Chair Miller called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Commissioner Dalton led the flag salute.
Kathleen Baier-Dalton, Virginia Han, George Miller, Craig Russell, Nancy Spencer, Neil Swanson
Ron Molendyk, Community Services Director; Community Services Managers Pat Trotter, Alice Loya, Randy McDaniel, and Grace Miranda; Dannielle Mauk, Cultural Events Specialist; Eloisa Espinosa, Center Supervisor; Dan Sereno, Landscape Superintendent; Don Hoppe, Director of Engineering.
Commissioner Dalton MOVED to APPROVE the Minutes of the November 8, 2004 regular meeting as written, and Spencer SECONDED the MOTION.
Per Chair Miller, the Minutes stand APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
Prior to discussing the agenda item, Director Molendyk introduced Dan Sereno, Landscape Superintendent and Don Hoppe, Director of Engineering. Director Molendyk provided an overview of the proposed public/private partnership with St. Jude, saying that St. Jude Medical Center has been in discussion with the City since the beginning of the year to find an appropriate location for a temporary building for medical services to the neighborhood around Richman and Lemon parks. He said that staff felt that the project would enhance the Citys human services commitment to those areas, noting that St. Jude had received a $200,000 grant.
Director Molendyk said that the Department had been asked to locate the clinic at Richman Park, noting that St. Jude must establish a clinic by June to September 2005 in order to retain the grant. After talking with Development Services Director, Paul Dudley, and with the Commissions approval, the item would go to the Design and Review Board, but would not go to City Council or the Planning Commission in order to fast track it for St. Jude. He then provided a site map and a floor plan, noting that the area marked wellness center in the floor plan may become a dental clinic. Director Molendyk said Manager Pat Trotter and he would be available to answer questions, and then invited Mr. Ross to make his presentation.
Barry Ross provided a slide presentation and described the services St. Jude provides in Fullerton including two mobile health clinics, one for adults and one for children, which has provided primary care six days per week since 1988. Fullerton sites include Maple Center, Garnet Center and Orangethorpe United Methodist Church. A fixed-site dental clinic for children currently operates at the Boys and Girls Club in Buena Park. Mr. Ross stated that all of the services listed benefit the uninsured.
Mr. Ross said he met with the Valencia Community Task Force and that the members indicated a need for a fixed-site community clinic because, if they need to see a doctor on a day that the mobile clinic is not in their neighborhood, they might have to travel to Brea, La Habra or Placentia for services. Thus, St. Jude applied to the County of Orange Healthcare Agency for start-up funds and was awarded $200,000 through tobacco settlement dollars. He said St. Jude also has a reserve fund which would fund the balance of the required capital estimated at three quarters of a million to one million dollars, noting that St. Jude had the funds available in its health system foundation account.
Initially, one physician would provide services, and then as the volume grew, would expand to include a nurse practitioner. There would be service space for three office suites; the third suite could host volunteer specialists once a month to run a specialty clinic such as a diabetic or orthopedic clinic. Another possibility was a dental clinic based on a need expressed by the Valencia Task Force. He said that St. Jude is interested in wellness programs, and wants to expand on those kinds of activities including one existing at Valencia Center. He said they would work with the residents to further define the types of services to be provided.
Mr. Ross said St. Jude hopes to open the proposed clinic late summer or early fall due to grant requirements, with at least the building purchased by June 30th of 2005. Mr. Ross showed examples of a modular building, saying that the modular was requested by the City because it was less expensive and quicker, but that St. Jude wanted to make it look better than a typical school modular. Further, they felt they could get a high quality modular that would be as permanent as a regular structure, adding that it would be on a cement foundation, handicapped accessible, and blended into the landscape.
Director Molendyk noted that since people using the service are expected to either walk or use public bus lines, the Department felt it could handle staff parking through street parking. St. Jude is also exploring the parking area behind the food distribution building belonging to the school district so as to not having parking encroach on park property. Barry Ross noted that he had spoken with the District Superintendent who was amenable to the idea of St. Judes developing more parking on school property, which would also benefit the park.
Director Molendyk then opened the meeting to questions, stating that he would like the Commissions recommendation of a clinic at Richman Park. The Design Review Board would then get into more specifics regarding the building and landscaping with Department staff. Commissioner Spencer asked about clinic charges, and Barry Ross responded that children are free; adults have a $10 co-pay unless they cant afford it. St. Judes also tries to enroll patients in an indigent pharmacy medication program; otherwise, St. Judes subsidizes the medication at $10 per prescription. Laboratory, radiology or outpatient procedures are free. A case manager also tries to arrange for specialty consultation for free, and mental health counseling and support groups are also free. St. Jude is a provider for some childrens low-income programs such as CHDP, Cal-Optimum Medi-Cal or Healthy Kids, so they can enroll them and bill for that service. The only adult services they can bill Medi-Cal for is prenatal programs and breast cancer early detection services. St. Jude is trying to establish children in local, culturally- and linguistically-appropriate neighborhood medical services. 10% of funds at the hospital go to a fund called Care for the Poor.
Commissioner Swanson noted that the Commission was being asked to approve a five-year lease although a structure would be built that would last much longer than that. Secondly, he asked why there was so little documentation when they would normally have so much, including neighborhood notification, even given that the project was being fast-tracked and that it was great for the community. Director Molendyk responded that being new and this being his first clinic project with the City, he couldnt comment on the past. However, this was the information the Department was provided, and that Mr. Ross had met with the Valencia Task Force which supports the idea of a clinic. He added that the commitment was made with the City Council and St. Jude prior to the Directors coming on board.
Commissioner Russell said he was concerned, and wasnt gung-ho about the project at all since they would be losing park land. He asked Parks Project Manager McDaniel to answer where exactly the building would be sited, what they would be losing, and what the neighbors actually think. Commissioner Russell stated that they would be losing a park to put in a building which would attract outsiders. He wondered why Fullerton was chosen for the site instead of Anaheim or Brea. He added that he might have been more interested if the project wasnt on park property.
Manager McDaniel noted an ongoing capital project for Richman Park renovations funded through Community Development Block Grants, and then showed commissioners that the proposed clinic would be located in the back of Richman Park and with other park amenities including a shade structure, restrooms and the Valencia Community Center. Manager McDaniel said that the City would be losing open space, but that the Valencia Task Force wants to see the clinic built within the park. Other improvements desired were better visibility, safety, and security lighting, redoing the rock area, and moving the picnic shelter out to the front since it is now being used as a card house. Although he agreed that the community should have as much parkland as possible, the renovation would have positive impacts, bringing more people to the park, improving safety, and making it a more vibrant park.
Commissioner Russell said that the clinic project would be bringing people in who were not coming to the park but rather to the clinic. He also asked who was on the Valencia Task Force, stating that a commissioner should have been involved. Manager Pat Trotter responded that Sharon Quirk (Community Services Commissioner until December 2004) was on the Task Force, which consists predominantly of members of the Richman community, and was originally developed through the Valencia Community Center. She also said the City has had a three-year grant with St. Jude through Orange County Human Relations to develop community leadership, including providing input into what the residents want for their community. Manager Trotter also noted that the Department did not have the opportunity to bring the proposed project to the Commission earlier, and then City Council decided it wanted to fast-track it, apparently making the decision to have the clinic in Richman Park.
Director Molendyk interjected that Community Services consists of several divisions including the Human Services Division which the project would serve, benefiting underprivileged areas. He further noted that the previous administration had undertaken studies of a few parks including Lemon and Richman, and St. Judes also considered Independence Park. He provided some of the pros and cons, including proximity to other clinics and traffic safety issues, and said that Richman was considered the best option. Commissioner Russell asked why they had to give up park space for the clinic. Director Molendyk said it was his understanding that a survey of the area revealed no other suitable location, and that while the clinic would be in the park, the parking would be provided by the school district. Barry Ross agreed, saying that although St. Judes could provide support for the clinic, it could not buy a building for this purpose. He answered the question Why in Fullerton? by noting that Fullerton has 15,000 uninsured, adding that UCI has a clinic in Anaheim, and that St. Jude also serves Brea, La Habra and Yorba Linda with mobile clinics, but those cities are smaller with fewer uninsured.
Commissioner Han expressed her support for the clinic even if they had to lose a little park space, especially since it would serve the uninsured. She asked Manager McDaniel about the square footage of the proposed clinic, what the lot size of the park is, and what percentage of the park the clinic would take up. Manager McDaniel replied that the neighborhood clinic would be 5,040 square feet, and estimated Richman Park to be 1.5 acres. Commissioner Spencer asked if the area wasnt contiguous to school grounds; and Manager McDaniel said it was, thus making the open space appear larger. Commissioner Han estimated that the building was probably about 13% of the park, so she felt the building wouldnt appear too large; Manager McDaniel agreed, saying that besides the improvements due to the renovation, the visual impact of the proposed clinic would be minimized by the current community center.
Commissioner Han asked about the income level of families using the clinic and was told by Mr. Ross that about 75% of families are at or below federal poverty levels, i.e. an $18,000/year income for a family of four. The remainder are at 200% of poverty or under $36,000. Everyone must provide proof of qualifying income to receive services. Commissioner Spencer asked about prior St. Judes history with schools, and Mr. Ross said yes, including immunizations and a health fair at Richman School, fitness equipment at many schools including Woodcrest, Richman, Orangethorpe and Pacific Drive, and work with schools through the Fullerton Collaborative.
Commissioner Swanson asked whether the Maple Center mobile clinics would be closed. Barry Ross said St. Jude may be able to close the Maple Center clinic because it would be within walking distance of Richman; however, they might be able to move that mobile clinic day to another site, depending on finances.
Director Molendyk also noted that other proposals at Richman were suggested by St. Jude, but that staff felt that the current proposal had the least amount of impact on park space. Commissioner Spencer asked if clinic parking would be at the school or on the street. Manager McDaniel indicated the parking would be at Elm Street behind the FIES building, towards the school.
Commissioner Russell asked if one would have to cross the street to go to the clinic, but Manager McDaniel said no, that there was an ADA accessible walkway from the FIES parking lot through the park, and additional ADA parking behind the FIES building. Commissioner Russell expressed concern that outside people would come into the clinic built on park land, and asked why people dont fight more to keep buildings that have no relation to parks from being put on parkland. He said although they talk about staff monitoring, they cant watch the park. Barry Ross answered that their experience was that most of the people would be from the neighborhood, that 90% walk to the clinic, and that they would not be serving all 14,300 uninsured residents at the clinic. He also pointed out that the clinic would be centrally located in a CDBG area, and that mobile clinics serve surrounding cities so people from other cities wouldnt come to the proposed clinic, just as they dont come to the mobile clinics in Fullerton.
Chair Miller thanked Mr. Ross, asked for comments from the public and, seeing none, brought the issue back to the Commission for further discussion and action.
Commissioner Swanson expressed concern about the project being held up for ten months but then suddenly fast tracked, saying that something didnt add up. He said he didnt want to lose parkland but supported the idea of a clinic. Director Molendyk said the previous administration was in discussion regarding this subject, but was then sent to Development Services for a solution. However, when he came on board, he was told that they would be partnering with St. Jude on the clinic. After St. Judes and Development Services review of parks, Richman Park was selected. While Director Molendyk couldnt talk about last February to September, he said that the Council and City administration felt this was a community benefit, and that they should take the project to the Commission so that the funds wouldnt be lost.
Commissioner Russell said he would still like to look at other alternatives to parkland. He urged the Commission to vote it down, didnt want to give up land so easily, and didnt like the idea of the Commission being expected to rubber stamp it, as they had been accused of previously doing by the current Mayor. He said he was not impressed with the presentation and couldnt approve it.
Commissioner Dalton asked Director Molendyk what Council had seen of this. He asked either Manager Trotter or Mr. Ross to answer, and Manager Trotter said she prepared an agenda letter for Council, it was requested to go to closed session; but the letter was never returned, never moved forward, and they never met in closed session. Commissioner Dalton asked if the Commission had not acted on it at all and Manager Trotter agreed. Commissioner Dalton asked why the Council would allow the Commission to have the final decision when it had, for the past two years, tried to keep everything under its thumb. Director Molendyk said he couldnt answer that particular question, but that if the Commission didnt agree with the site location, it could take appropriate action, or if it wanted to get more information from St. Jude, it could ask for specific information from Mr. Ross. Chair Miller asked if the Council knew about the project, and Barry Ross said yes, they knew about it and supported it in concept, including Council Member Sharon Quirk. Commissioner Russell asked if the Council knew where the clinic would be located, and Mr. Ross said yes, at least some of them knew because hed spoken to some of them about this.
Commissioner Spencer explained that what the Commission was saying was that the manner in which this item was handled was a complete departure from the usual procedure, and that Council has been hard on Commission for approving things, and the commissioners were now leery about what was going on. Director Molendyk said that if they needed to table the item in order to answer some of the commissioner questions, he would be happy to do so.
Chair Miller said he personally supported the clinic and asked what the danger was of losing the funds. Barry Ross answered that there was significant danger of losing the funds, and that they had to spend the $200,000 by June 30th or they would lose it. Without those funds, they might not be able to build the clinic. Chair Miller asked if it was possible to approve the clinic but not the location. Director Molendyk asked Mr. Ross for a timeline of when the project components would need to be completed, and Mr. Ross said they would need the site, the design, purchase the modular building, and do site preparation by June, i.e., have the project substantially completed. He said he had already asked for a revision in the timeline due to delays at the City, so they dont have to see patients by June 30th, as originally promised. He said it would be his fiduciary responsibility to find another city for these funds but he really didnt want to do so.
Director Molendyk stated that if the Commission didnt like the recommendation, they could 1.) turn the request down, 2.) look at alternate sites, 3.) request more information and bring it back at a special Commission meeting in January. He said he was not asking the Commission to do something it wasnt comfortable with.
Commissioner Swanson asked what the timeframe was for the item to go through the Planning Commission and Development, if approved by Commission. Manager McDaniel explained that RDRC needs more detailed exhibits which would require an approved site. There are twice-monthly opportunities to bring plans to RDRC, so once plans are developed and submitted, a City review is promised in two weeks. He estimated one and-a-half months to two months for plans, a month for review, and another month for revisions perhaps four months for the City process. Barry Ross said that St. Jude would have to put out bids to companies building a clinic which takes time, plus two to three months to be built at the factory, and shipped, - so perhaps three to four months.
Commissioner Dalton strongly agreed that the community needed a clinic and said she was familiar with the park and site which was relatively unused nebulous space. While she didnt want to lose park space, she felt one must balance park space with other needs of the community. If the immediate neighborhood supported this project, then it was the Commissions duty to support the project. She said no one from her neighborhood or Commissioner Russells neighborhood would use the park, only the park neighbors would do so and would use the clinic and the community center to serve their needs. She said she had no problem with the project, and would support it tonight, however, her question was that since this apparently must happen on City property, were there other city-owned properties that would be appropriate for this? She said she didnt think there were. Director Molendyk said staff did look at other properties but due to a lack of options and cost, only two sites were really considered: Lemon and Richman parks.
Director Molendyk said his Department could bring the agenda item back with more information if the Commission so desired. Commission Dalton said if Lemon Park was the other option, she agreed that Richman was a far more preferable, quiet space. She said she didnt want to slow the project down trying to get more information and lose $200,000 in the process. Chair Miller asked if there would be much more space taken up besides the 5,000 s.f. building, and Manager McDaniel answered no, other than some circulation paths and landscaping. Chair Miller said a 60 x 84 building to benefit poor people was worth it, and that he had a lot of empathy for them. Commissioner Spencer said she felt the same, especially as it was near the Community Center with playground equipment.
Commissioner Russell countered that they wouldnt want people on school property when school was in session. He said they were making an assumption that a mystery task force wanted this; that Commissioners havent seen a report or anyone in the community supporting it. He said he wanted to know if this community really wanted it. He didnt like being told in December that they had to make a decision so the item could go to Council in January with so little information. He stated that he didnt know why they want to build on their parks, and he wanted a better presentation that tells him why it has to go there, what other options were looked at, and options other than parkland. Barry Ross said that at the last Valencia Task Force meeting, a study prioritizing needs was completed in which medical, dental and vision services was second with substance abuse and alcoholism being first. He said he could send the study to the Commission, and that the Task Force was planning on sending a letter to the City in support of the project.
As there was no further discussion, Chair Miller asked for a motion. Commissioner Dalton MOVED to approve the staff recommendation to locate the community medical center in Richman Park as a public/private partnership with the City. Commissioner Han SECONDED THE MOTION. Chair Miller asked again for further discussion and Commissioner Russell suggested that the Commission table the item, have a January meeting and be given a further presentation on what the community really wants, if there are other places to put the clinic, and a better idea of where it would go if it actually goes on the park. He said he would vote no on the motion. Seeing no further discussion, Chair Miller called for the vote.
|AYES:||Han, Miller, Dalton, Spencer|
The MOTION carried.
Director Molendyk introduced the proposed Memorial Tree and Bench Policy, acknowledging the work of Senior Analyst Alice Loya, Landscape Superintendent Dan Sereno, and Park Projects Manager Randy McDaniel. He then asked Analyst Loya to make her presentation. Analyst Loya stated that they had a request for a memorial bench in a City park, but that there was only an unwritten policy that trees were the only items donated for memorial purposes. Thus, the Community Services Department had developed a policy that would address two issues: 1.) A uniform policy addressing memorial donations that would allow residents to choose parks that could support a bench and with benches that would fit the aesthetics of the park, and 2.) A policy that ensures that a donor, rather than the City, pays for the memorial bench.
Analyst Loya distributed a list of recommended benches and prices, noting that they wanted benches that were affordable but also easy to maintain and essentially vandalism-proof. She pointed out a stone bench with a wood back which would cost $4300 up front, including the bench itself with a 20-year life span, and a replacement bench as it was felt that most people would like a memorial with a longer life span. Also included was installation and maintenance costs, and a bronze plaque.
Commissioner Swanson asked about the plaque placement and Analyst Loya answered that it would probably be on the back, perhaps the side. Answering Commissioner Hans questions, she said that if a bench is damaged prior to normal wear and tear, the donors family would be asked to pay for the cost of replacement. She answered Commissioner Swanson, saying they were not planning on placing a city seal on the bench as depicted in the photo. Commissioner Dalton said that with her experience with bronze plaques, she thought the $126 cost was too much, and that they should look into it. Commissioner Spencer said that the Bench Committee that had operated in the City was able to purchase benches for less than $1,000 versus the bench listed for $1,500. Analyst Loya pointed out that perhaps the Bench Committee was able to buy benches in bulk, whereas memorial benches would probably only be purchased one at a time.
Analyst Loya described the second bench option, a steel one, at $4,386, and a third less costly but sturdy wooden bench at $2,700. She said that several parks in Fullerton are historic and unique; those parks would have benches that match existing benches, so the cost would vary according to the bench style at the park. She noted that City staff and the resident must compromise on location. Each time someone wants to donate a bench, staff would go to Commission for approval of the location.
Commissioner Han asked about installation and maintenance costs in the long-term, and Analyst Loya said they would work something out with Finance, with interest generated in a maintenance account. Commissioner Spencer felt the benches were expensive; Alice said this was not necessarily a service to the park or City; it would be to memorialize loved ones, not because the City needs a bench. Commissioner Spencer asked about vandalism and Analyst Loya said thats why there were replacement benches and durable benches chosen. In answer to Commissioner Spencers questions, Supervisor Sereno responded that vandalism was consistent throughout the parks, although some parks were worse. However, the benches were just marred by graffiti, not chopped up or stolen.
Director Molendyk asked about a 20-year memorial bench instead of two 20-year benches since Commissioners seemed concerned about the price. Analyst Loya said an alternative could be put in the policy allowing for a 20-year memorial although most people seem to want a memorial to last longer than 40 years. Commissioner Miller asked how often the City got requests, and Superintendent Sereno said he receives about two to three a year for benches, and about the same for trees. Commissioner Spencer said it was a lot cheaper to plant a tree, and suggested Analyst Loya talk with Terry Galvin who headed up the Bench Committee; perhaps they could get a better deal through the manufacturer used. Analyst Loya agreed she would talk to him or someone else about this.
Chair Miller asked whether spending this much time on six requests received yearly was worth it. Analyst Loya said shed been told it was necessary. Director Molendyk said they utilized standards from other cities such as Newport Beach, however, he believed a councilmember made the original request. When it was discovered there was no policy; it was requested that Community Services bring this to the Commission. He said if the Commission doesnt want to address this issue, the City could return to the informal policy regarding memorial trees. However, with a memorial policy, if the tree dies, there is a method of replacing the tree, especially given budget constraints at the City. He also noted that benches were also more costly if they were in a remote area of a park as they would be more apt to be vandalized.
Commissioner Spencer expressed support for memorial trees although she wasnt sure about the benches. She said she had seen plaques in front of trees without apparent vandalism. Commissioner Russell believed that the cost should be higher than those suggested, felt a memorial bench should be provided at a premium; and was concerned that the replacement cost of the bench would not have proper funding. He further expressed that memorializing ones name in a public place should be special and, therefore, cost a lot. When asked by Commissioner Spencer what other cities do, Analyst Loya said they looked at Costa Mesa and Newport Beach which had extensive policies covering many public spaces; however, Fullerton only wants memorial benches in parks.
Chair Miller asked for comments from the public, and hearing none, returned to the commissioners for any comments or discussion prior to a possible motion. Commissioner Spencer asked for clarification, if they were also discussing trees. Analyst Loya said yes, that they would both just recovering costs. Commissioner Spencer asked if the trees would be watered and not left to die and not mowed down by City mowers. Superintendent Sereno referred to the section in the Memorial Bench and Tree Policy, stating that the fee for a 24 box would be $1,000 which would cover costs, maintenance and replacement. He said that he currently handles the cost from his own budget; the referenced $1,000 will provide a 40-year life expectancy with maintenance and one replacement. Answering Commissioner Swanson, he said they are not recommending plaques because it is a maintenance issue in a grass area where plaques can be damaged.
Commissioner Dalton asked if the fee for memorial trees covered replacement for 80 years or 40 years, and Superintendent Sereno said the total life expectancy was 40 years or two 20 year trees because the smaller trees often didnt survive 20 years. He also told Commissioner Spencer City staff will water the trees, and agreed with Commissioner Dalton that he would clarify the wording in the policy.
Commissioner Spencer MOVED TO APPROVE the Memorial Tree and Bench Policy as outlined here with review in a year to see if the use is working out and the conditions are appropriate. Commissioner Swanson SECONDED THE MOTION. Commissioner Russell suggested that the costs be amended and increased by 25% or 50% to ensure adequate funding. Commissioner Spencer said she didnt want to amend her motion. Chair Miller called for the vote.
|NOES:||Dalton, Miller, Russell, Swanson,|
The MOTION failed.
Commissioner Russell MOVED TO APPROVE the proposed Memorial Tree and Bench policy with a 25% increase of proposed fees regarding the memorial benches in the staff report. Commissioner Dalton SECONDED THE MOTION. Chair Miller called for discussion and Commissioner Spencer believed the increase would discourage people. Chair Miller said that for two requests a year, it was rather academic. Commissioner Dalton said that was assuming they were promoting memorial benches. She said they dont want to promote or encourage this which would make it special. Commissioner Russell said 25% was somewhat arbitrary, and that the motion should be worded so that whatever percentage is applied, it would cover any inflationary costs. Commissioner Han said that the total cost should be increased since this is a memorial, and that she needed clarification from Analyst Loyas presentation regarding normal replacement costs. Analyst Loya said that if the bench was vandalized, they would charge for the cost of the bench at that time, but if they followed Commissioner Swansons suggestion, they would build in an inflator through cost analysis to determine the cost in 20 years.
Commissioner Russell said that with all due respect to Commissioner Swanson, that was not his motion. He said he wants the proposed price and add 25% to the cost, rounded up. Commissioner Spencer suggested just taking the trees and not the benches. Commissioner Han said she loved the benches. Commissioner Dalton asked if Commissioner Russell wanted to keep it elite and special rather than just figuring actual costs, and he agreed. Commissioner Dalton asked if Commissioner Russell would be willing to add the proviso that they would revisit the issue in one year. Commissioner Russell agreed. Chair Miller called for the vote.
|AYES:||Dalton, Han, Miller, Russell|
The MOTION carried.
Director Molendyk introduced the Community Services Capital Improvement Program (CIP), referring to the written Preliminary CIP Project Priority Schedule. He emphasized Preliminary because the schedule was subject to change, and said the City tried to look at projects which the commissioners considered priorities as well as projects Manager McDaniel currently had under construction, including those with grant deadlines of 18 to 24 months. He then turned the meeting over to Manager McDaniel.
Prior to presenting the CIP for the 2005-2010 Budget, Manager McDaniel made three points: 1.) The Five Year CIP is a short- and long-range planning tool. 2.) The CIP is a workshop to help staff define project priorities for which they are seeking Commission input. 3.) They have identified projects through user input, safety and liability concerns identified by staff, and infrastructure assessment through long-range planning tools such as the General Plan and park master plans.
Manager McDaniel then briefly reviewed the 15 proposed projects, in order of priority established by need, available funding and anticipated starting and completion dates. He encouraged commissioners to make comments and questions during each item:
#1 Lions Field Design and construction. The ultimate option or wish list is to complete the entire Master Plan. They need an additional $3.9 million to complete it. Other options were also discussed such as spending $600,000 on lighting. Rather than spending the $1 million on the retaining wall, they might want to do lighting or restrooms. Manager McDaniel said he has received preliminary bids for options and may just do some projects, depending on the funding. He described the location of Lions Field for Commissioner Han.
Commissioner Dalton asked about the phantom $3.9 million in Redevelopment Bonds, and if the Department was going to approach Council for this. Director Molendyk said they would be able to discuss this through the budget process, or go through Commission to ask Council to reprioritize projects. He also suggested that Hillcrest Park funds might be utilized for Lions Field walls and there was discussion about whether Lions Field is a part of or separate from Hillcrest Park.
#2 - Laguna Lake Renovation Money comes from a $2 million grant but it has been delayed due to filters breaking, and a small window of opportunity to complete it was missed. The renovation process was described and it was noted that additional funding of $350,000 or less may be needed due to the delays.
#3 Downtown Public Art This multi-year public arts program had been put on hold for one year, but the new Redevelopment Director decided to continue funding, especially for $15,000 per year.
#4 Downtown Plaza Safety Improvements & Renovation Partly in response to the Santa Monica market car incident, the City wanted to look at safety and control issues. It also wants to spruce up the Plaza and use $30,000 for designing traffic control with different options considered.
#5 Tennis Center Pavilion A multi-phase project to renovate the pavilion office, landscaping and lighting. The community has asked for more of a clubhouse atmosphere, and staff wants to improve loyalty, improve retail and food sales and increase revenue for the Tennis Center. Director Molendyk said the Department had several meetings with the Tennis Club which uses the Center and supports this idea. He also mentioned meeting with Jeff Hutchinson and Rick Crane of Crane Architecture who are willing to provide volunteer services in order to serve community.
Commissioner Dalton asked if the St. Judes encroachment was a dead issue, and Manager McDaniel clarified that while partial encroachment had been agreed upon, St. Jude will not be allowed to take over the entire land, and that this was not an option as the Army Corps owns the property.
#6 Renovation of Independence Park Locker Room and Future Small Pool Enclosure The Commission has already reviewed the project which also includes increasing fixtures, showers, sinks and toilets and making aesthetic enhancements. The delays with the Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team taking over management of the pool and the increased costs of construction will raise the cost from $300,000 to $480,000. The City is also trying to assist FAST in making this a year-round money-making endeavor, hence, the covered pool, where perhaps St. Jude can provide physical therapy and generate income. Director Molendyk said hes met with FAST and USA Swim, and has been told that swim lessons could be provided year-round if they have a covered pool. Commissioner Dalton asked if the $2 million included covering small pool, and was told yes.
#7 Fullerton Sports Complex Scoreboard Adjustment The project was identified through the Sports Field Users Sub Committee because the score board needs to be moved for safety reasons: the lights blind the batter. This was an oversight by staff and will cost $20,000 to relocate the board.
#8 Pearl Park Development The Department applied for a grant but wasnt successful, partly because three owners out of 30 didnt want to deed their portion of an unused former recreational area to the City. Director Molendyk said they are meeting with other City staff to try to get control of land; thus, it may take time due to the legal issues, perhaps a year
Commissioner Swanson asked that the current slide show information and site projects on a map of Fullerton be put in commissioner packets. Director Molendyk and Manager McDaniel agreed to provide this, and Commissioner Swanson suggested they e-mail it.
#9 Richman Park Renovation - $120,000 will be received from a CDBG loan with $1 million in 06-07 to do construction. The project has received input from the Valencia Task Force. As noted earlier, the City will pull the picnic area from behind to out front, they will get rid of the boulders which present a safety issue, replace the restroom and make it ADA-accessible, and replace the deteriorated park sign. Director Molendyk said the Department has also reviewed the project with the Redevelopment Director for potential funding from the Redevelopment Agency and the City Engineer to expedite projects by providing engineers. They are in the last two years of the project.
#10 Replacement of the Gazebo at Vista Park The structure needs to be replaced as it is becoming unsafe. The City will use preserved wood and the proper paints to ensure its longevity. Commissioner Spencer asked how old it was and Analyst Loya replied that it was built in 80s. He answered Commissioner Spencers question, saying the wood was probably Douglas fir.
#11 Tri City Park A partnership with Placentia and Brea, the park lake is experiencing problems with water quality and water retention. They are considering a liner or redoing the edging of the lake. The $150,000 is the Citys estimated share of the renovation cost. Director Molendyk noted that the soil cement is collapsing due to age, and that the park has received an irrigation grant to re-irrigate for water conservation.
#12 Hillcrest Recreation Center - The $200,000 project would renovate the bottom floor and some of the upper floor and windows. The City would like building to be as beautiful as the new Terrace.
#13 Woodcrest Park Renovation Replacement of sports field lighting will not cost $394,000 as listed and, instead, will cost about $100,000 to $125,000 for which funding is being sought.
#14 Hillcrest Park Fountain Renovation Part of the Master Plan improvements, the fountain is the icon in the park. The Department must find $600,000 in grants so the fountain can again have water and be restored to its prior beauty. It was noted that Hillcrest Park is now a National Registered Landmark which will allow the City to apply for federal funds.
#15 Parks Road & White Park Renovation A multi-phase project, the City is looking for grants. There are two options for renovation of this area which has dying eucalyptus which are an eyesore: 1.) Naturalize or 2.) Turn into a greenbelt.
Manager McDaniel said that although the Department had not typically involved the commissioners so early on in the projects, this was a great opportunity to get their feedback. Director Molendyk added that staff and commissioners could look at other projects if they are unable to find funding for some of the listed projects. He reiterated the Departments responsibility to prioritize projects based upon engineering capability, costs and grants available, and that the Commission had an important role in establishing the priority and providing support.
Commissioner Swanson thanked Manager McDaniel for a good presentation and that it was well laid out. Manager McDaniel noted that the Project Priority Schedule was an action item to review and recommend the schedule, or to amend or add to the schedule.
Commissioner Spencer asked about a proposed beautification project at Skyline Drive and Raymond and if that could be part of the Schedule. Director Molendyk explained that the property was not park property, not part of the conservation easement, but rather a road easement and, therefore, probably not eligible for park funding. He said Superintendent Sereno would look into it further, and if it proved to be part of the street, they would talk with the City Engineer for funding.
Chair Miller asked if the Department was asking for approval of the overall direction in which it was going, and Director Molendyk agreed.
Commissioner Russell agreed with the direction of the projects as long as Lions Field remained top priority.
Manager McDaniel said the Department also wants to know if the Commission wanted to be involved this early in the process, and see how it evolves. Commissioner Swanson said their utmost concern was that projects dont go to Council with sudden changes in priorities. Director Molendyk assured them it was his intent that anything going to Council would be a joint list between staff and the Commission. He said that they might have more funding in the future, or if not, they had the ability and flexibility to put items on hold to prioritize the dollars.
Commissioner Dalton expressed approval for the list, saying she would like to be involved in the project as long as its not too cumbersome for staff. Director Molendyk said staff would like to bring at least one or two projects per month before the Commission for their review or an update. Commissioner Russell said there were a couple items the Commission hadnt seen before, for example, Tri-City Park, and would like to better understand the relationship between the three cities at a later date. Regarding the locker room renovations, he said he was not completely sold on it with the new FAST relationship, saying that he wants to know what the actual plans are, and about the enclosed pool and what really needs to be done with it. Director Molendyk said the pool enclosure was a new issue which they could bring back when more information was available.
Commissioner Dalton said if the schedule was an action item, she MOVED to APPROVE the direction of the priority projects. Director Molendyk said staff will provide information in the next few meetings on Tri-City Park and the pool. Commissioner Russell SECONDED the MOTION.
|AYES:||Dalton, Han, Miller, Russell, Spencer, Swanson|
The MOTION carried unanimously.
INFORMATION ITEMS (Item 5 - 9)
Director Molendyk acknowledged and expressed appreciation to Cultural Events Specialist Dannielle Mauk for her work at the Cultural and Special Events Division, saying that Division Manager Joe Felz was unable to attend due to his work on an exhibit that will be opening soon. He asked Ms. Mauk to provide an overview of the First Night activities planned for December 31.
Events Specialist Mauk provided a rough draft of a map and parking sites which would be sent with First Night invitations. In a slide presentation, she also unveiled the new First Night logo. New entertainment included an upscale band Hot August Nights: A Tribute to Neil Diamond which performed at the Summer Concert Series. A new stage will be built on Harbor & Amerige with a local band, Super Lark, playing, and First Christian Church will host Soul Connection, a gospel choir. David Barber is dedicating a published photo album to the Centennial.
Other entertainment will include Chaz, the amazing juggler, tethered hot air balloon rides, kids vendors (Frisbee art, sandy candy, temporary tattoos, party favors), two train rides, and hot dogs. The Museum will host the Orange Groove exhibit, the Pomona Stage will feature Sol de Alegria, and First Baptist will have Spare Change, a Christian rock n roll band. Roaming entertainment will consist of balloon artists, magicians and stilt walkers. A variety of food vendors will be located at the museum, and Kids Lane on Pomona will have more rides. The event will end in a ten-minute fireworks finale and special parking would be provided for the commissioners as well as a break room for refreshments. Chair Miller commended Specialist Mauk for a job well done. Director Molendyk added that they are planning for about 15,000 people, especially as Disneyland may not be open or have a lot of activities.
Commissioner Han asked how the Department advertised the event, and Ms. Mauk said they distributed flyers through the school district, put ads in the newspaper and a banner over Harbor Blvd.
The Landscape Division Monthly Report for November was received and filed. Commissioner Han asked about the trees that were removed from Laguna Lake, and Superintendent Sereno said there were two projects at the lake, one to remove trees in a riparian area to enlarge the stream bed and do major planting on the banks. Trees were removed because they were mostly non-native. The second project involved trees directly around the lake itself which were non-natives, had bad structure or lerps, and were not conducive to a healthy lake environment. He said that they will remove a lot of trees and replant with oak and willows that provide shade but not a lot of dropping leaves. Commissioner Spencer asked if Maintenance was going to try to save the trees near the entrance, and Superintendent Sereno said they will not remove as many trees as originally planned because the project size was reduced. All the oaks are staying although some sycamores will be removed to widen the channel. Commissioner Spencer asked about the dredging, and Manager McDaniel said the project was changed so that the trees would not be touched, there would be no dredging, just draining, and it would also cost less.
Director Molendyk expressed appreciation to Center Supervisor Eloisa Espinoza and Manager Pat Trotter for a well-attended Posada event at Maple Center with children walking from Valencia to Lemon Park. He also acknowledged a councilmans attendance at the event.
Regarding proposed facility improvements at Fullerton Tennis Center, Director Molendyk noted that an update had been provided earlier. Director Molendyk said the renovated fields at the Sports Complex looked very good, and thanked Superintendent Sereno, Managers Grace Miranda and Randy McDaniel, and Sports Field Coordinator Carol Whitaker and other staff for their quick work. He said the contractor would come in next week to renovate fields at Woodcrest and Lemon parks so they should be ready by the end of the year.
Because the next Commission meeting would be on January 10th and would not allow for much preparation time due to the Citys Winter Closure, and he did not see the need for a January meeting, Director Molendyk suggested adjourning to February. Although the next Commission meeting falls on Valentines Day, the Commission agreed to the February 14th meeting date.
Commissioner Russell asked for a list of Valencia Task Force members, agendas and meeting minutes, and was told he would receive them.
The meeting adjourned at 9:19 p.m.
Ron Molendyk, Secretary
*Written Material Attached