PARK AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF JULY 2, 2003
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Mr. Clancy said that page two, paragraph two, should read "that may no longer be reflective". Mr. Clancy moved to accept the minutes of August 6, 2003 as amended. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, July 2, 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, Susan Sutton and Anna Marie Zambriczki, members. Also in attendance were Scott Harp, Supervisor, Russell Strover, Naturalist, and Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director.
Call to Order
Mr. Bires called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M.
Approval of the Minutes
Mr. Clancy moved to approve the minutes of June 4, 2003. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
Mr. Harp reported that he had been in discussions with PECO about the right-of-way under the high-tension wires at the Clark Nature Center. He said that the executors of the Clark Estate had a long-term lease from PECO giving them access to the property, with some restrictions. He said that PECO would extend this lease at a very low cost to the Township. He asked that the Park and Recreation Board consider possibly using this access for trails that would link the Clark Nature Preserve to Helen Randle Park.
Shade Tree Commission
Mr. Strover reported that he had been working with some Public Works employees planting replacement trees and trimming trees at Roberts Ridge Park.
Clark Nature Center
Mr. Strover reported that he had been clearing weeds from the area near the house. He also said that the outdoor classroom and handicap accessible trail had been completed by the Boy Scouts.
Mr. Wert suggested that the Boy Scouts be acknowledged for their work by a Proclamation at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
Mr. Bires reported that he had been questioned by a reporter from the Bucks County Courier Times about the Archeology Camp. He told the reporter that this would be a small dig in four locations at the Clark Nature Center. The sites had been chosen by the archeologist with Mr. Wert and Mr. Strover, and the Board approved the plans. He said he invited the reporter to visit the camp and photograph the children.
Roberts Ridge Park Sub-Committee
Mr. Levine reported that he had appeared before the Board of Supervisors to request a revised plan for the park, but that he did not have any budget figures at the time of the request. He said that the Roberts Ridge sub-committee would like to have new plans drawn that would include an expansion of the playground for some handicapped specific playground equipment, an accelerated planting schedule, and some type of shade structure with a fifteen year life to provide some shade until the trees matured. He said that a picnic pavilion or pergola is needed right now, as the sun is very strong and there is no shade at all at the park. He said that the sub-committee would work with the Planning Commission in making plans.
Active Recreation Sub-Committee
Mr. Bires reported that the sub-committee had made a presentation to the Financial Planning Committee. He said that they would like to make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors at the July 28 work session.
Mr. Clancy said that the comprehensive plan that was prepared in 1999 calls for facilities that are probably no longer reflective of the community needs.
Mr. Wert said that the Township Manager could be of help in deciding whether the plans are updated by Township consultants or put out to bid. The Manager can help with estimating the costs for updating the plans.
Mr. Clancy said that he has been in correspondence with a number of sports associations, locally and nationally, and they have indicated that they would be willing to make contributions toward the fields and courts. He said that the goal is a quality active recreation park with some lighted fields. He expects that there will be concern among nearby residents, but the sub-committee intends to plan lighted fields at the entrance side of the park, away from residential properties.
Mr. Bires said that he had been approached by someone involved with Council Rock Lacrosse, who knew of a contact for astro-turf available for Lacrosse fields.
Discussion of Park and Recreation Goals
Mr. Wert said that the Township Manager had requested that the Park and Recreation Board review their plans and set priorities for park development and improvements.
Mrs. Sutton suggested that the Board consider leaving Silver Lake Park and the Wiggins tract as open space. She said that as the Township grows, open space is disappearing. She said that Silver Lake Park looks very nice, and creates a feeling of openness at the entrance to the Township. She suggested that some gravel parking be created at the access point of Silver Lake with the money that had already been allocated to the park this year, and possibly adding a spray fountain to the lake, but otherwise not developing the park.
Mrs. Zambriczki agreed with Mrs. Sutton. She said that she thought that the Board should concentrate their efforts at continuing to improve Roberts Ridge and developing the Woll tract, but leaving the Wiggins tract as open space.
Mr. Grosso suggested that a skate park should be included as part of the Woll tract plans, rather than at a separate or temporary location.
Mr. Clancy said that the Woll tract plans would take a long time, with fields ready for play in 2006. He would like to see this park as a long-term top priority, with the continued development of Roberts Ridge as a short-term top priority.
Mr. Levine said that he thought that continuing to improve the Clark Nature Center, working with scout groups, should also be a priority. He asked whether repairing and maintaining the facilities at Helen Randle Park should be included in the priority list.
Mr. Wert said that maintenance of existing facilities should not be added to the priorities list.
Mr. Davis suggested that the Board list Roberts Ridge, the Woll tract and the Clark Nature Center as high priorities and Silver Lake, Hidden Lake and the Wiggins tract as low priorities.
Mr. Clancy said that he thought that since money had already been allocated toward Silver Lake Park, that the parking and fountain should be a high priority for this year, and that the Woll tract should be a high priority going forward.
Mr. Levine moved that the following be designated as high priorities for the Park and Recreation Board: Roberts Ridge Park, the Woll Tract, Silver Lake Park and the Clark Nature Center; and that the following be designated as low priorities for the Park and Recreation Board: the Wiggins Tract and Hidden Lake. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
Park and Recreation Director's Report
Mr. Wert reported that Park and Recreation revenues are up 8% over last year and participation is up 22%. He said that the camps are up and running. Camp enrollment is down from last year, but he has learned that enrollment is down in all of the local camps. He said that the Township camps do not accommodate children whose parents want all day childcare. The schools would charge for overtime janitorial staff if the camps stay open after 4:00 PM. He said that he would consider one-week enrollments and more specialty one-week camps for next year.
Mr. Wert reported that new benches and tables had been installed at the Clark Nature Center, and that the Helen Randle bench had been installed. The bench will be dedicated on Saturday, July 12, 2003 at 10:00 AM at a small ceremony. The wooden bench donated by Mr. Harp has been placed at Mrs. Randle's home at Pickering Manor.
Mr. Bires moved to adjourn at 9:10PM. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary