PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF MAY 5, 2010
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on May 5, 2010 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, Michael Clancy, Kathy Kelly, Mark McMenamin, Buck O’Neill and Ann Porter (late), members. Also in attendance was Kathy Pawlenko, Park and Recreation Director.
Call to Order: Mr. Grosso called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Eagle Scout Project: Past Commander of the Morrell Smith American Legion Jim Casey and Boy Scout Ryan Varian of Pack 99 were in attendance to discuss an Eagle Scout project to build a monument at the Wrights Road entrance to the Woll tract. Mr. Casey explained that the Board of Supervisors had been supportive of the idea of naming the park to honor Newtown’s veterans. The American Legion would prefer that the park be named “Veterans Park” without any reference to the word “memorial” as the legion would like to pay tribute to our veterans both living and deceased. Mr. Casey also confirmed Board support for naming each field for a particular branch of the service.
Mr. Casey said that the American Legion has worked closely with Troop 99 on a number of Eagle projects, mostly improvements in and around the Legion’s building. The Legion had been discussing ideas for monuments and flags for the park and included the scouts in the discussion. He and Mr. Varian visited the site and thought that the circle at the Wrights Road entrance would be a good location for a monument.
Ryan Varian explained that he would build a monument wall featuring a six-pointed star. An American flag and POW flag would fly in front and the monument would have flags for the six service branches. Ryan has not drafted formal plans, as he was awaiting the Park and Recreation Board’s approval of the concept.
Mr. Varian explained that to earn the Eagle Scout rank, he must do all of the work on the project himself, with the support of his parents and his fellow scouts. He will be required to develop a plan and a budget, raise funds and donations of supplies and construct the monument. He will supervise and guide his fellow scouts who agree to help with the project.
Mr. Casey said that Mr. Varian’s father is a local contractor well known for the quality of his work. His help and guidance would be relied on by the scouts and the Legion.
M. Clancy said that he was very excited about working with the American Legion and the Boy Scouts, whose organizations are celebrating their 100 th anniversary this year.
Mr. Casey asked whether there would be electricity at the selected location.
Mr. Grosso said that the infrastructure for field lighting is in place and there will be lights in the parking lot and along the entry trail.
(Ms. Porter arrived at this point.)
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would meet with Mr. Casey and Mr. Varian to provide copies of the park’s electric plans for his review.
Mr. McMenamin suggested that in addition to fundraising, Mr. Varian contact local contractors and suppliers for donated materials. He also suggested using Facebook as a fundraising and promotional tool.
Mr. Grosso said that the Park and Recreation Board is very enthusiastic about the project and will support and help Mr. Varian and Mr. Casey, but he noted that the Board is only advisory to the Board of Supervisor. He urged Mr. Varian to return to the Park and Recreation Board in June with a sketch plan which could be reviewed and recommended to the Supervisors for approval.
Mr. Clancy said that it might be a good idea for Mr. Varian and Mr. Casey to get in touch with Gary Crossland, our Public Works Director, who would probably also be helpful as the project progresses. He assured them that the Park and Recreation Board is thrilled with the plans and he was certain that the Board of Supervisors would also be very supportive.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. McMenamin moved to accept the minutes of April 7, 2010. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 4-0-2, with Mr. Clancy and Ms. Porter abstaining.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that work is being done on the fencing at Helen Randle Park. The compost toilets at Roberts Ridge will open on Saturday, May 8, 2010 with a brief ribbon cutting ceremony.
Mrs. Pawlenko provided the Board with a summer camp registration comparison chart. She noted that the early discount registration period has ended. The Department has employed a number of strategies to advertise the camps, including placing signs at the drive through aisles at Wendy’s and Chik-fil-A and at the elementary and middle school pick-up lanes and at all Township playgrounds. The schools have also helped with e-mail to parents, as have the various sports organizations. Promotional flyers were placed at the snack bars in the parks for distribution by the Little League and Rock Softball. Two reusable banners were purchased and are being displayed at Helen Randle and Chandler fields. The Green Parrot and Applebee’s are distributing flyers.
Camp registration continues, however it is lagging behind past years. Mrs. Pawlenko noted that the increased cost for non-residents has not helped.
The Board discussed ways to help increase enrollment going forward. Mrs. Kelly noted that the decline in participation in teen camp might be due to the economy, as the older children might stay home alone. She also noted that if one parent is out of work, camp is no longer a requirement for older children. She suggested that the Department investigate whether partial registration for only half of the summer could be offered. If a fixed number of slots were opened for each half of the teen camp calendar, it might not impact staffing.
Mrs. Pawlenko agreed that she would investigate this. She noted that some other municipal camps do offer that option.
Park Subcommittee Reports
Clark Nature Center: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the clean-up day at Clark Nature Center was a tremendous success. Autumn Thomas of the EAC, Tree Tenders and Brownie Troop 2201 met on April 17, 2010 to do some much needed trimming and pruning as well as the clearing of some portions of the trail in the park. Ms. Thomas has indicated that she is very interested in continuing to work with Park and Recreation at Clark Nature Center on a ‘friends of the park’ organization.
Adult/Senior Fitness: Mrs. Kelly reported that she visited some sites in Lancaster County to see the Life Trail equipment. She found that these heavy-duty fitness stations could easily be installed along the walking trail stations in Carl Sedia Park. While they are designed to accommodate handicapped people and a number of the “events” are wheelchair appropriate, this exercise equipment would be appropriate to all adults, younger and older. Mrs. Kelly also spoke to the Allentown Parks and Recreation Director who said that they have recently installed the equipment, purchasing a few of each piece so that people could exercise side by side. Allentown will sponsor exercise clubs, which will be given help in planning exercise routines using the equipment.
Mrs. Kelly said that she would work with Mrs. Sutton to gauge interest in partnerships with some of the senior housing and senior clubs in Newtown. The Allentown Park and Recreation Director said that the sales representative at playworld.com, who installed the equipment, helped Allentown to reach out to various senior groups for support and contributions.
Mrs. Porter suggested that, since the equipment is not exclusively for elderly or handicapped users, perhaps it should be promoted as “adult fitness.” The equipment could be used by all adult residents.Mrs. Porter moved to adjourn at 8:00 PM. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0.