Park Board Minutes

July 16, 2007

A regular meeting of the Hopkins Park Board was held on July 16, 2007.

  1. Call To Order
    The meeting was called to order by outgoing Park Board Chairperson Dick Niemann at 6:38 pm.
  2. Roll Call
    Present were Park Board members:  Molly Cummings, Richard Niemann, Sharon Paulson, Aaron Kuznia (arrived at 6:50 pm) and Doug Datta.  Absent was Park Board member Ron Helgeson.  Also present were Hopkins staff liaison Steve Stadler and Kevin Bigalke, Nine Mile Creek Watershed District Adminstrator.
    Park Board Chairperson Dick Niemann opened the meeting with welcoming remarks to the new incoming Board members and then each new member introduced themselves and shared information about themselves.
  3. Approval of Minutes
    Sharon Paulson moved and Molly Cummings seconded a motion to approve the minutes for the May 21, 2007 meeting.  On the vote, the minutes were approved 4-0.
  4. Business
    1. Election of Officers
      Steve Stadler stated the requirements for replacement of officers and called attention to the excerpt from the Park Board Bylaws covering the process.  After brief discussion, Sharon Paulson moved that Doug Datta be nominated as Chairperson, Molly Cummings seconded.  The motion carried by a 3-0 vote.  Outgoing Chairperson Dick Niemann relinquished the Chair position to Doug Datta.  The Board then decided to hold off on nominating the Vice-Chair until the September meeting when it's anticipated that all members will be present.  Sharon Paulson moved and Molly Cummings seconded a motion to table the Vice-Chair nomination and voting until the September 17 meeting.  The vote carried on a 3-0 vote.
          Dick Niemann inquired as to the terms of the Board members. Steve Stadler responded that Molly Cummings, the first new member applicant would fill the position vacated by Kate Reilly whose term expired on 6/30/2008 and Sharon and Aaron's terms would expire on 6/30/2009. Therefore, the terms of the current Board members are as follows:
      • Ron Helgeson, third term expires 6/30/2008
      • Doug Datta, first term expires 6/30/2009
      • Molly Cummings, first term expires 6/30/2008
      • Sharon Paulson, first term expires 6/30/2009
      • Aaron Kuznia, first term expires 6/30/2009
    2. Nine Mile Creek Bank Stabilization and Habitat Improvement Project Update
      Chairperson Doug Datta allowed this agenda item to be moved up as Kevin Bigalke, Nine Mile Creek District Administrator was in attendance to brief the Board members on this project and answer questions.  Steve Stadler made some opening remarks about this partnership project and then Kevin Bigalke gave a detailed explanation of the project goals, concept design elements and projected schedule.  The project is divided into logical segments based upon surrounding land uses and physical barriers.  Several different bank stabilization techniques are being considered for the different creek segments - each was described.  The creek will be slightly realigned through the Valley Park area to improve aesthetics, sustainability and habitat.  Kevin described how the creek is anticipated to be aligned just east of 9th Avenue through Valley Park, at the community gardens area and also through the city property (Steiner property donation) just south of the Nine Mile Cove residential development.  Sharon Paulson cautioned against moving the creek away from the community gardens as many gardeners use the creek for watering.  Kevin stated that the final alignment should remain closer to the gardens than currently shown in the concept plans.  The planned additional easement areas and their purposes for creek bank sloping, habitat buffer and/or trail construction was explained.  Kevin described the anticipated project schedule to be as follows:
      • September/October 2007:  Public Informational Meetings
      • November 2007:  Final Feasibility Report completed
      • December 2007:  Outside Agencies, City and Watershed District final design approvals
      • January 2008:  Public Hearing and Project Approvals   
      • Fall/Winter 2008:  Construction start (northern segments, including 5th St culvert installation could start sooner)
      • Winter 2008:  Upper segments completion (north of 11th Avenue South)
      • 2009:  Lower segments completion (South of 11th Avenue South)            
    3. Neighborhood and City Park Improvement Planning
      Steve Stadler presented the survey results for Interlachen Neighborhood, Hilltop, Harley Hopkins and Elmo Parks.  The discussion focused on the responses to the question, "What is the No. 1 way this park could be improved?" and responses to "potential future amenities".  Summaries of the survey results are attached to the minutes.  Steve Stadler mentioned that sending the surveys and going through the responses is time consuming but he hopes to have for the September 17 meeting results from the other park surveys and staff-recommended Park Board and City response actions for the Board to consider.  
    4. Capital Improvement Plan
      Steve Stadler reviewed the 2008-2012 CIP that was previously approved by the Board at the May 21, 2007 meeting.  Stadler mentioned that the CIP plan can be amended if the park survey results compel the Board to recommend a change and funding is available
    5. Proposed 2008 Parks and Forestry Budgets
      Steve Stadler provided copies of these operations/maintenance budgets with the agenda packet and explained them to the Board members.
    6. 2007 Livable Community Demonstration Account Grant Pre-Application
      Steve Stadler explained the scope of this grant application and how it would improve Cottageville Park by purchasing residential property adjacent to the park and redeveloping it to expand the park and open it up to Blake Road and Minnehaha Creek.  It's anticipated that we'll know by the end of the year if we were successful with our grant application.
    7. School District Central Park Area Lease
      Steve Stadler informed the Board that the School District had approved a 30-year easement agreement granting the City rights to improve the property north of the Pavilion for any recreational purpose and providing to the City the new playground equipment area that the School District constructed in 2003.  Stadler mentioned that City Council will consider approval of the agreement at the July 17 City Council meeting.
    8. Park Area Assignments Report
      After short discussion, the Board decided on the following park assignments: 
      • Aaron Kuznia:  Maetzold Field, Interlachen Park and Shady Oak Beach.
      • Sharon Paulson:  Hilltop, Buffer and Burnes Parks
      • Ron Helgeson:  Valley Park, Central Park, Oakes Park
      • Molly Cummings:  Cottageville Park, Harley Hopkins Park, Elmo Park
      • Doug Datta:  Park Valley Playground, Shady Oak Nature Area,
        Downtown Park, Hiawatha Oaks natural area  
  5. New Business Items
    1. Review of the 2007-2008 Park Board Strategic Plan Action Items
      Steve Stadler reviewed the plan and briefly explained actions that have been completed, what is underway and which actions are not yet underway.  Future Park Board agendas will include a copy of the Action Plan with an updated status of each item. 
    2. Update: Hopkins Youth Hockey Association proposal for covered hockey rink on north side of Pavilion
      Steve Stadler reported that the HYHA Board is currently considering whether or not they want to fund 2/3 of the cost of a feasibility study for a covered outdoor ice hockey rink and a Central Park Master Plan.  Stadler reported that he would update the Board if a decision is made to proceed with the study and master plan efforts.
    3. City-wide Survey Results
      Steve Stadler provided the results from the recently completed survey, including a copy of the graphs and charts used by Decision Resources, Inc. to present the survey results to City Council on July 10.  The results were very positive, including the feedback on the maintenance and adequacy of the park system.
    4. Shady Oak Beach Fee/Operations Committee Report
      Doug Datta reported that he has replaced Kate Reilly on this committee. The committee is in agreement that beach fees need to gradually increase. The committee is considering different options for how beach passes are sold and handled. To assist them, they will be investigating how this is being done at several other beaches.  There is concern regarding the impact of the 2008 Shady Oak Road reconstruction project on beach attendance and operations. The committee will meet again soon and Doug will update the Board members at the September 17 Park Board meeting.
    5. Staff will provide feedback on the following general items of interest:
      The Board would like to know if the city would consider using disease-resistant Elm species for replacements for diseased tree removals.
          The Board asked if there is going to be a scheduled Joint Hopkins-Minnetonka Recreation Board meeting any time soon.
  6. Next Scheduled Meeting
    September 17, 2007, 6:00 pm
    The Board would like to do a park system tour at this meeting.  Molly volunteered her van for the tour.
  7. Adjournment
    Sharon Paulson moved and Molly Cummings seconded a motion to adjourn.  The motion carried on a 4-0 vote.  The meeting adjourned at 9:19 pm.