Parks Advisory Board Minutes
November 3, 2010
Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
Meeting of November 3, 2010
7:30 a.m. — Plantation Heritage Park – PlantationMembers Present: / Members Absent: / Others Present:
Patrick Brochu / Marc Kiar / Dan West, Parks & Rec.
Terry Danger / Jack Talabisco / Gayle Preston, Parks & Rec.
Sharon Kent / Tim Watts / Carol Morgenstern, Parks & Rec.
Stephen Lawson / Lou Metz, Parks & Rec.
Jack Mathison / Bill Gilmartin, Parks & Rec.
Quentin Morgan / Cathy Hagen, Parks & Rec.
Stephanie Munson / Gary Remillet, Parks & Rec.
Howard Nelson / Martin Gross, HCED
Marsha Oster-Levy / John Anerine, Parks & Rec.
Guy Roper / Julie Brown, Parks & Rec.
Sheila Rose / Don Puglisi, Parks & Rec.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (Board) meeting was called to order by Jack Mathison, Chair, at 7:36 a.m., after which all present recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Roll was called; a quorum was present.
Approval of Minutes
Chair Mathison requested a motion to approve the minutes of the October 6, 2010 meeting. Board member Danger made a motion, board member Brochu seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Park Manager’s Report
Bill Gilmartin, Park Manager III, welcomed the board to Plantation Heritage Park. Mr. Gilmartin described the park’s amenities and provided the history of the park, as well as information about recent and planned improvements, popular annual events, park attendance over the last year, revenues, and operating budget.
Employee of the Month
John Anerine was congratulated as Employee of the Month (EOM) for November. Mr. Anerine was applauded for his accomplishments and work ethic, and he was awarded a framed certificate of appreciation as well as a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
Parks and Recreation Division Update
Director West spoke about Plantation Heritage Park volunteer Julie Grady, including her recent actions that most likely prevented a theft at the maintenance building. Mr. West presented Ms. Grady with a certificate thanking her for her dedication to the park.
Mr. West updated the Board on the budget and its impact on staff. He briefed the Board on his recent meetings with operations and park staff at various sites throughout the Division. He provided an update on the Bond Program, which is nearing completion, and the Capital Program. Less than $29 million remains in the Bond Program; that amount should be enough to meet the needs of the projects already planned. The funds in the Capital Program, about $15 million, appear to be sufficient. The challenge is to complete the project list in light of the cutbacks in staff. Equipment is a big issue: having access to the right kinds of equipment, and the upkeep, repair, and replacement of equipment. Discussion was held among the Board and staff about solar powered lights and garbage receptacles, including their operation, efficiency, and possible grants. The company that Hollywood Parks and Recreation has used in their larger parks for solar garbage receptacles is Big Belly.
Bond Construction Update
Martin Gross, Planning and Design, provided each member of the board with a copy of the Projects Status Report, which summarizes the current bond projects, and reviewed the projects currently under construction.
SNC10-Prototypes: Construction is nearing completion at a number of projects: the maintenance facilities at Tree Tops and Tradewinds Parks, the corporate shelters at C.B. Smith, TY, and Markham Parks, and the covered basketball courts at several neighborhood parks. The problem with the sewer connection at the corporate shelter at Tradewinds Park is under discussion with Coconut Creek. A proposal for the design of a parking lot for the Tradewinds Park corporate shelter is in the planning stage, and it is anticipated that construction will begin next year.
Ongoing Projects: The Quiet Waters Park water play feature is complete and operational; construction has commenced on a new restroom and a park gate house; staff is awaiting permits for the maintenance facility. The ball fields at Tradewinds Park are undergoing renovation. Discussion was held between the Board and staff about the odor from the soil being used on the ball fields: a 10-day process is required to sift the soil, and that process releases odors associated with the organic components of the soil. Ball field lighting improvements at North Broward Park are 95% complete. Boardwalk renovation is underway at Deerfield Island and is proceeding as scheduled. The Carpenter House project is nearing completion. All anecdotal reports about the progress at Carpenter House are very positive. Major renovations at Fern Forest to replace deteriorated structures are underway. Phase 1 was completed in October 2010; Phase 2 will go out for bid in about December 2010. Negotiations are underway for Phase 2 of the Highlands Park Community Center improvements. The new walking path is complete at Lafayette Hart Park. The Lafayette Hart Park playground went to bid under the sheltered market program; the low bidder was rejected and the project will be re-bid.
Projects in Design or Planning Stage: The request for proposal is under review by Parks management as to the scope of the project for new improvements at Tradewinds Park North, including a new gatehouse and renovated entryway, new sewer system, and development of the Vinkemulder parcel. The protest over the design/build of Miramar Pineland development has been resolved; negotiations with MBR Construction have commenced. The final draft agreement and approval is anticipated in about December 2010, and construction is expected to begin soon after January 2011. Phase 2 of improvements at West Lake Park is in the planning stage.
Planning for the Everglades Holiday Park project is ongoing. Staff is working to maintain the character of the current facility while making the necessary improvements. Historical, cultural, and environmental aspects are being addressed. Grants and public/private partnerships to assist with funding are being investigated. The transition of ownership from the Fish and Wildlife Commission to Broward County will take place June 2012 and needs to be seamless since the facility is open 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Discussion continued among Board members and staff about local residents’ emotional ties to the site, airboat operation and maintenance, opportunities for overnight accommodations, and responses to the request for information that was advertised by the county.
The capital program was discussed further: involvement of park managers in the planning process, projects that have been planned, historical building practices, known problems inherent in the sub-tropical climate, and asset management procedures. Staff has met with County Administration to address several priorities and to help the Division fund a strategic business plan for operations, a needs assessment survey for the Division’s entire county park system, and a capital asset management program. The issue of swings not being included in playground equipment was discussed.
The Board discussed its Goals and Objectives for FY2011. They are similar to those of the previous year, but with the addition of one objective that, twice yearly, each Board member bring a visitor to a park, solicit feedback from the visitor, and report back to the Board on the visitor’s impressions of the park that was visited.
The Board will continue with the rotation of the suggestion boxes among the parks and review the feedback at the two evening advisory board meetings.
The Board was briefed by staff on the volunteer program, which has recently been revamped to be more user-friendly, including an on-line application process and efforts to match specific park needs with volunteer interests and abilities. E-mail notices about volunteer opportunities are being employed; corporate project volunteer days are being organized; park managers are reaching out to the local schools to establish opportunities. Staff is in talks with Libraries to learn how to organize and develop Friends groups. Staff expects to devote a significant amount of time developing the volunteer program. The Division expects the volunteer program to be one of the biggest efforts undertaken over the next couple of years. Mr. West anticipates getting to a level where the Division has a community partnership person on staff that coordinates the entire volunteer program, increasing the volunteer hours to 150,000 annually, with the eventual goal of about 300,000 hours of volunteer time contributed to the system every year. These goals will be included in the Division’s Strategic Planning Process.
Board member Kent requested a motion to approve the Goals and Objectives as presented. A motion was made, seconded, and it passed unanimously.
Board member Morgan suggested and the Board discussed drafting a welcome letter to each of the newly elected commissioners. The letter will offer congratulations and express the more pressing issues facing the Division:
· allow the Park system to operate as a partial enterprise system,
· allow funding and revenue to remain within the individual parks,
· discourage the closing of parks across the board,
· continue the county wide park system - even with budget cuts - in light of quality of life issues and the overwhelming support the bond issues received from the public, and
· request reappointment of the current Board members in their respective districts.
Chair Mathison will prepare the letters and send them to the new commissioners.
The Board remarked on the improved acoustics in the Fountain Room.
Meeting adjourned at 8:55 a.m.
The next meeting is scheduled to be held at Carpenter House at Hollywood North Beach Park (tentatively), December 1, 2010 at 7:30 a.m.