Date and time: 9:00 AM, Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Present: All Board members- Andy Smart, Barbara Foster, Brian Duncan, Mike Nicolas, Mayor Duane Roderick, City Clerk Susan Stoll and twenty-one members of the public.
Location: Court Room, Attica City Building.
Board President Andy Smart called the meeting to order shortly after 9:00 AM and informed everyone that the purpose of the meeting was to start gaining public input and suggestions to begin formulating the Parks Department’s next five-year plan. A five-year plan in place is necessary for applying for most foundation and government grants. He then went on to thank Mayor Roderick and City Clerk Susan Stoll for their hard work, support, guidance and help. Also, Public Works Director Ronnie Jean and Candy Kirkpatrick for their work in the parks and former Mayor Robert Shepard for his generosity, hard work, and dedication to the city parks. He also thanked past Board members PJ Stoll, Eric Carroll, Jennie Douglas and Connie Sichts. He also introduced the current Park Board members and special guest, grant administrator/ planner Kristy Jerrell.
President Smart went over some of the accomplishments under the present 2016-2020 five year plan, including trail work and repairs, extensive necessary renovation, especially electrical, at the Attica public pool, new riverfront camping facilities and restrooms, McDonald Park improvements, pickleball court upgrades, new basketball and pickleball courts at Circle Park, and youth program coordination with the Warren County Parks program, just to name a few.
Mr. Smart then re-affirmed that anyone from the city or community who had a question or suggestion should feel free to add their input.
Mr. Smart then turned over the chair to Brian Duncan. Mr. Duncan pointed out that this this is just the first public meeting to get input and start forming a list of tasks and projects and prioritizing them. He stated the Board’s feeling that a wholistic approach of co-operation with other departments, government entities, schools, organizations and interested individuals is the best method of progress. Also, that the Board feels that after necessary maintenance, repairs, and small self-funded improvements, the rest of a small budget will be best leveraged by applying for grants, other outside funds, and charitable donations from interested individuals and organizations. Matching funds are usually dollar-for-dollar or less (for the recipient).
There are five already existing long-term goals, for which there is a possibility of obtaining grant money. Subject to change.
- Connecting existing trails in Ravine Park to those in Arms Woods and those in Ouabache Park.
- A community center, location not decided. Possibilities brought up so far:
In, or sharing, the closing Shopko store building at the East edge of town.
Somewhere within the downtown boundary.
Near or attached to one of the schools.
In Ravine Park, which the City currently owns.
Some other location.
- New playground equipment in Ravine Park that meets code.
- Design and re-do the Frisbee golf course in Ravine Park. Possible expansion from 9 to 18 holes.
- Add playground equipment at the existing Happy Walter playfield, if owner permission can be obtained, and/ or at a new central south end site if ownership can be obtained.
Citizen and mower of city parks, Ben Bowles, spoke to the board expressing his opinion that most parks and their facilities get a passing grade from him. There was some question about when the Ravine Park Pavilion bathrooms are open, and Candy Kirkpatrick informed us that when school is not in session, they are unlocked at 7:30 AM and locked at dark. Mr. Bowles stated that he thought Circle Park needs a baby swing seat and a load of mulch. Also, that the pavilion/pool/playground area of Ravine Park needs the attention of an arborist, the large stumps removed, basketball courts and goals refurbished, and metal teeter-totters added. He recommended that the horseshoe pits be removed. Mr. Bowles also asked about the eight-inch seedling trees with bright blue stakes that had appeared on the lawn east of the Ravine Park Pavilion. Mr. Nicolas replied that they were a surprise and a mystery to him also. If anyone present had information about them, it was not apparent.
Lexxi Haddock, expressed interest in a dual swing for adult and child, perhaps a swing for wheelchairs, and a dog park.
Trish Hargan, cited a need for shade in the baby pool area and asked if there could be free sunscreen for kids who do not bring sunscreen.
Cindy Mason, asked if the Park Board should consider hiring someone to help plan/develop a vision.
Candy Kirkpatrick expressed interest in making the Ravine Park Pavilion bathrooms wheelchair accessible. She asked if the area where cars drive across the park grass to reach the pavilion be blocked off. She inquired about how the Friends of the Park was advertised. She was not aware it existed.
Discussion about adding a city park at Happy Walter Field led to a consensus that the current parking situation creates a hazard for children. Unless a playground was fenced in and somehow protected from foul balls, it might not be a good location for playground equipment.
Bob Shepherd, mentioned the need for budgeting upkeep for additional trails. He reminded the board that in 1990, $100,000 was spent on trails at the riverfront but there was no upkeep and they are not in good shape today.
Kristy Jerrell informed the board of some potential grants and considerations in applying for them. The board then divided up and assigned each member area of responsibility.
The board also compiled a list of potential partner organizations to contact and to shoot for a round table meeting on April 18 at 6 PM.
Pool Manager interviews will be at 2:00 PM, March 2nd at the Attica City Building. Other Pool and Park Program staff interviews will be at 9:00 AM, March 9 at the Attica City Building.
The next regular meeting of the Parks Board will be at 5:00 PM, March 12 in the court room of the Attica City Building.
Meeting adjourned by President Smart about 12:15 PM.
Submitted by Mike Nicolas, who takes responsibility for all errors and omissions.
-Though not announced because thought of afterwards, an envelope has been left at the City Clerk’s service counter in the City Building for anyone who wants to add a suggestion or offer support for one they heard.