Cary Park District Committee of the Whole met February 22.
Cary Park District Committee of the Whole met February 22.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
Minutes Board Members Present: Stanko, Howell, Hauck, Frangiamore, and Renner.
Staff Present: Jones, Krueger, Kelly, Rogus, Raica, Hughes, Lee, and Tarosas.
Renner called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
There were no items from the Public or Staff.
Under Direction Items, Update(s) and Review – Action Plan from Comprehensive Master Plan Update 2016 was discussed.
Jones explained that Steve Konters from Hitchcock Design Group was present to review the Action Plan of the 2016 Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP). He is here to help guide the Board through discussion to modify the existing Action Plan.
Konters conducted a quick overview of the previous meeting of the Board where this was discussed on February 8. He expressed that the discussion of the Board regarding an update to the current Action Plan should focus on modifying or adjusting existing items so that the priorities discussed previously may continue to move ahead.
Konters presented the primary projects/areas discussed and prioritized in the current Action Plan. The projects include a new indoor recreation space (multi-purpose areas and sport courts), renovation or replacement/ new senior center, renovation or replacement/new preschool or some combo of all of these as well as a new outdoor aquatics to replace aging pool. He then explained some factors that need to be considered as part of decision making with any of these projects. These might include available funding vs. additional funding needed, current facility needs vs. new facility needs/interests, and evaluating each option and the steps needed to implement any of the projects. Konters stated that to make a decision on what path to follow, more information is needed, such as total construction cost, market analysis, and operational costs. Once these questions are answered, then the Board would be able to make a more informed decision on which or what to focus on implementing next as the priority.
Stanko stated that there are other items in the Action Plan besides big projects such as the Sands Main Street Prairie Enhancement Plan and the 50th anniversary of the Park District. Jones stated that staff is currently working on the enhancement strategic plan of Sands Main Street Prairie. Stanko asked if items are moved or modified as part of an Action Plan Update, how it would affect staff and their ability to complete projects. Jones stated that it would remain the same even if the Action Plan didn’t change from its present course. Staff is on top of the existing Action Plan and the only items not implemented to thus far were decided to hold off on after a review of the item and the Park District’s ability to move ahead.
Stanko said that originally an indoor recreation center was a major priority of the 2016 Action Plan, but only $8,000,000 in funding is projected to be available, but the cost would be more like $15,000,000. He expressed concern about using up bonding ability on other projects and leaving the Park District in the same spot of wanting to build a new indoor center but not being able to since available dollars were spent on other items. Jones stated that if for instance, direction changed and a pool was built, as well as other items like seniors and preschool were completed from the Action Plan, it would be looked at positively within the community. Progress would be made if this occurred toward meeting existing and future needs/priorities expressed by the community.
Howell stated that one of his prevailing thoughts from the last meeting is that either we try to build a recreation center that would not meet all of the needs (smaller size) or not build one at all. He then asked about field space and why that isn’t being addressed since it was in the top three priorities of the community public input meetings. Konters explained that the current Action Plan accounted for this by prioritizing improvement of the fields at Lions Park. Jones explained that the focus for updating the Action Plan was adapting the current Action Plan not necessarily adding new items. He stated the field spaces were discussed at length during the creation of the current Action Plan and that the Board’s decision was to make what the Park District has in field space, better from a usability and quality stand point. This is why the Lions Park Revitalization project is a priority that is being implemented. Konters added that updating of the Site Master Plan at Cary-Grove Park was completed with this same thought in mind. Jones explained that there are additional fields that are slated to be built at Cary-Grove Park in the future, but the Board determined its priority to be when funds become available to do so.
Hauck asked what approach is taken with a feasibility study. Konters explained a study like this would be consultant led, likely by an architect, to better understand what would be done to meet community needs. The consultant would provide a better understanding of what a facility will physically be in size and square footage and if and when there will be room to expand. A consultant would evaluate Capital costs, Operational costs, Program Development, Market Analysis and early Schematic Design and develop a report for the Park District. Hauck asked if an added component could be seeking input from other groups that might be willing to create partnerships with the Park District to help with some of the costs. Konters explained that would be something staff would look into, but exploring partnerships is listed as an Action Plan item currently. Hauck stated that if partnerships are created, she feels that partners might want to be involved in the process and development.
Renner stated that he agrees with the updated approach to the Action Plan presented by Konters, as it is very similar to where the Park District was already headed.
Renner asked the Board to discuss ball fields. He explained that historically, the Board has been focused on developing Cary-Grove Park for this purpose. However, the community has changed significantly since the original Master Plan was created for Cary-Grove Park. Even though the Maplewood School site may no longer be available, this was considered during development of the Comprehensive Master Plan Update 2016.
Howell explained that based upon information the Park District has (within the current CMP Update 2016), he is troubled that new ball fields aren’t being prioritized or considered now. Stanko stated he attended the public meetings and at those meetings ball fields were an item of priority for some of those in attendance; however, a community wide survey was also completed where 731 households submitted the survey and the results of it were also considered in discussion by the Board. When everything was looked at, the voices of the community were listened to and considered, which led to the Board’s development and approval of the 2016 CMP Action Plan. Howell stated he would like information specific to the loss of fields at Maplewood and what will be done when this occurs. Howell asked what the cost would be as well as the density of programming required to make adding more fields work. He stated a cost benefit analysis would be beneficial.
Renner added that a utilization study of the current ballfields of the Park District may be useful to understand what may happen if Maplewood went away.
Frangiamore stated that however the Board spends the funding available, he doesn’t want to be in the position that nothing else can be done by the Park District until bonds are paid off.
Renner stated that the Board seriously considered putting in turf at the ball fields at Lions Park, but it is extremely expensive. He is not certain he wants to jump into field construction as a priority over some of the facility development items currently in the Action Plan.
Jones explained the Action Plan will be updated based off the discussion of the Board on February 8 and 22, and brought back to the Board for final discussion and consideration. Once approved, it will provide direction for staff moving forward.
Hauck moved to adjourn the meeting; second by Stanko.
Voice vote: All voting yes. Motion carried.
Meeting adjourned at 8:21 pm.