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Park Board Meeting Minutes and Recordings 2020

Meeting Minutes

01-21-2020 Park Board

January 21, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bradtke called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at 7:11 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Michael Moffitt; John Rainwater; Melissa Stefanko, Vice President; and Frank Bradtke, President. Also Present: Chip Sobek, Park and Recreation Superintendent, and Wayne Pondinas and Michael Schilling Town Council Co-Liaisons.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

President:

Ms. Stefanko nominated Frank Bradtke for President; Mr. Rainwater seconded the nomination. The board voted unanimously to elect Mr. Bradtke President.

Vice President:

Mr. Rainwater nominated Ms. Stefanko for Vice President; Mr. Bradtke seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously to elect Ms. Stefanko Vice President.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Rainwater made a motion to approve the December 17, 2019 minutes; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Contract Renewal for Pond Treatments by McNamara Aquatics
Mr. Rainwater made a motion to renew the contract for McNamara Aquatics; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
B. Contract Renewals for Lisa Knott and Sherie Shields
Mr. Rainwater made a motion to renew the contracts for Lisa Knott and Sherie Shields; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously
C. Spring Programs and Fees
Mr. Rainwater made motion to approve the spring programs and fees; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
D. Review Budget and Docket by Clerk-Treasurer’s Office
Mr. Bradtke asked the board to defer this matter since Ms. Hernandez was not going to be able to attend the meeting. Mr. Rainwater made a motion to defer; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
E. Review Applications for Park Maintenance Position
Mr. Bradtke stated that the board wished to have more time to review and discuss the submitted applications and entertained a motion to defer. Mr. Rainwater made a motion to defer; Mr. Moffit seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

(Councilman Pondinas read a prepared remark regarding this position. Said remark is attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit No. 2020-01-21-PB.)

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

None was had.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Rainwater made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $12,835.04; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

ANY AND ALL:

Councilman Schilling stated that the position for a Park’s General Maintenance Foreman was created over a year ago and that this is simply an internal transfer.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Rainwater made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Mr. Bradtke adjourned the meeting at 7:28 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Park Board

01-21-2020 Park Board Exhibit.pdf
02-18-2020 Park Board Meeting Canceled
03-17-2020 Park Board Meeting Canceled
04-21-2020 Park Board Meeting Canceled
05-19-2020 Park Board

May 19, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bradtke called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 6:38 p.m., which was attended both on site and virtually, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Mike Bouvat; Michael Moffitt; Melissa Stefanko, Vice President; and Frank Bradtke, President. Also Present: Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liaison.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion for the approval of minutes. Ms. Stefanko made a motion to approve the minutes of January 21, 2020; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Approve renewal of the Keilman Field Agreement
Mr. Bradtke asked that Mr. Phillips give a summary on each of the new agenda items.

Mr. Phillips advised that this agreement has an annual renewal wherein we pay $250 to Mrs. Keilman for the use of her property for the southernmost ballfield at Civic Park.

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion. Ms. Stefanko made a motion to approve renewing the lease agreement with Mrs. Keilman; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

B. Ratify National Flag Football Agreement
Mr. Phillips advised that Mr. Sobek had signed the agreement with National Flag Football before his retirement and that the board needs to ratify the same. Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion. Mr. Bouvat made a motion to ratify the agreement with National Flag Football; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

C. Approve Port-a-potty Contract
Mr. Bradtke advised that two companies submitted bids, Premier, who would be new, and Service Sanitation, who we have used in the past.

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion. Mr. Moffitt made a motion to award Service Sanitation the contract to provide port-a-potties for this year; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

D. Approve Summer Workers
Mr. Phillips advised that the Town Council approved an additional appropriation in February for the addition of summer workers for park maintenance and upkeep. The Town would like to hire up to six employees, four college students, who would work up to 40 hours a week, and two high school students, who would work up to 20 hours per week. Mr. Phillips noted that an additional appropriation may be needed.

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion to approve hiring of the six summer workers, with the additional funding that the Council will approve and with the final job offer selection to be made by the Town Manager. Ms. Stefanko made the motion; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

E. Discuss/Approve Programs and Fees
Mr. Phillips advised that the summer programs and fees are typically discussed earlier in the year; however, that didn’t take place this year due to the pandemic; so he is wanting to know what the Park Board would like to do for the summer programs for this year. He further advised that Chip Sobek had been making connections prior to his retirement for summer opportunities, but July 4 may be the earliest we may be allowed to offer those activities and be prepared.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion to approve the programs and fees pending the final determinations and discussions with the Town Manager and individual providers. Ms. Stefanko made the motion; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

F. Community Development Block Grant for Prairie West and Founders Parks Update
Mr. Phillips summarized the CDBG Grant for the Board. This year we are applying for $15,000 in funds to do an expansion to the parking facility and slight reroute of the pathway at Prairie West Park, with the balance of the $250,000 project cost coming from Park Impact Fee funds. We also are asking for $60,456 in funds to construct parking , striping, and a portion of the pathway for ADA access at Founders Park for a total project of approximately $500,000 with the remainder of that coming from the Park Impact Fee funds and other grant funds that are available. Mr. Phillips advised that the Public Hearings for the grants will be held at Lake County in June.
G. Parks Superintendent Position Update
Mr. Phillips advised that we received a number of applications, and by statute, the Park Board would make the selection of the individual to be hired for the position. He recommended the Park Board have an executive session to review the applications. Mr. Phillips noted that they may want to start with telephonic or web-conference interviews and narrow the list down for in-person interviews.

Mr. Bradtke noted that there are many applicants for the position and stated that it may be helpful for Mr. Phillips to go through and weed out the first round of those who didn’t meet the qualifications and reduce it to a few candidates who best meet the criteria. Mr. Moffitt concurred. Mr. Bouvat stated that he would like to review them all the applications. Mr. Bradtke responded that the applications would be sent to the members for review.

Mr. Phillips explained that there are a few applicants who applied but do not have the required qualifications. There are two other levels of applicants left, those who have been park directors and those who have been recreation supervisors. The Board will want to decide if they want someone who has been a director or somebody who may be rising through the ranks that might be a good candidate.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion to pay the bills in the amounts of $21,800.94 for February 2020, $19,533.15 for March 2020, $29,121.10 for April 2020, and $26,210.93 for May 2020. Mr. Moffitt made the motion; Mr. Bouvat seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

ANY AND ALL:

Mr. Bradtke advised that Board that St. John Baseball contacted him and informed him that they would be installing mounted sanitizer stations in the dugouts.

Mr. Bradtke noted that they have received communication from the Lake Hills Homeowners Association, and they would like to install fountains in Golf Lake and Lindsey Park. They are covering the cost completely. There is already a breaker by Golf Lake, so they only need to connect into the power. The Homeowners Association will pay for the connection and the ongoing use of power there. At Lindsey Park, they have to bore about 30 feet under one of the walking paths, which will be done at their expense, and they will maintain the fountain and electricity under the HOA fees.

Mr. Phillips advised that going forward, as a standard process for anyone requesting the use of Town land or Park land, we should have a standard agreement so the requestor understands that they are responsible for the costs incurred, including restoring the disturbed area back to the way it was. Mr. Bradtke responded that he believes there is a standard agreement already.

Mr. Bradtke entertained a motion to approve the installation of two fountains, one at Lindsey Park Lake and one at Golf Lake, at the expense of the HOA contingent upon the signed agreement being in place. Ms. Stefanko made the motion; Mr. Bouvat seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

Mr. Phillips asked if the Board had received an email from Mr. Joe Bonato with St. John Baseball requesting additional improvements at Civic Park and Heartland Park.

Mr. Bradtke asked if this request is something that they are doing at their expense. Mr. Phillips responded that they would be doing some of the items at their expense; however, they are asking the Town to cover the expenses of other improvements. Mr. Phillips noted that he would address this with the Town Council since Civic Park is under the Town Council’s purview. Mr. Bradtke recommended putting that on hold until more information is had.

Mr. Bradtke introduced discussion for a new park near the soccer fields. Mr. Phillips commented that Mr. Sobek suggested installing this year’s new playground at the soccer fields since they are heavily used, there is no place for children to play while they are there, and there aren’t many opportunities for people to have access to a playground in The Gates. Mr. Phillips offered to get quotes for the next meeting for the Board’s consideration.

Ms. Abernathy noted that she had received a message that the Parks Board doesn’t own that park. Mr. Phillips responded that the Park Board can still pay for improvements if they work with the entity that owns the property. He further responded that he was not aware that the Park Board didn’t own that land and that he would look into it.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Bradtke noted that public comments were submitted prior to the meeting. The following were read into the record.

Megan Tilton (address not provided) “Do you know if they are still going to start on the park soon off of 101st.”

Mary Gruszczyk (11720 West 94th Place): (From February) I, along with many residents and non-residents, use the walking path in Prairie West Park. After the few inches of snow we received last week, I noticed that the walking path had been plowed. Fantastic. I love to walk outside, and now I can continue walking outside. Please thank the employee who thought about us all who use the path. Hope he can continue to keep it plowed when he is able.

Patricia Tonkovich (9994 Olcott Avenue): I wish to compliment how great Heartland Park looks. I drive by several times a week, and all your hard work is noticeable. I love the different color baseballs, and the sign looks fresh and new. I’m sure our residents are happy with your improvements.

Steven Steiff (address not provided): To whom it may concern, I hope I’m sending this to the right person or that you can get it to the right person. My daughters have played softball in St. John for years, and I want to say the improvements to the park are amazing. The girls often get overshadowed by baseball, so the softball added to the sign is awesome. The park is cleaner than I’ve ever seen it. All that overgrowth is gone, and it brings so much to the whole area. I frequently walk my dog along the park. And please, whoever’s keeping the bag stands full, deserves a raise. Ha ha. At this time, everyone complaining, I really think we should praise what is good, and the improvements to Heartland Park are awesome. Keep it up St. John.

Mr. Bradtke noted that there are three that go together regarding Larimer Park.

Michelle Metzger (address not provided): I have been attending the Parks’ meetings, the last one being in October. I feel like Larimer Park has been pushed to the side for a long time. The first year I moved in, they ripped out a big slide, a merry-go-round, and four swings, and replaced it with nothing. They said they were going to redo the baseball field, playground, and basketball court. The baseball field looks the same, and now we have a park that isn’t safe for young kids and a basketball court you should see for yourself. They said not to worry, that early spring they were going to redo it, and here we are at the end of May and nothing has been done. I understand COVID, but there’s nothing slowing down construction right now. They promised and said that we will be getting basketball courts in the spring. When will the construction start? My boys are looking forward to shooting some hoops.

Lisa Eckerman (9437 Woodland Drive): I was told that nothing was mentioned about the basketball courts at Larimer. I talked to the Town Manager’s assistant, and she said nothing was ever mentioned. Well, she was wrong. It was in the meeting last September. Look at my attachment. Please let me know what I should do.

Katy Slager (9417 Woodland Drive): I attended a couple of the meetings in the fall. I was told that Larimer Park was going to be getting new basketball courts, that they were getting quotes from companies so that could be happening in the spring. I have not seen anything or heard that anything is going on, to be happening with it. I didn’t even see it on the agenda for tonight. I just want to know what’s going on with it. I would also like to know why there is no concreate path from the parking lot to the playground. It’s gravel. We just got a new handicap neighbor, and she cannot roll her wheelchair or walker through the gravel. Something needs to be done about this so everyone can enjoy the park. I have attached some photos so you can see how horrible the basketball court looks at the gravel pathway. Let’s take care of the old parks before we start putting in the new ones. Thank you. Thank you to Gabe, the Town worker that came out Monday and spruced up Larimer Park sign and fixed the light.

Mr. Bradtke noted that these three letters are due to an issue that came up in the fall, we were going to address it in the spring, but this is our first meeting since January. Ms. Stefanko asked if the new Park Board Members have a copy of the five-year plan. Mr. Bradtke stated that they will be getting one.

Ms. Abernathy noted that when Ms. Eckerman called, she had told Ms. Eckerman that it was mentioned at the September meeting and was going to be discussed again in the spring for work to begin. I further told her that I did not see it on the January agenda and that a meeting was not had since. Mr. Bradtke thanked Ms. Abernathy for answering that and confirmed that the Board had agreed to discuss it in the spring.

ADJOURNMENT:

Ms. Stefanko made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye
Mr. Bradtke Aye

Mr. Bradtke adjourned the meeting at 7:19 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Park Board

06-16-2020 Park Board

June 16, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Ms. Stefanko called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 6:36 p.m., which was attended both onsite and virtually, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Mike Bouvat; Michael Moffitt; and Melissa Stefanko, Vice President. Also Present: Craig Phillips, Town Manager, and Wayne Pondinas and Michael Schilling, Town Council Co-Liaisons. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Ms. Stefanko entertained a motion for the approval of minutes. Mr. Moffitt commented that the Board requested a second port-a-potty at Heartland Park at the last meeting, stated that he felt it should have been noted in the minutes, and asked why it had not been delivered as yet. Mr. Phillips stated that he would follow up on it and ensure it gets delivered.

Mr. Bouvat made a motion to approve the minutes of May 19, 2020; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

MATTER OF RESIGNATION:

Ms. Stefanko entertained a motion to accept the resignation of Frank Bradtke. Mr. Bouvat made the motion; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

ELECTION OF NEW BOARD PRESIDENT:

Ms. Stefanko entertained any nominations for president.

Mr. Moffitt nominated Michael Bouvat; Mr. Bouvat seconded his motion. Hearing no further nominations, Ms. Stefanko called for a roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Nay

Mr. Phillips said, "So that's 2 ayes and 1 nay for the election of Mike Bouvat as president, so it looks like Mr. Bouvat is elected as president."

Mr. Bouvat stated that with that announcement, he would take over the meeting and would like to amend the agenda to use the one he sent to the Park Board Members previously. He further stated that under the circumstances with the Park Board, with the passing of one member and the resignation of another, he would like to elect the other officers.

Mr. Phillips advised that the standing officers remain in place.

Mr. Bouvat stated that it is pretty much a new board and that he would like to elect a new board as the other members are no longer present.

Mr. Phillips recommended that they hold off on this action since it was not on the previous agenda. Mr. Bouvat said it is on his agenda.

Mr. Bouvat passed the gavel to Mr. Moffitt and nominated him to be the vice president. Mr. Moffitt seconded the nomination and passed the gavel back to Mr. Bouvat. Mr. Bouvat called for a roll-call vote.

Ms. Stefanko asked for clarification if members were nominating themselves as she cannot distinguish the same by the voices. Mr. Phillips responded that they were not nominating themselves and advised that a second is not required for a nomination.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Nay

Mr. Phillips said, "That's 2 ayes and 1 nay for the election of Mike Moffitt as vice president."

PRESENTATION:

Mr. Tm Arvanitis of Northern Indiana Pop Warner gave a presentation. He spoke about the history of the Tri-Town Pop Warner Football program, accolades that had been won, scholarships that had been awarded, and fund-raising events that had occurred. He passed out information to the members on their flag football league.

(Note: Mr. Arvanitis spoke away from the microphone at times, making what he said indiscernible.)

He introduced Mr. Rudy Monterrubio, who is the president of Tri-Town Pop Warner. Mr. Arvanitis spoke briefly about National Flag Football gaining popularity. He asked the Park Board to allow Pop Warner to advertise their program as well as National Flag Football, who is out of Indianapolis. Mr. Arvanitis advised that National Flag Football is a for-profit entity, and the Tri-Town Pop Warner Flag Football League is a not-for-profit entity. He asked for an equal opportunity from St. John for Tri-Town and Hanover Central Pop Warner to be advertised in the water bills or flyers as well.

Mr. Arvanitis stated that they used to be very well attended in St. John until they welcomed National Flag Football in, and he scooped up all the business from St. John, saying, "That's the way it is." He asserted that the gentleman from National Flag Football dismantled their program in St. John, and he would like the Town's help in rebuilding it.

Mr. Bouvat stated that the Park Board would take this matter under advisement and get back with him.

Mr. Arvanitis thanked the Board.

Mr. Moffitt stated that the Board has already approved the program with National Flag Football at the last meeting.

Mr. Pondinas commented that he believes past Parks and Recreation Superintendent Chip Sobek signed a two-year contract with National Flag Football in February.

Mr. Arvanitis remarked that they were turned away by Mr. Sobek and again asked that the Board support their program.

Mr. Schilling asked when the season starts. Mr. Arvanitis responded that football is a year-round sport; they have spring and fall flag football and tackle football.

Mr. Bouvat affirmed that they would take his request under advisement.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Consider Professional Services Agreement with Westland Bennett
Mr. Bouvat stated that he has been in contact with Attorney David Westland, and he is willing to be the Park Board Attorney. Mr. Bouvat further stated that it is something for the members to consider and discuss in an executive session.

Mr. Bouvat asked Gabe Hernandez, Parks and Recreation General Maintenance Foreman, to come to the podium and surmise what the park activities are.

Mr. Hernandez stated that he is not in the loop on activities, but he could speak to the maintenance that has been being done in the parks, which is what he was hired to do. With the summer help that has been hired, they power washed all the playgrounds and removed the old debris and mold. At Heartland Park, they have painted the main entrance sign, pulled the overgrown bushes out, planted new bushes, added mulch to the mulch beds, trimmed all the trees, pulled weeds that were in the mulch beds, and prepared all the volleyball courts for use. The splash pad is set to be opened on July 6. He stated that he and Mr. Phillips decided that would be the best way to go, given the current situation.

Mr. Hernandez noted that the focus for maintenance this season is trimming trees and bushes, adding mulch, painting signs, and getting the parks back up to where they are supposed to be. They are working on one park at a time. They are currently working in Lake Hills. They have finished trimming the trees at Lindsey Park and cleaned and prepped the volleyball court there as well. They plan on trimming back the bike trails and any low-hanging tree branches that may affect the residents.

Mr. Hernandez stated that he welcomes any park concerns or questions. The more eyes he has, the better he can do his job and get things done for the residents. Mr. Hernandez stated that he ran into the owner of Midwest Ice Arena, and they spoke about possibly having a beanbag league. She said that she could host it and run it. We would take the money for the sign-ups, and she will take care of everything else. Mr. Hernandez doesn't know where we are on programs, but he feels that's a good idea.

Mr. Hernandez voiced some concerns about Larimer Park. He knows that there was some discussion last year in the minutes about fixing up the basketball court at Larimer Park. He doesn't know where the Park Board is on that as yet, but people are asking him about it, and he promised to get back with them on that. The softball field was fixed last year, but there is a drainage issue that was not addressed, so that needs to be fixed again.

Mr. Hernandez stated that Mr. Phillips has been very good about helping him. Whenever he asks him for help, advice, or opinions, he's given him the direction to go, and without Mr. Phillips, he couldn't get the things he really needs to get stuff done.

Mr. Bouvat stated that information is good to know as we have to work together, and he is glad that Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Phillips are doing what you can to get things for our community.

B. Consideration of Summer Programs
Mr. Bouvat stated that they would probably discuss the programs up for consideration in their executive meeting and listed numerous programs that are being considered. They will also consider temporary delegations of administrative duties for park activities and Parks and Recreation daily operations. They will schedule a special meeting during the week of June 22 to finalize the summer board procedure brochure to include offering programs and set fees.

Mr. Bouvat stated that he would like to make a motion to fill the vacancy for the Park Superintendent until such time that someone has been interviewed and fills the position permanently.

Mr. Moffitt asked if Mr. Bouvat is entertaining a motion. Mr. Bouvat responded that he is entertaining a motion to have Gabe Hernandez to fill the Park Superintendent position until that position has been filled. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Mr. Bouvat called for a roll-call vote.

Mr. Phillips requested confirmation of who made the motion and the second for the motion on the floor. Mr. Moffitt stated that Mr. Bouvat made the motion and that he seconded it. Mr. Bouvat stated that he entertained the motion and that Mr. Moffitt made the motion.

Mr. Phillips asked Mr. Moffitt if he made the motion. Mr. Moffitt stated that he would make the motion. Mr. Phillips asked if Mr. Bouvat seconded the motion. Mr. Bouvat passed the gavel and seconded the motion.

Roll-call vote:

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Nay

Mr. Phillips said, "That is 2 ayes and 1 nay for the temporary appointment of Gabe Hernandez as Parks Superintendent."

C. Consider Additional Cleanings for Port-a-potties
Mr. Phillips advised that due to the COVID-19 situation and the extra responsibilities we have in providing clean facilities, he wanted to ask the Board for permission to do additional cleanings for each unit. The cost for that is an additional $25 per unit per month. There are ten units, making the additional cost $250 per month.

Mr. Moffitt asked if the total number of units includes the extra port-a-potty for Heartland Park. Mr. Phillips responded in the affirmative.

Ms. Stefanko made a motion to amend the contract with Service Sanitation to include the additional cleaning for each unit weekly; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion.

Roll-call vote:

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye

D. Heartland Park Dumpsters
Mr. Moffitt stated that there is a large dumpster and a large recycle dumpster at the park. No one ever uses the recycle bin for recycling, and he would like to get rid of the recycle dumpster and have another full-size trash dumpster there.

Mr. Phillips advised that Mr. Hernandez come back up as it is the Park Superintendent's job to take care of this matter.

Mr. Hernandez asked to address the Park Board Superintendent issue and stated that the position is out of his wheelhouse. While he has no problem doing anything that the Town or the Park Board asks him to do, he enjoys what he is currently doing. He commented that Mr. Phillips' overall experience and knowledge is well-surpassed his, and asserted that Mr. Phillips is more suited to do the preparation and operational terms of those agreements and arranging what programs will be initiated and the terms of those.

Mr. Moffitt stated that the reason they wanted Mr. Hernandez to do it is that they want it to go in any direction at all to get some programs going. He commented that after it was discussed last month, they received an email from Mr. Phillips that he does not want to do any programs.

Mr. Phillips stated that is incorrect; the people who run the programs have stated that they are not interested in doing those programs this year. He further stated that he has reached out to everyone who has put on a program for the Town over the last year. His email to the Board shared the interests of all those who were contacted. He stated that his suggestion was to hold off on having the summer camps this year because of the lack of proper staffing for the extra safety measures and provisions that must be put into place per state requirements. Furthermore, the people who put on those events did not want to do them this year. His email listed all those who did want to participate with modified dates were also listed in the email.

Mr. Bouvat stated that he appreciates Mr. Phillips' efforts, and he hears what Mr. Hernandez is saying, but he would like Mr. Hernandez to be the legs and get some of these things initiated with the beanbags and maybe some other things. He noted that it is obvious that Mr. Phillips and Mr. Hernandez are working together. It doesn't matter who wears the hat because it's only temporary. Mr. Bouvat stated that they won't have an executive session; they will just take things into consideration.

Mr. Phillips advised that if guidance is not given tonight on what is to be done with programs and camps, there will not be time to get the programs together in time for people to be able to register in time for the Fourth of July, and there is only one more month before school starts again.

Mr. Pondinas asked, as a resident, not a Councilman, why a town with 22,000 people have a parks program that just fell apart. We paid a gentleman a good sum of money to run a Parks Department, and we are down to nothing. You can blame it on COVID; you can blame it on whatever you want; but Schererville and Dyer have good programs and are also impacted by COVID. The residents pay taxes and deserve a good Parks Department. To sit here and say all kinds of excuses is not good. Mr. Pondinas asked what the former superintendent did before he resigned.

Mr. Phillips stated that the previous superintendent had been making contacts and trying to put programs together, which is how he was able to make all the connections he has made recently.

Mr. Pondinas informed Mr. Phillips that he isn't blaming him. Mr. Phillips responded that Mr. Pondinas is blaming him, that he is not accepting the blame, and that he is trying to help.

Mr. Phillips commented that he and Mr. Hernandez need guidance on what the Board wants them to do. He noted that St. John does not have the same level of staffing for Parks as Dyer or Schererville do.

Mr. Schilling stated that he is not for Mr. Hernandez running the whole thing right now because the intention was to give the previous superintendent a helper so that he can set the programs up. He obviously left, and Mr. Hernandez is central to the maintenance. To put the park maintenance and the programs on him would be too much. Mr. Schilling said he would rather have them get someone part-time for the programs if they want someone to run programs. Mr. Schilling said that there might be a member of the staff who may want to do it.

Ms. Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer, stated that her office runs Christmas in The Park and other events, and they would like to get a movie in the park up in coordination with the Park Board. She has staff in mind that she feels would jump at the chance to help with putting the programs together. Ms. Hernandez stated that while she was at the baseball fields over the weekend, several residents approached her requesting that there be sand volleyball. Perhaps, others can step up and run it this year instead of the person who cannot do it this year.

Ms. Hernandez offered the assistance of one of her employees to get some of those programs off the ground.

Mr. Schilling commented that park maintenance is full-time work, and so is running the programs. Mr. Phillips doesn't have the time to do all the programs and be the Town Manager. In the meantime, if someone wants to step up and set up the programs, he would rather see that.

Mr. Bouvat said that they weren't trying to bog him down. He's doing a great job and brought up the beanbag tournament, so it seems as if he has the vibe of what the Town wants.

Ms. Hernandez recommended Jill Ciechna, who works in her office on a part-time basis, to step in and assist getting these programs off the ground with the assist of Mr. Phillips and Mr. Hernandez.

Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion to have Jill Ciechna set up some of the programs.

Ms. Stefanko made the motion; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion.

Roll-call vote:

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye

Mr. Phillips stated that the programs that can be run by individuals are a great idea but advised that the summer camps would be much more difficult. He asserted that we don't have the staffing and resources that are necessary to run summer camps under the guidelines set forth by the state. He noted that there are only a few other towns that are running summer camps, and they have much larger park staffing than we do.

Ms. Hernandez recommended letting Jill take do some research, put a list together, and present it to them at the next meeting, and they can select which events they want to have.

Mr. Moffitt stated that we need to get some of these going because, by next month, we're already in August.

Discussion ensued regarding the various programs that would be easier to set up and move forward with such as sand volleyball, beanbags, movie in the park, and exercise in the park, Midwest Ice Arena events, and some other programs that are the more manageable events.

Mr. Bouvat entertained a more specific motion to have Jill Ciechna proceed with the planning of sand volleyball, beanbags, movie in the park, and exercise in the park.

Mr. Moffitt made the motion; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion.

Roll-call vote:

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye

Ms. Hernandez thanked the Park Board as a resident for getting some programs going and stated that it would make many of the residents very happy.

E. Budget Process Presentation
Ms. Hernandez presented the Parks and Recreation Budget Process to the Board. Fund 204 is the operating fund, which covers payroll and benefits, day-to-day operational supplies, and operational services and charges expenses. Fund 473 is the Park Impact Fund, which is for capital expenditures, which covers capital outlay for buildings, improvements, and equipment.

Ms. Hernandez explained the purchasing policy, noting that the department heads sign for purchases up to $1500; the department head and town manager would sign a Request to Purchase (RTP) for purchases from $1500.01 to $4000; and Requests for Purchase from $4000.01 to $150,000 will be presented to the Park Board who will sign the RTP(s) approving the expenditures after a majority vote approving the same in a public meeting.

Ms. Hernandez explained the docket process to the Board and reviewed the end-of-month reports and the annual report from 2019. She then explained the budgeting process, which starts in August, including budget estimates and anticipated revenues. Ultimately, the Department of Local Government and Finance has the final say in the approval of the budgets and can accept, cut, or change the submitted budgets.

Ms. Hernandez explained the current fund standings and reviewed the disbursements and revenues to date for Fund 204 and Fund 473.

Resume Heartland Park Dumpster Agenda Item

Mr. Bouvat stated that Mr. Hernandez would remain in the position that they voted on earlier and turned the floor back over to Mr. Moffitt, who had left off with the dumpsters at Heartland Park.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve replacing the recycling dumpster with a full-sized trash dumpster; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion.

Roll-call vote:

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Pondinas thanked Mr. Arvanitis for his presentation and for his time as a police officer.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion to pay the bills in the amounts of $33,440.24 for June 2020. Mr. Moffitt made the motion; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion.

Roll-call vote:

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Robert Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue): I back up to the soccer fields over there in The Gates of St. John. The reason I'm here is, I see you guys got a lot of money and everything, and one of the things I'd like to request is another park for The Gates of St. John. Right now, there's one park in The Gates, and it is at the Christian school on a hundred and – between 105th and 107th and Park Place, and the Town actually owns a lot that is two doors away from me. And I've got some pictures of it; I could show you where it's at. It's right on the corner of 102nd and Pearwood Drive.

Up until last year, there were weeds. It was just weeds. My house was the seventh house on the block, and it was just weeds in there until last year. As the whole property got built up, and everything – it's right at the – 102nd and Pearwood Drive. It goes right into the soccer fields, okay, and starting last year, the Town put straw down there. And Gabe was just out there the other day cutting the grass that's growing in there now, but what would be better yet is if you could put a park in that area. And I'll tell you why: With only one park in the entire Gates, the amount of kids that are living in that area – and hey, I don't have young kids anymore, you know, best I got is grandkids coming over, and everything, once in a while. But on our block alone, we went from seven homes, when we first moved in to now, there's 25 homes, and there's going to be 40 just on 102nd Avenue, not counting 101st Place or the other side streets over there. So just in the Meadow Gates, on my block alone, we went from maybe about ten kids two years ago – there's about 30 kids right now, and there are still about another 15-20 homes to be built.

The closest park's a mile away, all right. These kids got no place else to play. They're playing out on the street. I hate to see any of that stuff happen, and I'd rather see them in a little park. And that – that land is a perfect place to put one. You already got the soccer fields right behind it, and to just make that into a park – eventually, I figured you'd have to put a park somewhere because every – the one park that's the – by the Christian school, everything south of there, from 107th – say 105th/107th going south, those are all senior duplexes, pretty much, so there's nobody there with kids. All the kids are going from that area going north to – towards 101st "street." Any of the kids that live farther north in The Gates have to go a very long area to get – you know, they'd have to go almost a mile just to get to the closest park. And – and they're not going to walk that far. So it was a suggestion. I hope that you guys would consider it, and that's what I really came here to say today. Thank you.

The Board asked if that is what was discussed last month. Mr. Phillips advised that there is some confusion about who owns The Gates of St. John soccer fields, which is owned by the Town. That is different than the property he discussed. This property is adjacent to that. We were talking about the potential to install playground equipment at The Gates of St. John soccer fields.

Ms. Hernandez stated that the Park Board had approved a park in a different location in The Gates on Chestnut Cove and 105th. It was going to be deeded by the developer. The deed did not come in a timely fashion, so the Park Board tabled it. If the Town or the Park Board owns the property, it is a great location for a park. She believes there may be prior approval for up to $150,000 available for a park in The Gates of St. John and will check into it for them. She commented that they might want to do a bigger park that the original toddler park that was discussed. Ms. Hernandez stated that they might be able to let Pop Warner rent out the use of the soccer fields for additional revenue.

Mr. Bouvat asked Ms. Hernandez to get that information for them. Ms. Hernandez agreed to the same.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Ms. Stefanko seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Bouvat Aye
Mr. Moffitt Aye
Ms. Stefanko Aye

Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 8:02 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Park Board

07-21-2020 Park Board

July 21, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, July 21 2020, at 6:34 p.m., which was attended by all members onsite, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Johnny Boersma; Michael Moffitt; and Mike Bouvat, Acting President. Also Present: Craig Phillips, Town Manager; Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liaison; and Nicole Bennet, Westland & Bennet. A quorum was attained.

MATTER OF RESIGNATION:

Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion to accept the resignation of Ms. Stefanko. Mr. Moffitt made the motion; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

ELECTION OF NEW BOARD OFFICERS:

Mr. Bouvat entertained nominations for president. Mr. Boersma nominated Michael Bouvat; Mr. Moffitt seconded the nomination. Having no further nominations, the Board voted unanimously to elect Mr. Bouvat as the Park Board President.

Mr. Bouvat entertained nominations for vice president. Mr. Boersma nominated Michael Moffitt; Mr. Moffitt seconded the nomination. Having no further nominations, the Board voted unanimously to elect Mr. Moffitt as the Park Board Vice President.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the minutes of June 16, 2020; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Consider Basketball Court Repair/Replacement Proposals
Mr. Jim Anderson with Flex Courts was present by telephone. Mr. Bouvat asked Mr. Anderson to give insight as why Flex Court would be better than asphalt.

Mr. Anderson said that flex court is a tile system that is laid atop of existing asphalt or concrete surfaces. The benefits of this surface over concrete or asphalt are once the courts are put down, they are essentially maintenance free for 16-20 years and they come with a 16-year manufacturer’s warranty. He stated that if the surface underneath starts to crack or deteriorate, the tile system will be forgiving with that as long as the cracks stay even with each other, noting that they typically do. He described the tiles and commented that they have flex to them so those playing on the court receive only about 50% of the shock. They are more comfortable to play on and have 16 different colors that can be chosen.

Mr. Anderson commented that manufacturer’s defects, they would cover the labor for that work. Typically if there is a defect with the manufacturing, it will show up in the first six months or so. He noted that there really is not any studies or data on injuries or slipping. For courts that need a small amount of repair before installation, they will fill low areas and cracks with a flex filler and then lay the tiles. Since it is a modular system, if something comes up where an area needs repair underneath the tiles, those tiles can be popped up and laid back down after any repairs are made. Mr. Anderson advised that each court would take approximately two to three days to complete.

Mr. Bouvat asked Gabe Hernandez to comment on the Flex Court System. Mr. Hernandez stated that Civic Park only has cracks but is still playable. Mr. Anderson recommended a crack fill only as there is an overlay on it. Mr. Hernandez advised that the only court he is concerned with using Flex Court on is Larimer Park because the sub-base is garbage. Mr. Hernandez noted that with the asphalt, they don’t do the basketball hoops, so they will have to go through someone else to install those. Putting a sports coating on the asphalt will stop water from getting into and heaving up the asphalt.

Mr. Bouvat recommended moving forward with asphalt for Larimer Park in the amount of $27,783 and the Flex Court for Civic Park in the amount of $20,471 and Lancer Park in the amount of $20,970 and entertained a motion for the same.

Mr. Moffitt made the motion to approve St. John Paving to repair/replace the basketball courts at Larimer Park in the amount of $27,783 and approve Flex Courts repair/replace the basketball courts at Civic Park in the amount of $20,471 and Lancer Park in the amount of $20,970, including new backboards for the courts. Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

B. Consider Offer of Employment – Park Superintendent Position
Mr. Bouvat advised that Mr. Tyler McLead stated that he is willing to accept the offer rendered verbally and entertained a motion for the same. Mr. Moffitt made a motion to hire Tyler McLead as the Parks & Recreation Superintendent and to authorize the Town Manager to execute a formal offer of employment for the same; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
C. Consider Professional Services Agreement – Westland & Bennett, PC
Mr. Boersma made a motion to approve the Professional Services Agreement through December 31, 2020, with Nicole Bennet of Westland & Bennett, PC, and to authorize the Park Board President to execute the same; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Bouvat gave a brief introduction of Ms. Bennett and asked her to join them at the dais. He turned the floor over to her to say a few words. Ms. Bennett stated that she is pleased to be here and be a part of the projects that are being proposed here. She noted that it has been a pleasure to serve St. John since the beginning of this year and to proceed forward in a further capacity. She thanked the Board for the opportunity.

D. Consider Summer Volleyball League Participation Fees
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the Summer Volleyball League participation fee of $45 for residents and $50 for non-residents, which is being held from July 15, 2020, through August 16, 2020; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
E. Consider Payment to Volleyball Officials
Mr. Boersma made a motion to approve payment to the volleyball officials, from July 15, 2020, through August 16, 2020, in the amount of $15 per game for the 2020 season; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
F. Consider Payment to Great Lakes Recreation
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve payment to Great Lakes Recreation in the amount of $5,285.00 for a new aquatic pad control at Heron Lake Splash Pad; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
G. Consider Payment to Fence Masters
Mr. Boersma made a motion to approve payment to Fence Masters in the amount of $6,130.00 for replacement fencing and a dumpster enclosure at Heartland Park; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
H. Consider Approval of Movie in the Park Event – August 7, 2020
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the Movie in the Park Event on August 7, 2020; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Moffitt thanked Mr. Phillips for getting the additional dumpster and porta-potties, which helped out.

Mr. Bouvat stated that the Board is new and has been challenged without a superintendent. He thanked them for their efforts in trying to make something happen and taking the initiative. He highlighted some of the activities going on, such as the beanbag league, volleyball, and Movie in the Park. He and others thanked the Town Council, Liaison Wayne Pondinas, Gabe Hernandez, Beth Hernandez and members of her staff for their help.

Mr. Phillips advised that as a matter of procedure, the Park Board will need permission from the Town Council to do the improvements in Civic Park. He advised that to keep Founders Park on track as to not risk the grant funding associated with the project. He advised that K&S Engineers submitted a quote for geotechnical work in the amount of $5750 plus an additional $1250 for any damage mitigation that may need to be done for damage caused to the neighboring property. Mr. Phillips requested approval for the contract in an amount not to exceed $7000 to be paid from the Park Impact Fee funds.

Mr. Pondinas asked if we were getting the grant from the county. Mr. Phillips stated that we have the DNR grant from the state for Founders Park. The grant from the county is a separate grant that we are trying for that would offset some of the cost. We are hoping to receive $60,456 for Founders Park from the Community Development Block Grant as well as $15,000 for Prairie West Park. Mr. Phillips stated that the proposed soil borings are one boring to a depth of 20 feet below the proposed shelter and two borings to a depth of 30 feet beneath the proposed boardwalk structure, as well as some other elements.

Mr. Pondinas asked about doing the needed soil borings at Prairie West Park in conjunction with Founders Park. Mr. Phillips stated that it would put a hold on Founders Park doing it that way. The estimates are underway for Prairie West Park, and he is hoping to come to the next Park Board meeting with a request for the soil borings at Prairie West Park.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve a contract with K&S in an amount not to exceed $7000 for the soil boring work at Founders Park; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Phillips stated that he was approached by a property owner regarding possibly purchasing a portion of Edgewood Park and the resident would like to possibly have a discussion with the Board.

Mr. Pondinas stated that the water park went out of commission for a short time. He thanked those who were involved in getting that repaired. He thanked the residents for their patience. The parks are getting mulched and taken care of. He thanked Mr. Hernandez and the seasonal workers for all their hard work.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Boersma made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $46,261.97; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Boersma made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously, and Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 7:26 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Park Board

08-18-2020 Park Board

August 18, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, at 6:55 p.m., which was attended by all members onsite, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Johnny Boersma, Vice-President; Patrick Connelly; Michael Moffitt; and Mike Bouvat, President. Also Present: Tyler McLead, Parks & Recreation Superintendent; Craig Phillips, Town Manager; Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liaison; and Nicole Bennett, Westland & Bennett. A quorum was attained.

Mr. Bouvat formally welcomed Mr. Boersma to the Park Board.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Boersma made a motion to approve the minutes of July 21, 2020; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by the three members present at the time of the vote.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Toni Duddy – Community Garden Project
Ms. Toni Duddy stated that she is present to discuss a proposal that had been submitted to the Park Board for “Heartland Park Family Gardens” by Marla Dernay, Veronica Williams, and herself.

(A copy of the proposal and Ms. Duddy’s prepared remarks are attached hereto and made a part hereof as Exhibit Nos. 2020-08-18-PB1 and 2020-08-18-PB2.)

Mr. Boersma commented that the proposed area is used for little children to play soccer and that he thinks the north section of the animal shelter would be more fitting. Ms. Duddy asked if that area would still be accessible from the parking lot. Mr. Boersma responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Pondinas advised that the location they are talking about is a separate parcel of property that is Town property and not Park property. Mr. Pondinas agreed that the area Mr. Boersma mentioned might be a better idea.

Mr. Boersma asked who would be responsible for the liability insurance. Ms. Duddy responded that the Town would be responsible.

Mr. Moffitt asked who would build it. Ms. Duddy responded that the Town would do the tilling and leveling of the soil and bringing in the water lines for spigots inside the garden. She noted that the bullet points on the first page of the proposal show what they assume would be administered by the Town.

Discussion ensued regarding the potential location of the proposed garden and possible future expansion.

(Mr. Connelly entered the meeting.)

Mr. Pondinas noted that he and Gerry Swets, Town Council President, had recommended the property to them, and they want to find a spot that would be, more or less, permanent. Mr. Pondinas stated that he would like to see some commitment and some money committed to this project so that the Town does not have to put in so much money.

Mr. Boersma recommended getting sponsorships for the boxes. Ms. Duddy responded that the committee members thought that the rental fee could cover the cost of the water and maintenance.

The Park Board Members asked questions about who would be in charge of monitoring and administering the community gardens. The Community Garden System Committee Members responded that those answers should be in the ordinance. Mr. Boersma volunteered to be a garden enforcer.

Mr. Bouvat stated that they need to get more information and recommended that they speak with someone like Mr. McLead for guidance in the interim. Mr. Pondinas stated that someone from the Town Council should be involved because Mr. McLead is new, and Gerry Swets and he initiated the negotiations.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Boersma formally introduced Tyler McLead as the Parks & Recreation Superintendent and asked him to say a few words.

Mr. McLead thanked the Park Board for the opportunity to serve St. John. Previously he worked for Goshen for two years and Syracuse for seven years for their parks departments. He stated that Mr. Hernandez and the summer staff have been outstanding.

Mr. Bouvat introduced Mr. Patrick Connelly as the newest Park Board Member and welcomed him.

Mr. Boersma stated that he believes they are going to be getting one more member. Mr. Pondinas asked if they’ve spoken with the attorney about that. Mr. Bouvat responded that they are looking into adding a fifth member to the Park Board.

Attorney Bennett advised that by state statute, the Park Board must be a minimum of four people for purposes of voting. The Board may have a liaison from the Town Council as well as from the school town; however, they are not voting members. To add a fifth voting member would require a change to the ordinance that would require action by the legislative body.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Basketball Court Repair and Restoration at Civic, Lancer, and Larimer Parks.
Mr. McLead advised that Flex Court has received the deposit and so Civic Park and Lancer Park and should be scheduled to be completed soon. Larimer Park should be on St. John Paving’s schedule soon, and T&J Landscaping recommended to have the basketball court repairs completed first and then do the baseball field. St. John Paving has received the contract.
B. Heron Lake Splash Pad
Mr. McLead advised that the Heron Lake Splash Pad maintenance continues to be an issue. There was a water main break that flooded the conduit and damaged the new controller that was just replaced. Mr. Phillips has reached out to the insurance company to see if they will help replace that. Thanks to Mr. Hernandez and his crew, the splash pad is operational again.

Mr. Moffitt noted that they were told at the last meeting to install the hoops after the basketball court surfaces are completed.

C. Heartland Park Fencing and Enclosure
Mr. McLead advised that they received another quote for the dumpster enclosure from Reeves Fence Services that is a little lower, and he would like them to review that quote.

Mr. Moffitt requested confirmation that they had already approved Fence Masters for that project. Mr. McLead confirmed the same. Mr. Moffitt asked if they need to redo that. Mr. McLead responded that the quote from Reeves came in after last month’s meeting.

Mr. Hernandez noted that the quote from Reeves is $800 less, that he has been trying to see if Fence Masters would lower their price, and the gentleman keeps putting him off, and that a contract has not been signed. He requested that the board amend their motion from the last meeting to have the repairs made by two different companies to save the Town money.

Attorney Bennett advised that the action was taken, the quotes were brought in, and the Board approved that offer; regardless of whether or not a contract was signed, the action was legally taken by this Board by their vote in approving that, and that is not something they can go back on.

Mr. Moffitt commented that he had communicated with the gentleman today because they are looking at new fencing for the baseball fields, and he said he would take $300 off of the price by way of email response.

Mr. Hernandez asked if that is something that can be done legally. Attorney Bennett responded that if it is something that they are modifying within a line item of that offer, then yes, it can be changed accordingly. She advised that that’s not an understanding from them that this contract would change and that be awarded elsewhere.

Mr. Pondinas commented that Mr. Hernandez asked the company and got the price reduced for the aquatic controller and thanked him for doing the same.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Moffitt reported that the baseball fields took a significant hit with the recent storms, how Fence Masters could repair the fencing, and that Paddock Bleacher Services will be out on Thursday to replace and repair. The gentleman from Paddock stated that from the looks of it, two of them are shot, and out of those two, he thinks he can repair the other two.

Mr. Boersma asked if this falls under a disaster on the insurance. Mr. Moffitt stated that there is an issue of who pays for this. The Town and the Parks Department are two different entities that own the parks and are the lessor. The baseball league is the lessee.

Mr. Phillips advised that the lease agreement says that St. John Youth Baseball is responsible for repairs and maintenance of anything within certain boundaries. He has asked Town Attorney Dave Westland for guidance on whose responsibility it is.

Mr. Phillips advised that he has started communication with the Town’s insurance company to submit a claim if it exceeds the deductible. He asked that Mr. Moffitt get him the information on the final cost. Mr. Phillips indicated that he is willing to help with the situation if it is the responsibility St. John Youth Baseball and to help out with the insurance and communicating with the Town Council as to what they want to do.

Mr. Bouvat asked if we can reach out to the insurance company and see what they say. Mr. Phillips responded that we have, and they want us to determine responsibility first. If the Town does not have that responsibility, we cannot submit a claim.

Attorney Bennett stated that part of the land falls on Park-owned property and part of it on Town-owned property and asked Mr. Phillips if there is a separate policy under the name of the Parks. Mr. Phillips responded that he has asked the insurance company for that information and is waiting for an answer.

Attorney Bennett said that is the first question because the property is titled some specifically as the Town and some specifically as St. John Parks & Rec. It could be two policies. Mr. Phillips noted that the bleachers are on Park-owned property, and fencing is on Town-owned property.

Mr. Phillips reported that K&S Engineers started doing the soil borings on Monday of this week and found some peat soils, which are unsuitable building soils. They are requesting permission to dig until they find suitable soil. The cost is an additional $30 per foot of depth. Mr. Phillips asked the Park Board to ratify his decision to continue boring.

Discussion ensued regarding capping the maximum depth. Mr. Pondinas recommended basing any motion on Kenn Kraus’ recommendation of how deep to allow them to

Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion regarding K&S Engineers and the additional soil borings.

Mr. Boersma made a motion to authorize K&S Engineers to continue boring on the peat soils at an additional $30 per foot of depth at Prairie West Park not to exceed an additional depth as advised to be feasible by Town Engineer Kenn Kraus; Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Pondinas recognized and thanked the seasonal Park employees for all their hard work. The Park Board thanked them for their hard work. Everyone applauded them.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Boersma made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $26,808.64; Mr. Connelly seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Connelly made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously, and Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Park Board

08-18-2020 Park Board Exhibits.pdf
09-15-2020 Park Board

September 15, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 7:32 P.M. and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: President Mike Bouvat, Vice-President John Boersma; Michael Moffitt Also Present: Tyler McLead, Park and Recreation Superintendent; Gabe Hernandez, Park Maintenance Foreman; Craig Phillips, Town Manager, Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liason; and Nicole Bennett, Board Attorney
Absent: Patrick Connelly

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The approval of minutes was deferred.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Consider approval of application materials for full time maintenance position
Mr. McLead stated this was a new position for a full time maintenance position included in the 2021 budget. Since it is a new position, the job description was created from scratch. It is included in the meeting packet. This position would work under the direct supervision of Gabe and would be another person to perform the needed maintenance in the parks. It will be especially helpful in the spring and summer when we get into our seasonal employees. We could have two crews working, one with Gabe and one with the new employee position. The announcement and job description is included in the packet. Mr. McLead set a tentative application deadline of January 15th, but with the holidays and vacation time, it might be good to leave a little extra room for potential applicants to get their information in.

Mr. Bouvat added one of the deficiencies in the 5 year plan was to add another employee. This new employee would be added for the 2021 calendar year.

Mr. Boersma made a motion to consider approval of application materials for a full time maintenance position. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

B. Request to Purchase additional park truck
Mr. McLead stated they received a quote from Bosak Ford for $36,208. The 2021 budget was approved for up to $43,000. This price point allows us to add a plow and other needed attachments. They received three quotes and this quote came in about $15,000 cheaper for the same specifications.

Mr. Boersma made a motion to request to purchase an additional park truck. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

C. Consider placement of gate at Heartland Park
Mr. McLead stated this item was discussed at Thursday’s study session. It would be a barrier gate at Heartland Park that would essentially close access to the western side of the park during the baseball park’s off-season. Fence Masters provided a quote of $1,915. Mr. McLead deferred to Mr. Hernandez on some ideas on how to perform the work in-house. Mr. Hernandez stated they have some fence equipment that they could repurpose depending on the measurements and if they meet the specs to go across that drive in order to save some money. He added that if the gate is not long enough, they would have to forego that idea. He has not been able to do any measurements. Mr. Boersma would rather do it in-house if they were able. Mr. Moffitt said the quote was for a 24 foot gate. Mr. Hernandez would need to measure the material they have but believes it is 16-20 feet in length. If it is long enough they would just need to add 2 or 3 posts.

Mr. Moffitt added the dumpster often gets filled with miscellaneous items like couches and desks. When he was out working in the area, a resident asked him if the Town would consider putting a gate up. Kids go back there in the winter to drag race and play music really loud. He added it is mostly during the off-season. Mr. Moffitt said the gate would be similar to the gate at Lake Central which Fence Masters also installed.

Mr. Bouvat asked for an alternative motion to approve the gate at Heartland Park by Fence Masters if the work could not be completed with in-house materials. Mr. Boersma made the motion. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

D. Consider needed decking at Heartland Park Babe Ruth Field
Mr. McLead stated this item was also discussed at Thursday’s study session. The press box decking at the Babe Ruth field is unsafe and never built to code to begin with. It needs to be replaced and made compliant with Town codes. Vice President Moffitt met with the building inspector and came to that conclusion. There are two options to replace the decking, one with treated lumber for $8,200 and one with composite material for $17,600. The treated lumber option would need to be painted or stained every two years and the composite material would be more permanent and not require much maintenance at all.

Mr. McLead added that the Parks Department is near the bottom of their budget for 2020. Next month they need to finalize the list of projects for 2021 and maybe figure out how to work this in with how the Board decides tonight. Mr. Boersma stated this could be put off until next year since baseball season is over. He would rather go with composite since it is maintenance free. Mr. Moffitt added that the railing is broken. He asked if someone could go out and repair it in the meantime. The Town installed it 18 years ago, but they did not follow any codes. It is located right on top of concrete and it is supposed to be drilled into the concrete. He added the risers are not the correct distance and the railings are not at the minimum height. The Town building inspector said it could not be fixed but would need to be redone. It doesn’t need to get done right now, but we should get the railing fixed temporarily. Schilling Construction gave a $2,600 bid just to fix it. He thinks if they redid it, their price might be cheaper than the quotes tonight. He said Mr. Hernandez said the lumber yard might give the Town the lumber at cost. Mr. Bouvat asked if anyone was at the field now. Mr. Moffitt replied that maintenance was being done for another week but the press box was not being used. He said we could put yellow caution tape up. Mr. Bouvat asked if Gabe could make the area inaccessible with some signs and tape to restrict assess.

Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to table the decking at Heartland Park. Mr. Boersma made a motion to table the decking. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

E. Review of park rules
Mr. McLead stated this was a housekeeping item. He provided a list of rules that is on the Town website and a list of rules that was included in past Park brochures. He added that there was not much overlap between them. Only one of the rules listed is a Town ordinance that prohibits non-residents from fishing in our water under our jurisdiction. An ongoing project in the next few months would be to create a standard list of Park Rules and get them established in Ordinance so they would be enforced. He met with Ms. Bennett and she suggested he reach out to the Police Department to get their input before finalization since they will ultimately be the ones enforcing the rules. Mr. Bouvat asked Ms. Bennett what would be the best way to approach this. She stated you should first establish a list of rules that you want to enforce that would be codified and enforced through a ticketing process. She added that dogs running loose, dog bites, dog immunizations will already apply throughout the Town so there does not have to be a separate rule that all dogs need to be on a leash, dogs not allowed in certain areas, etcetera. These are going to be things you want your law enforcement to enforce and not in-house rules. She said they should put together a list and then they can go through it and decide what can be enforced and what cannot be enforced. Reaching out the to the police department is a good idea since they are the ones patrolling the area and you don’t want to bog them down with extraneous rules that are not going to be enforced. It would also be a good idea to learn what type of complaints they are getting such as loitering, interfering with ball games, people parking in the wrong places. The next step would be a comparison of fines for those ordinances that stay in line with the other fines already in place. Then the rules would need to be posted, especially since there haven’t been rules by ordinance. The biggest issue will be consistency with the ordinances, rules posted at the parks and in the brochures. It is a step by step process but first and foremost would be to create a list of rules. Then looking at what can be enforced and what is just social etiquette that we are hoping everyone follows. Mr. Bouvat stated he agreed with Mr. McLead that we need park rules. Ms. Bennett interjected that they are not enforceable but social etiquette like picking up the trash and things of that nature. Ms. Bennett stated a big one is allowing use after dark. She said some parks might be lighted and have walking paths and such for use and others need to be restricted. She said park use after dark is a big one that can be enforced. Parking is another common one among communities such as parking in the grass, parking on the curbs, pulling up on the bike paths and things of that nature. She said those two are the most common ones. She wanted to add that they need to think about what they wanted to include because to enforce the rules would be a citation or a ticket that goes through the court process. If someone does not show up for court or follow the requirements, their driver’s license would not be suspended as it is not a driving offense. Mr. Boersma asked if someone like a Park Ranger or volunteers could enforce the rules. Ms. Bennett said it would have to be enforced by law or a Code Enforcer. Ms. Bennett said they would need to be employed but they cannot just have the authority. Ms. Bennett said they can ask nicely but they would not have the authority to enforce or give tickets. She recapped that it would be best just to gather a list of rules and the best place to start would be looking at other towns. Mr. Bouvat asked if she could recommend a place to start, such as Munster. She stated it would be wise to cross reference different towns. Munster has a Park after Dark fine of $500, but the towns never enforce it because no one is going to pay it. A lot of towns have ones like no skateboarding or Lowell had one where only ball games could be played on designated fields so literally kids could be ticketing for playing catch in a big grassy field. So in that sense a lot of towns need some revision. She said you don’t need to reinvent the wheel but look at other ideas you like and copy them for your own town. Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to table the review of park rules. Mr. Boersma made a motion to table. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). OLD BUSINESS: A. Prairie West Parking Lot Expansion Mr. McLead stated this has been brought up in a few previous meetings. The original plan was to create 68 new parking spaces at Prairie West for an amount just under $270,000. This would bring the total parking spaces to 118; there are about 50 parking spaces there currently. The plan was amended when bad soils were found and the Town engineers recommended the removal and replacement of 3 feet of soil to bridge the bad soils and then install a geotextile fabric and underdrain system. The cost for that work was $90,565.66. With the additional work there could be additional engineering costs of $21,800. The Town Council discussed the additional engineering work for the amount up to $21,800 at their meeting on October 28th and they deferred that specific request and the project in general to the Park Board. The project is now approaching $400,000 which is about $586 per parking space. We need to decide where we are on right now and if we want to move forward with this project given the updated costs. Mr. Bouvat asked what the legal ramifications were if the Town completed the work themselves instead. Ms. Bennett stated once you reach the $150,000 mark, it has to go out for bids and it is not something the Town can do in-house. If the Town decides not to follow the advice and guidance of the professionals they are contracting with, they would need to lay out exactly what and why they are choosing not to follow their advice so it is a conscious and thoughtful decision and not based on cost alone. If that is the case, she would recommend abandoning the project and finding a new use for the money or grounds. Mr. Boersma asked who oversees the work being completed. Ms. Bennett said is there are questions on the work completed, she would advise getting a second opinion. She said they are a professional service and you are paying them to complete the work and not having someone follow up behind them. You are calling on someone with expertise and unless someone in the Town has the experience and credentials and licensing, you would need someone else with the equivalent. Ms. Bennett suggested talking with the engineers and seeing if the work could be broken apart and the costs could be trimmed and what the consequences might be for scaling back—premature deterioration, break down in the soil, break down of the saturation, etcetera so you are not just looking at the numbers. Their proposal included the cost of coming to a meeting so she added they could set up a meeting or a zoom so everyone could ask questions and hear from the experts. Mr. Bouvat asked Ms. Bennett if they cancel the project as the Board, can they bring it back to the table and see if it could be done in house. Ms. Bennett said the findings showed favorable conditions to complete the project would be late spring to early fall and any time after that would be not be conducive due to moisture in the ground. You would be looking at March or April at the earliest to even begin. There is built in time to make these decisions. By the size of the project, $230,000 or $260,000, this project would have to go out to bid; it is not something that can be done in house. By law, any project over $250,000 must go out for bids. Breaking the project up does not get around it either. You can’t do a small section now and then a month later do another section to avoid the bidding. Based on having the report now, Ms. Bennett went back to having them ask the engineers the questions to make the determinations. If you choose to abandon the project completely, scale the project back, or do the project in stages, at least you have the knowledge of the issues. Mr. Bouvat recommended tabling the Prairie West Parking Lot Expansion to a later date. Mr. Boersma made the motion. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). B. Community Garden Project Mr. McLead stated at the August 18th Board Meeting, we had the representatives at the Community Garden from Town come to present a proposal for a Community Garden. At that time they were targeting Heartland Park as the location. At the end of the meeting, the Board asked Mr. McLead to be the contact person between them as they worked out the beginning stages of the project. The location was Heartland Park and the parcel of land is where a house was previously located. Mr. McLead and Mr. Pondinas met with Public Works Director Bob Davis at that location to discuss the project and how viable that location was going to be. It was determined that providing water to that location could be a challenge. The water main is located across the street and the Town would have to contract out to bore in. Mr. McLead stated they came up with Patnoe Park as an alternative location which is right across the street. In the packet it shows an overhead picture of the park with a tentative location in the blue box. That location has convenient access to water and if the project proves successful, there is clearly room to grow as well. A tentative budget is also attached to the image that the committee submitted that night that outlines the expenses and potential revenue of the project. Mr. Bouvat asked if the figures aligned with both areas for the perimeter fence. Mr. McLead answered that the location as this point would be the Patnoe Park location as the other location just did not seem like it was going to work. Mr. Bouvat asked if the total cost would be $14,140. Mr. McLead stated that the high end of what they are proposing would be $16,040. Mr. McLead stated that this group is committed to the project. They submitted their proposal and are putting a time line together and will assist with the fundraising involved in the next few months before this really gets off the ground. Additionally, the potential revenue could be up to $1,600 which could help cover the operating expenses at $40 per bed for 40 beds. There are also some community involvement opportunities with this project. We had a local Eagle Scout reach out to us that has expressed interest in helping in any way he could and potentially making some of the beds. He mentioned the possibility of making ten raised beds which would be about $2,000 of expenses. Mr. Moffit asked if labor was included in the price. Labor was not included. Mr. McLead stated we would need to solicit volunteers and ask local businesses for the donation of lumber. The idea would be to elicit community involvement for this project. Mr. Moffitt was concerned about the quality of the built beds if the builders were not experienced with tools and the uniformity of the beds. Mr. McLead stated they had a template for the box in their proposal that had a standard wood and design. If anyone expressed interest in helping, they could follow that template and design. Mr. Moffitt asked about the placement of the beds so they were all evenly spaced and square. Mr. McLead stated he did not include that document in the packet, but he could resend it to the Board because a lot of those questions are answered in the proposal. He stated the proposal was included in the August 18th packet. Mr. McLead stated this group will oversee the work and they have been very responsive to any phone calls or emails. They are very committed and willing to do a lot of the leg work. Mr. Boersma asked if Mr. McLead had experience with Community Gardens in his past. Mr. McLead stated he has and it is pretty common for Park Departments to oversee projects like this. It would be a way to reach a group that we are not currently reaching. Mr. Bouvat stated he likes the project but it might have a few gaps but the community needs it and it would be worthwhile to invest in it. Mr. McLead stated part of the holdup was the location but now that we have a spot we can discuss fundraising efforts and the group is willing to drive a lot of that and raise some of the funds to get this started. Mr. Boersma raised an issue with the parking. Mr. Pondinas stated the way it is set up right now is 75 feet by 100 feet. He thinks it needs to go to the south a little bit more because it is a corner lot and we might be on their property. There is also a culvert in the shaded area that might be on their property. He added it would cost about $1,000 for the sod removal and then they will bring in organic soil. He does not know the cost of the culvert but would have to add that into the cost of the $14,000 so it will be a little bit higher. Mr. Bouvat asked if they could get water if it was across the street at Heartland. Mr. Pondinas stated you would have to go across the road and it ends on White Oak. He said you would have to bore it and that could be costly. The house had its own well and septic system. The water main is in between the blue line on the rectangle and really close to the street. Mr. Pondinas said it would be easier to tap their own main. Mr. Boersma said he is a fan of the project but he is worried about parking. Mr. Pondinas said there is gravel in the grassy area but he believes it is partially on the property next door when he talked to Mr. Davis. He said there is gravel out there in the grass but he is not sure how well that would be for cars. Mr. Pondinas stated you would have to excavate it down 4-6 inches and put the gravel in. Mr. McLead stated that is something they discussed and Mr. David told him it was something they could potentially do in house to see how successful the project is. It would be a more temporary type of lot. He does not foresee twenty cars being there at once. Mr. Bouvat asked for clarification on if the Community Garden group was looking for commitment on the perimeter fence, raised beds, and soil as far as the expense. Mr. McLead said we are looking for a commitment for this to be a Park Project at that location and then I can work with the group on their fundraising efforts for the project. When we get to late February and if zero money is raised and zero people have signed up to participate then we can reevaluate. Mr. McLead does not anticipate it getting to that point based on the commitment level from the community and the social media posts they made on the St. John Facebook pages have garnered a lot of interest. There is not much that we can do in the next few months for prep work for that site at this time of year. Mr. Boersma made a motion to “green light” the Community Garden project. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). Ms. Bennett went back to the proposal made by the Community Garden and wanted to clarify exactly what the Park Board is “green lighting.” The Park Board is approving to have a Community Garden in that location only. They are not approving the funding based on the proposal at this time. The Board agreed that is what the motion was for. Mr. McLead stated that is the proposal they put together back in June. Ms. Bennett just wanted to clarify what was orally presented and not what was listed in the documents. She did not want them to commit to all of the funding by that motion if that is not what the intention is. Ms. Bennett said the project would come before them again with what cost commitments the Park Board would be making at that time. Mr. Bouvat said they would see what fund raising efforts they can do. Ms. Bennett added that they want the Town to put in a water system. She understand they are old proposals but just wanted to clarify the motion and not even approving their 2021 proposal. REPORTS AND CORRESPONDANCE: Mr. Boersma wanted to apologize for missing the past few months of Park Board meetings. He was working 10-12 hour days. Mr. Moffitt wanted to mention the Babe Ruth project at Heartland Park. Turf Masters from Indianapolis is up here doing a 2 week project. They are cutting the whole infield out because whenever it rained it was like an island. They are raising everything up and regrading it all and putting in drain tiles. It is called a perimeter drain that is 2 feet deep. We had to raise another $10,000 for grass and fix everything up while they are out here. They should be done by this Friday. Mr. Pondinas added they put some center drains in going out towards the outfield. He thinks it should be a lot better. Mr. Moffitt added since the company is there they are also going to replace a lot of sod on Fields 1-4 to make it look a little more presentable. Mr. Bouvat stated that he understands Mr. Boersma’s work schedule, but he communicates with them and he appreciates all of his input and involvement. Mr. Bouvat stated that at last Thursday’s Study Session they reviewed the Master Plan for the Parks, reviewed the Comprehensive Financial Plan and they have $1,700,000 in the Fund, and discussed Park projects for 2021. These are still items we are looking at and will hopefully propose at the next meeting the projects to focus on for 2021. They discussed acquiring land for parks, investigating a Community Center, the Lake Hills Clubhouse, Skatepark at the Gates, permanent bathrooms at the Gates, the truck that was mentioned tonight, the Park employee, and Civic Park upgrades for next year. These were things on the Study Session that we discussed and talked about and will hopefully be on the agenda for the next meeting. Mr. Boermsa added he knew he was absent but wanted to know if the handicapped swing at all of the parks was discussed. Mr. Bovuat said it was mentioned but he is not sure if it was on the list. Mr. McLead stated they have a few parks that are equipped with the adaptive swing seats. He said they cost about $800 each so we can look into adding them at some of our other parks. Mr. McLead stated the Town has a ton of playgrounds for the Town. They have 20 playgrounds in St. John and moving forward it will be a challenge to keep all of them in good shape. We have about 5 or 6 that are nearing the end of their useful life. Making playground improvements will probably be an item on the budget every year. Mr. McLead stated the BooFest was held on Saturday, October 24th from 10 AM to Noon at Prairie West Park. They had Trunk or Treat vendors, train rides, games, and some pumpkin decorating. Mr. McLead wanted to thank President Bouvat for his help that day. It ended up being a really good turnout and it was fun event and good to see people out and about. The Visit with Santa event is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2nd from 6:30 PM to7:30 PM. This is our annual contribution to CSRI which is an acronym for Cooperative Special Recreation Initiative. It is a cooperative initiation to provide recreational activities to individuals all of ages with special needs and abilities. We are reviewing the Health Department guidelines and will submit a plan for the event. We are taking pre-registration so we can limit capacity that way and make sure we stay within the updated COVID guidelines that came out recently. Mr. McLead also stated that they have a Facebook page now. It is facebook.com/stjohnparks so if you are on there, be sure to like and share. Mr. Pondinas stated that over the course of the year, the Parks Department has accomplished a number of things—3 basketball courts, repainted the sign at Heartland Park. The residents are saying thank you and are seeing the changes. The summer help came out and did a good job with Gabe’s overseeing them. We were lucky and had good kids and a lot of support. Tyler is here and is doing a lot of good work. Mr. Pondinas said there are a lot of good things to come up in 2021.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $55,069.03. Mr. Boersma seconded. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 8:43 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Ciechna

10-20-2020 Park Board

October 20, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 7:07 P.M. and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Patrick Connelly; Michael Moffitt; and President Mike Bouvat Also present: Tyler McLead, Parks & Recreation Superintendent; Gabe Hernandez, Park Foreman; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer, Craig Phillips, Town Manager, Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liaison; and Nicole Bennett, Board Attorney
Absent: Johnny Boersma, Vice-President

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Bouvat stated there was a slight amendment to the September 15, 2020 minutes. In the roll call it listed Mr. Boersma as absent so there needs to be a slight correction. Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the minutes with the amendment. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ratify approval of seeding and grading work at Heartland Park
Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion to consider approval of seeding and grading work at Heartland Park in the amount of $8,220.95. Mr. Moffitt made a motion; Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. (3) Ayes. (0) Nays.
B. Ratify approval to purchase new bleachers at Heartland Park
Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion to consider approval of the purchase of new bleachers at Heartland Park in the amount of $8.806.00. Mr. Moffit made a motion; Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. (3) Ayes. (0) Nays.
C. Consider approval of local match for St. John Pathway extension for NIRPC/NOFA Grant Application
Mr. Phillips stated that at the last meeting he asked if the Board was comfortable with pursuing an application for extension of the pathway system in St. John. Since that time they have put together a draft application for submittal tomorrow with the help of one of our engineering firms, American Structure Point. They did preliminary scoring of the project and determined it was competitive, meaning that they have received enough points to be one of the projects that at least receive some level of funding. He stated he previously sent a map and has provided a clearer version just now. It shows the existing segments of pathways, some of which are owned directly by the Town and some that are owned by HOAs in Town are reflected in the map on green. There are proposed segments that are part of this application process. One would be from the roundabout at Parrish and Joliet or 101st, westward to the new intersection at Joliet and 96th Pl, which is shown in purple on the map between the train tracks. Then there is the green segment that is the existing segment that was recently installed as part of the 96th Place improvements that were made in conjunction with Shops 96 and some other improvements west of 41. There is a small yellow section that extends up to Joliet that will be constructed with the road construction once the settling of the site is done, the roadway and pathway will be constructed. It is anticipated to be done by late spring of next year. The other portion of the application would be to run a pathway from the intersection of 96th Pl and Keilman down to the east side of Keilman which becomes Hedwig Dr until it intersects with the existing St. John pathway at Homestead Acres Park. The third section would be a continuance of the pathway section to the west of White Oak Ave to Saddlecreek Subdivision, where it meets up with existing pathways that were put in by Homeowners Associations. So this application consists of the three purple segments. It does not include the purple segment on the north end by 93rd as that is not eligible for funding since it is not considered a medium corridor with the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission. Mr. Phillips stated it is his intention to work with the county park system and the Town of Schererville Parks to hopefully connect St. John up to the Pennsy trail which is the trail that runs diagonally along the old Pennsy trail in Schererville and up to Munster. The segments of those trails are currently up to Rohrman Park in Schererville, but they will be constructed all the way down to Clark Rd. They have received full funding for that project. It brings the trail relatively close to St. John so in a future round of funding, it is our intention to apply for funds to make that connection so residents of St. John would have access to the regional trail system by the way of the Pennsy trail. So that is the geography of the application.

Mr. Phillips stated that the grants pay 80 percent of the cost to construct the project. In order for a grant to be competitive, we have to commit to a 30 percent match. The numbers are based on a 30 percent match as opposed to a 20 percent match. Mr. Phillips stated they are committing 30 percent because it gets the most points on the application. The total cost of those segments is estimated to be $2,587,500 and 30 percent of that is $608,500. Mr. Phillips stated this is an appropriate project to consider using Recreation Impact Fee dollars for and the application is for dollars that would become available, at the earliest, in 2025 or 2026. It is something that can be planned for if we receive the grant from this process. We would find out if we receive funds in January or February. There is a process they go through between now and the submittal and the end of the process that involves a lot of meetings involving the Stakeholders with various committees at the Regional Plan level and ultimately decide on what they are going to award. We are not required to commit any funds until we receive an invoice from INDOT, most likely in 2025 or 2026. Mr. Phillips stated he is asking the Park Board to consider, not approval of the expenditure, but if we get the grant dollars, that we would be willing to pay that. We are submitting a letter saying we are willing to pay the local match in the event of the receipt of the grant dollars. There is no obligation for us to spend a dime; we can always give this money back if we want to. It is not necessarily advisable as it hurts your chance for the future of getting additional grant funds. Mr. Phillips said the application is extensive and that is why they use consultants because you have to gather quite a bit of background information. He added they are also submitting two road related applications that will be brought before the Council next week to consider as well. Mr. Phillips stated he would pass the application around and is happy to answer any questions.

Mr. Bouvat stated that was quite a bit of information and feels an executive session would be needed to get much more detail. Mr. Phillips replied that they gave them one month and the application process opened September 20th, 2020 and applications are due tomorrow. He added that this is the only opportunity to come together before the Park Board before applications are due. You are not actually expending the dollars at this time; you are not spending any money at this time. It is unfortunate that there is such a small window of opportunity for the grant. He said it was literally dropped on them and the same thing happened with the paving dollars. The State gives a small window of time to get all of the application materials, commitment letters, all the support, and etcetera. The owners of the parcel of land that lies underneath the NIPSCO power line from Saddlecreek Subdivision have committed to donate the land necessary to make the trail connection in the event that we receive the grant dollars. St. John gains points on the application because we basically control all of the land for the trail connections. Midwest Training and Ice Center has also committed to preliminary engineering that gains additional points on the application for partnerships. This increases the likelihood of receiving funding for the project. It is likely St. John would not receive the full funding for the project at one time but would need to go back for additional funding through the same process in the future. This process becomes available every two years through the Regional Plan Commission.

Mr. Bouvat asked if we didn’t take advantage of this opportunity if we would have to wait two years. Mr. Phillips confirmed that and said St. John has not taken advantage of the grant since 1997 or 1998. This same funding was used to construct the portion of the pathway that goes from Homestead Acres park west to White Oak Avenue and down to Midwest Ice and Training Center. This was the last time St. John applied for any funds through the Regional Plan Commission. Other towns around us are very active in terms of seeking these grant funds. Schererville, Munster, Merrillville, Crown Point are all aggressive in seeking these dollars.

Mr. Phillips stated that if we do get the funds, then we commit to the match dollars in 2025 or 2026 so it is something we can plan for. Pathway improvements are something that will be a benefit to the community so we are not just applying for grant funds for the sake of applying. These are projects that will benefit Saint John. Mr. Moffitt asked to clarify that the Town would pay zero dollars unless they were accepted. Mr. Phillips confirmed that the Town would pay nothing until just before the project begins. Mr. Moffitt further questioned the cost of engineering and core sampling. Mr. Phillips stated that would be needed to be started soon and if the funds were received, then they could do a split between federal and local dollars for the engineering. Surveying, geotechnical work would all needed to be started to ensure the ground was suitable for the work to be done. This process can take 2-3 years. The Town would need to pay for this work now. Mr. Phillips stated they may receive engineering dollars as part of the grant or they may not. The Town will find out if January or February if they received any funds for engineering and then they would really need to get started.

Mr. Bouvat asked who was responsible for the grant in 1998. Mr. Phillips stated he believed it was the Town Manager in conjunction with the Park Director. It is possible the grant was paid by Recreational Impact Fees. Mr. Phillips stated he would need to look into that. Mr. Connelly felt it was a lot of information thrown at the Board to decide by tomorrow. Mr. Phillips stated the Town is not spending any money at this time. Mr. Connelly explained there would be engineering costs. He said they experienced this at Prairie West Park where they dug and then ran into problems. Mr. Bouvat stated he did not feel comfortable right now and would like to discuss it further. Mr. Phillips stated they would miss the grant opportunity then.

Mr. Pondinas stated if this was brought up a month ago, they should have had a special meeting to explain it to the Park Board. You are asking them to make a decision for $608,000.00 plus boring and everything else by tomorrow. Mr. Phillips stated he just found out the information himself. Mr. Pondinas stated Mr. Phillips came up with the figure $608,500.00 just minutes before they need to make a decision. Mr. Phillips replied that if he received the information sooner, he would have provided it sooner. Mr. Pondinas asked if there were other funds to use besides impact fees. Mr. Phillips stated if the Town receives the grant, they will be able to specify which funds to use for the match. Mr. Phillips stated impact fees are the most likely candidate because that is what those type of funds are used for. Mr. Pondianas asked if the Town received the grant money for Founders Park and Prairie West Park and how much money was received. Mr. Phillips stated Founders is fifty percent of the project from the DNR and is roughly $250,000.00 of the total $500,000.00. It is a little bit more now because of the geotechnical work that was needed. It is delayed because it requires a tribal consultation for the grant. The funds are just delayed in terms of the grant agreement. Mr. Phillips stated they can start spending the money on Prairie West Park and I know we are getting ready for that to go to bid. Mr. Pondinas stated he knows that got put on hold, but if the Town did their due diligence and did not procrastinate, Schilling’s was putting their final coat on the Continental and they could have come right across the street and probably saved the Town some money on mobilization and it could have all been done. Mr. Phillips stated if they wanted to donate their work, it could have saved the Town money, but any work that the Town does is subject to different finance rules and quoting or bidding. Due to the cost of the project, the Town needs to bid it and there is no way around that. Along with bidding, comes all the specs that must be put together and the engineering to get an even playing field to get bidders to respond. Mr. Pondinas stated it was going to be a $267,000.00 project and then $12,600.00 was going to go for handicap parking and move and redo the trail since part of the parking lot was going to take the trail. Mr. Pondinas stated he thinks the project should have been done this year. Mr. Phillips added that the Town still has the grant dollars for Founders, but they are just delayed in the approval to spend it. They are waiting to hear back from the DNR and that they scheduled the consultation with the tribal entities involved in that process.

Mr. Bouvat asked if it would be possible for the Town Council to pay for it to in order to advance the project. Mr. Phillips stated the Town could commit to the dollars for the local match necessary for the project. However, the Park Board is responsible for the expenditure of the money from the Park Impact Fee and he believes that is how the local match was paid last time. It is an appropriate expansion type project for the community. He stated the Council did cover the cost of getting the application put together. Mr. Phillips stated he did not come to the Park Board for the payment of getting the application together. He added that St. John is one of the few communities that is not in the “hopper” to receive federal funds and the more applications they turn in, the more likely they will receive grant funds. The Town would have to wait an additional two years to apply for the same funds and then it would be for 2027 and 2028. Every two years is for a block of funding that is five years out. Mr. Bouvat stated if the Town Council would be willing to do that, then that would give the Park Board time to dig a little bit further and explore and possibly work something out. Mr. Phillips stated he does not know if the Town Council can commit Recreational Impact Fee dollars to the match. ANR Pipeline and Energy over on White Oak Avenue also has grant dollars available. Mr. Phillips stated he intends to work with Mr. McLead to apply for funds. You can receive up to $100,000.00 through their grant process as well. That would help offset some of the Town’s funds for requirements of the match. He stated that is a source of funds that is also available. Mr. Moffitt asked if the land was on their property. Mr. Phillips replied that is just north of their property and it is owned by a Trust. The owners of the Trust have committed to donate that land to the Town in the event that the grant dollars are received. This would connect the neighborhoods farther to the West like Saddlecreek, Greystone, and Silverleaf and part of the newer sections of the Preserves.

Mr. Connelly stated be feels the bike trails are a wonderful thing, but there are too many unanswered questions. Mr. Phillips asked if he would be open to an executive session. Mr. Connelly stated he thought the application was due tomorrow. Mr. Phillips stated this would be stretching things but there is a staff review time between now and the middle of November. It is possible to submit applications and then submit additional documentation that goes along with it a little bit later. Mr. Phillips stated in order to do that, the Town would have to submit a letter now that would commit to the local match. Then they could meet to discuss it further and if they were not comfortable, they could take back their application before it goes to the topical committees which are the ones that review the applications before it goes to the full board.

Town Council President Gerald Swets came to the podium. Mr. Swets stated he was the representative for NRPS and came tonight to answer any questions that would come up. Mr. Bouvat had a valid question regarding if the Town was willing to commit the money from the Town Council. The Town Council will be going through the same process next week because they have an application for work on 93rd Avenue and an application for Cline Avenue from Schererville to Cedar Lake with partnerships with Lake County and Schererville. The Town Council had to come through the same process. You have your application and you have so much time to get it turned in. If it is not turned in, then you have to wait an additional two years for another chance. Mr. Swets stated he was here tonight to answer any questions and he believed they were looking at a 15-million-dollar project. Mr. Phillips stated the Cline Avenue project was estimated between 8 and 10 million dollars. The 93rd Avenue project was around 5 million but he did not have the figures in front of him. Mr. Swets stated the Town Council has about 15 million dollars’ worth of grant projects and an opportunity to get a thirty to seventy percent matching funds from the government. It does not become available that often and it is a great opportunity. Unfortunately, there is only 30 days to get this done. He is more than happy to answer any questions about the process. Mr. Phillips has talked about scoring and trying to get other partners to get a higher score. Everyone applies for the money and whoever has the highest scores, gets first pick of the money. If a Town doesn’t score well enough, you might never see that money. We might get approval for the whole project or there might only be money for half of the project. In that case, we could do part of it and then follow up and hopefully get the remaining funds the next year. What you are committing to now is zero and what you are committing to in the next 12 months is probably zero. You might find out in January or February that you have been approved and you have a year or two to get the engineering done. If you are looking at money in 2025, you can probably push back until 2023 for the costs. Mr. Connelly asked if the Town Council was going through this next week, why was this falling on the Park Board and not the Council. Mr. Swets answered that this is for trail money and the trails is the Park Department. He said the Council is taking care of the roads and the Parks are responsible for the trails. Mr. Phillips stated there is money for trails and different money for various types of road projects. Mr. Swets stated the Council is going through the same process for a larger amount of money. Mr. Moffitt said the Council has a larger amount of money to pull from. The boring for Prairie West Park cost a lot. He would love a trail but he is concerned with the cost. Mr. Swets stated once it was time for the project to start, they could always eliminate one of the sections. They could decide to only do one section and only take the money for one section. The decision would not need to be made until 2025 when the invoice comes for the entire project. Mr. Bouvat stated that if the Town Council was required to make an instantaneous decision, it would “take them back a little” too. Mr. Phillips stated it is not fair to communities to only have 30 days to put together applications, but it is the reality if you want access to these types of funds. Mr. Phillips stated Mr. Swets is the representative to the body we are talking about and they are notorious for not making it easy and give a very short window of time. The Community Crossing grant has the exact same window. Our application became available almost on the same day last month and it is due this Friday. There was a whole bunch of information that the Town had to put together and the Town has to commit to 50 percent of the funding. Mr. Swets added that they don’t have an estimate until the engineers get done looking at the project. The consultants have to give the numbers and Mr. Phillips finally got those numbers. Mr. Bouvat stated when the window opened, the Park Board should have been notified. Mr. Phillips replied that he brought it to the last Board meeting. He stated that was his notification that the grant process became available and stated that the deadline was October 21st. Mr. Pondinas asked if this was part of the 5 year plan. Mr. Phillips stated it is outside of the 5 year plan and that it would be in a future revision of the 5 year plan. Mr. Pondinas stated he did not like doing this all-in-one night. Mr. Philliips stated it was not him; it was the situation on how you go about getting the dollars. It is not that we waited too long to apply for these dollars. This window is very short. Schererville has gotten multiple millions of dollars for their trail system using this same method over the course of many years. Schererville has successfully gotten the funds many years in a row. Mr. Pondinas asked why is the Park Board responsible for this. The developer of Saddle Creek put in trails. Why don’t we ask some of the developers? Mr. Phillips stated there are not any developers for the segments he mentioned. Mr. Pondinas stated one developer owns one section. Mr. Phillips stated it is not part of a subdivision plat and is pinned in between existing subdivisions and property owned by ANR. The other one is existing road that has already been platted in subdivisions. Joliet Street is an older segment that is a combination of platted subdivisions and older established homes. There are not other direct opportunities to put these trails in. They are seeking other partners and trying to get that grant from ANR which could be substantial. ANR is interested in supporting us on the application. Mr. Pondinas asked when he started talking to ANR. Mr. Phillips replied that it was late last week. They do not have dollars to commit to the project today but they have a grant process that you have to apply for. When Mr. Phillips discovered the application would receive more points for a sponsor, he contacted ANR and the owner of the parcel where the path could be extended to the West.

Mr. Bouvat thanked Mr. Swets for his comments. He stated they are looking at this from a Park Board. They are looking at a lot of different projects right now and he cannot see how this fits in right now. Mr. Bouvat recommends that they table the project. Mr. Phillips stated they cannot table it—they either apply or they do not apply. The application has to be submitted by tomorrow so if they chose to table it, they miss the application deadline. Mr. Moffitt asked about the letter he referred to earlier in the meeting. Mr. Phillips stated you can send the letter that you commit, but you can also rescind it.

Clerk Treasurer Beth Hernandez came to the podium. Ms. Hernandez stated that if she understood correctly, engineering costs would begin next year. Mr. Phillips stated possibly. If the grant was awarded to St. John, they would want to get started next year or the year following. Ms. Hernandez stated, in a sense, it would impact the Park Board’s 5-year plan because they haven’t planned for those engineering costs. Ms. Hernandez asked if there would be consideration from the Council that, if they proceed with the submittal of the grant, the Council would pick up the cost of the engineering fees. Mr. Phillips stated that is absolutely an option. Ms. Hernandez stated that way the Park Board would not be out any money until they find out what they are allotted for the grant. Ms. Hernandez stated the Park Board would be putting out money for the engineering costs next year without knowing if they are proceeding with the grant. They would be out the engineering fees without knowing if they were proceeding or not with the grant. Ms. Hernandez stated if the Council would consider picking up the engineering fees, it would give the Park Board more time to discuss the project so the Board would not be out any fees. Mr. Phillips stated they are not out anything now anyway because they are not spending anything now. Ms. Hernandez stated it would still be contingent on the Council agreeing to use funds they oversee to pick up the engineering costs. Right now the Park Board is being asked to pick up the 6 million plus dollars and the engineering costs on top of it. Mr. Phillips stated that the engineering costs are included. That is the total cost of the project. Ms. Hernandez asked how much of the 6 million was engineering fees. Mr. Phillips stated he did not know if it was detailed in what he passed out earlier, but it is typically ten to twelve percent of the total project cost. Mr. Moffitt asked what would happen if they ran into the same problems as Prairie West Park. Mr. Phillips stated it was roughly $250,000 to $300,000 for engineering fees for a project of this size. Ms. Hernandez asked to clarify that for the $608,500 project, roughly $200,000 would be engineering fees. Ms. Hernandez asked if the Park Board would pick up $200,000 or would it be ten percent of the match. Mr. Phillips stated it would be 30 percent of the match. Ms. Hernandez stated that either way they will be out the money in the beginning of 2021, whether they proceed with the grant or not. They might feel more comfortable if the Town Council would consider picking up the engineering costs so the Park Board is not out that money. Mr. Phillips stated it would be more like 2022. In 2021, they would hire consultants and get the project started. The engineering would be until later in 2021 or early 2022. Ms. Hernandez state what she believes Mr. Connelly to be saying is that the number sounds great, but then the engineering costs come and problem after problem come up. Mr. Phillips replied that of the 2.85 million dollars, $285,000-$300,000 is for engineering. Ms. Hernandez asked if that was on top of the $608,000 match. Mr. Phillips replied that a portion of the $608,000 would be engineering. The Town is paying for 30 percent of the overall cost, including engineering. Ms. Hernandez stated from the Park Board’s view, it will impede on their 5-year plan. Mr. Phillips stated that it would slightly. It is not a massive number, but it is a consideration. Ms. Hernandez stated it would be substantial for them. Mr. Phillips stated he can get a better estimate of the engineering costs for the Council next week. Mr. Bouvat stated that is a very good option. Mr. Bouvat stated they had a 30-day window and Mr. Phillips initiated it and comes into a Board meeting where they have to make a decision. Mr. Phillips stated he is missing a good opportunity to get cheap money. Mr. Bouvat replied that Mr. Phillips missed a big opportunity by not communicating and talking to the Board. Mr. Phillips stated that he came to the last Board meeting and expressed interest in applying for these funds. Mr. Bouvat stated that the Board encouraged him to do so, but when you get the information, you can’t come into a Board meeting and ask for a decision right now. Mr. Phillips stated it is not because he is holding the information until the last minute. The engineers need time to put the estimates together. Mr. Phillips stated the Board can always pull their application. Mr. Moffitt stated he sees the benefit of the trails, but locking up $600,000 is hard and is on the fence. Mr. Bouvat stated he has not been on the Park Board that long but Mr. Phillips has been doing projects like this for a lot longer. Mr. Phillips replied for 15-20 years. Mr. Bouvat stated he has experience. Mr. Phillips stated it is always the same. Due to COVID this year, we did not know until the last minute when they released the opportunity. NIRPS was shut down for months and then they were reminded by the Federal Highway Administration that provides the funding to put out a call for projects so the communities do not miss out on the funds. He said it was sprung on them. It is very similar to the Community Crossing Grant process. We do not know when the State is going to open up the grant process for those funds. In fact, the Community Crossing grant process was even worse. They just announced it in a newsletter that funds were now available and communities have to spring into action to put these applications together. That is a little different because it is part of the Town’s 5-year plan and have been planning on an annual basis on how to pay for that match. You are just committing to the possibility of receiving these funds. If you receive the funds, then you can decide if you want to proceed forward with the engineering for all of it or a portion of it. We will never know if we don’t apply. We are not out any money currently. Ms. Hernandez stated she wanted to make sure the Board knows that they are not currently out any money, but engineering costs would start in 2021. Mr. Phillips interjected that if they receive the grant, they can decide if they want the money. Mr. Swets stated that engineering costs start when you do the project. If you are not going to get money until 2025, the engineering costs would not start until 2023. Mr. Phillips stated if there is no right of way acquisition involved, that is correct. The consultants have said there is not right of way involved, but you still have to certify that there is no right of way involved.

[General discussion ensued].

Ms. Bennett stated she was concerned about the acquisition of the properties. She asked if they were all owned by the same trust. Mr. Phillips stated the two purple segments on the East, one that goes from Parrish to the tracks and one that goes from North to South, are already owned by the Town. The only other segment is the purple segment on the West end. They have indicated in writing that they will provide the land for the trail, along with letters for their commitment to the other road projects. Ms. Bennett asked Mr. Swets if the money is rejected by the Town, then that would affect scoring for the future. Mr. Swets stated that is could. Ms. Bennett asked if the Town rejected the money in 2025, what level would that cripple the Town for the next round by jumping too early without having all of their questions answered. Mr. Swets stated he did not feel they were jumping too early. The whole funding for the NIRPS projects are to get your application in the “hopper.” Mr. Phillips stated it then becomes a legacy project. In the past, communities that had applications in the hopper, got first dibs at all of the money to fully fund the rest of their project. The Town of Munster has taken decades to get the funding necessary to do the 45th Street flyover. It has taken them many different grant cycles to get the funding they needed to finally do that project. They have started that and it is still ongoing. Mr. Phillips stated that when he worked in Michigan City, they wanted to apply for some NIRPS funds and the previous Mayor had decided to give back 1 million dollars of received grant funds. Other communities essentially black-balled them when it came to face-to-face negotiations. Having good faith to use the funds granted is a big deal. If we apply now we can still apply in two more years to get additional funds and build up the funds necessary to do the project in phases. The Town might find out they only get $100,000 this time but when the Town applies again, we will have a higher likelihood of getting more money. Mr. Phillips stated Legacy Projects get a huge point boost of about 25 points for applying again for the same project. Ms. Bennett asked if there was a decrease if you send the money back. Mr. Phillips stated it is not a decrease in score, but when you are in the negotiation process with the other communities.

[General discussion ensued].

Mr. Bouvat stated if St. John was awarded money and then they returned it, they might actually be hurting St. John in the long run for future projects. Mr. Swets stated you would not be giving the money back, but pulling the project from the list. Once they give you the money and then you give the money back, that is another issue. If you pull your project out before 2025 when the money shows up, you are not giving the money back.

[General discussion ensued].

Mr. Moffitt asked if the Town Council would consider paying for the engineering costs. Mr. Swets stated that the Council’s budget is pretty well spoken for in the 5 year plan. He said he is only one vote so he can’t vote for the Council. Mr. Moffitt asked if he would consider bringing it up at the meeting. Mr. Swets stated it would depend on what the engineering costs were going to be. Mr. Swets stated once you apply for it, you can pull it out. If you don’t apply for it, you are not going to get it though. The engineering costs will be a couple of years out before you have to spend that money. Ms. Bennett asked what the time line was to spend the grant money once it was received. Mr. Phillips stated it follows a fiscal calendar and if the funds become available in July, they are obligated by the following April. This means a construction contract would need to be in place or an engineering contract for whatever the funds are being used for. Otherwise, you would lose the funds. Then they are pretty flexible as long as it is within the contract period.

Mr. Bouvat would like to have the Town Council consider picking up the engineering costs and give the Park Board have an opportunity to look into and review the grant. If the Town moves forward and put their name on the application and the Park Board has time to study it and it is feasible, they will consider it. Mr. Phillips asked if they were willing to submit a commitment letter know with the ability to rescind it. Mr. Bouvat clarified that if the Town assumed the responsibility. Mr. Phillips stated he cannot submit an application without the commitment. Mr. Bouvat stated the Town would need to make it. Mr. Phillips stated he cannot do that until the 28th. Ms. Bennett asked if there was a change or modification that could be made with who the applicant is. Mr. Phillips stated that the Town is the entity applying and it is the commitment of funds that come from the entity. The fund can always change down the line as long as the money is available when the bill is due. Ms. Hernandez asked if the application could be rewritten so it is not so specific as what fund is being committed. Mr. Phillips stated it could be Town funds. Ms. Hernandez stated that would not put the Park Board on the hook for the Impact Fee funds. Ms. Hernandez stated she has not been a part of many grant processes but it usually doesn’t ask which funds you are committing with. That would apply for more discussions between the Council and the Park Board on what funds are being used. Ms. Bennett stated the Park Board can only make a motion on the funds they oversee. Mr. Phillips stated they can make a recommendation to support the application. Ms. Hernandez stated the Park Board can make a recommendation to support the application but they are not committing any funds at this point.

