Recreation Advisory Board Meeting - January 29, 2015

Minutes of the Recreation Advisory Committee held on January 29, 2015.

Members present:   Kendra Borja                     Christopher Fernandez   

John Ise                            Jonathan Meltz                

Michael O’Hara                  William Reich


Members absent:    Christia Alou                                Kristin David Cawn 

                               Ken Whittaker                  


Also present:           Jerry Estep, Recreation Director

                               Leslie Rackl, Executive Assistant

                               Tom Benton, Village Manager

                               Hunt Davis, Councilman

                               Ken Ballard, Ballard*King & Associates

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m.

Mr. O’Hara made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 1, 2014, meeting. Motion seconded by Mr. Reich and unanimously approved.


Mr. Estep related that the basketball program has 182 enrolled and the registration for baseball/softball has begun. The last kid’s day off program had 80 enrolled and the Tween Fit program had 16 participants. It was noted that in regards to a swim team coach, Mr. Estep is meeting with a coach from Gulliver next week about possibly offering a satellite swim program in Miami Shores.

Ken Ballard was introduced to the Committee; Mr. Ballard’s firm will be conducting the feasibility study for the new recreation center. Mr. Ballard is gathering information to assess the needs of a new building including existing services and the possibility of new programs. The field house will be integrated with the community center. There will be a demographic analysis of Miami Shores and the surrounding areas. A statistical survey will be sent to residents and a community meeting within the next few months. Mr. Ballard is also looking at developing the costs to build a new center. The priorities of the facility and the size/parking limits need to be factored in.

It was noted that the time frame of completion of the survey is about 45 days, after which recommendations can be made. It will take 120 days from today for the final report to come in. It was noted that 1200 surveys will be mailed out to randomly assigned households and 300 completed surveys must be turned in before a report can be made. The questions are still being crafted for the survey. Mr. Ballard said that in many cases more than 300 surveys are returned which is beneficial. The survey is a

R.A.C. mtg., 1/29/15, pg. 2 of 2

snapshot of the type of programming and age of the respondent that may be lacking in the current facility. It was noted that it is common to send out surveys to only 3% of the population. One of the Commission members said one important question to add to the survey is ‘is the respondent the owner or renter of the property’. This may affect their answers, especially regarding any question concerning cost of the facility.

Community meetings will be important for Mr. Ballard’s firm to present preliminary ideas and explore the community’s input about a new center. New ideas not contained in the survey can be explored at community meetings. It was noted that you can’t solely rely on the survey; you have to also look at actual data of programs and revenue stream.

At this time the Commission member were asked for their input for a new center. Commission members would like a facility similar to Key Biscayne’s; a timeless building that has architectural significance; a safe and secure facility; volleyball courts; indoor gym. It was noted that if a large indoor gym is created other aspects of the center would probably be sacrificed. Multipurpose rooms are needed in a new center. Mr. Ballard said one of the issues is how a new facility will be staged. There are issues with parking currently and these issues need to be addressed with a new larger facility. The new facility would need to be built in phases; the existing building would remain with current programming and then move when needed to the new facility. Commission members inquired about having a ‘green building’, having a covered area for driving up and dropping off, an indoor play area for small children and having a reading area with bookshelves.

A two story building is idea. The prioritization is important since many facilities are built and become too small. The focus should be on Miami Shores residents; don’t build a facility for nonresident usage. Mr. O’Hara expressed concern for the residents paying for a $15 million dollar bond that may detract from residents’ usage in favor of attracting nonresidents to the new facility. Mr. Ballard says the question is ‘how much will residents pay and how big can a facility realistically be with the current space limitations’. The concerns are storage, parking, offices and flexibility; the building needs to adapt to the changing needs of the community over time. Mr. O’Hara does not want to lose the tennis center and suggested possibly using the roof top for tennis.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.