PARK AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MARCH 1, 2006
DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY PARK AND RECREATION BOARD UNTIL APPROVED
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, March 1, 2006, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman; Joel Grosso, Vice Chairman, Michael Clancy, John Davis, Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director and Philip Calabro, Board of Supervisors Liaison.
Call to Order
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Davis moved to accept the minutes of January 4, 2006. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Levine presented a new plan for the Woll Tract that represented a compromise with the Planning Commission’s suggestions. In this plan, parking was moved entirely to the Wrights Road side of the park. The parking lot road is curved with a roundabout at the eastern end. This plan eliminated parking near the Babe Ruth ball field, and provides more buffering between the park and the Leck property, while maintaining the distance of lights from all residential properties. Buffering would be worked on first, before any fields are developed, allowing plantings to grow and fill in the buffering. Mr. Levine has not shown this plan to the Board of Supervisors yet because he wanted this Board to have an opportunity to comment.
Mr. Wert said that he would like the Board to consider extending a small area of parking on the Route 413 entrance side for use at the Clark Nature Center. He also said that the Public Works Director suggested reversing the playground location with the pavilion/snack shed/storage facility. By placing the building closer to the parking area it would be easier to load and unload supplies and equipment, and little children using the playground would be safer farther from the parking area. There had also been a suggestion to find a location to store infield mix.
Resident Walter Leck expressed some reservations about the parking plans, noting that the curved road would be dangerous and more costly to maintain. He also said that he is very concerned about noise and would like the fields moved farther away from his property.
Mr. Levine said that he would like to meet again with Evan Stone to discuss Mr. Leck’s concerns. He would also address Mr. Calabro’s comment about extending parking in the direction of Eagle Road.
Mr. Leck said that he is also concerned about the use of lights on the playing fields and asked about the hours of use.
Mr. Levine explained that the sports organizations have indicated that the lights would be used to gain a few hours of soccer practice time in the fall on weekday evenings. In early spring the baseball fields might need light in early evening. Possibly some baseball games would be played on summer evenings. All lights would be on timers, and would be turned off at a pre-arranged time. Teams would have to schedule their games to be over and players out of the park before the lights go out.
The Board briefly discussed whether to provide a demonstration of the Total Control Lighting system. It would not be possible to conduct a demonstration on the Woll tract now because the ground is very rocky. At any other location, conditions would be differentand it would be impossible to judge the lighting accurately. Some Board members also discussed organizing a field trip to visit sites with the system in place, but it was agreed that it would be impossible to insure that all concerned residents would have an opportunity to attend either a demonstration or a field trip. The Board agreed to provide interested residents with information on parks using the system.
Mr. Leck said that he had concerns about a traffic light being installed at the Route 413 entrance. He was particularly concerned about the danger of a red light at that spot in the winter when the roads can be icy.
Mr. Clancy said that any decision about a traffic light would be up to PennDOT; however the light would be triggered by activity at the park entrance. In winter months the light would be green, or flashing yellow. PennDOT would make that decision if a light were installed.
Mr. Leck asked about fencing. He said that he has industrial equipment stored on his property and he would like fencing to keep children out.
Mr. Levine said that he did not think fencing was of concern to all of the surrounding neighbors, but this would be looked into.
Mr. Calabro reported that he had attended a facilities meeting at Council Rock School District at which access to the Woll Tract through District property was discussed. Both the Superintendent and Supervisor of Operational Services looked favorably on an agreement. Both were particularly interested in additional parking being made available to Newtown Elementary School and its fields. Currently, during special events at the school, cars have parked along Wrights Road and Route 413, causing traffic problems. They were also interested in a walking trail or sidewalk from the parking areas to the school.
Mr. Clancy suggested that the subcommittee meet with Mr. Stone to review Mr. Leck’s parking and field location concerns, parking for Clark Nature Center, and trails to the school. He suggested that the subcommittee bring any changed plans to the next meeting for the full Board and the public to review.
Mr. Levine suggested that a traffic study would be done as part of the engineering of the park. If Mr. Stone revises the plans, they would have to be reviewed by this Board. The Planning Commission would also be involved in the review process.
The recording secretary provided a report from Supervisor Dick Weaver. In May 2005 the Area Agency on Aging held a Summit to discuss needs of and services for Bucks County senior citizens. Each municipality sent representatives to the meeting. It was learned that Pennsylvania funds senior centers by school district, not municipality. For this reason, Newtown is serviced by a senior center in Northampton.
As a follow-up to the Summit, each participating municipality is hosting a seminar for senior citizens. Newtown Township will host the seminar on March 30, 2006 at Chandler Hall from 9:00AM until 11:30 AM. Refreshments will be served, and the seminar is open to all Newtown senior citizens. The agenda for the seminar includes discussion of insurance, Medicare, living wills and powers of attorney, transportation and identity theft and scams.
Environmental Advisory Council
There was no representative of the EAC in attendance. The recording secretary reported that the EAC has worked on a stream assessment of the Newtown Creek and is in the process of writing a grant for riparian buffer reparation to the portion of the creek in Carl Sedia Park. She provided copies of the Delaware Riverkeepers Network Stream Assessment and of the draft summary of the riparian buffer project.
Mrs. Sutton said that she has recently visited the park and would like the Board to consider adding it to the priorities list.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mr. Wert reported that there has been an increase of 22.4% in revenue and 26.4% in participation in recreation programs. He said each season has seen an addition of more and different programming for all demographics. He also said that the department has used a very effective marketing strategy that includes mailing of brochures, flyers of highlighted programs distributed to schools and past participants and press releases. He said that the brochure is mailed to the entire 18940 zip code because non-resident fees offset cost of additional brochures. It is also less expensive to mail to an entire zip code than to filter for municipal boundaries.
Mr. Wert said that he had attended a Park and Recreation Management School in Wheeling, West Virginia, which is required for recertification. He provided a schedule of classes he attended.
Mr. Wert said that there have been some inquiries about the work performed by Mr. Strover, the naturalist. He provided a report of Mr. Strover’s many responsibilities. In response to questions from Mr. Calabro, Mr. Wert explained that “naturalist” is not any degree or certification, but a job description used by many municipalities. Mr. Strover, as a certified master gardener, meets all qualifications for this job title, as it was advertised. He agreed to provide the Board with this advertisement and job description. At Mr. Calabro’s suggestion, he agreed to provide the Board of Supervisors with copies of the report of Mr. Strover’s responsibilities and accomplishments.
Mrs. Sutton reported that she is planning the annual Arbor Day Celebration on April 21 at Goodnoe Elementary School. Messrs. Clancy, Davis and Grosso have already committed to help with the events. The Environmental Advisory Council has also expressed an interest in participation.
Mr. Grosso reported that the various sports organizations have begun the grant writing process for field development for the Woll tract. He asked Mr. Wert about ADA compliance on the trails.
Mr. Wert said that not all trails in all parks must be handicapped accessible, and being ADA compliant does not necessarily mean having a paved surface. He pointed out that the wood chips used on playgrounds are ADA compliant. Parks must provide some ADA compliant trails, but not all trails in all parks must be compliant.
Mr. Davis reported that CRSD Aquatics Director Brian Johnson has asked him to serve on a task force being formed to address the pool situation. There is currently only a pool at CR North High School, which is in need of repair or replacement. There is not a pool at CR South.
Mr. O’Neill asked about the status of the Wiggins Tract for field use. Mr. Wert said that he has not yet resolved the temporary parking issue. He will continue to pursue this with the owners of the restaurant across the street.
Mr. Grosso moved to adjourn at 9:30PM. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary