Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Oct. 18, 2011): Having skipped a meeting in September, park commissioners faced a full agenda at their October session, highlighted by a consultant’s report on the Ann Arbor senior center.
Ann Arbor city councilmember Christopher Taylor, left, accepts a ballot from Tim Doyle, right, a park advisory commissioner. In the center is Sam Offen, who was re-elected as chair of PAC's budget committee. Taylor is a non-voting ex-officio member of PAC.
The report – including 16 recommendations for changes to improve the Burns Park center and senior services – is the latest in an effort that dates back to 2009, when the city considered closing the center. Suggestions include: (1) expanding programs to other locations, particularly to low-income senior housing; (2) partnering with other programs in the area, such as the popular travel program offered by Pittsfield Township’s senior center; and (3) possibly making the Burns Park facility more of a community center, and renaming it to reflect that broader mission.
Staff will be taking this report and incorporating elements of it into a strategic plan, which will be reviewed by PAC and city council before action is taken.
The meeting also included votes to recommend awarding contracts for renovations at Island Park, and support for a bioremediation pilot project at Southeast Area Park. Matt Naud, the city’s environmental coordinator, told commissioners that the test would determine the effectiveness of an approach to remove an existing vinyl chloride plume. The process would involve giving nutrients to naturally occurring microorganisms that can break down the contaminant. The plume resulted from vinyl chloride being released from the now-closed city landfill into groundwater on the south side of Ellsworth Road.
Margaret Parker, a member of the Ann Arbor public art commission (AAPAC), gave a presentation about two potential public art projects along the Huron River – at the Argo Dam bypass, and the Gallup Park canoe livery. Since the work would likely be on city-owned parkland, members of the parks staff and park advisory commission would be part of a task force for the project. Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council, also attended PAC’s meeting. She spoke in support of a more comprehensive vision for art as part of RiverUp!, an effort to improve a 104-mile stretch of the Huron River.
During public commentary, commissioners heard suggestions for several ways to improve non-motorized connections between South State and South Main streets.
The October meeting also included a review of FY 2011 and first-quarter FY 2012 financials for the parks system, and PAC’s annual election of officers. There were no deliberations, and current officers – including PAC chair Julie Grand – were re-elected unanimously. [Full Story]