Park Board, March 7, 2013

PARKSThe board met for an hour and discussed issues regarding the new recreation center, the Homewood Patriot Lacrosse Association, and fees for using swimming pool at West Homewood Park and the pavilions at Patriot Park. Also of interest are continuing discussions about a Ward 3 park and purchase of the triangle on Broadway Street and Carr Avenue for use either as a park or a parking area. An appraisal is difficult to do because there are no properties with comparable shape and use.

Members Present:  Chris Mason, chairman, Chris Meeks, Tom Walker, Don Little, and Keith Stansell

Absent:  Becky Morton, Paula Smalley, Tim Baggett, and council liaison Rich Laws

Staff Present:  Berkley Squires, parks and recreation director, Linda Sellers, athletic director, and staff secretary

Audience attendance: 5

All votes were unanimous.

Approved:  Minutes of the February 7, 2013 meeting

There were no public comments.

Chairman’s Report:  Chairman Chris Mason met with the architect and general contractor for the new rec center. He said demolition will be completed next week and the site work will begin after that. However, in all nine contractor bid packages returned, the pool and electrical were over budget. He said the park department was able to recapture about 2/3 of the overage by changing the specifications to items that have more than one vendor, and are working to save on other items, such as asbestos abatement and demolition.

Director’s report:  Mr. Squires noted that this meeting would be the last for athletic director Linda Sellers, who is retiring after 38 years of service.  A retirement party will be held on March 9 and a luncheon will be held in her honor on March 27.  In other news, the ceremonial groundbreaking for the rec center will be held March 15 at 10:30 a.m.

Programs report –  The swim team will be using the pool at Samford during the rec center construction.

Approved:  The board approved the following recommended fees to use the West Homewood pool this summer:  $25 for current park members; $40 for residents who are not members; and $50 for non-residents.

Facilities report – Still in discussion are the Ward 3 neighborhood park [part of the Samford University rezoning agreement?], an unspecified athletic facility request, and a resident’s complaint that soccer fields aren’t available for individual use, even after hours.  The board and staff are trying to come up with options for individual players.

The following items were approved on recommendation of the facilities committee:

Approved:  The board approved an Eagle Scout candidate’s design for a veterans memorial and flag stand to be erected at Patriot Park, with the understanding that the troop will maintain the flag.

Approved:  A special event at Central Park by The Park Players two weekends this summer.

Approved:  A return engagement on Aug. 24 of IMPACT Counseling‘s  5K run at Central Park.

Approved:  The board approved a hot air balloon at the upcoming MS Walk, April 13, at Central Park.

Approved:  Patriot Park pavilion rental fees will be the same as pavilions at all other city parks.  [According to the parks website, resident rental fees are $75 for five hours/$10 per each additional hour, and nonresident fees are $125 for five hours/$20 each additional hour.]

New Business:

Report of Homewood Patriot Lacrosse, first year.  Matt Ford, reporting for the club, said the league was growing and girls in particular are interested. This year there were 122 resident players and eight non-residents.  Enrollment is $250 per player, with new equipment costing another $250 per player. The club is trying to recycle equipment to bring costs down.  The club encountered problems this spring with players opting for spring football practice instead of lacrosse, resulting in four games being forfeited. On the financial side, the club reported $23,091 against $10,194.61 in expenses, leaving a balance of $12,896.39.

The board commended Mr. Ford for his hard work and dedication to get this program off the ground and to secure its 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation.

Finally, the “Flash Mob” of 300 people arranged at Central Park Feb. 16 for a surprise marriage proposal was a success. She said yes.

The board set its next regular meeting on April 4 at the temporary facility on Green Springs Highway. The Program and Facilities committees will meet on March 28.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

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