PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF APRIL 2, 2008
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman, Joel Grosso, Vice Chairman and Brian Bark, Michael Clancy, Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Township Supervisor Robert Ciervo, Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert and Park and Recreation Program Coordinator Kathy Pawlenko.
Call to Order
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM
Approval of Minutes
Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of March 6, 2008. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Levine said that in response to a request from a resident, he would like to add a discussion of dog parks to the May meeting agenda.
In anticipation of this meeting, Mr. Wert provided members with copies of an informational presentation given by John Balicki and Associates at the PRSP Annual Conference.
Reports of Subcommittees
Mr. Levine reported that he has been contacted by the American Ramp Company about scheduling another demonstration of skate equipment. The members agreed that they would like to sponsor the event again, as it was very well received last summer.
Mr. Levine said that he and Dr. Ciervo visited the site behind Staples to determine whether this would be an appropriate location for a skate park, either temporarily or as a permanent site. There is available land, and it would be suitable, however the land is not owned by the Township. The shopping center owner has expressed some interest in leasing the site to the Township on a short term basis, but would like something in writing outlining the exact location. Mr. Levine suggested that the parking lot of the field might be a good location of the American Ramp demonstration.
Mr. Levine reported that the plans for the Woll tract will be presented to the Board of Supervisors at the April 14, 2008 work session for an informal discussion. Unresolved questions include whether to hold some of the parking near the St. Andrews Briar neighbors in green, whether impervious surface can be reduced and whether the walking trail should be reduced or eliminated from this phase of the park. Certain issues regarding field lighting might also be discussed. He asked the Park and Recreation Board members to attend the meeting to answer questions and support the design. After the work session review he said that he hopes to ask for final approval for land development at the second Board of Supervisors regular meeting in April.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the Department has been offering some programs targeted to seniors, and the Department will be working as members of the Senior Games Committee.
Mr. Levine and Dr. Ciervo visited Tyler Park and found a few areas that might be suitable for rectangular fields. There has not been a response from the State to this request yet.
Mr. Levine suggested that the Park and Recreation Board work with the EAC on a project to find parkland suitable for meadowing.
Mr. Wert reported that he has recently partnered with Lockheed Martin, Holy Family College and Shadybrook Farm on a grant application for an educational program on stormwater management at Silver Lake Park. The application deadline was this week. Lockheed Martin will provide a financial match and Holy Family will provide in-kind service for the classes. He will forward copies of the application to the EAC and PRB members.
Board of Supervisors
Dr. Ciervo reported that the Board will be reviewing the plans for the municipal complex expansion at the April 14, 2008 work session. This expansion could require floating a bond and will involve a tax increase. The Board would like to try to build the Woll tract park without using a bond, using money already set aside and completing the project in phases.
Mr. Grosso asked whether the Township anticipated any other major projects. He noted that the Township is close to completely built out.
Dr. Ciervo said that he is not sure what could come up in the future but at this time does not anticipate any other major projects.
Mr. Levine said that he is very concerned about the possible elimination of Park and Recreation space from the municipal complex plans. The Woll plans had included some meeting rooms which will probably not be built if the plans are phased in. The Park and Recreation Department is losing money when it must share revenue with the host venues when programs are held off-site.
Parks and Recreation Director’s Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the Summer Program brochure has been completed and will be printed and mailed to residents shortly. The 32-page brochure will be mailed to all residents at a total cost of $11,000 for 12,000 pieces. Mrs. Pawlenko said that the brochure will also be available on the Township Web site. She has tried to work with the Technology Department to make programming information more responsive on the Web, but at this time it does not seem feasible because of the large number of entries and the time constraints of the small Technology department.
Mr. Levine suggested possibly working with a software consultant about this. As the Township is losing a great deal of its contact with the public because of the School District’s e-folder policy, our own Web presence has become more important. He asked whether the Technology Committee could investigate this.
Mr. Wert reported that Meghan Smith of the Park and Rec department has been working with the School district to have our program information more prominently displayed on the e-folders. The Department continues to expand its e-flyer mailing list and is working on an e-flyer archive.
Mr. Wert reported that revenue for Park and Rec programs is up 7%, in part due to camp registrations. There has been a slight decrease in program participation attributed to the CR e-folders.
Mr. Wert said that he is working with Wrightstown and Upper Makefield about multi-municipal programming. There are some grant opportunities available for inter-governmental programming. The Bucks County Foodshed Alliance has partnered with the Department for some programming at its Wrightstown Township site at Chippawa Farm. Among the programs will be a vegetable grilling class taught by Joe Garvey.
An adult flag football league has contacted the Department about using the lawn at Silver Lake Park on Saturday mornings. This will bring in about $600. In response to questions from Dr. Ciervo, Mr. Wert said that the contract with the league would state that the field could not be used after rain to prevent damage. The use would only be for three hours on Saturday mornings for a short season. There would not be any risk of damage.
Mrs. Pawlenko pointed out that this is an opportunity to provide a service to an adult group. Most of our field areas are used continuously by children’s leagues and there has been very little opportunity to serve the adult athletic community.
Updating the Board on parks, Mr. Wert reported that a recent audit of the playground at Helen Randle Park has shown a number of unsafe conditions. The equipment was in need of replacement for which a DCED grant has been submitted. The existing equipment will be removed. Work on the Helen Randle fields has been completed. In response to suggestions from the Park and Recreation Board, the front field will be rebuilt with funds allocated for restroom repainting. The restroom repainting will be done in-house.
Mr. Levine suggested that the Board look into grant opportunities to update the Park and Recreation comprehensive plan.
Mr. Levine suggested that the Board continue to explore ways to work with other organizations on e-mailing of program information. He again suggested trying to make the Township Park and Rec Web site more consumer friendly. Mr. Bark said that his firm might be able to offer some advice on this.
Mrs. Sutton asked the members to participate in Arbor Day on April 25, 2008, with a tree planting at Roberts Ridge Park followed by some activities, games and crafts at Brian Gregg Park in Newtown Borough. Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Clancy agreed to help with crafts.
Mrs. Kelly moved to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary