Here is where things get a bit complicated. The meeting was not just a Park Board meeting, but also a Park Corporation meeting (or to be precise, a meeting of the Rensselaer Community Recreational Development Corporation). The parks are all city owned and the park personnel are employees of the city. The Park Board is charged with overseeing the activities in the parks. It has six members, four chosen by the City Council, the park superintendent, and one member from the School Board. The Park Corporation is not a government entity but a not-for-profit organization that is designed to give the parks some financing separate from the city. It has a board of nine members, the six members of the Park Board plus three additional members. Any decisions that involve financing or budgeting are done by the Park Corporation. The result is a strange set of minutes that looks like two meetings took place, but actually only one meeting took place and some of what happened was done by the Park Board and some by the Park Corporation. If you are confused, you are not alone. After the meeting several of the people spent at least five minutes trying to explain it to me and I am not sure I completely understand it yet.
The meeting started with the reappointment of three members to the Park Corporation Board, Thomas Effinger, Connie Kingman, and Stace Pickering. They serve one year terms so must be reappointed each year; the members of the Park Board serve four year terms. After some routine business, the meeting moved on to a discussion of Staddon Field. Most of the land in the old Monnett School/Staddon Field area is owned by the School Corporation; only the northernmost part, basically the parcel that the school itself was on, is owned by the City. The City and the School Board have been negotiating the transfer of the five acres of the land, including the Staddon Field land, from the School Board to the City, but they remain far apart. As I understand it, and this is only my interpretation, the School Board ended up paying far more than expected for the demolition of the Monnett when asbestos was found during the demolition process. They wanted the city to help foot the bill but the city declined. Now some members of the school board (four are appointed by
The discussion occurred because although it seems likely that the Park Board will be able to use Staddon Field this summer, it is not a certainty, and also because planning for the future of the parks is put on hold until the situation is resolved. There was mention that the Rex Blacker Foundation had offered to purchase the Monnett land but was dismissed because by law the land must be sold to another government entity or a non-profit. (Rex Blacker left a sizable amount of money in the form of a trust to help a number of causes, some local and at least one not local. The city parks are one of those causes. The trust is controlled by its trustees.)
A discussion of an ice skating area followed. It is too late this year to do anything and the experience last year was not good because of vandalism. However, maybe something can be done for next year.
The Parks or the Park Corporation Board is hiring an intern and an interview with the prospective intern took place next. He was interested in fund raising and in working on programs of dog park, disk golf, and flag football.
In new business a member expressed concern about snow on the pedestrian bridges and the park sidewalks. A long discussion followed about whether they should buy something to deal with the snow and ice. A motion passed to check prices and make a decision with a phone vote.
After adjournment, I got to see the plans that were discussed at the November meeting. The Monnett-Staddon Field area would be made into three soccer fields.
Addendum: Rensselaer and Kendall Culp were on CBS news in a story on propane prices. Link via Bubs.