November 4, 2015
The Ellettsville Parks Board met in a regular meeting on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at the Ellettsville Fire Department Training and Conference Room, 5080 West State Road 46, Bloomington, Indiana. Jimmie Durnil called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Jimmie Durnil led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Members in Attendance
Jimmie Durnil, President; Claudetta Kelly, Secretary; Richard Pease, Amy Slabaugh and Holly Nethery were present.
Approval of Minutes
Jimmie Durnil entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Richard Pease made a motion to approve the minutes. Holly Nethery seconded. Motion carried.
Review of Accounts Payable Expenditures
Jimmie Durnil talked to Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, about the trees, plants and flowers and they have the money for them. A lot of it will go toward the trail and he would still like to purchase a couple of benches.
Old Town Hall
Jimmie Durnil asked Jim Davis, Town Manager, to attend the meeting to explain the proposal for the old Town Hall (“Town Hall”).
Jim Davis, Town Manager, stated Jeana Kapczynski put together the proposal and turned the floor over to her.
Jeana Kapczynski, Ellettsville Main Street, explained Town Council was wanting ideas on what to do with the Town Hall. Main Street and the Ellettsville History Museum (“Museum”) will be included in a partnership. The goals are a place to meet and storage. It is on the corner and has high visibility. The Heritage Trail (“Trail”) is to spur development downtown. There is supposed to be a café opening and the FCB building at 200 N. Sale Street will be rented at the first of the year. Using Town Hall will bring more people downtown. They propose this will be a good use. A big part of Town Hall will be the museum and there will be a Heritage Center. They will have a conference table for Main Street meetings. They won’t have an office but will have displays on limestone history to educate people. It would be a Limestone Heritage Center because this is the stone belt of Indiana. Mr. Davis has proposed the Parks Board control the building. Main Street is a non-profit so they may let some others come in. It won’t be for a commercial use and they may require a deposit. They won’t charge admission but would ask for donations which could be used for displays. All materials would belong to the museum and Main Street. Main Street is a 501(C)(3) and they could go for sponsorships and donations which are tax deductible. They would need volunteers which would be a positive thing for the community and would get people involved. The upstairs would be for storage. Main Street’s concept is to continue on with what they’re trying to do with the Trail and to educate people on their limestone heritage. The museum will be more for local people because it is Ellettsville’s history. The Karst Trail will be coming from the south and, hopefully, there will be biking from Bloomington.
Jimmie Durnil asked if the Parks Board would manage the use of the Town Hall as it manages the parks. Ms. Kapczynski said he would have to talk to the Town Manager about the logistics of the proposal. Mr. Durnil said the proposal has a fee of $25 and he thinks it needs to be higher. Ms. Kapczynski advised the Parks Board has sufficient funds in their budget to handle the utilities. Main Street has $2,000,000 in liability insurance coverage. Mr. Durnil asked if Main Street volunteers will be able to clean and maintain it. Ms. Kapczynski answered yes or they will hire somebody. There should be a non-refundable deposit to go toward hiring someone to clean. Mr. Durnil stated for shelter rentals they require a $100 deposit if they use the restrooms and they pay $100 to use the building. If it is a local church, school or family trying to do something for a sick family member they don’t make them pay $100. If the restrooms are good the deposit is returned. He would like to continue to do this as long as they’re able to. He hates to charge local people who pay taxes. Ms. Kapczynski thinks if they have food they should charge more. Mr. Durnil asked if there is carpet in the building. Mr. Davis answered no. Mr. Durnil asked how they would monitor the keys. Ms. Kapczynski said an electronic lock could be put on the door or they could use a key box. People could complete applications at the Clerk-Treasurer’s office. If an electronic lock is used the code can be changed after every rental.
Tiffany Willingham, Ellettsville History Museum (“Museum”), loves the idea of Town Hall being used for something historical. The Museum is a wonderful collection of items. A great deal of the items were donated from the Endwright Estate. Her first impression when she took over coordinating volunteers for the Museum were the large amount of items that had yet to be put on display, inventoried, categorized and had not been archived. She was making arrangements to bring in her own computer and scanner this past summer when Eagles Landing got hit with a temperature change and everything came to a halt. A great deal of time and expense is involved in preserving artifacts. There is also concern about light and humidity levels. If the space is rented then someone will need to be present to monitor the artifacts. Mr. Durnil asked if Town Hall will be adequate to display the items. Ms. Willingham doesn’t know and security would be an issue. Mr. Durnil asked Mr. Davis for his thoughts. Mr. Davis stated it is not well-blessed with open space. Downstairs are two rooms with a load-bearing wall down the center. The wall could be removed but something would have to go up to hold the second floor. He has been in the Museum and it will use a lot of space in the old Town Hall. Mr. Durnil asked if items could be rotated in and out. Ms. Willingham answered yes, if she has secure storage for people and elements. She has learned the Department of Natural Resources oversees a division of historic preservation programs. It is not uncommon for historical items to fall under the care of a park system. There is a certification process that goes along with being a museum and it is her understanding it has never been done. Someone from the Monroe County Museum has reached out to provide guidance. Mr. Durnil asked if she has talked to Main Street about this joint effort. Ms. Willingham answered not really.
Claudetta Kelly mentioned she is a volunteer at the Museum and she is concerned with what is going to happen with it and the artifacts. She is also a Director with Main Street so she is involved with all three organizations proposed to use the old Town Hall.
Jeana Kapczynski would like to see if the Town Council will speed this up because the Community Foundation grant round for 2016 Letters of Intent are due December 1, 2015. She will go ahead and give it a try. If it drags on for another year, they will miss the grants round. Due to a danger of flooding she wouldn’t put things on the floor and most of Main Street’s items are informational posters that hang on the wall. Mr. Davis asked what happens if they apply for a grant and the building proposal falls through. Ms. Kapczynski replied there would be no reason to get the grant. Mr. Durnil suggested she talk to the Town Council to find out if they’re interested. He thinks the Parks Board is interested but needs more details. Ms. Kapczynski asked when Town Council may be ready to think about the proposal.
Jim Davis has talked to several of the Town Council members and this does fit with what they want to do with Town Hall. At the beginning they were thinking Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) or some other organization who promotes Ellettsville and will continue to do so for many years. The Town Council was never in the mindset to sell Town Hall but they did not want it to sit empty. It didn’t seem to fit with the Chamber. After what took place at Eagles Landing they had the idea to put the Museum in Town Hall. It seems Main Street and the Museum are a perfect fit because they’re still promoting and showing the good side of Town. They’ve progressed to the point he has contacted the Town Attorney to prepare an agreement. It will operate much like any other department in Town. The Town Council appoints Parks Board members and its budget is through the Town. Expenses will be no different than any other Town department and they will have a budget for those items. They will have to go through the same Town processes such as additional appropriations which is a Town Council decision. If budget items need allocated to other lines to cover expenses it is also a Town Council decision. A lot of this hasn’t been discussed very much but it’s an idea that can be made to work. As for the condition of the building, the Utilities crew can put the building back together and have it presentable in a matter of weeks. They had the building tested for mold and there isn’t any. It is a department of the Town with the difference being they are appointed by the Town Council. Town Council is on board with this and wants to see a proposal. However, the Town Attorney went on vacation until the end of the month and will not be at either Town Council meeting in November. The Town Attorney has to put the proposal together for Town Council to review and suggested the Town lease the building to the Parks Board for $1 a year. The Parks Board already has a budget so they would have to alter it to cover expenses. He doesn’t see Main Street or the Museum raising money to keep the lights on. The Town will maintain the building including insurance. He asked Ms. Willingham if the Museum has insurance. Ms. Willingham answered no. Mr. Davis remarked there have not been any negative responses to the concept. He would hate to see Ms. Kapczynski not apply for a grant because she doesn’t know what the Town is going to do. It doesn’t hurt her chances for the next grant if she has to turn it down because the Town Council says no. He would like to see her go ahead and apply for the grant.
Amy Slabaugh thinks this is a good idea but doesn’t know what it has to do with the Parks Board. She doesn’t see it. The paper says “provide a meeting and storage location for the Parks Board.” Their meetings usually last 15 minutes. Do they have anything to store? Mr. Durnil answered no, but they’ll be part of Main Street and the Museum. The Museum becomes part of the Parks Board.
Holly Nethery thinks it’s a matter of giving the Parks Board more responsibility. It’s to help oversee the Museum and take some responsibility and ownership in the pride of Ellettsville. It also says we would oversee the building. In other words, what are we going to do with this building? They came up with the idea to have the Parks Board make some decisions regarding the building and the Museum and to be a part of the big picture in historic downtown Ellettsville. Is that the goal? Mr. Davis commented theoretically, the Parks Board is part of the Town who ultimately owns the building and Main Street is there because the Town wants them to be and they’re doing good things to keep downtown viable. The Parks Board can authorize Main Street’s use of the building.
Richard Pease asked if a maintenance person will be required for the facility. Mr. Davis replied heating, plumbing and air conditioning work is always hired out. If it is something that can be repaired by Utilities, they will take care of it. This can include building maintenance, the exterior, roof and all aspects of it would come from the Parks Board budget. Mr. Davis said, for example, if they had to put a new roof on the building there wouldn’t be enough in the budget and they would have to come before Town Council and they would have to figure out how to come up with the money because they own the building.
Jimmie Durnil asked if the Parks Board is interested. Ms. Nethery answered she is and is not opposed to the concept. Is there an estimate on what it would cost to make it presentable? Mr. Davis answered if they hired it done it would cost a lot more than if the Utilities crew did the work. It would probably be under $5,000. Winter would be a good time for Utilities to work on the building. There are a couple of walls that could come out and make it more of an open area. There are concrete vaults downstairs and upstairs. Until the new Town Hall is built, which will be next year, any excess storage will be put upstairs along with some shelves. There are records that have to be kept for a certain number of years. Mr. Durnil asked when the new Town Hall is built will they be out of the storage business in old Town Hall. Mr. Davis replied no. The problem is they stayed under $2,000,000 for the new Town Hall so they won’t face a remonstrance. The land cost $500,000 and the soft cost for financing, etcetera, is around $300,000 and the cost is $150 s/f x 8,580 s/f totals $1,273,000. The cost is dependent on the bids. They will need the storage for some time. The Clerk-Treasurer and Utilities offices have so many archival and current records they have to maintain and some records have to be kept seven years. Ms. Nethery asked if the documents have to be kept as hard copies. Mr. Davis answered he questioned this as well. They will still have to have storage for a while. Mr. Durnil thinks the Parks Board is interested. He has always wanted it to be more active and involved in the community even though this may not fit the Parks Board by definition. Mr. Davis advised when the Town Attorney returns from vacation she will draft a proposal for everyone to review. Ms. Nethery said the deadline is Ms. Kapczynski wants to apply for a grant by December 1, 2015. Mr. Davis thinks she needs apply for the grant. Ms. Kapczynski advised selected applicants will receive invitations for full proposals on January 4, 2016 and have until February 8, 2016, to submit their full proposal. The grants are awarded until March 10, 2016. Smithville Charitable Foundation goes through the Community Foundation. Mr. Durnil thinks the support is there and it is an excellent idea. He asked Ms. Kapczynski to apply for the grant. Ms. Willingham asked what the grant money will be used for. Ms. Kapczynski replied it will used for big signs such as the history of limestone and some of the exhibits for the limestone display. Mr. Durnil asked if she could work with the Museum and incorporate them into the grant. Ms. Kapczynski answered she thinks so.
Trees and Flowers for the Heritage Trail
Jeana Kapczynski commented she, Chris Fisher and Brenda Wampler planted 500 daffodils and have ordered 500 more. Today, they walked the Trail to determine where to plant flowering trees this fall. Town crews can plant the trees and more in the spring. They’re thinking $2,000 to $3,000. Mr. Durnil asked if they had a quote. Ms. Kapczynski answered no, they came up with this today. She thinks it is in the Trail budget and is not asking for anything outside of it. Mike Farmer is also out of Town and when he returns they’re to meet to discuss what remains to be done on the Trail. Mr. Farmer has about tapped all of the Town funds. Mr. Davis conveyed he asked the Clerk-Treasurer today and she advised there is approximately $4,500 in readily approved money. Ms. Kapczynski knows they still have to do the concrete ramp on the west end, Mr. Farmer wants solar lighting and there are the trees. Mr. Farmer thinks there will be money left for trees. Ms. Kapczynski isn’t asking for extra money she just wants to max it out. Mr. Durnil stated he wants to support them on this and thinks it is good for Ellettsville.
Heritage Trail Signs
Jeana Kapczynski is working on safety signs for the Trail. Mr. Durnil asked if the signs are going to be posted before they enter the Trail. Ms. Kapczynski said besides the interpretive signs from Main Street they have money to pay for that. Of course, the Parks Board has some extra money. Mr. Durnil asked apart from the fee who will enforce it. Ms. Kapczynski answered the Parks Board.
Russ Ryle has been interested for years in plants and trees. There are a number of organizations in Indiana who promote the preservation and prorogation of heritage plants but plants and trees native to Indiana. He has a listing of some of those plants which he will email to the Parks Board. As the Parks Board expands, they’re talking about a park area at the new Town Hall and the cow pasture at Hartstraight which will be a drainage area but a park or open grass area would be appropriate. The Wells Park is the ideal place for a wetlands preservation. He would like to see the Parks Board and the Town emphasize the prorogation of native or at least the heritage species wherever practical and possible. There is a very active group out of Purdue University who promotes this and can be of assistance. There is also a state organization for the preservation of the native species who has a website. More than the Trail, hopefully when they get the trees they will bring in some of the species that are hard to get. The Trail logistically is not really appropriate for a lot of the native species. He would like to see the parks and wetlands developed for future generations. Another wetland will be the two acres the Town just purchased for drainage. Milkweed is a native weed, extremely susceptible to herbicide and is a critical feed for migrating Monarch Butterflies. In some of the wetlands they could promote Milkweed. Wouldn’t it be nice for the Town to be known where people could come and see tens of thousands of Monarch Butterflies during migration?
Jeana Kapczynski advised Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director, is doing the Comprehensive Plan revision and she would really like to see a plan for where Ellettsville’s parks are now and in the future. The demographics are showing more young people are moving to Ellettsville. They’re more fluent and they’re going to want more spaces and ball diamonds. She doesn’t know where Mr. Tolloty is at on it and knows he sent a survey out. She doesn’t think a Comprehensive Park Plan has ever been passed. It should include what do they have now, do they want to take over the old sewer plant as a park and maybe the Trail will go up next to that. She would really like for the Parks Board to get involved in the plan and look at the areas that could be expanded in the future while the Town has money.
They did plant Milkweed along the Trail but it wasn’t staked off very good and got graded over.
Russ Ryle is on the Plan Commission and the master plan is under revision. It is his understanding a separate plan specifically for parks could be generated. Although the parks and green space will at least be mentioned in summary on the master plan. They need to start looking today to where Ellettsville is going to be 2037 and beyond. Ellettsville is unique in that it’s not landlocked but developing and has an economic emphasis with I-69 and Monroe County. They’re going to see more growth in the next 20 years along the State Road 46 corridor than they’ve seen in the last 200 years. What they plan for today and how they execute, more than just parks, is whether or not Ellettsville will exist as an economically viable Town or maybe grow into a city 20 to 50 years from now. They’ve got to bring in a certain mix of commercial and light industry to support the tax base needed for residential. The foot print has doubled in the last 20 to 30 areas. The Town will either expand or get swallowed up by those around it. They’ve got a challenge in the next 20 to 30 years so when they’re done they have a community that supports the lifestyle and the philosophy of Ellettsville yet is modern and has all of the components in the right balance so it is sustainable once it gets through the growth period. Eventually, Ellettsville will be landlocked like other Towns.
Amy Slabaugh asked if there is a list of what the Parks Board will take on in the future such as the new Town Hall. Mr. Durnil replied it will be up to the Town Manager and Town Council as to what they want them to take over. Ms. Slabaugh is curious if they know how much the Parks Board will be responsible for. Mr. Durnil answered as much as they want to give them within reason. Town properties they can’t use such as the wetland would be their responsibility.
Jimmie Durnil entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Richard Pease made a motion to adjourn. Holly Nethery seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 7:29 p.m.