Leddy Park Issues: Parks Director's response

Wards 4&7 NPA/ Mari Steinbach, Parks' Director

Here are the parks' issues on our [NPA] list.   Note: Parks Commission mtg. ran late, Maggie arrived at NPA late. A meeting is scheduled with Megan Moir, DPW Stormwater staff, June 24, 5pm Leddy Arena Parking Lot. Sit-down with Mari Steinbach is Friday, June 25, 3 pm Miller Ctr.

  • Ward 4 and 7 NPAs have called for an updated plan for Leddy Park. Parks is in agreement that perhaps a Management Plan is the way to go with this. In the very short term, Parks & Recreation is still very short-handed and I’m trying to free time to work toward determining the appropriate skill set and qualifications and supervisory responsibilities necessary for the Parks Superintendent position. It will be early fall / very late summer at the earliest that we can mobilize the internal resources necessary to begin work on the management plan. My preference is to work closely with the NPA on developing the scope, goals, and objectives and pass that through the PRC before beginning work. 
  • Dale has proposed a dog park resolution that will be discussed and voted on June 15. I’ve read the resolution and appreciate the citizen efforts. We also need to do a better job of accounting for the costs of maintaining these and all other type of areas. We will be purchasing parks maintenance software this year to help us track our expenses, and particularly if the resolution goes forward I want to deliver accountability, otherwise you’ll be having a similar discussion with Parks & Recreation a year from now because we can’t show anyone that expenses = revenues or anything like that.
  • Pat Kearney is trying to get the stormwater flow into the lake from the Leddy Arena parking lot attended to. He reported to the steering committee that he's getting nowhere. Megan Moir (DPW Storm water/Erosion Coordinator) and I had our first overview meeting about the program and parks just this morning. Now that I am aware of many of the overarching issues, Megan, Anna Thelemarck, and I are meeting within the next two weeks to review Oakledge, Leddy, and North storm water and erosion. We suggested that Jenny and Pat and others with whom Megan’s been having contact join us on site.
  • Lea Terhune has been trying to inspire neighborliness between the park and the shopping center: (a) signs on the bike path to let tourists know there are amenities on North Ave, and (b) an attractive picnic area adjacent to the shopping center. Except for a brief interlude when Brian Searles cleaned up the area, it remains shabby and neglected. Anna and I have been working toward establishing a plan for signs, including interpretive, for some time. We want to tie into the work already put into the sign standards along the waterfront, and have that on the grander department planning work plan. We have identified possible funding source from the Federal Heritage Corridor opportunity. Otherwise, Penny for Parks will need to leverage the CIP or other for that work. There is much work to be done, albeit simple in implementation, good solid planning first that folks can weigh in on and coordinate among groups. I’ll ask Marty’s mowers to get back out to Leddy and tidy the area.
  • Ron McGarvey is concerned about ongoing maintenance of Leddy Park and beach. So are we, and will give that more concerted effort. We’ve assigned responsibilities to North Beach Campground staff, since they have maintenance crews. This area is under Maggie’s oversight.
  • In general, we suspect that park fees, and taxes earmarked for parks, went into the cash pool and thereby to BT or elsewhere, and we suspect that Parks does not have strict financial accountability policies. We want you to have the funds you need to maintain our parks and protect our natural areas, and we want strict financial accountability. Thanks, and so do we. Any deficiencies in financial accountability were addressed in this past year’s audit, and I continue to work with the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office to improve accounting. Further, we have bolstered attention in specific areas internally, by increasing skill and understanding of the budgets and funds. The park fees, taxes, and other funds are where they need to be, with strict accounting working in tandem between C&T Office and DPR.
  • [These are the issues that Parks is addressing with our NPA.  Since the Parks Commission meets the same night as our NPA, we asked if Parks staff will meet with the people named above to answer their questions.] I would be happy to do that, and please also feel free to share this email with them. I am also copying Dave Hartnett, Parks and Recreation Commissioner who has been attending the NPA.