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05-07-2019 City Council Strategic Planning MeetingA Ln CITY COUNCIL STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING 300 WEST CROWELL STREET MONROE, NORTH CAROLINA 28112 MAY 7, 2019 — 4:00 P.M. AGENDA www.monroenc.org 1. Parks and Recreation Center Programs 2. Belk Tonawanda Park Master Plan City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 91 CITY OF MONROE CITY COUNCIL STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING (W MAY 7, 2019 MINUTES The City Council of the City of Monroe, North Carolina, met in a Strategic Planning Meeting in the Council Chambers located at 300 West Crowell Street in Monroe, North Carolina at 4:00 p.m. on May 7, 2019 with Mayor Bobby Kilgore presiding. Present: Mayor Bobby Kilgore, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Anderson, Council Member Surluta Anthony (arrived at 4:40 p.m.), Council Member Marion Holloway, Council Member Franco McGee, City Manager E. L. Faison, City Attorney S. Mujeeb Shah -Khan and City Clerk Bridgette Robinson. Absent: Council Member Billy Jordan and Council Member Lynn Keziah. Visitors: John Wood, Gail Coffey, Rhonda Griffin, Kimberly Scott, Mark Little, Cameron Jackson, Patricia Huntley, Hope Tanner, Monique Holt and Thomas Latimer, Lisa Strickland, Lisa Stiwinter, Bruce Bounds, Brian Borne, Jim Loyd, Pete Hovanec, Doug Britt, Tonya Edwards, Debra C. Reed, Chris Plate, Peter Cevallos, Lisa Strickland, Ron Fowler and others. (40w, Mayor Kilgore called the City Council Strategic Planning Meeting of May 7, 2019 to order at 4:00 p.m. A quorum was present. Item No. 1. Parks and Recreation Center Programs. Parks and Recreation Director Tonya Edwards stated that in 2015, Staff presented a presentation detailing the current usage and types of programs offered at the Community Recreation Centers. She noted that during that time, they were experiencing heavy usage across all of the facilities with the highest concentration during open gym or free play. Ms. Edwards advised that the Recreation Center Staff continued to experience challenges engaging participants in programs that focused on cultural or educational content. She explained that for the past three years, a concerted effort had been made by the Recreation Center Supervisors under the leadership of Ryan Jones, Center Programs and Facility Operations Director, to build community partnerships and attract the youth to these types of programs. Mr. Jones recognized the Recreation Center Supervisors. He advised that Patricia Huntley of the J. Ray Shute Community Center fostered such a positive work environment that the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority donated $2,500 for much needed equipment. Mr. Jones recognized Hope Tanner of the Old Armory Community Center advising that she worked tirelessly to promote teen programs by offering programs that teens were actually interested in. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 92 Mr. Jones recognized Gail Coffey of the Winchester Community Center. He advised that she was honored as the "2018 Citizen of the Year" by A Few Good Men and had established a partnership tow with the Union County Community Arts Council. He noted that she worked daily promoting positive influences in the lives of participants through cultural opportunities that built confidence in the children and families in the community. Mr. Jones recognized Thomas Latimer of the Sutton Park Community Center. He advised that Mr. Latimer had established partnerships with the Monroe Police Department in an effort to bridge the gap between the community and the Police Department through hands on programs that promoted positive relationships. Mr. Jones recognized Kimberly Scott of the Dickerson Park Community Center. He advised that she helped to promote the Teaching Garden. Mr. Jones advised that they partnered with the Monroe Garden Club and introduced children in all facility after school programs where food comes from, how it was grown and the importance of general environmental awareness. Mr. Jones stated that this was just one example of several things that these selfless individuals did on a daily basis and their impact was astounding and he wanted to personally thank them. Mr. Jones explained that the goals and objectives of the Recreation and Community Center Programming included: providing programs enhancing the community and recreational outlets to community constituents; creating new programming focused on community specific demographics; fostering private, public, and neighborhood partnerships that supported the enhancement of the City's recreational facilities and programs; providing community opportunities promoting input and feedback; and, tracking usage in an efficient manner that accurately reflected the amount and type of facility usage. Mr. Jones reviewed goals of the Parks and Recreation programs. He advised that one goal was program expansion through appropriate program development, which included: promoting programs to foster a perception that activities were not facility specific such as summer camp participants from all recreation facilities getting together to enjoy a concert at the Dickerson Center Gym; incorporating components focused on enrichment and cultural opportunities into current programming such as partnering with the Union County Community Arts Council for African Cultural Dance classes; providing Staff led structured curriculum such as weekly lesson plans, homework help and feeding program; and, incorporating family opportunities into afterschool and general programming such as Family First Thursday Nights, Parents Appreciation Night, Back2School Bash and Community Happening Events. Mr. Jones advised that another goal was creating new programming that focused on community specific demographics which included: Leaders in training (L.I.T.), teen focus group, and teen focused activities developed by and for teens; resource based programming such as City of Monroe Storm Water Division, Union County Soil and Water Conservation, Union County Health Department, and Union County Special Olympics; cultural programs and special events; and, promoting programming focused on volunteerism and access to resources. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 93 Mr. Jones advised that another goal was to foster partnerships that supported program tw enhancement. He advised that these partners included educational, cultural, vocational/resource, cultural and community improvement i.e., Wingate University's Biology and Chemistry Department, Union County Cooperative Extension, City of Monroe Engineering/Stormwater Division, South Piedmont Community College, Union County 4-H, Kid Coders of Union County, Union County Community Arts Council, Union County Playmakers, Monroe Garden Club, Teaching Garden, Ball with a Cop -Monroe Police Department and Community Youth Workshop - Monroe Fire Department. Ms. Rhonda Griffin of the Monroe Garden Club stated that the Teaching Garden and partnership with the Monroe Garden Club was an amazing program. She stated that the kids were learning what it meant to be "farm to table" and took the vegetables they were growing to their families. Ms. Griffin stated that there was a positive impact on the children. Council Member McGee asked how often the children went to the Dickerson Center. Mr. Jones advised that it was main responsibility of the Dickerson Center children since they were already there; however, the other facilities rotated weekly April through November, depending on the weather. Council Member McGee asked if each Recreation Center had their own special section within the garden. Mr. Jones stated that they did not; however, there was potential for that. Mr. Jones provided information on the South Piedmont Community College Summer Camps: free to participants, expert instruction, and vocational based that included: air conditioning, heating and refrigeration, industrial systems, electrical systems, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, and welding technology. Dr. Mark Little, South Piedmont Community College (SPCC), explained that the focus at SPCC was career and technical education. He advised that a person could get a good paying job with a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in a range of vocational fields. However, he advised that it was a challenge communicating that to their customer base, so "experience events" had been going on in the community for about a year and instead of talking about a vocation, people were taught how to do it. Dr. Little stated that after Mr. Jones approached him, he felt the time was right to utilize these experience events in the afterschool program to reach young people as soon as possible to help them explore their innate interest and connect that to a field of study. He advised that the end result was a graduated citizen who was a well contributing member of society. Monroe Police Sergeant Monique Holt advised that the `Ball with a Cop" was an event that allowed kids to get to know the other Police Officers in addition to the School Resource Officer (SRO). City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 94 Captain Assistant Fire Marshal Katie Hinson advised that the Fire Department held community youth workshops covering and promoting safety. She advised that the Fire Department also handed out car seats and booster seats to the children. Mr. Jones noted that the best thing about these programs was participants that had grown up in these programs were now teenagers mentoring and were involved in the lives of the middle school and elementary kids. He stated that because they have gone through the program, they knew the importance of the programs and how they assisted in developing responsible community oriented youth that understood the value in giving back to their community. Ms. Edwards advised Council that the Parks and Recreation Program Guide was mailed to 9,500 households in Monroe twice a year. She explained that oftentimes Staff was asked what was being done for the community kids and a lot of people thought they did not do anything. She advised that this was due to a marketing problem and without a lot of marketing dollars, the programs were previously dependent on word of mouth. Ms. Edwards stated that when Staff prepared the 2015 Master Plan update, the number one item was Staff was not branding themselves very well and not getting the word out to the public on all of the programs offered. She thanked Council for funding the Program Guides and felt it was the reason for the increased participation. Ms. Edwards stated that Mr. Jones and the Recreation Center Supervisors did a super job and thanked them for the tremendous job that they do every single day and he could not do this without them as they were the feet on the ground and without their commitment, relationships with the people in the communities, none of these programs could happen. Council Member Anthony questioned if the Recreation Centers Supervisors had input as to the programs and what percentage because she was aware that they knew the community Mr. Jones explained that he had been very open about the importance of the Recreation Center Supervisors being the ones that actually provided these programs because they had the established relationships with the community. Item No. 2. Belk Tonawanda Master Plan. Parks and Recreation Director Tonya Edwards advised that in 2017, the City finalized the purchase of .65 acres located at 720 Charlotte Avenue and adjacent to Belk Tonawanda Park. She advised that the intent was to place a new entrance into the park from this location. Ms. Edwards explained that in November 2018, Staff enlisted the services of Alfred Benesch & Company to develop a Master Plan for this park to include the new entrance and additional amenities that could be accommodated on both the new property as well as the existing part. She stated that the Master Plan had been completed with a design that would meet the requirements of North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and environmental. Senior Project Manager Jon Wood, of Alfred Benesch & Company, stated that he met with the City's Engineering and Stormwater Staff to discuss the park being in a floodplain and what could City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 95 be done. He noted that some impervious things could be done in the floodplain and was basically small pad footprints or trails and things of that nature but limited their options as to what they could do. Mr. Wood stated that in reviewing the 2015 plan, it included a recommendation to expand the park and add another shelter with restrooms, park entrance on N. Charlotte Avenue, renovate the current restroom building and picnic shelter. He advised that some of that had been done. Mr. Wood advised that there was a designated volleyball area but that did not happen, and another court game (bocce ball) was added and used for the Senior Olympics. Mr. Wood stated that additional recommendations included improving physical visual access, adding additional tables and trash receptacles, and creating a nice outdoor amphitheater or potentially an outdoor classroom that was more inviting than the current one at Belk Tonawanda. Mr. Wood advised that even though there was the waterpark at the Monroe Aquatics and Fitness Center (MAFC), splash pads were one of the top five requested activities. He advised that splash pads were a little more popular now and many municipalities were replacing their old swimming pools with splash pads. Mr. Wood stated that in trying to bring the entrance in off N. Charlotte and with the slope map combined with the floodplain map through the floodplain was problematic and would take up the entire piece of property that the City purchased. Mr. Wood stated that this plan would add two more picnic shelters, splash pad, improve the internal trail system as well as add the fitness cluster within that footprint while minimally affecting the (4w., floodplain area, but gave much more of a presence on the corner of Charlotte Avenue and I.B. Shive Drive and added a little more parking to it as well. Council Member Holloway stated that he had been advocating for a dog park for some time and heard numerous times that there was one in the Master Plan. Mr. Wood explained that a dog park did come up; however, there were some environmental concerns as wet as Belk Tonawanda seemed to stay particularly wet in the spring and the fall and when dogs were out there, those sites often became barren and he was concerned about the constant maintenance. Assistant City Manager/Downtown Director Brian Borne advised that Staff was considering another site for a potential dog park near the Monroe Science Center. He explained that it was not in a flood plain and the land was a little higher and drier. Ms. Edwards stated that in response to Council Member Holloway's question, a dog park location was one of the first amenities that Staff asked for because of the interest and request from the community. She explained that after discussing the request with the Engineering and Stormwater Staff and with the property being in the floodplain and after further investigation, it was determined not a good fit. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 96 Council Member McGee questioned in keeping it along the lines of the Greenway, were there any other opportunities for a dog park to be located at Dickerson Recreation Center. Ms. Edwards stated that Dickerson Recreation Center would present some of the same issues because all of those parks were in the floodplain and Staff was trying to find a location out of the floodplain. Mayor Kilgore questioned when would the new main park entrance open on Charlotte Avenue. Mr. Wood stated that their main concern was trying to get the Charlotte Avenue park entrance connected back to parking and because it was tucked in above the floodway and varied from a six to eight -foot drop and would be very difficult; however, an entrance would be fine for a parking lot. Mayor Kilgore stated that coming in off I.B. Shive Drive, then they could still park down in the flat and that would still give the pretty opening off Charlotte Avenue to open it up and beautify it on that end. Ms. Edwards explained that was what they were saying; however, unfortunately with it being in the floodplain and that drop, the piece of property that the City purchased did limit a drive being brought in there. However, she advised that it allowed Staff to gain access because now there was a pedestrian path that would park in the additional parking that would bring them into the park on Charlotte Avenue. Mayor Kilgore questioned the timeframe for the project to begin. Ms. Edwards explained that there was no funding in the current budget nor did Staff request any funding for next year's budget for this project as Staff wanted to finish the Master Plan and figure out cost estimates. Mayor Kilgore asked if this would be done as one project and why the Charlotte Avenue beautification could not be moved forward whenever possible to complete the park entrance. LI Ms. Edwards explained that the project would be phased in; however, Phase I almost encompassed the entire cost of the project because a lot had to be done. She stated that the goal was to get the cost estimates, complete the Master Plan, and meet NCDOT requirements. Ms. Edwards noted that Staff knew that there was a drive already there and felt very confident in talking with Engineering that it was not going to be a problem for the purposes of that parking lot. Ms. Edwards stated that it was Council's discretion to allocate funding to do the preliminary landscaping, parking lot; however, Staff would like to apply for a PARTF grant to lever some funding to be able to accomplish the splash pad and some of those other things. Ms. Edwards stated that Staff requested Council adopt the Master Plan for Belk Tonawanda Park. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 97 Council Member Anthony made a motion to adopt the Master Plan for Belk Tonawanda Park. Mayor Pro Tem Anderson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with the following (MW votes: A AYES: Council Members Anthony, Holloway, McGee, Mayor Pro Tem Anderson and Mayor Kilgore NAYS: None There being no further business, Council Member Anthony moved to adjourn the City Council Strategic Planning Meeting of May 7, 2019 at 5:40 p.m. Mayor Pro Tem Anderson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with the following votes: AYES: Council Members Anthony, Holloway, McGee, Mayor Pro Tem Anderson and Mayor Kilgore NAYS: None Attest: Bn tte H. Robinson, Cit Clerk Minutes transcribed by Deputy City Clerk Sherry K. Hicks Bobby G. Kilgore, Mayor City Council Strategic Planning Meeting May 7, 2019 Page 98