PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF June 1, 2011
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM in the Township meeting room. In attendance and voting were Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, and members, Brian Bark, Kathy Kelly and Buck O’Neill. Also present was Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko.
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 May 4, 2011. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Beneficial Bank, 34 South Sycamore Street: Joel DelliCarpino of Bohler Engineering was in attendance to present this plan for a branch bank at the site of the former McBride Chrysler site on Sycamore Street. The project would include demolition of the Chrysler showroom and construction of a 3200 square foot bank and 41 parking spaces. The corner of Sycamore Street would have a sitting area and flagpole and the decorative stone wall would be extended around the corner onto Richboro Road. A fence and shrubbery would be placed on top of the wall to conceal the parking lot. The impervious surface will be reduced from 81% to 53%.
Mr. Levine explained that the Park and Recreation Board’s responsibility is to recommend to the Planning Commission and Supervisors to accept dedication of open space or a fee in lieu.
Mrs. Kelly moved to recommend that the Township accept a fee in lieu of open space for this project. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Bark said that he has voted to recommend accepting a fee because the project has reduced impervious surface, provides some public amenities and will be an enhancement to the business district.
Field Usage Fees: Mr. Levine said that he had discussed the idea of an agreement between the leagues and Township whereby the leagues would take on full maintenance of fields but fees would be waived, or a dollar amount would be credited for certain maintenance and improvement tasks. He would like to gather some information on the actual cost to the Township in man-hours and equipment and supplies before continuing this discussion with the Supervisors. He will contact Public Works Director Gary Crossland about this.
Reports of Sub-Committees
Helen Randle Park: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that additional topsoil and extension of the water lines will be added to next year’s budget.
Skate Park: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that work to mitigate the noise had been completed and the park re-opened on May 27.
Mr. Levine said that he has visited the site and confirmed that the foam insulation and enclosures have helped to buffer the sound. Mike Gatto, a former skate boarder and distributor of foam insulation materials, donated the foam.
The members discussed the park reopening. Mr. O’Neill asked if the Supervisors have decided what they will do if residents continue to complain.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has been asked to research opening and closing hours for other area skate parks. She provided a copy of the other park hours and noted that our park has posted closing at dusk, which is the same as in all of the Township’s other parks. She understands that in addition to enforcing the park hours, the police will be making additional patrols. She noted that there had been some complaints from neighbors about skate park noise at night, but at the time of the call, police were at the park and nobody was using it.
The members agreed to recommend to the Supervisors that the park closing remain at dusk.
Veterans Park: Mrs. Pawlenko provided members with copies of letters circulated among Gilmore & Associates, Adams Bickel and the Township. There are a large number of unresolved items to be addressed before the Township will consider taking possession of the park. There had been a number of extensions because of weather and change orders, but the time for completion has passed and the fields are still not suitable for playing.
Mr. Grosso said that there are no raised pitchers mounds on the baseball fields.
Roberts Ridge Park: The members discussed the extensive damage caused to the restrooms at the park by vandalism. Mrs. Pawlenko commended the Public Works Department for their efforts to clean up the park and reopen it later that same day. A temporary port-a-potty was delivered. The vandalism is under investigation but there have not been any arrests.
Mrs. Porter suggested that the Township investigate the cost of solar powered motion sensor lights for the parks.
The members briefly discussed video surveillance, but a few members were very much opposed to this, preferring regular police patrols and additional lighting.
Mr. Bark asked whether any neighboring communities have had similar problems with serious vandalism.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she did not know, but that the Police have been in close touch with other Departments in the County to discuss this.
Park and Recreation Department Report: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the Department’s revenue is the same as last year at this time at $243,000. Camp registration is going well, but there are still a number of places available.
Mr. Grosso suggested that camp registration may be off a little because of the economy. He noted that Little League sponsorship is down this year.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has nominated the Safe Kids program for a community award.
Member Comments: Mr. Bark said that he would be moving to Upper Makefield within the month and would be resigning from the Park and Recreation Board. He will miss the Board very much and has enjoyed his time with the members.
Mr. Grosso moved to adjourn at 8:15 PM. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary