Special meeting: Thursday, October 12, 2000 at the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall. The meeting was changed from the regular second Monday of the month as Columbus Day was observed on Monday and City Hall was closed.
Meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m.
By roll call, members present: John Walsh, David Mikos, Beverly Moran and Karen Izzo. Matthew Cripps and Al Felice were excused.
Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell was present. Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent. Also, Alderman Michael Kelleher and Alderman Robert Gabianelli were present.
ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA:
There were no changes to the agenda and without objection, the agenda was accepted.
Alderman Kelleher reserved time to speak during the discussion on the additional field needs.
No one else came forward to speak.
Approval of minutes:
A motion was made by David Mikos and seconded by Karen Izzo. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting held on September 11, 2000. All in favor. Motion carried.
Nothing was presented.
Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell reported that Biddy Basketball registration is nearly complete with approximately 170 participants. There are three divisions, the senior division for ages 11-14; the junior division for ages 9-10 and the instructional for 6-8 year olds.
Girls basketball registration is progressing with 60 participants registered for the upcoming season. Playing with the Ansonia girl’s program is being explored.
A boys basketball league for fifth and sixth graders is being started. The new program will run on weekend afternoons at the Community Center and will be self-supporting with funds from registration and sponsorships.
The After Hours program at Irving School has not begun as of yet. Last year, the program ran only one half of the year and it was expected that information would be forthcoming as the winter season approaches.
With funds from the Ryan Field capital account, bathrooms in the field house are being improved. The six stalls in the women’s section are being replaced and four units plus one handicapped are being installed. Other projects being explored are the drainage issues behind the girl’s softball field and also the matter of the lighting wiring is being considered. Considering that discussion continues on the long term plan for the fields, these projects may be put on hold until a clearer picture of the plan is in place.
Mr. O'Connell noted that the Capital Planning Commission is meeting on October 25, 2000 and has asked for an update on the projects already funded. It was noted that the funds for the Amendola field bathrooms have yet to be transferred from the Ryan Fieldhouse improvements line item under LoCIP funds in the City’s budget. Members felt that the bathrooms were an urgent need and should be pursued fervently.
It was noted that the Booster Club and Pop Warner have declined the concession stand for the Seymour game and as such, Seymour will utilize the space and retain the proceeds.
Members noted that the football field at Ryan is showing wear due to the number of games being played this year. Weather, thankfully, has been favorable otherwise conditions could certainly be worse.
Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present.
Veteran’s Center Committee - A meeting has been scheduled for October 14, 2000 at 8:30 a.m. at the Community Center. Mr. O'Connell indicated that the center is proceeding very well. The whirlpool is not functional at this time and the committee will be reviewing necessary steps in which to proceed. The pool requires certification as per Valley Health requirements and this is being accomplished. Retaining lifeguards is an chronic issue and constant recruitment is ongoing.
Mr. O'Connell noted that on Columbus Day, the Center ran on a half day schedule. The committee will review the upcoming holidays and determine the hours of operation. Members felt that advance notification of closings would satisfy the daily users of the facility and this will also be discussed for proper publication.
A number of vendors reviewed the ventilation system in the locker rooms and a vendor was selected. Work should commence shortly.
Youth Advisory Council - A meeting has been tentatively set for October 30, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. at the Little League fieldhouse.
NEW or OTHER BUSINESS:
Discussion of need for additional fields - Chairman Walsh noted that he attended the Neighborhood Committee of the Board of Alderman last week. The need for soccer fields was discussed with many concerned citizens present.
Chairman Walsh opened the floor for public comment on this issue.
Laura Harris of 501 Roosevelt Drive expressed her concerns on the soccer field at Bradley. She stated that repeatedly, the fields are not lined for games. Also, the conditions were a serious safety concern. She noted rocks that were dug out of the goal areas by the coaches to prevent the goalies from potential injury. She felt insufficient effort and time were being utilized to maintain the field. The current schedule of work does not address the apparent need. If it is a matter of limited staff, then she felt the City should explore increasing the workforce so as to properly maintain the area.
Mr. O'Connell noted that Public Works staff is scheduled five days a week at the fields. The lines are prepared on Thursdays at Bradley.
Mark Guliano of Harold Avenue noted that the picnic grove has always been a rocky area. Sodding the areas seems to be the best temporary solution but he questioned whether it was a feasible solution. He stated that the City must address the need for additional fields. If not addressed in the near future, the costs will only escalate and be more difficult fund. With all the new businesses opening in town and with the ever increasing interest in soccer, the City must come up with some type of solution.
Discussion ensued on the referendum results of the recreation plan. Many thought that the pairing with the school question was a great obstacle. The plan expanded from the original request for additional soccer fields and this greater scope was overwhelming. It was pointed out that not only soccer has needs but the plan clearly identified the deficiencies in the other programs in terms of space and field conditions. Alderman Kelleher noted that the results of the vote showed that residents, both involved and not involved in the city’s sports program, voted against the plan. All present were in agreement that the needs remain and must be addressed through an alternative plan.
A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Karen Izzo. Move to enter into executive session at 8:02 p.m. for the purpose of discussion of potential City use of private land for recreation with Mr. O'Connell, Alderman Kelleher and Alderman Gabianelli invited to attend. All in favor. Motion carried.
Members came out of executive session and a motion was made by Beverly Moran and seconded by Karen Izzo. Move to adjourn this meeting at 9:12 p.m. All in favor. Motion carried.
The next meeting will be Monday, November 13, 2000 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.
Karen Kemmesies, secretary
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