TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PARK & RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES - MARCH 19, 2002
The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 19, 2002. Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.
Park & Recreation Board:
David Fritchey, Chairman
Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager (left meeting in progress)
Angie Mancuso, Park & Rec Member
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Ms. Martin moved, Mr. Kuebler seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of February 12, 2002 as written.
DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED EXPANSION OF TENNIS PROGRAM
Ms. Liney noted Mike Cremeans was planning on being present this evening to discuss this matter but was not in attendance at this time.
DISCUSSION ON POOL OFFICIALLY NOW BEING PART OF PARK & RECREATION FUNCTION
Ms. Liney stated the Board of Supervisors announced at their meeting last evening that the Community Pool will now officially be part of the Township Park & Recreation function.
She stated she feels fortunate to be involved with the Pool operations. She noted it is obvious that the facility has been well maintained and is highly regarded in the surrounding pool communities, which is a credit to the Pool Management. She introduced Brad Sharp, the Community Pool Manager for the past sixteen years and assured him that the Park Board and Township are here to support him in his efforts to provide the best services possible to the resident members. She stated the Pool is a user-based budget and no tax dollars go into the Pool operations. She stated Membership fees are reviewed and recommended to the Board of Supervisors for the next year’s budget generally in the late summer. The Membership renewal forms are mailed to the past year’s members in January and the discount renewal period runs through the first week of March. The membership materials are forwarded to the members along with the Pool informational newsletter, rules and regulations in early May. The Pool opens Memorial Day and closes Labor Day. Ms. Liney stated the Township recognized the need to develop a long-range plan of action for the Pool. With the continued growth of the Township, three of four 20 year old pools remain basically unchanged. Handicap accessibility, gas chlorine sanitizing, interactive water attractions, shade and storage are issues that should be addressed for the Pool complex to continue to be a state of the art facility which attracts and retains members. She stated the Township Administration researched a number of different firms emphasizing the requirement the firm have strong credentials in the area of aquatics. Based on the submittals a more in depth proposal was requested from Wallover Architects of Lancaster.
The Township felt their expertise best matched the Township’s requirements and Wallover completed a baseline feasibility study which was presented to the Board of Supervisors at their March 18th meeting. The report is very thorough and addresses all the items outlined by the Study Committee. Wallover will review this study with the Park & Recreation Board at their meeting on April 9. Informational material will be provided to the Park & Recreation Board prior to that time. She noted the Park Board should have already received a copy of the planned survey proposed to be mailed to the pool membership prior to the Pool opening on Memorial Day as recommended by Wallover.
Mr. Sharp stated he has reviewed the Wallover report and agrees with their analysis for the most part. He stated they have a Bond which was taken out in 1995 when the new pool was built and that Bond is close to being paid off. He stated their financial situation at the current time is stable and once this Bond is paid off they will be in a position where they can make some major renovations. He noted particularly the tot pool area.
Mr. Fritchey asked if there is anything in the report to which he takes exception.
Mr. Sharp stated he is comfortable with the report. He noted Page #2 which gives rehabilitation/renovation projects for each year from 2002 to 2007. He stated they are currently in the process of converting from gas chlorine to liquid chlorine and this project should be done this spring. He stated he feels gas chlorine, while the best way to chlorinate, is also the most dangerous since there is always a chance for a leak. He stated while the pool is state of the art with its own chlorine room, exhaust fan, capping kit, alarm system, etc. they are now having difficulty getting gas since many pools have decided not to use it. He stated they may have to construct an addition since they will need a large vat to hold the chlorine. He stated the existing chlorine room will most likely be a CO2 gas room which is needed when using liquid chlorine to bring the pH down. He stated they are using liquid chlorine in the new pool and baby pool currently. He stated the chemical feed system will have to be changed somewhat in the two other pools to use the liquid chlorine. This item will be put out in bid shortly and has been budgeted. Mr. Sharp noted the painting/refinishing that should be done prior to opening the Pool. He stated bids will be received for this project as well. He stated normally they paint every three years although there were some problems in the recent past with some of the painting which was not done properly.
Mr. Sharp stated he understands it will now be up to the Park & Recreation Board to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors as to what should be done over the next few years. Ms. Liney stated during the meeting last night, the Board of Supervisors specifically asked that the Park & Recreation Board prioritize what they would like to see done when they review the Wallover report. Mr. Sharp stated he feels a more thorough walk-through of the Pool by the Park & Recreation Board in May would be desirable.
There was discussion on the handicap access ramp. Mr. Smith asked if they are under any time limit to install this, and Ms. Liney stated they are not. Mr. Sharp stated at the present time there are very few handicapped people using the Pool and this has been the case in the years he has been at the Pool. He stated the Park & Recreation Board must decide if these improvements are worth the expense. The Wallover recommendation is to add to the tank and not shorten the pool and this will be costly. Ms. Liney stated she feels Wallover can provide additional information on this matter. Mr. Kuebler stated if the Township wants to provide this for the few handicapped people that would be impacted, he feels the Township should pay for it and not the Pool members since this is not legally required. Ms. Liney stated the survey that will go to the members does include a question about this. She noted there is a Senior population at the Pool. Mr. Fritchey noted the Pool is a Township facility and if someone were to bring an action under the Americans for Disability Act, they would sue the Township and not the Pool membership. Mr. Kuebler stated he was unsure that they could sue since it is not legally required to have this. Mr. Carpenter asked if there is a question that states "If there was a handicapped-accessible pool, would someone who is not coming, come to the Pool." Ms. Liney stated they were not going to survey outside of the Pool membership. Mr. Carpenter stated possibly a member would know of someone who may join the Pool if they had such accessibility. After discussion it was the consensus that this would be a good improvement to make at the Pool.
Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels Mr. Wallover should attend the meeting in April. He also suggested that they provide the Budget for the Park & Rec Board members. He also recommended a site visit. Mr. Fedorchak stated there is one remaining Pool Board member, Arthur Beers, and they are suggesting that he be invited to offer his expertise to the Park & Recreation Board for as long as he cares to since he has been on the Pool Board for many years.
Mr. Smith stated he is very much in favor of the "water-park" atmosphere which he feels will add to the Pool. Mr. Fedorchak stated he and Mr. Sharp have been discussing for some time the need to enhance the area used by the younger children so they can encourage membership by families which they hope will continue for many years. Mr. Smith stated the families with teenagers usually do not join the Pool. Mr. Sharp stated this is usually because once the children reach a certain age they usually get summer jobs. He stated this is universal at Pools. Mr. Smith stated he has always felt that if they brought in some other kinds of recreation such as beach volleyball, they would be able to bring the teenagers into the Pool. Mr. Sharp stated this was considered in the past. He stated they also discussed shuffleboard, table tennis, etc. in the past. Mr. Smith noted the possibility of horseshoes.
Mr. Sharp stated he would have some concern with horseshoes because of safety.
He stated there is some land which could be used for some of these activities.
Mr. Sharp stated he does intend to attend the Park & Recreation Board meetings as he did the Pool Board meetings in the past.
DISCUSSION OF LMT COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE
Mr. Fritchey stated the Township is updating the Comprehensive Master Plan which is done every ten years. The Park & Recreation Board is being asked to provide input on the recreational needs and priorities over the next ten years as well as provide information about the Recreation Department. He stated comments from all the Township Boards will be consolidated and considered by the Bucks County Planning Commission who is the Township’s consultant.
Ms. Liney noted she has been able to provide some information for some of the questions being asked. The comment provided under Question #1 was satisfactory to the Park & Recreation Board.
There was discussion on Question #2, and it was suggested that they indicate "Permits are issued together with information obtained through the permitting process."
Mr. Fedorchak noted there are also enrollment numbers from the various organizations.
Mr. Newbon stated they could also quantify what they do with the open space - development of Parks, etc. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels they are more concerned with the operation of the Recreation Department.
Mr. Carpenter stated possibly they should appoint a small committee to meet with Ms. Liney and Mr. Fedorchak and put together a draft to be reviewed then by the entire Park & Recreation Board. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels Ms. Liney probably has the answers to most of the questions. He agreed that some of them would require discussion amongst the Park & Recreation Board members. Mr. Kuebler asked about the report submitted ten years ago which they could review along with this. Mr. Fedorchak suggested he and Ms. Liney meet on this and consider the responses which will then be brought back to the Park & Recreation Board. He stated if someone from the Board is interested in meeting with them, they would encourage this. Mr. Carpenter stated he would be willing to do this if he is available. Mr. Newbon stated he feels the best thing they can quantify is what they have done with properties they have in the Township. Mr. Smith stated they are really a policy advisory agency. Mr. Fedorchak suggested that each of the Board members complete one of these which he and Ms. Liney will review and they can then at a future meeting put it together into one document. Mr. Kuebler asked how this will be used, and Mr. Fedorchak stated it will be the Park & Recreation piece of the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Kuebler asked if any funding will come from this.
Mr. Fedorchak stated it is a Plan for the future. Ms. Martin stated if you want Grant money you have to have a Comprehensive Plan. The Board was asked to provide their completed reports to Ms. Liney by the March 28.
DISCUSSION OF TOWNSHIP POLICY FOR LIGHTED RECREATIONAL FACILITIES AND MOTION ON PARK RANGER SYSTEM
Ms. Liney stated at the Board of Supervisors meeting in early March a resident reported that he was passing Macclesfield Park and noticed the lights on without anyone playing on the field. Ms. Liney noted she determined that because of the warm weather some of the user groups had gone out and used the facility. That organization is paying for the lights.
They did stress that the Township receives very few complaints about lighted facilities but in the interest of not appearing that we are wasting tax dollars, the Supervisors have asked that the timers are set so hat this does not occur. She stated the timers are currently set to go off at 9 p.m. She stated they are set to go off at 11:00 p.m. when baseball is in season since they do try to get two games in. This would be basically April 1 to the end of June.
Ms. Liney stated the users are supposed to turn the lights off although sometimes this does not occur. She stated the lights are also sometimes activated by things other than the keys and they are looking into this. Ms. Liney stated DGW is going to come up with some recommendations as to a more secure system.
Mr. Fritchey stated he feels they need to insure that the areas are being policed and if the Police find that lights are on, they would have a key and they could go in and turn them off. Mr. Smith stated he read about the vandalism which has occurred at Macclesfield Park and other Township recreation areas and he feels there is a need for more enforcement with the Police in these areas. He also feels consideration should be given to a Park Ranger who could enforce the regulations they have on the fields and be in charge of checking on the lights. Mr. Fritchey stated some areas hired retired people part-time for this function.
Mr. Carpenter noted there could be some safety concerns for this one individual approaching a large group of people not authorized to play on the fields. It was noted this individual could be issued a radio and could contact the Police. Ms. Martin noted there are Park Rangers at Core Creek Park all night long and you could not expect a retired individual to be there. She noted much of the trouble occurs at night from possibly 10:00 p .m. to 11:00 p.m. and this would be the target time they would need to hit.
Mr. Smith asked how Macclesfield Park is secured at night. Ms. Liney stated there is a gate but it is her understanding that it was preferable to have this open so that if there is an emergency, the Police could get into the Park. She noted the Recreation Department staff leaves at 3:00 p.m. so they would not be the ones locking the gate and it would have to be locked by someone else. Mr. Newbon stated if a presence is seen there during the day and they make an occasional sweep through the Park, it acts as a deterrent. Ms. Liney stated they may only need to have this individual work seasonally, part-time. Mr. Smith asked the cost to repair the damage that was done, and Ms. Liney stated it will cost $450 to repair the fencing. She stated at the Pool $10,000 worth of damage was done.
Mr. Hackman suggested the possibility of a security system involving cameras since this would provide 24-hour coverage. Mr. Smith stated he is concerned that they have rules posted which people are not following at the Parks. If there was an enforcement presence, he feels this could be addressed.
Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Newbon seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that a Park Ranger system be explored for overseeing and policing the Park System in Lower Makefield Township.
There was further discussion on the payment by the user groups for lighting. Ms. Liney stated when the permits are issued, the light time is billed according to the allocation.
Mr. Newbon stated he feels they should be given a Code that would be good for a certain number of times to turn on the lights. Ms. Liney stated this is a possibility and DGW will be looking at recommendations for a more secure system.
Mr. Smith stated one of the reasons people are on lit fields is because there are not enough field space during the daylight hours for the various organizations. He stated they are trying to maximize the field usage that they have. He stated there will always be a need for lit fields because of people’s schedules. Mr. Kuebler stated there are still a large number of people in the organizations that do not turn the lights off when they leave. He stated there are also people using the fields when they are not authorized to do so.
UPDATE ON PLANNED MEMORIAL
Mr. Fedorchak stated he has been unable to gather the victims group together again and is attempting to do so within the next few weeks. He stated he is looking to interview two additional firms and at some point reach a recommended short list of firms to be presented to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Fedorchak left the meeting at this time.
DISCUSSION ON PROPOSED EXPANSION OF TENNIS PROGRAM
Ms. Liney introduced Mr. Mike Cremeans noting he was in the wrong meeting for an hour.
Ms. Liney stated Mr. Cremeans has run the tennis program in the Township since 1998 and is looking to expand the program to spring and fall activities. She stated the problem is the time slots he is looking for are prime time slots from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays so that if they were permitting at the Schuyler facility, this is a time when users would be
home from work using that facility. She stated Administration is concerned about this.
Mr. Cremeans stated the schedule proposed is quite elaborate. He stated he is interested in teaching at the grass roots level and would like to expand the summer program. He stated they have a 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. program Monday through Friday in the summer. He has had tremendous response and some days he has had as many as 36 children show up for one class. He feels two courts from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. would do the Township a great service. The summer program is at the Pool courts, and Ms. Liney stated 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. is off time in the summer time. Prime time is considered to be Saturday, Sunday and times when people are home from work. Ms. Liney stated she would be very reluctant to put the Pool facility under permit during peak time. She would be willing to consider courts at Schuyler, Revere or Heacock. She stated Revere and Heacock do need crack filling work. She does hope to get something done in the next forty-five days. She understands that Mr. Cremeans is anxious to move forward. She stated Schuyler is available and there are four courts at that location. Mr. Cremeans stated when they did a Saturday program in the fall, residents cooperated at Schuyler. Mr. Smith asked if they could start at Schuyler and then move to Heacock or Revere once they are repaired.
Mr. Cremeans stated they were planning on having two five-week sessions anyway so they could have the second session to a different location. He does not feel the cracks are that significant for his purposes. Ms. Liney stated they are soliciting proposals for the repairs to be done.
Mr. Cremeans stated the schedule he provided was the most extensive schedule they could have and they would in reality cut the ages down to different days of the week. Mr. Smith stated he did not have a problem with allowing them to permit two of the Schuyler courts for his program since this would still leave half the facility open to the public as well as the other courts in the Township. Mr. Carpenter asked if it is known if the courts are all being used by the public during these times. Ms. Liney stated this was the concern of the Administration although they have been advised that the courts are sometimes empty.
Mr. Smith stated he feels the Courts are used by the public in the morning. Mr. Cremeans noted the Pool Courts do have the highest demand.
Mr. Kuebler stated in all the other youth Leagues they have in the Township, the instructors are not paid other than when they bring in a professional instructor. He asked if their instructors are paid or if they are donating their time to the children. Mr. Cremeans stated they are paid. Mr. Kuebler stated he feels they should be careful restricting a resident who pays taxes in favor of a paid professional program. He stated he is in favor of the program provided it can co-exist with residents. He stated there is a difference between this program and the other programs they have in the Township. Mr. Smith stated he feels this is an opportunity for Township residents to receive instruction that is most likely at a fee that is less than they would pay elsewhere. Ms. Lisa Sherman stated 90% of their participants are residents. Mr. Carpenter stated if the courts are normally empty he feels this is a great use; however, if the Courts are being used by Township residents and they will now not be able to play because a for-profit group is coming in, he feels this is sending a wrong message. Mr. Smith stated they are limiting the Courts they are permitting. Mr. Kuebler stated he still feels they should be careful that they do not block residents out from playing.
Mr. Cremeans stated he would be willing to build his own courts in the Township. He stated he could build six courts by hand for 10% of what a contractor could do it for and they could have a Lower Makefield tennis program if the land was available. Mr. Fritchey stated they have been discussing expanding the number of tennis courts somewhere in the Township and turning the courts at Community Park into more basketball courts. He stated they have talked about having a complex of a dozen tennis courts. Mr. Fritchey stated the sanctioning rules they have in effect show that they must show proof of non-profit status with the IRS or an application for such status. He asked if Mr. Cremeans is a non-profit. Mr. Cremeans stated it is called the Yardley-Makefield Tennis Program and he does have tax-exempt status from the IRS.
Mr. Hackman stated at the Pool the Swim Team Coaches are paid and the Pool is reserved at certain times of the day for the Swim Team. He stated the Pool does not generally open before 11:00 and they run their practices before this. Mr. Smith stated he therefore feels there is a precedent in the Township for doing what Mr. Cremeans is proposing.
Mr. Hackman stated 100% of the Courts will not be tied up through this program and he feels it makes sense to have someone come in and provide a formal, instructional-level program at a reasonable rate.
Ms. Liney stated she did provide Mr. Cremeans the sanctioning requirements that he would have to adhere to.
Mr. Carpenter asked what he feels would be a reasonable request for hours as opposed to the schedule he provided. Mr. Cremeans stated he would like to have time in the morning for the women’s program two courts, three to five days week from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. In the afternoon he would request two courts Monday to Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. He would also request time on the weekend preferably two courts from Noon to 3:00 p.m. He stated he would prefer 9:00 a.m. to Noon but recognizes that this is the time when residents usually want to play.
Ms. Liney stated Mr. Cremeans also indicated he would be willing to install a partition between the courts at his cost at Schuyler so that the balls from his program would not go onto a neighboring court.
This was acceptable to the Park & Recreation Board.
RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Ms. Liney stated in consideration of the drought emergency, the Township will shut off the water fountains located in the Park facilities. Hopefully this will temporary and the Township will continue to monitor the situation. The Township thanked the residents and community for their understanding and cooperation during this time.
Ms. Liney stated the spring permits have been mailed. She thanked the user groups for their continued cooperation. She stated they again received multiple use requests for the limited facilities and there was a lot of cooperation among the groups.
Mr. Newbon asked if the fields have been treated, and Ms. Liney stated they have not done so and she held this off because of the drought.
Mr. Kuebler stated their first Pop Warner registration will be held tomorrow evening. He stated the helmets are re-conditioned and the jerseys have been ordered. They will start August 19.
Mr. Kuebler reported that PAA is excited about the refreshment stand and the concrete dug-outs.
Mr. Smith stated he has not seen the numbers but has heard that the soccer numbers are up.
Mr. Liney stated she has received numerous calls about soccer. Mr. Smith stated he feels they did a better job of marketing this year. He stated they are also trying to arrange so that some of the YMS programs do not conflict with the PAA programs so that a child will not have to make a choice between playing soccer or baseball. Mr. Smith stated that there are two soccer organizations in the Township. YMS charges $70 for the season and the other organization charges somewhat less than this. He stated this is somewhat unfair to YMS since they paid for all of the capital equipment - goals, paint, etc. which they allow the other organization to use. Mr. Smith stated the other organization has been in existence for ten years and have not purchased equipment. Mr. Kuebler questioned why there is a need to have two organizations. Mr. Smith stated they have approached them about joining with them and they are not interested in this. Mr. Hackman stated the next time they need equipment, they should go to them and ask them to contribute. Ms. Liney stated they have about 300 children in their program compared to over 2000 in YMS including the travel program.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.