[General discussion ensued].

Mr. Phillips asked if trails were included in the 5-year plan. Ms. Hernandez stated that trail maintenance for $150,000 and the trail on the East side in the Gates for $150,000 was included. Mr. Connelly asked how much maintenance would cost for the additional trails. Mr. McLead stated there is a lot of deferred maintenance.

Ms. Bennett stated a motion would be to support the Town’s application but there would not be time to get the Town’s approval. If your motion is only to support the Town, you are essentially denying it or rejecting it. There is not time to go before the Town Council for approval before tomorrow’s deadline. Mr. Phillips stated the Town has received permission to submit the Council’s application and then submit a letter after the Town Council meeting next week. He said they could do the same for the grant for the trails.

Ms. Hernandez stated the Park Board cannot just give approval for the application without funding. It would need to go before the Town Council. Mr. Phillips stated they can still submit the application. It would just be missing the letter of application which could be submitted at a later date. Ms. Bennett stated the Park Board needs to either approve or refuse the submittal of the application. Ms. Hernandez believed that approval of Town funds was not committing them to any Park funds. Ms. Hernandez believed the motion would be to submit the application with General Town funds and not locking yourself into paying with funds from the Park Impact Fee. It could be Riverboat, Cable TV, Impact Funds, or a combination of funds. Baker Tilly could also look at the 5-year plan and decide what would be the best way to fund this project. Mr. Phillips stated it would have been inappropriate for him to go to the Town Council for a trails grant without coming to the Park Board first.

[General discussion ensued].

Mr. Phillips stated that it has come to asking if the Park Board will approve the submittal of the grant application and then go to the Town Council for approval of funds. If the Town Council does not approve the funds, then the application will have to be removed. Mr. Connelly stated he does not feel comfortable. If they received information in advance like the Council received for the Road Impact, it would have given them time to sit down and discuss it for a week. Mr. Phillips asked if they would like to have a special meeting between now and the Council meeting to discuss it some more.

[General discussion ensued].

Mr. Bouvat asked if there was a motion. A motion was not received. Instead, Mr. Moffitt made a motion to table the item; Mr. Connelly seconded the motion. Ms. Bennett wanted to clarify to the Board that tabling the item was essentially denying it. The Town Council cannot proceed on a Park Property project without the Park Board’s approval. Mr. Phillips stated the Town, not the Park, owned 2 segments and the other segment is being donated. He believes the Town can move forward since it is not Park Property. Ms. Bennett stated the Town cannot put pathways on property owned by the Town and then bind the Park Board into paying for them unless the Park Board assumes that. [General discussion ensued]. Ms. Hernandez stated they often see the issue arise between Town and Park owned property and the maintenance costs. Mr. Phillips stated the Parks typically maintain pathways but it does not have to be that way. Ms. Hernandez stated it takes 48 hours to notice a meeting so the soonest a special meeting could be held would be Friday. However, it still does not give enough time for submittal of the application. Mr. Phillips stated the application can still be submitted but it would have to be pulled if they did not receive the commitment letter from the Council next week. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

D. Consider Participation in a Region-Wide Trail Counter Program
Mr. Phillips stated this is a request from NIRPS to see if the Town was interested in installing trail counters with the idea of St. John becoming part of a regional wide trail network. It would take a connection to Schererville to make that eventually happen. They have funds now to pay for 80 percent of the counters to be able to tell how many people are using the pathways. This would be for the existing pathways. There are four different options that they presented. They would like to know if the Park Board is interested in participating in the program and paying for one or more of the counters. The Town’s cost would be 25 percent. Option One is a solid slate box which is the sturdiest option. The total cost would be $720. The mini counter is basically attached to a post and looks more like a camera. The total cost would be $620. The post and loop is installation of a post or ballard on the trail. It is a little bit more costly. The cost could be $1,040 or $1140. The compact display option is even more expensive. These are four options that NIRPS asked if St. John would be interested in participating in the program. Even though these dollars amounts are within what I can approve, I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to install something like this without the Park Board’s approval. This is the cost per individual unit. Mr. Phillips stated he is bringing this before the Park Board and they can decide if they want to participate or not.

Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to consider participation in the region-wide trail counter program. Mr. Phillips stated it lists where each type if recommended to be placed in the paperwork. The only one that really make sense is the solid slate boxes. The twenty percent cost on that would be $720. Mr. Connelly asked how many they would need. Mr. Phillips stated it would be up the them to decide how many they wanted. Mr. Connelly stated he would not know. Mr. Phillips stated they could install one or more. He stated you could install one at Homestead Acres park and would capture people going from one end of that trail to another. Mr. McLead stated it appears NIRPS recommendation was to install one at Olcott Avenue. Mr. Phillips stated that was correct. Mr. Bouvat asked if there was any other discussion. There was none.

Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to consider participation in a region-wide trail counter program. Mr. Moffitt made a motion to table the item. Mr. Connelly seconded the motion. The motion passed. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Basketball Court Renovations
Mr. McLead stated that work was complete on all three basketball court renovations at Civic, Lancer, and Larimer Park. There was an issue with one of the goals at Lancer Park where alterations had to be made to complete the install. Flex Court had to gain approval from the manufacturer prior to installation to ensure it did not affect the warranty. Once they received approval, they were able to come out to complete the job. All three basketball courts are now complete.
B. Heartland Park Fencing
Fence Masters completed the dumpster enclosure and the needed repair work at Field 4 at Heartland Park. Gabe also had the good idea of having St. John Paving come out and do some striping around the dumpster to prevent people from parking near it. It turned out really well and looks nice. Mr. Moffitt added that they also fixed the holes in the fence and it looks really good out there.
C. Heron Lake Splash Pad
Mr. McLead stated that the new controller arrived and it has been installed and the Splash Pad has been winterized. He added that the insurance check we received was for $2,875.00.
D. Lake Hills Amphitheatre Restoration
The Lake Hills Amphitheatre Restoration was completed on Friday, October 2nd and there was a wedding booked for that day as well. The work was wrapped up about two hours before the wedding so we cut it pretty close, but it looks really nice. Mr. Bouvat added that he was glad they were able to get the wedding in.
E. Pavilion Roof Replacements
Mr. McLead added that these were two roof replacements that were approved last month at Lancer Park Pavilion and Prairie West Pavilion. Work on the roof replacements were completed on both pavilions. Mr. Bouvat added that we beat the weather on that work.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDANCE:

Mr. Moffitt stated that St. John Baseball has a big project for the Babe Ruth field that was approved in the amount of $42,000. They are going to renovate the whole infield and will put drainage in the infield to the outfield because it holds a lot of water. They are supposed to start on the 17th but because of the rain it will start approximately on November 1st now for that project. Mr. McLead added ET Paddock said the bleachers came in and they are working on them at their facility. They are trying to set up a time for next week to come deliver and install all of them. Mr. Moffitt said the grass is also starting to come through a little bit too.

Mr. McLead wanted to report on a few events that we had recently. The fishing derby was held on Saturday, September 26th at Prairie West Park. This was a DNR family free fishing day. There were 40 participants at the event.

When we advertised that the renovations of the basketball courts were complete we put together a 3 on 3 basketball tournament that took place this last Saturday, October 17th at Civic and Larimer Park. There were 18 teams signed up that ranged from 5th grade to 12th grade. We were up against the weather and wanted to get it in. We had 6 referees between the 2 courts that we will have to make a motion to pay them at the rate of $10 per hour. Mr. McLead asked if the referees needed to be named individually. Ms. Bennett stated that was not necessary as long as we had the total amount. Mr. McLead stated the total was $300; 2 were paid $30 for their 3 hours of service, 4 were paid $60 for their 6 hours of service.

Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to consider payment of the referees at the new basketball courts. Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve; Mr. Connelly seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

Mr. McLead stated that the annual Halloween event, BooFest, will be held on Saturday, October 24th from 10 AM to 12 PM at Prairie West Park. They have about a dozen or so Trunk or Treat vendors on board. They will also be doing train rides, games, and some pumpkin decorating as well. The response has been pretty overwhelming.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $74,495.57. Mr. Connolly seconded. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Daniel Hollingshead: 8915 Willow Ln
Mr. Hollingshead started by stating this was his first Park Board meeting he attended and wanted to say he thinks everyone is doing a good job. It was nice to sit and observe everything. He is not envious of them in their position because they have a lot of difficult decisions to make. He stated he is here today because of the basketball courts. He thinks they are really nice and have done a nice job as with all of the parks. The Black Friday bash at Prairie West Park is always fun. He has had family memories there that he and his kids will cherish forever. He said his house backs up to Lancer Park where the basketball court is at. [There is a photo displayed on the screen]. The basketball court is attracting a lot of people which is a good thing. You want the citizens to go out and have a good time. He said he has 2 little kids, a 9-year-old and a 3 year old and 2 dogs. People are constantly traveling through his yard, nonstop, especially with the kids home on e-learning. Adults have also been going through. His kids were on the trampoline and someone walked right next to it with a hoodie on. He said it scared his wife during the day when he was gone at work. He added he is not allowed to put up a fence so there is nothing he is able to do to get privacy to his yard from the basketball court. He said he does not have a way to stop anyone from coming through. When he sees people outside, he will ask them not to cut through the yard, but it doesn’t really help. People are still constantly going through. He asked if a fence could possibly be put up or something to deter the people from cutting through his yard.

Mr. Bouvat asked Mr. Hollingshead to show his where on the picture. Mr. Hollinghead showed where his house was located on the picture. He showed where trees used to be located at the park. He demonstrated where people would cut through in order to avoid going all the way around to get to the park. He said they walk right next to his house. In addition to his kids, he has two rottweilers, aged 1 and 2. They are nice dogs and are not aggressive, but he doesn’t want them to knock someone over. He added there is also a lady who is in her 70s that walks through and he doesn’t want her to get knocked over. He said he was looking for something to be put up to prevent that from happening. He was asked if the trees were on his property or the parks. He answered that he believed they were on the easement. Mr. Bouvat asked if more trees would work instead of a fence. He answered that some arborvitae would be good. He added that if he could put up a fence he probably would have done it five years ago, but unfortunately his neighborhood has a convenance where he is not able to do that. He had an invisible fence installed so his dogs can’t get out of his yard. It is hard to tell from the picture but the trees are raised a little bit and there is a retaining wall on his side that is 2 or 3 feet off the ground. He said that doesn’t even deter the older lady; she just goes right over that. He doesn’t want to be mean but he tries to tell the people to go around the block instead of cutting through his property.

Mr. Moffitt adds that even if they put up a fence, they will still find a way to cut through—the path of least resistance. Mr. Hollingshead said his neighbor is also having the same problem. He said his neighbor and him came in together to talk to Tyler about it. He wasn’t able to make it tonight because he was out of town. He understands if you put up a fence that they could just go around it, but he thinks it would minimize it a little if it wasn’t so easy to get through. Mr. Moffitt understands his problem but there are a lot of parks in Town and if they built a fence for his yard, then they will go through the next yard and he is going to want a fence. He said there are miles of park lines in Town. He said putting up trees or something down the sides of the yard. He said he would be okay with more trees. Mr. Moffitt said they cannot put trees all around his yard and landscape it. He said he could see adding some trees where they were removed. He added that he might need to put something different on his own property. He understands it is unfortunate but he has a basketball court almost in his backyard. Mr. Hollingshead said there has never been a problem until the Parks made it nice.

Mr. McLead said that the trees that are there now are less than ideal for the basketball court. There are pine needles all over the court all of the time. Mr. Hollingshead said the pine needles get stuck in the holes of the court and a leaf blower really doesn’t do anything. Mr. Moffitt asked Mr. McLead if he had any ideas. Mr. McLead stated he does not know the cost to remove the trees and plant arborvitaes all down the area. He said he would need to get estimates. Mr. Hernandez stated the trees could be removed in house, but they do not have the equipment for stump removal. It would cost $800-$1,000 per stump. He believes there are 9 or 10 trees out there now. Small arborvitaes would cost around $50-$60 and those could be planted in house. You would want to get bigger arborvitaes so they would be able to withstand a hard winter. People tend to get cheaper to save them money but in the end the tree will die. If you spend more out of pocket on a hardier bush, you will have a more guarantee that you will still have it after the winter next spring. The bigger bushes cost around $100-$150. This is all without searching up prices. Mr. Hernandez said he could go to other boards about getting a variance to put up a fence himself if he desired. This would not be this board’s decision, but would be an option for a different board.

Mr. Bouvat stated that even if they added more arborvitaes, it does not guarantee that they would not cut through his yard. The people walking through are from your neighborhood and will look for the path of least resistance. He said it is something they could look at and get pricing, but he doesn’t think it will solve his problem. He said they could get some pricing and consider it. Mr. Hollingshead said he could also go through the other channels and see if he could get a variance for a fence. He said that would be his first choice if he could fence in his backyard. He said he doesn’t have an association. Ms. Bennett asked if it was in covenants about not putting up a fence since he does not have a Homeowner’s Association. He said that is just what the neighbors told him but he has never gone to the Town. Ms. Bennett said she suspects it is more a covenant when they plotted his land. He asked if he would be able to get a variance. Ms. Bennett said it would depend on the language in the covenant. It would state how to modify or get permission to vary from the requirements of the convenance. The process on how to modify or petition would be laid out in the covenants. Ms. Bennett said she would see if she could find anything online. Mr. Phillips said the Town cannot enforce covenants; they can only enforce zoning laws. He said what he is talking about might be specific to his subdivision. [General discussion ensued].

Mr. Bouvat thanked Mr. Hollingshead for his patience as they normally don’t have this long of meetings. He also thanked him for his comments. Mr. Hollingshead said he thinks they do a good job and it was nice to sit and observe tonight.

Mr. Philliips stated he had an additional public comment. He received a request from a resident. “Hello my name is Robert Seifert and I live near Edgewood Park. There is a large field adjacent to the park and this field attracts people on dirt bikes. The motorcycles race through the field at high speeds while children are at the playground. Additionally, no one can use the field while dirt bikes recklessly race back and forth. I have called 911 multiple times on the safety issue, but the bikers always return. This is a safety issue as well as a nuisance. Can we post signs prohibiting motorized vehicles in the park? Thank you.”

Mr. Phillips stated that he wrote him back to thank him for bringing it to our attention and told him he would bring it to the Park Board and attorney at this meeting. Mr. Phillips said he wanted to share the resident’s concern with the Board.

Mr. Pondinas said the park is near the base of the Water Tower and there is an area that is park and a big open field. Mr. Moffitt stated that motorized vehicles are illegal everywhere in Town. Off-road vehicles are prohibited everywhere within Town limits. Mr. Phillips stated the resident is asking them to post signs saying motorized vehicles are prohibited. He said he was just bringing it to the attention of the Board to decide. Mr. Bouvat stated he thought they could put up a sign to try to help him out and asked Mr. Hernandez if that would be possible. Mr. Hernandez said he would be able to put up a sign. Mr. Hernandez said that was a good point about parks not being used as they are intended. He said he has been seeing it all over Town. The Amphitheatre and park benches are being used for the wrong purposes. What that tells me is that our community is telling us what our needs are. Our needs are going to be a skatepark. We are seeing kids on their scooters and bikes. Mr. Hernandez would like to see a discussion or a special meeting to talk about the possibility of getting a skatepark built and put it into the 5-year plan. Some of the items could be moved around so it would still be in the budget. We wouldn’t be using any additional funds that we weren’t planning on spending. We would just shuffle some stuff around and maybe go back to the 5-year plan. Going off the Master Plan, we are weak on the East side so I would like to focus on the East side for the Skate Park. This would allow us to cross off some X’s from the Master Plan. We would stop seeing damage to our park benches, our concrete which was just fixed over at the Lake Hills Amphitheatre. The kids are telling us what we need by their actions. Do they mean to be harmful? No, they are just kids. As far as insurance goes, it is my understanding that skating is now a sport so it would be considered to be with baseball and football. Mr. Hernandez reiterated that he would like a special meeting to discuss this to go further. Mr. Bouvat asked if he would like an executive meeting. Mr. Hernandez stated that or a study session. Mr. Bouvat stated that is something they can look into.

Mr. Hernandez stated that with the signs they place in the parks, they do not have the ordinances to enforce them. Any kind of rules they put up are really just a warning. We need to look at getting ordinances to back the rules. As of right now, our rules are just strong warnings. Mr. Bouvat said that has been mentioned and it something they are intending to address. We know there is a need there. Mr. Connelly stated he knows the signs might not defer anyone, but it will make Mr. Seifert happy.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Connolly seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 9:27 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Ciechna

11-12-2020 Park Board

November 12, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Study Session to order on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 5:30 pm and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Patrick Connelly; Vice President Michael Moffitt; and President Mike Bouvat Also present: Tyler McLead, Parks & Recreation Superintendent; Gabe Hernandez, Park Maintenance Foreman; Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liaison; and Beth Hernandez, Clerk Treasurer. Absent: Member, John Boersma.

ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:

A. 2019-2024 Parks Master Plan
Mr. McLead delivered a comprehensive presentation of the 2019-2024 Parks Master Plan, which included an overview of current parks as well as challenges and recommendations for the department to consider. Mr. McLead mentioned that the plan is a tool to help guide the decision making process for various projects, but it’s also a fluid document that can be adjusted to fit the department’s needs and budget.

Mr. Bouvat commented that given the amount of turnover the board has experienced in 2020, this meeting provided the first opportunity for them to review the master plan as a group.

B. Comprehensive Financial Plan
Mr. McLead presented the park section of the Town’s Capital Improvement Plan. It was mentioned that the document is flexible as long as the board stays within the approved budget.
C. Park Projects
Mr. Bouvat recommended for the board to itemize projects for 2021. The board discussed various deficiencies within the park system, in particular the lack of park amenities in the southeast quadrant of town. Mr. Bouvat highlighted a few projects, including land acquisition, a community center feasibility study, and a skate park with The Gates as its targeted location.

Mr. Connelly recapped the presentation. He agreed that a community center would be a wonderful amenity for the community. He also mentioned the trail project that is listed in the Capital Improvement Plan and asked if it would be possible to work with developers on trail construction. He also asked if the developers would assist in installing permanent restrooms at the soccer fields in The Gates. Mr. Connelly asked if maintaining Louis Estates was the park’s responsibility. Mr. McLead said we don’t have a park on the property, but do maintain the pond and its surrounding area. Mr. Connelly asked if it would be possible to replace one of our current playgrounds with a skate park. Discussion ensued regarding the growth of St. John and the demand for recreational facilities.

Mr. McLead mentioned that the park survey in the master plan received 389 responses, which isn’t a high number given the number of residents in St. John. He also mentioned that the survey was distributed solely online, which perhaps restricted some residents from participating, in particular the senior population. Mr. McLead stressed that the department could be better serving the seniors in the community and pointed to the proposed clubhouse project at Lake Hills. A new clubhouse could have a variety of uses, including rentals, meetings, and programming. Such a facility could help provide some of the services as a community center. Ms. Hernandez voiced her support for the project. Mr. Bouvat asked about the funding sources for the facility. Ms. Hernandez said a placeholder figure of $800,000 is in the Capital Improvement Plan, with the funds being split between Park Capital and the General Fund.

Ms. Hernandez highlighted the Founders Park project and how that park will be an important addition to the park system in 2021 by serving the deficient southeast quadrant of town. The area will be a community park with trails and sidewalks connecting to the surrounding subdivisions.

Discussion ensued regarding the park property that is currently the soccer fields at The Gates. Developing the area to include additional park amenities is one of the items in the park master plan. Ms. Hernandez thinks the area could be similar to Heartland Park with multiple amenities and uses.

Discussion circled back to the park budget. Ms. Hernandez reported the current balance in the Park Impact Fund is about $1.7 million. The Park Capital Budget for 2020 is $500,000. The capital projects completed in 2020 included the three basketball court restorations, Lake Hills Amphitheater resurfacing, and new roofs at both the Prairie West and Lancer Park pavilions. $250,000 will be encumbered for Founders Park due to unforeseen circumstances that delayed the project. Mr. McLead asked when the Comprehensive Financial Plan is updated. Ms. Hernandez said the document is updated frequently and to let her know of any revisions the department would like to make.

Mr. Bouvat asked if the parking lot expansion at Prairie West was still feasible for this year since the board has spent only a portion of the capital budget, and if there were potential in house options for the project. Mr. Hernandez, Park Maintenance Foreman, stated the department could explore other options with paving companies, while potentially utilizing Public Works to assist with labor.

Discussion turned back to a new clubhouse at Lake Hills. Mr. Bouvat and Mr. Moffitt voiced support for the project. Mr. McLead asked how large the former facility was. Mr. Moffitt said it had multiple levels with a ballroom on top. Mr. Pondinas suggested for the kitchen to be a serving kitchen only and not a full scale commercial kitchen.

Discussion ensued regarding the skate park. Mr. Hernandez reported he has reached out to a few communities with skate parks, including Hammond and Crown Point. Both of those projects were estimated to be around $500,000. Mr. Hernandez said a skate park is a needed addition since many kids in the community are skating in areas that are not suitable for that activity. Mr. Moffitt asked how long it takes to build a skate park to which Mr. Hernandez replied around four months from start to finish. Mr. Bouvat said he would like to see the trail system connected to the skate park to make it safe for families. Mr. Hernandez mentioned the process to construct a skate park would include public hearings to receive feedback from the community. Mr. Bouvat would like for the board to strongly consider the project for 2021. Mr. Moffitt would also like to see a restroom included with the skate park. The board also discussed the possibility of adding a concession stand to the restrooms as a potential source of revenue. Mr. Hernandez also brought up the idea of adding a fishing pier to our property at The Gates.

Mr. Moffitt mentioned the deck at the Babe Ruth Press Box needs repaired immediately. The deck is in disrepair. The board agreed that a deck replacement would be a good project for 2021. Mr. Moffitt would also like to see a gate place at Heartland Park to restrict access to the backside of the park during the off season.

Mr. Moffitt says upgrades are needed at Civic Park, including the dugouts, batting cages and sheds. The board discussed how the park is technically owned by the town and the parks, so any improvements will ultimately need council approval. Discussion ensued regarding where the funding would come from for Civic Park upgrades.

Mr. Hernandez mentioned he would like to see a sponsorship program for the dog bag stations to help cover the costs of waste bags, which is a substantial annual expense.

Mr. Bouvat listed projects discussed during the meeting, which includes land acquisition, Lake Hills Clubhouse, skate park, bathrooms at The Gates property, Civic Park upgrades, gate at Heartland Park, deck at Babe Ruth Field and the Prairie West Parking Lot. Mr. Bouvat also asked about a new truck for the department. Mr. McLead mentioned the department has a new truck in its 2021 operating budget. Ms. Hernandez recommended to order the truck right away since it will take a while for it to arrive. Mr. Bouvat asked about the addition of another full time maintenance position. Mr. McLead stated the position is also in the 2021 operating budget.

Mr. Pondinas asked if there are any tree related grants the department could apply for. Mr. McLead said he would look into possible grants.

Mr. McLead concluded the meeting by discussing playgrounds. The department has 20 playgrounds in the system, several of which are nearing the end of their useful life and are not heavily utilized. He foresees the board having to make difficult decisions in the near future about what to do with some of the equipment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Meeting adjourned at 7:37 pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Tyler McLead

11-17-2020 Park Board

November 17, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 7:32 P.M. and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: President Mike Bouvat, Vice-President John Boersma; Michael Moffitt Also Present: Tyler McLead, Park and Recreation Superintendent; Gabe Hernandez, Park Maintenance Foreman; Craig Phillips, Town Manager, Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liason; and Nicole Bennett, Board Attorney
Absent: Patrick Connelly

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The approval of minutes was deferred.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Consider approval of application materials for full time maintenance position
Mr. McLead stated this was a new position for a full time maintenance position included in the 2021 budget. Since it is a new position, the job description was created from scratch. It is included in the meeting packet. This position would work under the direct supervision of Gabe and would be another person to perform the needed maintenance in the parks. It will be especially helpful in the spring and summer when we get into our seasonal employees. We could have two crews working, one with Gabe and one with the new employee position. The announcement and job description is included in the packet. Mr. McLead set a tentative application deadline of January 15th, but with the holidays and vacation time, it might be good to leave a little extra room for potential applicants to get their information in.

Mr. Bouvat added one of the deficiencies in the 5 year plan was to add another employee. This new employee would be added for the 2021 calendar year.

Mr. Boersma made a motion to consider approval of application materials for a full time maintenance position. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

B. Request to Purchase additional park truck
Mr. McLead stated they received a quote from Bosak Ford for $36,208. The 2021 budget was approved for up to $43,000. This price point allows us to add a plow and other needed attachments. They received three quotes and this quote came in about $15,000 cheaper for the same specifications.

Mr. Boersma made a motion to request to purchase an additional park truck. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

C. Consider placement of gate at Heartland Park
Mr. McLead stated this item was discussed at Thursday’s study session. It would be a barrier gate at Heartland Park that would essentially close access to the western side of the park during the baseball park’s off-season. Fence Masters provided a quote of $1,915. Mr. McLead deferred to Mr. Hernandez on some ideas on how to perform the work in-house. Mr. Hernandez stated they have some fence equipment that they could repurpose depending on the measurements and if they meet the specs to go across that drive in order to save some money. He added that if the gate is not long enough, they would have to forego that idea. He has not been able to do any measurements. Mr. Boersma would rather do it in-house if they were able. Mr. Moffitt said the quote was for a 24 foot gate. Mr. Hernandez would need to measure the material they have but believes it is 16-20 feet in length. If it is long enough they would just need to add 2 or 3 posts.

Mr. Moffitt added the dumpster often gets filled with miscellaneous items like couches and desks. When he was out working in the area, a resident asked him if the Town would consider putting a gate up. Kids go back there in the winter to drag race and play music really loud. He added it is mostly during the off-season. Mr. Moffitt said the gate would be similar to the gate at Lake Central which Fence Masters also installed.

Mr. Bouvat asked for an alternative motion to approve the gate at Heartland Park by Fence Masters if the work could not be completed with in-house materials. Mr. Boersma made the motion. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

D. Consider needed decking at Heartland Park Babe Ruth Field
Mr. McLead stated this item was also discussed at Thursday’s study session. The press box decking at the Babe Ruth field is unsafe and never built to code to begin with. It needs to be replaced and made compliant with Town codes. Vice President Moffitt met with the building inspector and came to that conclusion. There are two options to replace the decking, one with treated lumber for $8,200 and one with composite material for $17,600. The treated lumber option would need to be painted or stained every two years and the composite material would be more permanent and not require much maintenance at all.

Mr. McLead added that the Parks Department is near the bottom of their budget for 2020. Next month they need to finalize the list of projects for 2021 and maybe figure out how to work this in with how the Board decides tonight. Mr. Boersma stated this could be put off until next year since baseball season is over. He would rather go with composite since it is maintenance free. Mr. Moffitt added that the railing is broken. He asked if someone could go out and repair it in the meantime. The Town installed it 18 years ago, but they did not follow any codes. It is located right on top of concrete and it is supposed to be drilled into the concrete. He added the risers are not the correct distance and the railings are not at the minimum height. The Town building inspector said it could not be fixed but would need to be redone. It doesn’t need to get done right now, but we should get the railing fixed temporarily. Schilling Construction gave a $2,600 bid just to fix it. He thinks if they redid it, their price might be cheaper than the quotes tonight. He said Mr. Hernandez said the lumber yard might give the Town the lumber at cost. Mr. Bouvat asked if anyone was at the field now. Mr. Moffitt replied that maintenance was being done for another week but the press box was not being used. He said we could put yellow caution tape up. Mr. Bouvat asked if Gabe could make the area inaccessible with some signs and tape to restrict assess.

Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to table the decking at Heartland Park. Mr. Boersma made a motion to table the decking. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

E. Review of park rules
Mr. McLead stated this was a housekeeping item. He provided a list of rules that is on the Town website and a list of rules that was included in past Park brochures. He added that there was not much overlap between them. Only one of the rules listed is a Town ordinance that prohibits non-residents from fishing in our water under our jurisdiction. An ongoing project in the next few months would be to create a standard list of Park Rules and get them established in Ordinance so they would be enforced. He met with Ms. Bennett and she suggested he reach out to the Police Department to get their input before finalization since they will ultimately be the ones enforcing the rules.

Mr. Bouvat asked Ms. Bennett what would be the best way to approach this. She stated you should first establish a list of rules that you want to enforce that would be codified and enforced through a ticketing process. She added that dogs running loose, dog bites, dog immunizations will already apply throughout the Town so there does not have to be a separate rule that all dogs need to be on a leash, dogs not allowed in certain areas, etcetera. These are going to be things you want your law enforcement to enforce and not in-house rules. She said they should put together a list and then they can go through it and decide what can be enforced and what cannot be enforced. Reaching out the to the police department is a good idea since they are the ones patrolling the area and you don’t want to bog them down with extraneous rules that are not going to be enforced. It would also be a good idea to learn what type of complaints they are getting such as loitering, interfering with ball games, people parking in the wrong places. The next step would be a comparison of fines for those ordinances that stay in line with the other fines already in place. Then the rules would need to be posted, especially since there haven’t been rules by ordinance. The biggest issue will be consistency with the ordinances, rules posted at the parks and in the brochures. It is a step by step process but first and foremost would be to create a list of rules. Then looking at what can be enforced and what is just social etiquette that we are hoping everyone follows.

Mr. Bouvat stated he agreed with Mr. McLead that we need park rules. Ms. Bennett interjected that they are not enforceable but social etiquette like picking up the trash and things of that nature. Ms. Bennett stated a big one is allowing use after dark. She said some parks might be lighted and have walking paths and such for use and others need to be restricted. She said park use after dark is a big one that can be enforced. Parking is another common one among communities such as parking in the grass, parking on the curbs, pulling up on the bike paths and things of that nature. She said those two are the most common ones. She wanted to add that they need to think about what they wanted to include because to enforce the rules would be a citation or a ticket that goes through the court process. If someone does not show up for court or follow the requirements, their driver’s license would not be suspended as it is not a driving offense.

Mr. Boersma asked if someone like a Park Ranger or volunteers could enforce the rules. Ms. Bennett said it would have to be enforced by law or a Code Enforcer. Ms. Bennett said they would need to be employed but they cannot just have the authority. Ms. Bennett said they can ask nicely but they would not have the authority to enforce or give tickets. She recapped that it would be best just to gather a list of rules and the best place to start would be looking at other towns. Mr. Bouvat asked if she could recommend a place to start, such as Munster. She stated it would be wise to cross reference different towns. Munster has a Park after Dark fine of $500, but the towns never enforce it because no one is going to pay it. A lot of towns have ones like no skateboarding or Lowell had one where only ball games could be played on designated fields so literally kids could be ticketing for playing catch in a big grassy field. So in that sense a lot of towns need some revision. She said you don’t need to reinvent the wheel but look at other ideas you like and copy them for your own town.

Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion to table the review of park rules. Mr. Boersma made a motion to table. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Prairie West Parking Lot Expansion
Mr. McLead stated this has been brought up in a few previous meetings. The original plan was to create 68 new parking spaces at Prairie West for an amount just under $270,000. This would bring the total parking spaces to 118; there are about 50 parking spaces there currently. The plan was amended when bad soils were found and the Town engineers recommended the removal and replacement of 3 feet of soil to bridge the bad soils and then install a geotextile fabric and underdrain system. The cost for that work was $90,565.66. With the additional work there could be additional engineering costs of $21,800. The Town Council discussed the additional engineering work for the amount up to $21,800 at their meeting on October 28th and they deferred that specific request and the project in general to the Park Board. The project is now approaching $400,000 which is about $586 per parking space. We need to decide where we are on right now and if we want to move forward with this project given the updated costs.

Mr. Bouvat asked what the legal ramifications were if the Town completed the work themselves instead. Ms. Bennett stated once you reach the $150,000 mark, it has to go out for bids and it is not something the Town can do in-house. If the Town decides not to follow the advice and guidance of the professionals they are contracting with, they would need to lay out exactly what and why they are choosing not to follow their advice so it is a conscious and thoughtful decision and not based on cost alone. If that is the case, she would recommend abandoning the project and finding a new use for the money or grounds. Mr. Boersma asked who oversees the work being completed. Ms. Bennett said is there are questions on the work completed, she would advise getting a second opinion. She said they are a professional service and you are paying them to complete the work and not having someone follow up behind them. You are calling on someone with expertise and unless someone in the Town has the experience and credentials and licensing, you would need someone else with the equivalent.

Ms. Bennett suggested talking with the engineers and seeing if the work could be broken apart and the costs could be trimmed and what the consequences might be for scaling back—premature deterioration, break down in the soil, break down of the saturation, etcetera so you are not just looking at the numbers. Their proposal included the cost of coming to a meeting so she added they could set up a meeting or a zoom so everyone could ask questions and hear from the experts.

Mr. Bouvat asked Ms. Bennett if they cancel the project as the Board, can they bring it back to the table and see if it could be done in house. Ms. Bennett said the findings showed favorable conditions to complete the project would be late spring to early fall and any time after that would be not be conducive due to moisture in the ground. You would be looking at March or April at the earliest to even begin. There is built in time to make these decisions. By the size of the project, $230,000 or $260,000, this project would have to go out to bid; it is not something that can be done in house. By law, any project over $250,000 must go out for bids. Breaking the project up does not get around it either. You can’t do a small section now and then a month later do another section to avoid the bidding. Based on having the report now, Ms. Bennett went back to having them ask the engineers the questions to make the determinations. If you choose to abandon the project completely, scale the project back, or do the project in stages, at least you have the knowledge of the issues.

Mr. Bouvat recommended tabling the Prairie West Parking Lot Expansion to a later date. Mr. Boersma made the motion. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

B. Community Garden Project
Mr. McLead stated at the August 18th Board Meeting, we had the representatives at the Community Garden from Town come to present a proposal for a Community Garden. At that time they were targeting Heartland Park as the location. At the end of the meeting, the Board asked Mr. McLead to be the contact person between them as they worked out the beginning stages of the project. The location was Heartland Park and the parcel of land is where a house was previously located. Mr. McLead and Mr. Pondinas met with Public Works Director Bob Davis at that location to discuss the project and how viable that location was going to be. It was determined that providing water to that location could be a challenge. The water main is located across the street and the Town would have to contract out to bore in. Mr. McLead stated they came up with Patnoe Park as an alternative location which is right across the street. In the packet it shows an overhead picture of the park with a tentative location in the blue box. That location has convenient access to water and if the project proves successful, there is clearly room to grow as well. A tentative budget is also attached to the image that the committee submitted that night that outlines the expenses and potential revenue of the project.

Mr. Bouvat asked if the figures aligned with both areas for the perimeter fence. Mr. McLead answered that the location as this point would be the Patnoe Park location as the other location just did not seem like it was going to work. Mr. Bouvat asked if the total cost would be $14,140. Mr. McLead stated that the high end of what they are proposing would be $16,040. Mr. McLead stated that this group is committed to the project. They submitted their proposal and are putting a time line together and will assist with the fundraising involved in the next few months before this really gets off the ground. Additionally, the potential revenue could be up to $1,600 which could help cover the operating expenses at $40 per bed for 40 beds. There are also some community involvement opportunities with this project. We had a local Eagle Scout reach out to us that has expressed interest in helping in any way he could and potentially making some of the beds. He mentioned the possibility of making ten raised beds which would be about $2,000 of expenses.

Mr. Moffit asked if labor was included in the price. Labor was not included. Mr. McLead stated we would need to solicit volunteers and ask local businesses for the donation of lumber. The idea would be to elicit community involvement for this project. Mr. Moffitt was concerned about the quality of the built beds if the builders were not experienced with tools and the uniformity of the beds. Mr. McLead stated they had a template for the box in their proposal that had a standard wood and design. If anyone expressed interest in helping, they could follow that template and design. Mr. Moffitt asked about the placement of the beds so they were all evenly spaced and square. Mr. McLead stated he did not include that document in the packet, but he could resend it to the Board because a lot of those questions are answered in the proposal. He stated the proposal was included in the August 18th packet. Mr. McLead stated this group will oversee the work and they have been very responsive to any phone calls or emails. They are very committed and willing to do a lot of the leg work.

Mr. Boersma asked if Mr. McLead had experience with Community Gardens in his past. Mr. McLead stated he has and it is pretty common for Park Departments to oversee projects like this. It would be a way to reach a group that we are not currently reaching. Mr. Bouvat stated he likes the project but it might have a few gaps but the community needs it and it would be worthwhile to invest in it. Mr. McLead stated part of the holdup was the location but now that we have a spot we can discuss fundraising efforts and the group is willing to drive a lot of that and raise some of the funds to get this started.

Mr. Boersma raised an issue with the parking. Mr. Pondinas stated the way it is set up right now is 75 feet by 100 feet. He thinks it needs to go to the south a little bit more because it is a corner lot and we might be on their property. There is also a culvert in the shaded area that might be on their property. He added it would cost about $1,000 for the sod removal and then they will bring in organic soil. He does not know the cost of the culvert but would have to add that into the cost of the $14,000 so it will be a little bit higher. Mr. Bouvat asked if they could get water if it was across the street at Heartland. Mr. Pondinas stated you would have to go across the road and it ends on White Oak. He said you would have to bore it and that could be costly. The house had its own well and septic system. The water main is in between the blue line on the rectangle and really close to the street. Mr. Pondinas said it would be easier to tap their own main. Mr. Boersma said he is a fan of the project but he is worried about parking. Mr. Pondinas said there is gravel in the grassy area but he believes it is partially on the property next door when he talked to Mr. Davis. He said there is gravel out there in the grass but he is not sure how well that would be for cars. Mr. Pondinas stated you would have to excavate it down 4-6 inches and put the gravel in. Mr. McLead stated that is something they discussed and Mr. David told him it was something they could potentially do in house to see how successful the project is. It would be a more temporary type of lot. He does not foresee twenty cars being there at once.

Mr. Bouvat asked for clarification on if the Community Garden group was looking for commitment on the perimeter fence, raised beds, and soil as far as the expense. Mr. McLead said we are looking for a commitment for this to be a Park Project at that location and then I can work with the group on their fundraising efforts for the project. When we get to late February and if zero money is raised and zero people have signed up to participate then we can reevaluate. Mr. McLead does not anticipate it getting to that point based on the commitment level from the community and the social media posts they made on the St. John Facebook pages have garnered a lot of interest. There is not much that we can do in the next few months for prep work for that site at this time of year.

Mr. Boersma made a motion to “green light” the Community Garden project. Mr. Moffitt seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

Ms. Bennett went back to the proposal made by the Community Garden and wanted to clarify exactly what the Park Board is “green lighting.” The Park Board is approving to have a Community Garden in that location only. They are not approving the funding based on the proposal at this time. The Board agreed that is what the motion was for. Mr. McLead stated that is the proposal they put together back in June. Ms. Bennett just wanted to clarify what was orally presented and not what was listed in the documents. She did not want them to commit to all of the funding by that motion if that is not what the intention is. Ms. Bennett said the project would come before them again with what cost commitments the Park Board would be making at that time. Mr. Bouvat said they would see what fund raising efforts they can do. Ms. Bennett added that they want the Town to put in a water system. She understand they are old proposals but just wanted to clarify the motion and not even approving their 2021 proposal.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDANCE:

Mr. Boersma wanted to apologize for missing the past few months of Park Board meetings. He was working 10-12 hour days.

Mr. Moffitt wanted to mention the Babe Ruth project at Heartland Park. Turf Masters from Indianapolis is up here doing a 2 week project. They are cutting the whole infield out because whenever it rained it was like an island. They are raising everything up and regrading it all and putting in drain tiles. It is called a perimeter drain that is 2 feet deep. We had to raise another $10,000 for grass and fix everything up while they are out here. They should be done by this Friday. Mr. Pondinas added they put some center drains in going out towards the outfield. He thinks it should be a lot better. Mr. Moffitt added since the company is there they are also going to replace a lot of sod on Fields 1-4 to make it look a little more presentable.

Mr. Bouvat stated that he understands Mr. Boersma’s work schedule, but he communicates with them and he appreciates all of his input and involvement. Mr. Bouvat stated that at last Thursday’s Study Session they reviewed the Master Plan for the Parks, reviewed the Comprehensive Financial Plan and they have $1,700,000 in the Fund, and discussed Park projects for 2021. These are still items we are looking at and will hopefully propose at the next meeting the projects to focus on for 2021. They discussed acquiring land for parks, investigating a Community Center, the Lake Hills Clubhouse, Skatepark at the Gates, permanent bathrooms at the Gates, the truck that was mentioned tonight, the Park employee, and Civic Park upgrades for next year. These were things on the Study Session that we discussed and talked about and will hopefully be on the agenda for the next meeting.

Mr. Boermsa added he knew he was absent but wanted to know if the handicapped swing at all of the parks was discussed. Mr. Bovuat said it was mentioned but he is not sure if it was on the list. Mr. McLead stated they have a few parks that are equipped with the adaptive swing seats. He said they cost about $800 each so we can look into adding them at some of our other parks. Mr. McLead stated the Town has a ton of playgrounds for the Town. They have 20 playgrounds in St. John and moving forward it will be a challenge to keep all of them in good shape. We have about 5 or 6 that are nearing the end of their useful life. Making playground improvements will probably be an item on the budget every year.

Mr. McLead stated the BooFest was held on Saturday, October 24th from 10 AM to Noon at Prairie West Park. They had Trunk or Treat vendors, train rides, games, and some pumpkin decorating. Mr. McLead wanted to thank President Bouvat for his help that day. It ended up being a really good turnout and it was fun event and good to see people out and about. The Visit with Santa event is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2nd from 6:30 PM to7:30 PM. This is our annual contribution to CSRI which is an acronym for Cooperative Special Recreation Initiative. It is a cooperative initiation to provide recreational activities to individuals all of ages with special needs and abilities. We are reviewing the Health Department guidelines and will submit a plan for the event. We are taking pre-registration so we can limit capacity that way and make sure we stay within the updated COVID guidelines that came out recently. Mr. McLead also stated that they have a Facebook page now. It is facebook.com/stjohnparks so if you are on there, be sure to like and share.

Mr. Pondinas stated that over the course of the year, the Parks Department has accomplished a number of things—3 basketball courts, repainted the sign at Heartland Park. The residents are saying thank you and are seeing the changes. The summer help came out and did a good job with Gabe’s overseeing them. We were lucky and had good kids and a lot of support. Tyler is here and is doing a lot of good work. Mr. Pondinas said there are a lot of good things to come up in 2021.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $55,069.03. Mr. Boersma seconded. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Boersma seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 8:43 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Ciechna

12-15-2020 Park Board

December 15, 2020 Park Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Bouvat called the St. John Park Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 7:50 P.M. and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members present: Patrick Connelly; Michael Moffitt; and President Mike Bouvat Also present: Tyler McLead, Parks & Recreation Superintendent; Gabe Hernandez, Park Foreman; Craig Phillips, Town Manager, Wayne Pondinas, Town Council Liason; and Nicole Bennett, Board Attorney
Absent: Johnny Boersma, Vice-President

AGENDA AMENDMENT:

Mr. Bouvat entertained a motion to consider amending the agenda on New Business item F: Prioritizing 2021 Park Projects instead of review. Mr. Moffitt made the motion; Mr. Connolly seconded. Motion carried: (3) Ayes. (0) Nays.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. McLead stated the approval of minutes would need to be deferred as the Town was still searching for a recording secretary.

Note: This occurred after New Business Item F. Mr. Moffitt made a motion to defer. Mr. Connolly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Consider Approval of Portable Restroom Contract with Service Sanitation for 2021 Park Season
Mr. McLead stated that the next 4 items were all contracts that have been approved in various months of previous years. He stated he thought it would be a good idea to get the contracts taken care of so attention could be put towards other items in January. He stated the Service Sanitation pricing remains the same until January/February of the following year. He continued that the only change was for an additional unit at the Babe Ruth field that was added in September. Mr. Bouvat asked for a motion.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the contract; Mr. Connolly seconded. Motion carried. (3) Ayes. (0) Nays.

B. Consider Approval of Mowing Contract with Great Lakes Landscaping for 2021 Park Season
Mr. McLead stated the pricing remains the same, but there are going to be some additional areas that will be maintained. These areas were overgrown and were cut back by Gabe and the summer help. They are going to meet with the company in the Spring to show them the areas to make sure they stay maintained. Mr. Moffitt stated that the area by Babe Ruth was graded and seeded right before the fall so that would need to be considered as well. Mr. McLead stated he would make sure they are aware of that.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the contract with Great Lakes Landscaping for the 2021 Park Season. Mr. Connolly seconded the motion. Motion carried. (3) Ayes. (0) Nays.

C. Consider Approval of Weed Control Contract with Forever Green Lawn Care for 2021 Park Season
Mr. McLead stated the only pricing change in this contract was for the Gates Soccer Field. They were going to charge $220 per application. Last year they charged $140. He attempted to gather more information on this but he has been playing “phone tag.” The price per application would be $4,544. Last year it was $4,464. Mr. Moffitt asked if they came out when needed or if they were on a schedule. Mr. McLead stated there was an early Spring application in the Gates and in June they do all the parks that is the $4,544 price. In the early fall they do the Gates again. Mr. McLead stated they did one big application in June and 2 smaller applications at the soccer fields. Mr. Moffitt stated last year it seemed the weeds were everywhere at all of the parks, Heartland especially; big yellow dandelions. He asked if that is something they should do in the Spring and in June to get control since it was getting so bad last year. He said Gabe put in a call and they were gone, but it was probably the June application. Mr. McLead said that is something he can discuss with them if he wanted to table the contract. Mr. Moffitt said the bid looks like if you call them, they will come out in 3-5 days and put on an application. Mr. McLead stated it has been the same way for a long time from looking at the files. Mr. Bouvat stated he thinks we can go forward with this contract, but he understands about looking into getting a price for a Spring application. Mr. Moffitt asked if they were charging an extra $60 on all of the Gates fields. Mr. McLead clarified that it was a total for all three of the fields and he hasn’t heard back from them regarding the price increase. Mr. Moffitt asked why they were doing 3 applications in the Gates. Mr. McLead stated that that was a good question and he is not sure of the reasoning, possibly heavy use by the soccer club. Mr. Moffitt stated he was not against the three times but was wondering if all areas should get three times but knows that’s a lot of money.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the contract with Forever Green Lawn Care for the 2021 season with a consideration of adding more as needed earlier in the Spring. Mr. Connolly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

D. Consider Approval of Pond Treatment Proposal from McNamara Aquatic Weed Control for 2021 Park Season
Mr. McLead stated the three ponds they have treated are at Prairie West, Homestead Acres, and Lewis Estates. He said they get three treatments in May, June, and August. He said this is another contract where the price and treatment schedule has been the same for a long time.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the pond treatment proposal from McNamara. Mr. Connolly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

E. Consider Civic Park Tennis Court Restoration Proposals

Mr. McLead stated the 2020 projects that were not completed from the Capital Improvement Plan included Founders Park due to DNR grant funds held up from COVID, Prairie West Parking lot due to bad soil, and the tennis courts. The Capital Improvement Plan was included in the packets tonight for review. The highlighted projects were to be completed this year. Mr. McLead stated he should have done a better job of learning how the Civic Park projects are coordinated when he started this year so it could have been completed. He was a little confused as to their role with Civic Park since it is Town property and not Park property. The funding source was going to be Park Capital Funds and those funds have been used in the past for Civic Park projects. The Park Board would sign a Request to Purpose for the project and then it would go to Town Council ultimately for their approval. The tennis courts were discussed by the previous board as late as last October and they had slated it to be a Spring project this year. The tennis courts are really in the same shape as the basketball courts were and in need of restoration. The idea would be to approve the contract now and come out of the 2020 budget and not affect anything the Board was planning to do for 2021 since it was budgeted for this year.

There are three quotes for the tennis court restoration. The scope of work is the same for all three quotes. They are going to excavate and remove the current tennis court , install aggregate as needed to elevate the court as it is in a low area where water collects which causes it to crack. Then they would install the new court and sport coating system. None of the quotes included fencing work so they would have to hire a fencing contractor to come out and remove and replace the areas of the fence needing work. The quotes range in price from $37,000 to $44,000 with Sutton Asphalt being the lowest.

Mr. Connelly asked if we had previously dealt with any of the companies. Mr. McLead replied that St. John Paving recently did the Larimer basketball court in August and they have done some other jobs as well. Mr. Connelly stated that sometimes you don’t have to go with the lowest but with someone you know. Mr. Moffitt stated Sutton is putting in seven inches of aggregate to raise the court versus only two. They have issues with it flooding in the low spots. Mr. Moffitt has issues with St. John Paving and their logo resemblance to the Town. People have complained about the Town paving company due to the similarities in the logo.

Mr. McLead stated he and Gabe met the contractors on site and discussed the job. They feel comfortable with Sutton moving forward. They are the lowest bid and the scope of the work is the same. They will ask for an amount not to exceed $50,000 which will provide plenty of room for the fencing work and anything else that might come up. The previous Board mentioned about a tree needing to be removed for the equipment. He doesn’t think that will be needed, but something else could come up.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to consider Civic Park tennis court restoration, not to exceed $50,000, and to go with the Sutton Asphalt Company. Mr. Connelly seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

F. Prioritizing 2021 Park Projects
Mr. Bouvat read the list of 2021 Park Projects: (1) Land acquisition, (2) Community center, (3) Lake Hills Clubhouse, (4) Gates Skatepark, (5) Gates Permanent Bathroom, (6) Parks Department truck, (7) Hire additional maintenance employee, (8) Civic Park upgrades, (9) Additional adaptive swing for the parks.

Mr. McLead stated the truck and additional employee are already in the 2021 operating budget and in motion for next year. The truck should come in January or February and he will have an update on the new position in a few minutes.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to prioritize the listed 2021 park projects. Mr. Connelly seconded the motion. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

G. Park Board Meeting Time
Mr. Bouvat stated there are three Boards scheduled at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesdays. The other Boards may be open to rotating or the Park Board could explore a different Tuesday meeting date or time. It is after 8:00 P.M. now and scheduled to meet at 6:00 P.M. Mr. Phillips stated it is his understanding that his administrative assistant sends out the notices to the papers so from a logistic standpoint it could be difficult to do the rotation because those notices say Sanitary Board, followed by Waterworks Board, followed by Park. He stated you can change it but you would need to coordinate and know which meeting times were changing. It is something to keep in mind since those are all pre-advertised. We would need to publish a notice of a meeting change. There needs to be one week a month with no meetings to give people like the IT Director time off. The second week of the month is usually free of any meetings. That is why the meetings are usually stacked on top of each other during the other weeks. Mr. Dravat stated the 2nd Tuesday is a critical day for him as its Microsoft Patch Tuesday. It has been set in stone for 19 years by Microsoft. Mr. Dravet would personally prefer the 1st Tuesday so it is before the Plan Commission. Ms. Bennett suggested an earlier meeting time on the 3rd Tuesday to jump in front of the other meetings. Mr. Connolly would be able to get to a meeting at 5:00 P.M. coming from Chicago. Mr. Phillips asked Mr. Bouvat to talk to the other Board presidents to make sure they were in agreement since the Park Board meetings may go over an hour on occasions. Mr. Phillips stated that there is nothing wrong with reversing the order as long as the three presidents. [Discussion ensued]. Ms. Bennett added that she does not sit on the other Boards (Board of Waterworks and Sanitary Board) so it is silly to pay her to sit and listen to other boards she is not part of. Mr. McLead added that he has residents who want to attend or watch online but they have to sit and watch the other boards until they get to the Park Board. Mr. Bouvat does not want to inhibit the other Boards abilities so he will talk to them and try it.

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to consider the Park Board meetings to start at 5:00 P.M. on the same Tuesdays. Mr. Connolly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Barrier Gate at Heartland Park
Mr. McLead stated this was the gate to restrict access to the back of the park during the off season to baseball. At the November 17th meeting, a motion was made to move forward with Fence Masters for the gate if it was determined the gate could not be performed in-house. They had another barrier that they thought might work but it was determined it would not work for what was needed. Fence Masters is scheduled to start the work tomorrow. Included in the packet was the quote from last month and a picture of the gate. It will essentially be the same gate as at Lake Central. Mr. Moffitt stated a week after the meeting a resident complained to Chief Flores about cars squealing their tires and hanging out there. It is a good time to be doing this and the neighbors will be pleased. Originally we were going with one gate but it is a 24 foot span and it would need 2 poles for support. Fence Masters recommended going with the double gate for stability. It is the same price but we went with the double gate instead of one single gate. Mr. Dravet asked what the material was. Mr. Moffitt replied steel.
B. Deck at Heartland Park Babe Ruth Field
Mr. McLead stated this was discussed last month and they have received an additional proposal from Schilling. Both proposals were included in the packet, along with a rendering of what the deck would look like. The current deck is not up to code, may have never been built to code, and is in pretty bad shape.

Mr. Moffitt stated both companies have met with Jon Gill, the Building Inspector, so they know exactly what needs to be done. One of the sidewalks is actually crooked and the posts could slip out. This was tabled last month because it wasn’t in the budget for this year, but it’s nice that Schillings gave us a quote. They are usually one of the more expensive ones, but they really want to do the work for the Town so they are giving us a better deal than they originally quoted. The pictures are similar with the same Trek material and an aluminum railing. No matter who we go with, it is the exact same material. Originally one was with treated wood, but now we have two exact matches.

Mr. McLead stated he and Mr. Bouvat want to meet with Ms. Hernandez at the beginning of the year and go over some of the Park projects and figure out how they fit within the budget and see what is feasible for 2021. They can add this to the list on the first page and see if it is something that can get done.

C. Maintenance Position Update

Mr. McLead stated they have received three applications for the position and applications will be accepted until Friday, January 15th. He has also received a handful of other emails and phone calls. He perceives them getting several more prior to the deadline. Mr. Bouvat asked if they were local applicants. Mr. McLead answered that he did not see St. John addresses but they were in the surrounding communities and all had a background in maintenance and related positions.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDANCE:

Mr. McLead stated he is working with the Community Garden committee regarding the registration process, the policies that will be in place, a sponsorship and donation form, and a few other items as well. He is hoping to have all of the information together at the January meeting for approval so the project can get started right away. Mr. Moffitt stated he thought it would be a loss. Mr. Bouvat stated he likes flowers and Home Depot gets him every year.

PAYMENT OF BILLS:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to pay the bills in the amount of $21, 261.90. Mr. Connolly seconded. The motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).

Mr. Moffitt asked if the yearly cost for the Dog Park was put into Park or Town funds. Mr. McLead replied that it goes in a non-reverting fund that specially set up for the Dog Park. It all keeps building up in that fund and any improvements that need to be made will come out of that fund. Recently the entrance and exit was expanded because it was very narrow and there were ruts in the ground. New trees were also purchased that were damaged in a storm. The funds used for those projects came out of the dog park fund.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Moffitt made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Connolly seconded the motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0). Mr. Bouvat adjourned the meeting at 8:25 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Ciechna

Meeting Video Recordings may be found on the Town's YouTube channel

Meeting Audio Recordings

01-21-2020 Park Board

02-18-2020 Park Board

05-19-2020 Park Board

06-16-2020 Park Board

07-21-2020 Park Board

08-18-2020 Park Board

09-15-2020 Park Board

10-20-2020 Park Board

11-12-2020 Park Board

11-17-2020 Park Board

12-15-2020 Park Board

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