Committee is next step in Thyme Square plans

On Oct. 9, the Cloverdale City Council approved a parcel map for Thyme Square and discussed the creation of an ad hoc committee that would be specifically devoted to assisting with the design of the Thyme Square skate park.

Councilmember Gus Wolter was absent from the meeting, and councilmember Mary Ann Brigham recused herself from the agenda item since she has property near the parcel.

On Aug. 22 the city entered into an agreement with Spohn Ranch, a skate park design consulting firm. At the suggestion of firm, the city is forming an ad hoc committee to provide input and suggestions to Spohn Ranch regarding the design of the park.

An ad hoc committee is a committee formed by the city council with the goal of addressing specific matters that have a limited scope or time duration.

According to City Manager David Kelley, the approval of the parcel map was “a milestone” for the skate park project. Looking forward, the creation of an ad hoc committee will allow the park design plans to progress, eventually resulting in a project cost projection.

The ad hoc agenda item was brought forth by city staff and suggested that the committee be formed with one or two city council members, one or two planning commission members, one citizen, two students and two staff members.

The public comment portion of the agenda item was full of comments from those who support the park.

Both Shawn and Ipolani Bovee voiced their excitement regarding the creation of the ad hoc. The Bovees brought the idea of a skate park to the city council in 2015.

The development of the skate park also received support from a younger meeting attendee. Deputy City Clerk Linda Moore had to take down the lectern microphone and hand it to Samantha Elbeck, who came up to speak.

“I too am very excited for the skate part to be built here in Cloverdale,” said Elbeck. “We’re usually here in Cloverdale and sometimes it’s kind of stressful to go over to Santa Rosa just for the skate park.”

Elbeck also attended and spoke in support of the skate park during a 2016 city council meeting, when she was just 5 years old.

“I’m a fellow skater, so I’m really excited about this,” said Cloverdale resident Monique Evans. “This is going to bring the city a lot more people than you think to skate. Not just skateboarders; they’ll be roller skaters, quad skaters, inline skaters. There is not just one type of skater that will be utilizing this and it will bring a lot of money to the city over the years to improve our experience here.”

During her comment, Evans also brought up the idea of increasing the amount of citizens on the ad hoc committee. “There are a lot of opinions (surrounding) what should be done with this project,” she said.

“I take to heart one of the comments by Monique,” responded city council member Melanie Bagby. “We have listed one citizen member and two student members — I was wondering if there might be some interest in flipping that or if we would maybe consider having two and two. We’ve had so much demand for something for kids to do, which I’m all for.”

Bagby also discussed the importance of having input from people from a variety of age groups and demographics, as well as different types of skaters. Mayor Joe Palla echoed Evans’ and Bagby’s suggestions, adding that the council should look into having only one council member on the committee “to bring back (information) and keep the council updated.”

Palla also suggested having one student representative from Washington Middle School and one from Cloverdale High School, as well as increasing the number of citizens on the committee and looking for members of the community who would be willing to foster a network of communication surrounding what people want the skate park to look like.

“We really want this to be a community effort,” Palla said. “I think those that we select to sit on the ad hoc really need to be committed to reaching out to their peer groups.”

When asked about a possible timeline for the development of the skate park, Kelley said that it’s “premature to say (they) have a timeline,” but that setting up an ad hoc is one of the first steps toward drafting a design and getting the ball rolling. “Once you get a preliminary design you can start developing a cost estimate.”

The cost of the project was brought up during the meeting by Vice Mayor Carol Russell.

“I think we’re all excited about this,” said Russell. “I’m concerned that as we move ahead, we do everything we possibly can at the staff level and at the volunteer level to look into all of the possible ways we can fund this. My worst nightmare has always been that we have a fabulous design, we’re all excited, and we don’t know where to get the money. There are various resources and we need to hit every one of them, starting with ourselves as individuals.”

“Money is going to be a key factor,” added Palla. “There’s going to be a lot of work, networking, looking for ways to build and build funds.”

Once people are selected to be on the ad hoc, the committee will discuss goals for the park, go to Thyme Square to evaluate the location of the park and discuss future improvements to the space. After those steps are taken, there will be a community design workshop and city council presentation.

“I think it’s exciting for the city to embark on this process,” said Kelley. “It’s progressing.”

Those who are interested in being on the committee should contact Assistant City Manager Kevin Thompson at kthompson@ci.cloverdale.ca.us

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