PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 5, 2003


Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Kelly moved to approve the minutes of February 5, 2003. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 7-0.


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on February 5, 2003, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Bernard Bires, Chairman; Andrew Levine, Vice-Chairman; Michael Clancy, John Davis, Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Buck O'Neill, Susan Sutton and Anne Marie Zambriczki, members. Also in attendance were Bob Dieterle and Jim Ott, Planning Commission Liaisons, Russell Strover, Naturalist, and Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director. 

Mr. Bires called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Mr. Bires suggested that the agenda be changed to hear new business first.

New Business 

Newtown Industrial Commons, Lot 21

Mr. Curt Rittler and Mr. Douglas Terry presented a Preliminary Plan for Newtown Industrial Commons, Lot 21, which is the old farmhouse on Pheasant Run. Mr. Rittler explained that he plans to convert the farmhouse to a 25,000 square foot, two story office building. The carriage house on the property is to be renovated, and the existing storage buildings are to be removed and replaced with one pole barn for storage. Some parking will be held in reserve, and the area will be landscaped. The offices are to be leased. The fee in lieu of open space is estimated at approximately $15,000. 

Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for Newtown Industrial Commons, Lot 21.  Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Kosacci Major Sub-Division, Sketch Plan 

Mr. Emmanuel Kosacci presented a sketch plan for a six parcel residential sub-division with access through Cliveden Drive. Mr. Kosacci said that there is open space available in the sub-division, in the flood plain.

Mr. Ott of the Planning Commission explained to the Board that the open space would not be accessible, and is deed restricted.

Mr. Wert said that, although the land designated as open space is on the opposite side of the Newtown Creek from Newtown Township owned land, there is no bridge to connect the two parcels, and no bridge could be built in the flood plain. He estimated that the fee in lieu of open space would be about $25,000.

Mr. Grosso moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for the Kosacci Major Sub-Division. Mrs. Zambriczki seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Public Comment 

Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association

Mr. Pat Cawley and Mr. Joe Garvey of  Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association presented a list of requests for use of Township parks. Mr. Cawley explained that the softball league was experiencing rapid growth, and had an enrollment of 550 girls from age 5 through 18. Mr. Cawley said that he had worked on a schedule of field usage with Mr. Wert and Mr. O'Neill of Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association (Boys Baseball) for Helen Randle Park. They have a few requests regarding the use of the fields.

Mr. Cawley asked that the Board give permission to install, at Softball Association expense,  breakaway bases and a double base at first base on fields 1, 2, 3 and 6 at Helen Randle Park. 

Mr. Cawley asked if the Association could place vinyl sponsor signs along the outfield fences, to remain in place for the entire softball season. He pointed out that the boys' league signs remain in place all season. He said that the Association would agree to keeping the signs small, as the boys have done. 

Mr. Cawley asked permission to install portable fences around the fields to create smaller outfields for the younger girls. He said that this is important throughout the season, but would be especially important during the tournament that the Association is hosting for up to 30 travel teams in July.

Mr. Wert said that the portable fences would not be a problem during the tournament but that he did not think that they could be left up for the season because field 3 at Helen Randle Park is also used by a men's softball league, and because the fences make field maintenance very difficult for the Public Works Department. He said that, while the fields are assigned for the girls' use during their season, they are public fields and residents can play on them when the girls are not using them. For this reason, also, he is reluctant to alter the field to accommodate little girls only. He said that he would like it to remain an all-purpose field. 

Mr. Garvey said that he would like to see the girls playing on a softball field rather than an "all purpose" field, and he really wished the Board would consider the use of the fences for the entire season.

Mr. Wert assured Mr. Garvey that the fences could be used for the July tournament, but he could not agree to alter the field at this time, as it is the only all purpose field available for men's softball. 

Mr. Garvey said that the Association would like to help with field maintenance. They intend to order hand-pulled drags and rakes for the fields. They would like to install two additional job boxes at Helen Randle Park to store the field maintenance equipment and the breakaway bases. They have been using the shed at Helen Randle Park for storage in the winter, but would like to open a snack bar during the softball season. Mr. Garvey said that he would like to ask the Township to pay for the job-boxes. 

Mr. Wert said that at this time there is not money in the budget for purchase of job boxes, but Mr. Cawley and Mr. Garvey could request that the Board of Supervisors add these to the current budget. 

Mr. Cawley said that the Association would like permission to install a batting cage, paid for by the Association at Helen Randle Park, near the drainage swale. 

Mr. Wert said that he had concerns about placing a batting cage close to the field used by men's softball, because of injuries caused by fly balls. He said that he would have to look at the park with an Association representative and the Public Works Director to decide on an appropriate location for a batting cage.

Mr. Garvey said that he would like to seek corporate sponsorship from a soft drink company. It is his understanding that the soft drink company would provide a scoreboard featuring the company logo in exchange for an exclusive contract for sales at the snack bar and for installation of vending machines. 

Mr. Wert said that any logo sign would need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Davis said that he thought that girls' softball should be granted the same permissions granted to boys baseball.

Mr. Grosso suggested that the Board vote on each request separately. 

Mr. Grosso moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation and use of breakaway bases, paid for by Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association, at fields 1, 2, 3 and 6 at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Bires seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Mr. Grosso moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the placement of vinyl sponsor signs on the outfield fence of field 6 at Helen Randle Park, to remain in place for the entire softball season. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Grosso moved to Recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation of a scoreboard with soft drink logo, paid for by Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association, at field 6 at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Grosso moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation of two additional job boxes at Helen Randle Park, the location to be determined by the Park and Recreation Director and the Public Works Director. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Grosso moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation and use of a batting cage, supplied by the Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association, at Helen Randle Park, the location to be determined by the Park and Recreation Director and the Public Works Director. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the concept of temporary fences at Helen Randle Park, subject to the restrictions of the Park and Recreation Director and the Public Works Director. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association

Mr. Tom Nyquist, Mr. Dan Bello, Mr. Ed Denken, Mr. John Parker and Mr. Sean Nyquist of Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association presented a list of requests for Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association, Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball. The leagues have an enrollment of 555 children, mostly boys. 

Mr. O'Neill said that he would abstain from voting on these requests because he is a member of the Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association Board.    

Mr. Nyquist requested permission to install a safety fence along Sycamore Street at Chandler field. He said that the fields are used by 8 to 10 year olds, and that children chase foul balls out into Sycamore Street. He also said that the spectators stand along the Sycamore Street baseline, and sometimes younger siblings are playing there and are in danger. The league would like to install a 4 foot high fence from the driveway entrance to the edge of the parking area. They will pay for the fence.

Mr. Dieterle of the Planning Commission pointed out that the fence would have to be approved by the Codes Department for setbacks.

Mrs. Zambriczki moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation of a safety fence along the Sycamore Street side of Chandler Field, paid for by Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association, materials and exact location to be determined by the Park and Recreation Director and the Codes Department. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 8-0, with Mr. O'Neill abstaining.

Mr. Bello said that field 4 at Helen Randle Park is in very poor condition, and children are getting hurt on it. He asked if the field could be reseeded, with additional top soil added.

Mr. Wert said that the field would need to be shut down to be repaired properly. He said that  after the baseball season he would look into adding topsoil and reseeding. He said that because the park is built on rock, it does not hold the topsoil well.

Mr. Nyquist said that the Athletic Association would like dugouts at the front field at Chandler Park. They would like the Township to pay for the dugouts, which cost about $2,000.

Mr. Bires explained that this year's budget has not allocated money for dugouts. He suggested that the Athletic Association ask the Board of Supervisors to include this request in next year's budget.

Mr. Nyquist asked that the Board consider whether they will be allowed to install dugouts before the Athletic Association approaches the Board of Supervisors. 

Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation of dugouts at Chandler Field subject to the approval of the Codes Department and funding, unless the Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association should decide to fund the project. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 8-0 with Mr. O'Neill abstaining.

Mr. Nyquist said that the Athletic Association would like more bleachers at Helen Randle Park. 

Mr. Grosso suggested that the Athletic Association make a list of all of the items that they would like the Township to fund, and present it to the Board of Supervisors to be included in next year's budget. 

Mr. Denken said that he had been negotiating with the Coca Cola Company for league sponsorship. He said that Coke would provide two scoreboards featuring the company logo, one of which would replace the existing scoreboard at Chandler Field. The Athletic Association would, in return, sell Coke products at the snack bars. They would like to install two vending machines, one for Coke brand soft drinks and one for bottled water. The machines would be serviced by Coke. Coke would install the machines in April, at the start of the baseball season, and remove them at the end of the season.

Mr. Bires asked if the league or the Township would be liable for vandalism.

Mr. Denken said that Coke would maintain and repair any vandalized machines, and that neither the league nor the Township would be liable. He said that the money earned by the sale of Coke products would be used by the league for field maintenance and improvements. He said that the Township would pay the utility costs for the vending machines.

Mr. Garvey asked that the Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association also be allowed to install soft drink machines at Helen Randle Park, if they are able to make a similar deal with Coke. 

Mr. Davis moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the installation of two scoreboards with Coca-Cola logos at Chandler Field, and the installation of soft drink vending machines at Chandler Field for the benefit of Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association, and installation of soft drink vending machines at Helen Randle Park to benefit Council Rock Newtown Girls Softball Association. Mrs. Zambriczki seconded and the motion passed 8-0, with Mr. O'Neill abstaining.

Newtown Rotary Club 

Mr. Paul Salvatore said that Newtown Rotary would like to donate money toward the purchase of a handicapped accessible playground apparatus to commemorate the Rotary's 50th anniversary. He said that he would like to work with the Park and Recreation Board to raise additional funds through other Newtown service organizations.

Mr. Levine said that he thought that the DCNR and Bucks County were interested in building a playground specifically designed for handicapped children. He asked if Mr. Salvatore had done any demographic research that would suggest that Newtown would be a good site for such a playground. 

Mr. Salvatore said that Rotary just wanted to donate a piece of equipment for handicapped children, but that they had not done any demographic research. He said that he would be interested in working on such a project with Mr. Levine.

Mr. Levine said that the Roberts Ridge Park Sub-Committee would work with Mr. Salvatore to decide on a location for the equipment. He pointed out that an existing playground may have to be upgraded to be wheelchair accessible. He suggested that the Sub-Committee work with Boyce and Little Tykes, who supplied the Roberts Ridge playground. 

Approval of Minutes 

Mrs. Kelly moved to accept the minutes of January 7, 2003. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Liaison Reports 

Mr. Dieterle and Mr. Ott said that they would be liaisons for the Planning Commission. They hope to be of help in reviewing plans submitted to the Board for review of open space. 

Shade Tree Commission 

Mrs. Sutton reported that she will be working with the Borough to participate in Arbor Day, April 25. She said that this year's celebration will be at Linton Park, and that subsequent years will alternate between the Township and Borough. She hopes to have volunteers from the Board.

Clark Nature Center

Mr. Strover reported that he has continued to work with Eagle Scouts on projects at the Center. He said that a few projects would need to be relocated because the areas selected are too wet. John Kaisar has requested to work on a handicapped accessible trail. 

Silver Lake Sub-Committee 

Mrs. Kelly said that the budget allows $130,000 toward development of Silver Lake Park, and so she did not think that the Board would need to apply for a DCNR grant right away. She presented a timeline for the project. 

Mr. Ott suggested that the Sub-Committee should present an informal plan to the Planning Commission before they get to the final plan stage. 

Park and Recreation Director's Report 

Mr. Wert reported that he had been contacted by Council Rock North's Athletic Director about use of baseball fields for the ninth-grade teams. He will continue to work with Mr. Nodecker to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. 

Members Comments 

Mr. O'Neill asked that the Skate Park Sub-Committee be added to the March agenda. 

Correspondence 

Mr. Bires reported that he had a letter from Mike Hammer of Upper Makefield Soccer asking if the Township had any plans for development of new soccer fields on the Wohl Tract. Mr. Bires said that he informed Mr. Hammer that there are no plans in this year's budget. 

Adjournment

Mr. Levine moved to adjourn at 10:45 PM. Mr. Bires seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

______________________
Mary Donaldson, Secretary