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NEW BRIGHTON PARKS, RECREATION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION MINUTES March 3, 2010 (Minutes in their entirety are kept on DVD at City Hall) I. Call to Order The meeting was called to order by Chair Frischman at 6:30 p.m. II. Present: Commissioners Frischman, Harreld, Heinrich, Norton and Council Liaison Burg Absent: Commissioner Trevorrow Also Present: Parks and Recreation Director Sandy Breuer and Golf Manager Ken Manthis. Resident and VIP Ray Tandeski was present. III. Minutes of February 3, 2010 MOTION BY HEINRICH, SECONDED BY HARRELD, TO ACCEPT THE FEBRUARY 3, 2010 PARKS, RECREATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION MINUTES AS PRESENTED. MOTION CARRIED. IV. Trails Committee Update – Brian Strub; Chair Brian Strub stated the Trails Committee met tonight. He is excited to be the new Chair. This next year they will be focusing on connectivity. Connecting trails to our City, City parks, residents and also to our neighboring cities. Topics discussed today: The Committee passed a resolution which will be forwarded to this Commission and ideally to the City Council. We are expressing our vested interest in the future development of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) property in Arden Hills. It states our interest as a city in the trails, the park land and also the development that our neighbors are doing. You will see a copy of that and will discuss that at your next meeting. We are looking at ways we can partner with our neighbors and be supportive of park land, open space and connection of trails. In the future we will be bringing in a speaker to the Trails Committee to talk about the Complete Streets proposal. This will provide some opportunities for how a city looks at streets. It insures that there is walking on our streets. It insures there are ways to get around town, besides a car. We also heard an update from the Active Living Ramsey County group as well. The Trails Committee is moving ahead and would love to have any input we can from residents. The next meeting is Wednesday, April 7th at the Family Service Center. The meetings are open to all residents. Heinrich stated there has been trail development in the arsenal property. Strub stated there has been much discussion over future development of that property. There has been talk of mixed use; residential and parkland. We know our neighbors are vigorously pursuing open space and park land opportunities. We are concerned that those plans are done in partnership with New Brighton, so we are all connected. Frischman stated that a meeting she attended discussed the issue of how to get access to the TCAAP development area to those trails, because of the challenge in just getting across 35W from New Brighton. Frischman inquired why the resolution is coming to the Parks, Recreation and Environmental Commission in April. Strub stated the Trails Committee had a discussion about New Brighton having a very vested interest in what happens in the neighboring city under the theme of connectivity partnership. Our goal was to formally state that through PREC and ideally through our City Council. Strub stated everyone is welcome to attend the Trails Committee meeting with the Complete Streets speaker. All meetings are open to the public. Our intention is to have the speaker for our April 7th meeting. -2- V. Correspondence A. Council Report – Council Member Mary Burg Burg stated they have working on budget items. They started early this year so that they can work on having a balanced budget. Almost every area they are looking at is in the red. They do not want to have double digit tax increases. They are working diligently on ideas. It is tough. It impacts services. We are looking at ways to reorganize. There are real impacts to everything we do. Council had a retreat with City staff and then a day on there own for team building. Personnel is the biggest part of our budget. Also had an excellent speaker come and speak on the Emerald Ash Borer. The Neighborhood meetings have started. The next one is Thursday, March 18th at Totem Pole. The last is at Freedom on March 25th. Norton commented about the Emerald Ash Borer meeting he attended. The best option is to treat the trees. The City and residents will have to make a decision about what to do about it. Burg stated that if you don’t treat your tree, it will die. The Council is onboard with taking an active stance starting this year. Breuer stated the City did a tree inventory in 2001, which relates to boulevard trees. The City has 949 ash trees on our boulevards. We do not have an inventory on park trees. The speaker came from Massachusetts to speak to the Council. Council wanted to move forward with treatment of the trees. Now we have to put a management plan in place, order supplies, determine how to hire seasonal staff, and determine how we will do the work. The EAB work session was taped and Breuer can share that with anyone who is interested. Another option would be to share it at a future meeting. Next month we will have two staff reports. The EAB audio tape was about an hour and 15 minutes. There is also a book which she has that she would highly recommend you look at. Residents may come to PREC members for information. Frischman stated that even after this speaker, there is no plan to hire a forester? Burg stated that the speaker gave hope that there are ways to manage this situation. Burg stated we will have a plan in place. Frischman asked who will be handling the resident concerns? Breuer stated we plan to educate residents as much as we can. We will put information on our website. Perhaps use door hangers to inform residents ahead of time that we are coming. We want the project to keep moving forward. We may present information at the Town Hall meeting, use the local newspaper and anyway we can to inform residents. Burg stated that this Commission had probably heard that they will not be meeting here at City Hall and be televised, but move to the Family Service Center for their monthly meetings, they will be audio taped. Burg felt that the Emerald Ash Borer issue was a good reason to keep the meetings televised so residents could be updated. Burg stated she would advocate for that. -3- Frischman stated that being televised is a good way to get all kinds of information to residents; including the Emerald Ash Borer information. We also have a fair amount of Public Hearings that are held. We are providing a service to residents by allowing them to be a part of the process even if they are not physically here. Burg stated she will inform the Council of these concerns. Frischman felt that if residents have concerns about Parks, Recreation and Environmental Commission meetings no longer being televised, they should contact their Council members. Burg stated that given the Emerald Ash Borer situation only, seems like a good reason to keep it televised. The ash tree is the largest population of trees in Minnesota. It has already shown up about 4 miles from here. If you have woodpeckers in your ash tree, you probably already have the infestation. It takes 4 years before the damage shows up. It spreads really fast. Spending $50-$100 to treat a tree for three or four years may save the tree. If we can get the word out, that is worth re-examining where we have this meeting. Harreld stated the City will treat boulevard trees and have information available for residents to pay to treat their own trees. Burg stated the City will treat boulevard and park trees. The City needs to develop a plan of which trees it will treat first. There has been talk of having our city service available to home owners to treat a tree. Burg stated she would purchase that service because the cost to replace one ash tree would be at least $150 and then she would have to wait 30 years for it to grow to the size of the one she lost. Burg stated that we are considering finding ways to allow residents to find a contractor that is reasonable. It could be as simple as providing information to residents about contractor’s that are using products that we know work, have reasonable rates and are reputable. Breuer stated that once the Council gave the green light to move forward, we went to the Cities that we know are ahead of the ball game in forestry and started collecting other City Emerald Ash Borer plans. Norton stated that an article in the newspaper stated you had to treat the trees twice a year. The information he remembers from the presentation was that you treat the tree once every three years. Then once the infestation is past, then it is once every five years. It is not a huge expense or time commitment. Breuer stated that the application the City is planning on using has a proven rate of 2 years; now even 3 or 4 years. However, there are different applications. There’s soil drenching, there’s aerial spray. Those do have to be done on a yearly basis. So that is something to keep in mind when people are thinking about their own trees. Now you can buy the materials yourself in a hardware store and do the soil drenching yourself, but you would need to do that every year. Frischman stated New Brighton has had a long history of having a City Forester of whom we can come to with questions. We are sitting in a very treacherous point. Frischman felt that it is too bad that the Council made the decision to not move forward with hiring a City Forester. -4- Council has considered hiring someone on a seasonal basis; someone with expertise in the field. The issue is not adding more full time staff. Burg stated that the projected 2011 budget shows one scenario as having a $900,000 deficit. That would be a 10.8% increase in our budget. We are creatively trying to find ways to make these financial decisions to satisfy these service needs. Norton felt it was important to have someone in that role, especially in the upcoming summers. VI. Public Hearing None VII. Staff Report – Ken Manthis; Golf Operations Manager Breuer stated Ken has started his 5th year with the City. He will give his presentation on the golf operations and this year he took on new responsibilities and was responsible for warming houses. Manthis gave his presentation. Areas that were touched on were: green fees, rounds of golf, junior league, practice range, 2010 collections, league news, golf programs, 2009 happenings, marketing initiatives, new and exciting ideas for 2010 and ice rinks. VIII. New Business None IX. Announcements A. Chair Updates Frischman stated that the Council made a decision to discontinue the televising of the PREC meetings. We are a forum for education and communication to residents. It is a great way for residents to be in the process without physically being here and especially so when we have public hearings. She encouraged residents to contact a City Council member if you feel strongly about this and would like this service reinstated for residents. B. Department Happenings / upcoming events Breuer gave the monthly Department Happenings presentation. Frischman commented on the event where Ray Tandeski was honored. Frischman wanted to relay to residents what a huge asset Ray is to the community with youth. Frischman stated this is her last evening as chair. Next month Joel Norton will be chairing this committee. Breuer thanked Frischman for her service as chair for the last couple of years. We have been very happy to have you with your expertise and your children participating in our programs. We are happy you have been with us and hope you will continue your service. Breuer stated we will have two new members next month. X. Adjourn MOTION BY HEINRICH, SECONDED BY NORTON, TO ADJOURN AT 7:32 P.M. MOTION CARRIED.
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