WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2006
ROBERT LIVERMORE COMMUNITY CENTER
4444 EAST AVENUE, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA
CRESTA BLANCA BALLROOM
DIRECTORS PRESENT: Director Faltings, Director Furst, Director Goodman, Director Turner and President Kamena (5)
DIRECTORS ABSENT: None (0)
STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT: Chiye Azuma, Tim Barry, Jim Brandenburg, Jim Carlson, Barbara Kraybill, Michael Kyle, Mike Nicholson, Gretchen Sommers, Maureen Gandara Swinbank
Meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by President Kamena. Roll was taken and all Directors were present.
2. PUBLIC FORUM
President Kamena asked for public comment on any item not on the agenda.
No public comment was received.
3. CONSENT AGENDA:
3.1 BOARD MINUTES
3.1.1 Meeting of October 25, 2006.
3.2.1 Letter from Mary Cameron regarding Ravenswood educational field trip.
3.3 General Manager’s Monthly Report (#60/4).
3.4 Payroll and Claims.
3.5.1 Change in Job Description for Park Supervisor Position.
On a motion by Director Faltings, seconded by Director Turner, approved the Consent Agenda, passing 5-0.
4. CONSENT AGENDA: RESOLUTIONS: None.
5. BIDS AND PUBLIC HEARINGS: None.
6. OLD BUSINESS:
6.1 PARK ADJACENT TO BOTHWELL RECREATION CENTER
President Kamena explained that the Bothwell Center used to be the community center, and that now the Robert Livermore Community Center serves that purpose. He said that LARPD promised the neighbors we would develop a park there. LARPD has held 3 public meetings to gather input about what type of park citizens would like to have at the site. General Manager Barry stated that there are two staff reports on this item, one of which is a supplemental to the initial staff report. He stated that it has become apparent that there is a need for both a playground park and a softball field. He said that the staff recommendation is that LARPD not remove the field from the site until we have located another field for softball use. He said that in the supplemental materials there is a recommendation that a field be constructed at either May Nissen Park at a cost of $80,000 or at Max Baer Park at a cost of $100,000.He introduced Senior Recreation Supervisor, Jim Carlson.
Mr. Carlson reported that staff did an intensive inventory of all of our parks and determined that Max Baer or May Nissen park would provide a field that is either equal or better to the field at the Bothwell Center. Mr. Barry noted that the report contained enrollment numbers, current field allocations, scope of work and funding potential. The report also contained a softball field use matrix.
General Manager Barry introduced Derek McKee of Beals Alliance, the firm that developed the park design plans for the Bothwell site. Mr. McKee reported on the current amenities at the park; reviewed the purpose and results of the 3 community meetings; and gave detailed explanations of the two design concepts being presented tonight (one without a softball field-Concept 1, and one with a softball field-Concept 2).
Directors asked for, and received, clarification on the following elements of the designs: climbing web; plumbing and cost for water feature; swings; composition of slides; the risk of softballs and hardballs being hit into the play area should the softball field remain; the physical ability to place a softball field at Max Baer and May Nissen; how the budget would be affected if Concept One was chosen and a new softball field(s) is built; whether the current softball field is monitored; the proximity of other neighborhood parks;
President Kamena opened public comment.
1) Carrie Buczeke, 724 South J Street, Livermore, spoke in support of softball, but stated she does not support taking money from this the playground project.
President Kamena asked the girls to hold up their signs, as they did a great job on the signs.
2) Kent Anderson, Livermore Girls Softball Association (LGSA) and member of the Sports Park Committee, acknowledged that LARPD staff is working hard behind the scenes and he appreciates it. He said we cannot overburden the school district. He said that the City has to help LARPD to get a sports park built. He would like to have a group of fields in the same park. He said that perhaps we can work with the school district. Using money from this park to build a field makes sense to him.
3) Maria Dean, 741 South K Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of a playground without a softball field and building a field at May Nissen and Max Baer parks.
4) Cynthia Meyer spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
5) Vivian Connolly spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
6) Bill Choi, 872 Cindy Lane, Livermore, spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
7) Jessica Choi, 872 Cindy Lane, Livermore, spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
8) Lynn Glover, lives 2468 7th Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of a playground without a softball field
9) Cindy Loomis, 812 South H Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of a playground without a softball field, but favors softball, too.
10) Lisa Stanford, 2489 Regent Road, Livermore, spoke in favor of keeping the park the way it is.
11) Robert Federle, 688 South H Street, Livermore, said that both can be done, a softball field and a park without one. He said that it is evident that LARPD is trying to find a reasonable solution. He spoke in favor of a design that will accommodate people of all ages, and people with disabilities.
12) Casey Elbert, 1487 Spring Valley Common, spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
13) Kayla, Bristlecone Way, Livermore, spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
14) Lexi Siegle, 5569 Idlewild, Livermore, spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
15) Fred Walk, spoke in favor of having a replacement field before removing the field.
16) Robin Groth, 2061 Pleasant View Lane, Livermore, spoke in favor of having softball fields on which girls can play.
17) Scott Cole, 874 South K Street, Livermore, clarified that there area ball fields at May Nissen, Wattenburger and Ida Holm park, which are neighborhood parks. He said that he appreciates that the neighbors were notified about the community meetings. He suggested that LARPD notify those neighbors whose neighborhoods could be affected by a new field. He spoke in favor of keeping the field.
18) Valerie Byrne, 2245 - 8th Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of preserving the field, and spoke in favor of Concept Two.
19) Deborah Fields, 626 South L Street, Livermore, said that she supports Concept One and is happy that there is a win-win situation if LARPD builds 2 replacement fields.
20) Diana Marion, 585 South L Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of Concept One and also supports softball, but feels Bothwell is not the best place for it.
21) David Gill, 937 South I Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of Concept One, and said that he supports building 2 fields for softball.
President Kamena closed public comment.
President Kamena thanked the citizens for attending this evening and for speaking. He thanked staff for its work on this issue. He clarified that tonight the Board can approve Concept One or Concept Two, and it can make a decision that the current field not be removed before a new field is chosen/built. He said that the Board cannot vote on whether to put a field at May Nissen Park or Max Baer tonight the neighbors of those parks have not been given a chance to give input. We can vote to consider it doing so, however.
On a motion by Director Furst, seconded by Director Faltings, voted to approve Concept One, on the condition that construction does not begin until another fully functional field or fields are built/found to replace the existing field. The motion passed unanimously.
Director Furst said he feels the playground and softball field are not compatible in the same location. Director Turner said that he agreed with Director Furst. Director Furst clarified that the intent of this motion is that the girls would not miss a season of play.
Director Faltings said she is entirely in support of LGSA, and said that the girls do need fields. She said she does not feel that the Bothwell site supports a field there any longer. She said she feels the neighborhood needs a park. She asked if the neighbors were shown the park equipment at the meetings. She said she thinks the design needs more swings. She said she does not necessarily support bocce courts, as she thinks they are short-lived. She said she is not in support of high fencing to keep balls in the park. She said that she is confident that the field at the Charter School will be replaced. She said that she is also certain that LARPD will have at least one field in place before anything happens at Bothwell.
President Kamena stated that he supports Concept one and would like to see LARPD build two fields. He said he is in favor of bocce ball. He does not want to take money out of the Concept One playground design to pay for replacement softball fields.
Director Goodman stated that the Directors are not here to say they do or do not support certain sports. He said he feels that the media and others have stirred people up about this issue. He said that he personally has been very supportive of LGSA, and he is still involved with ASA. Director Goodman cited ways he has been involved in LGSA, including: participation by his daughters; he and his wife have served as tournament directors, and he prepped the fields for many years. He also was on the LARPD staff for 17 years, and was very involved in LGSA field use. Director Goodman said he wished to clarify that there have been comments to the effect that LARPD is not supportive of girls’ softball. He said that the Joe Michell School softball fields were built by LARPD. LARPD also built the fields at Sonoma School, specifically for LGSA, and LARPD built the field at Smith School for use by LGSA and adults sports. LARPD permitted the Granada High School Girls softball team to use Max Baer Park, and also allowed LGSA to use Robertson Park for tournaments. He concluded that LARPD has, indeed, been supportive of girls’ softball. The reason the Bothwell field started being used by LGSA, about 6 years ago, was because the director of maintenance for the School District needed to do some work on one of the fields at Joe Michell School. Mr. Goodman said he agreed that we don’t want to burden the School District, but we do want to sit down with the School District to work something out. He said that he thinks we need a bond measure, and we all need to get behind it, for a sports park. He stated that it seems the development way will not get public support. He stated that he will not support any motion that does not make sure there is another field. Director Goodman spoke about the ERAF tax shift and its devastating effect on LARPD’s budget, hence programs; he encouraged those present to be passionate about that issue. He said he feels a downtown park is needed.
Meeting recessed at 8:40 p.m.
Meeting reconvened at 9:49 p.m.
6.2 FRIENDSHIP CENTER RELOCATION STATUS
General Manager Barry reported that this day represents the 60 deadline given by the Board to staff to come up with viable solutions to the Friendship Center relocation project. Mr. Barry stated that LARPD has had an offer to extend our lease at the Charter School, and that staff will be negotiating with the Charter School and the School District. He said that staff has a status report on the different options being explored. Mr. Barry noted that the City-owned site near the Civic Center has been analyzed by City staff, who has indicated that this could be a possibility for the Friendship Center, as a long-term lease agreement. LARPD must make a formal request to the City. Recreation Supervisor Maureen Gandara Swinbank stated that staff looked at several commercial sites with leasing potential. One commercial site has come up, she said, and she is working with Jean Phrasher, Housing and Human Services Department with the City of Livermore, who is assisting us with looking at various sites. Ms. Swinbank said that it would be a monthly lease agreement and that LARPD would want to explore if the owner would agree to less of a rental fee that the current asking price.
Mr. Barry introduced Bob Deiss of the firm ATI, the company that LARPD has contracted with to do feasibility studies at LARPD’s R.E. Merritt Building as well as the private school site on Vasco Road. Mr. Deiss presented information on the renovation that would be required at the Merritt Building in order to accommodate the Friendship Center program, and allowing for expansion. He said that the budget recommended for this project would be about 3.5 million dollars, and it would take at least 18 months to complete.
Mr. Deiss then presented information on the Stivers Academy property. He said that renovation would be required, but that it is a wonderful property, with the potential for many uses. The cost for renovation of this site would be in the range of 3 million dollars. Mr. Barry said that the asking price for the property, which is separate from the renovation costs, is 2 million dollars.
6.3 SCOTTISH GAMES PRESENTATION
Director Faltings and Special Events Coordinator Katrina Hole gave a slide presentation on their visit to the Birnam Scottish Games in August.
7. NEW BUSINESS:
7.1 SUNRISE ROCK GYM
General Manager Barry presented a feasibility report from staff concerning the possibility of the District assuming operation of the climbing rock wall at Sunrise Mountain Sports.
Mr. Barry stated that staff has met with the Sunrise Rock Gym owners, who are planning to close the space at the beginning of the year. They approached LARPD to see if the District wished to lease the space and operate the rock gym. Ranger/Naturalist Supervisor Nicholson said that he met with owner Kim Grandfield and staff and came up with projected budget figures in the event that LARPD was to take over the operation. His estimate is that LARPD would lose approximately $35,000 per year to operate it. There would be an additional $25,000-$30,000 in start-up costs. He noted that the activity serves a substantial number of people, approximately 17,000-19,000 users. Mr. Nicholson stated that the budget is built on the premise that LARPD would provide the same amount of service as is currently offered. However, he said he feels that there are opportunities for expansion of programs and services. He said that LARPD has thought about operating such a facility for many years, and this would offer us the opportunity to try it for relatively little cost.
General Manager Barry said he agrees with Mr. Nicholson about it being a great opportunity. He said that he cannot recommend it, however, due to financial reasons. The star-up costs and yearly costs is not something that the District can justify due to the other projects that we have going on and the staffing increases that are needed. He said he feels this might be better left to the private sector.
The Directors discussed several item, including: clarification of the budget projections; protection for LARPD should the Sunrise retail store go out of business; and flexibility in the terms of the lease.
President Kamena invited Kim Grandfield and rock gym manager Alexandra Riddell to the microphone so that they would have an opportunity to address the Directors. Mr. Grandfield and Ms. Riddell and staff responded to Directors’ inquiries about the stability of the retail business; terms of the lease; reasons why the rock gym is not currently profitable; the potential for program expansion; and who would operate it.
President Kamena opened public comment.
1) Gary Mansfield, Chateau Way, Livermore, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
2) Mr. Simmons, Livermore, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
3) Heather Vickers spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
4) Jason Ryder, 1857 Paseo Laguna Seco, Livermore, previous manager of the rock gym, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
5) Pearly Bristoe spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
6) Nick Bradley spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
7) Bob, 3923 Princeton way, spoke in favor of sunrise rock gym. Opportunity to bring a summer sport inside during the winter.
8) Cassandra Otero spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
9) Robert Mariano, 4366 Cornell Way, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
10) Stephanie spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
11) Brian Duenas, 605 Caliente Avenue, Livermore, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
12) Jen Vieira, 533 Ontario Drive spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
13) Tony Pittman, 3560 Kirkcaldy Street, Pleasanton, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
14) Chris Kalish spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
15) Heather Thompson, 1857 Paseo Laguna Seco, Livermore, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
16) Eric France spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
17) John Marion spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
18) Steve Bitzer, 58 Daisyfield Drive, Livermore, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
19) Jill Grandfield, 266 Wood Street, Livermore, spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
20) Matt Tyler spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
21) Simone de Menese spoke in favor of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
President Kamena closed public comment.
Ms. Riddell gave a petition to the Directors, which contained 192 signatures in support of LARPD assuming operations of the rock gym.
On a motion by Director Faltings, seconded by Director Goodman, approved assuming operation of the Sunrise Rock Gym for a trial period of one year, passing 4-1, with Director Turner dissenting.
Directors discussed the following: possibility of reduction in rent and utilities; how the District will pay for this project; and protection for the District.
Director Turner thanked Mr. Grandfield. He asked how staff came up with the budget figures for profit and loss. Mr. Nicholson responded that Mr. Grandfield provided financial records for several years; he also met with the rock gym staff and reviewed their operation Mr. Nicholson said that he was conservative in making his expense and revenue projections. Director Turner said that he was concerned that about involving LARPD in the private sector. He said that he does not feel this is a place that a government entity should be involved with, and he does not think we should set a precedent by buying a private business. He said that the District does not have the money to experiment.
Director Furst made note of the fact that the General Manager recommended against assuming control of the rock gym, and that he had recommended against holding the Scottish Games when it was first proposed, and that he recommends against taking on projects that the District does not have money for. Director Furst said he would like to remind people again about the ERAF tax shift; the state is taking millions of dollars in property taxes away from LARPD. Thus, our budget is reduced.
President Kamena agreed that he does not like going against the General Manager’s recommendation. Director Faltings said that the General Manager is doing what he is supposed to do, keeping his eye on the District’s finances, and that that is what the Board is supposed to do as well. Director Turner re-emphasized that he thinks it is a bad precedent to go into the private sector.
7.2 APPLICATION FOR “BOUNDLESS PLAYGROUND” CONTEST
President Kamena said that the Board will consider support of a contest application that could provide a new universally accessible playground at Big Trees Park. The owner of the park has to endorse the contest. General Manager Barry said that he supported the citizen’s efforts. He introduced Carol Fiore, who composed the essay for submission to the contest. Ms. Fiore thanked the Board for Vista Meadows Park, which is accessible, and recommends that the new playground at the Bothwell Center have two of the red swings like the ones at Vista Meadows.
On a motion by Director Faltings, seconded by Director Turner, approved Resolution No. 2041, endorsing Ms. Fiore’s contest application that could provide a new universally accessible playground at Big Trees Park by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Director Furst, Director Goodman, Director Turner, Director Faltings and President Kamena (5)
NOES: None (0)
ABSENT: None (0)
Director Faltings distributed literature to the Directors and staff on Shane’s Inspiration, which has to do with accessible facilities.
8. COMMITTEE REPORTS
9. MATTERS INITIATED/ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DIRECTORS
1) Director Faltings urged the public to go see the newly restored sign on the Olivina Gate, which is located on the corner of Arroyo and Wetmore Roads in Livermore.
Meeting adjourned at 11:02 p.m.
President, Board of Directors
General Manager and ex-officio
Clerk to the Board of Director