Minutes of the Workshop Meeting of March 18, 2010
Councilmember Kolb inquired what is being proposed for the memorial plaque. Park and Recreation Director Kappelhoff replied that it will be a very small plaque.
Councilmember Clark stated his position that the plaque should be irrelevant to the Council’s decision; the policy decision is whether to allow the memorial dedication to happen or not. He stated the bigger policy is whether to allow this, and the discussion would then be on the mechanics.
Councilmember Swanson stated the last Council discussion on this topic ended with a decision to allow memorial requests to come forward on an individual basis. Councilmember Hovland concurred. He observed that the Council had determined that the proposed policy was too complex, and that it would be easier to make these decisions on a case by case basis.
Councilmember Clark stated his opposition to allowing the memorial. He stated his position that the memorial will defeat the purpose of the park, and that parks are meant to be happy places.
Councilmember Kolb stated her position that an acceptable memorial could be something useful in the character of the park. She commented that public places like zoos, etc. have a difficult time surviving without memorials. She pointed out that one of the biggest tourist attractions is Storybook Island in Rapid City, South Dakota, where everything is a memorial to lost children.
Councilmember Herbst asked how much was raised for the memorial. Park and Recreation Director Kappelhoff replied that this particular piece of equipments lists at approximately $5,000. In addition, a retaining wall will need to go around the equipment. Over $5,000 has been raised in conjunction with Hanson Builders who indicated they would cover the remaining funds.
Councilmember Bourke asked if this equipment is something that the City would normally have in a park, and if there will be excessive maintenance costs. Park and Recreation Director Kappelhoff replied that the equipment fits into the current scheme of equipment in the park. It will likely last approximately 15 years and will not require much maintenance.
Councilmember Hovland asked if there are associated liability issues for the City or the people donating the equipment if someone were to get hurt. Park and Recreation Director Kappelhoff replied that once the equipment is accepted as a memorial and donation to the park it would have the same status as any other piece of equipment in the playground.
Mayor Ryan stated he does not have an issue with allowing this for parents that are hurt and want to show thanks for someplace their child played.
Councilmember Swanson stated he does not have an issue with allowing memorials that fit into the general use of the park, such as benches, etc. He stated he is not opposed to this request as long as it is a useful piece of apparatus that fits within the park and the plaque is not overwhelming.
Councilmember Bourke stated he does not have a concern with allowing the memorial as long as the plaque is discreet. Councilmember Herbst concurred.
Councilmember Clark requested staff to incorporate the above comments of the Council into a policy on memorials for further discussion by the Council. He noted that the majority of the Council has expressed support for accepting this memorial and stressed that the reasons it is being accepted should be documented.