MINUTES OF MEETING OF December 14, 2011

The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Thursday, December 14, 2011 at 7:00 PM in the Township meeting room. In attendance and voting were Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill and Sue Sutton, members. Also present was Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko.

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

New Business

Goodnoe Elementary School Preliminary Plan for Land Development: (Chairman Andrew Levine participated in this portion of the meeting via telephone to establish a quorum.) Jim Tambrino and Bruce Bechtel, engineers on the project, Doug Taylor, facilities manager for Council Rock School District and Bernadette Heenan, School Board member, were in attendance to review this plan for renovations and additions to Goodnoe Elementary School. Mr. Tabrino explained that the plan includes a 15,000 square foot classroom addition, a small addition for a stage for the multi-purpose room, and reconfiguration of the office space/entrance areas, the bus lane and parent drop-off area. There has been no change in enrollment at the school. The classroom addition will replace the existing modular classrooms. The renovations will include upgraded sprinklers and improved stormwater management using an underground infiltration system.

Mr. Taylor said that the project will be bid in the spring of 2012 and should be completed before the start of school in 2013.

Mrs. Heenan assured the Board that the District will work with the Township’s summer camp programs to relocate camps to other locations during the construction. Teen camp could be moved to Newtown Middle School, where construction will have been completed.

Mr. Grosso moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for this project. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 5-0

Mr. Levine’s telephone connection was severed at this point in the meeting.

The Board now lacked a quorum to approve minutes.

Special Education Presentation: Cementha Morris, a special education teacher for autistic children, was in attendance to report on projects her class of older teens have been working on with Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko. Ms. Morris explained that she and Mrs. Pawlenko have outlined an ongoing project for the teens to work at Clark Nature Center on trail clearing and maintenance and invasive species removal. The class visits Clark Nature Center two or three times per week, weather permitting, where they have learned the necessary skills to remove debris, mark trails, care for newly planted trees and spread mulch. The class has enjoyed the work and has taken pride in the improvements they have made in the park. Photographs of the class at work can be seen on Ms. Morris’s web page on the Council Rock site.

Ms. Morris said that the class has learned many gardening skills which they are also using to help at home.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that she is planning to work with the class in the spring to create a vegetable garden at Clark in the already fenced in garden area. The students will start plants at school from seeds and transplant them in spring.

Ms. Morris thanked Mrs. Pawlenko for working with her class to create an ongoing relationship.

Mrs. Pawlenko in turn thanked Ms. Morris, as the work the class has done was necessary and has contributed greatly to our community. She reported that in addition to the work done at Clark, the class helped put together Bird Town bird feeding kits which were distributed at the Candy Cane Hunt and prepared over 200 goodie bags for the Candy Cane Hunt, saving Park and Recreation staff countless hours of work.

Mrs. Heenan said that there is no other municipality that she is aware of which has worked so closely with the special needs classes of the district. In addition to the partnership with Ms. Morris’s class, the Department has partnered its summer day camps with the special needs day camp at Newtown Elementary for an ongoing inclusion program. This has been greatly appreciated by the district, the students and the parents.

Lacrosse Presentation: Brian Bark and Bruce Walstrum of Council Rock Lacrosse were in attendance to discuss field usage for the coming year. The club has been using the field near Staples for some of its games and is hoping to have a permanent home at Veterans Park when it opens. Lacrosse’s competitive season is spring, so does not conflict with soccer. The club is hoping to have access to all three rectangular fields next year.

Mr. Grosso explained that the Township has not accepted dedication of the park at this time and it is not known whether the fields will be available for play in spring of 2012.

Mr. Bark said that the league is eager to work with the Township on a field maintenance schedule, with parent volunteers working in the park to keep the fields well groomed. The program involves 400 boys and girls who are primarily Newtown residents. They will be practicing and competing from March through June and are hoping to have a home field at Veterans Park.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has had a very good relationship with Council Rock Lacrosse; they leave the fields in good condition, leave behind no trash, and have paid their fees right on time. She looks forward to working with them again.

Mr. Grosso suggested that the organization continue to meet with Mrs. Pawlenko when spring approaches to see whether the park will be open for spring use. He would also suggest a meeting among the Park and Rec Board, the leagues and the public works department to discuss field maintenance.

As this meeting lacked a quorum, the members in attendance informally discussed the budget for Parks and Recreation and the ongoing park issues, including fencing for the skate park, security in all parks and correcting the outstanding items at Veterans Park. The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary