PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE
November 17, 1998
Dzantikíi Heeni Middle School Library
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Dan King, Chair.
Members Present: Dan King, Nancy Waterman, Ken Dean, Glen Alt, Jim King, Paul Grossi
Alex Lukshin arrived at 7:10 p.m.
Members Absent: Kay Gouyton, Tim Kelly
Staff Present: Kim Kiefer-Parks and Recreation Director, Wendie Marriott-Zach Gordon Youth Center, Bob Grochow-Parks & Landscape Superintendent, Monique Hickey-Secretary
Ex-Officio: John Favro-U.S. Forest Service
Kristi West, 1308 Third Street. Stated that she was present to discuss the issue of resurfacing the field at Adair Kennedy. She is concerned about the planning for when it will be done, and how it will impact the users of the field. Groups start using the field as soon as it thaws, with continued heavy use throughout the summer and into the fall. Many programs would be impacted, and she is concerned that an alternative field is not developed. She believes that the resurfacing of the Adair Kennedy field will take careful planning. She stated three suggestions: 1) To wait a year. Give the Parks and Recreation Department time to develop Dimond Park up to level. 2) Resurface the field after football in the fall, weather permitting. 3) Adult and youth programs compromise. Soccer use Dimond Park instead of Adair Kennedy for the month of July, and football do the same in August.
Joan OíKeefe, P.O. Box 21275. From ORCA, was present to address the Youth Activities Board (YAB) grants. She asked the board to review the rating criteria of grantees. Dan King, replied that the Youth Activities Board is a separate board. The PRAC only has a liaison person.
Ron Bressette, 3805 Melrose Street. Representing the Juneau Soccer Club. He stated that he mirrors what Kristi said, in support of resurfacing the field at Adair Kennedy. He too is concerned with how quickly it will be done, and the alternative facilities that will be available during that time. He feels that before we rush into it, we need to have an adequate alternative facility for soccer players to play on. Melvin Park is committed to baseball and softball, and Dimond Park is not developed yet.
Dan King asked what would prevent him from using the fields at Dimond Park. Ron replied the fields at Dimond Park can be used, but they are not as good as they should be. The final surface is not on the fields, rain causes ruts, and 4-wheelers get out there and tear up the fields.
Kim Kiefer stated that one of the first projects planned for the spring is to get the Dimond Park fields up to playing conditions. The work will happen in late June or July, and she hopes to impact as few users as possible. To make the switch, there needs to be an adequate alternative facility. Dimond Park needs to be in playable condition, so that work can be done at Adair Kennedy. She also stated that the fields at Savikko will be done in August, after softball.
Dan King stated that everyone will have to endure the development of new facilities. We might have to endure playing on less than perfect facilities for a while. However, once the developments are completed, we will have a great facility.
Ron Bressette responded that he is just asking for a safe field. He believes there needs to be better grading and that the new topcoat needs to be compacted down. There needs to be a better system for keeping vehicles off of the fields. He knows that it wonít be perfect, but he just wants it safe. Kristi West agreed that Dimond Park needs to be up to a certain level before the fields can be utilized.
Dwight Perkins, 9349 Rivercourt Way. He wanted to know if health and safety concerns were considered when ranking the projects that were funded under Proposition 3. Dan King replied that, generally speaking, they were.
September 15, 1998: The September meeting minutes were unanimously approved.
October 20, 1998: Cannot approve since there was not a quorum present at the October meeting.
Mike Eberhardt and Ken Morton, from State Parks, were present to discuss the proposed projects at Eagle Beach and Amalga Harbor. The Eagle Beach project has been funded, with approximately $1.7 million to do the Eagle Beach project. The project has been approved by the TRAAK program. Conceptual plans include: improve the day use area along the highway, build interpretive trails, and improve the parking lot. The project is basically a conceptual idea, and they are open to comments and suggestions. They are expecting to begin the design phase of the Eagle Beach project this winter, with construction to begin the summer of 2000.
The Amalga Harbor project has not been funded. However, they plan to connect the Eagle Beach area with the Amalga Harbor area by building interpretive trails to connect the two areas. They are interested in gathering feedback and input as to whether people think itís an okay concept and if they should go forward with it. If it does get funded, construction would begin in the year 2001.
Both projects are conceptual plans and they are very early in the planning process. There is room for changes, and they are looking for feedback, such as, are we on the right track? The basic area of Eagle Beach includes 600 acres. They are looking primarily at interpretive trails and facilities. The core of the proposal is to provide a year round parking area, build a host facility, an on-site camp host to help keep order, an interpretive kiosk, restrooms, picnic facilities, a fee station, a visitorís center, and create a number of interpretive displays along the river and in the forest. They may also create loop trails between Glacier Highway and the river, as well as the backside to Yankee Basin trail. They are interested in serving as many needs as they can, both for summer and winter recreation. They want to serve mostly non-motorized users including hikers, mountain bikers, and cross country skiers. Some of the improvements will be accessible, some not. There may be a possible footbridge across Eagle River, connecting to the beach trail beyond Boy Scout Camp.
They want to connect the Amalga, Boy Scout, and Eagle Beach trails. Possibly include a trail going south as well, but they have not asked for that. They have asked for $4 million for this project. Again, it has not been funded. The core of the proposal is to connect Amalga Harbor to Eagle Beach with intensive interpretive displays. They are also looking at building a trail near the Gruening Cabin and around the Salt Lake. They anticipate building roughly 26 interpretive displays.
Jim King stated that he is concerned that the neighbors and educational groups that already use this area have not been consulted. He also commented on the "fee thing", stating that he didnít think a fee system was going to work in Juneau. He envisions that people would stay away from a fee area. He also stated that the area they are talking about is on a lot of City/Borough land and he assumes that some sort of city permits will be required. He urged to get the public process going, creating a partnership with CBJ so that we do not end up with poor planning that creates controversy in the future.
Ken Morton replied that they are early in the planning process, and he believes that the Amalga project grew out of the CBJ master plan, not just from State Parks. Jim King responded that it originated with a comment by an architect in Juneau, and that there has been no public process.
Ken Morton replied they would not build without the full cooperation of the CBJ. As far as the issues of fees goes, he feels that the public needs to recognize that State Parks has been cut back with support from the legislature. Therefore, creating a need to make up for that by charging user fees. No one is happy about it, but it might be a reality.
Mike Eberhardt also commented on the fee issue, stating that if the public asks for new facilities or maintenance of existing facilities, State Parks needs to generate revenue. He feels their job is to provide public access and opportunities. When the fee was first implemented, it impacted a lot of non-locals, but that has totally turned around this year. The campground was full almost every weekend this past year, and there was no negative impact shown. He believes that people felt the fee meant that someone was there to watch the place and felt like they were receiving a service. State Parks does not charge for trail use, restroom facilities, or off highway interpretive displays. Their intent is geared around vehicles since this takes a hard surface and must be maintained. The charge applies to the inner area, the area that is developed. The fees make facilities possible.
Dan King asked if there would be a ski trail included in the Eagle Beach project.
Mike Eberhardt replied that they wanted to build a 16í wide trail to allow for adequate snow, and also provide year round facilities and a year round caretaker. The trail may be handicapped accessible, it depends on what people want. However, that could mean that something else doesnít get built. As proposed, the Amalga to Eagle Beach trail would be handicapped accessible. The Eagle Beach area would most likely have paved trails, and include an interpretive kiosk and visitorís center. Beyond that the trails might be a compacted gravel surface which is sort of accessible.
At this point, State Parks does not know what the camping opportunities will look like in the end. There may be night use facilities or day use only, depending on what the people want. Most parks have specific day use areas and people have to go back to a camping site for the night. It will most likely be a day use facility that gets closed off at night.
There is not a proposed surface for the Amalga Harbor to Eagle Beach trail connection. It will be based on what the community wants and what State Parks can afford. They havenít figured out who trail will be serving yet Ė will it be pedestrian only, bicycling, etc. These are questions that have to be addressed. The details havenít been considered. They are not sure if biking would even be physically possible.
Nancy Waterman stated that she sees this as two different projects, and since the Eagle Beach project has already been funded, we should focus on it. This is a TRAAK project, therefore, it is a transportation project. She feels that the parking and trailhead access are important issues. She agrees with Jim King that we need to touch base with private land owners and education groups that already use this area. There is more decision making to be done and public participation needs should be considered. She asked if the Department of Transportation would improve the highway shoulder.
Mike Eberhardt stated that State Parks has already met with the Forest Service and that their 5-year plan ties in with this area. However, the project is 80% a State Parks project. He stated that the city is not too involved with the Eagle Beach project yet, but the bridge tie in will probably connect to CBJ property on the far side.
There have been discussions with the Methodist Camp and the Boy Scouts, but no real planning has been done. The Forest Service was contacted during the initial phase and asked if they liked the concept. Interested parties were also contacted and responded that they liked the concept. Now they are in the planning process and are ready to start the public process. State Parks hopes to have the money available next month. They felt is was unnecessary to start the public process until they had the money.
John Favro, from the U.S. Forest Service stated that they support the Eagle Beach project. The Forest Service is working on their Capital Investment Program, which is a 5-6 year program. Because of the State Parks Eagle Beach project, the Forest Service has moved their Eagle Beach project up on this list. He doesnít know how long it will be on the list or when it will be funded. Until it is funded, it remains a Conceptual Design Narrative. The Forest Service will have to do their own public and environmental process. He stated that they do have a concern about the width of the trail. The Forest Service wants it to be 5í, not 8í. Five feet meets the Forest Service ADA standard.
Kristen Romanoff, from the Discovery Foundation stated that they are a non-profit organization that has worked with the public schools in providing community education for the last 10 years. They hold classes at the Methodist Camp. When they heard about the interpretive trails to be built by State Parks, they thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to work in a partnership with them to provide community education. The Discovery Foundation proposed to State Parks that they manage the educational components in order to utilize the interpretive center. They are very exciting to be involved, and the board endorsed pursuing this opportunity. However, they are concerned with the design of the parking lot. The design will influence how the interpretive center is utilized. It would be ideal for the interpretive center to be used by the community, with a smaller level of tourism. Research shows that how a parking lot is designed will determine how the facility is used over time. They are concerned with the size of parking lot and how it will determine usage down the line. She is enthusiastic about the level of cooperation and community input that can come out of this project.
Mark Wilke, 9622 Eagle Street. He is concerned that the parking area is being designed to allow for buses, which will promote commercial use of this area. He feels that the town supports a strong anti-commercial use attitude.
Mike Eberhardt replied that the facility is not designed around commercial use. There will not be designated "bus" parking spots. However, the design of the parking lot can accommodate 25 cars and 4 buses or RVs. Ken Morton replied that if public tells State Parks that they donít want to see bus parking, they will take that into consideration. Again, the parking lot is not designed around buses, for that matter, it is not even "designed" yet. Mike added that they have not been approached by any commercial groups and they do not envision the area as a commercial use site.
Ken Cassell, from the Boy Scouts of America stated that they are concerned about their property. Natural barriers tend to keep people away, but he feels that it will change if a bridge is added. He is concerned that motorized vehicles will start coming into the area. He feels that the Boy Scouts will have to have caretakers on their land to prevent illegal use and that the proposed project will impact them in a major way. He also mentioned that there is no formal procedure for people to ask permission to cross the Boy Scout property.
Ken Morton replied that he doesnít see how the project will make it more accessible than it is now. The bridge will be approximately 100 ft down from the existing parking lot. The current road is more of a concern. With this project there would be just one entrance. It will control the use. State Parks moved the bridgeís location from the original design to reduce impacts. Mike Eberhardt stated a need to designate a public access to the beach across from the Boy Scout area, a need to define the access.
Lane Stumme, from the Boy Scouts of America voiced his desire to see that CBJ and State Parks be sure that their trail policies are compatible.
Dick Haight, P.O. Box 120442. He is a board member of the Methodist Camp. He likes the concept of the interpretive center. He feels that a lot of people use and learn a lot about nature from using this area. He would like State Parks to keep them informed about upcoming meetings regarding these projects.
Cristi Herren, 427 W. 11th Street. Questioned when State Parks put in their initial application to TRAAK, they submitted a conceptual plan and wondered if they are required to do what they said they would do in the conceptual plan.
Mike Eberhardt replied that they have to stick somewhat close to it, but that there is room for flexibility. For instance, if they decided to build a soccer field, they would be in trouble. However, if they decided that a trail was more important than the host cabin, they have the flexibility to scale down on the cabin in order to improve the trail. They plan to stick with the conceptual plan but need to do a lot of fine tuning.
Cristi Herren responded that basically the conceptual plan was submitted and money is allocated based on that plan, then they hear from the public. The conceptual plan predetermined that there would be developments of a trail, a bridge and parking. This process seems backwards. She agrees that Eagle Beach may be a good place to do this, but she would like to see State Parks try to fix the process in some way so that the public is asked their opinion before the conceptual plan is submitted. She thinks that it seems predetermined, not just conceptual.
Mike Eberhardt responded that, in an ideal world, State Parks would receive a lot of money for planning. He agrees that it is a bit of a backwards process, but that itís the only way they are able to do it. He stated that, in the end, they donít have to build it. If they try to build something different than the conceptual plan, Department of Transportation may yes or may say no. Again, in the end, they can always say that it wonít be built, if thatís what the public wants.
Nancy Waterman mentioned that Eagle Beach is one of the best places to see meteors, etc. and lighting can really interfere with that. Mike Eberhardt said there is no funding for lighting. Nancy replied that there are wonderful ways to light the feet area without destroying light vision and hopes they consider that in their design.
End of Public Testimony
Recommendation: Jim King stated that he supports advising the Assembly that there is a need for a planner to be working with State Parks to make sure that local considerations are taken care of. He feels that there needs to be a CBJ person involved with both projects. If there will be Borough participation, then he moves to support the concept. He feels that the PRAC is being asked to make decisions about commercial use, other uses, development of facilities and itís an area that has a lot of use already. He feels that it is not getting the attention it deserves, and is worried that poor planning now may mean there will be a need to go for public money down the line, perhaps a need to buy out commercial interest, or money to redo the parkingÖthese are things that happen when there is not good planning.
THE RECOMMENDATION WAS TABLED. DAN KING REPLIED THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO APPOINT A SEPARATE COMMITTEE TO WORK WITH STATE PARKS. THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE WILL BE Alex Lukshin, Chair, Jim King, and Ken Dean.
PRAC letterhead with the logo centered on the top and the Committee Member names on the bottom was unanimously approved.
James stated that Trail Mix, Inc. has had a wonderfully successful year in part because of the tremendous support from the Parks and Recreation Department and the Assembly. Significant improvements have been made on many trails all over the City and Borough of Juneau. See attached document for details on the work that was done on the following trails: Equestrian trail, North Bridget Beach Access, Sunshine Cove Beach Access, Jordan Creek Aquatic Trail, Beach Access Trails, Mount Jumbo, Fish Creek, Airport Dike, and Mount Roberts.
It was also noted that Trail Mix, Inc. is sharing the Dimond Park Shop with the Parks and Recreation Maintenance Division. In exchange for rent, Trail Mix, Inc. will work on city trails.
Wendie Marriott, Manager of the Zach Gordon Youth Center, presented the PRAC with results from two surveys that addressed Juneauís youth. The "Youth on the Streets" survey was conducted by a donation from the McDowell Group. On any given night, the number of homeless youth ranges from 45-100. This number increases in the summer. "Homeless" doesnít necessarily mean sleeping on the streets, but also refers to youth that are "couch surfing". Juneau has a number of social services already in place, but the youth are not making the connection. Long-terms relationships need to be established first.
The second survey was conducted at the Zach Gordon Youth Center. This survey addressed youth assets and identified them in the users of the Zach Gordon Youth Center. In this model, there are 40 identified assets that help to create a healthy, well-rounded youth. There are 20 external assets, which are assets that are outside of their immediate control, such as, homelife, etc., and 20 internal assets, which are assets that are within their control, such as self-esteem, integrity, etc. It is a positive model that focuses on what is going right in their lives and helps the kids build assets. There were 205 surveys submitted, but only 177 surveys were readable. Twenty-one (21%) reported having 0-10 assets, 49% reported having 11-20 assets, and 29% reported having 21-30 assets. This shows that 70% of our kids have 20 or less assets. The national average is 19 assets per child, our average was 16.3 assets. Our kids scored less on internal factors than external factors.
Wendie is working on programs that address assets, with the goal of increasing the number of assets the youth at the Zach Gordon Youth Center have when surveyed in a year. Wendie reported that she hopes to take these results to the Human Resources Committee, and then to the Assembly. This information will be used to address the program at the Zach Gordon Youth Center. The goal is to reduce crime, reduce truancy, increase the high school graduation rate, and help create an overall healthier life for our youth.
School districts throughout the state are looking at the asset program. Students are being trained at the high school level, and there is a push to get as many groups and individuals involved since everyone plays a part in raising healthy kids.
Dan King suggested that the PRAC hold a special mini retreat to review the timetable for Proposition 3 projects. After that, there will be a public hearing to relate PRAC recommendations and see how the community feels. He suggested holding this retreat as soon as possible.
The Dimond Park bridge site review has now moved to the upper crossing because the bank is much more stable in this area.
The West Juneau Park will be on the December agenda for public comment. The specific land exchange acreage has not been determined at this time. We are looking at land adjacent to the Shrine.
Jim King asked Kim if it was possible to get the support for a CBJ person in planning for the Eagle Beach and Amalga Harbor area. He asked if it could be recommended to the Assembly. Kim replied that she will talk with staff and report back at the next meeting.
Kim introduced Cristi Herren, new Recreation Superintendent for the Parks and Recreation Department to the PRAC.
Kim reported that a person has been hired to monitor the Skate Park. The person regularly stops by between 6:00-10:00 p.m., as well as randomly during the day. He reports that it is an ongoing challenge to enforce helmets.
Kristi West and Carrie Macaulay worked on a grant for the Skate Park and received $12,500. This money will used towards supervision at the Skate Park, safety equipment, an incentive program, lockers, and ramp improvements and repairs.
John Favro, from the Forest Service reported on the Mendenhall visitor center. He stated that itís moving along nicely and should be completed by February or early March. He stated that they redid the relief map and it looks nice. They are still working on the exhibits. The Chief of the Forest Service will be present for a dedication ceremony on May 1. They are also interested in having a dedication ceremony for the local community in March.
The Forest Service is looking into changing their policy and allow commercial use at the Auke Rec, Lena Beach and Eagle Beach day use areas. He stated that these areas are under utilized during the winter. There has been a request for diving classes at Auke Rec. They are in favor of opening these areas up to commercial use as long as it does not compromise family and day use that goes on there. In a way, he feels that they already allow commercial use in these areas with the one-day college classes and film classes that take place in these areas.
The Dredge Lakes area is being cleared. They are looking at funding to clear the trails to make them wider for winter use. They plan on charging $3 at the visitorís center. As of January 1, 1999, family passes will be available for $20, and individual passes for $10. They will also provide a $40 Expanded Pass, where $10 of that will go to trail maintenance. Golden Eagle passes will be honored at the visitorís center. They will use these fees for interpretive hike talks, trail work, grooming ski trails, and expansion. They are also looking at paving and slightly expanding the back loop parking lot across from Mendenhall River School so they can build an information kiosk.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:22 p.m.