The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 in the Township Meeting Room. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, and members Denis D’Arcy, Mark McMenamin, Brendan McQuillan, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton. Also in attendance was Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko.

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

Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of August 1, 2012. Mr. D’Arcy seconded and the motion passed 8-0.

New Business

Eagle Scout Project: Blake Zimmerman of St. Bede’s Troop 280 proposed to the Board a project to restore the rhododendron garden at Clark Nature Center. He explained that there are 30 rhododendron trees, 8 in very poor condition. He would like to clean up the area, prune the trees, removed fallen trees and branches and mulch the tree bases. He will scale back over-growth so that the trees get more sun. He would include clean-up of the area surrounding the springhouse in his project. He intends to create some signage for wayfinding as well as for identification of the trees, some of which are very rare.

Mr. Levine suggested that Mr. Zimmerman consult the Clark Nature Center Stewardship Plan created by the Heritage Conservancy for some guidance for the area. He also suggested contacting the Bronx Botanical Gardens, which have extensive rhododendron collections and may have information on the varieties in Clark.

Mr. McMenamin suggested that Mr. Zimmerman bring soil samples to the Penn State Cooperative Extension for analysis to measure alkaline in soil, which may need some correction.

Mr. Levine asked about a budget and fundraising.

Mr. Zimmerman said that he will have a budget of about $600 for tools and supplies. He may need to rent a chipper, use of which will be supervised by adult leaders. To raise funds, he will host a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s.

The members were very supportive of the plan and indicated their approval. Formal approval will be granted once the budget is set and Mr. Zimmerman is ready to begin the project.

Municipal Open Space Plan Projects: Mr. Levine reminded the Board that the County Municipal Open Space Plan allocated $570,000 to Newtown Township. Under $5000 has already been used for the updated open space plan, leaving about $565,000. The Board intends to seek matching funds for Noah’s playground, leaving over $300,000 in funds. Mr. Levine doubted that the Township would be seeking the funds for acquisition of open space before the deadline of December 31, 2014, as the Township would need to provide matching funds. He suggested that the members discuss projects to improve existing open space with the possibility of matching funds from outside sources, as is the case with Noah’s playground.

The members reviewed a number of projects it had considered in the past, which might benefit from donations from private sources:

    • The fitness trail for adults at Carl Sedia Park – the original budget for this project was under $75,000 for purchase and installation of fitness equipment, only. The pads for the equipment already exist and a number of community groups had expressed interest in partnering on the project in the past.
    • Irrigation for playing fields at Helen Randle and Veterans Parks. The sports leagues might help with private fundraising for the matching funds.
    • Paving outside the snack shed and restrooms at Veterans Park. This might be accomplished by in-kind labor.
    • Basketball courts at Helen Randle Park. Mrs. Pawlenko reminded the Board that she had received a $5000 grant from Coca-Cola, which is to be used for some of the repair. She had also been told that a group of park users might be interested in helping with additional fundraising, but this has not been confirmed.
    • Trails for Clark Nature Center. The Stewardship Plan might outline some specific projects to be added to the list.
    • Plantings for all of the parks.

Mr. McMenamin said that he would like to improve the appearance of Helen Randle Park by moving the storage sheds to one central location, creating some gardens and possibly adding a gazebo/viewing area with a flagpole and some benches. Perhaps an Eagle Scout would be interested in the flag pole portion of the project.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that she would like to spruce up Silver Lake Park. She reported that the developers of The Birches assisted living facility will be providing trees to the Township as part of its land development agreement. She is considering seventeen Kwanzon cherry trees to plant along Silver Lake Park and the Bypass. This would provide a beautiful, colorful border as a welcome to the Township.

The members were in agreement that this would enhance the Township. Mr. McMenamin suggested that some of the new trees might be used to delineate the parking area, making it more apparent that this is a public park and not the entrance to Lockheed Martin/ Holy Family University.

Reports of Subcommittees

Noah’s Playground: Mr. Levine reported that there were some discrepancies in the plans for the playground location; the area is not as large as originally thought, so the plan does not have adequate fall zones for all of the equipment. Mr. Grimm is revising the design, which might require the elimination of some of the climbing walls.

Spartans Cricket: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that the area in Veterans Park would not be large enough for the pitch. Rather than go before the Supervisors and the Park and Recreation Board again, Mrs. Pawlenko suggested that the Spartans visit the library tract, the open space at the intersection of Durham and Wrights Roads, to measure first. If it is large enough, then they could come to discuss it with the Park and Rec Board.

Park and Recreation Director’s Report: Mrs. Pawlenko reported that revenue is up as is participation compared to last year. The fall brochure has been mailed. The Department partnered with the Food Shed Alliance for a class on canning, which was a sold out event.

Lockheed Martin has donated $1000 to the Department to be used toward purchase of bleachers at Veterans Park.

A Bucks Beautiful grant has been used for flowers at Carl Sedia Park.

Cemantha Morris of Council Rock’s Sail School has continued to bring children to Clark Nature Center for gardening, mulching of trails and weeding. Ms. Morris would like the children to also help to maintain Carl Sedia Park. She would like to place signage acknowledging the children’s contributions.

The Board was supportive of signage for the children in Ms. Morris’s classes.

Mrs. Sutton moved to adjourn at 8:15 PM. Mr. O’Neill seconded and the motion passed 8-0.

Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary