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Park & Rec Commission Minutes - August 24 2006
Meeting Minutes
PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
August 24, 2006
City Council Chambers
734 Third Street
Brentwood, CA 94513

CALL TO ORDER: Chairperson Rodrigues called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.

ROLL CALL: Present were Chairperson Ernie Rodrigues and Commissioners Lanny Brown and Tom Jones. Commissioner Sandra Myers was on vacation and excused. Commissioner Melloni arrived at 7:06 p.m. Staff members present were Tammy Homan, Administrative Supervisor; Poldina Scherff, Recreation Manager; Ken DeSilva, Landscape/Facilities Manager; Craig Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation; Felix Errico, Park Planner; and Ken Byrd, Senior Construction Inspector.

AGENDA REVIEW: No changes in the agenda

CITIZENS COMMENTS: No citizen comments.

CONSENT CALENDAR:
1. Approve minutes of regular meeting of July 27, 2006
2. Accept Recreation Division monthly report and project status report. (P. Scherff)
3. Accept Parks Division monthly report. (B. Margesson)
4. Accept Arts Division monthly report (R. Burr-Siegel)
5. Accept CIP Project Status sheets. (K. DeSilva)
6. Accept notice of meeting with East Bay Area Trails Council (BATC) on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 from 7:15-9:15 p.m. (K. DeSilva
7. Accept report from Ellis & Associates audit that was conducted at the Brentwood Family Aquatics Complex on August 12, 2006.
Commissioner Brown commented that he could not vote on Item #1 since he was not in attendance at the meeting. Commissioner Brown then moved to approve Items 2 through 7 and suspend voting on Item #1 until the next month’s meeting. Commissioner Jones seconded the motion, motion carried unanimously. Item #1 was then suspended or tabled until the September meeting.

SCHEDULED MATTERS:

8. DISCUSSION ITEM Risk Management in parks and playgrounds. (Charles Boettger and Rick Buys of Municipal Pooling Authority)
Mr. DeSilva, Landscape/Facilities Manager introduced this item and the presenters. He indicated that this item had come up before the Commission since they had recently had some design changes that had to be made to some existing facilities currently under construction. Therefore it was felt that they should have representatives from the Municipal Pooling Authority talk to the Commissioners about things that should be looked at when doing the design of these parks. He mentioned that Ken Byrd, Sr. Construction Inspector was there as well to answer any questions and listen to the comments of the representatives.

Rick Buys was the first speaker and he gave an overview of Risk Management and what they do and background of the organization. He then discussed various park issues and would follow up with the legal issues. He explained Risk Management as the organization that identifies the risks and develops and implements measures to control those risks, and finance the costs to go along with that for local governments. He discussed other issues that come into consideration in dealing with local governments. Mr. Buys explained how costs are assessed in accordance with the kinds of losses incurred, as to severity and numbers of these losses. He then cited certain types of cases that they have dealt with in other municipal communities. He described the methods of avoidance of incurring these heavy losses or exposures. However, he said that it was far better to implement measures in planning the parks to reduce and manage the exposures, such as the types of ground cover on playgrounds to reduce injury if a fall occurs. He also explained risk transfer as the method the city employs to hire other entities to do the types of projects that they are not prepared to accomplish. Mr. Buys explained the financing and background of the Risk Management organization. It is basically a self-insurance pool from all of the cities in Contra Costa County with the exception of Richmond.

Charles Boettger explained what his duties are for Risk Management. He is called upon by someone like Mr. DeSilva to come to the city and inspect projects that he may have some concern about safety. He discussed the numbers and types of playground injuries and how many are the really serious types, and that most of the serious ones are a result of falls. He also discussed national organizations that were formed to inspect playgrounds for safety. He discussed information on these organizations that were included in the Commissioners’ packets in the form of a handbook. Standards for new playground equipment and safety programs were also discussed. Safety audits are also required and Brentwood does participate in regular audits. He discussed critical heights, depths of ground cover, entanglements and protrusions and other issues that can be encountered in building and using playground equipment.

Mr. Boettger discussed mixed use of facilities, in which a facility may be used for more than one activity, such as baseball and soccer at the same time. Safety rules need to be exhibited and times of exclusion posted. These need to be updated on a regular basis.

Mr. Buys then discussed immunities that could be applied in certain types of incidents. Through the Power Point presentation he also displayed the Standards Dangerous Conditions of Public Property. These codes need to be dealt with and adhered to when building the playgrounds. This information was also included in the handbook.

Commissioner Jones asked about the trends in these types of cases. Mr. Buys stressed again the importance of being diligent in keeping good documentation and records showing they are working in good faith, it will give them a lot more credibility if a case should be brought to court. He said the staff is doing a good job and are diligent in keeping good records. He said there has not been a single claim in the state on skateboard parks. Chairperson Rodrigues said he thought the handbook a great help and thanked them for it and suggested that Commissioners go through it carefully. Mr. DeSilva said that not only is Mr. Boettger a certified Playground Instructor, Ken Byrd, Senior Construction Inspector is also. He is hoping to get other staff members certified as well. He also said they have regular inspections as well as an annual full inspection of every detail in the parks. Documentation is ongoing on all of these activities. Commissioner Brown suggested that all of this information in the handbook should be included in the Commissioners Handbook.

9. DISCUSSION ITEM East Bay Regional Parks District presentation on the “10 Steps to Building Customer Loyalty”. (Rosemary Cameron, EBRPD)
Commissioner Jones had requested this presentation as he felt it was valuable information for the Commissioners. Poldina Scherff, Recreation Manager introduced Ms. Cameron who then also introduced her Public Information Representative, Sean Senti. Mr. Senti was in charge of showing the Power Point demonstration during Ms. Cameron’s talk about the 10 Steps to Building Customer Loyalty. She also noted that one of Mr. Senti’s responsibilities was outreach to Eastern Contra County and he will be coming into the area more in the future. Ms. Cameron also gave some of her background and research studies that helped to create this handbook. She then went through each of these steps and described how each of these issues affects the public’s loyalty.

Step 1: Identify what you want to influence. She suggested ways to do this was to implement graffiti and litter abatement and promote volunteerism.

Step 2: Credibility of officials, officials have to do and say what they do and be responsible. They must be accountable and trustworthy, how limited resources will be spent. How this information is communicated to the constituents.
Step 3: Stay in touch
Step 4: Pay attention to what you learn.
Step 5: Document needs, avoid “trust me” factor.
Step 6: Don’t exaggerate or over-state needs.
Step 7: Communicate and be clear how you’re investing the agencies resources.
Step 8: Customer service, building loyalty.
Step 9: Act on important issues to constituents. Respond to everything -- do not refer to another party or department with form letter. Provide real responses to the questions.
Step 10: Spend some time every year on how you have done. Review and analyze on an annual basis your programs and communications. See what works and what didn’t.

Ms. Cameron expanded on each of these issues throughout her presentation. She concluded that one word encompasses what she is presenting as so important and that word is COMMUNICATE.

10. DISCUSSION ITEM Consideration of developing a practice area for in-line skaters. (F. Errico)
Mr. Errico, Park Planner reminded the Commissioners of a previous meeting in which citizen Valerie Austin made a presentation to the Commissioners regarding in-line skating needs in the City of Brentwood. She reported on the in-line skating program offered by the City which her son, among others was enrolled in and their need for a better surface than the current asphalt one utilized at Bristow School. She also stated that she had knowledge of people who would be willing to fundraise, provide physical labor and perform finish work on concrete if the City could provide a place for this activity. He said the staff did look into the request by Ms. Austin and evaluated all existing park areas that could accommodate this activity. After review, they found two parks could potentially accommodate this activity – the future Sand Creek Soccer Complex and another as yet unnamed park next to Pioneer School off Empire Avenue. He also said in the meantime if asphalt surface is too abrasive, some of the basketball courts could provide this activity space as a dual-use at several other parks. Those suggested were Balfour-Guthrie, Creekside Park, Glory Park, Homecoming Park, McClarren Park, Orchard Park and Walnut Park. He said that the existing basketball courts surfaces have a grain texture finish which may still cause problems with the hockey sticks and roller blades that could cause them to get destroyed prematurely.

Mr. Errico said they still do not have the exact dimensions from Ms. Austin to work with or any further communication from her since her presentation. Mr. Errico also said the activity would really require a very fine single slab finish of concrete. Ms. Scherff and some of the Commissioners commented on the issue. Commissioner Brown wondered if such a facility were built, what other uses could it accommodate. After further discussion, Commissioner Brown said he will get more information and bring it back to a future meeting. Mr. Errico can provide costs once he has dimensions and materials required. Chairperson Rodrigues then requested Commissioner Brown to bring his information on the surfacing or “black ice” after he has attended the conference back to a future meeting.

11. ACTION ITEM Consideration of rescheduling Park and Recreation Commission retreat that was tentatively set for September 23, 2006. (P. Scherff)
Chairperson Rodrigues referred to the information in their packets with suggested dates for this retreat and asked the Commissioners to check their calendars to find a date that would work for all. After some discussion the date of November 18, 2006 was selected. Since Commissioner Myers was on vacation she will be notified by email of the date selected. There followed some discussion of the activities of this retreat an whether or not a park tour could also take place at this time. It was decided that it was too full a schedule for the retreat and Spring would be a better time with more new parks in place or under construction at that time. Commissioner Melloni moved that the September 23, 2006 retreat be rescheduled to November 18, 2006. Commissioner Jones seconded the motion, motion carried unanimously.

1. Approve minutes of regular meeting of June 27, 2006.
Commissioner Jones then asked if the Commissioners could then return to Item #1 which had been tabled until the next meeting because of lack of quorum to vote. Commissioner Jones then moved approval of the minutes of the regular meeting on July 27. 2006, motion seconded by
Commissioner Melloni, motion carried, with one abstention by Commissioner Brown.

12. ACTION ITEM Approve Dedication/Memorial Program. (K. DeSilva)
Mr. DeSilva, Landscape/Facilities Manager explained that this was a follow-up from the May 25 meeting where there were some recommendations made to this program by the Commissioners. One by Commissioner Brown which was to have the City Attorney review the program. Mr. DeSilva said this has been done and some corrections were made. The City Council has approved this program the preceding Tuesday night and they have incorporated the costs for the program, which were also approved. They are now ready to start the program. The public will be notified through the Activities Guide and through word of mouth throughout the community. They have had several calls and requests for this type of program. A copy of the brochure was included in the Commissioners’ packets. Mr. De DeSilva asked if there were any last minute suggestions and Commissioner Jones suggested contacting the press also for publicity on the program. Commissioner Jones moved the Dedication/Memorial Program as drafted by the staff and approved by City Council. Commissioner Melloni seconded the motion, motion carried unanimously.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: None

STAFF COMMENTS:
Mr. DeSilva said he just wanted to make the Commission aware of the East Bay Area Trails Council meeting on Wednesday, September 20, which was noted in Consent Calendar Item #6. He said that there is a new group that will be forming and the meeting will be hosted in Brentwood. They are hoping to get representatives from the local cities, Antioch, Oakley, etc. He asked everyone to attend if possible. The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers.

Ms. Scherff reported that she is currently working on the concession stand that they are hoping to have constructed in the near future adjacent to the Aquatic Complex. The new Activities Guide will be coming out with registration for Brentwood residents beginning September 15, 2006. This guide will cover the fall and winter programs and classes.

She invited all to come to the “Doggie Dip Day”, which is a brand new program created by staff and to be held September 23. Cost is $12 per dog and doggie treats will be provided and photos taken at the Aquatic Center. Doggie Dip day begins at 10 a.m. and there will be five different sessions, the last one starts at 2:30 p.m. Pets will have to be neutered or spayed, current on vaccinations, and must be licensed and doggie friendly to other dogs.

Another program that will be held at the Aquatic Complex will be a pumpkin float. There will be pumpkins in the competition pool and children can go into the pool and grab a pumpkin, take it out and carve it and do other arts and crafts.

Mr. Errico, Park Planner said that he is getting a lot of interested representatives manufacturers of play equipment wanting to come and talk to him and Mr. DeSilva regarding new products on line, in design and coming up in the fall. They hope to have some new features that might be appropriate for the parks. Commissioner Brown suggested having some of the manufacturers come to a meeting, possibly have refreshments served, and have each manufacturer have a limited amount of time to show and describe their products. It could be at a regular meeting and start at 6:00 p.m. and have the face to face meeting prior to the regular meeting. Mr. Errico has stressed to the manufacturers that they do need to have products featuring better shade for the play equipment. Mr. DeSilva suggested having just a couple of manufacturers picked by himself and Mr. Errico, and just make it an agenda item at the regular meeting. They could notice all of the known manufacturers in the area. Each could have a specific time, such as 15 minutes at that time. Commissioner Melloni suggested that it be held as a workshop and have the refreshments. Commissioner Brown wants to be able to listen to limited demonstrations and be able to ask questions and compare the equipment. Mr. Errico asked if it would be beneficial to actually see the structures and the Commissioners said yes, it would. After further discussion Mr. DeSilva said they have money in the budget to replace the playground structure at McClarren Park and Curtis Park that might be a project for them to plan a design after receiving the footprint from Mr. DeSilva. They would tell them the amount of money available for the project and see what they can offer. The Commissioners all felt this a good idea. Ms. Scherff offered ideas of special equipment for older citizens to be considered as well in these parks rather than just all for children. Mr. Errico said it may take two meetings to get full benefit of offerings for both parks.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS:
Chairperson Rodrigues said that he has notified Director Bronzan and Ms. Scherff that he would like Commissioner Brown to act as Vice Chairperson while Commissioner Myers is out of the country. He asked Ms. Scherff to check with Director Bronzan on giving certificates to the Marine Group who did a good job at both of the dedications at the Veterans Park. He will be moving onto the State Presidency of the California Association of Parks and Recreation Commissioners and Board Members (CAPCBM) after the next meeting. He also said that he has spent a lot of time going out to the various parks and received a lot of “kudos” as to a job well done. He thanked the staff for all their hard work, not only for himself, but for many in the community. He especially thanked Mr. Errico for his work with Mr. DeSilva. Mr. DeSilva also echoed the same comments, and complimented all the rest of the staff as well and was pleased with how well all work together.

REQUEST FOR FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
None given

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m. by Chairperson Rodrigues.

Respectfully submitted,

Betty Jo Whincup
Minutes Recorder

City of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission
35 Oak Street
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5444
Fax (925)516-5445