BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
SPECIAL MEETING – PARK AND RECREATION ISSUES
MINUTES – FEBRUARY 27, 2007
A Special Meeting of Board of Supervisors of the
Board of Supervisors: Ron Smith, Chairman
Greg Caiola, Vice Chairman
Steve Santarsiero, Secretary/Treasurer
Grace Godshalk, Supervisor
Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor
Park & Recreation Board: David Fritchey, Chairman
Henry Carpenter, Vice Chairman
Patricia Bunn, Secretary
David Gordon, Member
Richard Jutkiewicz, Member
Francis McDonald, Member
Andrew Newbon, Member
Others: Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
Donna Liney, Park & Recreation Director
Ernest Closser, Township Solicitor (left meeting in progress)
David Truelove, Township Solicitor (joined meeting in progress)
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police
Mr. Smith stated during the first meeting of the year of the Board of Supervisors he commented on the importance of quality of life issues, which includes Park & Recreation issues, and they have therefore called this special meeting.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 2 of 23
OVERVIEW OF PARK AND RECREATION
David Fritchey, Chairman of the Park & Recreation Board introduced the other members of the Park & Recreation Board. He stated the Park & Recreation Board is a group of citizens from the Township who have been appointed by the Board of Supervisors to act as an advisory group to the Board of Supervisors on issues regarding Parks and recreation. He stated they identify Township needs, solicit citizen input, plan and design Parks with the assistance of the Township engineer and appropriate consultants, and advise the Board of Supervisors on all policy matters pertaining to Parks and recreation. He added that the Board of Supervisors is the decision-making body which makes the final policy and Budget decisions concerning the Park & Recreation Operating Budget and capital projects. The Board of Supervisors also makes the decisions about tax millage, sets Fee-In-Lieu formulas, and decides whether or not to float bond issues and purchase land.
Mr. Fritchey stated the Park & Recreation Department headed by Donna Liney operates and maintains the Parks on a daily basis. Ms. Liney and her staff receive Park use requests, issue Use Permits, and deal with the public on a day-to-day basis. Mr. Fritchey stated the funding of the Park system is through the Park & Recreation Operating Budget which is approximately $1 million each year and pays for running the system. 90% of this comes from taxes and 10% comes from User Fees. Capital projects are paid for either with Fee-In-Lieu money, donations, or money borrowed as a result of Bond Issues.
Mr. Fritchey stated programming is done primarily by volunteer organizations operating in the Township including YMS, PAA, Lower Bucks Lacrosse, and Pop Warner Football. The Township sanctions these organizations through an Application process.
Mr. Fritchey stated currently the Township has one of the
best Park systems in the
Mr. Fritchey stated the Park system includes
Mr. Fritchey stated every year they try to visibly improve the Township facilities.
He stated in the last few years they expanded the covered seating area at the playground
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 3 of 23
Mr. Fritchey stated
It has two football fields, a large number of soccer fields, volleyball courts, children’s play area, and extensive parking capacity. Recent improvements include the 1997 expansion into the rear 30 acres of field space with the addition of 260 parking spaces, in 1998 and 2000 the installation of two large-scale covered pavilions with concrete floors and picnic tables, in 2003 replacement of exercise and playground equipment, in 2003 and 2006 lighted additional fields, and in 2006 repaved the bikepath and widened the exit lane and updated the interior of existing restroom and concession areas and added shields to some of the lights to prevent unnecessary light onto adjacent properties.
Mr. Fritchey stated the Five Mile Woods Preserve is a nature
preserve that protects a national coastal plain biome, and is one of the few
remaining in the
Mr. Fritchey stated there is an extensive bikepath system in the Township consisting of 25 miles of bikepaths. There have been many linkages of areas in the bikepath system over the years.
Mr. Fritchey stated the Makefield Highlands Golf Course was constructed and dedicated in 2004 and has been very successful.
Mr. Fritchey stated Memorial Park is a 63-acre park. He stated there was a comprehensive plan done in the early 1990’s which identified the need for a community park as an essential addition needed to be added to the Park system. He stated a community park was seen as a family park as opposed to an athletic complex. The planner who did the comprehensive study indicated that it was essential to build a park of this nature and do so quickly because of the rapid development in the Township. It is to be a family-oriented park which is to have approximately 50/50 ratio of active/passive recreation. The intention is that this area would be for pick-up games, family picnics, etc.
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He stated the Park features pavilions with picnic
facilities, and there is a plan for an arboretum throughout the Park along with
bikepaths and hiking trails. Since it
has a Memorial theme, people are encouraged to donate trees and park benches
which can be dedicated to family members and friends. He stated it was agreed that the construction
Mr. Fritchey stated the Park & Recreation Board has made several recommendations for improvements to the Park system which have not yet been funded. He stated these recommendations include a Community Center/Senior Center. He stated they have urged the Board of Supervisors to find space for Senior Citizen activities on a permanent basis, and he understands this may be possible in the future. He stated they have also long felt there was a need for an auditorium that would support concerts, dramatic presentations, art shows, art rooms, and music practice rooms which would help encourage development of the arts in the Township. He stated acquisition of a building with interior space suitable for these purposes would help accomplish all of these goals.
Mr. Fritchey stated with respect to
Mr. Fritchey stated they consider the Swim Complex to be
Mr. Fritchey noted the location of the Snipes Tract acquired
by the Township which is across the street from
Mr. Fritchey stated at Memorial Park, the Park & Recreation Board has recommended the next Phase of the project to include a skinned softball field with a back stop, play area,
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 5 of 23
a roller hockey court, and additional parking. There would be subsequent phases at this Park as well.
Mr. Fritchey stated with respect to
Mr. Fritchey stated the price of running the Park system goes up as they build more and more facilities, and the Operating Budget of the Park & Recreation Board will increase. He stated there have also been concerns expressed about having some oversight and policing of the Park system possibly involving Park Rangers which would relieve this responsibility of the Police who have other law-enforcement duties throughout the Township. He stated this would also increase the cost of running the Park system.
PRESENTATION BY TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATIONS
Lower Makefield Seniors Group – Ms. Ada Derr,
President, stated they use the
Mr. Sam Alvino, one of the original 35 Seniors who started the group, was present and stated approximately ten years ago he was elected to the Board of Directors and one of his assignments was to amend the By-Laws which were patterned after a profit-making Corporation and not a social level. He was made part of a Committee to visit other Senior organizations to learn how they functioned. He stated they learned that all the
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 6 of 23
Seniors groups in
He noted billiards is very popular among Seniors, and space is required to provide this activity. He stated the Lower Makefield Seniors group must schedule all their activities to make sure that the space is available. He stated if they had a place assigned to the Seniors which was available all day, he feels they will be able to double their membership.
Mr. Smith asked where the Seniors would be if the
Mr. Smith thanked Ms. Derr and her group for the great work they have done.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they are actively working toward the possibility of a facility for the entire community including the Seniors.
Ms. Tara Bane stated she feels this will continue to be a continuing need for the Township, and she feels they need to work toward a Center sooner rather than later.
Mr. Smith asked how many
Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Bill Gibney recently wrote a
letter to the Editor in which he expressed his disappointment that Mr.
Santarsiero did not ask Governor Rendell for funds for a
Pennsbury Athletic Association – Mr. Mark Cook and Mr. Greg Morrow were present.
Mr. Cook thanked the Board of Supervisors and the Park & Recreation Board for all they have done for PAA. He also thanked Mr. Fedorchak and Ms. Liney and her staff for their hard work. He also thanked all the volunteers from PAA. He stated they have 1,400 children in their program.
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Mr. Greg Morrow thanked everyone for their support particularly Donna Liney who has been a good partner for their organization. Mr. Morrow provided information and reviewed statistics on field usage. He stated they use both Township and School fields. He stated the Township fields are primarily used for the games and the School fields are primarily used for practice. He stated a new Major League Division for 9 to 12 year old boys was created which will require a 70’ field, and this has been accomplished through working with Ms. Liney and her crew. Mr. Caiola noted their numbers are very good for the 13 and 14 year-olds as children at this age level often lose interest. Mr. Morrow stated part of the reason for the new 70’ Division was to make it more likely that these players would move into the older Division.
Mr. Morrow stated at the Babe Ruth and Senior Babe Ruth Level, there are 149 games per field being used for a Season which does not include Play-Offs, etc. He stated this older age group is where they have a dearth of space. They are very happy to hear that there will be some further development in this area. Mr. Smith asked how many games should be played on a field, and Mr. Morrow stated he feels they should have a third less per field.
Mr. Morrow stated the baseball community would like to see State-of-the Art facilities at every complex which would include dugouts, fences, scoreboards, press box, concession stand with restroom, grass in-fields for baseball fields, batting cages, lighted fields, proper-draining in-fields, and well-maintained grounds. He stated they are also in favor of a centrally-located indoor facility. He stated many of these items have been accomplished at the facilities. He noted the hand-out showing each complex, what they have at the facility, and what is still needed. He stated given the demands for fields for the older boys, they would like to recommend that there be an additional 70’ field as well as a 90’ foot field as well as the indoor facility in the area of Community Park.
Mr. Stainthorpe asked if there are still drainage issues on the fields, and Mr. Morrow stated there is still a problem on Field 3 at Stoddard. He stated there is also one spot on Field 2. Mr. Stainthorpe stated there was extensive drainage work done at the softball fields, and Mr. Ray Fritchey advised that the in-field is a clay base and eventually it becomes like rock underneath, but they are continuing to work on this.
Mr. Smith stated during the summer, there are also Tournaments, and he asked for specifics on these. Mr. Morrow stated they have one of the largest softball Tournaments on the East Coast where college coaches come to look at the players. Mr. Ray Fritchey stated it is a very good recruitment tool, and 72 teams come to this Tournament each year. He stated this year they turned away 100 teams. He stated multiple scholarships come out of this Tournament. He stated softball at its highest level can be seen at this Tournament. He stated those attending also spend money in the community. Mr. Fritchey stated PAA also has a Scholarship Program.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 8 of 23
Mr. Cook stated PAA is like any other youth organization which builds character and makes those involved feel good about themselves.
Mrs. Godshalk stated many years ago her husband was very involved in PAA as a coach, Manager, and President and they primarily used the School fields. She stated since that time, the Program has come a long way with the help of the volunteers and the Township. She stated there are many demands on the Township. She feels the Township and the organizations should look into a vehicle to fund a non-profit fund where people could contribute; and if they wanted to make a substantial donation, it would be tax deductible. She feels companies may want to contribute as well. Mr. Cook stated last year they had $24,000 in sponsorship money which provided a vital bridge between the money charged for Registration and the organization being able to provide the opportunities they do. He stated he will take Mrs. Godshalk’s suggestion to their Board meeting. Mr. Santarsiero stated the Board did permit advertisements at the fields which added a revenue stream. He feels the Township also needs to be more flexible in helping the various organizations raise money creatively to help offset the costs of running the Leagues.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they also need to do planning for the future. He stated there was a reference made to the indoor batting facility. He stated PAA came to the Board of Supervisors approximately two months ago indicating they wanted to construct an indoor facility which they would pay for, but were looking to the Township for the property.
He stated the Board has asked the Park & Recreation
Board to look at
Mr. Caiola stated baseball is now almost a year-round sport, and PAA puts together very good teams. He agrees the Township needs to do what they can to help the organizations.
Mr. Smith stated there will be a Referendum on the May Ballot for small games of chance which they hope will act as a fundraiser for all the groups. He stated he hopes that the various organizations will support this.
He thanked Ms. Liney who has been very supportive as he has
recently taken over the Program. Mr.
Pfender stated they are trying to increase their
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 9 of 23
He stated they are discussing with them the possibility of
opening up field space in Falls to take some of the pressure off
Mr. Pfender stated the Lower Makefield Program is one of the
few Pop Warner Programs in the Country that is an in-house Program, and they do
not compete. It is an intra-mural
program; and unlike every other Pop Warner Program, every player is guaranteed
a starting position. He stated the Program started in 1994. He stated the opportunity to improve field
space is their number one priority. Mr.
Pfender stated this year they are looking to add Cheerleading to boost their
Mr. Caiola asked the number of players in the Program, and Mr. Pfender stated in the Tackle Program they had 350 players last year, and in the Flag Program which is for five to seven year olds, they had 250 participants. He noted they are at the two fields every night of the week. Mr. Caiola stated both his sons went through the Tackle Program and everyone involved loved the fact that everyone who plays gets a starting position.
He stated while it is hard to grow such a program, he feels what they are doing is great.
Mr. Pfender noted the number of people making use of the lit
He stated Eleanor Roosevelt is not lit.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he would encourage them to stay with
their philosophy of providing a good experience for their players and not be
too concerned about having huge numbers.
Mr. Smith stated John Kuebler, a former member of the Park & Recreation
Board, instilled that philosophy some time ago.
Mr. Caiola stated it shows how good their program is when 20 of the 30
starting players at
Mr. Pfender stated their main problem is where they have nine to ten teams on one field for practice. Mr. Santarsiero stated they have a very successful program; and for the number of players they have, the Township needs to provide more than two fields.
A short recess was taken at this time.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 10 of 23
Yardley Makefield Soccer Club – Mr. Roger Deininger, President, was present.
He thanked the Board of Supervisors, the Park & Recreation Board, Ms. Liney, and
Mr. Fedorchak who have helped their organization. He stated they are a large organization and
appreciate all the help. Mr. Deininger stated their motto is
“Excellence Through Development.” Their
program is for 3 ½ to 18 years old.
Their largest growth is in the 3 ½ to 5 year olds. He stated they also have a Co-Ed Division for
teenagers who are coming back to the sport, and this has resulted in a surge in
the older group as well. He stated YMS
is part of the EPYSA which includes everything east of
Mr. Deininger stated their volunteer membership consists of
12 Board positions and over 200 coaches throughout their program. He stated they run a full fall schedule and a
full spring schedule. Their In-House
Program is 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring. The Travel Program is essentially year
round. They have approximately 1600
players in the fall and 1600 in the spring.
He stated YMS is in good financial standing. Through fund-raising efforts and cost
controls they are able to meet their financial requirements. In 2006 their largest expense was to
Mr. Deininger stated their main venue is
Pee-Wee Program. He
stated they have 400 to 450 children playing at
Mr. Deininger stated they would also like a turf field at
He stated most of the new facilities are now turf fields. He stated many Townships in
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 11 of 23
Mr. Deininger stated YMS was founded in 1979 as
Yardley-Morrisville Soccer. At the
request of the Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors some years ago, they
changed their name to Yardley Makefield Soccer.
They would like to make it truly a Lower Makefield program and have all
practices and all games in
Mr. Stainthorpe stated YMS is a great group, and like all the organizations they have needs which the Board of Supervisors will have to prioritize. All Supervisors congratulated YMS on their excellent program. Mr. Santarsiero stated it is hopeful that during Budget time, they will be able to approve construction of the Snipes tract in 2008.
Mr. Deininger stated they have an annual boy’s Tournament
which is Columbus Day Weekend and attracts 285 teams with a waiting list of 125
teams. It is listed at the Platinum
level and is the second highest rated boy’s Tournament in the
The girl’s tournament is held Mothers Day Weekend and draws 165 teams. Both Tournaments are run by the volunteers. Mr. Deininger stated they also run scholarship programs. The youth that have gone through their program become trainers, referees, and help out with the younger players. YMS also runs camp, and the older players come back to assist the professional trainers.
Mr. Smith stated he was a past President of YMS and feels they have done a great job. Mr. Smith stated he feels it is important that the Township partner with the organizations to get things done. He stated he is pleased to see that YMS is stepping up to find a way to install an artificial turf field. He stated he also feels the Township needs to take the next step to see that this can be done. Mr. Deininger stated YMS recognizes that if they do something for YMS, they will have to do it for the other users as well.
Lower Bucks Lacrosse – Mr. Lew Sears, President, was
present with Ms. Lisa Huchler-Smith. Mr.
Sears stated their first Kick-Off Meeting was held last week and 300 people
were present. Mr. Sears stated they have
been in the area since 1993 when they started with 3 coaches and 30 players. They doubled their membership every three
years and are now at 550 players with 37 coaches. He stated currently they have 17 boy’s teams
in Grades K through 8 and 11 girl’s teams in Grades K through 8. He stated the High Schools have recently instituted
a Varsity Program. Mr. Sears stated they
use fourteen fields in three Townships –
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 12 of 23
Pennsbury, Neshaminy, and Truman. He stated for this year they anticipate
spending $5,000 for field use. When they utilized 4 fields at
non-residents, they have had to look into other alternatives. He stated if they were to pay even $12 for all 550 players, they would still be looking at fairly significant User Fees.
Mr. Sears stated even though they are not using the Township
fields, they plan to bring Lacrosse back into
Ms. Huchler-Smith stated she coaches the Girls Lacrosse and
it is a learning League. She stated
everyone gets an opportunity to play.
She stated they play at the Middle School fields where the fields are
not in good shape and there is no restroom.
She stated they would like to play on
Mr. Caiola asked what other fields apart from
Mr. Stainthorpe stated his son played Lacrosse and it was an excellent motivational program. Mr. Sears stated their program builds character and gives the players a structured activity.
Mr. Smith stated he feels they are seeing a theme of character, leadership, and teamwork which is the primary benefit in sports; and all of the user groups are providing this.
Mr. Jutkiewicz stated he is involved in U. S. Lacrosse at
the National level and is a National trainer.
He stated they go into the inner cities and provide opportunities for
children who have no money to play Lacrosse. He stated last year they started a
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 13 of 23
Yardley Makefield Tennis – Mr. Mike Cremeans,
President, was unavailable this evening.
It was also noted that Ms. Lisa Sherman who was also involved in the
Program has moved. Ms. Kitty Parin was
present representing the United States Tennis Association (USTA). She
stated tennis provides another choice for children in the community, and they
can continue to participate in this sport late in life as there are still
people playing in their eighties and nineties.
She noted Township resident, Lauren Rossi, went to States as part of the
Ms. Parin stated the Schuyler courts in
Ms. Liney stated Mr. Cremeans has indicated that they have
500 players. She stated they do crack
fill the courts annually. She stated
there are fourteen courts in the Township.
They are targeting developing a new Complex across the street from the
Ms. Parin agreed to provide information on Grant money.
FIELD USER GROUPS
Yardley Men’s Baseball – Dave Diaz was present and stated they have been playing for 20 years and are comprised of two teams that play in an over-38 Adult Baseball League.
They are affiliated with the Men’s Adult Baseball Leagues
(MABL) which is a National Baseball Association. He stated Yardley Men’s Baseball is an
opportunity for adult men to continue to play baseball. He stated they play a 28-game season
beginning in April and running through September. Their home games are at Macclesfield A. They have approximately 40 adults
approximately half of which are
He stated they would support any initiative associated with new fields. He thanked the Township for their help, particularly Ms. Liney.
Kol Emet Softball Program – Jason Simon was present
and stated they have two adult Men’s Softball teams comprised of 40 men living
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 14 of 23
the Township moves forward with additional facilities in the
future, he would like them to consider softball fields similar to those in
Ewing Township which have longer baselines
which accommodate both the girls’ softball and men’s softball Leagues. He also stated that if the Township builds
such fields, his group and others would be willing to pay to use the fields and
pay the Permit Fees. He stated they would also have the potential to host
Tournaments as well which could help support some of the Youth programs in the Township. He stated the
Mr. Smith stated there is a cost to all of these requests and stated there are other ways to raise revenues besides User fees. He stated the Board of Supervisors must consider this in the future. Mr. Simon stated he understands that the fields at Oxford Valley/Roelofs were built with taxpayer money; and he is suggesting that if they are going to build facilities in the future such as at Memorial Park, that they build them appropriately with fences but put them in a place where it could support both the PAA softball requirements as well as his program.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated Memorial Park will help fulfill some of these needs as the idea is not to Permit those fields for the Leagues but to have them available for the use of the residents and for pick-up games. Mr. Simon stated usually it is suggested that his League play at a non-fenced-in field, but he is suggesting that there can be World-Class facilities as suggested by PAA accommodated in one field.
Mr. Closser left the meeting at this time. Mr. Truelove joined the meeting at this time.
Mr. Fritchey stated when Oxford Valley/Roelofs was built, it
was built primarily as a girl’s facility.
He stated ten years ago there was not much of a demand for adult
softball. He stated he feels what is
being discussed is an emerging constituency.
Mr. Simon stated the fields in
Mrs. Godshalk stated this evening there have been comments
made about the Pennsbury fields being inferior, and she suggested that they
talk to Pennsbury to see if there could be a bargain put together such that the
Township would upgrade the fields as this would be less expensive than building
new Township fields on land already owned or having to acquire additional
land. Mr. Fritchey stated he agrees that
this may be possible, but questions the practicality of this since the
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 15 of 23
Mr. Caiola stated once the School’s baseball/softball season is over, Pennsbury has no commitment to maintain the fields; and the Township would still want to use them beyond that time. Mr. Caiola agreed with Mr. Simon that as the population of the Township changes, there is going to be a need to have bigger and better fields and ones that can serve more than one purpose.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she felt the Township could maintain the fields once the Schools are closed.
Township Pickup Softball – Mike Morlath was present and thanked the Township,
Park & Recreation, and Ms. Liney for their cooperation over the years. He stated for over fifteen years, this group has been Permitted to play softball at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Pool field. He stated although they are considered a pick-up League, they have an informal organization and most of the participants come via word-of-mouth. He stated they have men of all ages playing. They advertise on the Township TV channel to invite new residents and those not already associated with an organization to get involved. He stated they collect money to buy bats and balls. He stated they are hopping that with the growth of the Township, there will still be a place for them to play. He stated they have had the same time slot and the same field for the last fifteen years. He stated they also help maintain the field. He stated they normally have between 15 and 30 individuals show up to play softball on Sunday, and they would like the Township to continue to consider them in the future.
Mr. Smith stated he feels it is important that the Township make sure that there is always a place for non-League organizations.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she would like to see programs for women as well. Mr. Morlath noted that on their TV notice, it does not state it is only for men.
Mr. Newbon stated Memorial Park will have fields available for pick-up games.
Mr. Morlath stated their group does play one day a week at the same time. He stated his concern would be if his group were to show up at the same time that a family would like to have a reunion at the same location.
GROUP PROPOSALS FOR RECREATION ENHANCEMENT IN THE TOWNSHIP
Community Pool Facility - Mr. Dave Fabbri and Mr. Rich Eisner were present representing the Lower Makefield Swim and Dive Team. Mr. Eisner stated the Community Pool is one of the finest pools in the area. Mr. Fabbri stated their Team has grown tremendously. He thanked Ms. Liney for all her help. Mr. Fabbri stated they have
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 16 of 23
over 300 on their Swim and Dive Team and they compete in the Suburban Aquatic League. They field two Teams and are at the limit for the number they can have on a Team. He stated they need to practice in advance of when the Pool opens. They have their Meets in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Invitationals on the weekends. He stated they have a short season. He stated they do need to recruit competent coaches. They try to keep Registration Fees at a minimum. They use the LMT Invitational as a fundraiser to offset costs.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Pool is 100% funded by those
using the Pool and no taxpayer funds go into this facility. He stated he has been personally involved
with the Swim and Dive Team and it is a great program. He stated his son made the Olympic trials and
swimming got him into
Mr. Fabbri stated the eight and under age group is fueling their growth, and this requires a lot of additional coaches and instruction in the Pool.
Mr. Dave Gordon stated they are spending a lot of time acknowledging the great work of all the fall and spring sports as those are the ones that require fields. He stated he does not want to forget the winter sports in the community, and he noted the Pennsbury Aquatic Club, Pennsbury Falcon Wrestling, the Pennsbury Falcon Cheerleading Squad, and Pennsbury Youth Basketball programs all of which are also outstanding organizations.
Ultimate Frisbee Football - Mr. Jim Tragone thanked
the Park & Recreation Board and the Board of Supervisors for hosting this
meeting. He stated he has been involved
with YMS for many years and thanked Ms. Liney for all her help. Mr. Tragone stated he met the young people
involved in Ultimate Frisbee Football when he was involved in YMS as they were
playing on the field at Heacock. He
stated those involved had no adult supervision, and they were doing everything
themselves. He stated he watched their
game and then met one of the parents who advised that the group was having a
problem with field space. He discussed
the matter with Mr. Smith and Ms. Liney to see if the Township could make
fields available for this group. He
stated they have 55 members, 52 of whom are from
Noah Saw, Captain of the Boy’s A Team was present and thanked the Board for the opportunity to speak. Paige Maloney, Captain of the Girl’s Team, stated she has been playing for three years originally as part of the Co-Ed Team. She stated they started a Girl’s Team last year. Other members present introduced themselves.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 17 of 23
Mr. Saw stated the Team was started in 1998 by seven
Mr. Saw stated they need a place they know they will be able to play on in the future. They are looking for one or two fields. They need a field the length of a football field, but not as wide. He stated they play based on “The Spirit of the Game,” which is a Code founded on respect for the sport and respect for your opponents. The players call their own fouls, and this creates an atmosphere of camaraderie and responsibility among the Teams. He stated since most of the Teams are student run, it is very unique.
Mr. Stainthorpe asked about the physical requirements needed; and Mr. Saw stated the use cones to mark the field, and there are essentially just two end zones that mark the field. They are 70 yards apart, 25 yards deep, and the field is 25 yards wide. While lines would be nice, they are not necessary. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels this use could be accommodated at Memorial Park. All Supervisors were in agreement that the Township should accommodate this group, and Mr. Saw was asked to contact Ms. Liney to work on how they should proceed.
Mr. Caiola asked how funds are raised given the distance
being traveled for Tournaments, and Mr. Saw stated they sell T-Shirts and candy
and also use their own funds. The School
has permitted them to sell candy at the School.
Mrs. Godshalk stated her son played Pennsbury Ice Hockey for eight years
and received no support from the
Ms. Bunn congratulated them on taking it upon themselves to start this organization. She stated since many of the players are Seniors, she hopes they will return to the Township after College and be the leaders of the future in the Township. Ms. Bunn stated the recreation needs are changing, and the Township needs to remember that the fields they are using today are not the ones that they will need in the future.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 18 of 23
Off Leash Dog Area – Mr. Michael Clagett was present with Mr. Jim Bray. Mr. Clagett thanked the Board of Supervisors for the opportunity to make this presentation. He stated he is only making a preliminary presentation as this is only at the very beginning stages. They will need to form a committee and do more research before they can present a more serious proposal to the Township. Mr. Clagett stated Mr. Bray and his wife started an effort to do this approximately eight years ago, but it did not get very far at that point since it was ahead of its time. He stated in the interim a number of communities have put together dog parks so that they now can draw on their experience.
Mr. Clagett stated a dog park would be a fenced-in area where dogs can be let off their leash. He noted many dogs are in need of this facility and it would be very beneficial to them socially, emotionally, and physically. He stated they plan to look into how many dog owners are in the community, and they plan to put out a survey to determine the interest. He stated the park would also provide benefits to the dog owners as it results in exercise for the dog owners as well and adds a social aspect as it provides an opportunity to meet other dog owners. He stated this would also provide a benefit to the taxpayers who are not participating in other recreation activities such as soccer and baseball.
Mr. Clagett stated the dogs would have to be licensed and those using the park would also have to clean up after their dog. He stated this promotes responsible dog owners. He stated it has been shown that a dog park results in fewer dogs being let off leash in other parks in the Township and residential neighborhoods. Mr. Clagett stated it also provides a good outlet for single and disabled people.
Mr. Clagett stated a facility should have fencing and gates and many parks have separate areas for large and smaller dogs. They should also have some shade, posted rules and regulations, a water supply, an area for dog owners to sit, clean-up bags, and trash cans.
He stated the dog parks are self-policing. Mr. Clagett stated other communities have found that it is important to find a good location that is convenient, but not too close to residential neighborhoods and that there be adequate parking. They need good fencing and lay out with fencing being six feet high going down into the ground one to two feet. Some dog parks have indicated there should not be any 90 degree corners. He added a good surface material is needed and mulch is better than grass. They should also provide for emergency vehicle access.
Mr. Clagett stated they recognize they will need to address
the effect on the surrounding community, aggressive dog behavior, dog waste,
dogs in heat, irresponsible dog owners, and Township liability. He stated they
have looked into Township liability already, and found that the Township would
not be liable. He stated in
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 19 of 23
Mr. Clagett stated they would have to form an Association to run and monitor the dog park, and they feel they would need at least ten active members. He stated they would plan the park, raise funds for construction, and running the dog park and managing the membership. He stated cost would depend on the facility built, and he estimated it could cost from $30,000 to $75,000. Annual maintenance costs would be between $7,000 and $11,000. Funding could come from fundraising, corporate sponsors, grants, dues, and Township support. He stated many groups have built their own parks with no funding from the Township other than the Township providing the land.
Mr. Clagget stated their next steps would be to form a Committee, determine the number of Township residents interested, and present a detailed Plan to the Township.
Ms. Tara Bane stated she is a dog owner and would like to have such a park in the Township but feels the costs seem high. She stated she lived n a Township where there was a dog parks and they did have to register the dogs and the licensing fees helped fund the dog park. The dogs also had to show proof of vaccination. Mr. Clagett stated they feel they would need three to four acres of land. Ms. Bane stated she does not feel it would need to be that large and one acre would probably be sufficient.
Mr. Smith stated he agrees they should put out a survey to see how many people are interested in such a facility. He stated he feels this use would serve a broad age range of Township residents. He stated he feels Mr. Clagett’s group needs to take the next step and form a Committee.
Mr. Bray stated he feels the park could be between one to ten acres. He stated it is possible to use land that is not really suitable for any other purpose. He stated there are 3,000 to 5,000 dogs in the Township.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he has been in a dog park in
Mrs. Godshalk questioned how they could keep people from
other areas out of the dog park in
Mr. Bray stated he feels there is now a groundswell for this. He agreed that there are questions, but they will be able to get answers for them.
Ms. Bunn asked if it is a Township requirement to license your dog, and Chief Coluzzi stated you need a license from the County.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 20 of 23
Mrs. Godshalk noted the presence of Liuba Lashchyk, the
architect of the
Five Mile Woods – Mr. John Heilferty, Park Naturalist, was present with Mr. John Lloyd, Chairman of the Friends of the Five Mile Woods. Mr. Heilferty thanked the Township for their support. He stated the Township has long been a supporter of passive recreation noting that in 1978 the Township passed a Referendum to purchase the Five Mile Woods. He stated Township costs would have increased had this site been developed as housing.
Mr. Heilferty thanked the Friends of the Woods and Ms. Liney and her crew for their support.
Mr. Lloyd thanked the Board of Supervisors and the Park & Recreation Board for the support they have given the Woods over many years. He stated the Friends are a small but active organization that is dedicated to the preservation of the Woods. They just held their Annual Meeting and set their schedule for the year. They have monthly work days from March through November and also have two Open House events. The first will be held on April 22 and there will be one on September 9. These events feature guided walks through the Woods with professional and amateur naturalists. He stated the Five Mile Woods is a stellar example of what a Township can do and stated there are not many Townships which have a 300 acre nature preserve.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 21 of 23
Ms. Bunn stated she is very passionate about preservation, and Mr. Heilferty has been very helpful to her sons who are involved in Scouting. She stated Mr. Heilferty does a tremendous amount of work at the Woods.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he uses this facility regularly and would encourage the Board to attend one of the Open Houses as there is a lot to see if you are with an expert to show it to you. He stated one of the paths has been so wet that it is impassable, and he recommended a boardwalk in this area. Mr. Heilferty stated they do have a lot of Eagle Scouts who use the Woods as a location for their Eagle Scout projects, and trail maintenance is one of the areas where they always need work. He stated they do not want to boardwalk everything, but there are certain areas where they could use more boardwalks.
Mr. Heilferty stated they have also hosted the
Mr. Heilferty asked that the Board keep in mind that not every family has active recreation needs; and as they continue to plan Park and Recreation facilities Township-wide, they would ask that they consider passive activities throughout the Township.
Mr. Smith suggested that they spend an hour in the Five Mile Woods on the next Park & Recreation Road Tour. Mr. Fritchey stated while they have visited the educational building, they have not walked the Woods. Mr. Heilferty also suggested that they attend one of the Open Houses.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she has been advised by a number of women that they felt the area was less than inviting and she would like the overgrown area in the front cleaned up.
Mr. Heilferty stated Mrs. Godshalk did speak to him about this, and they did do some tree pruning. He stated they also get comments from others who have indicated they would not want to see the area cleared so much as it is more natural if there is less clearing. He stated they do want to make sure that it is a safe situation. He stated whenever they have had security problems, Chief Coluzzi and his staff have been very responsive.
Mr. Smith asked that Chief Coluzzi speak on the value of
Park and Recreation activities in the community. Chief Coluzzi stated it is evident the
importance law enforcement puts on activities for youth, noting particularly
the Police Athletic League. He stated
when he was first appointed Chief of Police in
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 22 of 23
Police, the schools, and the parents to come together in this regard; and he is pleased to see the effort being put forth.
Mr. Matt Maloney thanked both Boards for recognizing the Ultimate Frisbee Football group as he is familiar with some of the people involved in this organization. He stated he feels the Township is doing something that Pennsbury failed to do which is recognizing a group of students doing the right thing.
Ms. Virginia Torbert thanked the Chairman for having this
meeting and calling attention to these important Park and Rec issues. She stated this relates to the quality of
life in the Township, and she hopes that next year they will find the money to
construct the fields needed, particularly at the Snipes Tract so that they can
relieve some of the pressure on
Mr. Dave Dillio asked if the Township has any plans to repair the tennis courts.
He stated the court surfaces are deplorable. He stated he would like the Township to build
a new facility. He stated he plays in
Mr. Newbon stated
Mr. Smith thanked all those who attended the meeting this evening or watched the meeting from home. He stated the groups have come forward and made their presentations and he feels it is now time for the Board of Supervisors to act and do their best to put into the Budget things which have to be done and make the hard decisions on how to move forward to address the many needs of the Township to maintain and enhance the quality of life in Lower Makefield Township.
February 27, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 23 of 23
There being no further business, Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn thee meeting at 11:25 p.m.
Steve Santarsiero, Secretary