Nancy Gerdt
Jim Mosher
Michele Mosher
Alexis Krostue
Leigh Ann Gessner
Shelly King Schuur
Diane McCormick
Ralph Miljanich
Gene Ratcliffe
Missy Ratcliffe

Envisioning Outdoor Spaces

The group discussed priorities for the outdoor space in preparation for the meeting on Friday, January 20, with Architect Teall Messer, Landscape Architect Amy West, and representatives from County Parks and Public Works.  A consensus was reached that “environmental literacy” with an emphasis on watershed protection should be the theme for the outdoor space development.

A cohesive design for the whole project is critical, so that all three physical areas are integrated (building, land across the creek, and land between the library building and the creek).

The group reviewed and supported the Nature Explore concept and design, although revisions are probably necessary in light of the land that SLVWD has proposed to add to the project through an easement with the county.  Also, the outdoor design should integrate uses for all ages.

Priorities for the land should include:

  • Separate spaces for different uses, for example so that quiet activities can occur without undue interference from areas that may be noisy
  • Native plants walking area or garden
  • Picnic tables and other gathering spaces
  • Places to read with viewsheds
  • Water recharge catchment areas that provide opportunity for educating public regarding the importance of recharging the watershed
  • Small amphitheater/stage to encourage usage by diverse groups, for example by theater companies to preview upcoming performances
  • Accessible paths
  • Congregation areas for teens that are safe
  • A labyrinth was also discussed as a possible addition to the site

Opportunities for education regarding plants, watershed, etc. should be available through library materials, podcasts, etc.  Signage can play an important role but should not be too overwhelming.  Perhaps use a numbering system with materials keyed to podcasts and/or library handouts (as is done in the State Park).

Consideration should be given to developing a docent program to help monitor and maintain the space once developed. The California Naturalist Program at UCSC should be considered as a possible partner.

Nancy, Michele, Gene and Ralph will attend the meeting with the architect and report back to the full group.

Library Commission News

Nancy (who represents the 5th District) reported that the library system has approximately $2 million in one-time additional funds.  Susan Nemitz, Library Director, reported to the Commission that increasing open hours was given the highest priority based on input received during the strategic planning process.  She has proposed increasing open hours significantly, using approximately $400,000 of the one-time funds for this purpose.  Discussion is occurring regarding how the increased hours can be sustained over time and the JPA will consider the proposal at its next meeting.  $300,000 of the funds will be used for new materials and $300,000 for major computer upgrades throughout the system.

Project Timeline

Jim presented the project timeline.

View timesline in Google Docs

Teams can add items to the timeline by e-mailing Jim at

Connecting with Schools

Jim reported that Donna Zeil met with Laurie Bruton, Superintendent of the SLV School District. Laurie is interested in collaborating with us, particularly because a new librarian at the high school is scheduled to be hired.  Donna invited Laurie to the next Development Team meeting, and Laurie said that she or a representative would be interested in attending.

The group expressed interest in pursuing a strong relationship with the school district.  In addition to linking to the Development Team, the group suggested that a subgroup be formed to meet with Laurie to discuss how best to build a collaboration across a variety of programmatic topics.  Diane and Leigh Ann volunteered to work with Donna on this effort.  Jim will contact Donna to discuss next steps.

Role of Group, Name, and Next Meeting

It was agreed that the group will be called the Steering Committee.  It will serve as the coordinating body, and the teams will report to it.  All FLF members and supporters will be invited to future meetings as full participants.  Team leaders and co-leaders will be expected to attend meetings; others will be invited.  Steering Committee meetings will replace membership meetings.

Next meeting is scheduled for March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Felton Library.