February MPRAB Report
The Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (MPRAB) met at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 2007. This was the first meeting of the year due to a lack of a quorum in January, as previously reported. New member, Jerry Worrall, representing City Council District 1 (Ken Sanchez) was welcomed. Bob Day, representing District 7 (Sally Mayer) was reappointed at the same City Council meeting. Elected officers for 2007: Chairman – Don Couchman, Vice-Chairman – Sandra Richardson. By Ordinance the meeting time and place needed to be established for 2007 and a compromise was reached in that the meeting would remain, for now, at 1801 N 4th St. and start earlier at 4:00 p.m.
PRD Director, Jay Hart, indicated that the bi-annual CIP budget requests had been submitted and that he thought that they were in “good shape” and stood a good chance of approval. Deputy Director, Jay Lee Evans, reported that the Burton Park cellular tower installation request had been withdrawn. He also indicated that Albuquerque was in the running for an “Award of Excellence” in the “Population of 100,000 or More” category based on involvement in our community tree planting initiative. He asked for a letter of support from the Board and this was granted by motion.
Our representative on the Balloon Fiesta Park Policy Board (BFPPB), Bill Nordin, reported that there has been a lot of debate over usage fees for the park, especially regarding youth sports organizations. The MPRAB and PRD staff strongly urged Mr. Nordin to relay to the BFPPB that there were deep concerns over the fee structure and policy and that lower fees for several types of organizations should be considered. Mr. Nordin also indicated that a huge RV show was planned for May 2009 and would be similar to one held two years ago. Real and potential damage to the park field was discussed and it was noted that the heat from the RV on-board generators has resulted in dead spots in the grass but this was not apparent until some time after the event. The MPRAB passed a motion requesting Mr. Nordin to have the BFPPH contact the using organizations and indicate that exhaust rerouting (a relatively simple task) would be required on any RV intending to use their generators while at the BFP.
Member Orlando Sedillo apprised the MPRAB that the legislation enabling the public use of Bosque and irrigation ditch trails had reached a critical juncture in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee and that letters to the Chairmen and members would be very helpful. A motion was passed for the Chairman to write an official MPRAB letter to each chairman of the above committees and that MPRAB members should write to any of the state legislative members that they knew. This has been accomplished. The meeting time was extended 20 minutes by vote.
Department of Municipal Development Parks Design, Colleen Frenz, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Phase 5 development plans for the BFP. Plans included expansion of area, initiation of an area of park-like design (including a reflection pool), a building that would house security and control functions, a permanent restroom facility and several other park features and amenities. The city CIP budget, currently undergoing review by the City Council, would provide funding for this next development phase.
Submitted by Don Couchman, MPRAB Chairman
Citizens Supporting Interstate Landscaping (CSIL) Meeting
The CSIL met on 12 January 2007. The Big I Conceptual Plan was presented by Baker Morrow, Greg Miller, and Brian Verardo. The CSIL approach to the 2007 Legislative Session was also discussed. The next meeting of the CSIL is scheduled for 6 April 2007. Representatives from the New Mexico Department of Transportation and Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMFCA) will be invited to attend the meeting.
Submitted by Darlene Couchman, CSIL D4 Coalition representative
Metropolitan Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
Report for District 4 Coalition of Neighborhood Associations
Wed., 15 Nov. 2006
Sandra P. Richardson, Vice Chair & Dist. 4 Rep
At the regularly schedules MRPAB meeting, several announcements were made by Chair Couchman. Vice Chair Richardson reported that on Wed., 29 Nov. 6:30 pm. the Public Advisory Committee of the North Domingo Baca Park would meet with DMD Colleen Frenz & Chris Greene of Consensus Planning.
Several proposals were presented to the members.
The first, as presented by Bambi Folk of Bear Canyon, involved creating a memorial to military veterans at the APD John Carrillo Memorial Substation on Osuna, NE.
With input from the PR Director Jay Hart as well as DMD Colleen Frenz (project manager for the NM Veterans Memorial as well as rehab of other memorials), the Board was apprised that, while older, smaller parks dedicated to veterans have been grandfathered, with the creation of and the City’s participation ($6.3 million) in the NM Veterans Memorial near Phil Chacon Park, the City is further precluded from creating additional memorials dedicated to veterans. And, as testified to by Member Orley Sedillo (former PR Director at the time), from its inception, the xeriscaped park at the NE substation was specifically a part of APD…and, has been planned for a public safety “Heroes Park.” As a matter of fact, according to APD Joe Bowdich and Chief of Public Safety Nick Bakas, the widows of Officer King and Smith, killed in Aug., ’05, have been involved in and participated in designing Heroes Park.
Additionally. Cathy Goren, CIP 1% for Public Art, explained that the issue of properly maintaining veteran memorials was a critical issue for the City’s decision to participate in the NM Veterans’ Memorial. For example, at Tiquex Park, a plaque has been substituted for the older, vandalized memorial which was moved to that more secure location. Member Richardson explained that at the huge Louisiana facility, each service branch has committed to perpetual maintenance of specific areas. There are auxiliary volunteer groups who are dedicated to maintenance. Other organizations, as the Tricentennial Committee, use the new community room for meetings. Colleen explained that the Nov. 11th Veterans’ Day celebrations were conducted and well-attended there.
Based on the above information, specifically, that the City is now precluded from creating additional veterans’ memorials, Chair Couchman indicated that the proposal was not possible.
The second presentation involved the issue of the killing of a young APD officer, Sean McWethy, Feb. 1986. At the time, as had been the policy to name a park and a substation for fallen officers, then mayor Harry Kinney had promised the McWethy family the same recognition for their son. Unfortunately, the promise was never kept for this family despite this young man’s death being “sandwiched between other officers who’d been so honored.
Officer Phil Chacon, killed Sept. 1980-park & substation
Officer Gerald Kline, killed Feb. 1983-park (tennis courts) & Substation
Officer Sean McWethy, killed Feb. 1986-NO PARK, substation (west side)
Officer John Carrillo, killed Feb. 1987-park & Substation (Osuna)
While the family has never complained, the disappointment is real. Sean’s father was a law enforcement (Secret Service) in ABQ. His brother, Lt. McWethy is due to retire this year from APD.
At issue was a resolution made by the MPRAB in 2004 to follow an earlier city resolution (at some time after McWethy’s death) to limit the naming of parks to geographical, historical or cultural names. With testimony from Member Sedillo, APD Bowdich and PS Chief Bakas, the Board heard of the history involved.
Apparently the family had selected Academy Hills Park nearby their home as their choice. Chair Couchman, as president of Academy Hills Park NA, was adamantly opposed.
Vice Chair Richardson made two suggestions;
1) In lieu of considerable evidence that the promise was made and implemented for an officer after McWethy’s death, the Board could in fact consider recommending that a park (with the Director and APD’s selection) could be named in his honor; and,
2) In an effort to keep the memory of this young many alive in the minds of especially children, perhaps selecting a joint-use park with APS, near a school and playground would make sense. That such a selection could be used to educate elementary children about the role of this very young officer.
According to APD Bowdich, the father’s second choice was such a park with a large playground and open area for family outings.
After a lengthy discussion, Member Day moved and VC Richardson seconded a motion that the City honor its commitment to the McWethy family by selecting an appropriate park. The motion was approved unanimously.
Cathy Goren reported from the Arts Board about the project honoring former Mayor Kinney. Director provided an update of projects. DMD provided a book of projects for members and a PowerPoint presentation. A handout for the Prairie Dog Pals report was provided by Chair Couchman. Meeting was adjourned 6:30 pm.
Library Report-Sandra P. Richardson, Board Member/County Dist 4 Rep
Since the June and August meetings, the focus of the Boards work has been supporting our pilot fundraising 3-part project to take place on Saturday October 7, 2006:
1) a Family Literacy Festival (free), noon to 4 pm;
2) a benefit reception at the Kimo Theatre, 6:30 to 7:45 pm; and,
3) James Bradley author presentation at the Kimo, 8 to 9:30 pm.
Together with the Friends for the Public Library and the Downtown Action Team, the ABQ/BernCo Library Advisory Board is promoting literacy preparedness through a nationally recognized program, Every Child Ready to Read. This program trains librarians to work with parents and caregivers on how to nurture early literacy in their pre-school children regardless of their primary language.
Bernalillo Statistics on Literacy:
38% of adults barely meet routine workplace literacy requirements
16% of adults perform at a level where they might not be able to fill out an employment application, follow written direction or read a newspaper.
Evaluations from Every Child Ready to Read pilot programs around the country cite the program’s benefits:
- Parents & caregivers learn to create educational environments at home, make reading fun, and turn everyday routines into learning opportunities.
- Children become more prepared for academic success & higher education
- Communities flourish from a more motivated & productive workforce.
Author James Bradley was selected, after many months of research and deliberation, as an author of interest for much of the Metropolitan Area’s population, particularly the huge Veterans, National Guard and active duty and civilian population. Bradley’s Flags of Our Fathers, a compelling story of the six brave men who raised the American Flag on Iwo Jima, is a soon to be released motion picture produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. Interestingly, Bradley only discovered his father’s role as one of the 6 men after his death.
Metro Parks & Rec Advisory Board-Sandra P. Richardson, Vice Chair & Dist 4 Rep
In June, Ron Romero of Barelas NA distributed a handout and addressed the Board regarding brick lights for their NA sign at their Park. The City Clerk provided the Board with training on policy and procedures based on the NM State Open Meetings Act. She provided much important information including that official minutes for meetings must indicate member attendances and absences, especially with regard to any actions taken. In a discussion with the Board, she suggested that NAs should follow the Open Meeting Act.
In July, Director Hart reviewed the Parks & Rec Dept.’s G.O. Bonds. He reported on upcoming events, maintenance issues and projects. David Flores, DMD, provided handouts and gave a PowerPoint presentation on Park Design and Construction Projects. Additionally, he provided the Board with a quarterly project summary report for the DMD.
In August, Director Hart reported the restoration and maintenance challenges of ABQ’s recent flooding. He indicated that, based on the Board’s recommendations (year-long working group chaired by Member Richardson), restoring old bathroom facilities at the Los Altos fields is being implemented. Member Day, a working group member, provided positive feedback for PRD's providing bathroom facilities for the Regional Women’s softball event. The women were very pleased and expressed they would be back next year. Pat Montoya, CIP at DMD, gave a brief report on landscaped medians in design and under construction. Additionally, he provided an overview of projects that are currently being managed by CIP for PRD. The Board discussed the Park Use Application process. For more than 6 months, the board has been trying to get an update report on Roosevelt Park.
Planning Dept. Feedback Forum Report-Sandra P. Richardson-Member & Rep
In June, Chuck Perea provided an outstanding presentation, “Asbestos in the Home,” on home renovations’ hidden hazards associated with asbestos products…floor tile, floor sheeting, etc. In honor of his father who died of asbestosis after working years in the home renovation business, Chuck established the non-profit Johnny O. Perea Foundation as an education-outreach community service. Member Richardson suggested that ONC provide workshop related to this subject since many neighborhoods were built with materials that still have asbestos as a component. The legal issues related to materials have left homeowners vulnerable.
In July, Catherine Woodward, Executive Director of Great Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity provided an enlightening presentation, especially regarding the process for qualification and the gap for affordable housing, especially amongst ABQ’s working population. She alerted attendees to the efforts in partnership with Lowe’s to train women in building arts.
In August, Thomas Shoemaker, PE from the Water Utility department presented “On-line Record drawing access” explaining how 100,000 plus documents are being converted from boxes and boxes stored in the County Clerk’s office into this efficient system accessible by subscribers as well as field officers 24/7 …a boon to efficiency and timeliness. Attendees were educated on how to track submittals and engage in “back and forth” design review. In the near future, this process will lead to complete DRC (Design Review Committee) approval on-line.
The Feedback Forum meets monthly, 2nd Thursday of the month for a working luncheon.
REPORT FOR THE MRCOG PUBLIC INVOLVMENT COMMITTEE
Cliff E. Richardson, member/rep for Dist. 4
The PIC met on August 3, 2006 for a regularly scheduled meeting. Items of business included:
Election of officers for the next year resulted in
Chair—Clifford Richardson, City of Albuquerque, Dist 4 Representative
Vice chair—Rebecca Carter, Sandoval County Representative
Report on transportation issues facing the Albuquerque metropolitan Area. Mr. Jack Lord discussed three items which need continual consideration each time we meet.
The first is river crossings. This is significant because in recent transportation seminars and round tables, many people suggested future river crossings and possible locations . Up to 16 extra lanes should be considered as river crossings to ensure the future 2030 Metropolitan Transportation Plan will work. The significant point of this is that there has been no political jurisdiction that has identified their office as a sponsor to any one of these bridges. This fact of the lack of bridges in the planning process should be emphasized in the 2030 plan. Questions then centered on the need for future development and zoning needs to allow workers to be able to live and work on the same side of the river. It was pointed out that the MR COG has no land use jurisdiction in their planning. One development organization is already a member of the PIC but has not participated in a long time.
The second consideration is funding. The original federal legislation for transportation improvements in the country had $214B which was increased to $286B. Everyone thought there would be many more things accomplished as a result. Since Katrina and the Iraq war, funding has been withheld and no one really knows how much more will be reduced. Since the plan needs to be fiscally restrained and a much larger proportion is needed for maintenance of existing infrastructure, more careful decisions will be required to get the programs completed. There is a need to pick the best decisions from all the many possibilities available from land use, water depletion, more or less maintenance, more or less lane miles, intersection improvements, high occupancy lanes (HOL) separate bridges for just transit or HOL, better transit and types of future transit.
The third was leadership since there are a lot of different jurisdictions involved in the decision making. Typically, each elected official has been looking out for the people in his or her jurisdiction which has not worked in a number of situations. Recently, with the operation of the rail runner, local politicians have compromised for the good of the whole and have connected a few of the rail stations to some form of public transportation so passengers have not been stranded at the stations. It will take a real strong leader to solve the complicated problems involved in regional transportation issues. There will be a need to think of new ways to get more user fee orientated as well as to strip away some of the invisible subsidies supporting the transportation corridors and modes of operations so more of those who use the facilities, pay for what they use.
The status of the 2030 MTP was reviewed and new charts were shown as a result of additional computer programs and data. Walking, bicycle, transit and automobile times of transit are plotted from five significant employment locations and it clearly shows what part of the city cannot be accessed in less than an hour. This is a great consideration for future residential and commercial development.
The by-laws for the PIC were reviewed. Although there was no final decisions, a few items were discussed for future considerations. Ways to reduce the quorum requirements in order to have more meetings with discussions and actions taken. Despite need to update the memberships of representatives as well as which organizations that should be represented. Try to encourage more developers to become involved. How should the information about and before the meetings be distributed so more people could be involved. There is no reason why representations of organizations as well as their alternates could not go to the same meetings which would keep a larger group informed and to get the word back to their constituents. The idea behind the discussion of the by-laws was because the perception of the PIC has not been taken seriously and from the PICs standpoint, no one listens. Each member and alternate should take an active part to get out the information from the MTB to their respective representatives as well as any other group that they participate in.
Rail runner report—Trains are operating on a schedule and the number of riders increases each day. More and better transit connections are being developed from each station along the way.