PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF DECEMBER 1, 2010
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on December 1, 2010 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, Brian Bark, Kathy Kelly, Ann Porter 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. Porter moved to approve the minutes of October 6, 2010. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Naming of Skate Park: Mr. Levine explained to the members that he does not know the details of an arrangement made between the Township and Jim Worthington, who donated $10,000 to the skate park with an understanding that the park would be named after his business, Newtown Athletic Club, as Newtown Athletic Skate Park. The Township has not encountered this before in any of its parks, so he would like to learn more about the agreement before continuing the conversation. He noted that as the Township might depend more in the future on contributions from the private sector, naming of parks will become more important. There had also been a donation of $5000 from a private foundation, but his understanding was that it was an anonymous donation.
Mrs. Pawlenko suggested that this might be a good time to consider naming the all purpose field next to the skate park. It has become known to the community as “Staples Field” because it is behind that store.
Senior Fitness: Mr. Levine suggested that the Park and Recreation Board make this a priority for 2011. While seeking corporate sponsorship for the skate park he learned that a number of businesses would be interested in helping with this project. There could also be some grant opportunities for a senior park, as Pennsylvania has the second largest senior population in the country.
Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Sutton agreed to put together a sub-committee with participation from community members, similar to the skate park committee. It is their understanding that a full fit-out of the park would cost less than $60,000, since the land and the pad sites already exist in Carl Sedia Park.
Newtown Creek Coalition: Mrs. Sutton reported that due to inclement weather the clean-up day was canceled, however some trees were removed and underbrush cleared, making Centre Avenue Bridge visible. PennDOT saw the Bridge as a historic asset and re-mortared the stone.
Recreation Comprehensive Plan
Mrs. Pawlenko said that there has been some confusion as to the source and availability of the grant for the project. Heritage Conservancy had expected to be paid a total of $40,000, of which $20,000 would have been a Township match. The Township had expected its contribution to be in-kind labor, not cash.
Mr. Levine said that the update of the Comprehensive Plan is not a requirement but the grant would expire in 2012. There are some goals in the existing plan which may no longer be appropriate which should be addressed at some point.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that Heritage Conservancy is re-evaluating its proposal to see if it can be trimmed.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that revenue to date is $375,356 with participation at 3150. The Department is doing better at self-sufficiency than the neighboring municipalities. On-line registration for recreation and camps is 30% without assistance from the staff. Most of the registrations, 70%, are done either by phone or in person.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that at this point the Supervisors have cut the printing budget for the brochures by 50%. She has already committed to print the full winter brochure for delivery in early January, which will use the bulk of the reduced budget. She has looked to other printers, smaller size or three column listings in an effort to reduce the printing costs further.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that Warminster Park and Recreation has a partnership with Abington Hospital, printing a full page on the back cover of the recreation brochures. She would like to approach St. Mary Hospital with a similar proposal. She has written to her contact there, offering the back cover for all three issues of the brochure. The brochure is delivered to 12,000 homes in 18940 zip code.
Mr. Levine said that he has a contact at St. Mary and would follow up. He and the other members were in agreement that the brochures are still an essential part of the advertising and promotion of recreation programs. They also had concern that the budget did not reduce the projected program revenues; with loss of advertising budget, the Township should expect participation in programs to fall off.
The members approved the concept of one sponsor on the cover.
Mrs. Kelly spoke briefly about possibly offering an advertising page similar to the pages offered for the Council Rock sports boosters booklets.
Mrs. Porter suggested that some of the sports organizations might be willing to pay to include their registration information in the brochures. She would pursue this with the softball league and asked Mr. Bark to discuss it with Lacrosse.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that if the Park and Recreation Board is recommending the two advertising methods, one sponsor and sports organization registration, she would still need approval from the Board of Supervisors. She would speak to the Township Manager or Mr. Levine could include it in his report to the Supervisors.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that use of the skate park has been overwhelming. The police have been checking on the park twice per shift and have had only a few problems, including using skateboards and scooters in the shopping centers, noise, trash and use of the park after dark. There have also been a number of non-local users being dropped off for very long periods. The insurance carrier had the following recommendations:
Mrs. Porter said that she has concerns about shielding the park with plantings, screening it from visibility and making it more difficult to monitor.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that there have also been a number of complaints about the noise from residents in Tyler Walk. She has visited Tyler Walk and confirmed the noise. She has contacted the manufacturers and learned that there are noise controls available.
The members all agreed that the park has been much more successful than they had expected. The problems and complaints should be addressed and over time will be worked out.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the Board of Supervisors has approved parking on the grass at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Garvey of Rock Softball has suggested that his organization could charge a fee of $2 for parking, with funds escrowed toward eventual paving of the lot. The members agreed to discuss this further next year.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that camp registrations would begin in December this year. The Department is offering camp gift certificates for holiday gifts.
The annual candy cane hunt will be held on Saturday at Roberts Ridge Park. Comcast donated $750 to be used for refreshments. The Township will provide a Santa and community partners St. Mary’s Safe Kids and Chik-fil-A provided some prizes.
Holy Family University has requested use of Township fields for college games. She is working on a fee schedule. The members agreed that the fee should be based on per event use.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.