JOINT SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL & PARKS & RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL
1000 CITY CENTER CIRCLE, PORT ORANGE
MARCH 31, 2014
THE JOINT SPECIAL MEETING of the City of Port Orange City Council and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board was called to order by Mayor Allen Green at 5:30 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call: Present: Councilman Bob Ford
Councilman Drew Bastian
Councilman Dennis Kennedy
Vice Mayor Donald Burnette
Jack Wiles, Chairman
Absent: Mayor Allen Green
Also Present: Gregory A. Kisela, City Manager
Matthew Jones, Assistant City Attorney
Robin Fenwick, City Clerk
4. Responsibilities and Duties of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
Vice Mayor Burnette asked members to introduce themselves and provide details of their thoughts on the goals and duties of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board.
Jack Wiles, Chairman, provided a list of the Board Priorities as the Board determined at their last meeting but requested feedback and direction from Council.
John Cameron, Vice Chairman, agreed with the list provided by Chairman Wiles. He would like to see the Foundation move forward. He believes it will be a great asset to the City.
Maria Mills-Benat, member, is excited to move forward with direction from Council.
Aime Bischoff, member, agreed with Mr. Cameron relating to the Foundation. She hopes to get it moving with some help and direction from Council.
Dianne Gardner, member, agreed with all. She’s excited to see the Foundation move forward. She is interested in linear parks and pathways.
Mark Bowling, member, wants to have a better working relationship with Council.
Mike Collins, member, also agreed with all comments from the Board Members.
Sean Maroney, member, agreed with the comments and is also happy to get direction from Council.
Councilman Bastian liked the ideas presented and is looking forward to providing assistance.
Councilman Ford is interested in developing a plan on where to go in a strategic manner. He asked for the Board’s assistance with Riverwalk. He wants to discuss soccer issues, as well as the building of a sports complex.
Councilman Kennedy wants to discuss the foundation and work on moving it forward. Long term planning is going to be necessary. He would like to see a sports complex but doesn’t know how the City will pay for it.
Vice Mayor Burnette’s priority is a sports complex. He wants to evaluate the need for additional fields. He wants to start big and scale down to meet funding requirements.
Greg Kisela, City Manager, said Council will be considering phase I of the Riverwalk project on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 which will address some of the canoe/kayak issues, as well as the beginning of a linear park. He explained some of the renovations and changes to some of the fields that have occurred recently. Staff has been researching the costs of building a sports complex, as well as the maintenance of a complex. Priorities need to be set if grants are going to be applied for so as to not compete with other City projects.
Mr. Wiles provided details of the Foundation. A draft of the purpose for the Foundation was provided. $1,600 was raised by the Board, Council has matched that. The Board needs a pro bono attorney to assist them. Mr. Wiles said the Foundation Board needs to be separate from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and the City Council. He asked for input from Council regarding the draft purpose.
Councilman Kennedy doesn’t know what to do to get the Foundation moving forward.
Mr. Cameron believes people are reluctant to donate to a governmental agency. He thinks the Foundation will help get people to donate.
Councilman Ford asked what is holding up the implementation of the Foundation. He suggested the legal work being done in-house. He supports some City support to get it moving forward. Mr. Wiles asked if direction can be given to the City Attorney to move forward. Councilman Ford said it will be discussed at the City Council meeting on April 1, 2014.
Councilman Bastian supports the Foundation and would like to see it move forward.
Mr. Wiles asked if excess City property could be donated to the Foundation. Vice Mayor Burnette said he’s not sure that is possible.
Ms. Gardner supports the Foundation and wants more publicity for donating.
Mr. Wiles said the Board discussed the lands owned by the City. The Board wanted to consider the consolidation of properties, as well as the opportunity to buy and sell properties that are not currently being used.
Councilman Bastian is not opposed to buying properties if needed and funding is available.
Mr. Kisela said there could be some properties to sell in order to pay for others.
Councilman Ford would like to see an inventory of existing lands owned by the City. He would like input on the field at White Place.
Mr. Bowling asked where the funds will go if the field at White Place is sold. Councilman Ford said wherever Council decides. Vice Mayor Burnette suggested the Council considering a policy that the funds from parks sold go back into the parks accounts.
Councilman Kennedy cautioned against making it a full policy. There may be purchases/sales based on drainage issues or other issues.
Mr. Wiles asked what is being given up and what is being gained in terms of land relating to the Riverwalk project.
Mr. Kisela said the only piece of land being considered in the land swap from the City is the funeral home. Nothing else is included. The swap is the funeral home for whatever the City feels is needed to finish the linear park.
Councilman Kennedy asked the Board what their thoughts are on the Spruce Creek property relating to canoeing and kayaking launches. Mr. Wiles said the Board is in favor of a launch if there is enough of a buffer from the neighbors. Councilman Kennedy said there will definitely be irate citizens that will fight a launch at that site. Ms. Mills-Benat asked what the pushback is. Councilman Kennedy said everything. It’s a quiet spot. They don’t want people coming to their area.
Vice Mayor Burnette suggested Council asking the City Manager to explore the issue with the County. Councilman Ford asked that the City Manager research other sites as well that would also open up the Russell dock. Councilman Ford would like to have the Board meet with Staff to help with plan the rest of the park at Riverwalk. He asked that the Board consider passive park areas because of maintenance costs.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked about annexing a portion of the Spruce Creek land. Mr. Kisela said the County will typically “bundle” issues together whether or not they are related or not. He believes the County will be territorial of that land. Vice Mayor Burnette believes this issue needs to be on the long term plan and on the back burner for now. Discussion was held relating to the usage of the site. Councilman Kennedy suggested placing the launch at Spruce Creek at the end of the five-year plan.
Mr. Wiles said the Board is in favor of linear parks but the Board was trying to figure out how to connect the trails. He suggested the Board evaluate the pathways with the Greenway paths while evaluating the park lands.
Councilman Kennedy liked the idea of extending the Riverwalk linear park across to Halifax Avenue. Discussion was held relating to Cross Town Trail. Councilman Ford explained the complaints with the neighbors while he was Police Chief that nixed the expansion of the trail.
Councilman Bastian thinks there might be some resistance from citizens but would like to see it happen.
Councilman Ford would like to see the Board discuss the trails and pathways further. He advised that 10% of the TPO funds are going into pathways. He would like the Board to look at the Halifax pathway idea.
Ms. Mills-Benat asked for a field trip to the parks rather than just looking at a map. Robin Fenwick, City Clerk, asked in the interest of the Sunshine Law, that they take a trip to the parks individually that they are interested in rather than as a Board.
Ms. Gardner asked for a map of the parks so she can tour them herself. Mr. Wiles will provide her with a copy of the map.
Mr. Wiles asked what the priorities are for fields and a sports complex and what the funding sources might be. Mr. Kisela said the short term issues were addressed in 2013 with the additional lights and extension of fields. The long-term issues remain. It’s going to take 3-5 years to build a sports complex but planning should start now if it’s a priority. There are some grants that could be available. The community can vote on a bond issue to see if they support it.
Councilman Bastian asked if the bond issue can be on the ballot with this election cycle. Mr. Kisela said it needs to be a priority from the community. The Council cannot support it once it is on the ballot. He doesn’t believe the political support is there for this year’s election but would suggest that 2016 would be better. Councilman Bastian agreed and would support the 2016 ballot.
Vice Mayor Burnette wants to get the details of what to do and how much it will be before it can go on a ballot. He supports 2016 for this issue.
Councilman Ford agreed with looking into a sports complex. He would like to establish a policy that maintenance is built in if something is built.
Councilman Kennedy thinks 2016 might be too aggressive. He believes a sports complex is a very complex issue that needs to be ready before going out for a vote. He thinks 2018 may be more doable.
Mr. Collins said those issues have been discussed by the Board. Maintenance is a big deal and needs to be budgeted.
Mr. Bowling is an advocate of a sports complex. He suggested working on it in phases but would like to see a master plan. He would like to start now on the long range plan.
Ms. Gardner is concerned with the funding sources.
Ms. Bischoff would like to see more regulation basketball courts.
Ms. Mills-Benat agreed to map out a plan now and try to be ready for the 2016 election.
Mr. Cameron believes it would be less expensive to look at the current fields and expand what the City has currently, with discussing options with the Silver Sands fields.
Councilman Ford asked how many acres are needed for fields. Mr. Wiles said the complex is suggested at 60 acres. Susan Lovallo, Parks & Recreation Director, said Coraci is 36 acres. One high school regulation baseball field is five acres without parking. She believes 200 acres will be needed to meet the ideas talked about at this meeting.
Vice Mayor Burnette said the consensus of the Council is the Board should examine this issue and provide feedback to Council. He would be able to find the community support for a citizen committee.
Mr. Wiles asked if they are clear on the priorities: 1) authorization to move forward with the Foundation; 2) inventory and evaluate the parks; 3) launches on the back burner; 4) linear park – look how to make it work and link parks together; 5) start talking about what the sports complex will be and present a plan to Council with a goal of the 2016 elections. The Board will discuss one or two items at a time.
Vice Mayor Burnette suggested meeting with the Board once a year relating to Parks direction. All agreed.
Board members thanked the Council.
Council members thanked the Board for their help and for volunteering.
Public Comments: Ted Noftall, citizen, believes selling the White Street field is a bad idea. He would request the Board to consider not recommending. He believes the Spruce Creek launch should be on the front burner and not the back burner. Mr.Noftall suggested using the fire services issue in a bundle with the launch. He suggested the City take down the no trespassing signs in the area. He suggested the Board look into the Thompson Pump site as they are looking to move.
Newton White, citizen, agreed with Mr. Noftall about Spruce Creek Road launch area. He warned about the trash pile at the Tomoka Farms Road site for the sports complex.
ADJOURNMENT: 7:17 p.m.
Mayor Allen Green
Robin L. Fenwick, CMC