TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PARK & RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES – SEPTEMBER 26, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on September 26, 2006.  Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

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.

 

 

BLACK ROCK ROAD/CANAL AREA BIKEPATH DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Fritchey stated they have received communications from residents living in the

vicinity of Black Rock Road interested in discussing bikepaths. 

 

Ms. Amy Vandenberg, 53 Black Rock Road, Ms. Fran Leyenberger, 110 Eton,

Mr. John Sears, 8 Westover, and Ms. Mina White, 59 Rickert Drive, were present. 

Ms. Leyenberger stated they would like to know where the Master Plan for Black Rock Road stands at this point and if there is a Plan to complete the bikepath.  She stated with the towpath closed between Black Rock and Ferry Road, people are in the street with their bikes.  She stated there is also damage on the Canal in the north end of the Township so everyone is riding in the street.  She stated she feels the Township Pool and Macclesfield Park should be connected and there should be a way for people to get between the two. 

 

 

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 Glen Drive to the towpath.  The second piece was on

Black Rock Road west of the Canal.  He stated with regard to the first project there was a

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 Black Rock Road is a steep hill, but children and adults are using it currently.

 

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 Macclesfield Park is to either ride all the way into Yardley and come back from the towpath or ride to Ferry when the towpath was open.  She stated Black Rock Road is the only option now for most of the people in the area to get to Macclesfield Park.  She noted there is space along Black Rock Road where there is space along private property.  

 

Ms. Bunn stated when you come to Black Rock Road it narrows at the Canal and you

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

costly solution. 

 

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 Black Rock Road feel about this. 

Ms. Leyenberger stated the people she knows are in favor of this.

 

Mr. Sears stated he lives on Westover and Black Rock Road on the corner and has seen

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 Black Rock Road, and Mr. Fedorchak stated the

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

held.

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

the Permits. 

 

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 Holiday issue is emotional as the Jewish people feel it is a matter

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 Holiday but most the people he speaks to consider it a

one-day Holiday.  He stated usually one of the days fall on a weekend which is often a

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 Columbus weekend which basically takes away all the fields for

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

 

Holiday is not being respected; and it is hard to explain to their children why there are

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 Holiday, and they

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 Holiday and it was a mistake.  He stated they did consider rescheduling things but it was a logistical problem.  He stated given the fact that there is a second round of Try-Outs, they did not feel it would be too much of a concern.  He stated he assured the families that were concerned that despite the language in their literature which stated

“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

children. 

 

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 Levittown that says,

“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, 514 Southridge Circle, stated his initial interest in this was through YMS where he and his daughter are involved, and he would respectfully submit that getting involved is defined by what you are able to do.  He stated he tried to make people aware of this as soon as he was aware that there was a problem with the schedule.  He stated the concern is not just about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur but also about Easter and Christmas.  His concern is not to get enough games in but also the roles that YMS and PAA play in the Township and that they should respect each other.  He stated he did send out an e-mail to Mr. Deininger (YMS) and he did not accuse anyone of anything other than not looking at the calendar. 

 

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, 1393 Revere Road, stated he has been involved in both organizations. 

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

Easter. 

 

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

organization. 

 

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

some of Macclesfield Park.  He stated one of the recommendations includes using

Macclesfield Park as a detention basin; and while they have not agreed on this yet, a

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

built, Macclesfield Park could be used for baseball and they will be able to have more

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

October.

 

 

 

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, 234 Emerald Drive, asked if Mr. Caiola is discussing allocation or

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 Lower Makefield

Township’s Ordinance requires recycling at community events attended by more than

200.  Containers are targeted for Macclesfield Park, the Pool, and the Community

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 Garden of Reflection in Memorial Park, and a number

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

system. 

 

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.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Patricia Bunn, Secretary