PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF JUNE 4, 2008
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, June 4, 2008, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman, Joel Grosso, Vice Chairman, Brian Bark, Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill and, members. Also in attendance were Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert and former Board Chairman Bernie Bires.
Call to Order
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mrs. Grosso moved to accept the minutes of May 7, 2008. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Wert announced that he would be resigning as Park and Recreation Director effective June 27, 2008 to take a position as assistant Township Manager in Hilltown Township, where he will also be responsible for starting a park and recreation department.
The Board all wished Mr. Wert well and thanked him for his many years serving Newtown Township.
Mr. Levine said that the land deal at Newtown Shopping center is moving forward. Once the land has been transferred, fundraising efforts can begin for equipment for the park. He suggested that the high school students who participated in the original presentation be contacted to discuss what equipment is most important, so that these priorities can be forwarded to vendors. He said that grading of the site will be done by our Public Works department.
Mr. Wert reported that Falls Township has not completed its bid package yet for a dog park. He recently visited dog parks in Montgomeryville and Upper Dublin and a site being considered in Upper Moreland. All of the locations are tucked away from residential areas. All of the parks are unstaffed, with public works pick-ups of trash 3 times a week. The parks provide bags and scoops.
The members discussed whether a dog park is needed in Newtown Township. Mr. Levine said that residents would have to indicate an interest in the project by coming to the Park and Recreation Board and to the Board of Supervisors and signing the petition that is being circulated.
Some members discussed concerns about locations, liability and need, noting that dog owners can walk their dogs anywhere and many residents have backyards. Members questioned whether it should be a priority when we still have so many as yet unfinished projects, including the Woll tract, restrooms at Roberts Ridge and a playground at Helen Randle Park.
Again Mr. Levine said that if interested residents petition the Supervisors, the Park and Recreation Board would take direction from the Board of Supervisors on a dog park.
Mr. Levine reported that the Township will seek a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board on June 5, 2008 for increased impervious surface to 9% for the first phase of the Woll tract. He noted that the Planning Commission had recommended that the Board seek a variance for full build-out of the park, but the Board of Supervisors wanted to pursue only the impervious surface needed for the playing fields, abbreviated trails and parking at this time. Once a variance has been granted the new, phase one, plans will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for final land development approval. Bids can be requested once approval has been granted. He noted that there was a discrepancy between Mr. Wert’s proposed budget and the budget approved by the Board of Supervisors. He and Mr. Wert would compare the two budgets to find the errors and/or omissions.
Mr. Levine reported that he and Mrs. Sutton would be serving on the Township Open Space Comprehensive Plan update committee, which will meet on June 9, 2008. Guidelines have been provided by the County for the update, which is needed for the Township to seek grant money from the Municipal Open Space Program.
Parks and Recreation Director's Report
Mr. Wert reported that he has re-submitted his capital improvement program list to the Board for consideration. This list includes items removed from the budget at the start of the year, and includes the restrooms at Roberts Ridge and playground at Helen Randle Park.
Recreation revenue is up 3.3% over last year, and participation is up 9.1%. Camp begins on June 23, 2008. Kathy Pawlenko and Megan Smith will supervise the administration of the camp programs.
Mr. Wert, Mr. Levine and Supervisor Rob Ciervo have continued their efforts to place rectangular playing fields at Tyler Park. One area, near the Bypass entrance, is suitably flat for soccer fields. To use the area, permission from the DCNR is needed. There could be some resistance to this plan by Friends of Tyler Park.
Mr. Bark thanked the Board and the Park and Recreation Department on behalf of Newtown Lacrosse for the use of the field behind Staples for use by the 5 th grade team. This team had an 8-1 season.
Mr. Grosso asked that the Board of Supervisors be reminded of the many unfinished projects that this Board would like to see completed.
All of the Board members, and Mr. Bires, wished Mr. Wert good luck in his new position and again thanked him for his help to the community for the past 12 years.
Mr. Grosso moved to adjourn at 9:10 PM. Mr. Bark seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary