The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Andrew Levine, Vice Chairman Joel Grosso, and Kathy Kelly, Mark McMenamin and Sue Sutton, members. Also in attendance was Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko.

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

Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Sutton moved to approve the minutes of April 3, 2013. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Grosso abstaining.

Reports of Subcommittees

Noah’s Playground: Mr. Levine reported that Jason and Natalie Cohen’s efforts have raised $53,000 toward the program while the Park and Recreation Board and Little League have raised $4000. He signed an engineering agreement and expects final plans to be ready for Board of Supervisors approval shortly. The next step would be to present to the County Commissioners for Municipal Open Space Program approval. He anticipated start of construction in the fall.

Eagle Scout Projects: Mrs. Sutton said that she and Master Gardener Russell Strover have designed stakes for tree identification at Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Strover will be able to make labels for the many trees in the arboretum. She suggested that preparing the stakes and labeling the trees would be a good Eagle Scout project.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that she has been approached by a Scout looking for a project and this one might be a good fit. She would follow up with him.

Park and Recreation Director’s Report

Mrs. Pawlenko shared copies of her weekly reports to the Township Manager; these reports contain photographs of the ongoing park and recreation projects. She noted that the Eagle Scout herb garden is near completion and she urged the members to visit Clark Nature Center to see it.

Camp registrations continue and are nearing capacity, with Camp Beechtree completely full. Due to construction at Goodnoe Elementary, Camp Beechtree, for pre-schoolers, will be held at Newtown Middle School.

This year the camps are testing a program of allowing children to remain at Beechtree through kindergarten and for sixth graders to remain at Camp Newtown rather than move up to teen camp. The choice is up to the parents.

Next year the Department is considering offering camps in two sections of three weeks as well as in the usual six week session. The Department is also considering half-day programs for Camp Newtown, as so many parents find the Camp Beechtree half-day very attractive.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that this year the Township will be unable to provide scholarships to camp. She spoke to Principal King at Newtown Elementary, who indicated that he might be able to help with some fundraising to defray enrollment costs.

The members discussed ways for screening possible scholarship or financial aid recipients.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that this is a very sensitive topic, because summer camp is considered a luxury, not a necessity. She has learned that Northampton Township does not provide scholarships. She will continue to poll neighboring communities to learn if they provide any kind of scholarships or financial aid for families with financial needs. In the past, recipients of partial scholarships were referred to the Township by the school district and the Township never had any information on the recipients’ finances.

Mrs. Pawlenko reported that member Mark McMenamin, working with Rock Softball, has designed a garden for the basketball court area at Helen Randle Park using the remaining Sprite grant funds.

Member Comments

Mr. Levine said that member Anne Porter has taught an estate planning and elder care law class for the Park and Recreation Department. He urged the other Board members to think about contributing their talents and expertise and teaching a class or running a program. He offered to develop a class on environmental law for the fall brochure.

Mr. Grosso moved to adjourn at 8:00 PM. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary