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Minutes of the Work Session held July 16, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

 

MEMBERS PRESENT

Mayor Lopez-Rogers and Council Members               Chuck Wolf, Vice Mayor

                                                                                              Jim Buster – Arrived 6:02 p.m.

                                                                                              Frank Scott

                                                                                              Ken Weise

                                                                                              Betty Lynch

 

MEMBER EXCUSED

Council Member Earp

 

ALSO PRESENT

Rogene Hill, Assistant City Manager

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney

Pier Simeri, Community Relations Director

Kelly LaRosa, P.E. Traffic Engineer

Linda Farris, City Clerk

 

2)       ARIZONA CENTENNIAL LEGACY PROJECT

         

Pier Simeri, Community Relations Director explained that Arizona will celebrate its 100th birthday on February 14, 2012, and so a Centennial Plan was established by the State to focus on statewide Centennial celebrations with local participation.  Ms. Simeri informed Council that legislation passed in 2006 will provide 2.5 million dollars in matching funds if 5 million dollars is raised from non-state sources.  She clarified that to qualify for the matching funds, the projects must accurately portray a significant aspect of Arizona history, they must be accessible to large numbers of visitors and users, they must demonstrate collaboration in the planning, they must produce an enduring product that will live on after 2012, they must include an educational component, and they must include a plan for implementation.  She informed the Council the State has created a Centennial bank for the purpose of collecting the 5 million dollars from the non-state sources and the monies may be applied to designated, restricted, or unrestricted accounts, and most likely Avondale would participate in a restricted account.  Ms. Simeri asked the following questions of Council:  1) Does the Council wish to participate in the Centennial Bank?   2) How much should the contribution be?  Based on population, Avondale's share would be $71,360.  3) What types of projects would Council like to see?  4) Where would the projects be located?  5) What other guidelines would help the ad-hoc Centennial Committee? 

 

Mayor Lopez-Rogers stated Council had talked about the Lincoln Heritage Center project at a work session regarding this item, and that project might be one Council would like to consider.  She added that a restricted account would be the best way to go.

 

Council Member Lynch inquired if the city would be able to use our own money in our own city?  Ms Simeri assured the Council that they assured us that it is our own money  and the city could draw it whenever it was needed.  Council Member Lynch asked would the match be in the same proportionate share or would more money go to cities that could not afford to contribute.  Ms. Simeri responded there was no guarantee Avondale would get any of the match money as the money goes into an account, and there is a Centennial Commission and a sub-committee that reviews the projects, and while the City can apply to get match money, there is no guarantee they will receive it.  Council Member Lynch inquired were there guidelines in deciding how to allocate the money.  Ms. Simeri responded there were rules to qualify as a Centennial project, but there was no guarantee the City would receive match money.  Council Member Lynch stated she would like a clarification that there will be guidelines as to how they decide to allocate the money.  She stated she would like to participate in a restricted account.  Council Member Lynch stated she would like the Council to talk more about the Old Town Library site as it has to do with the City's heritage and she would also like the ad-hoc Centennial Project Committee to return to Council with guidelines on the scope of projects.  She stated the Arts Commission had talked about doing this project themselves from their funds and suggested since the Arts Commission members travel so much, there should be two members from that Commission on the Committee to make sure there was someone in attendance.  She asked would it be general fund money or Arts Commission money. 

 

Rogene Hill, Assistant City Manager, responded that the Arts Commission was interested in the project; however, their main focus was in purchasing art pieces and participating in the Committee, and having representation may be as far as they wish to go.  Council Member Lynch stated her concern was that the Arts Commission has foresight and understanding on this item and they could play a good leadership role, and she would hate to lose their participation.  She stated she would like to see the City's contribution be between $75,000-100,000 if possible.

 

Council Member Buster stated he recommended a restricted account as well and the amount of $71,360 was fine with him.

 

Council Member Scott recommended that the City participate in the funding between $75,000-100,000, and the type of projects may influence how much more money he would be willing for the City to contribute.  He stated he would like to see something permanent, not just cake and ice cream, and talked about historic sites in the city, and added he was excited about the project.

 

Vice Mayor Wolf stated that the funding needs to be project driven and that the Council should not limit the vision of the ad-hoc Centennial Committee, and he agrees to funding regardless of the cost depending on the project.  He stated yes, the City should participate in the Centennial Bank and should designate the funds for each project selected.  Vice Mayor Wolf clarified the Centennial is in 2012.  Vice Mayor Wolf stated his preference was for the ad-hoc Committee not to consist of any potential project team members to avoid a conflict of interest, and he would not be in favor of anybody from the Lincoln Heritage Center project being on the Committee.  Ms. Simeri stated someone from the Lincoln project could perhaps do a presentation to the Committee.  Vice Mayor Wolf stated a collaborative component had come across very strong and there was no guarantee the City would get matching funds.  He stated the Centennial Committee would be targeting the match funds for very small cities that have great projects but cannot afford to do them.  He added the Papago Project had already been approved because five cities are collaborating on the project, and Avondale needs to look at collaborating with surrounding cities on projects.

 

Mayor Lopez-Rogers stated with the Lincoln Heritage Center project, she was thinking about the collaborative effort, and that it was critical to identify where the funds will originate from.  She asked Ms. Simeri if she had enough information from Council.  Ms. Simeri responded what she was hearing from Council was to form the ad-hoc Committee, have them come up with suggestions and return to Council at a future work session, and at that point if Council hones in on the projects they would like to see, they can get a better understanding of how much money they will need.  Mayor Lopez-Rogers stated it was also important to let the Committee know what projects Council has talked about.  Ms. Simeri added there is no timeline on contributing to the funding and the project does not have to be completed by 2012.

 

3)         AVONDALE SCHOOL TRAFFIC SAFETY STUDY

          Avondale School Traffic Safety Study project update.

 

            Kelly LaRosa, P.E. Traffic Engineer, first introduced a new Assistant Traffic Engineer for Avondale, Margaret Boone-Pixley, who will be managing the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program kicking off on August 15, 2007. 

 

Margaret Boone-Pixley greeted the Council, thanked the City for creating the position, and gave the Council her history.  She stated she was excited to be working with the City of Avondale.

 

Ms. LaRosa continued with her presentation on the School Traffic Safety Study, stating Staff chose four elementary schools for the study, Michael Anderson, Littleton, Rancho Santa Fe, and Rio Vista.  She stated the scope of the project included field reviews to include drop-off and pick-up procedures, bus loading zones, walking routes to and from the schools, adjacent roadways, and evaluation of crosswalks.  Ms. LaRosa stated staff held two meetings with each school, returned with a final report, and developed a Safe Walking Route Map.  She then covered each school, showing slides of each school site depicting drop-off and pick-up zones, crossing zones, and bus loading zones.  Ms. LaRosa then outlined the improvements recommended for each school.  Michael Anderson Elementary School:  Parents discouraged from using the bus loading area to drop off students through upgrading signage and pavement marking, increasing staff presence, increasing parent education, and adding police presence; the crossing on Western Avenue be restriped as a  high visibility crosswalk and school signs be upgraded; the school crossing on 3rd Avenue south of Western Avenue be relocated farther south with increased "No Parking" signage and staffing the location with an adult school crossing guard, and eventually a raised pedestrian crosswalk or crosswalk with a median island across 3rd Avenue is recommended; removing one or both white pedestrian crosswalks on Western Avenue west of the school in the City of Goodyear; and use of a Safe Routes to School Map.  Littleton Elementary School:  Busing for all students; relocating the parent drop-off operation located off of Avondale Blvd. to the west side of the school in the back parking lot; relocate the current bus loading zone to the existing bus loading zone area off of Avondale Blvd.; conduct a traffic signal warrant study at the intersection of Avondale Blvd. and the bus driveway and continue with an adult crossing guard, and if a signal is not warranted, continue with two crossing guards; as well as signing, striping, and school path improvements along with education, enforcement and Safe Walking Route Maps.  Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School:  Combine the two existing 15 MPH school crossings into one in front of the main entrance to the school.  Rio Vista Elementary School:  Further extend to the east the drop-off lane, update signing and striping changes to ADOT standards on Encanto Blvd. and 103rd Avenue; and City staff has contacted the County to pursue recommended pedestrian safety improvements, in that the north side of Encanto Blvd. does not have a sidewalk.  Ms. LaRosa stated School Crossing Agreements will be pursued with each school for operation of the 15 MPH School Crossings according to ADOT guidelines that will be signed by both the City and the school signifying that they are in agreement that an adult crossing guard needs to be present, and specifying the exact location of the crossing and the hours of operation.  Ms. LaRosa stated implementation strategies will include crossing guards, 15 MPH School Crossing Agreements per ADOT, Safe Walking Route Maps, signing and striping to ADOT standards, increased enforcement, education and encouragement programs, and traffic calming crossing projects.

 

Mayor Lopez Rogers thanked Ms. LaRosa for the presentation.  She asked Chief Kotsur how the Police Department would address the increased police enforcement.  Chief Kotsur responded that for the past two years before each school year, the Department works with media relations to make sure they notify people that school is back in session and to watch for certain violations, and they team with the City of Goodyear's Police Department and enforce traffic laws very heavily in both jurisdictions.  He stated next year the plan is to increase the procedure by sending literature home to the parents to be aware of certain safety issues and traffic-related concerns, continue their joint approach with the City of Goodyear, the media contact, the photo enforcement speed van and a motorcycle officer visible around the schools.  Mayor Lopez-Rogers stated residents were always looking for more enforcement and she appreciates the effort the Avondale Police Department is putting forward.

 

Council Member Lynch commended Ms. LaRosa for the thorough job.  She stated she sits on the Rancho Santa Fe Site Council as an Advisory Board to the principal, and they were hoping the program would get moved up to prior to school starting.  Council Member Lynch stated she agrees with Ms. LaRosa on the plans for Rio Vista Elementary.  She asked Ms. LaRosa regarding the shortage of funds for the traffic calming features, was it on the schools' part or the City's part.  Ms. LaRosa responded for the minor signage and striping changes, the city plans to do that in-house with staff this summer prior to school starting, and for the two schools that require more infrastructure improvements, such as relocating a crossing, that requires the city to make sure there is ADA ramps and sidewalk connections on the side, and the city is looking to partner with the schools and it will take time to find funding on both the city and the schools' part. She suggested a partnership with the Rancho Santa Fe HOA because on the east side is HOA property and the HOA may be willing to partner.

 

Council Member Weise expressed he was impressed with the detail of the study.  He stated he agrees with Council Member Lynch that the Ranch Santa Fe HOA will be receptive to a partnership.  Council Member Weise asked if the study would address more schools in the future.  Ms. LaRosa stated it was staff's intent to study several schools a year until a study was done at every school, and as schools change, they will continue to re-look at schools for upgrades. 

 

Vice Mayor Wolf congratulated Ms. LaRosa on a great report.  He stated since the schools were located on major arterials with the largest number of traffic calming requests, he was in favor of the staff bringing it back to Council as a request to use the Neighborhood Traffic Management funds.  He also suggested doing the studies earlier in the year to get them incorporated in the budget cycle, and to see if there were other special projects to incorporate as well. 

 

Mayor Lopez-Rogers commended the Council Members for working with the schools and stated she hoped the schools would continue to work with Ms. LaRosa and Ms. Boone-Pixley.

 

4)       ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Council, Council Member Weise moved to adjourn.  Council Member Lynch seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

 

 

 

                                                                                              _____________________________

                                                                                              Mayor Lopez-Rogers

 

 

_________________________________

Linda M. Farris, CMC

City Clerk

 

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the Work Session of the Council of the City of Avondale held on the 16th day of July, 2007.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that the quorum was present.

 

 

 

__________________________________

City Clerk

 

 

Any individual with a qualified disability may request a reasonable accommodation by contacting the City Clerk at 623-333-1200 at least 48 hours prior to the Council meeting.