Park Board Minutes

January 28, 2008

A regular meeting of the Hopkins Park Board was held on January 28, 2008.

  1. Call To Order
    The meeting was called to order by Park Board Chairperson Doug Datta at 6:30 pm.
  2. Roll Call
    Present were Park Board members: Molly Cummings, Sharon Paulson, Aaron Kuznia and Doug Datta.  Also present was City of Hopkins staff liaison Steve Stadler.  Absent was Park Board member Ron Helgeson.
  3. Approval of Minutes
    Sharon Paulson moved and Aaron Kuznia seconded a motion to approve the minutes for the November 19, 2007 meeting.  On the vote, the minutes were approved 4-0.
  4. Business
    1. Comprehensive Plan Update
      Lance Bernard, Planner with Hoisington-Koegler Group, Inc. presented the draft of the updated Parks, Open Space and Trails section of the plan, pointing out what has been revised from the 1999 Comprehensive Plan.  There was some discussion of the plan.  The Board would like staff to investigate the usage on some of the ball fields that appear underutilized to determine if they could be converted to open green space.  The "Steiner Park Preserve" area will be shown separately on the park matrix and map.  The "Park Recommendations" will be modified to:  eliminate #2 (ped bridge over Excelsior Blvd), combine #6 with #8 (pave outdoor hockey rinks) and remove sentence on adding landscaping along Excelsior Blvd from #7.  Additionally, Lance will update the "Trails and Sidewalks" section (page 7 of draft) to better describe the current regional trail system and include information on the planned Three Rivers Park District trail that will run along the Nine Mile Creek corridor and into Edina and Richfield.  It was agreed that final approval of the revised Comprehensive Plan by the Park Board would be at the March 17 2008 meeting.
    2. Neighborhood Park Improvement Planning
      Steve Stadler provided handouts including: a revised draft neighborhood park improvement plan that highlighted proposed priority capital projects for 2009 and 2010, park capital improvements fund working capital spreadsheets based on current CIP projects and as modified to show impact of adding the proposed priority capital projects in 2009 and 2010 - see attached.  After the joint meeting with City Council it appears that, at least in the short term, the Park Board should not expect that there will be additional funding beyond what is currently shown in the CIP for park capital projects.  Staff had proposed a 20-year replacement cycle for play equipment but will do more research on what most cities are using as the useful life of play equipment in their capital planning.  The initial formal discussion about the 2009 - 2013 CIP will occur at the March 17 meeting.             
    3. Dogs in the Parks
      During extensive discussion Aaron K. reported on the dog parks in Edina; Molly C. suggested compromise by considering allowing leashed dogs in the city's large parks only; Sharon P. suggested Burnes, Oakes, Valley and Central Parks; Steve S. reported on the City of Minnetonka policy of allowing leashed dogs only along the trails or undeveloped areas of parks.  The Board expressed interest in hearing Ron Helgeson's perspective on the issue as he is opposed to allowing dogs in the parks.  Molly volunteered to do some checking of surrounding cities for how they are using signage, doggie mitts, etc. in their parks where leashed dogs are allowed.  There was discussion on the use of city-supplied "Mutt-Mitts" with dispensers vs. just a dog baggie mounted box where dog owners can use and/or replace plastic bags on their own, similar to what's successfully done in many off-leash dog parks.  Molly C. made a motion that the Park Board recommend allowing leashed dogs at the four largest city parks (Burnes, Oakes, Valley and Central Parks) with the restriction that they be limited to along the park trails or in the open, unimproved areas only.  Sharon P. seconded the motion.  On the vote, the motion carried 4-0.  Staff will get more implementation details together for the March 17 meeting, including:  recommended city code changes, public notification plan, signage requirements, dog baggie recommendation, costs, etc.  
    4. Park Board Strategic Plan Update
      Steve Stadler gave a brief update.  Much of the work under Goal #2, To Renew and Maintain Parks is completed or well underway.  The next two meetings will include discussion and final approval of the 2009-2013 CIP.  Clarification and more detail are needed on the action steps for objective #1:  Conduct an overall assessment of the city's trail system under goal #3: To Provide Quality Athletic and Recreational Opportunities and Facilities.
    5. Update on Various Items of Interest
      • Hopkins Royals Rugby Club - City partnership to install drain tile under the east end of the rugby/football field at Valley Park.  The work was completed this past fall.  The Rugby Club has secured a $500 donation from MN Rugby Association + $1,300 in material donations from Bollig Construction toward this improvement project.  The City cost is $3,600, paid from 2007 Parks budget.  Some recognition should be planned for a future City Council meeting to those who spearheaded this athletic field improvement and contributed towards it. 
      • Interlachen Park Ice Resurfacer Shelter:  The shelter is installed, operational and being used by the neighborhood.  The total cost of providing the electrical service from the city warming house to the temporary shelter was $3,289.75.  The Hopkins Better Ice Company has been billed $1,057.75 for the cost associated with the electrical work outside the city warming house.  
      • Lease of property from School District for Central Park tennis courts:  This lease has not been secured yet.  The City Attorney's office is currently working with the ISD 270 legal counsel to develop an acceptable lease agreement that may have to include a payment provision should the school district desire to sell the property prior to full amortization of the city's tennis court improvements.
    6. Park Area Assignments Reports
      • Aaron Kuznia: Maetzold Field, Interlachen Park and Shady Oak Beach - While ice fishing near the beach area Aaron was asked whether or not there was a fee for parking in the beach parking lot.  Aaron was told that there was at one time a parking lot fee but it was discontinued several years ago. 
      • Sharon Paulson: Hilltop, Buffer and Burnes Parks - Sliding hill is active.
      • Ron Helgeson: Valley Park, Central Park, Oakes Park - n/a.
      • Molly Cummings: Cottageville Park, Harley Hopkins Park, Elmo Park - nothing to report.
      • Doug Datta: Park Valley Playground, Shady Oak Nature Area, Downtown Park, Hiawatha Oaks natural area - nothing to report.
    7. Update on Various Items of Interest
      • At the joint meeting with City Council there was mention made of a possible Park Board - Depot Board collaboration.  The Park Board is interested in connecting with those involved with the Depot Coffeehouse/trailhead site.  Molly Cummings said that she is interested in attending a Depot Board meeting to introduce herself and the Park Board to the group.  Steve Stadler will provide details on the date and agenda for the next Depot Partners Board meeting. 
      • The Board expressed interest in obtaining park recreation facility & athletic field usage data from the Recreation Dept.  
      • There was some discussion about the Southwest Transitway (LRT) project status, expected schedule, etc.
  5. Next Scheduled Meeting
    The next regular Park Board Meeting is March 17, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.
  6. Adjournment
    Sharon Paulson moved and Molly Cummings seconded a motion to adjourn.  The motion carried on a 4-0 vote.  The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.