PARK AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MAY 3, 2006
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Clancy noted that in the minutes of May 3, 2006, the last paragraph of page 3 should read, ….” Will discuss gates…”, and the first paragraph of page 4 should read, “….probably not coincide with normal school hours…”.
Mr. Strover noted that his name was not listed as in attendance.
Mr. Clancy moved to accept the minutes of May 3, 2006, as amended. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, May 3, 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 Philip Calabro, Board of Supervisors Liaison, and Donald McEachron, Environmental Advisory Council Liaison.
Call to Order
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Paul Zotter, Marcus Zotter and Cody Mitchell were in attendance to ask about the addition of a skate park to Newtown Township’s park system. Paul Zotter said that he had brought this to the Board of Supervisors at a recent meeting, and had been told to ask at this Board.
Mr. Levine said that at one time there had been a skate park sub-committee, and there had been money budgeted for a skate park, however there had not been an appropriate location. There had been some research done by a committee of interested adult residents. The public had also been asked for input on the Woll tract, at which time residents spoke up about a number of activities and sports, but there had been no request for skate park facilities. It had been this Board’s understanding that interest had waned. If there has been a resurgence of interest in a skate park, the Board is willing to revive the sub-committee.
Mr. O’Neill agreed to chair the sub-committee. He asked Marcus Zotter, Paul Zotter and Mr. Mitchell to serve on the committee. He said that a committee made up of members who would be users of a skate park would be best, and suggested that in addition to Marcus Zotter and Mr. Mitchell, who are high school students, representatives from middle and elementary school also should be asked to be part of the committee.
Mr. Paul Zotter asked whether there is a reasonable time frame for the park to come on-line. He said that he thought the project would have the support of the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Grosso and Mr. Levine explained that the 2006 budget has already been approved without a skate park allocation. A budget for the equipment would have to be prepared, a site would have to be located, and the plans would have to be reviewed by the Park and Recreation Board, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. If approved, it would have to be added to the budget for the next year. Once approved, there is a lead time for ordering equipment, and poured-in-place safety surfacing must be installed. The safety surfacing can only be installed during warm weather.
Mr. Grosso pointed out that some projects this Board has supported and recommended have taken a very long time to complete. He suggested that working on the committee would be a valuable lesson in municipal government, and would be an excellent senior project for high school students.
The Board discussed possible locations for a skate park, including Helen Randle Park and Carl Sedia Park. Mr. Levine said that the Township’s insurer would require fencing around the facility, monitoring by an employee, and liability waivers. He said that he has spoken to Helene Ratner at Middletown Township about their skate park. Middletown Township sells tickets or passes to the park, requires signed waivers and has an employee on site monitoring activity.
Board members discussed some of the advantages of locating the facility in Carl Sedia Park, including its proximity to the high school and baseball fields, and its location within walking distance to other Township and Borough locations frequented by young people. Mrs. Sutton pointed out that the location is little used right now and in need of some sprucing up. She noted that the existing exercise equipment in the park could remain or easily be moved within the park to accommodate skate park equipment.
Mr. Levine explained that the Board does not have any input on funding for this or any Park and Recreation projects.
Mrs. Sutton suggested that Paul and Cody and any other students interested in the skate park continue to speak at Board of Supervisors meetings about this project.
Mr. Calabro noted that an information packet on past skate park research had been provided to the Board of Supervisors. He asked that this information be shared with Marcus and Cody.
Approval of Minutes
Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of March 1, 2006. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Toll Brothers Fidler/Roberts Tract Sketch Plan
Jeff Madden of Eastern States Engineering and Greg LeGreca of Toll Brothers presented a sketch plan for development of the Roberts Nursery property as 102 townhomes. The project will resemble the townhomes in Newtown Borough on the Frost Watson property. There will be rear entry garages, private streets and village greens. The townhomes will be owned as condominiums. Improvements are planned for Newtown Yardley Road and Lower Dolington Road. They have agreed to extend the existing trail from Roberts Ridge Park through the community, and possibly along Lower Dolington Road. The existing barn is to be relocated.
In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Mr. LeGreca said that the entrance has been aligned to form a four-way intersection at Stafford Drive.
Dr. McEachron asked about stormwater management and increased traffic.
Mr. LeGreca said that there would be two infiltration basins and one detention basin that would empty in 48 hours. Existing wetlands and pond would not be disturbed. Toll Brothers will be making some improvements to Newtown Yardley Road at the entrance, and there is a planned PennDOT project for widening the road next year. Traffic issues are reviewed by the Township traffic engineer at the Planning Commission.
Mr. Strover briefly discussed enhancing the buffering between the property and Roberts Ridge Park
Mr. LeGreca agreed to return to the Board with a calculation of a fee in lieu of open space.
(Mrs. Kelly and Mr. O’Neill left the meeting at this point)
Mr. Clancy presented the most recent revision of the Woll Tract plan. Parking has been redesigned, with most of the spaces nearest the Leck property removed. All of the facilities and playing fields are the same as in the previous plan. There are close to 400 parking spaces on the plan. Traffic patterns and signage will be part of the engineering process.
Mr. Calabro reported that he, Mr. Levine and Mr. Wert had met with representatives of Council Rock School District to discuss access to the park through Wrights Road. The District is favorable to the plan, with the condition that the District has access to the additional parking during special events at the school. Mr. Levine is to present the plan to the School Board at the May 18, 2006 meeting. Once the District has given permission to access the site, engineering can begin.
Mr. Levine said that both Mr. Leck and Mr. Fleming have requested to tie into the public sewer when it is brought to the park property.
The Board briefly reviewed the lighting criteria for the playing fields. Total Control Lighting will provide 1/10 of one foot-candle at the border of any residential neighbors. Mr. Clancy said that the lights would be strictly controlled by timers. He has discussed safety lighting with the police department, but no decisions have been made about whether the lights in the parking area would remain on after the park is closed. He will discuss gates to lock the park after hours with the police department.
In response to Mr. Davis’s question, Mr. Clancy said that there would be pedestrian and bicycle access to the park through the Eagle Road trail.
Members discussed traffic control on Wrights Road at the intersection with Eagle Road. It was noted that sports events would probably coincide with school hours, and traffic would be similar to the beginning and end of the school day.
Mr. Clancy said that costs have gone up considerably since the start of the planning for the park. The revised quote for the park is now 5.5 million dollars. Mr. Felker and the sports organizations have begun to apply for grants for playing fields.
Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Supervisors approve this revision of the Woll Tract plan for engineering. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mrs. Sutton reported that she attended the seminar held at Chandler Hall for senior citizens. Information was provided on preventing identity theft and fraud, health and life insurance, estate planning and transportation.
Environmental Advisory Council
Dr. McEachron reported that the EAC is working with Delaware Riverkeepers Network on a grant proposal for repair and restoration of the riparian buffer of Newtown Creek at Carl Sedia Park.
Mr. Levine said that he has read the Riverkeepers report. He noted that earlier discussion of placing a skate park in Carl Sedia Park would not interfere with any plans to work on the buffer.
Mr. Levine said that this year’s budget has funding for a forest management study for Clark Nature Center. There is concern about damage done by a population of over 70 deer, and invasive multiflora rose. He said that he would like input from the EAC on this project.
Dr. McEachron said that the EAC is also working on an inventory of open space, and is planning to catalogue and evaluate environmentally sensitive areas.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mr. Levine reported that Mr. Wert had included his and his staff’s salaries in his calculation of self-sufficiency. Using this method, Newtown Township’s Park and Recreation Department is 91% self-sufficient. It has been learned that neighboring municipalities, including Middletown and Northampton, do not include salaries. Using this method, our department is 130% self-sufficient.
Mr. Levine reported that two programs given at Clark Nature Center, Archeology Dig and Woodland Explorers have been awarded “Excellence in Programming” by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society.
Camp enrollment is very successful so far this year.
Mrs. Sutton thanked Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Davis for their help with this year’s Arbor Day program for Goodnoe Elementary School children.
Mrs. Sutton shared a catalogue of tree identification tags with the members. She would like to purchase for the arboretum at Roberts Ridge Park. She will ask Mr. Wert to place the order.
Mr. Grosso asked Mr. Calabro to invite members of the public with concerns about the parks to attend the Park and Recreation Board meetings. He expressed some concern that some negative public comment at the Supervisors televised meetings goes unanswered.
Mr. Levine reported that the Rotary Club is donating $5000 for landscaping for the retrofitted Roberts Ridge Park of Possibilities. Allen Fidler and Roberts Nursery would like to provide the plants at cost.
Mr. Calabro reported that the School District will offer the Township a right of first refusal if they sell the building currently used for the Sloan School. The members discussed the possibility of using this house, which has been retrofitted as classrooms, as a possible location for Township programs or a community center.
The members discussed asking the Township to upgrade the existing port-a-potty at Roberts Ridge Park to a portable restroom facility.
Dr. McEachron asked the members if they would provide a liaison the Environmental Advisory Council, which meets the fourth Monday of each month at 7:30 PM.
Mr. Levine reminded the members that Park and Recreation Board meetings would be held at 7:00 PM in the future. He asked that the Recording Secretary inform the Township.
Mr. Clancy moved to adjourn at 9:35PM. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary