PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF AUGUST 4, 2010
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on August 4, 2010 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, Brian Bark, Michael Clancy, Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill, and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance was Kathy Pawlenko, Park and Recreation Director.
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 July 7, 2010. Mrs. Kelley seconded and the motion passed 5-0, with Messrs. Bark and Grosso abstaining.
Mr. Levine explained that residents Natalie and Jason Cohen would like to speak to the members about a memorial in memory of their infant son, Noah, who passed away in May at the age of two months. The Cohen family would like to build a playground in Noah’s memory in Veterans Park. Mr. Levine suggested that a few Board members form a sub-committee to discuss funding and selecting of equipment and to work with the Park and Recreation Board through the review process with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors and then to plan and install the playground.
Messrs. Clancy and Grosso and Mrs. Sutton agreed to work with Ms. Pawlenko and Mr. and Mrs. Cohen on the project.
Mrs. Cohen said that she had already begun investigating the Little Tykes equipment geared toward fitness activities. She is eager to move the project forward quickly.
Mr. Levine said that later this evening the Board would be visiting Veterans Park. Mr. and Mrs. Cohen would be welcome to accompany the Board to see the location already designated for the playground. The park will hopefully open in the spring of 2011 for baseball and the rectangular fields might not be ready until fall. The playground could have a separate opening ceremony if the Cohens prefer.
Mr. Cohen said that working with his employer’s charitable giving department and the Philadelphia Foundation he has set up a fund for the playground. The fund already has over $25,000.
Mr. Clancy said that the sub-committee would work with Mr. Cohen to help with fundraising and publicizing the effort. The community will be eager to see a playground at this location.
The Board expressed their sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Cohen on the loss of their son and thanked them for their efforts to honor his memory through a playground for the community.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Comprehensive Plan Update: Mrs. Pawlenko provided the members with copies of notes from a conference call she participated in with representatives of DCNR, Heritage Conservancy and Newtown Borough to discuss working jointly on the updated comprehensive park and recreation plan. There is a grant in place for this project. She would like to work with Newtown Borough, sharing the costs, as there is some overlapping of work. She has begun compiling some maps which will be needed. The next step will be to get permission from DCNR to use the grant money for the Heritage Conservancy and to hire a recreation consultant. She suggested asking former Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert, who worked on the last plan and has the needed certifications.
Mr. Levine said that the Township’s park land is close to built out. The project should not be difficult, as it is an update of the previous plan. He expressed enthusiasm for working with Mr. Wert. He said that if working with Newtown Borough it would be necessary to see that the Borough funds its portion of the project. He suggested that the Board aim to meet with the Heritage Conservancy at the October meeting.
Mrs. Pawlenko noted that an important component of the plan would be future staffing needs, as her department is struggling and understaffed.
Park and Recreation Department Update: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that department revenue is down $25,000 of which $15,000 is camp revenues. There has been a sharp decline in participation among non-residents and teens.
Mr. Bark said that going forward, in the current economy, it is important to price the camps attractively to fill all of the programs.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she had been using the Township’s special events permit for softball tournaments. This has been very helpful, as each permit is reviewed by all of the Township’s departments, including police, fire and public works, in order to address concerns such as maintenance and trash removal, parking and traffic control and emergency provisions.
Mr. Grosso asked that field usage fees be added to the next agenda.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would provide members with copies of Northampton’s recent changes in its fee schedule to help the members make comparisons.
Mr. Grosso wished good luck to the 12 year old Council Rock Newtown Little league in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament. The team is one step away from the Little League World Series. Follow the action at www.crnaa.com He also offered congratulations to the 11 year old Council Rock Newtown Little League for a great season. Their accomplishments include District 30 Champions, Section 6 champion and Eastern Pa. champs. Job well done.
On behalf of Council Rock Youth Lacrosse, Mr. Bark expressed thanks to Newtown Township for allowing us to use their fields again this past season. The Council Rock A3 team, coached by Brian Bark and Brian Connors, had a perfect season, posting a record of 9 and 0. Coach Bark and Connors have compiled a record over the past three seasons of 21 and 6 .The meeting adjourned at 7:30 without objection. The Board and Mr. and Mrs. Cohen accompanied Chris Green, the Gilmore & Associates engineer on a tour of Veterans Park