PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF JUNE 2, 2010
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on June 2, 2010 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, 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.
Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth and SADD Presentation: Barbara Gross, Youth Activities Coordinator for Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), adult leader Debbie Moskowitz, and student members Julia Cohen and Lauren Foisy were in attendance to discuss a proposal to place signage in our parks creating smoke free parks and playing fields.
Ms. Cohen and Ms. Foisy, eighth grade students at Richboro Middle School, explained that they have been meeting with community leaders throughout Council Rock, including State Senator Scott Petri, to create smoke free playing environments. The girls have given some presentations to elementary school age children and will also present at Northampton’s summer camps a simple program called TATU, or Teens Against Tobacco Use. The program includes information of the harm of second hand smoke to everyone, even in outdoor settings, on the risks of tobacco litter to the environment, as well as information on the benefits to the community of a smoke free environment.
Mrs. Pawlenko suggested that with the Park and Recreation Board’s approval, she would like to review the presentation for possible inclusion in Newtown’s Summer Camp health program.
The girls showed a sample sign, which simply and clearly states “This Park is a Smoke Free Zone’, and indicated that a local sign maker has agreed to donate one free sign.
Mr. Levine said that his only concern would be enforcement.
Ms. Foisy said that Northampton police and Chief Pasqualini had similar concerns but felt that although it might be difficult for police to enforce, non-smoking park users would be able to point to the signs to remind smokers that smoking is not permitted.
The Board members discussed smoking in our parks. While it did not seem to be a widespread problem, it does happen. The members were supportive of the idea of signage provided it is treated as a request not to smoke in the parks.
Mr. Levine suggested that, with the support of the Park and Recreation Board, he would discuss this during his report at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting. He urged the girls to attend that meeting and if possible to include some of their Newtown members in the presentation.
Mrs. Pawlenko and Mrs. Sutton suggested that the group should provide the Park and Recreation Board with an estimate of costs for signage for such a program before presenting to the Board of Supervisors.
Automated External Defibrillators in Parks: Mrs. Pawlenko said that Mr. Grosso has spoken to her about organizing a presentation on AED’s for the parks, with local Park and Recreation Boards and departments as well as representatives of the sports leagues in attendance. The Township’s insurance carrier has recommended that if these devices are placed in the parks, they should be donated to the sports leagues, as they will require maintenance. Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has also contacted Mr. Casey of the American Legion to discuss working with Eagle Scouts on a project to acquire the devices and create an educational program.
Friends of the Park: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that EAC member Autumn Thomas has been working at Clark Nature Center to trim and prune trees. A Council Rock class of special needs teens has also begun work on some of the park trails; this work will continue in the fall. Brownies and Cub Scouts are planting corn and pumpkins in the former 4H garden.
Reports of Sub-Committees
Helen Randle Park: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the field swap agreement among the Township, Little League and Rock softball has been signed.
Skate Park: Mr. Levine reported that NAC owner Jim Worthington has donated $10,000 to the skate park committee fund. The committee has raised an additional $5,000. The Township opened the latest bids for the concrete pad and found them to be much higher than anticipated and also higher than the first bids. The Township has put the project out to bid a third time, now asking for quotes for either concrete or asphalt.
Mr. O’Neill asked the recording secretary to forward information on the bid package to him, as he might be able to help find bidders.
Woll Tract: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that work is coming along and completion of work on the park is expected in August. It will take about one year for the fields to be ready for playing.
Roberts Ridge Park: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the composting restrooms have opened and they look good. Feedback from residents has been positive.
Park and Recreation Department Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she had sent surveys to families who had participated in the summer camp programs last year. The responses have been positive for the most part, but among those not returning, the reason seems to be the cost, particularly the rise in cost for non-residents. Some respondents did express interest in a three week enrollment or half day enrollment.
Mrs. Pawlenko provided the Board with information on summer camp revenues going back to 2006. She pointed out that there has been a drop in participation in the teen camp, which has become very expensive.
Mrs. Kelly noted that the cost is based in part on the expense of the many trips the teen camp takes. She said that in the current economy, parents might be considering allowing a young teen to stay home.
Mr. Levine noted that a number of young teens in his neighborhood will be attending a few one-week specialty camps instead of a full summer day camp.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that most of the camps in surrounding municipalities have also seen a drop in participation. The Lower Southampton camp, which is completely full, is charging only $400, taking the position that the municipal camp is a service to the community. Warwick is offering a teen camp with two week enrollments. She will investigate this as a model for possible future teen camp openings.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the summer brochure was held up at the post office and delivery was very late. A formal complaint has been made.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that Jeff Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy will need to retain a recreation professional to complete the update of the recreation comprehensive plan.
Mrs. Sutton reported that the Arbor Day event held at Goodnoe School, Roberts Ridge Park and Brian Gregg Playground was very successful. She shared photographs of the event with the Board.
Mrs. Pawlenko asked to include the photographs in the upcoming Township newsletter.
Mrs. Kelly moved to adjourn at 8:15 PM. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 4-0.