TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PARK & RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES - SEPTEMBER 9, 2003

 

 

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on September 9, 2003.  Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Park & Recreation Board:        David Fritchey, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                John Kuebler, Secretary

                                                Patricia Bunn, Member (joined meeting in progress)

                                                Henry Carpenter, Member

                                                Richard Jutkiewicz, Member

                                                Andrew Newbon, Member

 

Others:                                     Donna Liney, Recreation Director

                                                Wes Hackman, Supervisor Liaison

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Kuebler moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of July, 2003 as written.

 

Mr. Carpenter moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of May 13, 2003 and June 17, 2003 as written.

 

 

DISCUSSION OF MEMORIAL PARK DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 

Mr. Mark Eisold and Mr. Francis Chan from Boucher & James were present. 

 

Mr. Fritchey reviewed the history of Memorial Park.  He stated the Township had

recognized the need for a community park in the northern end of the Township due to

Township growth in that area.  This park was to be a community park as opposed to an

athletic complex like Macclesfield Park.  It was to be a family-oriented park with a wide

variety of venues both active and passive.  The Township identified the Vargo Tract as one

of the potential locations suitable for this purpose to meet the needs identified in the

Comprehensive Master Plan.  The Township acquired the tract for this purpose.  It was

proposed that the park would be 50% active and 50% passive.  The Board of Supervisors

agreed that this would be the mix they were aiming for.  Mr. Fritchey stated they were also

to be cognizant of historic preservation so that various structures on the property would be

maintained.  There would also be care taken to respect the natural environment including

hedgerows.  An arboretum was proposed which would provide an opportunity for loved

ones to be memorialized through benches and trees.  The park was known at the time as

North Park.  A great deal of attention was given to involving the neighbors and members of the community from the adjoining developments who participated in discussions with the Park & Recreation Board and the professional planners to arrive at a harmonious

blending of the Park with the surrounding residential developments.  Mr. Fritchey stated he

feels this was an excellent effort on the part of Lower Makefield Township to come up with

something that would work with the community as a whole. 

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Mr. Fritchey stated one of the catalysts that was important to reaching a consensus was the

agreement that, in general, active recreation would not be adjacent to the residential

developments.  He stated a sketch was prepared by the Park & Recreation Board with

many citizens which planned out the park.  This was then given to professional planners

who had expertise in landscape architecture who came up with three different concept

plans.  These were reviewed with the residents and a consensus was reached on a plan

which was recommended to the Board of Supervisors who subsequently adopted the plan. 

Construction was not begun because of the lack of funds. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated on 9/11/01, Lower Makefield suffered more than its share of victims

and the response of the community and the Township was sympathetic.  It was felt that a

fitting Memorial should be built in memory of those who perished and to give comfort to

the survivors.  A number of ideas were discussed including placing something on a well-

traveled road; however the Park & Recreation Board and the families of the victims were

not in favor of this and felt it should be in a more dignified and contemplative setting. The

victim families and the Park & Recreation Board independently concluded that the proper

place would be the as yet unbuilt North Park as it was a nice natural setting and it fit into

the general notion that a Community Park should look to the past, look to the present, and

to the future and there would a memorialization of those who have gone before us.  The

Board of Supervisors agreed that this was the proper location and they committed to

incorporating a Memorial at North Park and decided to name the park - Memorial Park.  An

architect was hired to design the Memorial with the cost to be approximately $600,000.  A

Memorial Committee was formed to work with the architect.   Members of that Committee

worked for many hours with the architect to come up with a plan.  Fundraising activities

have been spearheaded by members of the Memorial Committee, and he understands that

they are more than half way to their goal.  Approximately one month ago the Board of

Supervisors put the architectural planning work for the entire Park out to bid, and an initial

plan has now been submitted by that architect.  Mr. Fritchey stated the Park & Recreation

Board is seeing this for the first time this evening.  He stated they want to make sure the

public receives full disclosure of what is being considered and the public has the same

opportunity to have input into the plan that characterized this endeavor to this point.

 

Mr. Eisold stated they have had two meetings with the Memorial Committee as well as with

the architect who designed the Memorial itself.  The Memorial Committee had a desire to

see a central entrance to the memorial.  He stated they have reviewed the wetlands on the

site that will need to be considered along with the existing vegetation.  He stated setbacks

from certain roads need to be considered as well as field orientation and Township

Ordinances. 

 

Mr. Eisold stated subsequent to preparing Plan “B” provided to the Park & Recreation

Board, he was advised by Ms. Liney that there was an approved Concept Plan and there were issues to be considered as they related to the surrounding residents.  In response to Ms. Liney’s concerns, they did design an alternative Plan “C” and this was shown this evening. 

 

Mr. Fritchey noted the broad avenue going up the center of the tract and stated he feels that

an important aspect in reaching the consensus with the neighbors was concentration of

active areas toward the center of the tract and the more passive activities adjoining the

residential rear yards.  He stated having an avenue up the center disperses the active

recreation toward the perimeter as opposed to what was previously planned. 

 

September 9, 2003                                                      Park & Recreation Board - page 3 of 8

 

 

Mr. Kuebler stated the athletic activities were to be generally for younger players and

would make use of removable goals, etc. which could be taken down so that it would look

like an open field when not in use.  They also envisioned picnics, kite-flying, etc. for these

areas.  He stated he personally likes the road going down through the middle of the tract as

it makes the Memorial more visible; however, he would still like to hear what the neighbors

have to say. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated they have shown a Visitors’ Center on the new Plan, and he asked if

they are marketing this location as a tourist attraction.  Mr. Eisold stated this is really only a

gazebo and should not really be labeled as a Visitor’s Center.  Ms. Ellen Saracini stated this

was to be a small building with restrooms and  a place for people to go into to learn about

9/11 and learn about the victims.  The design has not been finalized as to how this would

be set up.  She stated this would be an information center rather than a visitor’s center. 

 

Mr. Fritchey noted the natural gas pipeline which runs across the property.  He stated it

appears they are showing a paved parking lot over the easement.  He asked what would

happen if they had to rip up the pipeline, and Mr. Eisold stated it would impact the road and

the parking lot although this is not a normal occurrence. 

 

Mr. Newbon stated originally the “chimney” portion of the tract was to be a tranquil area;

and on the plan now presented, they have moved a lot of the activities up to this portion.

Mr. Eisold stated this is the case on the first plan presented but after speaking to Ms. Liney,

the revised plan shows this area as being kept more open. 

 

The public was provided an opportunity to review the new plan presented while the Board

considered other Agenda items.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION TO RENEW LMT POOL CONCESSION STAND CONTRACT WITH M.L.E. ENTERPRISES

 

Ms. Liney stated the Food Service Agreement for the Community Pool is up for renewal.

M.L.E. Enterprises continues to work with the Township addressing a number of

concerns expressed by Pool membership in the Pool Survey.   The Township will continue to assess the progress of this contractor in meeting the needs of the members. 

 

Mr. Newbon moved and Mr. Carpenter seconded to recommend to the Board of

Supervisors renewal of the LMT Pool Concession Stand Contract with M.L.E. Enterprises

in the amount of $3,000 for the 2004 season.

 

Mr. Fritchey asked if the Pool members have been satisfied with the Concession Stand

service.  Ms. Liney stated she did not get much feedback this season.  Several members of the Park & Recreation Board who were also Pool members stated it was much better. 

Mr. Hackman asked if the air conditioning installed this year helped the situation in the snack bar, and Ms. Liney stated it did help the situation.  Mr. Hackman asked about the electric bill, and Ms. Liney stated M.L.E. Enterprises pays for this. 

 

Motion to approve carried unanimously.

 

 

 

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RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

 

Ms. Liney reported that field permits for the fall have been issued.  In order to reduce confusion in the parks, it is requested that the organizations adhere to their authorized fields and times.

 

Ms. Liney stated that initial feedback from the user groups has been positive on the steps the Township has taken thus far to alleviate drainage problems at the Roelofs complex.  She stated it appears the grading of the fields has been successful.  They plan some minor adjustments to be completed by mid-September on Field 3.  Park & Recreation will continue to monitor this situation.

 

Ms. Liney reported that, as required by the Finance Department, Preliminary Budgets were submitted in mid-August.  The loss of Fee-In-Lieu revenue, while anticipated, will obviously affect the Park & Recreation Operating Budget.  She noted park projects proposed for funding in 2004 from the Operating Budgets are pavilions at both the Kids Kingdom picnic grove and the Roelofs softball complex, bikepath construction or repair and resurfacing a portion of Macclesfield parking lot.  The Pool Budget, which is a Proprietary Budget, has also been submitted to the Finance Department for initial review.  This Preliminary Budget continues to implement the improvements requested by the Pool membership in their survey as well as recommendations from the pool architect.  A flume slide was the top choice of respondents to the survey as a desired future feature, and they are researching and planning to budget this item for the 2004 Pool season.

 

Ms. Bunn joined the meeting at this time.

 

 

ROELOFS FIELD DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Fred Allan stated he has visited Roelofs during periods of rain and whatever has been

done is working well.  He stated it is already an improvement over the situation in the

spring.  He commended Ms. Liney, PCS, the Board of Supervisors and the Park &

Recreation Board for their help in this matter.  He stated PAA is going to try to purchase

covers for Stoddart and Roelofs.  It will cost approximately $1,400 a field for covers. 

Once purchased, they will be stored next to the fields, wrapped up, and chained to the

fence.  Ms. Liney noted Mr. Hackman’s contribution to this improvement project.

Mr. Allan noted the grass has also been cut out correctly.  Mr. Allan stated they are frequently told by those coming from outside to use the Township facilities what a wonderful facility the Township has.

 

 

LEAGUE REPORTS

 

Lower Bucks Lacrosse, Pennsbury Athletic Association, and Pop Warner Football

program reports were all positive.  Mr. Smith stated the YMS Travel Program is underway

and the in-house program will start this weekend.  They had record registrations this year.

 

 

 

 

 

September 9, 2003                                                      Park & Recreation Board - page 5 of 8

 

 

SUPERVISOR LIAISON REPORT

 

Mr. Hackman reported on the Golf Course and stated holes 1, 2, 3, 7, 3/4s of 9, and 12

are seeded and grass is coming up.  By the end of the week they will have holes 11, 13, 14

and 1/2 of 15 completed.  The other nine holes and the practice facilities will be started the

following two weeks.  The steel is going up on the maintenance building,  and in one week

it will be under roof.  Construction will start on the clubhouse sometime within the next

two weeks.

 

 

CONTINUATION OF DISCUSSION OF MEMORIAL PARK DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 

Mr. Hackman asked that the Board of Supervisors be provided a copy of the new Plan “C”

presented this evening and Mr. Chan indicated it will be available for the Board’s packet

this week. 

 

Ms. Sue Herman, Dolington Estates, stated she prefers the revised Plan “C” presented this

evening as she would like to preserve the peaceful feeling of the chimney and keeping the

road away from the residents.  She would prefer the parking lot to be tucked into the trees

as was on the original plan approved by the Township.  She stated it appears that four

volleyball courts have been added on the new plan.  It was noted these were in the original

plan.  Ms. Herman stated she feels Plan “B” seems frenzied and they should consider taking out some of the fields since they have added the Memorial which will be bringing more people into the site.  She stated she is still concerned about lighting and asked if any lights will be part of the Memorial.  Ms. Saracini stated the entranceway, flagpole, and fountain will have lights.  Ms. Herman stated she had asked that there be an agreement from the Board of Supervisors that there would not be any lights at Memorial Park.  She asked if this could be made a more formal agreement.  Ms. Herman stated she is not concerned about lighting at the Memorial but is concerned about lighted fields. 

 

Ms. Karen Friedman, Silverwood Drive, stated her development is across Lindenhurst

Road from the park.  She stated she was involved in the preliminary discussions and there

was an agreed-upon Plan. She feels they should incorporate the Memorial but not

restructure the Park to fit around it.  She feels they could shift the Memorial to the private

area near the tennis courts shown on the approved plan where it would be a quiet area.  She

showed her preferred location on the plan; however, it was noted this area is wetlands. 

Ms. Friedman asked why they need a large boulevard entrance and asked if they could not

have a small road to the Memorial.  Ms. Liuba Lashchyk stated the original plan did have a

large boulevard. 

 

Mr. Kuebler staed it appears that the new engineers are indicating that the original engineer

laid out a plan that could not be built.  He stated they want to make sure that this will

remain an active/passive park,  and they should consider what can be taken out to

accommodate the Memorial.  Mr. Fritchey stated he is not certain that anything needs to be

taken out.  He stated his primary concern is that the adjoining residents be kept advised of

any changes and that those who worked on the initial approved plan be given the

opportunity to comment on any changes. 

 

 

 

 

September 9, 2003                                                      Park & Recreation Board - page 6 of 8

 

 

Mr. Newbon stated changes are now being considered because the Memorial was not

contemplated at the time the original concept plan was approved.  He noted the approved

plan was not an engineered plan and apparently did not take into consideration all the

wetlands.  He stated everyone has indicated that they do not want so much activity up at the

chimney. 

 

Mr. Eisold asked if they want to pursue the boulevard entrance.  Mr. Chan noted the

location of the tennis courts and adjacent road which would encroach on the wetland area. 

He stated soccer fields also need to be built southwest and if they are rotated in this way

from the original location shown on the approved plan, it will create a problem.

 

Mr. Marty Frapoli, Brookfield Road, stated he backs up to Woodside Road.  He thanked

the Township for their openness in inviting the residents to meetings.  He stated he does

not agree that there was a general consensus that the playing fields should be moved to the

south since he feels this was the opinion of those to the north only.   Mr. Frapoli stated he

feels this kind of low impact park is the perfect place for the Memorial and feels the

Memorial will do much to improve the Park.  He feels the Memorial should be at the

location where the Memorial Committee members want it to be located.  He feels the roller

hockey and basketball should be taken out since this is more noisy behavior than young

children playing soccer and families having picnics.  Mr. Fritchey stated one of the

purposes of the community park was to provide those not interested in organized sports to

have an opportunity to take part in recreational activities; and this is why activities such as

roller hockey and basketball were provided for pick-up games, etc.

 

Ms. Marge Vile, Dolington Estates, stated her home backs up to the chimney and she has

no buffer.  She would have preferred that this area be left open and quiet.  She feels some

of the activities could be cut back.    Ms. Vile asked if additional trees could be installed to

provide a buffer, and Mr. Fritchey stated this could be done. 

 

Mr. Smith asked if anyone has given any thought as to how much the Memorial will cost;

and Ms. Bane stated it will cost approximately $600,000, and they have raised $400,000 to

date. 

 

Mr. Eisold stated the goal is to build in phases once the concept is approved.

Mr. Hackman stated the original estimate for the park was $4 million and asked if the

engineer will be able to tell what the revised plan will cost.  Mr. Eisold stated they can do

this once a plan is solidified.

 

Ms. Sue Herman asked about the “feel” of the boulevard.  Ms. Bane stated it will have tree

lines.  Ms. Saracini stated it will be a covered way that will open up to the Memorial. 

Ms. Bane stated the reason for a main road that is two-way is that in the future there will be

events such as the Anniversary of 9-11 taking place at this location.  They have also added

another entranceway toward the one end of Woodside Road. 

 

Ms. Saracini stated a number of the Supervisors do not want the Park built but were

allowing them to build the Memorial.  The Memorial Committee was told recently that the

Supervisors wanted to engineer the entire Park, and they cannot move forward with the

Memorial section until the Park is approved.

 

Mr. Eisold stated with the boulevard entrance, the Memorial can stand alone even if the rest

of the Park is not constructed. 

September 9, 2003                                                      Park & Recreation Board - page 7 of 8

 

 

Mr. Hackman stated if they install the boulevard, they will have to cut down the trees. 

Mr. Chan stated they are moving it to the left of the current driveway and they can then

keep the trees. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the Park & Recreation Board endorses building the entire Park.

He asked if everyone present is comfortable with the location of the Memorial as currently

proposed.  No one present was opposed to the concept of the Memorial as proposed.

Mr. Fritchey stated he feels they should discuss this again after further review of the

revised Plan and  comments made this evening and after an attempt is made to get further

comment from those unable to attend this evening.  Ms. Bane asked if they will bring this

matter up again at their next meeting for approval, and Mr. Fritchey stated he does

anticipate they will be able to discuss and approve it at their next meeting.

 

Mr. Charles Brown, Leedoms Drive, stated he feels they should stay with the original

concept for the Park.  He stated the Park has now changed its focus to the Memorial and

they should decide what they can realistically put in this space without changing the feel of

the original Park.  He feels something may need to be taken out if the Memorial is going in.

Mr. Fritchey stated he does not see this as the Memorial being the principal thing in the

Park.  He stated they did want something dignified and contemplative, but he understood

that it was to be a Memorial placed in a living, active Park where people would be playing,

having a good time, and enjoying life.  He stated he does not want to over-emphasize the

Memorial to the extent that it eclipses ongoing life particularly since this is a community

park where families will be coming.  Mr. Brown stated with the inclusion of the Memorial,

it will take away some of the available space for other activities.

 

Mr. Hackman stated Mrs. Godshalk has been very much involved with these new plans

and he has seen them because he is the liaison to the Park & Recreation Board, but the

other three Supervisors have no idea that the basic design of the Park that was approved

some years ago is now proposed to be changed to this extent.  He stated he would

recommend that the Board receive a copy of the revised plan prior to their next meeting and

he will advise them of what transpired at this evening’s meeting to get their reaction.  He

stated he felt the Memorial was going to be placed on the original plan in the open space

provided but this has apparently changed.

 

Ms. Bane stated they asked the Board of Supervisors what needed to be done, and the

Board indicated that the Park & Recreation Board would decide if the Plan would be

approved.  Mr. Hackman stated if they had stayed with the original plan, this might have

been true; however, they have made more than minor changes with this new alternative

plan.  Ms. Bane stated the original plan they were provided and which was provided to the

engineer, apparently was inadequate.  Mr. Hackman stated they were asked if the Memorial

could be placed on the approved Plan and they stated there was an area which was

identified as open space which did not interfere with anything else on the Plan.  It was the

Board’s intention when they hired the engineer that they would engineer that approved plan

with the Memorial located on it, and instead they have re-engineered the entire plan.

He stated this will now have to be re-approved by the Board of Supervisors.  Ms. Bane

stated she would like to be able to have a site to go to, and she is concerned with the time

this is taking.  Mr. Hackman stated what they are now showing is a different plan and it

will have to go through the approval process.  Mr. Hackman stated the reason the Park had

to be designed in total was that they could not design the center of the Park ignoring

everything else.  He stated they need something that works in total.  He stated with the new

roadway it may actually be easier to construct since it is a direct way into the Memorial. 

September 9, 2003                                                      Park & Recreation Board - page 8 of 8

 

 

Mr. Hackman stated he does not feel there are Supervisors who do not want it built.  He

stated the only reason the entire Park was not built several years ago when it was approved

was because most parks which were built in the Township were built with Fee-In-Lieu

funds and with the decrease in development, these funds are no longer available as they

were in the past.  The Board would have to borrow the funds to build the entire Park, and

the Board has not made that commitment.

 

Mr. Fritchey stated he anticipates they will discuss this matter at their next meeting and

hopefully move it forward.  He added that the Board of Supervisors does have the ultimate

say as the Park & Recreation Board is only a recommending body.  The next meeting of the

Park & Recreation Board will be held on October 14.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Carpenter seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        John Kuebler, Secretary