sign would have to go through an approval process; Manager Alkema said they would probably bring up three or four signs at one time. Director Molendyk said when new projects are brought to Commission, the signage could also be considered.


Vice-Chair Dalton asked about new signage at Lions Field, and it was agreed that this should be considered. Director Molendyk noted that the City’s parks and trails are nice, but require stronger administration and more standards and maintenance. Thus, there should also be standards for parks, signs and banners; otherwise random, long-term banners could reduce the attractiveness of a $3 million improvement.


When asked about her comment on Lions Field, Vice-Chair Dalton said Lions Field, being a large sports complex, would need a substantial monument sign.

7. DIRECTOR’S UPDATE

· Tri-City Park – There is more interest in a capital improvement program from the three cities. It was agreed that staff would provide a tour of the park for the Commission in the very near future.

· Independence Park Locker Rooms – A walk-through isn’t possible right now because the locker room was tiled improperly. There are other significant problems, and liquidated damages are being paid by the contractor at $1500/day since June 2006. It was confirmed that general law requires the City to accept the lowest bid.

· Fullerton Sports Complex – The score board has been moved with a sign-off from the user groups. Due to it being an emergency, the City can go with a sole bidder on the tot lot cover, and staff has identified a contractor with a good price.

· Civic Center Study – A contractor was chosen through a sole source process, and staff will keep commission updated.

There was a discussion on how the Civic Center Study was instigated and how the contractor was chosen, and Director Molendyk said City Council asked for the study since there were groups, e.g., the Boys and Girls Club and the Senior Center, that wanted improvements, so it was felt it would be good to do an overall Civic Center study.


8.
REPORT ON CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS


Information from the August 14, 2006 meeting agenda was received and filed.


9. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS


Vice-Chair Dalton asked about Bastanchury Park and the orange temporary fences, and was told by Superintendent Quinlivan that the park is having turf problems because of over use and because they couldn’t overseed the fields properly due to field play. He said the fences are to keep people off so the turf can recover as much as possible.


Commissioner Dasney complimented Superintendent Quinlivan on the Mountain View Park gate solution and the shrubs which she said were “exceptional.” She added that the park was being very well used.


Commissioner Dasney described the last Summer Concert as “fabulous,” but said there was a parking problem due to its popularity. She asked if there was a chance to get enforcement and an approval to park on Bastanchury Road rather than on the fire lane. Cultural and Events Manager Dannielle Mauk agreed that there was a parking problem, that staff intentionally allowed parking on the red curbs last week, that residents didn’t want any parking near the homes, nor did she want parking near the cemetery across the street. She said the long-term solution was a shuttle service near Brea Boulevard.


Director Molendyk said District 56 Little League had a successful event, and got positive feedback from both the neighbors and the League. However, there was a problem with illegal parking on the red curb, too, so staff will have to talk to Traffic Engineering to
resolve the problem.


Commissioner Swanson MADE A MOTION to adjourn, Vice-Chair Dalton SECONDED THE MOTION, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


________________________________

Ron Molendyk, Secretary

RM:pf

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