Park and Recreation Commission

Regular meeting:  Monday, August 14, 2000 at the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.


Meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.


By roll call, members present:  John Walsh, Beverly Moran, Al Felice, David Mikos, Matthew Cripps and Karen Izzo.


Parks and Recreation Director Dennis OíConnell was present.  Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent.



There were no changes to the agenda.


Public portion:

Glenn Stevens of 9 Mountain Street and Diane Rivers of 124 Park Avenue were present this evening to express their concerns for the conditions of the soccer fields and the need for new fields due to the increasing numbers of participants in the Youth Soccer program.  Mr. Stevens noted an incident where a girlís softball group arrived at the field while the Youth Soccer program was having a game and this group insisted that they were scheduled.  Concern as to balls being hit into the field was expressed.  Another issue arose with Menís softball with them warming up and hitting balls into the field.  Mr. Stevens understood the limited number of fields and the difficulties in scheduling but felt safety for all the players must be considered and a solution found.  He noted that grant money is available for soccer programs and he asked that this be explored.  He indicated that the US Soccer Federation website has information on grant funding and on many communities developing facilities  He urged members to visit their site.


Mrs. Rivers spoke to issues she had with the field conditions.  She expressed concern for her children and the other children playing on fields with ruts and bare spots.  Being that the High School will also be utilizing this field more this year, as their program is expanding, the wear on the field will also intensify.  She also noted that a menís soccer team has been playing on Friday nights and with their intensity of play, they have a strong impact on the field.  Conditions now are serious and she asked if something temporary could be done.


Members discussed the impact of the referendum defeat and the steps to move forward.  The proposed plan showed the urgent need for additional fields and remedy to the situation.  Being that the issues still exist there is a need to pursue alternatives.  They felt that any temporary measures could not withstand the continuing use.  The field would need to be unused for a number of months for any repairs to take hold.


It was noted that scheduling has been done this year to try to avoid overlaps and the matter of the girlís softball playing was not an authorized event.  Further, soccer has been given more field time.  The block of time was given and the Soccer director determined the teamís schedules.  The matter of an adult team playing on Friday nights was set by the soccer program within this block of time.


No one else came forward to speak.


Approval of minutes:

A motion was made by David Mikos and second by Karen Izzo.  Move to accept the minutes of the meeting held on July 10, 2000.  All in favor.  Motion carried.



A phone call was received by Mr. O'Connell from Laurel VicDomino.  She requested use of the football field by the Seymour High School football team as their field is being renovated.  The game would be played on October 28, 2000 at 2:00 p.m.


A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Matthew Cripps.  Move that the Parks & Recreation Commission is in favor of allowing the Seymour High School football team the use of DeFilippo field on October 28, 2000 with it stipulated that there is no scheduling conflict with Derby sponsored events, that Derby has final say on calling the game due to weather and further, that the Board of Alderman shall be approached for their formal approval.


Discussion on the motion.  Members questioned whether there would be a scheduling conflict and it did not appear to be a conflict.  Mr. O'Connell did indicate that it should be Derbyís decision, not the Seymour coaches, whether the game is or is not played if weather conditions are poor that day.  Questioning the conditions of the field, Pop Warnerís regular season would be over prior to this game.  Pop Warner does plan to use the field on October 25, 2000 for a play-off game, schedule permitting.  Derbyís programs would be winding down.  Depending on the fall weather, it was uncertain how worn the field would be or whether this Seymour game would have serious impact.  Continuing, it was noted that being that this would be an outside use not related to Parks & Recreation, the Board of Alderman should be approached for approval.  Members felt that being that Derby has plans for renovations some time in the future, this would be a good gesture that would hopefully be reciprocated.  It was understood that Seymour would carry insurance should any injuries occur.


All in favor.  Motion carried.



Parks & Recreation Directorís Report:  Mr. O'Connell reported that Pop Warner has started practice.  Their registration went well.  Members briefly discussed the National requirements for numbers of players, weight ranges, etc. and how this impacts Derbyís program.  It was suggested that, during budget reviews next year, the Commission have further discussions with the Pop Warner directors.


The Summer program is over.  The numbers were down.  Poor weather over the summer made things a bit difficult.  Next year, the Community Center may be utilized more fully for this program.  This year, the summer program did use the Center for swim time.


The Shelton Boys & Girls Club did receive funding from the Mathies Foundation to open a satellite site at the Center.  This will be an afternoon program with Derby being reimbursed for use of the facility.


Mr. O'Connell indicated that he has been receiving revenue from memberships and walk-in fees at the Center since July and he felt this a positive note.  He will be structuring new programs which should add to the facility.


There was an incident at the Center where a pipe to the filter pump for the pool malfunctioned causing water to flood portions of the building.  This was discovered late in the evening and he and maintenance personnel came in and shut down the system.  The weekend was spent cleaning up and drying out.  It was thought that the rug in the health club was destroyed but drying and sanitizing may have saved it.  Any damage will be covered by the Cityís insurance carrier with a deductible.  At this point it appears the damage costs will be minimal.


The issue of the whirlpool continues.  The unit continues to breakdown and repeated service is required.  A long-term solution is being explored as the service costs are escalating.


It was asked if there are plans for the annual summer shutdown of the Center.  Mr. O'Connell felt it was not necessary at this time.  It could be explored for later in the year but with new memberships starting, he felt it was best to remain open.


Athletic Directorís Report:  Mr. Marcucio was not present.


While the fall schedule has been prepared, copies have not been distributed to the Commission.  Members were concerned with the lack of intercommunication and attendance.  They felt that, at the very least, a representative from the Athletic Department should come prior to the start of each season to apprise the Commission of upcoming plans.  It was decided that the Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education be contacted to request that representation be present at these meetings at least on a quarterly basis.  Being that the school schedule and the recreation schedule intermingle, it was paramount that information is relayed to the necessary parties.


A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Karen Izzo.  Move that a letter be sent to the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools requesting that advance notice of athletic scheduling be communicated to this Commission and requesting the attendance of the Athletic Director, or his representative, to a Parks & Recreation Commission monthly meeting occur prior to the start of each season.  All in favor.  Motion carried.


Committee Reports:

Veteranís Center Committee - Mr. O'Connell reported under his directorís report.  The Committee will be meeting to discuss the maintenance issues as well as new plans for the Center.  Members discussed possibly focusing the Recreation Department within the Community Center.  Office area and phone messaging could be directed to the facility.  This will also be explored.


Youth Advisory Council - Ms. Izzo indicated that plans for a meeting are being discussed.  The various programs are being contacted for representation on the Council.



The matter regarding safety as discussed during the public portion was revisited.  Members felt that this was an important issue that required further discussion.  The liability to the City had to be a consideration.  Exploring additional fields is a necessity.  Being that the current fields are greatly overused, difficult decisions may be needed such as reducing the use to allow for more maintenance.  Another decision may be that the programs have to be restricted to one season rather than two such as what Soccer and Little League have done.  The school programs have expanded which have also been an impact.  It was decided to add this discussion to next monthís meeting with Mr. Gary Parker, Public Works Director, invited to attend.


The next meeting will be Monday, September 11, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.  If the Aldermanic Chambers are unavailable then the Veteranís room will be requested.


A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Matthew Cripps.   Move to adjourn this meeting at 8:50 p.m.  All in favor.  Motion carried.


Respectfully prepared,


Karen Kemmesies, secretary


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