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Parks Advisory Board Minutes Meeting of September 3, 2008
Broward County > Parks > Get Involved > Parks Advisory Board Minutes Meeting of September 3, 2008

6 p.m. - Long Key Nature Center and Natural Area - Davie

Members Present Members Absent: Others Present:
Sharon Kent Quentin Morgan Bob Harbin, Parks & Rec.
Alanna Mersinger Edward Portner Mike Harlan, Parks & Rec.
Stephen Lawson Bill Spute Carol Morgenstern, Parks & Rec.
Guy Roper Chester Pruitt, Parks & Rec.
Jack Talabisco Jaime Plana, Parks & Rec.
Terry Danger Ray Lopez, Parks & Rec.
Marc Kiar Chris Deal, Parks & Rec.
Milette Thurston Shobhan Smart, Parks & Rec.
Sheila Rose Shelly Turetzky, Parks & Rec.
Clive Williams, Parks & Rec.
Duncan Finch, Parks & Rec.
Laura Frank, Parks & Rec.

The meeting was called to order by Sheila Rose, Vice Chair at 6 p.m., after which all present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approval of Minutes

Ms. Rose asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of June 4, 2008. Marc Kiar made the motion, which was seconded by Sharon Kent and passed unanimously.

Bob Harbin just came out of a conference call with Emergency Operations Center regarding Hurricane Hanna and provided the Board with an update.

Employee of the Month for August and September 2008

Clive Williams was congratulated as Employee of the Month for August and Duncan Finch for the month of September. They were both applauded for their accomplishments and work ethics and were awarded a framed certificate of appreciation and a gift certificate for an area restaurant.

Park Manager’s Report

Chris Deal, Park Manager, welcomed the Board to Long Key Nature Center and provided an update on the facility. He reported that the Park has had just over 4,000 visitors to the Nature Center and Exhibit Hall. Long Key has a half mile Nature Trail through the oak hammock and there has been a great response and request for their reception hall. Rookery is also a big crowd pleaser and an Eagle Scout project is pending that will bring in benches. The Baez House is a historical house from the 1930s that was refurbished and staff is in the process of refurnishing and will open up for naturalist-led tours beginning in November. Arts in the Parks trail will be constructed at the north of the Nature Center, which may also be used as a backdrop for wedding pictures. Several Naturalist classes are coming up. Rental for the hall is $1,400 for a 12 hour block and smaller classrooms are $40 per hour.

Parks and Recreation Division (Parks) Update

Mr. Harbin stated that the County Budget is wrapping up this month. The main issue has been closing parks on Tuesday, with the exception of four regional parks that will remain open (Markham, TY, Tradewinds and Central Broward Regional). The final budget hearings will be held September 9 and the second on September 23 at the Governmental Center. Tropical Storm Fay had the Emergency Operations Center opened for 36 hours and Parks helped staff the Center, our designation is ESF-11 for water, food and ice.

Meeting in October is on the same day as a religious holiday and the Board may want to reschedule. The week after is also a holiday (Rosh Hashanah). The Board discussed and Marc Kiar motioned to cancel the October meeting, Guy Roper seconded, all in favor. The next meeting will be scheduled for November.

Two Board members have resigned Gretchen Tindle and Stephen Oyer-Owens.

Bond Construction Update

Jaime Plana updated the Board that the re-roof project of Anne Kolb Nature Center had received only one bid; however we may save up to 20% from last years bid. Design Build 2 is about to come out for pricing, prototype buildings are being built for basketball covers, corporate shelters and maintenance buildings at Markham, C.B. Smith, TY and Tradewinds. Pricing may be helped at Tradewinds North (Design Build 3) from the current construction slow down. Vista View’s playground project was re-bid due to a bid protest.

Old Business

Sharon Kent updated the Board with the performance measures committee. Ms. Kent thanked the committee members, Bill Spute, Guy Roper, Bob Harbin and Shelly Turetzky. The committee thinks the performance measures meets the Commission criteria regarding customer satisfaction, new revenue, and compliments Parks strategic plan for the Division. Terry Danger queried the measure of 9 public meetings. Mr. Harbin answered that all of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meetings are public. Jack Talabisco asked what a secret shopper is. A Board member would visit a park in order to assess their customer service. Mr. Harbin stated that it does not have to be a formal “secret shopper” situation and PAB members could just visit a park and provide feedback. Mr. Danger offered his compliments towards a customer service person at TY Park, he had recently witnessed that staff person exhibiting a pleasant and patient manner towards an unpleasant customer. Mr. Harbin stated that the Sunset Review had taken place a couple months ago and occurs every four years. The performance measures assists Review Committee in making sure Board is serving its purpose. Jack Talabisco motioned to accept the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board performance measures as proposed. Terry Danger seconded, all were in favor.

New Business

Helwig master plan presentation and name approval request was given by Carol Morgenstern. This is the last for the 2000 Bond projects that Parks will be presenting to the Board. Ms. Morgenstern commended Shobhan Smart who is the project manager and did an incredible job. Presently known as the Helwig Site, a proposed naming of it recently went to before two Boards for approval. Helwig is the family name from whom the property was purchased and must be renamed; therefore, the Urban Wilderness Advisory Board has suggested the name White Sand Scrub Natural Area. Ms. Morgenstern described the site location, area and size. There are some highly disturbed areas, and due the necessary clearing, a lot more open areas were created and you see a great deal of white sand. Hence, the suggested name. Sharon Kent motioned to approve the master plan and suggested name of White Sand Scrub Natural Area for the site. Alanna Mersinger seconded. All in favor.

Bob Harbin presented the draft Parks and Recreation Board (PAB) Strategic Plan and By-laws which have not been looked at for about 5 years. Most of it has to do with housekeeping and updating information that should be in the PAB By-laws. Has the PAB had a chance to review? Millette Thurston motioned to table the issue until November in order to have time to review. Terry Danger seconded. All in favor.

Bob Harbin introduced the Amusement Ride issue to the Parks Advisory Board. Several months ago Parks staff was directed on how to deal with amusement rides in Parks. Individuals in this industry were not following rules; therefore, staff was directed to not allow certain types of amusement rides to operate in Broward County Parks. The County Commission asked Mr. Harbin to meet with individuals in the industry, bring the issue to the attention of the Parks Advisory Board and return to them with recommendations.

Bob Harbin presented the proposed fee schedule for FY09. The Board had been briefed on the fee changes at an earlier date; however, they were given a copy of the proposed changes for their review. Mike Harlan reviewed the major changes and highlights.

Parks New Hours Bob Harbin brought to the Board’s attention the media news release advising the park closings on Tuesday.

Meeting adjourned at 7:20.

Public Forum at 7:30

Terry Danger chaired the forum. The following attendees spoke regarding the amusement ride policy.

Speaker - Veronica Madden of Rides, Slides, & Games, Inc. Her company has no history of complaints or injuries. She has worked with PTA and Miramar Police Department. She voiced concerns regarding trunk run businesses with bounce houses and has complained that Parks do not verify the vendors’ information. She is also asking for help from Parks to make the fly by night companies follow the same requirements.

The Board members had the following questions/comments:

Jack Talabisco Are these businesses primarily inflatables? Answer: We have others rides, but mostly inflatables.

Sharon Kent What type of safety features are required? We adhere to manufacture safety requirements. A company attendant must stay with equipment.

Do patrons or vendors hire equipment attendants? Answer: We do and they must be registered with Parks. However, the park does not always inquire about a vendor’s information or follow up to make sure they are adhering to the rules. Vendors need help with this problem too.

Alanna Mersinger Any legitimate company should have no problem with the requirements. It will reduce culpability on both sides.

Mike Harlan Park staff does not know who will show up until that day. It is done by the individual renting the pavilion.

Sharon Kent Can we ask the patron to provide the name of the company that they intend to hire?

Mike Harlan- There is no commitment at the time of reservation to have an amusement ride. The vendor can just drop off the equipment and give their customer a t-shirt so that it looks like they have an attendant. Vendors will also go to parks and look at upcoming reservations and solicit the patron that way.

Guy Roper Vendors that are doing things right are at a disadvantage due to the cost of running a business properly. People without insurance can come in at 30% less and they will get all the jobs. Liability insurance company requirements are more stringent than this Board or the County, which makes her at a further disadvantage.

Jack Talabisco Is there a Parks and Recreation list of approved vendors that patrons must use?

Bob Harbin No, and part of the problem is with staff. They are not consistent. The issue we are trying to address in meeting with the vendors is to figure out how to correct this, however there will be some limits that we want to recommend to the Board. They will be the final word. The PAB will also hear the recommendations and when we do implement a policy there will be control and consistency.

Sharon Kent Are the vendors required to have a County license? There is a Broward County and city occupational license.

Speaker Kevin Banks of Off the Wall Entertainment reiterated that a Broward County occupational license is required to run a business. Insured vendors are willing to help because we have to deal with the problem on a daily basis. Uninsured vendors give the industry a bad name. Big carnival rides are the exception to the rule. What we are talking about your kids birthday rides with 10-14 kids.

The Board members had the following questions/comments:

Stephen Lawson - What other rides are we talking about? Answer: Rock wall, bounce house, Linewinder, ferris wheels, swing rides, etc.

Speaker (joining Kevin Banks) Stan Trevis of Rides, Slides & Games, Inc. stated that they run family oriented amusements. Described some of the rides they run. We can work together on regulating who comes in to the parks to do business. We need to have some sort of ID system. In addition to the required occupational license and insurance, they need to be registered with state of Florida, which is rated in the top 5 in the country for state inspections.

The Board members had the following questions/comments:

Stephen Lawson noted that he just recently rented a bounce house and there was a vast amount of paperwork and required procedures that he was advised of with regard to the park. So it seems the procedures are there and maybe need to be enforced.

Bob Harbin That had to do with the procedure policy we sent out in April.

Speaker Faith Davis of JCA, Entertainment reiterated the concern that parks do not verify vendors identification, with the exception of C.B. Smith Park. She asked staff to assist in developing guidelines for vendors to work with. This way a vendor will have something to go by and run and grow their business.

The Board members had the following questions/comments:

Stephen Lawson I believe the park should get something from the rental; such as a fee to use the park.

Alanna Mersinger This could be part of where we go with this. Maybe there should be a surcharge in advance to those renting a pavilion and a bounce house.

Speaker - Steve L. Rogers I am here regarding the Tuesday night closure at (Brian)Piccolo Park. I am representing members of the league and they do not understand how parks can justify getting rid of team revenues generated on that night.

Mike Harlan reviewed costs associated with the leagues and explained that it is a money losing proposition running the leagues.

Bob Harbin We ran the numbers on all of the parks, not just Brian Piccolo. Essentially the teams are subsidized by taxpayers’ dollars because the league fees do not cover the expenses of running them. The impact of closing that one day is $1.3 million in reductions and it is only 39 Tuesdays out of the year.

Jack Talabisco What about having the league play on another night?

Steve Rogers That is the problem, all the other nights are full. The teams are solid and they are not cancelling.

Marc Kiar Plantation has a Tuesday night league. Why can’t you guys play there?

Steve L. Rogers - Davie shut all theirs down. Very little information is available.

Alanna Mersinger Silver Lakes in Pembroke Pines has fields.

Steve L. Rogers then it becomes logistics and getting people there. Brian Piccolo is centralized area for all of us to meet.

Steve Lawson I run the Optimist Club in Cooper City and would you like to approach in order to run that sport for you? They agreed to exchange cards.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on November 5, 2008 at Topeekeegee Park at 7:00 a.m.

Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.