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FORPD Considers Committee to Review Solutions to Parking Issues

Feb 06, 2024 01:46PM ● By Shaunna Boyd

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - At the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District (FORPD) Board of Directors meeting on January 17, the Board heard a public comment from Leon Corcos, a Fair Oaks resident, property owner, business owner and Fair Oaks Village Enhancement Committee (FOVEC) member. Corcos spoke about a parking and traffic report recently released by Sacramento County Supervisor Rich Desmond’s office that recommended the District delay parking upgrades in the Village until all the facility and park improvements currently underway are completed, in order to conduct a thorough parking and traffic evaluation at that time.

“I recommend you ignore it,” said Corcos. “I think that’s kind of foolish when we’re losing a lot of time. And there’s a lot to be done still and parking is critical.”

He said that the report didn’t accurately account for the District parking plans, with the report implying that construction would decrease the amount of parking, while the plan will actually increase the amount of parking spaces. 

Fair Oaks Village Enhancement Committee President Nan Danford also spoke about the parking report during public comment, asking that the District not follow the report’s recommendation: “We think that is a really bad idea. …. If we wait, it’s going to be chaos.” Danford said that ignoring the parking issue until after construction is complete will result in “so many angry, upset visitors, and it’s going to hurt the businesses.”

Director Raymond James Irwin asked how the District’s current plan was in opposition to the report’s recommendation.

District Administrator Mike Aho explained, “The big difference that you have right now is the fact that we are aware that there is going to be a problem and we are working toward some kind of lessening of the impact before we open.” While the construction plan does include increased parking spaces, the improved facilities will also increase parking demand, so the District is trying to find solutions to that.

Aho said ideas could include paid parking spaces, enforced parking time limits, etc. But they would only be able to enforce such measures on the spaces owned by the District, not on all spaces throughout the Village.

Board Chair Ralph Carhart said, “We’re not going to learn anything new by waiting for what we do. We know exactly how many parking spaces, we know where they’re at, and we know that when we start having our events there that it’s going to put an additional demand on the overall parking.”

Director Irwin said, “I think we need a working committee to really work with this and then bring it back to the Board so we can have a really unified approach of what we’re doing going forward,” which will then inform the Board’s “strong recommendation for the county.” 

The Board agreed that at the next meeting they will consider the formation of a committee to review the parking issue in more detail.

The Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Board of Directors also serves as the Board for the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Foundation, a nonprofit that serves as the fundraising source for the District in order to support recreation, arts, and entertainment.  But during a financial audit, the auditor recommended that the Foundation should not be controlled by the same agency and should instead be a separate, independent entity.

So staff recommended that the Foundation be dissolved and its assets transferred to an existing charitable organization, the Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts (FOFLA). This merger would consolidate efforts to raise funds in support of art and recreation programs throughout Fair Oaks.

There are three major programs that would be shifted over to FOFLA if this proposal is approved: The Rachael Anne Gray Scholarship, the Fair Oaks Youth Advisory Board (FOYAB), and the Don Ralls Memorial Scholarship Fund.

District Administrator Aho said, “We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now, and we’re finally getting some traction on it…trying to find some kind of solution that would make sense for the community and for the park district.” Aho said that Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts has a very similar mission to the Foundation, and Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts is agreeable to the merger. District staff have worked with Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts to update their bylaws to allow for this change. The bylaws would also require at least one member of the FORPD Board be appointed as a member of Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts’s new Board, so the District would maintain some input without being the controlling entity. Aho said the Board could choose the term length for that appointment, whether shifting the appointment annually or appointing one member for their full term.

Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts President Keith Walter said that members of their Board serve three-year terms, and he encouraged the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Board to appoint someone for the full term rather than rotating a new member each year.

“Rapid turnover doesn’t necessarily make for strong boards,” Walter said.

Staff asked for approval to send the updated Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts bylaws to Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District attorneys for review (which would come from the already budgeted attorney services line item, at an estimated cost of $1,500 to $2,500). After review, the bylaws would be filed with the Secretary of State, and then at a future meeting, the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Foundation Board would vote on the official dissolution of the Foundation and asset transfer to Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts. 

Director Irwin said, “I would have liked it to have gone through a committee before this.” District Administrator Aho said the approach can certainly be adjusted, and the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Board’s Community Relations Committee can review the bylaws first before they are sent to the attorneys for review.

Director John O’Farrell said, “We know we need to make a change. … The question is, what kind of change it’s going to be, and hopefully we can all be okay with it. Sounds like a good plan to me.”

Walter said that the Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts Board “believes this is good for the community and we want it to be right, so we have no objection to taking the time to handle it.”

Board Chair Carhart said, “It will be definitely good for us. We need all the support for our planned events and activities that we can get. Our foundation was not really set up to do that.”

Finally, Aho provided a brief update about construction in the Village, stating that they have now closed the parking lot on Park Drive.

“It is our staging area and our material storage for the playground construction,” said Aho. The new playground’s surface area has been compacted, and now they just need an inspection before the installation of the new playground can move forward, which is expected to take about two months.

The next meeting of the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Board is scheduled for February 21.

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