PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF September 12, 2011
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, September 12, 2011 at 7:00 PM in the Township meeting room. In attendance and voting were Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso (late) and members, Denis D’Arcy, Mark McMenamin, Buck O’Neill, Anne Porter and Sue Sutton. 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. McMenamin moved to accept the minutes of August 3, 2011. Ms. Porter seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
McDonald’s USA, LLC, 2867 South Eagle Road – Preliminary Plan: Attorney Ed Murphy was in attendance to review this preliminary plan for land development for a 2900 square foot restaurant with drive through at the Village at Newtown Shopping Center. Mr. Murphy explained that the existing 7000 square foot medical office building is to be demolished. The site is already about 98% impervious. The parking configuration will be similar to what already exists. The plan shows access to the site from Durham Road.
Mr. Levine reminded the members that the Park and Recreation Board’s charge is to consider whether to accept open space or a fee in lieu. This project is within the footprint of the existing shopping center.
Mr. McMenamin moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for this project. Mr. O’Neill seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Mr. Grosso arrived at this point.
Reports of Sub-Committees
Skate Park: Mr. Levine and Mrs. Pawlenko reported that there have been complaints about the conditions at the park. It appears that a port-a-potty is needed, as are more trash receptacles and more frequent trash pick-up.
Mr. Levine reported that there have been some donations made for a fence at the park. The Board of Supervisors discussed this at a televised meeting and voted to accept the donations and install the fence. The Park and Recreation Board had not had an opportunity to discuss this in advance of the Supervisors meetings. He and Mrs. Pawlenko were asked during the meeting whether they saw any advantages to installing the fence. Mrs. Pawlenko reported to the Supervisors that the Township insurance carrier had required some kind of fencing between the soccer field and the skate park for safety. A fence would also allow the Township to better enforce the hours of operation and would allow for closing of the park for repair and maintenance.
Mr. Levine said that he has some concerns about spending money on the fence when the Township has so many other projects in our parks in need of completion. It appears that the donations were very specifically earmarked for fencing, however.
Mrs. Pawlenko noted that the donations are not sufficient to cover the entire cost of purchase and installation of the fence, so the project has not yet begun.
Mr. Grosso said that he does not support the fence. He said that a fence only between the soccer field and skate park would provide the protection of skaters from soccer balls.
Mr. McMenamin said that netting between the two parks would be far less expensive and can be removed during the soccer off-seasons.
Mr. Levine said that he thought the Supervisors wanted to have a fence to better enforce the closing of the park at a time certain, to appease the neighbors who have complained of the noise. He noted, however, that portions of the fencing at Chandler fields had been removed because the fields were being used as a dog park.
Mr. Levine pointed out that had the Park and Recreation Board been involved in discussion of the skate park fence they might have pointed out that we have been experiencing vandalism in all of the parks and perhaps rather than a fence for one park, security lighting could be installed in all of the parks.
Mr. Grosso asked whether the fence donations had any flexibility. He would prefer to see some netting or fencing at Helen Randle between the baseball and softball fields for safety as well as the safety fence between the skate park and soccer field.
Mrs. Pawlenko agreed that there are a number of safety priorities the Park and Recreation Board should discuss at upcoming meetings.
Veterans Park: Mr. Grosso reported that the Supervisors have consulted with Penn State on turf management concerns. Penn State recommended a series of steps, including aeration, slit seeding and fertilizing with organic matter. He provided the members with copies of the Penn State recommendations.
Mrs. Pawlenko shared copies of a memo from Sharron Dotts outlining the current progress on the fields. The fields have been aerated but not seeded yet because of the rain.
Roberts Ridge Park: Mrs. Sutton asked when the restroom building would be repaired.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the building should be repaired shortly.
Mrs. Sutton suggested that perhaps some school children could be recruited to decorate the walls of the building with some mural art. The building, even when it is in good repair, is very unattractive and very visible from the street and from the homes of adjoining neighbors.
Environmental Advisory Council: The recording secretary reported that the EAC has applied for a mini-grant for trees at the Clark Nature Center.
Newtown Creek Coalition: Mrs. Sutton reported that the Creek Coalition is planning to sell tee-shirts at Market Day in October.
Park and Recreation Department Report
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that there has been a slight increase in revenue compared to 2010, but there has been a 15% increase in participation. This year the department has offered more inexpensive and one-time programs, boosting participation by our residents. This year, Boyle Construction, the construction management company which oversaw the building of the municipal complex and is making renovations to the Police building, will sponsor the Annual Candy Cane Hunt on December 3, 2011.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that fall maintenance is taking place at all of the parks. There has been some minor storm damage and vandalism at Helen Randle Park. Lockheed Martin is using the Silver Lake parking area as a staging area for construction. When work is completed, they will re-gravel the parking field.
Mr. Levine reported that the Phillies Harmony Club will hold a day of athletic training for special needs children at the NAC on September 25, 2011. This event will be sponsored by the Have-a-Heart Foundation as part of the effort to build a Miracle League baseball field in Northampton.
Mr. D’Arcy asked about cracks in the basketball courts at Helen Randle Park.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would ask the Public Works Director to repair the cracks.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary