Two new commissioners for the Parks and Recreation Commission were sworn into office on Thursday night at City Hall.
Victor Scherr and Jeff Werkmeister assumed duties in front of a small audience of about a half dozen, mostly comprised of Scherr's wife and Werkmeister's family.
They won appointment at a recent City Council meeting in which they were chosen over sitting commissioners Amanda Morrell and John Irish.
Among their first duties was selecting a chairman and a vice chair. As a means of introduction, all commissioners shared a bit about themselves.
Selecting new leaders came off without a hitch. Commissioner Steve Manning nominated Loretta Herrin to be the chairperson; it was seconded by Jim Rosenberg and approved by a 5-0 vote.
Manning then nominated Rosenberg as vice chair and he, too, was approved without dissent.
There was some discussion about a potential dog park, which almost surely will come to pass, with Rosenberg in particular stressing that even though projects may take longer than the public would like, the end result is an "A-plus or A" project.
"It may take a couple months, six months longer, but it will be done right," he promised. He cited the Etnies Skatepark as an example. He also took exception to Lake Forest being portrayed as "more dog-intensive than all the other neighborhood cities combined" and being criticized for not yet having such a park.
The portrayal, he said, is coming from "Orange County Animal Control that administers 17 different cities in Orange County; we are no more out of line by a couple percentage points than any other city in the 17 as far as number of animals to population, number of licensed animals to population and number of estimated nonlicensed animals to population."
Discussion also revolved around the synthetic turf that will cover a couple of fields at the new Sports Park and the necessary rules to sustain the life of the turf. The common feeling: Players and water only on the field, and the need to educate the teams and league administrators who will use the fields.
Rosenberg indicated to City staff he would like to see the education program well defined and it's clearly noted to administrators for causing damage. "This thing is going to be a jewel," he said, then explained how a similar project in Laguna Niguel developed problems "simply caused by them not wanting to over-administer it."
Scherr indicated he would like to see a comprehensive plan regarding maintenance, but Staff indicated it was way ahead of him. He also expressed concern about heat, and Recreation Program Manager Rob Gaylord indicated some cork options were being explored as well as water cannons.
It was also noted that a senior advisory board has been chosen and will come to the April meeting with a mission statement.
Rosenberg touched on a number of subjects, and suggested it might be worth investigating a way to tweak the popular Snow Day—held on Feb. 2—that would allow more people to participate during the three sessions.
Although Manning lamented that his children didn't get to grow up in the Sports Park, Werkmeister—sitting between Manning and Herrin—thanked the commission for bringing it to reality for his children. He also stressed the key to the dog park would be location.
"The dog park is a great idea but we want to make sure we plan it out, map it out, not just react to it," he said. "We don't want it to border a residential area."
Scherr, who is a docent at Heritage Hill Historical Park, suggested Staff and his new colleagues take a field trip to learn more about the facility.
Herrin suggested the City consider an auto repair class among its activities and that such classes are very popular elsewhere.
Below are a condensed list of rules for the synthetic turf fields that the Commission is considering:
1. No beverages other than water
2. No fruits, foods or snacks (including nuts, seeds and gum)
3. No smoking or tobacco products
4. No glass bottles or containers of any type
5. No pets allowed
6. No golfing, javelins, shot putting, discus throwing
7. No metal cleats (molded or screw on types allowed)
8. No grills or open flames
9. No legged furniture or equipment
10. No sharp objects such as tent stakes or corner flags
11. No vehicles, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, in-line skates
12. No unauthorized marking of lines on the fields
13. No radio controlled (RC) cars, planes
14. No lighter fluids or other gasoline type products
15. No dragging of sports equipment, all equipment must
"We will do everything we can to save the fields," Gaylord said. "We understand it's going to take a lot of community education but we're up to th challenge."