PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF APRIL 7, 2010
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on April 7, 2010 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, Brian Bark, Kathy Kelly, Mark McMenamin, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Kathy Pawlenko, Park and Recreation Director and Robert Ciervo, Board of Supervisors Liaison.
Call to Order: Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
New Business: Mrs. Pawlenko introduced Autumn Thomas of the Township Environmental Advisory Council and Kathy Skalish, leader of Brownie Troop 2201. Mrs. Pawlenko explained that Ms. Thomas and Ms. Skalish have expressed interest in helping with some of the ongoing tasks at the Clark Nature Center. Ms. Thomas recently sponsored a clean up and tree pruning event with Tree Tenders, an organization with some expertise in pruning and planting of trees. They will also be hosting a three day workshop on pruning in the fall. Ms. Skalish, a Penn State Master Gardener, would like her Brownie troop to sponsor a portion of the trail in the park to clean up and improve the bird blind area. Her troop, along with Brownie troop 2644 and a group of cub scouts will host a clean up event on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Clark. Public works will supply wheel barrows and trash bags and the children will bring gloves and some gardening tools. The children will all be accompanied by adult volunteers.
Mr. Levine said that Clark Nature Center is very much in need of attention. He is hoping that these two partnerships, with the Brownies and the Tree Tenders, will lead to the eventual formation of a “friends of the park” organization.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she spoke to Barley Van Cleef of Tree Tenders and Ms. Thomas about the “friends of the park” idea. Ms. Van Cleef gave Ms. Pawlenko a City of Philadelphia guide for forming such organizations. She will try to get copies for the Board to review.
Mrs. Sutton said that she knew a number of community members who would be interested in becoming part of such a group.
Mr. Grosso said that rather than having the “friends of the park” operate as a Township committee with members officially appointed by the Board of Supervisors, it might be more effective for the group to be formed the way the various sports leagues are, with interested people working together on fundraising and field work in the park. As with the sports leagues, the first stop before an activity is undertaken is always the Park and Recreation Board.
Mr. Levine asked Ms. Thomas to discuss the “friends of the park” with the EAC and the Park and Recreation Board would review the guide book for the May meeting.
Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of March 3, 2010. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0-1, with Mr. McMenamin abstaining.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has implemented the Board’s suggestion of offering camp scholarships of 75%, with the remaining 25% paid by the participants but refundable if the children have good attendance.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that camp early discount ends on April 16. It is difficult to determine the enrollment income this year because participants had the option of paying 50% up front with 50% deferred to a later date. She said she is attempting to get word out that the early discount period is ending. Mr. Grosso has suggested placing banners at Chandler field and fliers at the snack bars. Teen camp enrollment is down. Mrs. Pawlenko speculated that this could be because camp is optional for older children. They can stay home or attend one week specialty camps while their parents work.
Mr. Bark suggested reviewing enrollment numbers compared to last year. It might be a good idea to extend the early enrollment discount through the entire month of April.
Mr. McMenamin noted that Rock Softball had extended its early enrollment discount this year. He also suggested putting banners at Helen Randle and at the playground at Roberts Ridge where parents of younger children will see it.
Mrs. Pawlenko agreed to order four banners and provided data on enrollment. She said that the Department is understaffed but that the summer intern is in this year’s budget. This will be very helpful.
Mr. Grosso and Mr. McMenamin suggested asking next summer’s counselors in training to hand out fliers at tables at the supermarkets on the weekend.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has submitted a grant application to Bucks County Conservation District for a rain barrel project with Council Rock School District. The school children will decorate the rain barrels and prepare informational literature on the use of rain barrels.
The Township received a Community Development Block Grant of $8,187 for installation of a floor in the Clark Nature Center barn. Public works will install the floor, making the barn available for some scout activities.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the composting Bio-Sun toilets at Roberts Ridge Park will open on Friday, April 9.
Woll Tract: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that work will resume shortly on the park, with basins converted to permanent conditions, completion of Durham Road entrance and landscaping.
Mr. Levine noted that the Little League, Rock Softball and the Township are hammering out the details of an agreement to swap the softball field at Woll and the baseball field at Helen Randle Park.
Senior Activities: Mrs. Pawlenko provided the members with copies of a brochure from Life Trail, a manufacturer of outdoor fitness equipment for older adults.
Mr. Levine said that he would like to investigate interest among the senior groups in the Township in partnering to purchase and install some of the fitness stations in Carl Sedia Park. The site would need very little preparation work since an old fitness trail in disrepair had been removed.
Mrs. Sutton and Mr. McMenamin agreed to work as a subcommittee, investigating the appropriate number of stations, an approximate cost and interest in participating by Gloria Dei, Chandler Hall, Pickering Manor, St. Andrew’s Seniors and Council Rock Senior Center.
Mrs. Kelly said that she would visit some of the sites listed in the brochure in Lancaster County before the next meeting.
Board of Supervisors Report: Dr. Ciervo reported that the Township has been approached by the American Legion asking that the Woll tract be named to honor veterans.
The Board discussed names, including Veterans or Veterans Memorial Park. The members agreed that they were supportive of naming the park for all veterans, rather than singling out a particular person or branch of service. The members also agreed that to honor veterans of a particular branch of service or of a particular war, plaques could be placed along portions of the walking trails or each field could be named for a particular branch of service.
Mr. Levine suggested possibly planting trees along the trail in someone’s memory.
Newtown Creek Coalition: Mrs. Sutton reported that the Coalition has been working on establishing zones along the creek and mapping it. The organization has also applied for some grants.
Member Comments: Mr. Grosso said that the Little League would like to replace the shed at Chandler Field with a new shed at the same location. He provided pictures of the shed the Little League would like to purchase and install as soon as possible.
Mr. Levine suggested that Mr. Grosso ask the Township Manager to alert the next door neighbor to the plan.
Mrs. Sutton said that she has heard a number of complaints about the conditions at Silver Lake Park. The water is very scummy and is no longer suitable for fishing.
Mrs. Pawlenko said she would investigate the conditions right away.
Mrs. Sutton reminded the members that Arbor Day is April 26. There will be a tree planting at Roberts Ridge Park at 9:00 AM followed by Tree Trivia conducted by former PRB member John Davis at Brian Gregg Park.
Mr. Bark thanked the Park and Recreation Department for its support in allowing Lacrosse to use the field behind Staples.
Mr. McMenamin announced that 110 volunteers participated in field day clean up at Helen Randle Park.
Mr. Grosso moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mr. Bark seconded and the motion passed 6-0.