TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PARK & RECREATION BOARD

JUNE 17, 2003

 

 

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on June 17, 2003.   Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Park & Recreation Board:        David Fritchey, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                Richard Jutkiewicz, Member

 

Others:                                     Donna Liney, Recreation Director

                                                Wes Hackman, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                         Patricia Bunn, Park & Rec Board Member

                                                Henry Carpenter, Park & Rec Board Member

                                                John Kuebler, Park & Rec Board Secretary

                                                Andrew Newbon, Park & Rec Board Member

 

 

Due to lack of a quorum, the Minutes of May 13, 2003 could not be voted upon.

 

 

DISCUSS RECREATION REQUIREMENTS WITH USER GROUPS

 

Mr. Fritchey stated the various Township user groups were invited to attend this evening’s

meeting to discuss their recreation requirements.  The following groups which had been

invited were not represented this evening:  St. John the Evangelist CYO,  Yardley Men’s

Baseball, Yardley Baseball.

 

Ms. Ada Derr, President, Lower Bucks Seniors, was present.  She stated they would like

to have a Senior Center built on the Samost Tract.  She stated there is engineering money

budgeted for this purpose.  Mr. Hackman asked how many members are on their rolls. 

Ms. Derr stated they have approximately 475 members which is down somewhat from their

previous membership.  They have had 70 people join this year.  Mr. Hackman asked if

they could provide a list of the activities they currently offer, and Ms. Derr provided a copy

of their calendar to Ms. Liney this evening.  Mr. Hackman stated he feels most of their

activities would take place form 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Ms. Derr agreed that this is

usually the case.  Mr. Sam Alvino stated they do have four to five parties each year and

these would extend beyond 4:00 but usually would not go past 6:00 p.m.  He stated most

seniors normally like to be home before dark.  Mr. Hackman asked about their activities on

the weekend, and Ms. Derr stated they do offer line dancing on Saturday and they might

have other activities if they had their own Center.  Mr. Hackman asked if there are other

activities similar to bocce that would be of interest to seniors, and Ms. Derr stated

shuffleboard may be of interest as well as horseshoes.  Mr. Alvino stated he feels they

would like to have billiards available at the Senior Center.  Mr. Fritchey asked about table

tennis, and Mr. Alvino stated he feels this would be a good addition as well.  Ms. Derr

stated she has heard that it is also good to offer Ceramics to seniors.  Mr. Alvino stated he

feels they should have a room with some exercise machines as well.  Ms. Derr stated she

would also like to have a TV/VCR combo because there are times when they could show

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something to the seniors, and they currently have no means to do so since they have no

place to lock up such equipment.  Mr. Smith stated he knows that billiards is very popular

with seniors if it is available.  Ms. Derr stated Bensalem offers billiards and it is very

popular and they hold tournaments as well.  Mr. Hackman asked what they anticipate

would happen with their membership numbers were they to have their own Center, and

Ms. Derr stated normally when you have your own building, membership doubles.

 

Mr. Mike Cremeans, President, Yardley Makefield Tennis, was present.  He stated he and

Lisa Sherman run the program at the Schuyler courts.  Ms. Liney stated there are fourteen

tennis courts in the Township.  Four of the Township courts are lit.  Mr. Cremeans stated he has been working with the Township for four to five years.  Ms. Liney stated he initially did a summer program only but this has since expanded.  Mr. Cremeans was asked how many courts he feels the Township needs.  Mr. Cremeans stated they are sold out at the current time.  A class is normally five to six young players.  He stated they do not advertise and still are sold out.  Last summer they averaged thirty to thirty-five players a week in the morning sessions.  They serviced approximately four hundred children last summer. 

Ms. Liney stated the tennis program is on par with football and lacrosse in attendance. 

His roster is 99% Lower Makefield residents.  Mr. Fritchey asked what a tennis complex would look like if the Township were to build one.  Mr. Cremeans stated he feels hard-true or clay is the best surface since you usually only use the courts six months a year.  He stated a cover can be purchased to protect the clay when it rains.  He agreed to provide information on court surfaces.  Mr. Fritchey asked if there is any room to expand what they already have at Schuyler, and Mr. Cremeans stated he did not feel they would be able to expand at that location. He stated he feels an eight to twelve court facility would take care of the needs for the next twenty years.  Mr. Fritchey stated there is an area on the Samost tract that is relatively flat and is long and narrow that could be used for this purpose. 

Mr. Cremeans stated they could have the courts in two clusters or four back to back. 

Mr. Hackman asked about lights.  Mr. Cremeans stated while this would be helpful at some point,  for his use at this point the need is during the day.  Mr. Chuck Narwicz asked if the Township offers a Round Robin men’s program in the summer.  Mr. Hackman stated the Township itself does not run any of the recreation programs.  He stated one way the Township helps keep taxes down is to have the recreation programs run by volunteers.  Mr. Cremeans stated while there is nothing done formally, he is aware of some men who do this informally themselves.  He added that he has set up such a program for ladies and would be willing to do this for men as well.

 

Mr. Jack Morrison, Commission, and Mr. Fred Allan were present representing Pennsbury

Athletic Association.  Mr. Allan stated they must do something about the condition of the

girls softball fields.  He stated they are in danger of losing the fields and need someone

with skill in field maintenance. He stated the fields are not draining properly. 

Mr. Hackman stated he did discuss this matter with the Board of Supervisors last evening. 

PCS went out to the fields today and did some core borings.  He also has the original specs

which he feels are reasonable; however, when they did the core borings it appears that the

problem is that the first 2” is like concrete.  He stated once you get through this, it appears

it drains properly.  He stated he feels they may have to re-build the fields.  Mr. Allan stated

he does not feel the company which designed the fields should be looking into why there is

a problem.  He stated he feels they were designed incorrectly.  He asked that they call in

another company and have them advise them.  Mr. Allan stated they also need to bring the

outfields in closer.  Mr. Hackman stated this problem is a priority. 

 

 

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Mr. Morrison stated PAA has a total of 1500 players ages five through nineteen.  He

provided membership information to Ms. Liney.  They have 70 teams playing on 60’

fields, 1 team on 75 foot fields, and 17 teams on 90’ fields.  Currently the Township has 4

60’ fields - Macclesfield B and the three fields across from the Township building.  This

equals an allocation for each team of 1.48 hours per week.  He stated every team should get

at least five to six hours per week for one game and one practice and there are therefore not

sufficient 60’ fields in the Township.  Mr. Fritchey stated while this is true, the Township

is not their only resource.  Mr. Morrison stated a short-term solution would be to install

lights at two of the fields across from the Township building which would add 24 hours of

playing time at a cost of $90,000.  PAA would be able to pay $6,000 per year for sixteen

years for the lights.  He stated the long-term solution is to build three more 60’ fields

behind the refreshment stand.  Mr. Fritchey asked about a quadra-plex on the Patterson

Farm adjacent to I-96 where lights would not impact anyone.  Mr. Hackman stated he feels

Patterson Farm is probably off limits.  Mr. Hackman asked about another 75’ field, and

Mr. Morrison stated he did not feel this would be money well spent.  Mr. Morrison stated

Mac A and Mac H are 90’ fields, and this is not sufficient since they have seventeen teams

using these fields.  He stated St. John’s CYO and the Men’s Program also need this size

field.  He feels they need one to two more 90’ fields.  He stated they would also like lights

at Mac H.  Mr. Morrison stated there is also a need for screening the fields for safety

reasons.

 

Mr. Allan stated there are sufficient fields for the girls program provided the fields drain

correctly.  He stated they have approximately 30 teams and there are four community

fields. 

 

Mr. Chuck Narwicz, President, and Mr. Jack Cowley, Co-Director, representing Lower

Bucks Lacrosse Club, were present.  Mr. Narwicz stated there are approximately 450

players in their program, with approximately 100 girls in the program.  Age range is from

first grade to high school.  There are 21 teams.  The fields they use are interchangeable

with football fields and they currently use two Township fields.  Ms. Liney stated football

is in the fall and lacrosse is in the spring.  Ideally they would use Mac E and Mac G for

lacrosse and switch with football in the fall.  Mr. Narwicz stated he had nine teams playing

on the Township fields.  They also use Pennsbury fields.  Approximately 60% of their

players are from Lower Makefield.  Many of the 40% who reside outside of Lower

Makefield are from Newtown.  They use two to three fields in Newtown which are school

fields.    Mr. Narwicz stated there is a Council Rock lacrosse program and they took their

fields this year.  Mr. Hackman stated most of the volunteer organizations in the Township

they try to provide field space for have 85% Township participants.  Ms. Liney stated the

requirement is 50% for travel and 80% for intramural.   Mr. Narwicz stated he feels these

percentages are arbitrary.  Mr. Hackman stated the Board of Supervisors feels Lower

Makefield Township taxpayers should pay for field use by Lower Makefield Township

residents.  He stated they are going to look for a larger percentage of Township residents in

this program.  Ms. Liney stated they started as Lower Bucks Lacrosse and the Township supported the program as a diverse recreation offering to residents.  She stated she is looking for them to increase Lower Makefield resident participation. She stated the Pennsbury School District has recently sanctioned lacrosse as a sport for both boys and girls, and she feels this will bring in more Lower Makefield players.  Mr. Narwicz stated

they are also going to get a field in Fallsington.  He noted there are eighteen to twenty

players on a team.  Mr. Smith stated the percentages for participation are not arbitrary and

the focus should be on Lower Makefield Township residents.  He stated they may have to

re-focus their program as was done with the Township football program in the recent past. 

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Mr. Smith stated all organization have to follow the same rules.  Mr. Fritchey stated the

Township spends a great deal of money for recreation and their focus is on Township

residents.  Mr. Narwicz stated they pay extra for non-residents.  Mr. Fritchey stated the

user fees are nominal and do not cover the full cost for maintenance of the fields. 

Mr. Cowley stated the girls do not really have a permitted place to play.  Mr. Hackman

stated this is the reason they are having the meeting this evening to determine the needs of

the user groups.  Mr. Fritchey stated the Township did give them permits and asked why

the girls did not get any space.  Mr. Narwicz stated this was his decision.  He stated they

do need the extra lighted field.  He stated they also need to have a Tournament June 5 and 6

in the year 2004.  They will need all the fields and some other fields as well for the

tournament.  Mr. Hackman asked what they need for their girls program, and Mr. Cowley

stated they need a minimum of three fields, six days a week for three months of the year. 

 

Mr. Hackman asked why 100 girls need three fields when 350 boys play on two fields. 

Mr. Cowley stated currently they are practicing on two fields with six teams and they do

not have sufficient time or space.  He is projecting that as they grow, they will need three

fields.  He stated the girls are currently playing behind Charles Boehm.  Mr. Morrison

asked what percentage of their 450 players are from Lower Makefield, and Mr. Narwicz

stated it is approximately 60%.  Mr. Morrison asked how long they have been in Lower

Makefield, and Mr. Narwicz stated they have been involved with Lower Makefield for ten

years.  Mr. Morrison questioned how long they have to meet the percentage requirements. 

Ms. Liney stated this is a diverse activity which the Township is supporting.  They are evolving from a Lower Bucks area program to a Lower Makefield program. 

 

Mr. Jutkiewicz stated due to the timing of their schedule they start very early in the year,

and their first games are the end of February. 

 

Mr. Hackman asked PAA’s numbers in the fall, and Mr. Morrison stated they have 225 to

250 boys and 50 girls.  Mr. Morrison stated Yardley baseball has five hours per week and

the average PAA team has 1.48 hours. 

 

Ms. Liney stated that although Mr. Kuebler was unable to attend this evening’s meeting, he

did advise that Pop Warner Football does not anticipate requiring more fields through

2005.  He indicated that the enrollment is manageable and there are time slots that could

accommodate additional players .  He currently has two fields.  Mr. Smith stated

Mr. Kuebler has focused his program on Lower Makefield Township residents.

 

Mr. Smith noted that although Yardley Baseball did not send a representative, he feels they

would probably request more field space as well.  Ms. Liney stated although Yardley

Men’s Baseball did not send a representative, she feels they would need another 90’ field.

 

Mr. Smith stated he feels they should also consider that many residents would like to be

able to make use of the Township facilities as well even though they are not part of an

organization.

 

Mr. Smith spoke on behalf of Yardley Makefield Soccer and stated they have a fall and

spring season.  He stated the seasons are being extended and sports are overlapping.  He

stated they also have a junior season for the older boys who have reached an age where

they play starting in Thanksgiving and this extends into the winter.  YMS has

approximately 45 travel teams in the fall with 15 to 16 on a team.  Ms. Liney stated their

 

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enrollment is just under 2000 for the spring and it is higher in the fall.  Mr. Smith stated

there are new rules which will mandate that they go to small-sided soccer and because of

this the equipment will be obsolete because the goals and fields will be smaller.  He stated

they will also have less players on a team so that each individual gets more touches on the

ball.  Mr. Smith stated there is also an adult program but they cannot play in Lower

Makefield because they do not have enough facilities.  They play next to Pennsbury Manor

in Falls Township, and they are concerned that they may lose this field.  Mr. Smith stated

he feels they need to have a Park Ranger because there are people using the fields who are

not from the area, and this overuse of the fields is having a negative impact on field

conditions.  Mr. Hackman asked how many additional fields they feel they need, and

Mr. Smith stated they would need two lit fields minimum in the quality of Mac C and D. 

They also need at least two other fields of a similar length but they do not have to be

premium fields.  They also need at least four 8 versus 8 or midi-fields.  They also need

fields for their minis noting they had to turn people away because they did not have enough

fields for their micro program.  Mr. Smith stated they would need six mini fields. 

 

Mr. Hackman stated Memorial Park has been designed and the Board of Supervisors does

not want to change that design.   He stated the Snipes tract could help solve the field

problem.  He noted Samost is the most likely place for a Senior Center, but they could also

have some additional fields there as they could include tennis and some other activities at

Samost.  Mr. Hackman stated he is trying to figure out from all this list of requests what

the best mix is to help everyone somewhat.   Mr. Smith stated he feels the Patterson Farm

could be used as it would not impact any residents.  He feels this would be a good location

for a sports facility and feels a portion of this land could be used for this purpose.  He feels they could combine farmland with recreation on this tract.  Mr. Hackman stated a large

portion of Patterson Farm was purchased with County Open Space funds, and he is not

sure that they would allow this to be used for recreation.  He stated the Open Space Funds

are paying for the other portion of the land, and the way they define Open Space, it does

permit recreation.  He stated there is at least one Supervisor who would be opposed to the

Patterson Farm being used for recreation.  Mr. Hackman stated they do not have the funds

to develop the existing parks.  He stated most of the parks were developed through

developer funds.  Mr. Smith stated corporate sponsorships could help defray costs. 

He stated there are also governing organizations, at least for soccer, and if you give them

exclusive use of a facility, they can obtain financing to maintain those fields.  Mr. Hackman

stated if YMS came in and indicated they would improve and maintain the fields at their

expense, the Township might agree to lease them the ground.  He does not feel they should

consider planning Patterson Farm at this time.  Mr. Narwicz asked if they feel additional

fields will be available next year, and Mr. Hackman stated he does not feel they would be

available in time for use next year.  Mr. Hackman stated his goal is to help all the

organizations a little bit. Mr. Narwicz stated if they help soccer, it will also help lacrosse.

Mr. Hackman stated he does not have a problem with soccer getting Snipes, but he would

want them to give up fields at Macclesfield Park in exchange so that everyone benefits. 

 

Mr. Allan noted land owned by the Pennsbury School District near Edgewood School that

they do not use and asked if the Township could approach them about purchasing this land. 

Mr. Hackman stated he did not feel they would sell, and Mr. Smith agreed. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Hackman stated he feels they did get useful information this evening.  Mr. Majewski,

PCS, was present; and Mr. Hackman asked him for an update on the girls softball fields. 

Mr. Majewski stated they feel they need to get a backhoe out to the site to see how far

down the drains were placed.  Mr. Hackman stated he feels it is more important what the

composition is from the top down.  Mr. Majewski stated the first two to three inches is

packed as solid as cement.  Mr. Fritchey stated last year they had this same discussion and

the girls softball fields are still worse than fields that have no drains at all.  He stated he

does not feel PCS addressed this satisfactorily last year.  Mr. Allan stated he feels they

should get a second opinion from a different firm.  Mr. Hackman stated between now and

the end of the week he feels they should be able to get out to the site.  Mr. Hackman asked

about a cover, and Mr. Morrison stated an 80 by 80 cover is approximately $1300. 

Mr. Allan stated PAA is going to try to have a fund-raiser to purchase covers.

 

 

RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

 

Ms. Liney stated obviously the Pool, like everyone else, has been subject to difficult weather conditions to date; but on the day they did have a sunny afternoon, they did have 1100 people through the gate.  The Swim and Dive Team Invitational has been scheduled for July 11 and July 12 at the Pool.  The Swim and Dive Teams are experiencing their largest enrollment in Pool history.  Ms. Liney stated she does anticipate membership

numbers at the Pool will increase as they go into the summer.

 

Ms. Liney reported RT Environmental Services has advised that the Kids Kingdom samples of both wood and soil which the Township contracted to have tested for the presence of arsenic came back non-detectable. 

 

Ms. Liney announced that the Road Tour will take place on July 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m.,

and the Agenda is being prepared.  She asked that she be advised of any areas which

Board members would like to include. 

 

Ms. Liney stated there are a lot of opportunities for recreation in the future, and the Board will have to recommend priorities based on community needs and interest, along with the underlying mandate of not increasing taxes.  

 

Mr. Allan stated they did an excellent job at the Community Pool restroom facility.

 

Ms. Liney stated that the Softball Tournament will be held again next year according to the

Tour Director despite the problems this year with weather and field conditions.  Mr. Allan

stated they have been advised that their Tournament is known as one of the best

tournaments in the Country.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

 

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        David Fritchey, Chairman