PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF JANUARY 5, 2011
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on January 5, 2011 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Brian Bark, Michael Clancy, Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Andrew Levine and Anne Porter. Also in attendance were Kathy Pawlenko, Park and Recreation Director and Philip Calabro, Supervisor Liaison.
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM.
Organization of Board: Mr. Clancy nominated Mr. Levine to serve as chairman. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Mr. Clancy nominated Mr. Grosso to serve as vice chairman. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Porter moved to accept the minutes of December 1, 2011. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed 5-0-1, with Mr. Grosso abstaining.
Mrs. Pawlenko reminded the Board that she had been contacted by Joe Garvey about field use at Helen Randle Park by Holy Family University’s softball team. Mr. Garvey will be working on a mentoring arrangement between the girls softball teams and Holy Family’s college team. The arrangement will involve some use of Rock Softball equipment. Mrs. Pawlenko reminded members that at an earlier meeting it had been agreed to ask Holy Family to pay the per event fee each time they use the fields. Mr. Garvey has indicated that he would be working with Holy Family on field usage. Mrs. Pawlenko had told Mr. Garvey that any group using Township fields must work directly with her.
Mr. Levine reported that the Board of Supervisors has adopted a budget with reduced funding for the Park and Recreation Department’s printing. Some Board members are not supportive of the recreation programs, although the programs never lose money. All either break even or are profitable, helping to keep the Department almost entirely self-sufficient.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has worked with the printer to try to produce a less expensive brochure. The winter edition will be smaller, with three columns per page, and will be entirely in black and white. She noted that even with these measures, the savings is not significant. She reported that both Rock Softball and Little League placed advertisements for registration in the Spring brochure, which helped with the costs.
Mr. Grosso suggested that in addition to asking the various sports leagues to place advertisements in the brochure, Mrs. Pawlenko could look into placing some advertisements on the Newtownfun.com site.
The Board discussed the use of the Web site. Mrs. Pawlenko noted that although residents are using the Web site to review programs, they seem to still prefer registering either by telephone of in person. One benefit to this is that the staff frequently directs people to additional programs or similar activities, increasing enrollments. There is a strong sales component to the staff contact for registration.
Mr. Bark suggested that the Board begin to look for ways to reduce the department’s reliance on the brochures. It is clear that the Supervisors are not willing to restore the printing funding. He suggested a postcard campaign or placing banners on the Web sites of the various sports organizations. Perhaps a discount could be offered for on-line registration or a surcharge collected for in-person or telephone registrations. The surcharges could be saved and earmarked for the printing of the brochures.
Mr. Levine explained that the Park and Recreation millage and fund have been eliminated from the budget. Any revenues the Department generates go into the general fund to be used for any purpose. It would be difficult for the Department to raise money specifically to spend on the brochures.
Mr. Grosso suggested that flyers for summer camp be distributed at the upcoming Little League and Softball in-person registration events.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that this might be helpful. She would speak to her staff about setting up a table during these events to provide camp information as well as other recreation program information.
Mr. Clancy said that he is certain that the summer camps will survive but is afraid that the recreation programs will suffer greatly without the mailings. He suggested that the members each investigate ways to move the residents away from reliance on the brochure. This might be a gradual process.
Mr. Bark suggested that a postcard mailing to each resident might be less expensive but would announce that the new recreation offerings are now available on line. Over time this might help to eliminate the need for mailed brochures.
Reports of Subcommittees
Skate Park: Mr. Levine reported that he does not know the terms of any agreement made between the Supervisors and Jim Worthington regarding the naming of the skate park.
Mr. Calabro said that he believed that Mr. Worthington had asked that the park be named “Newtown Athletic” skate park as part of his agreement to make a sizable donation to the park. He does not know the details of the agreement.
Mr. Levine said that he would seek some confirmation when he next appears before the Board of Supervisors.
The members discussed the naming of the park. They agreed that the Board and the Supervisors should consider establishing a policy for the naming of the parks in exchange for donations or corporate sponsorship.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the skate park is located right next to the Township’s all purpose rectangular field. It might be a good idea to name the entire area “Newtown Athletic Complex” or something similar.
Mr. Calabro said that if the Township is accepting donations with “naming rights” the Board should consider a restricted time period for the name, such as ten years in exchange for a donation of a certain amount.
The members were in agreement that a policy should be established to address not only this donation for the skate park, but future donations for other parks and fields.
Veterans Park: Mr. Levine said that he has spoken to representatives of the three soccer leagues who will be using the all purpose fields. He would like to work out cost sharing for equipment for these fields.
Senior Fitness Project: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has spoken to Public Works Director Gary Crossland about using Carl Sedia Park for this project. She has also spoken to Mrs. Sutton, who was unable to attend this evening, but who has done some research. Mrs. Sutton has estimated that the project would cost about $60,000.
Mr. Levine said that he believes there would be a good deal of community support for a fundraising effort for the project.
The Board discussed the possibility of sponsoring a fundraising event. Mrs. Pawlenko noted that Northampton’s Senior Center raises money with a bingo night.
Mr. Grosso said that he has been involved in some very successful Las Vegas night events for CYO. The members agreed that one major event could possibly raise enough to offset a good deal of the cost for the senior park.
Board of Supervisors: The members all welcomed Mr. Calabro back as Supervisor Liaison.
Mr. Calabro said that he is very glad to be back with the Park and Recreation Board. He reported that the Supervisors passed a very tight budget. Some aspects of the budget are still under discussion, including the contracts for the Township union employees.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that in 2010 the Department had total revenues of $378, 669 with 3294 participants.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that as part of the Township’s budget, new field usage fees were adopted. She provided copies of the new fee schedule for the members. She noted that in addition to the field fees, the Supervisors have adopted a non-resident fee of 25% doe all programs.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has applied for a PECO grant for the open space comprehensive plan updated. She is also investigating working with Northampton on this plan.
The Board briefly discussed using Facebook for promoting the Park and Recreation Department. Mrs. Pawlenko said that her department has been considering this.
Mr. Grosso moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Ms. Porter seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary