PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF OCTOBER 22, 2008
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on October 22, 2008 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman, Brian Bark, Kathy Kelly and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko and Supervisor Robert Ciervo.
Call to Order
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Reports of Subcommittees
Helen Randle Park: Mrs. Pawlenko presented copies of two different playground configurations supplied by Boyce Associates for the Board to consider as replacements for Helen Randle Park. Each configuration featured an area for small children, ages 2-6, and a climbing structure/monkey bars for older children, ages 6-12. These plans can be expanded with new modules added.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Board of Supervisors had expected only to replace the equipment with something similar to what had been at the park. There is a budget of between $30,000 to $40,000 for the entire project, including the surfacing and installation.
Mr. Levine said that the plans being shown are different from other play equipment available in Township parks. The Board felt that since this is not a destination playground, it would be a good location for this type of equipment. The plans will not require any change to the footprint.
The Board looked at the catalogs provided by Boyce Associates, and favored the “MaxPlay” structure for little children and the “Wings of Infinity” for older children. The members agreed that the equipment is primarily used by children waiting for their siblings to play ballgames. It need not be elaborate.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would contact Boyce for quotes on installation and surfacing. The estimates provided included safety tiles, but she would ask about the cost of playground mulch.
Mr. Levine noted that while mulch is less expensive to install, it requires maintenance and frequent replenishment, making it less cost effective over time.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would contact Boyce to get estimates for playgrounds within the Supervisors’ budget for the existing pad. It is her understanding that installation could cost about 1/3 the price of equipment. She would investigate structures that would not exceed $20,000. If necessary, she would ask the Boyce representative to attend the November meeting. She would also gather information on costs for wood chips versus safety tiles.
Skate Park: Dr. Ciervo reported that the Township has approved an agreement of sale with Newtown Shopping Center for purchase of land adjacent to the field behind Staples for use as a skate park. No settlement date has been scheduled. The site would accommodate a pad 75 feet by 125 feet.
Mr. Levine said that he would contact ramp companies for plans in the $50,000 to $60,000 price range and would contact interested residents about fundraising efforts for the equipment for the park.
Roberts Ridge Park: Mr. Levine provided information to the Board on compost toilet restrooms for the park. He noted that this type of toilet is usually installed in remote settings such as inside state parks. A depth of at least 15 feet is needed for the composting tank. The prefab building for the restroom would be the same cost as a traditional restroom. To consider this type of toilet, the existing slope of the land at the location would need to be calculated. It might require some excavation or ramping. Solar panels are used to power fans inside the structure. No water is used inside the restroom; liquid had cleaning product dispensers are used instead.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has seen this type of toilet in Peace Valley Park. She noted that there is an odor. These toilets also require certain maintenance.
Mrs. Sutton pointed out that the location at Roberts Ridge is very visible in a residential neighborhood, so the building’s appearance cannot be too rustic.
The Board discussed some reservations about the lack of water in the facility, which is to serve small children and handicapped children. Mrs. Kelly suggested investigating costs for an upgraded portable facility. She said that some are larger with a diaper changing area.
Mr. Levine suggested that at the November meeting the Board discuss the routine maintenance and associated costs of compost toilets.
Woll Tract: Mr. Levine reported that bids for the Woll tract would be opened on November 25, 2008. A mandatory pre-bid meeting would be held on November 5, 2008 at 10:00 AM in the Township Building.
Parks and Recreation Department Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported thatprogram income has increased 3.69% and participation has increased 8.7%. Work on the Clark Nature Center house is near completion by the Public Works Department. At Helen Randle Park, Public Works has installed a motion activated security light and camera near the vending machines to deter vandalism.
The Park and Recreation Department is partnering on some programs with Northampton Township. The Department has met with the Bucks County Visitors Center on some promotion ideas, including creating a visitors’ packet for sports tournament attendees. Because the schools can no longer distribute program flyers, the Department will attempt to work with the sports organizations using e-mail lists, creating reusable signage for display around the Township and will be working with Applebee’s and Chik-fil-a on flyer distribution.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has been working on field allocation and on collecting of field and tournament usage fees. She said that the Girls Softball Program directors have said that there is an agreement with the Township that the league would have exclusive use of Helen Randle Park in exchange for its proposed field at the Woll tract.The Board said that the Softball League representatives have mentioned this idea but no such agreement exists.
Dr. Ciervo said that there has been some discussion among residents that as the debt on the Wiggins tract is retired, the taxes allocated to that debt service could be used for open space rather than levy an increase in the earned income tax. He said that the Board of Supervisors intends to use the Wiggins allocation toward the municipal complex debt.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary