To end the acrimony, but also resolve persistent issues arising from the Exceptional Foundation’s expansion, Park Board Chairman Chris Meeks tonight announced a “board-to-board” meeting next week with EF directors, and out of the public eye. The meeting, to be held Monday or Thursday of next week, will include Public Services Director Berkley Squires, Mr. Meeks, and board members Keith Stansell and Tom Walker. Mr. Meeks said he suggested the meeting when he previewed the Foundation’s latest proposed shared use agreement, and realized the board would reject it.
Conflict erupted last month when the Foundation gave the park board just two weeks to approve a substantially changed shared-use agreement on the parking lot before it started construction on a expedited timeline. The latest proposal apparently doesn’t reflect park board demands made at the time, including a Dumpster relocation. Maintaining parking spaces for the Rec Center and getting the construction finished before a March 15 basketball tournament were top priorities, Meeks said.
Mr. Squires explained that until the new agreement is reached, Brasfield & Gorrie has agreed to keep its construction work completely on the Foundation’s property. However, a power pole was delivered early and takes up two parking rec center spaces; 15 parking spaces are already fenced off; and other spaces are being used –temporarily–to unload supplies and equipment. Those spaces will be freed up when construction access is opened from Oxmoor Road.
Mr. Walker said the board-to-board meeting was meant to help end the acrimony over the Foundation’s expansion plans. Because fewer than a quorum of the board will be present, the assembly doesn’t meet the legal standard of a public meeting and will remain private, he said.
Members present: Chris Meeks, chairman, Becky Morton, Keith Stansell, Tom Walker, Marjorie Trimm, Tom Blake, Michael Murray, and Tyler Vail.
Members absent: Paula Smalley. Also absent was council liaison Richard Laws.
Staff present: Berkley Squires, public service director, Rusty Holley, park and recreation superintendent, Jakob Stephenson, athletic director, Dianne Rice, board secretary and her assistant Angie Montgomery.
Audience attendance: 2
Approved minutes of the Oct. 2, 2014 meeting.
Approved three 2015 events at Central Park: The board approved a March 28 5K and Fun Run to benefit Alzheimer’s Research, a June 13 “Summer Watermelon Festival” from 4-10 p.m. to benefit Alabama EDSers (people diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder causing joint damage and pain), and a 5K from 6 a.m.-noon Aug. 22 to raise funds for Impact Family Counseling, in Birmingham.