PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF OCTOBER 7, 2009
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on October 7, 2009 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Andrew Levine, Joel Grosso, Michael Clancy and Kathy Kelly. Not present were Brian Bark, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton.
Also in attendance were Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko; Supervisor Liaison Rob Ciervo; representing Rock Softball were Ann Porter, Odysseus Marcopolus and Joe Garvey; representing Newtown Little League was Kevin O’Shea.
Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM.
Mr. Levine updated the Board on the request from Rock Softball and Newtown Little League to switch fields. Rock Softball would give up their field at the Woll Tract and Newtown Little League would give one of their fields at Helen Randle Park to Rock Softball. Both Leagues understand that there are no lights at Helen Randle Park.
Mr. Garvey discussed the past history between the two Leagues and advised that Rock Softball understands that there is currently no lighting at Helen Randle Park. He advised that the League might request lighting at a later date.
Mr. Levine commented on past discussions and meetings with the local homeowners regarding lighting at Helen Randle Park. The Board discussed the currently being no restrictions for lighting at Helen Randle Park and lighting being designed into the Woll Tract.
The Board discussed the condition of the fields at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Garvey reported on the work done by the League with regards to maintaining fields. He discussed the strength of the League and advised that he feels that with regards to maintaining the fields that the League has taken the burden off of the Township’s Public Works Department.
Mr. Levine suggested that the work that the Leagues do to maintain the fields be a tradeoff to some of the fees that the Leagues need to pay to the Township. He commented on what the fees are meant to be used for and the fees received to the Township for tournaments.
Supervisor Ciervo advised that he feels that the tournaments are great, but they are a tremendous impact to the Township and that the Township needs to recoup cost for maintaining the fields. He discussed safety issues with regards to tournaments and advised that the tournaments need to be the right size for the facility. He discussed the numbers of ball fields in the Township and suggested that there is room for growth at the Woll Tract. He suggested that Rock Softball consider what there are giving up if they swap out a field at the Woll Tract.
Mr. Garvey commented on the League’s tournaments and the changes that have been made so that a facility is not overburdened. He reported that the League does have an upcoming tournament and that they are hiring police for traffic and safety concerns. The League feels that they have addressed the safety issues. He discussed the League having a good relationship with the Township and requested the Township to keep Rock in mind with regards to growth at the Woll Tract.
Mr. Levine discussed Mrs. Porter’s past comments with regards to field conditions and expanding the parking area at Helen Randle Park. He advised that expanding the parking area would need to be discussed with the Planning Commission. He commented with regards to the field conditions and the possibility of using some of the extra topsoil located at the Woll Tract. Mr. Marcopolus advised that the infill mix received at the beginning of the season is not topsoil and that field maintenance would be more involved than just adding topsoil. Mr. Levine advised that enhanced maintenance of the fields would need to be done over the next few years, but that cost would need to be budgeted for by the Supervisors and that the work would probably be done field by field as not to completely close the fields. Mr. Garvey commented on estimates that the League has received and advised that the fields would not need to be shut down.
Mr. Levine discussed the work done by Rock Softball at Helen Randle Park, the possibility of using topsoil from the Woll Tract and making a recommendation with regards to the field tradeoff between the two Leagues to the Supervisors. He advised that the Board would not make any recommendation to the Supervisors until the matter has been discussed and clarified.
Mrs. Pawlenko discussed the “Field Day” presentation that took place this past weekend and the cost to refurbish fields.
Mr. O’Shea advised the Newtown Little League is okay with the field swap.
Mr. Levine advised that the final decision of the field swap is up to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Grosso advised the no matter what field the League uses maintenance work will have to be done at Helen Randle Park.
Mrs. Porter advised that she would like to see the Supervisors make a commitment in the budget to refurbish the fields. Mr. Levine advised that just because an item cost is in the budget doesn't mean it will be spent.
Supervisor Ciervo advised that the fees paid to the Township should be paying for field maintenance.
The Board discussed the use of the Parks & Recreation Impact Fee.
Mr. Levine advised that the 90 foot field at Helen Randle Park would remain the use of Newtown Little League.
The Board discussed the status of the fields at the Woll Tract. Mr. Levine advised that the work for the fields is complete and that he would recommend to the Board of Supervisors to arrange a walk through.
Supervisor Ciervo questioned the cost involved to convert the softball field at the Woll Tract to a baseball field. Mr. Levine advised that he feels that the cost would be minimal.
The Board discussed the current Little League field at Helen Randle Park (field 5) with regards to the cost to convert that field to a softball field. The representatives from Rock Softball estimated the cost to be approximately $5,000.00. The Board discussed who would cover the cost. Mr. Grosso advised that he would discuss the matter at the Little League’s next board meeting. Mr. Levine requested both Leagues to summarize their cost for field maintenance and converting a field; then provide that information to the Board. Mr. Levine discussed making a presentation to the Supervisors at a work session and getting the cost put into the budget.
The representatives from Newtown Little League and Rock Softball agreed that the three fields at the Woll Tract would be used by Newtown Little League and that six fields at Helen Randle Park would be used by Rock Softball the seventh field would be used by the Newtown Little League.
Mr. Levine made a motion that the Parks and Recreation Board approve an arrangement where by the softball field at the Woll Tract is converted to 60 foot Little League field and that the 60 foot field at Helen Randle Park be converted to a softball field. That there be improvements to the fields at Helen Randle Park to enhance the infield mix at a cost no to exceed $5,000.00 per field. And further that the Park & Recreation Board recommend an extension of the parking facilities at Helen Randle Park beyond the current area that is blocked by the bollards so as to facilitate a greater amount of parking.
The Board discussed Mr. Levine’s motion. Mrs. Porter questioned if the Board would consider instead of just extending the parking area on the one side to extend the parking area on the other side if it can be engineered properly. Mr. Levine advised that he did not think that would be a problem and he would modify his motion to say…by extending the bollards or such other recommendations as proved engineering would dictate. Mrs. Porter advised that Rock Softball would look into providing a plan for the Board’s review. Supervisor Ciervo suggested that the proposal is becoming complicated with regards to extending the parking area. He also commented that he thinks that the Board of Supervisors will have a problem with expanding the parking at Helen Randle Park. He discussed the money that the Township has spent on the Woll Tract. Mr. O’Shea advised that currently there are parking issues at Helen Randle Park. Supervisor Ciervo discussed Helen Randle Park with regards to future expenses. Mrs. Porter discussed the parking at Helen Randle Park being inadequate and the expense that the League may incur with regards to engineering and study cost for expanding the parking. Supervisor Ciervo advised that the League should not be incurring the cost, it is a Township decision and the Township should pay the cost.
The Board discussed use of the fields at Helen Randle Park. Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the Leagues are addressing the parking issues, on discussions with Sharon Dodds with regards to a parking study and discussions with the Leagues with regards to addressing traffic. Supervisor Ciervo questioned the number of parking spaces currently at the park and how many more spaces are needed. Mr. Grosso discussed the Leagues using the College parking lot. Mr. Levine suggested that the discussions regarding parking be deferred and that the Board will reserve the right to study it and propose an expansion of the parking lot.
Mr. Levine advised that Mr. Clancy needs to leave the meeting and that he would reframe the motion with out parking so that the matter with regards to switching fields can be voted on tonight. Supervisor Ciervo advised that the matter of parking is a bigger issue and that the Township needs to determine if there is currently enough parking at Helen Randle Park. Mrs. Porter advised on her concerns with regards to the swap and the possibility of field use being taken away from the League one day.
Mr. Levine made a motion that the Parks and Recreation Board approve an arrangement where by the softball field at the Woll Tract is converted to 60 foot Little League field and that the 60 foot field at Helen Randle Park be converted to a softball field. That there be improvements to the fields at Helen Randle Park to enhance the infield mix at a cost no to exceed $5,000.00 per field. The motion was seconded by Mr. Clancy and passed unanimously (4-0).
Mr. Levine advised that the next step would be to make a presentation to the Supervisors.
(Mr. Clancy left.)
Mr. Levine requested Mr. O’Shea and Mr. Garvey to keep the Parks and Recreation Board in the loop. Mr. O’Shea and Mrs. Porter advised that they would forward information regarding the Leagues year in review to the Board.
Mr. Garvey discussed the money that Rock Softball invest in the fields and the “Hits for Heroes” event that took place in July. He advised that the event destroyed three fields. The Township did address the matter but the work was not finished. He commented on the fees that the League pays for tournaments. Supervisor Ciervo advised that if the Leagues have any issues that they should contact the Supervisors. Mrs. Pawlenko advised that with regards to the event and the damage to the fields, the Township did take pictures. She contacted “Hits for Heroes” and the Township was reimbursed $800.00 through “Hits for Heroes” insurance. When Mr. Garvey contacted her advising that the fields were not finished, she called Superior and now needs to speak with Mr. Crossland. She advised that representatives from “Hits for Heroes” also helped with repairing the fields and that they are not welcome back next year. Mr. Levine suggested prescreening groups before allowing them use of the fields. He advised that if the fields are damaged due to use from another group that the Leagues should contact the Supervisors and himself. Mr. Garvey advised that Mrs. Pawlenko does an outstanding job. Mrs. Pawlenko apologized that the work was not complete and advised that she should have followed up.
The Board discussed the use of the Township’s Toro tractor. Mrs. Pawlenko advised that the tractor is broken again. Mrs. Porter advised that the tractor is used for raking and grading the infields. Mrs. Pawlenko advised that the League is allowed to use the tractor but only two drivers are authorized to run the equipment. The League advised that they do need the tractor back. Mrs. Pawlenko advised that she believes that the hydraulics on the tractor are broken and that per Mr. Crossland the tractor has not been fixed. Mr. Garvey advised that the League would like the tractor back to be used for trash pickup. Mrs. Pawlenko advised that she would contact Mr. Crossland and request him to deliver the tractor for use of trash pickup. Mr. Levine advised that the League needs to have designated drivers. The Board discussed if the Toro tractor is the right piece of equipment for raking and grading the infields at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Garvey advised that if the infields are not rock solid the tractor does work. The Board discussed redoing the fields or having a sprinkler system to help keep the fields moist.
The Board discussed the request to install an irrigation system being in last year’s budget and items being in the budget but never done. Mr. Levine advised that he would do what he can with regards to items requested in the budget.
Mr. Grosso suggested that both Leagues keep the Board informed.
Mr. Garvey reported on the fundraising done by Rock Softball. He advised that the League would like to install a pole barn at Helen Randle Park in the future. He discussed the “Newtown Family Day” fundraising event and advised that he would discuss it more with Mrs. Pawlenko. Mr. Levine discussed the pole barn and keeping the matter as an official process.
Approval of Minutes:
The members agreed to table the approval of the minutes from the meeting of September 2, 2009 until the next meeting.
Reports of Subcommittees
Helen Randle Park:
See discussion under New Business.
Skate Park: Mr. Levine reported that the Township has the land, that there may be a new vendor, the price has dropped by $10,000.00 and that there will be fundraising activities. He requested both Little League and Rock Softball to be come involved with the fundraising efforts and possibly forward an email to their members. Supervisor Ciervo reported on the land behind the Staples Shopping Center donated to the Township. The Board discussed the cost of the park to the Township and funds being raised privately.
Woll Tract: Mr. Levine reported on the progress of the Woll Tract and that the fields will probably open in the Spring of 2011 and that the walking trail will probably be open before that.
Roberts Ridge Park: Mr. Levine advised that Mrs. Pawlenko would discuss the BioSun System in her report.
Technology Committee Report: Mr. Levine reported that Parks and Recreation website would be much more sophisticated and have a robust web presence. The web address is www.myrecdepartment.com.
Capital Planning: None.
Board of Supervisors: None.
Planning Commission: None.
Environmental Advisory Council: None.
Park and Recreation Department Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that Park & Recreation on the revenue and participation. Revenue is down 2% from last year and participation is down 12% from last year. She advised on the preview for online registration, the website is www.newtownfun.com. She discussed the websites for design options and requested the Board to give her input, she prefers the design used on www.sharonrec.com. She updated the Board on the CRNAA sponsored “Field Day”. She updated the Board on the BioSun Systems update. The original quote was $38,000.00 and now they are requesting $52,000.00. She advised on her discussions with Al White regarding the cost increase and changes with the State regarding building code. Supervisor Ciervo commented on getting approval from the County. Mr. Levine suggested that one of the Supervisors contact a County Commissioner, State Senator and State Representative. Supervisor Ciervo advised that he would contact the County with regards to approval. He will update Mrs. Pawlenko and Mr. Czajkowski after he talks to the County. Mrs. Pawlenko reported that Pam Fitzpatrick has offered to create a Secret Garden at the Clark Nature Center for children with special needs. Mr. Levine suggested getting the garden approved at the Board’s next meeting. He also reported that Heritage Conservatory has done work with regards to the Clark property. Mrs. Pawlenko advised that 112 children are registered for the Candy Cane Hunt at Roberts Ridge Park. The members were provided a copy of the Park & Recreation Director’s Report for their review.
Field Fee Schedule: The members agreed to table discussion of this matter.
Mr. Levine requested Mrs. Pawlenko to get the Parks and Recreation Board on next week’s Board of Supervisors’ agenda. He advised that Mr. Grosso would like the sprinkler system presented at the meeting and requested Mrs. Pawlenko to make copies of information provided by Mr. Grosso.
Mr. Levine commented on members’ term ending this year and requested interested parties to resubmit for reappointment.
Ms. Kelly moved to adjourn at 9:10 PM. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed unanimously (3-0).
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary