CITY PARKS, RECREATION & CONSERVATION COMMISSION
Meeting held Tuesday, September 4, 2018
PROCEEDINGS BY AUTHORITY
State of New York, City of Jamestown
The regular meeting of the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commission of the City of Jamestown, New York, was held on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 5:00 in Jamestown New York.
Those present representing the Commission were:
Commissioner John Bauer
Commissioner Russ Diethrick
Commissioner Cindy DiNapoli
Commissioner Kim Ecklund
Commissioner Chris Prinzi
Commissioner Aubrey Russell
John Williams, Parks Manager
Dan Stone, Arborist
Julia Ciesla-Hanley, Recreation Coordinator
Commissioner Dave Anderson
Commissioner Dave Reinhardt
Commissioner Jason Stronz
Commissioner James Ventura
Commissioner Jim Walsh
Commissioner Vanessa Weinert
The meeting was called to order by Cindy DiNapoli.
Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting.
A motion was made by Commissioner Ecklund and seconded by Commissioner Russell to approve the minutes of the June 5, 2018 meeting. Carried.
Opportunity for Persons to Address Commission.
Reports of Committees and Projects.
Report from the Riverfront Management Council/Riverwalk Project Update: John Williams said the pedestrian bridges were completed as of July. Bank restabilization was completed on the south shore of the basin. Dan Stone said he had a meeting with Luke Fodor regarding a grant from Jamestown Rotary for plantings to help prevent erosion and run-off from Comedy Park. Russ Diethrick asked if we’ve noticed any erosion issues from recent rain. Dan said he had not.
Labor Day Fest: John said the rain didn’t hurt the festival in the end but the grounds took a beating. He said the fireworks were great. Kim Ecklund said it was a slower day for the Babe Ruth World Series food tent but it was better than nothing. John said it was slower than usual at 5 o’clock. Russ Diethrick said he felt the decision to keep the festival going, despite the downpour, was good. John said it would have been hard on everyone to try to move to Monday since all the vendors were already set up. Pearl City Jazz was the only musical group who canceled due to the basketball court having standing water. Julia said kettle korn was the only no-show for food vendors. Russ asked how much the fireworks cost. Julia said it was $16,000. She said this was the last year in the contract for Zambelli so they were aiming to impress so that we’d bring them back. John said Matt Hanley needs to work with whoever is doing the fireworks show to make sure they don’t use the low fireworks. Kim said there were lots of kids in the beer tent area. She said parents had pulled down the snow fence to let kids in. John said he hadn’t seen that was an issue but will look at it. John said one of the wrestlers was scratched during the show but no bad injuries. Dan said there was a lot of mud to deal with around where the wrestling show was, but they dealt with it the best they could.
Chadakoin Park Playground Build: John said the new playground is built. He said Kaboom! was awesome to work with and Mary Wilson, from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, was awesome as well. She helped all day. John said they started putting down the gravel for the rubber surfacing. The rubber surfacing, once poured, will take three days to firm up. Mulch will be pushed in along the borders after that. John said the rubber surfacing will mean less maintenance for the Parks crews. He hopes to have the playground open for use by next week. Russ said he was glad to see the involvement by children with the design and at build day. John said Kaboom! does an awesome job at including kids. Russ said that crew of kids will police that site. He added that the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation was the one who donated the money for the project. Russ said it was great news to hear Mayor Teresi’s announcement that the restrooms at Chadakoin Park will be rebuilt. John said we also received grant money from Kaboom! and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation for apparatus on the bike trail near Eighth Street. It will be a structure you can sit or climb on and also will be placed on a poured rubber surface. Cindy DiNapoli asked about maintenance at Chadakoin Park with new facilities. John said we should be okay but that Kaboom! and Parkitects want regular maintenance reports. Dan said Parkitects is great to work with because they keep in touch with us if there are recalls or issues they’ve found in equipment. Since they’re located in Buffalo, it’s easy to get parts. Russ Diethrick asked if Kaboom! supplied the lumber for the new picnic tables. John said they supplied everything but the gravel.
Maintenance/Manpower: Chris Prinzi spoke with Allen Park Caretaker Tim Covey about issues with the fall zones at Allen Park not having enough wood chips. John said he’s aware but we haven’t had the manpower to put new chips down. He said mowing hasn’t been done in three weeks. The parks system is bigger than it used to be and crews can’t get to all of it for the needed maintenance. This summer was hard because we lost an employee with another one on medical leave. Dan said he has hundreds of stumps to be ground still and he’s about 1.5 years behind on that list. He’s not sure if he can get the Allen Park tree project done that he has Community Foundation money for so he might have to plant elsewhere. John said the roof shingles blew off a dug-out at Nordstrom Park in early Spring and he hasn’t had time to replace that. Crews have only mowed the bike path once since its opening. John said he understands what the City is dealing with budget-wise, but staff is working overtime every week. Dan said maintenance is a big concern because he doesn’t want to see our facilities suffer. This has been an exceptionally busy year. John said we’re going on 3-years without being able to address pavilion and picnic table issues. John and Dan are laboring too which means paperwork isn’t getting done when it should be. John said we don’t have summer help now that it’s September. Dan said even with summer help, crews didn’t mow some lots more than 3 times this summer. Part of the problem is that we couldn’t get employees hired early enough. Dan said things like poison ivy can get out of control if it’s not regularly mowed. He said they’re trying to find work-arounds but it’s all just band-aids. Russ Diethrick asked if homeowners have been cutting city trees or branches. Dan said some do but it’s not too bad. He said most people are upset about mowing. John said the department has a flail that goes around and can do a route twice but they haven’t used it once, partially because it breaks down. Chris Prinzi asked if it’s an equipment breaking down issue or a manpower issue. John said it’s both. We used to have one guy who operated the flail but now we don’t. Dan said we’re really struggling. John said he’s not whining but he’s seen how things have changed this year and it scares him. We haven’t even taken over Tracy Plaza maintenance yet. Dan said we’ve had a lot of great projects this year but that the weather also didn’t cut us a break with grass. John Bauer said the parks guys were always there to help and they never complained. Cindy said that’s been her experience too. John said staff has no down time because winter involves tree trimming, leaf pick-up, holiday decorations and events, etc. Dan said the emerald ash border is here and that’s resulting in 280 trees having to come down. He said Johnson Street will be clear cut.
Summer Program Wrap-Up: Julia said we had 10 performances out of 11 bandshell performances scheduled. The Chautauqua Theatre Company liked the response and is already planning on coming back in 2019.
Julia said the Summer Playground Program went well, but attendance numbers were down despite offering even more activities than the previous year. She said she did receive some calls from parents concerned about the lack of restrooms available at some of the locations, so she doesn’t know if that played into it. She knows the game, Fortnight, is a big hit with kids and some have said that may also have played a role in why some kids stayed home. Despite the initial hiring issues, we ended up with a really great group of employees. Julia said we did hire 3 employees from the Chautauqua Works Summer Youth Employment program, which helped us save money. While it was generally a good experience, she doesn’t feel like we could replace our regular workers with the youth employment workers.
Halloween Fun Fest: Julia said she has the grant request into the Community Foundation for the event scheduled for Weds., October 31st at the Allen Park Ice Rink. She contacted the National Honor Society and Key Club about volunteering for stuffing the candy bags and helping at the event itself. Russ Diethrick suggested checking with the Jamestown Rebels Hockey team and the Jackals Basketball team about volunteering.
Good of the Order:
The next meeting is Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.