NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 2, 2005


Approval of Minutes: The recording secretary noted that page three, paragraph nine of the minutes of February 2, 2005 should read “…part of the budget”.

Mrs. Kelly moved to accept the minutes of February 2, 2005, as amended. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 4-0-2, with Messrs. Clancy and Davis abstaining.


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, February 2, 2005, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman; Joel Grosso, Vice-Chairman; Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were: William Wert, Park and Recreation Director and Scott Harp, Township Supervisor.

Call to Order

Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM.

Public Comment

Mr. Jim McCrane asked whether further research had been done on his question regarding promises made to residents of other development that field lighting would only be installed at the Woll Tract. Mr. Levine said that he has not gotten an answer to that question yet.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Levine asked that the minutes of January 5, 2005, page 3, paragraph 2 read, “…the property of St. Andrew’s Briar Homeowners Association”.

Mr. Grosso moved to accept the minutes of January 5, 2005, as amended. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

New Business

Blacksmith 161 LLC – Preliminary Plan

Mr. Don Marshall was present to discuss the preliminary plan for 161 Blacksmith Street. Mr. Marshall said that a 25,296 square foot office building is planned for this lot. It will be half business offices and half medical offices. He suggested that because this property is in the middle of the Newtown Business Commons, and not adjoining any park land, that the builder would like to offer a fee in lieu of open space. He indicated that the fee would probably be over $30,000. He said that the builder would be installing sidewalks on the property.

Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for this property. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

LaSalle University – Preliminary as Final Plan

Mr. Tom Hecker presented a plan for an expansion of the LaSalle University campus. He noted that the University had been leasing office space as classroom space, but would like to complete the addition to the property in time for the January 2007 semester to house classrooms. The building is 23,659 square feet, and is located in the Silver Lake Executive Campus. It does not adjoin any other open space or parks. This plan has already been approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Mrs. Sutton moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for this property. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Review of Woll Tract Draft Master Plan

Mr. Levine said that the Board of Supervisors had requested that the Park and Recreation Board present the draft master plan at a work session in March, before the plan has been reviewed by the Planning Commission. He asked Mr. Wert to inform the Board members when it has been added to a work session agenda.

Mr. Wert said that he had asked Mr. Gary Crossland, Superintendent of the Public Works Department, to review the plan and make comments. He presented Mr. Crossland’s memo for the Board to review.

Mr. Crossland asked that dugouts and irrigation system be part of the master plan and that the bird watching pavilion be eliminated from the plan because it is not visible from the roads, and would be difficult to patrol. He suggested that instead of one large pavilion for restrooms, storage, snack bar and meeting rooms, two smaller buildings be considered. He thought that placing one building nearer to the baseball fields and one nearer to the tennis court would work better. He noted that the distance from the tennis courts and soccer fields could be too far from the restrooms. He also suggested that the Township storage facilities could be more easily separated from the sports leagues storage. He questioned whether lighting would eventually be added for the basketball and tennis courts. And he noted that the berm between the park and the adjoining residential properties is 800 feet long and will require 10,000 cubic yards of dirt.

The Board discussed these suggestions and agreed that the bird watching pavilion should be eliminated, but that some provisions for passive recreation should still be planned. Mrs. Sutton suggested a bench along the trail in that section of the park.

The Board also agreed that the plans should be altered to have two restroom/storage facilities. Mr. Wert said that he did not think the entire plan would need to be redrawn to make these adjustments, as the fields, trails and parking would remain the same.

The Board agreed that the tennis and basketball courts should not be lighted, as they are very close to the residential neighbors.

Mr. Howard Lemonick asked if the change in the restroom design would allow for two separate concession stands. He said that he thought this would be a good idea.

Mr. David Felker said that the sports organizations would provide the equipment to set up the concession stands if the plumbing was available.

Mr. Wert said that the buildings interiors were not to be designed at this time, but that plumbing would be brought to the buildings, so two concession stands would be possible.

Mr. Felker said that Newtown Little League/Babe Ruth League had recently held registration. He had shown the plans at registration, and there was a great deal of excitement and support among the residents. At this time 500 players have been enrolled for the 2005 season.

Mr. McCrane asked if a budget had been worked out yet, and if any research had been done for grants.

Mr. Levine said that there would be preliminary budget numbers available when the plan is presented to the Board of Supervisor at the work session. He also noted that the NFL, girls softball, Major League Baseball, and USTA Tennis all have grants available for field/court construction. In Addition DCNR has some park construction grants available.

Mr. Wert said that he has had some experience with DCNR grants, and that they vary from year to year, with different focus areas in each cycle. He said that it is difficult to predict where grants will be awarded within the state. He also said that these are typically not 50% matching grants.

Mr. Felker said that Major League Baseball does offer grants for field construction of 100%, but plans and municipal approvals must accompany the applications.

Mr. McCrane asked at what phase of planning hours and usage of the park would be discussed. He also asked whether ongoing maintenance of the park would be park of the budget presented to the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Wert said that Pickering Corts and Summerson would help prepare the initial budget for the park construction. The Township would maintain the park initially, and the various sports organizations would contribute to some improvements and maintenance as they do now with our existing parks. He noted that major repairs and improvements are paid from the capital fund, which is not taxpayer money but the impact fees paid by developers.

Mr. Levine said that park rules and usage would be discussed closer to the time that the park opens.

Mr. Strover commented that he has gotten many grants for trees from the Airport Authority, and would also apply for grants for landscaping of this park. He has also participated in a program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for bare root stock trees, which are far less expensive than balled trees.

The Board agreed to ask Mr. Stone of Pickering Corts and Sommerson to make these changes to the plan before it is presented to the Board of Supervisors and that they would not need to review the plans again before they are presented.

Park and Recreation Director’s Report

Mr. Wert reported that Park and Recreation revenue is up 2.86%, and that participation is down 11.25% over last year. He noted that camp registration numbers are not included yet for this year. He provided a printout of program participation, which shows that 72.39% of participants are Newtown residents. The remaining participants are mostly from neighboring communities, but some have come from as far away as Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Delaware County.

Mr. Wert attended a camp fair at St. Andrew’s School last Sunday. He said that he spoke to many residents, and also was able to compare prices and services of other area camps.

Mrs. Kelly moved to adjourn at 9:10PM. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

________________________________
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary