Park Board, Feb. 4, 2016

A board member’s enthusiastic pitch for a pop-up skate rink comes with a pretty hefty price tag. The board listened and carried over discussion on the attraction promoted by Ms. Smalley, as they did a request by the private company Urban Cookhouse to host its 11 summertime Farmers’ Markets on Central Park property. Meanwhile, a final, final, final, final …. draft of a shared parking agreement is approved to be shown to Exceptional Foundation. But will they sign it?

Finally, after approving a routine list of nonprofit event requests, the board decided to charge a higher fee for private businesses than the $500 charged to non-profits.

Members present: All- Chris Meeks, chair, Jody Brant, Gary Isenhower, Becky Morton, Michael Murray, Paula Smalley, Keith Stansell, Marjorie Trimm, and Tyler Vail.

Members absent: None.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public service superintendent, Rusty Holley, Rec Center director, board secretary, and Jakob Stephenson, athletic director.

Audience attendance: 1

Approved minutes of the Jan. 7, 2016, meeting.


The Arts Council plans to combine the Pickin’ in the Park and the Handmade festivals into one event, at Central Park.

Approved the following requests:

    • The Exceptional Foundation‘s March event calendar included three events that would challenge parking–the March 1 State Primary election with polls open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; The Kiwanis Club‘s Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for EF, Sat., March 19, 6 a.m.-noon; and a dance March 20, 6-9 p.m., drop-off only.
    • Overflow parking at the Senior Center for Trinity Church’s new campus at the former Oakmont UMC on Oak Grove Road, opening Sunday, Feb. 14 and thereafter.
    • Ninja Fun Run by North Star Martial Arts, at Central Park, for Sat., Oct. 22, 5 a.m.-noon.
    • Creative Montessori School‘s 5K and Fun Run at Central Park, Sat., Oct. 8, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
    • Memory Walk/Fundraiser for the Community Grief Support nonprofit in Homewood, at Central Park, Sat., June 18, 1-8:30 p.m.
    • 5K run by InVision Opthalmology at Central Park, Sat., Sept. 25, 6 a.m.-12:30 p.m. InVision, a private company, will pay a $750 fee to use the park. On Ms. Morton’s suggestion, it was decided to set fees for private companies on a case-by-case basis.
    • The Homewood Arts Council jazz concert/spring concert at Central Park, Sun., April 10, 3-10 p.m. This will include the middle school’s 8th grade jazz band, food trucks, etc. Also from the Arts Council was a request for a music festival at Central that combines the Pickin’ in the Park event and the Handmade Art Fair, usually held at Patriot Park, Sun., Oct. 16, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Postponed a request to hold a recurring Saturday morning farmer’s market, sponsored by Urban Cookhouse, a private restaurant in Homewood: The request was to reserve the park for 11 Saturdays from June 4- Aug. 13, from 8 a.m.-noon. Applicant Andrea Snyder, owner of the restaurant, said the proposal was open to other days and times, and would pay all costs. Parking was an issue for festival-goers as well as vendors. The matter will be discussed in the Facilities Committee meeting and brought back to the full board. 



View from the new addition at the Exceptional Foundation.

The latest version of the perennially-unsigned parking agreement with the Exceptional Foundation was distributed tonight, noting 8 points of agreement the board is seeking from the Foundation. The latest draft establishes a “Joint Resolution Committee” of 7 members, with two each coming from the Foundation, the Park Board and the City Council, and the mayor to settle any ties. Either party could call a hearing. With no further discussion, the park board approved the agreement as presented.



The pop-up rink proposed by Ms. Smalley is based on this one operated by the City of Tuscaloosa. The price tag is high and weather uncertain. Will the Park Board go for it?

The pop-up rink proposed by Ms. Smalley is based on this one operated by the City of Tuscaloosa. The price tag is high and weather uncertain. Will the Park Board go for it?

Discussed, and continued a pop-up Ice Rink for the holiday season, Dec. 4-Jan. 4: Ms. Smalley’s idea last month for arranging a temporary skate rink at Central Park was discussed in more detail. Ms. Smalley investigated a company in Texas that has operated a rink for Tuscaloosa’s park system over the past five years, and cited a $90,000-$100,000 installation cost, not counting a $40,000 payroll, of which the majority would be repaid through user fees–at perhaps $10 per visit. She cited an 85% break-even rate from the Tuscaloosa rink over the four years preceding the 2015 season, which was unseasonably warm. She mentioned that company sponsors could be recruited to offset costs. 

Board members’ concern focused on the cost, which will be investigated further. Ms. Smalley’s enthusiasm wasn’t dampened by the costs, and she asked the board to do the same.

Adjournment: The Board was adjourned at 7 p.m.



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