TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PARK & RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES – SEPTEMBER 13, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on September 13, 2005.  Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Park & Recreation Board:        David Fritchey, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                John Kuebler, Secretary

                                                Patricia Bunn, Member

                                                Henry Carpenter, Member

                                                Richard Jutkiewicz, Member

                                                John Kuebler, Member

                                                Andrew Newbon, Member

 

Others:                                     Donna Liney, Recreation Director

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINTUES

 

Mr. Smith moved, Ms. Bunn seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of June 14, 2005 as corrected.

 

 

MACCLESFIELD PARK – LIGHTING DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Darius Plichta was present and briefly reviewed the modifications made to the lighting at Macclesfield Park.  He stated they implemented numerous recommendations which had been discussed for some time.  Adjustments were made to fixtures which will help reduce the glare.  A report was presented and Mr. Plichta noted particularly the tables on Page 4 showing the test results recorded at ground level as required by Ordinance.   Mr. Fritchey stated he recalls that there was one spot which was a problem at the Park which was on the cemetery side of the Park.  Mr. Plichta agreed and stated they were able to eliminate a glare situation from a different direction toward that location and were able to achieve conformance with the Township Ordinance.  He reviewed how they did their testing and reviewed the results noted on Page 4 of the report.  On average they are at 0.3 foot candles which is well below the 0.5 required by the Township Ordinance.  The other table on Page 4 shows readings 36” above the ground at the same locations tested at ground level.  All readings are showing conformance with the Township requirements.  Page 5 was noted which are the

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conclusions.  Mr. Plichta stated the Township is going to be erecting additional lights on the Babe Ruth fields, and they feel that they will still be in compliance when these lights are added. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated when they agreed to take these readings, it was done at the request of

homeowners in the area who felt that the lights were not in compliance with the

Township Ordinances.  He stated he now feels that these results show that they are in

compliance with the Township Codes.  Mr. Plichta stated the Rivergate residents also

hired an independent contractor to take readings as well, and that firm used more

sensitive equipment than he himself did and the Rivergate readings came back even

lower.  He was on site when these were taken but he was never provided a copy of their

report.  Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the Township requested those results from Rivergate.

Ms. Liney stated they did request them but their engineer was on vacation, and they agreed to provide them to the Township upon his return.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated he felt that was in May or April.   Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Rivergate residents did come to a Township meeting but did not have anything new at that time. He stated the Supervisors have not heard anything further from the Rivergate residents.  Ms. Liney noted the presence of Mr. Stevenson this evening who resides in Rivergate. Ms. Liney noted she only received the report from Mr. Plichta this evening and planned to send a copy of the report to the representatives from Rivergate.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe asked the cost of the modifications made, and Ms. Liney stated this work

was done in conjunction with other lighting work and was just under $10,000. 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Township did this at Township expense to address concerns brought to them by the residents. 

 

 

LEAGUE REPORTS – CURRENT STATUS AND FORECASTED NEEDS

 

Mr. Fritchey stated they invited representatives from the various recreation

organizations to come in this evening to present their “wish lists.” 

 

Mr. Craig Kloss and Mr. Greg Mauro were present representing Pennsbury Athletic

Association (PAA).  Mr. Mauro stated there are 1,000 boys in the PAA program.  They have an Instructional Program for boys up to eight years old, Little League from nine to twelve years old, and Babe Ruth for boys ages thirteen to nineteen.  In the five to eight year old group, they have approximately 400 boys that play on the School fields.  He noted field requirements are minimal for this age group, and they would like to have a little more maintenance than they currently have, but it is sometimes difficult to get the parents involved in this.  He stated the Little League Program includes approximately 400 boys and they use four 60 foot Township fields.  The older group uses 90 foot fields and there are 225 in this program.  They have only two Township fields which can be used for game level play.  The School District does let them use some fields, but they are not

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of the level they like to use.  They use the Pennwood and Boehm fields for practices.  With 225 boys in the program, this equals over one hundred players per Township

field.  Mr. Mauro noted they also share the 90’ fields with St. Johns and the Adult

League, although the Adult League usually takes time slots that are not convenient for the

younger players.  He stated they would like to request more 90’ fields and their next

preference would be more 60’ fields.  He stated he will submit more detailed information

to Ms. Liney.  He stated they would ideally also like to have indoor practice facilities

such as batting cages. 

 

Mr. Fritchey asked if the older boys play in Tournaments, or is this usually more for the

nine to twelve year old players.  Mr. Mauro stated the older boys do play in

Tournaments, and they hosted two this year for the thirteen to fifteen year old players. 

 

Mr. Kuebler stated he sees that more boys are playing in the older group than have in the

past despite the fact that the total number of baseball players is down.  He feels the older

group is therefore more dedicated, and he feels they need 90’ fields more than they need

facilities for the other age groups.  He also feels indoor batting cages would be the next

most important item.  Mr. Mauro stated with the youngest group, they had thirty more

than previously registered and they also had an unusually large group of twelve year olds. 

He stated they are also getting more boys playing baseball in the fall.

 

Mr. Smith asked for details on the indoor facilities, and Mr. Kloss stated he does have

information on this which he can provide when he makes his presentation.

 

Mr. Carpenter stated his son moved up to the thirteen to fifteen year old Division and

there were some issues with some of the coaches this year.  He asked if they are going to

look into this situation.  Mr. Mauro stated some of the individuals who coached will not

be returning.  He stated they are aware of the situation and are working on it.  Mr. Kloss

noted the difficulty of getting people to volunteer to be coaches.  Mr. Mauro stated this

year they did request that everyone involved sign a Code of Conduct.

 

Mr. Craig Kloss stated he met with the Travel Coaches and Directors for the Girls

Program to consider their needs.  He stated they have excellent fields although there are

some improvements which could be made.  He feels these items are currently being

addressed.  He stated the number one item that came out of their meeting was the need

for an indoor facility.  He provided a hand-out on batting cages this evening.  He stated

they would like to use the existing batting cage on Roelofs Road, add an additional

cage, and build over it.  He stated they are considering pole barns which they

feel would cost approximately $29,000 for a 40’ by 60’ by 16’ structure.  Mr. Kloss

stated they feel they will have six travel teams next year.   He stated those involved in the

intramural program would also like to be able to practice in the winter.  He stated they

would like to discuss the indoor facility with the Township.  He stated they feel it could

be used by both the girls and the boys.  He stated this would be their number one priority. 

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They would also like to get another batting cage at Roelofs with concrete laid under the

batting cages.  They would also like to have lights put at the batting cages at Roelofs to

be on until 9:00 p.m.  He recognizes that there are sometimes problems with lights on

fields.  Mr. Fritchey stated if they had a building constructed, they would not need lights.

 

Mr. Kloss reviewed some other items they would like considered including adjusting the

location of the foul ball poles, electrical outlets, a sprinkler system for the infields (water

is already on the site), roto-tilling the fields, and grass re-seeding.  Mr. Kloss stated PAA

did place some storage facilities on the property, but they would like to have them put on

concrete.  He stated at the Pool field the field mix is sandy, and they would like the

Township to consider taking this up 1’ and installing new field mix.  He stated the

existing mix is causing the players to slide.  Ms. Liney agreed to look into resolving this

matter. 

 

Mr. Fritchey asked if the quoted cost of the batting cage included installation, and

Mr. Kloss stated the quote he was provided did include installation.  Ms. Bunn stated this

cost will increase significantly if the work is done by the Township as they would have to

pay prevailing wage.  Mr. Fritchey stated PAA could consider installing it and donating it

to the Township.  Mr. Kloss stated he would agree to meet with the Township to see if

there are creative ways that this could be done.

 

Mr. Newbon asked about working with the boys program on the batting cages and

making them large enough to accommodate both programs.  Mr. Fritchey stated for the

older boys, they would need to be at least 80’ long.  It was noted that what Mr. Kloss is

recommending could be used for the girls and the younger boys.   Ms. Bunn stated if they

made it large enough for the older boys, it could be used by everyone in the program. 

Mr. Fritchey stated ideally you want to have the batting cages near the baseball facility. 

Mr. Kuebler noted there is space at Macclesfield Park near the railroad tracks. 

Mr. Mauro stated they currently spend a significant amount of money to take the boys

to batting cage facilities.  Mr. Carpenter stated if they build their own facility, it would

probably save them money in the long run.  Mr. Kloss stated most other programs are

using their school gyms three to four days a way, but this is not available at Pennsbury. 

 

Mr. Mauro thanked the Board for the invitation to speak at this evening’s meeting.  

 

Mr. Dave Bollard representing Pop Warner Football was present and stated they are the

only football League on the East Cost that is an in-house Pop Warner League which

means they do not travel.  Their numbers have continued to rise and currently they have

357 in their tackle program and 212 in their flag football program.  He stated Pennsbury

has instituted cuts in their football program and will now only carry 80 players in their

Middle School program.  In the past they carried up to 120 players.  He feels this will

now result in even higher numbers for the Pop Warner program.  He stated they have

sixteen tackle teams playing on two football fields.  They did get Pennsbury to allow

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them to use the William Penn field on Saturday.  Mr. Bollard stated there are only five

football fields in Lower Makefield – two Township fields at Macclesfield Park and three

School fields.  Only the fields at Macclesfield Park are lit.  Mr. Bollard stated it is unsafe

for them to have this many players practicing tackle football on this limited amount of

space.  He stated they desperately  need more lit fields.  They do not advertise their

program, and the growth is from word of mouth.  He stated while there are other football

program in the area, they get people who come to them from other Leagues

because Lower Makefield runs their League differently.  They currently have a starting

position for every player, while in other areas, they put more than thirty players on a

team, practice four to five nights a week, and some players may play only four plays in a

game.  Lower Makefield only practices two nights a week, and they focus on having the

players play.  He stated they require certain training and certification for all of their coaches. 

 

Mr. Kuebler asked if they are going to allow more than 22 players on a team if they do

not get more space or are they going to say “no” to kids to keep it at 22 players. 

Mr. Bollard stated while he does not like to say “no” to anyone, they have done so

because they want to keep the number at 22 so everyone can have a starting position. 

 

Mr. Newbon asked about the residency issue, and asked if they are saying “no” to Lower

Makefield residents while those outside the Township are able to play.  Mr. Bollard

stated they accept registrations on a first come-first served basis.  Mr. Kuebler stated

in the past, when they had times when residents could enroll first and then later times when non-residents could enroll, they had problems because the residents did not react in time. 

 

Mr. Bollard stated they are at 65% residency at this time.  Mr. Fritchey asked if the program was able to enroll the children who did not make the cut at the Middle School, would they be above the 65% residency,  and Mr. Bollard said definitely.  Mr. Kuebler stated they need to consider expansion and to get closer to the 80% residency figure. 

 

Mr. Bollard noted they have an excellent relationship with the School coaches and they

recognize that the Pop Warner program is the building block for the School program.

 

Mr. Newbon stated he feels it is commendable that they are limiting it to 22, but because

of the space limitations, they may need to consider if they should keep it at this level. 

Mr. Bollard stated he feels it would be a shame if a philosophy had to change because of

space.  He stated they do not participate in any Pop Warner Tournaments because when

they did, they had injuries. 

 

Mr. Smith asked if they have children who make the School teams and then quit Pop

Warner. Mr. Kuebler stated they have a no-refund policy because they did not want

people to pay a certain amount of money to reserve a space for their child in case they did

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not make the School team.  Mr. Bollard stated after the first game they freeze their rosters.

 

 

Mr. Bollard stated they would also request that an AD machine be installed at

Macclesfield Park.  He stated while the police have these in their cars, timing can be a

problem.  He stated he feels they could get such a machine donated.  Mr. Bollard stated

there is a problem with one of the goal posts, and Ms. Liney agreed to get this issue

resolved. 

 

Mr. Jack Cowley was presenting on behalf of Lower Buck Lacrosse.  He thanked the

Township for the use of Macclesfield Park over the years.  He stated they have always had a challenge with the in-Township opposed to out of Township policy.  He stated they

have had internal debates as to how to accommodate the Township with regard to this

issue.  He stated they have 600 in their program, of which approximately 150 are girls

who play at Pennwood and share the fields with PAA.  The boys are scattered throughout

the area in and out of the Township.  They  use approximately three fields at Macclesfield

Park for the boys.  He noted that this spring it was difficult with the reseeding and

reconfiguration of the facility.  They would also like to have an indoor space. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated he feels Lacrosse is growing in popularity, and Mr. Cowley stated

four years ago when they started the girls program, they had only 75 and they are now

close to 200 this year.  He noted the high schools now also have Varsity Lacrosse.

 

Mr. Jutkiewicz stated they are also looking at starting a boy’s senior program because

they are going to cut at Pennsbury this year for Lacrosse as well.  He stated the earlier

they get children, the longer they will stay in the program; and there is tremendous

growth at the First and Second grade level.

 

Mr. Newbon asked how Lower Bucks Lacrosse figures compare to other area Leagues,

and Mr. Cowley stated theirs is one of the largest groups in the Southeastern PA

organization.  He stated because they are growing and they are drawing from so many

areas, they are discussing chopping up their program so it is more of a Township

program.

 

Mr. Jutkiewicz stated they are also looking at the financing. The fee requirement in terms

of cost is such that Lower Makefield may be forced to look for a home field in another

location to keep their costs in line with what people expect to pay.  He stated they are

trying to keep the cost to play at $150.  Mr. Jutkiewicz stated they play on fields in

Middletown, Neshaminy, Pennwood, and Macclesfield Park.  Mr. Newbon asked if they

pay user fees in Middletown, and Mr. Jutkiewicz stated they charge them per field and

not per player.  He stated they had three lit fields in Middletown where they charged

them $1,000.  Lower Makefield charged them almost $7,000 last year. 

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Mr. Mauro asked how many players are on a team, and Mr. Jutkiewicz stated for Third

and Fourth Grade they have fifteen and at the older level, they have twenty-eight. 

Mr. Cowley stated the girls have eighteen per team.  He noted boys have more frequent

substitutions and girls are more similar to field hockey/soccer with twelve players.  He

stated at the Youth Level, they rotate them out a lot. 

 

Mr. Cowley stated Macclesfield Park is a great location to attract teams, but the fields

they are playing on are taking a beating from soccer and football.  He stated they are

talking about giving those fields a rest this year.  They would like to let the Township

know that they appreciate the support which has been integral to their growth and they

want to remain with the Township particularly as it relates to an indoor facility and they

would be in favor of a multi-use complex. 

 

Mr. Kuebler asked how many of their games are played on non-Township fields, and

Mr. Cowley stated for the girls program it is 50/50.  Mr. Kuebler stated he feels they

should be looking at this program as a Travel Program from a user fee perspective and

residency requirements.  Mr. Cowley stated the girls only played at Macclesfield Park

one time for their end-of-year picnic. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the Township would like them to move in the direction of

having a more local program.

 

Mr. Ron Smith speaking on behalf of Yardley Makefield Soccer (YMS) stated they have

similar issues to those already presented.  They too have a larger enrollment and an

increasing need for fields and are competing with other use groups for limited space.  He

noted there are currently players in YMS who never get to use Macclesfield Park. 

 

Mr. Kuebler asked if they should come up with a recommendation for the Board of

Supervisors as to what is needed and prioritize the list.  Mr. Fritchey stated Ms. Liney

will develop the Budget based on the recommendations of the Park & Recreation Board

and this will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval.  Mr. Kuebler stated

they also need to consider if there is a level when they have to say “no” and that

registrations are closed.  Mr. Smith asked if the Board of Supervisors recognizes the need

for additional space, and Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Township does recognize this but

they must also balance those needs against other needs of the Township including fire

trucks, roads, health care costs, etc.  He stated they must consider how much they can tax

the residents.  He noted there is also the need for a Senior Center, and there are members

of the Board of Supervisors who have indicated they will not vote on any more recreation

facilities until the Senior Center is funded.   

 

Mr. Kuebler asked if they should give direction to the organizations that until further

notice there is no more space or give them some timetable as to when they feel additional

fields will be ready and advise that they may have to go outside the Township to find

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additional fields.  Ms. Bunn stated they should know that there will not be additional

space for two years until a new facility comes on line.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Township taxes are extremely low compared to what is paid

for School taxes.  He feels they need to “sell” a tax increase better to the Township so

that they can get more things done in the Township.

 

Ms. Bunn stated when there are discussions about user fees being paid for fields not

being played on by certain players, they still need to remember that significant funds are

needed to maintain the Township facilities.  She stated the user fees paid help maintain

the fields.  She stated Township costs have also gone up and it costs a lot to maintain the

facilities they have. 

 

Mr. Kloss asked about the Park & Recreation Board Budget, and Ms. Liney stated

In this year’s initial Draft expenditures are just below $1 million and revenue is at approximately $800,000.  Mr. Kloss asked if this includes the Golf Course, and

Ms. Liney stated it does not as the Golf Course and the Pool operate independently. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated that years ago as the Township was developing, they did receive Fee-

In-Lieu of Recreation funds from the developers, but now that the Township is basically

built out, they no longer receive those funds. 

 

There was further discussion about the batting cage structure that Mr. Kloss had

previously discussed, and it was noted that they would need approval from the Board of

Supervisors if PAA was going to do this themselves.

 

 

SUPERVISOR LIAISON REPORT

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated revenue was good at the Golf Course.  They will be opening a full-

service bar shortly.  Food service revenue since they brought in beer has increased

greatly.  He stated there were some water issues, but it has been dry so they have been

limited.  He stated Kemper is on top of this situation. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Board of Supervisors will be discussing the bid for the Garden

of Reflection.  He stated he understands the bids are above what the Committee has raised.  He stated the Township’s portion of the Park is complete.  They had a Ceremony on 9/11 and all 3,000 names of those lost were read.  The podium was set up where the Memorial is to be located, and he feels it will be very special once constructed. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Board of Supervisors will be discussing a Sexual Predator law.

 

 

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RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

 

Ms. Liney reported that facility permits for the fall, 2005 season have been issued.  In

order to minimize confusion in the Parks, they have again requested that the organizations adhere to authorized fields and times.  She asked that the Park & Recreation Office be contacted if anyone needs further assistance.

 

Ms. Liney stated the Park Board meeting for November has been rescheduled to Tuesday,

November 15th at 7:30 p.m. due to Election Day.  The meeting will be held in the Lower

Level - Conference Room C.

 

Ms. Liney thanked all the volunteers who contributed to the success of the 9-11

Memorial Service this past weekend at Memorial Park.  She stated Park and Recreation

was pleased to be a part of this special event which demonstrated the good will of the

Township pulling together to support the spirit of the community.

 

Ms. Liney stated the Township recently partnered with a production company to use the

Kids Kingdom playground on 8/16 for principal shooting of a short film that needed a

swing set setting.

 

Ms. Liney stated the Township continues with its excellent safety record at the

community playgrounds.  She noted information provided in the Board’s packet noting a

modification recommended by Delaware Valley Insurance Trust for the Kids Kingdom

fire pole piece, as a result of their review of an incident involving an 80 year-old, non-

resident in May, 2005.  The Township has responded to and implemented the

recommended modification.

 

Ms. Liney reported that the Pool had a fantastic year with record membership and

everyone enjoying the new addition of the dual slides.  She stated one again, due to the outstanding efforts of the staff, they had a very safe pool season.  Daily attendance averaged approximately 1500 members and guests, which is the highest number ever for a Pool season.  The Pool Budget was submitted to the Finance Department and should be

available for the October Park Board meeting.

 

Ms. Liney noted the Board received a copy of the initial draft of the Park & Recreation

Operating Budget for 2006 in their packet.  She stated this was put together based on

input and recommendations from a number of sources, including the Park Board,

Supervisors, user groups, and Township residents.  She stated they continue to do

everything to keep expenses at a minimum, yet continue with feasible improvements and

necessary repairs in the park system.  She stated utilization by the community continues to increase and they continue to receive positive feedback from those enjoying the

Township facilities.

 

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Mr. Smith asked the overall effect of the Pool guest passes, and Ms. Liney stated it was

positive.  It was noted further discussion of the guest passes is needed in the future

including the possibility of having an incentive tied to response to a survey.  Mr. Newbon

stated he also feels they need to revisit the family passes at a future meeting.

 

 

EAC REPORT

 

Ms. Bunn stated the EAC did not meet in August.  She noted this Saturday is the last

Hazardous Waste Collection this year and it will be held in Quakertown.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Carpenter seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:35 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        John Kuebler, Secretary