City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Minutes of September 23, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: September 23, 2004

Place: City Hall, Mayor's Office

Time: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

B. Attendees

1. Anna Dooley
2. Coen Purvis
3. Trish Gramajo
4. Philip Bruce
5. Obi Umunna
6. Paul Crawford
7. T.R. Hainline
8. Derek Rowan
9. Susie Wiles
10. Mark Middlebrook
11. Laurel Beard
12. Sharon Copeland
13. Pam Paul
14. Lanny Russell
15. Robert Joseph
16. Lorenzo Williams
17. Dan Kleman
18. Rufus Pennington
19. Richard Skinner
20. Bob Baughman
21. Denise Ostertag
22. Alex Graham

II. The Meeting

A. The group met in the Office of the Mayor for an organization meeting and a presentation by Dan Kleman, Chief Operating Officer.

Dan Kleman has worked in several governmental structures throughout his tenure. He has worked for a city government, county government and consolidated government. He began his career in Ohio working as City Manager before his departure to Tallahassee, where he served as City Manager for 20 years. Before accepting his current position with the City of Jacksonville, Dan Kleman worked as County Manager for Hillsborough County for six years. In Hillsborough County, the Parks Department had two roles: Countywide regular park system and County-wide Environmental Land Acquisition Program (ELAP). ELAP is a program that acquires environmentally sensitive land and protects the land from developers. This is a willing buyer/seller program. There is heavy citizen involvement and is appraisal based. In Hillsborough County, organizationally, the activity in the Parks Department served under the County Administrator. There was a Real Estate Division that handled the acquisitions. Once the acquisition was complete, the land was then turned over to the Parks Department for management and usage by the public.

When analyzing the current park system in Jacksonville, there are two issues he feels the Parks Task Force should keep in mind. One, in Jacksonville, the City and the County are consolidated, and two, there is a strong Mayor form of government.

Regarding governance, the Task Force should think about whether parks and preservation functions should be combined into a single department, such as a Parks, Recreation and Preservation Department, or should the functions be kept separate. Additionally, the Task Force should consider whether governance should come under the Mayor or a separate organization or agency?

In Dan Kleman's opinion, parks and preservation functions should be managed by one department, with policies in place to allow for protection of all of the functions. Additionally, he recommended that the department fall under the Mayor.

In regards to relationships between the Parks Department, Council, and citizens, Mr. Kleman suggested that perhaps there should be more clearly defined roles. The Parks Department should never feel the need to check with Council for day-to-day operations. Mr. Kleman also suggested that the Parks Department have a partnership with a 'friends of the parks' organization that could assist with fundraising, public awareness and programming. Bob Baughman was asked to provide the Committee the NRPA top 10 placers for the best park systems in the nation.

Regarding funding for parks, Mr. Kleman suggested implementing master planning requirements for system-wide evaluation of parks. To ensure that parks that need renovation and maintenance are not under funded, or funded after new park development, Mr. Kleman suggested identifying a certain percentage of the capital budget to be used only for park renovations or maintenance. Mr. Kleman is opposed to a dedicated source of funding because he feels elected officials should have the flexibility to move funds where they are needed as things evolve. Mr. Kleman concluded his speech and the group thanked him for his time.

B. After Mr. Kleman spoke, the committee members held a work session. Subcommittee reports were provided. Mr. Pennington reviewed the proposed personnel needs within a newly defined parks and preservation department, such as forestry expert, biologist, artificial reefs coordinator, wildlife biologist and engineer. Mark Middlebrook, Bob Baughman and Lyssa Kohler were asked to provide Lanny Russell, Chair of the Governance sub-committee, a list of recommended positions.

A Public Safety Subcommittee was formed with Coen Purvis as Chairperson. Anna Dooley, Bob Joseph, Barbara Goodman, Phil Bruce and Bob Baughman have been nominated to serve on the subcommittee. It was also suggested that a representative from ETM and the Budget Office attend meetings as well.

The Drafting Subcommittee is moving towards a preliminary document to show committee members by the end of October.

The Visions and Missions Subcommittee agreed to adopt the following mission statement as a working draft:

To ensure an enduring park system, essential to the Quality of Life for individuals and families, we must:

  • Provide long-term leadership committed to excellence;
  • Make our parks safe, fun and educational;
  • Make our parks accessible to all;
  • Preserve and protect our natural resources;
  • Listen and respond effectively to the ongoing needs of the community;
  • Build partnerships, public and private;
  • Provide planning for future parks;
  • Commit to a downtown park that defines the City.

The Governance Subcommittee recommends a Director/Superintendent position that will build external relationships and an Assistant Director/COO position to oversee the daily operations of the department. Discussions regarding a Governing Board with representatives from the Mayor's Office and City Council (joint appointments) will take place at the next Governing Subcommi

C. Obi Umunna then let the group in discussing the upcoming Parks Task Force Public Comments Sessions. Three meetings will be held, on October 6, 7, and 9, 2004. Two public sessions will be held in neighborhoods during the week (North side, Southside) and the Open House will be held on Saturday 10/9 at City Hall. Marketing Plan is to mail post cards to addresses provided from several mailings lists, to distribute posters to schools, shops, etc., and to promote through the COJ website, newspapers and television. Locations for the two public meetings were discussed, and it was decided that the two scheduled park locations were not large enough to accommodate the potential crowd. Therefore, alternate locations such as high schools will be promptly researched.

At the sessions, there will be scribes and all comments will be posted online and delivered to the Task Force members as quickly as possible. Once received, the Task Force will condense the report into a working document. It is the Committee's hopes that the report will be able to be submitted online so all citizens can view and provide comments directly online. Currently, ITD is working on adding a Task Force link to the City of Jacksonville Home page in addition to the Parks Home page. A rehearsal session for the Public Comments sessions is scheduled for 10/4/04 at 2:30 p.m. in the Office of the Mayor.

Mr. Pennington adjourned the meeting.