PARK & RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES – SEPTEMBER 26, 2006
The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of
Park & Recreation Board: David Fritchey, Chairman
Henry Carpenter, Vice Chairman
Patricia Bunn, Secretary
David Gordon, Member
Richard Jutkiewicz, Member
Francis McDonald, Member
Others: Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
Donna Liney, Recreation Director
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Absent: Andrew Newbon, Member
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Gordon moved, Ms. Bunn seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of June 13, 2006 as written.
Mr. Fritchey stated they have received communications from residents living in the
Ms. Amy Vandenberg,
Mr. John Sears, 8 Westover, and Ms. Mina White,
Ms. Leyenberger stated they would like to know where the
Master Plan for
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board - page 2 of 10
Mr. Fedorchak stated this was discussed some years ago and there were two possible
projects. He stated one was a small section of bikepath running on the east side of the
Canal which would have connected
problem due to the right-of-way issue as a right-of-way was necessary from the
American Water Company, and there were difficulties securing this from them. In the
case of the piece west of the towpath, there were concerns expressed by those involved in
the decision-making process at that time as to whether they would be creating a safer
place for people to bicycle or would they be creating something that would be unsafe
because of the hill and riding down the path at an unsafe rate of speed and traveling too
fast to get to the towpath area.
Mr. Fritchey stated he feels there was also neighborhood opposition to this and those who
came to the meetings voiced concerns over having people coming down that grade at
very high rates of speed. He stated he also feels there was an eminent domain issue and
they may have had to take peoples’ properties and residents would have lost trees, etc.
He stated their sense was that the neighborhood consensus was very negative.
Mr. Fedorchak stated he is not sure they got that far along in the design process, but he
does recall that there was not a clear mandate from the neighborhood to proceed with the
process. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels there was a clear mandate not to do it.
Ms. Leyenberger stated she agrees that
Ms. Vandenberg stated it is very dangerous as it is now. She stated people are walking
there as well and it is a safety concern with regard to oncoming traffic. She stated that
section of the Township is isolated from other parts of the Township.
Ms. Leyenberger stated it is a very busy road and people are
using it now as their route. She stated
the only way for people to get to
Ms. Bunn stated when you come to
have to go into the roadway. She stated she is aware of people who have hit the
telephone pole in that area. She stated if they did install a bikepath, it would be a very
Ms. Leyenberger asked what they could do as a community to apply for Grants, etc.
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 3 of 10
Mr. Fedorchak asked what the residents along
Ms. Leyenberger stated the people she knows are in favor of this.
Mr. Sears stated he lives on Westover and
accidents happen with automobiles coming down the hill. Ms. Ann Sears stated someone
did hit their retaining wall, went airborne and was on the bridge in the middle of the
Canal. She stated there are many near misses.
Ms. Leyenberger asked if they could lower the speed limit. Mr. Sears stated he feels the hill gives the okay to go faster. Ms. Leyenberger stated a Police Officer could also be parked at the end of the hill to discourage people from driving too fast.
Mr. Caiola stated when you come down the hill, unless you are riding the brakes, you do
exceed the speed limit. He stated there is now a Citizens Traffic Committee, and he feels
they should be provided this information so they can look at this part of the Township.
He stated they did discuss altering the grading when they were discussing the flooding.
Ms. Vandenberg stated generally where there are bikepaths there is a dotted line, and she
does not know what width a bikepath should be. She stated she would like to see a four
foot shoulder with pavement which she does not feel would be detrimental to any of the
homeowners. She stated if this were paved and there were lines, she does not feel it
would be onerous.
Mr. Jutkiewicz stated he was previously a member of a bicycle advocacy group, and there
are problems when you call a sidewalk a bikepath because recreational cyclists who
might use it could then have accidents with pedestrians. He stated avid cyclists do have a
right to the road as much as does a car. He stated there are issues with the Department of
Transportation as to how wide a bikepath should be.
Mr. Gordon asked who is responsible for
Township did take this over from the State other than the Bridge by the Canal which is
still State property.
Mr. Carpenter stated he feels this is more of a traffic issue than a bikepath issue.
Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels the Citizens Traffic Commission should look into this as
there are a number of different issues. Mr. Caiola stated when the engineer looks at this,
they may also look into the bikepath as well.
Ms. Leyenberger asked if they should attend any further meetings or try to help apply for
Grants, etc. Mr. Fedorchak suggested that they attend one of the Citizens Traffic
Commission meetings, and he will provide information as to when their meeting will be
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 4 of 10
DISCUSSION OF SCHEDULING SPORTS ACTIVITIES ON ROSH HASHANAH AND YOM KIPPUR
Mr. Fritchey stated this matter was placed on the Agenda at the request of Mr. Gordon.
Mr. Gordon stated everyone should understand the role of the Park & Recreation Board
noting that they cannot and will not dictate to the Clubs when they schedule events as this
is not within their authority. He stated the Township fields are open 365 days a year and
the user groups, which have Permits to use them, can use them any time they wish within
Mr. Gordon stated a number of residents have contacted him about concerns they had
with the scheduling of several events on Rosh Hashanah this year. He stated he felt it
would be a good idea to have a forum where some of the user groups and residents could
come to address the issue and have a common understanding about the position the user
groups are in and the position the Jewish residents feel they are in. He stated he feels
much has already been accomplished in that this has already been discussed among
members of PAA and YMS. He feels much of this has already been resolved. He
thanked everyone on behalf of the Board who volunteers for the successful recreation
programs in the Township.
Mr. Gordon stated the
of respect. He stated the Jewish High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur –
always fall ten days apart and fall on different days of the week every year because the
Jewish calendar falls on different days. He stated some more religious Jews consider
Rosh Hashanah to be a two-day
Saturday and often Saturday is the main scheduling day for in-house sporting events.
Mr. Gordon stated the Clubs are trying to get in a lot of programming in between Labor
Day and Thanksgiving. He stated all the programs have expanded, there are full agendas,
and they want to give as much to the children as possible. He stated YMS also has a
large Tournament on
baseball and soccer so this takes away a weekend. He stated when one of the Jewish
Holidays falls on a Saturday, this adds to the pressure. He stated this is where the
balancing test comes into play. He stated if one of the Holidays falls on a School Day,
the Pennsbury Schools are closed although the Township Buildings are open.
Mr. Gordon stated in speaking to his Jewish friends, most of them feel the Jewish
community has grown to the point that for the things the Clubs can control, which is the
Intramural scheduling and Travel Try-Outs, if one of those falls on a Saturday or Sunday
and is one of the High Holy Days, it would be respectful to the Jewish community that
they try to schedule around that because their children feel left out and feel that their
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 5 of 10
events such as Intramural Soccer Games and Travel Try-Outs going on during their High
Holy Day. He stated there is an understanding that the Clubs do not control the Travel
Schedules and there are things beyond their control; but for the most part, things that can
be controlled within the Clubs if one of those High Holy Days falls on a Saturday or
Sunday it would be appreciated if the schedules could be re-arranged.
Mr. Gordon stated he did make a presentation at the YMS General Meeting last Saturday
and also reviewed some of the history of the Club when he was an Intramural Director,
there was scheduling around those Holidays. He stated Jim Tragone also scheduled
around the Holidays when he was an Intramural Director. He stated he feels YMS has
agreed that next year when Yom Kippur falls on a Saturday, there will not be any
Intramural play scheduled. He stated he has discussed this with Greg Mauro, and
PAA is looking into this as well.
Mr. Mark Cook, President of PAA, and Mr. Greg Mauro, Vice President of PAA, were
present. Mr. Cook
stated in the past they have scheduled around the
apologize for his happening this year and it was clearly a mistake.
Mr. Mauro stated he is in charge of all baseball operations and has set the PAA calendar
for the last five years. He stated this year it included allotting time slots and scheduling
games and practices for 97 teams on 23 different fields. They also had 17 teams and five
fields for the fall and they have to schedule around soccer tournaments and other events.
He stated they also share field resources with other organizations. He stated they also
allocate space for Travel League schedules over which they have no control. He stated
they try to get all of this in and maximize the season. He noted the numerous events that
people have which conflict with the schedule such as First Communions, chorus, hockey
try-outs, concerts, plays, etc. He stated sometime they are unable to get a team on the
field, and they must postpone. He stated PAA is concerned about maximizing the
experience for the children and their goal is to try to get in as many games as they can
between Labor Day and Halloween after which is it too chilly to play.
Mr. Mauro stated he admits that he made a mistake this year when he put the calendar
together this fall.
He stated he did schedule games for September 24 which is the second day
of Rosh Hashanah. He did avoid the other
Holidays. He stated his wife is Jewish
and they are raising their children Jewish and he made a mistake. His intention was to avoid the
“Participation at both days was strongly recommended,” that this would not be a problem
if they only came to one of the sessions. He stated they also discussed this at their
monthly meeting. He stated it is PAA’s intent to avoid the High Holidays, and this will
not happen again.
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 6 of 10
Mr. Mauro asked that the participants put this in perspective. He stated he was very
upset about some of the language in the e-mails which were circulated. He stated this
may be one of the reasons why it is hard to get volunteers because people do not want to
be the subject of constant criticism. He stated the volunteers are devoted individuals who
spend a lot of time on this and want to provide a safe and positive experience for the
Mr. Gordon stated the volunteers do a great job. He stated Mr. Mauro is a personal
friend and he feels no one gives more to the community than he does. He stated everyone
on the Board appreciates all that the volunteers do.
Mr. Cook stated in the future they would ask that if anyone has a concern, that they
contact the organization as he feels they could have cleared up this issue at a much lower
level. He stated they apologize to the Township and to the Jewish community.
Mr. Mauro stated there is wording on a dug-out in
“Don’t Complain – Get Involved.”
Ms. Nina Mauro stated she feels the word should be put out that there is a monthly PAA
meeting and if anyone has any concern with PAA, they can voice their opinion to them.
Mr. Jason Simon,
Mr. Mike Rowan, YMS, stated they agree that they made a mistake and in the future they
will try to respect all religions. He stated if anyone has a problem, they would ask that
they be contacted, and they will try to handle it.
Mr. Mitch Gray,
He thanked Mr. Gordon for including this on the Agenda. He noted the YMS schedule did not come out in time to provide notice that there might have been a problem. He stated when he saw the schedule, he felt this would just be a game that his child would miss. He stated when it was brought to his attention by others, he realized he should have said something, and he did then make his thoughts heard to raise public awareness and that this should be a consideration. Mr. Gray asked about the Permits issued, and
Mr. Gordon stated they are Permitted from August until November when the season ends.
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 7 of 10
Mr. Gray asked that when the groups apply for Permits, that the Township make a
statement about being sensitive to the community.
Mr. Fritchey stated there is a Policy Statement about user groups and the General
Recreation Policies of the Township. He stated they indicate that the Township facilities
are to be used in a non-discriminatory fashion and user groups need to follow this in
order to be sanctioned. He stated if they found that PAA indicated that they would not let
certain people play in their League because of their religions preferences, they would not
be sanctioned. He stated they cannot tell people that they must observe religious holidays
because it would constitute a violation of the First Amendment.
Ms. Mauro stated she feels the awareness has just occurred and this was just a
misunderstanding this year.
Mr. Gray asked if there could be something more specific about these two dates.
Ms. Mauro stated there is nothing that states that they cannot play on Christmas or
Mr. Gordon stated it must be handled on a Club-by-Club basis.
Mr. Gray stated once the Club is aware that there is a mistake it would be in their best
interest to try to advise the people involved that they are sorry about this and that it will
not happen again. He does not feel this has yet occurred.
Mr. Gordon stated he feels the Clubs being present and the statements that have been
made have accomplished this. He stated the information must be passed down.
Mr. Gordon stated he feels Mr. Gray’s concern is that there must be something that
memorializes this, and he feels this must be done on a Club basis and not by the
Township. He stated for the past several years at YMS there has been a Jewish President
and the Girls Intramural Director was Jewish as was he himself very involved. This year
none of those three people were involved in YMS. He stated there was no bad intent, it
was just that no one was thinking about it.
Mr. Gray stated he does not feel there has been a sufficient apology. Mr. Carpenter
stated it just happened at the meeting and they have apologized. He stated everyone who
was interested enough to be present at the meeting has heard the apology. He stated this
is also in the Minutes and they can see them on-line. Mr. Fritchey stated those present
can also help spread the word.
Mr. Simon stated he feels the Township should attach a list of major holidays when the
permits are issued. He stated he does not want this issue to come back again in the future
when there are different people involved.
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 8 of 10
Mr. Fritchey stated he would prefer to rely on the organizations who have been running
these programs for years. He stated this was an honest mistake made by people who
overlooked something they should have been aware of. He stated there are also people in
the organization who could help them remember these dates in the future. He stated he
does not feel the Township should be involved with attaching letters asking that they
remember certain holidays as it may then include all of those who have other beliefs,
holidays, etc. He stated they need to have some trust in the people who rise up every year
and volunteer and act in a spirit of good will and are not discriminatory, malicious, or
bigots. He stated they are trying to do the best they can and like all human beings
occasionally they make a mistake. He stated these are decent people who have proved
themselves for many years as have their predecessors.
Mr. Cook stated he feels he and Mr. Morrow could put together a formal apology on the
Website. He stated it would not be possible to send letters out to the 1500 people in their
Mr. Simon stated he did contact Mr. Deininger two weeks ago and there was a Board
meeting the next night. Mr. Simon suggested that there be an e-mail to the Coaches so
they could have contact with their parents and he never heard anything further. He stated
if there is a rain out, they can accommodate a tenth game. He stated the reason they are
asking for consideration by the Park & Recreation Board is so that there is some kind of
continuing visibility on this not because they do not feel these are good people, but
because of the ongoing importance of educating people. He stated at some point, there
will be different people involved and it could happen again.
SUPERVISOR LIAISON REPORT
Mr. Caiola stated a study was done as to how to resolve the flooding, and it does impact
number of residents are actively involved in discussing this situation.
Mr. Caiola stated his son does play fall ball for Babe Ruth and there are some concerns
that they are playing eleven games only four of which are home games. He stated he
agrees that fall is usually a soccer month, but he would hope that after other parks are
home games. Mr. Fritchey stated if they proceed with Snipes, he feels this should relieve
some of the pressure. He feels they will discuss this when they consider the Budget in
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 9 of 10
Mr. Caiola thanked Ms. Liney and the other people involved who did an incredible job
with Community Pride Day.
Ms. Tracy Thomas,
adding more fields. Mr. Caiola stated there is only one baseball field for Babe Ruth, and
there are a number of teams playing on that one field. He hopes that next year they will
add more fields and eventually another baseball field in the future. Ms. Thomas stated
there are issues within PAA between Intramural and Travel as well.
Mr. Caiola stated he will discuss with Mr. Santarsiero, the Citizens Traffic Advisory
Board liaison, the issues concerning the bikepath discussed this evening and will suggest
that Ms. Leyenberger attend that meeting as well.
Mr. Jutkiewicz asked about the Golf Course, and Mr. Caiola stated the last time he
discussed this with Mr. Stainthorpe he indicated that they are doing well. Mr. Fedorchak
stated this has been a very good year for the Golf Course, and they have been meeting
Budget. Each month they have exceeded gross revenues compared to last year. He noted
this is a weather-driven activity. He stated the product they have is truly exceptional for
the target population. He stated he has been paired up with some very good golfers who
were on the Course for the first time; and at the end of 18 holes, they indicated they felt it
was a great course and they would return. He stated this is the end result of a lot of hard
work done by a number of people over the years. Mr. Jutkiewicz stated he feels Kemper
Sports is doing a great job with marketing as well.
RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Ms. Liney reported that the recent Community Pride Day held by the Township was a
huge success, and Park & Recreation was happy to be part of it. She thanked all the
volunteers and sponsors who contributed to the event adding that Lower Makefield
Football, the Park Board, Pennsbury Athletic Association, Yardley Makefield Soccer,
and the Pennsbury Regional Basketball League did a great job hosting games and
activities during the day. She stated their involvement in turn spurred the involvement of
their members contributing to an attendance estimated to be over 7,000.
Ms. Liney stated the Township Manager is working with the EAC on a Grant Application
for purchasing new recycling containers that would be clearly marked and designed to
limit their use for trash disposal in the Park system. She noted that
Township’s Ordinance requires recycling at community events attended by more than
200. Containers are
baseball and softball complexes.
September 26, 2006 Park & Recreation Board – page 10 of 10
Ms. Liney stated Permits for fall field usage have been issued; and in order to minimize
confusion in the Parks, the Township requests that the organizations adhere to authorized
fields and times.
Ms. Liney stated the initial Draft of the 2007 Park & Recreation Budget is under review
by the Finance Department. Commitments for debt service obligations as well as larger
scale maintenance projects such as resurfacing tennis courts and replacing aged lights
systems are proposed in this Preliminary Draft. Also included are monies for the
operation and maintenance of the
of special community events which the Board of Supervisors would like to offer such as
Community Pride Day, Halloween Happening, Chair Charity Dinner, and Open Aire
movie. The Township is continuing to do everything possible to keep expenses at a
minimum yet continue with feasible improvements and necessary repairs in the Park
Ms. Liney stated the Park Board did recommend last year that if it was fiscally possible,
funds should be allocated in the Budget for another Phase at Memorial Park. This next
portion would include construction of the play area, skinned softball field with backstop
fence only, and an adjacent paved parking area for 58 vehicles. The estimate for this was
$250,000. The Park Board also recommended Phase I for the Snipes Tract, which
included a paved entry road, approximately 130 paved parking spaces, two full-size fields
(110y by 75y) and two mid-size fields (80y by 50y). This capital improvement is
estimated at $1.2 million. While ultimately they were not able to include funding in 2006
for those projects, echoing the requests for increased space made this evening, she would
ask if the Park Board would be interested recommending this again for 2007.
Ms. Liney stated she anticipate having the Preliminary Park & Recreation Budget as well
as the Pool Budget available for the Park Board to review in October.
It was the consensus of the Park Board that they would be in favor of recommending these projects be included in the 2007 Budget.
There being no further business, Ms. Bunn moved, Mr. McDonald seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m.
Patricia Bunn, Secretary