PARK AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MAY 5, 2004
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Clancy moved to accept the minutes of May 5, 2004. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 3-0-1, with Mr. Levine abstaining.
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, May 5, 2004, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Joel Grosso, Vice-Chairman; Michael Clancy, John Davis (late), Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill (late), and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were: Scott Harp, Township Supervisor; Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director; Russell Strover, Naturalist; and Allen Fidler, Planning Commission Liaison.
Call to Order
Mr. Grosso called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Clancy asked if paragraph three, page one, reads correctly regarding “assurance by this Board….that Eagle Road would not be an entrance”. All agreed that this is the statement that Mr. McCrane had made.
Mr. Clancy moved to accept the minutes of Aril 7, 2004. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Davis arrived.
Mr. Wert reported that he will attend the May 25, 2004 Capital Planning Committee meeting to discuss the ten-year layout of the Park and Recreation Budget. He said that park maintenance will be discussed. He said that discussion of accelerating the Woll Tract planning and implementation as a short term project would take place at budget time, in the fall.
Mr. Clancy asked if it is appropriate to begin considering the grant application process. He said that he had investigated some grant opportunities with the United States Tennis Association and United States Soccer Association. He also asked about Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) grants.
Mr. Wert said that he would work on this. He said that DCNR grants have been given recently for regional rather than municipal projects. He said that these grants should still be pursued.
Mr. Fidler noted that DCNR grants are frequently for matching funds. He suggested that money might be available for small pieces of the project. Mr. Wert agreed to continue to research grant opportunities for the Woll tract, as well as for other park projects.
Mr. Fidler said that the Planning Commission had a report from the Traffic Engineer. They learned that PennDoT has planned for removal of the median on the By-Pass while they work on adding the double left turn onto Buck Road, to alleviate congestion during construction. They will also be working on the culverts on Swamp Road. The Planning Commission would like PennDoT to add a traffic light at the second entrance to the community college on Swamp Road before the road is open to truck traffic. He said that because all of the PennDoT projects are funded from different budgets, such as light budgets and bridge repair budgets, they are not sure that this will occur.
He said that the Planning Commission also discussed the Stroupe property plans. He said that in reviewing these plans to move the McLaughlin barn to the Stroupe property, discussion turned to a plan that the Township once had for acquiring easements along Newtown Creek. They agreed that because the properties along the creek have different residential and commercial zoning and are located in the Township and Borough, two different municipalities, it might be a difficult plan to implement.
Board of Supervisors
Mr. Harp reported that the First Fourth committee has a wonderful day planned and he hoped that the Park and Recreation Board members would volunteer again this year. He said that this year the committee has added teen bands to the evening venues.
Mr. Harp commented that he had met with some parents of athletes who had discussed introducing a football team for younger players to Newtown. He noted that the children in Newtown who would like to play football must travel to Northampton and Yardley, generally during high traffic times.
Mr. Fidler said that his children had participated in a Newtown Colonials football program. He said that his grandchildren now compete in Yardley. He said that there is a great deal of work in running a football league, and that we do not have regulation football fields available to us. He said that there might be some interest in creating a Newtown based team, made up of Newtown residents, as part of the Yardley or Northampton league. He said that we could possibly offer practice fields here, but that the children would compete in Northampton or Yardley.
Mr. Wert noted that a survey conducted two years ago by the Park and Recreation department had indicated a very low interest in a football league. He said that the flag football league had some success, but that it is not the same. They do not have the same field requirements.
Mr. Harp suggested that these interested parents make a presentation to the Park and Recreation Board, and the Board could discuss whether there would be enough interest and support to sponsor a team based in Newtown.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mr. Wert reported that Park and Recreation income is up 18% and participation is up 9% over this time last year. He said that camp registration was held earlier than last year. He said that there has been limited interest in the extended day at camp.
Mr. Wert reported that work has been completed on Chandler Field, and Field 6 at Helen Randle Park. Field 5 work will be completed shortly.
Mr. Wert said that Pickering Corts and Sommerson are evaluating easements behind St. Andrew’s School for access to the Woll Tract. He said that the 10 acres to be donated by Elliott Builders is for passive recreation and emergency access only. He said that Mr. Pellegrino had polled the Board of Supervisors, and all had agreed that this is the case. At this time, Pickering Corts and Sommerson are evaluating three possible access plans for the Woll tract: all access through Rte 413; all access through Wrights Road; and a combination of access through 413 and Wrights Road.
Mr. Wert has met with Mr. Jirele and Tom Ames of Council Rock School District to discuss parking at Roberts Ridge Park, access to the Woll Tract and continuation of the trail system on school district property. Mr. Ames has gotten no negative feedback on expansion of parking on district property at Roberts Ridge. He said that if the district expands the Sloan Alternative School, additional parking will be required, and this is something that could be beneficial to both the Township and School District.
Mr. Fidler commented that he believes there is an easement between Newtown Elementary and St. Andrews School to the Woll Tract. Mr. Wert noted that Mr. Sander is looking into this, but that he has not found such and easement on the Newtown Elementary property at this time.
Mr. Wert presented copies of an article on a handicapped specific playground in Bensalem. He asked that the Board read it in preparation for future discussions of equipment for Roberts Ridge Park.
Mr. Wert shared an article by Mr. Strover on the Roberts Ridge Arboretum.
Mr. Fidler congratulated the Board on the wonderful program presented for Arbor Day.
Mr. Clancy moved to adjourn at 9:00PM. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary