PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

MINUTES OF JANUARY 14, 2002


Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Sutton noted that her name was omitted from the attendance of January 14, 2002 minutes. Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes as corrected. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board held its' first meeting on January 14, 2002. In attendance and voting were: Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Andy Levine, Buck O'Neill, Russell G. Strover, Anna Marie Zambriscki. Also in attendance were Richard Weaver, Supervisor, and Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director. 

Mr. Levine, acting as Chairman, called the meeting to order at 8:10 PM.

Mr. Wert suggested that the agenda be changed in order to organize the newly formed Board, and to hear the presentations of the Law School Admissions Council first. 

Mr. Levine moved to appoint Mr. Bernard Bires as Chairman. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mrs. Sutton moved to appoint Mr. Levine as Vice-Chairman. Mrs. Zambriscki seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

New Business 

Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) Preliminary Plan

Mr. Don Marshall represented LSAC in this matter. Mr. Marshall presented the plan to the board. He stated that LSAC wished to erect a new building on Penn Street, directly opposite their current headquarters. The new building would be larger to allow for on site storage of the Law School Admissions Test, as well as to expand the current overcrowded offices. The plans did not allow for open space suitable for Township use. The building will be in the industrial area of the Township. Mr. Marshall further explained that the land is currently a cornfield.

Mr. Marshall estimated that, because the new building will be 85,000 square feet, with 13,000 dedicated to warehousing, the fee in lieu of open space would be between $90,000.00 and $100,000.00. 

Mr. Wert confirmed that the fee in lieu of open space had not changed with the new year and remains at $1291.00 per 1000 square feet of non-residential space. 

Mrs. Sutton explained that the Park and Recreation Board, as the Park and Open Space Committee had in the past, should vote to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether to accept land or a fee in lieu of open space. 

Mrs. Sutton moved to accept a fee in lieu of open space. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Boyce Associates 

Mr. Michael Wiley of Boyce Associates, representing the Little Tykes brand playground equipment, was introduced. 

Mr. Wiley stated that he had used the "Considerations for Playground Equipment for Roberts Ridge Park" provided by the Park and Open Space Committee to prepare plans for a proposed playground using Little Tykes equipment. He also shared two plans he had drawn up in 1998 for the same park.  

Mr. Wert explained to the Board that the Park and Open Space Committee had been given a budget of $125,000.00 for use in Roberts Ridge Park. They had asked for proposals from Boyce and Landscape Structures using budgets of the full $125,000.00 and for $63,000.00. The committee had not decided whether to use the entire budget on playground equipment or to split the budget with a possible band shell/gazebo. 

Mr. Wiley stated that he had used the lower figure only when preparing his plan, assuming that more equipment could easily be added, either this year or in the future. His plan calls for two play areas, one for 2-5 year olds and a larger area for 5-12 year olds. The plan, and all Boyce Little Tykes playgrounds are available under State Contracts. The estimated cost for the equipment in the plan is about $43,730.00. This does not include site preparation, ground cover and installation. The plan does not provide for "passive seating". 

Mr. Wiley explained that the biggest consideration in planning the playground is the Safety Surface. There are three choices available; loose, such as mulch; poured in place surface; and tile. 

Mulch is installed 12 inches deep. The area is dug and leveled, stone added , then a ground mesh to prevent weed growth, then the 12 inches of mulch. The mulch needs to be replenished every two years. If the play area is surrounded by edger's the mulch usually stays in place and drainage is not a problem. It is ground hardwood and meets ADA requirements. The mulch for a playground 86'X72' will cost about $4575.00 delivered. This does not include site preparation. 95% of playgrounds use mulch. 

Mr. Wiley stated that poured in place surfaces are more expensive, usually running about $8.00 a square foot. The rubbery surface is poured over concrete. It is very bouncy, with different thicknesses in the high impact areas such as under swings and at the bottoms of slides.  It is good for about 5 years.  It meets ADA requirements. Over time, as it wears, children can peel the surface away from the cement. The price does not include the site preparation. 

Mr. Wiley stated that he prefers the tile safety surface. It is the most expensive, running about $35,000.00 for an 86'X72' playground. The tiles are very durable, can easily be individually replaced, and provide a very soft, bouncy surface. They also meet ADA requirements. It is not under State Contract. 

Mrs. Sutton asked about a mulch like ground cover made of old tires. Mr. Wiley stated that it is not widely used in this area. The downsides are that it is flammable, and that it can be very dirty. It does not have ADA approval. 

Mr. Levine questioned whether the proposed ground covers and equipment were wheelchair accessible. 

Mr. Wiley explained that the ADA does not require that the entire playground be wheelchair accessible, but that it provide ramps and "transfer stations". There are areas on the playground that can be used by wheelchair bound children,  and the playground itself is wheelchair accessible, however the entire structure is not. There are areas for play within the structure that a disabled child can enjoy. 

Mr. Wiley again stated that his  $43,730.00 estimate included the equipment and border panels. It does not include installation and safety surface. 

Mr. Wiley stated that when a playground is "community built" the manufacturer will provide a site coordinator to supervise the installation. The installation is very difficult work and the site coordinator reads the plans and checks all the equipment after installation. When a site coordinator is used, the manufacturer assumes liability for the equipment. Installation by the manufacturer is calculated at 30% of the equipment price. 

Mr. Wiley provided catalogs for the Board. He said that each playground is originally designed, so that when children visit them they do not see the same one twice. 

Mr. Levine asked how far the Park and Open Space Committee had gotten in their planning for the playground. 

Mrs. Sutton said that the committee had chosen a site for the playground in the middle of Roberts Ridge Park, near the one large tree. It is a short walk from the parking lot, is not close to the street, and is a short walk to the are set aside for the proposed gazebo. The site chosen does allow room for expansion in the future.

The committee had also decided that they preferred the equipment be of natural colors, and be made of synthetic material. The features of the play events had also been chosen, but not the specific equipment. They had spoken to a representative of Doylestown Park and Recreation who told them that wooden playground are very difficult to maintain; that the bolts loosen; that they splinter and fade. They are also flammable; the playground in Morrisville has been burned down.  

The committee asked Landscape Structures to prepare two proposals, one for the full $125,000.00, one for $63,000.00, in order to compare. They had not made a decision yet as to whether they would spend the entire budget on the playground.

Mr. Wert explained that the $125,000.00 for equipment is the 2001 budget.  A playground and a gazebo/gazebo had been suggested uses for the money. 

Mr. Wert had gotten a ballpark estimate for bringing electricity to the park, which would be needed for a gazebo. He has been told that bringing electricity adequate for a band shell and future restrooms would be about $40,000.00. This information has been forwarded to the Township Manager. 

Mr. Wert explained that the design for the Gazebo that the Park and Open Space committee preferred was $23,000.00. This did not include site preparation, installation or electricity. 

Mr. O'Neill suggested that the Board should consider a community built playground. He felt that he could assemble a committee of volunteers with construction experience, and that a community built playground would be a source of pride. 

Mr. Wert stated that he would telephone Mr. Helmuth of Landscape Structures, Inc., and invite him to present at the February 6, 2002 Board meeting. Mr. Helmuth should present two plans, and the Board would have a better basis for comparison in trying to decide between using the full budget or half on playground equipment.

Mr. Levine suggested that after the next meeting a sub-committee be formed to make recommendations to the board on the choices to be made. 

Liaison Reports 

Shade Tree Commission 

Mrs. Sutton reported that she had received a donation from Frost Watson of 20 cut pieces of pressure treated wood to be used as identification markers for the trees in Roberts Ridge Park. There had been a miscommunication with Frost Watson as to the number of markers needed. Mrs. Sutton will contact Home Depot for the remainder of needed markers. 

Mr. Strover reported that he is working on the verbiage for the plaques to be placed on the markers. 

Mr. Strover had also planned for a grove of lindens to be planted on the hill leading down to the area for the proposed gazebo. 

Supervisors Report

Mr. Weaver reported that the Supervisors had joined the Park and Recreation Committee and the Park and Open Space Committee into one Park and Recreation Board in order for them to work together to enact the Comprehensive Plan for Parks.

Park and Recreation Director's Report 

Mr. Wert provided the Board with copies of the 2001 Recreation Performance Review and Newtown Township Park & Recreation YTD Division Performance. These have not yet been audited, however they show that the Division is 85% self sufficient. 

The winter brochure has been mailed and the Division has already had $41,000.00 on enrollment fees. 

New Business 

Mr. Weaver stated that four developers were scheduled to present preliminary or sketch plans at the February 6, 2002 meeting. 

Mr. Wert said that if the Board decided on playground equipment, that he hoped it could be installed this coming spring. 

Approval of Minutes 

Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of the Park and Open Space Committee of November 26, 2001.  Mr. Strover seconded. The motion carried with a vote of 2-0, with Mr. Grosso, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Levine, Mr. O'Neill and Mrs. Zambriscki abstaining. 

Adjournment 

Mrs. Sutton moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:00PM. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Respectfully submitted

  

 __________________
Mary Donaldson
Recording Secretary