A regular meeting of the Hopkins Park Board was held on August 28, 2017.
Kyle Kaczmarek, Park Board Vice-Chair called the meeting to order at 6:36 pm.
Present were Park Board members: Kyle Kaczmarek, Mohamed Warsame and Emma Figgins. Caroline Rinker and Laura Cooper were absent. Also present was Steve Stadler, PW Director/Park Board City staff liaison, John Kuhl, President of the Hopkins F astpitch Association (HF A) and Sara Jessen, HF A Secretary/Treasurer.
Emma Figgins made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Mohamed Warsame. The motion passed with a 3-0 vote.
Hopkins Fastpitch Association request for Central Park fields:
Background: Hopkins Fastpitch Association (HF A) is a girls youth fastpitch softball organization. They have historically used fields within the City of Minnetonka at Hopkins High School, West Jr. High School, North Junior High and at the City park at Gilliam Fields. Scheduling has become a problem with the School District fields. Therefore, the Association is pursuing options for community-based home fields rather than continue to rely on School District fields. They would prefer to find a home field/park in Hopkins, if possible. They have requested the fields at Central Park.
Stadler opened the discussion by providing some background based on the information and discussion from the July 24 Park Board meeting and a meeting that was held on August 24 between Hopkins staff, Minnetonka/Hopkins Joint Recreation Dept staff and John Kuhl, President of the HF A. The HF A primarily would need the three Central Park fields on up to 13 weekends during the summer & fall for tournament play. HF A would use fields for practice and/ or league games during the week if they were available. HF A does not need or desire lit fields. Stadler provided a calendar showing weekend programming at Central Park for the 2016 and 2017 summer/fall seasons. There would be some - potential conflict to current weekend programming but those conflicts appear to be workable.
John Kuhl shared that the only Central Park field that would need safety work would be field #3 where the current 4' high dugout area fence would have to be raised to at least 6' high. This could easily be done with fence post extensions. HF A would require an outfield fence for field #3 and the options are fence post receivers put into the ground or a portable, spiked fence which would be put up and taken down for each tournament. HF A would also require a small shed for their field prep/maintenance equipment and supplies. No wheeled vehicle storage would be needed.
The subsequent Park Board discussion covered the following topics: Raspberry Festival events, Pavilion large group events, parking, picnic reservations at Central Park, concessions, the potential for loss of new large group/draw Pavilion rentals due to HFA tournaments/parking demand, HFA field/park use fees and the likely positive impact to Hopkins Downtown businesses during the HF A weekend tournaments. John also mentioned that during the months of August and September they could use every available weekend for a tournament. Besides those two months, they would prefer to be able to host a tournament on the first and last weekend of June as these are long-standing tournament dates. John mentioned that HF A would perform all the field prep and restoration associated with their tournaments, including base length adjustments & pitching mound adjustments.
Stadler stated that City staff would next start discussing the HF A request in more detail and put together the framework of a memorandum of understanding regarding their use of the park. John Kuhl said that he'd like to have a decision from the City by the January/February 2018 timeframe to allow enough time to plan for the 2018 season. It was agreed that this item would not need further Park Board consideration until the MOU was drafted or we come to an impasse.
Emma Figgins made a motion in support of City staff continuing to work out the details and negotiate an agreement with Hopkins Fastpitch Association for the use of Central Park fields, seconded by Mohamed W arsame. The motion passed with a 3-0 vote.
Park Board action items and updates:
Central Park Planning
Work will resume now that we know that the park will continue with three ball fields much the same as the current configuration+ we have a good idea of the look and impact of the improved Pavilion on the park.
Park fund working capital report:
Stadler explained the report and the need for continued franchise fees to be dedicated to park improvements/repairs. Stadler explained that the current report includes yet to be realized revenues based on new redevelopment areas - Creekview Apartment development and the cold storage site redevelopment. These projected park dedication fees, coupled with the annual franchise fees, are needed to support the current debt payments and capital improvement program.
Other topics of interest:
Stadler reported on the park sign upgrades that are currently underway. This work is being done in house by a seasonal employee - Lori Freiberg. The existing signs are being stained a darker color and the lettering is being painted a strong-contrasting beige color - the improved signs look really good & are much more readable from a distance.
Stadler reported on the trail bike race events that are programmed at Valley Park. One event was held on Wednesday, August 23, there were about 100-150 bikers and the event drew many spectators, the park seems to have held up alright but we're waiting to confirm that the turf will recover before we agree to another bike race event.
Park Area Assignment Report
The next regular Park Board Meeting is 6:30 pm on Monday, September 25.
Emma Figgins moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mohamed Warsame. The motion passed 3-0. The meeting adjourned at 8:01 p.m.