PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 4, 2002


Approval of the Minutes: Mr. Davis moved to approve the minutes of September 4, 2002. Mr. Strover seconded and the motion passed 6-0. 


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, September 4, 2002 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Bernard Bires, Chairman, John Davis, Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Buck O'Neill, Susan Sutton and  Russell G. Strover, Members. Also in attendance was  Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director. 

Call to Order 

Mr. Bires called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM 

Public Comment 

Mr. Bires introduced Pat Cawley, Guy Evans and Joe Garvey, representing the newly elected  Executive Board of the Newtown Colonials Girls Softball League. 

Mr. Cawley said that he wanted to introduce the Colonials Board and to speak about the changes in the League. He said that the league had 350 girls in its spring program, and had plans to enroll 500 girls for next spring. The League has become more competitive and has fielded all-star tournament teams that have placed second in a number of tournaments. He said that the new Board wants to help these talented girls to have a very positive Softball experience. Toward that end, they are requesting advice on acquiring more field time than they have been given in the past. 

Mr. Cawley pointed out that the girls have to share field time with the boys, but that the boys have been given more time and more dedicated fields. The League has raised money and has parent support and would like to be involved in field maintenance and improvements.  

Mr. Garvey said that the Colonials are also interested in using fields for a Fall League, using fields on Saturday mornings from 9:00AM to noon. Thye would also like to sponsor a summer tournament. 

Mr. Wert said that there should not be a problem with using fields in the fall or summer, however thay are in demand in the Spring. The Park and Rec Department does not like to take fields away from organizations that have used them in the past, unless they give them up, and that the baseball/softball fields are needed for boys Little League, Men's Softball, and Challenger League. The fall NFL Flag Football league is also slotted for use of the outfield area at Helen Randle Park. 

Mr. O'Neill said that he is on the Board of Little League and that he would be willing to work out a schedule for the Spring with the girls to better share the existing fields. He said that there were 600 boys in last year's League, and Babe Ruth also had use of the fields.  

Mr. Garvey asked if it would be possible to dedicate fields exclusively to girls softball, rather than have the girls on all-purpose fields. He said that his organization would be willing to do fundraising and seek corporate sponsorship for field improvements. He said that last season the Colonials had to turn away girls and the teams were only able to get field time for a ten game season. He would like to work with the Park and Rec Board and the other leagues using the fields to work out a more equitable arrangement. He also asked if the Park and Rec Board had any plans for adding new fields to Township owned parkland. 

Mr. O'Neill said that he thought that with Council Rock High School South fields being available to Northampton teams that the Colonials may be able to use some of Council Rock North's fields. 

Mr. Wert said that there are a few locations throughout the Township that may be appropriate for development as softball fields. He said that the Wiggins tract and Woll Tract had been slated for active recreation in the 1999 comprehensive plan. He suggested that the Colonials approach the Board of Supervisors about this. 

Mr. Bires suggested that the Colonials, Mr. Wert and Mr. O'Neill meet in October to plan field use for next Spring, and to work together to try to get the School District to allocate the fields in Newtown to Newtown teams rather than to Northampton teams. 

Mr. Bires said that the Colonials should also plan to come to a future Board meeting to present a wish list, as the Little League does.  

Mr. Garvey said that the Colonials have raised money for a batting cage and asked about the process of getting approval to set it up. 

Mr. Bires told Mr. Garvey that he should show the Park and Rec Board his plans, and that the Board would vote to recommend to the Supervisors that the Colonials be allowed to install a batting cage. 

Approval of the Minutes of August 7, 2002 

Mr. Grosso noted that the last paragraph on page 2 should read "Mr. Harp agreed to pursue this with Mr. Pellegrino". 

Mr. Davis moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 7-0. 

Hoffa Tract 

Mike Palmer of Toll Brothers presented plans for development of the Hoffa Tract on Eagle Road as a housing development. He said that the tract will have 40 homes on 28 acres. Each home will be about 3200 square feet on 8,000 to 10,000 square foot lots. There will be 12.75 acres of open space, the bulk of it a retention basin. Open space to be given to the township would be 1.5 acres. There are not plans as yet for a playground within the development.  

Mr. Wert advised the Board that the fee in lieu of open space would be approximately  $200,000, and the open space would not be easily accessible to residents outside the development. 

Mrs. Sutton moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for this development. Mr. Strover seconded and the motion passed 7-0. 

Skate Park 

Mr. O'Neill reported that he has begun looking at park plans through Ramp Tech on the internet, but has not begun to price park equipment. He has begun investigating possible locations, and has been making inquiries into an unused lot in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center opposite the Rescue Squad building. He said that most skate park equipment can be moved easily, and so he thought that the Board should consider temporary locations as well as permanent locations. He also said that he would like to approach some of the developers working in Newtown about donating macadam for the site chosen. 

Mr. Bires said that he had visited the new Middletown park and spoken to the site supervisor. He learned that half of the registrations for season passes had been issued to Lower Makefield residents. He also noted that Middletown has required that a parent remain with children nine years old and under.  

Silver Lake 

Ms. Kelly reported she had visited Silver Lake Park with Ms. Sutton, Mr. Grosso and Ms. Zambriscki on August 10, 2002. She presented a written report of the sub-committee's findings and suggestions. She said that this sub-committee agreed that the park, as the entrance to Newtown, has many possibilities. The sub-committee thought that the park would lend itself well to development for passive recreation. Among the sub-committee's suggestions are a gazebo, picnic grove, informal softball field, and a fountain in  the lake. They also thought that a picnic pavilion, available for rental for company picnics, might be a good idea. They also suggested that the walking trail should extend to the perimeter of the lake. She noted that geese are a major problem in the park. 

Mr. Strover said that he had begun investigating DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Program Grants. These matching grants are available in amounts from $50,000. to $150,000. The application process is very comprehensive and we would not be able to apply until the 2003/04 cycle, however he thought that development of Silver Lake Park might meet the criteria of the grants.  

Mr. Wert noted that among the criteria is "Partnership/Intergovernmental Cooperation." He pointed out that development of Silver Lake might work well with Lower Makefield as a continuation of their trail system; with Bucks County, as the creek feeds Lake Luxembourg in Core Creek Park; and possibly as a partnership with Lockheed Martin as an employee recreation site. 

Mrs. Sutton moved to recommend that based on Mr. Strover's research into DCNR Grants, the Board of Supervisors budget money for a Master Site Plan with a goal of applying for a DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Grant for the 2003/04 cycle. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 7-0. 

Park and Recreation Director's Report 

Mr. Wert reported that the summer Park and Recreation programs showed an increase of 10% in revenue and 15% in participation. The fall brochure will be mailed the second week of September.  

Mr. Wert said that work had begun on the Roberts Ridge playground and would be completed in 7 to 8 working days. A new sign has been installed at the park. The opening ceremony has been moved to September 22, 2002, with ribbon cutting at 4:00PM and the Big Band Concert from 4:30 to 6:30PM. The County bandstand is not available, but Mr. Bires has arranged for another rental bandstand. Commerce Bank has agreed to sponsor the concert. 

Mr. Strover reported that the six trees at Roberts Ridge that had not survived the summer would be replaced before September 22.  He has submitted paperwork for a second grant for 50 to 60 additional trees that  he thought should be used to  fill in the area along Frost Lane and continue plantings in the arboretum area if the Board agreed with this idea. 

Mrs. Sutton moved to proceed with the grant process for trees to be planted along Frost Lane and in an arboretum area in Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 7-0. 

Mr. Wert reported that NFL Flag Football had joined the Lower Bucks Recreation association. There are 74 children registered. They will have home games at Helen Randle Park on Sunday afternoons 

Member Comments 

Mr. Bires read a letter from Helen Randle in which she noted the location that she would prefer for her park bench in Helen Randle Park. 

Mr. Davis moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Ms. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 7-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

____________________________ 
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary