The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on March 2, 2011 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, Brian Bark, Beck O’Neill, Anne Porter and Sue Sutton. Also in attendance was Kathy Pawlenko, Park and Recreation Director and Robert Whartenby, Planning Commission Liaison.

Call to Order: Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Bark moved to approve the minutes of January 5, 2011. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

The members agreed that notes taken at the meeting of February 2, 2011, which lacked a quorum, should be posted on the Township Web site.

Public Comment

Resident Larry Galley said that he lives in Tyler Walk and he and his neighbors are very concerned about the ongoing noise from the skate park. Although the park is supposed to close at sunset, skaters are using the park after dark, as the ambient light from the road and shopping center are adequate. He had called the police after 11:00 PM on a recent Sunday evening about noise.

Mr. Levine said that he and Mrs. Pawlenko have visited the homes of some of the complaining neighbors and confirmed that the noise is much louder than anyone had anticipated. Mrs. Pawlenko and Public Works Director Gary Crossland have made an appointment with American Ramp Company to come and discuss possible solutions to the problems. He noted that some of the solutions discussed with the ramp company could be quite costly, so the Park and Recreation Board and Public Works are looking into some less expensive alternatives including spray insulation.

Mr. Galley expressed some concern that the Township is considering the costs and will employ less effective, cheap solutions rather than address the problem and try to solve it.

Mr. Levine assured Mr. Galley that the Park and Recreation Board and Department are eager to address this problem and solve it to the neighbors’ satisfaction. Meanwhile, he urged Mr. Galley to continue to report use of the park after dark to the police, as this complaint could be resolved by enforcement.

The members discussed possible landscaping solutions to help muffle the sound, including planting pine trees along Durham Road and between the park and the brick buildings.

Resident Perry Katz said that he had worked on the Skate Park committee and was eager to see neighbors’ complaints resolved so that the park could continue to be enjoyed by skaters. His son will be looking for an Eagle Scout project and suggested that perhaps he could work on some landscaping solutions.

Mrs. Pawlenko suggested that Mr. Katz contact her office to discuss the project in detail.

New Business

Veterans Park: Eagle Scout Ryan Varian was in attendance to update the Board on his project to install a commemorative entrance wall and flag poles at Veterans Park. He has raised over $5000 to pay for the project. He has purchased most of the supplies needed, including flags and plaques, completed his designs and will be ordering the lettering for the entrance shortly. He has a group of scouts committed to helping to install the wall and flag poles as soon as the weather changes. Working with Jim Casey of the American Legion, he has been in contact with the Little League about locations for the flag poles at the baseball fields.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would work with Ryan to get any permits he will need to begin working in the park. Mr. Crossland will help with the PA One call before work is started.

Mr. Levine said that the Township will want to have an opening ceremony of some kind. He understands that Mr. Casey and the American Legion would like to hold the ceremony on Armed Forces Day, May 21, 2011. The Township is eager to coordinate with the American Legion.

Ryan said that he expected to have the project completed in time for the opening ceremony.

Mr. Levine said that if the fields are usable, Little League might be scheduling some t-ball and coach pitch games on the fields prior to the opening ceremonies, but these activities should not interfere with work being done on Ryan’s project.

Mr. Grosso said that as part of the ceremony and activities for the opening dedication, Little League might move its games from Pickering Field to the new park for the day.

Mr. Levine suggested that as part of the opening day festivities the Township could sponsor a one mile fun run through the park.

Ms. Porter suggested selling tee shirts and having entertainment, either the CR North Marching Band or a freestyle soccer demonstration group.

The Board thanked Ryan for undertaking such an ambitious project and offered its support as the project moves forward.

Program Promotions/Brochures: Mr. Levine said that he presented the Board’s ideas for fundraising for specific projects such as the life trail system, and selling space in the program brochure to the Supervisors and both concepts met with Supervisors’ approval. Other ideas which had recently been discussed at the Park and Recreation Board meeting, including a raffle to accumulate a larger e-mail list and sponsoring of Township events and camp activities were also approved.

The members discussed recent newspaper advertisements for Central Bucks School District’s summer camp programs. Mrs. Pawlenko said that she had contacted the Courier Times and learned that the advertisement was prohibitively expensive with costs as high as $3600 for a full page ad.

Reports of Subcommittees

Senior Fitness: Mr. Levine said that he had discussed this project at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. The Board was supportive of efforts to begin a fundraising campaign. It will be necessary to partner with an organization with 501(C)(3) status so that contributions are tax deductible. He suggested speaking to Newtown Rotary or Newtown Corporation.

Liaison Reports

Planning Commission: Commission Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby reported that the Commission has recently seen a concept plan for a McDonald’s Restaurant at Village at Newtown. The plan would demolish an existing 6900 square foot medical office building and build a 3900 square foot restaurant with a drive through window. The site is close to Durham Road. Many Cliveden residents attended the meeting to discuss their objections to the plan, including traffic, pedestrian safety, noise, light, odor and trash.
The Commission has also begun to review proposed changes to the Stormwater Ordinance.

Environmental Advisory Council: The recording Secretary reported that at its last meeting the EAC saw a PowerPoint presentation on Audubon Society’s Bird Town program, which promotes bird habitats in communities by inviting municipalities to train volunteers to evaluate properties for ecologically friendly and sustainable landscaping.

Park and Recreation Director’s Report

Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the 2011 revenues are at $74,500. Response to camp registration has been slow with many Borough residents complaining about the increased non-resident surcharge. Swim programs and princess character tea party events have been very successful. Newtown Pro Shop is co-sponsoring a Tennis Ball Hunt at Roberts Ridge Park in association with the Bucks County Tennis Association to help promote the tennis lesson program.

Mrs. Pawlenko asked the members for help in seeking ads and sponsorships. She provided the members with letters outlining costs for ads in the spring brochure and sponsorship opportunities for the summer camps.

The spring intern from Temple University did not show up to start her program, which was a disappointment since the fall intern had worked out so well. An adult volunteer has been coming to the office to help two mornings each week.

Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has formed marketing partnerships with Newtown Corporation, Momma’s Little Helper and Bucks County Visitors Bureau. They all have agreed to add park and recreation programs to their events calendars.

Newtown Tree Tenders, working under the direction of Autumn Thomas of the EAC, has been busy with spring clean-up projects at Clark Nature Center.

Mrs. Pawlenko reviewed the winter damage to the parks, including felled trees at Clark Nature Center and a damaged fence at Chandler Field.

Member Comments

Mr. Grosso asked if Little League could hold t-ball practice in the retention basin at Roberts Ridge Park.

Mrs. Pawlenko said she would speak to the Township Manager, but she thought it would be permissible.

Mrs. Sutton announced that this year’s Arbor Day events would be held at Goodnoe School and Roberts Ridge Park on April 29. Mike Clancy and former member John Davis have already volunteered to help. She asked the other members to contact her about helping.

Mrs. Sutton moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Ms. Porter seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary