PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

MINUTES OF MARCH 5, 2003


 Approval of the Minutes: Mr. Ott noted that page three, paragraph two, should read, "that the Board of Supervisors could offer some help and advice on road access because of their ongoing relationship with the Council Rock School District".


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, March 5, 2003. In attendance and voting were Bernard Bires, Chairman; Andrew Levine, Vice-Chairman; Michael Clancy, Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Buck O'Neill and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Scott Harp, Supervisor, and Jim Ott, Planning Commission Liaison.

Call to Order 

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

Approval of Minutes 

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

New Business 

Mr. Jerry Higgins and Mr. Ed Banta, Architects, presented a plan for an expansion of the Newtown Athletic and Aquatic Club pool area. Mr. Eric Chernikovich, club Manager, and Ms. Danielle Allen, Aquatics Director were also in attendance.

Mr. Higgins explained that the pool area at the club currently provides all aquatic programs, including therapeutic exercise, lap swimming, swim lessons and recreation. The plan calls for a 60 by 217 foot addition to the pool area, which will replace an existing patio. The addition will be two stories high and consist of a recreation pool with water slides and sprinkling umbrellas, and an instruction pool with different levels of depth, On the second level will be party rooms, a high intensity exercise area, and a sprint track. The club's goal is to separate the recreational and instructional uses from the therapeutic uses. The entrance to the club will remain the same. The plan calls for loss of 24 parking spaces, to be replaced by 71 new spaces for a total gain of 47 parking spaces. At its highest point the addition will be 45 feet high. A sketch plan for the project has been submitted to the Planning Commission, to be reviewed at their March 18, 2003 meeting.

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

Old Business 

Shade Tree Commission 

Mrs. Sutton reported that she is working with Newtown Borough on the Arbor Day celebration at Linton Park. She said that some Cub Scouts would be planting trees in Roberts Ridge Park before the celebration. Mrs. Sutton asked that members of the Park and Recreation Board volunteer to help with the celebration, as they have done in the past. She said that in the future, the celebration would alternate between a Borough park and a Township park. 

Silver Lake Park Sub-Committee 

Mrs. Kelly reported that Mr. Wert is accepting Master Plan RFP's until March 7. He will review the plans with the Silver Lake Sub-Committee, and will present them to the Park and Recreation Board at the April meeting. 

Mr. Levine and Mrs. Sutton said that they have been approached by concerned community members about possibly re-foresting the park. Mr. Levine said that he had discussed this with people at the County Park and Recreation Department, and understands that this would require a great deal of work and maintenance. Mrs. Sutton said that she had gotten similar information from Mr. Strover. 

The Board agreed that it would be better to discuss this suggestion when Mr. Wert is present at the meeting. 

Roberts Ridge Sub-Committee 

Mr. Levine said that he had contacted both the County and the DCNR about possible grants for a handicapped accessible apparatus. He is also continuing to work with Mr. Salvatore of Newtown Rotary on private funding for the equipment. He said that the equipment specifically designed for the enjoyment of children using wheelchairs is much more expensive than the playground equipment recently purchased for Roberts Ridge Park. 

Active Recreation Sub-Committee 

Mr. Grosso said that he had obtained a Master Plan for the Wohl Tract, which shows baseball/softball fields, soccer and La Crosse fields and a sand volleyball pit. He said that the sub-committee would like to make a presentation at the next meeting. They wanted to re-examine the current and projected community needs, as well as the growth in popularity in certain sports. 

Mr. Clancy said that access to the property is a problem. Access from 413 will require major roadwork. He said that they would like to examine other possible access points on Wrights Road and Eagle Road. 

Mr. Ott said that the Planning Commission could offer some help and advice on road access problems. 

Skate Park Sub-Committee 

Mr. O'Neill reported that he had visited the new skate park in Langhorne. He said that all of the equipment is movable. He said that if Newtown were to purchase similar equipment, it could be placed at a temporary location, pending future park expansions. He said that it could not be put at the Wohl Tract until the infrastructure of roads and parking had been complete. 

Mr. Bires suggested that perhaps the Sub-Committee could look at one of the basketball courts at Helen Randle Park. He said that Mr. Weaver had done some research on this. 

Mr. O'Neill said that he wanted to look into the availability of some open properties close to Village at Newtown, and he wanted to speak to Mr. Harwood in the Codes Department. He would have a more detailed report at the April meeting. 

Liaison Reports 

Planning Commission 

Mr. Ott reported that the Planning Commission had cancelled its last meeting. 

Board of Supervisors 

Mr. Harp reported that the First Fourth celebration would be on July 5, 2003, and he hoped that Park and Rec Board members would help again this year. 

Park and Recreation Director's Report 

Mr. Bires provided copies of Mr. Wert's report. He noted that participation and revenue for Park and Recreation programs continued to increase. 

Mr. Harp said that Mr. Wert had been meeting with the Council Rock North Athletic Director about sharing some of the Township ball fields for spring High School sports. Mr. Wert would like to help the high school, and hopes that the relationship can be mutually beneficial. Mr. Harp noted that in the past the High School has been generous with sharing space for First Fourth and First Night, and with some Park and Recreation Programs. 

Member Comments 

Mr. Bires suggested that the Little League and the Rock Softball be added to the November agenda. He said that he would ask their representatives to present written requests to the Board, so that the Board could make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors before the new budget is finalized. 

Mr. O'Neill said that he would be talking to Mr. Wert about closing the one field at Helen Randle Park that needs to be reseeded. 

Mrs. Sutton said that she had heard a lot of complaints about parking along Lower Dolington Road near Roberts Ridge Park, and asked Mr. Harp if the Township Traffic Engineer would be evaluating the situation. Mr. Harp said that it was being looked at, as was the handicapped parking at the playground and at the location for a proposed gazebo. 

Mr. Levine said that he had been talking to some residents who were interested in a community garden at Roberts Ridge. He also suggested that the Board might want to plan a small "kite day" celebration at the park in the spring. 

Mr. Grosso said that he thought that the Roberts Ridge Sub-Committee should look into adding a picnic pavilion at Roberts Ridge Park, near the playground. He said that the plans call for some tables to be installed as soon as the weather improves, but he said that the park is very hot and sunny. He thought that a pavilion could provide a shaded area for parents to sit with infants while older children use the playground. He said that many people would use a pavilion near the playground every day. Mr. Bires agreed that this should be considered before a final decision is made about a gazebo/band shell. 

Mr. Levine moved to adjourn at 9:00PM. Mr. Clancy seconded and the motion passed 7-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted 

 

______________________________
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary