PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF APRIL 10, 2012
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 in the Township’s main meeting room. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine (late), Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, and Members Denis D’Arcy, Kathy Kelly, Mark McMenamin and Susan Sutton. Also present was Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko.
Call to Order: Mr. Grosso called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report: Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko reported that revenues and participation for 2012 are up, with YTD revenue at $130,145 with 1,383 participants. The revenue reflects a 25% camp deposit. Mrs. Pawlenko thanked Little League for its help in allowing the Department to promote camps at their special events. Camp early registration discount rate ends on April 16. At this point registration for camp has been a little slow; the Department is considering changing the ages for the camps to extend teen camp to some older children and to allow more teen type activities and participation among the older Camp Newtown participants. Many of the older Camp Newtown participants still require the after camp care, which is not offered at teen camp. The staff is considering some alternative programming for the older campers.
The spring/summer brochure is ready to be sent to the printers. The printer has had some difficulty selling advertisements for the Township’s quarterly newsletter, which has been delayed. She and the printer are investigating possibly combining the Park and Rec program brochure with the quarterly newsletter. The printer has suggested two front covers which would be flipped over so that one side has the appearance of the newsletter and the other side is the typical program booklet.
The members were supportive of this idea.
The Township sponsored a gardening program with over 100 participants. The Foodshed Alliance co-sponsored the program and will be partnering with the Department on a few other programs over the spring and summer.
The Tennis Ball Hunt was very successful, with 55 children participating.
The Department has been assigned three seasonal Public Works employees to maintain the parks. They are being trained on safety procedures and equipment operation and will have a schedule for park clean-up, mowing and other maintenance tasks beginning in mid-May.
Mr. Grosso asked whether 3 rd base bleachers would be installed at Helen Randle Park.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that she is hoping to have better control of park maintenance, which would allow her to save some money from the budget for the bleachers. She suggested that Mr. Grosso prioritize the league’s field needs, including water for the fields and screens around the backstops.
The Township held a dedication and ribbon cutting for the donors of the skate park fence on April 7 th. LSAC donated $7000, Dr. Shah donated $1000 and Princeton Brain and Spine donated $1000.
The Public Works Department has completed refurbishing of benches at Carl Sedia Park. There have been many positive comments about the excellent job the department did.
Veterans Park has been opened for Little League to use the skinned field for T-Ball. The parking lots, trails and restrooms have been opened. Two water leaks have been discovered at the park and must be addressed.
Mr. Grosso asked for an update on Spartan Cricket.
Ms. Pawlenko said that with Board of Supervisors’ approval, Spartans had looked at Silver Lake Park and found that there was not enough room because of the manhole in the middle of the open field. They then looked at Roberts Ridge, but their contractor has not gotten back to her about any work to be done.
Mrs. Pawlenko reported that she has noticed an ongoing problem with trash at the skate park and asked for the Board’s input on resolving this issue.
Mrs. Kelly suggested that the gate can now be closed for “maintenance.” Perhaps periodically closing the park to clean up during busy hours would send the message that the users need to use trash receptacles.
Paul Grim of Boyce Associates/Little Tykes said that he has been involved with many parks with similar problems. He suggested forming a club of users, with particular users assuming a leadership role, which can help to foster a sense of pride of ownership.
Mr. McMenamin said that perhaps Supervisor Rob Ciervo should go to the park when it is in heavy use and speak to the users directly. As a former skater and the driving force behind building the park, he will be eager to help insure its continued success.
Newtown Creek Coalition: Mrs. Sutton reported that the Coalition has abandoned its efforts to install a pedestrian bridge at Frost Lane across the Creek because property owners on either side of the creek were resistant to allowing public access.
Veterans Park/Noah’s Playground: Mr. Grim said that he was involved in the two constructions at Roberts Ridge and the Helen Randle Playground. He was in attendance to hear from the Board and Natalie and Jason Cohen about specific ideas for the playground before developing formal plans. He had provided some basic design concepts to Mr. and Mrs. Cohen after preliminary conversations with them and with Mrs. Pawlenko.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the Township has had wonderful customer service from Mr. Grim over the years and is eager to work with him again. She is planning an article for the next newsletter to make residents aware of the project and to encourage some additional donations.
Mr. Cohen said that the fund is close to $47,000, mostly from individual donations. He is looking into possibly having a fundraising event. He would like the playground to be gender neutral, with play events that would appeal to both boys and girls. He said that through his conversations with Mr. Grim and visits to other playgrounds, he thought the ratio of equipment should be about 80% for 5 through 12 year olds and 20% for toddlers to 5 year olds. He would like to include some rocking animals for the younger children in keeping with the concept of Noah’s Ark.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the playground does not have to fit precisely into the spot on the Gilmore plans; it could be larger and could have a different shape.
The Board discussed safety surfacing with Mr. Grim. He noted that whatever surface is chosen, there are problems. He suggested that engineered wood chips work well, are ADA compliant, break down slowly and do not require large outlay for maintenance and upkeep. He said that some playgrounds use combinations of poured in place rubberized surface with engineered chips. He will also include tile surface in his quotes.
The members and Mr. and Mrs. Cohen were in agreement that engineered wood chips, possibly in combination with some tile or poured in place for access paths, might be the best choice.
Mr. Levine arrived at this point.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM. Members remained to informally review playground equipment, color palette choices and park design concepts.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary