Park and Recreation Commission
Regular meeting: Monday, March 11, 2002 in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.
Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Al Felice, Beverly Moran, Matt Cripps, Karen Izzo and Edward Handi. David Mikos was excused.
Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell was present. Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent.
No one was present and the public portion was closed.
NEW or OTHER BUSINESS:
Election of Officers:
A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Al Felice. Move to nominate John Walsh as chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Motion carried with Mr. Walsh abstaining.
No other nominations were received. The floor was closed. Members congratulated Mr. Walsh and commended him on his continuing efforts for recreation in the City.
Proposal for a skate park
Chairman Walsh explained that residents seeking a skate park approached the Neighborhood Committee of the Board of Alderman. In the long-range master plan for recreation, a skate park was proposed at the High School in the area of the lower parking lot that is just below the Little League field. This location was mentioned to the Committee and the recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Alderman. The Board of Alderman voted to approve the concept and referred the implementation of the park to the Parks & Recreation Commission.
A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Beverly Moran. Move to endorse the recommendation of a skate park in the parking area off of Nutmeg Avenue as per the long-range plan for recreation.
Discussion on the motion. It was felt that parking may be impacted slightly, at least in the short term. Mr. O'Connell noted that if additional soccer fields are built, other programs could be shifted to other fields thus reducing the parking needs at a particular field. He noted that if the new fields were created, a number of opportunities would open for the other programs. Little League could shift the T-ball players to the back diamonds at Bradley School. Currently they practice in the strip of land between the two diamonds at the Little League. Also, Pop Warner may shift a couple of teams to the now soccer field at Bradley School. Currently, they practice two teams at the picnic grove and three teams up at the Little League. Chairman Walsh noted that the jurisdiction of the parking area needs to be established, it was uncertain whether it may fall under Board of Education control. The funding for the project would have to be found, either through grants, contributions or City funds not specific to the Recreation current budget. Members discussed how Seymour oversees their park. Mr. O'Connell felt that staff would have to be hired to manage the facility. The park area would have to be fenced in and hours of use must be defined. The necessary fees to support the program would have to be determined. Members felt that the details would have to be further refined. The motion this evening being the endorsement of the concept.
Motion carried unanimously.
approval of minutes:
A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Beverly Moran. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on February 11, 2002. Motion carried unanimously.
Verbal communication was received. A bikeathon is scheduled for June 1st and 2nd with a rain date of June 9th. The event is for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and will be held at Ryan Field.
Parks & Recreation Director’s Report:
Registration of the spring programs is progressing. The Little League has registered approximately 175 participants. Girl’s softball has about 100 girls. The numbers for soccer have not been received yet. Babe Ruth will begin registration next week.
Basketball is finished. End of season parties/banquets of the leagues will be held at the Center.
Projects anticipated for the spring are being investigated. Mr. O’Connell has been discussing plans with the Public Works director. They have looked into bleachers at the softball field. They are reviewing the concerns at the field regarding the drainage issues and the moving back of the backstop. Because of the steep slope of the bank, the placement and access to any bleachers must be determined in a safe way.
The wrestling program has been scheduled. They will hold sessions on Wednesday and Friday nights. The mats will be brought down from the High School. John Bogart and Jeff Collins have been coordinating the program with Mr. O’Connell.
An AAU basketball team will be renting the facility on Tuesday nights. Corporate gym time is reserved for Thursday nights. Monday is the only night currently free and there is interest in creating a volleyball league.
At the Center, funds remain in the capital line item and the purchase of lockers is being researched. Also, the cost of replacing the gym door on the Olivia Street side is being investigated. The style would be similar to the door at the main entrance at City Hall.
Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present this evening.
Budget Committee – The proposed budget for 2002-2003 was presented. Increases in salaries were proposed. They will have to be presented to the Board of Alderman for approval. The Commission suggested that Mr. O'Connell’s yearly stipend should be increased to $11,500. The recommendation for a raise will be presented to the Board of Alderman for consideration along with the other increases. It was noted that although the current budget shows a yearly salary of $11,000 for the Parks & Recreation director, Mr. O'Connell is actually only receiving $10,000 as the prior proposed increase, which was suggested when the Center was added to his duties, was not addressed by the Board of Alderman. Other increases include the supervisors going from $14/hr to $15/hr and the number of hours weekly was increased from 60 to 63. Lifeguards were raised to $9/hr. Attendants were raised to $8/hr. Building maintenance staff would be raised to $11/hr. The playground staff includes six supervisors at $5/hr for the six-week program. The director of the playground program would receive $900. Regarding the programs, there were small increases in some of the programs to cover gym rental costs. Also, wrestling was added. There was a small increase in building and field supplies. Members asked if additional funds are being requested to address field maintenance issues. Last year, funds were requested but not allocated by the Board of Apportionment and Taxation. It was noted that the lights at the football field have yet to be addressed. Fences at a number of fields need repair. The tennis courts at Bradley need resealing. While Public Works does perform many of the maintenance matters, it was thought that the additional funding would be advantageous so that the Parks & Recreation Commission could also pursue outside contractors, when necessary. It was suggested that just like there is a special line item for Ryan Field maintenance under the capital accounts, there should be a line item for Bradley School capital. Mr. O'Connell noted that this separation was done a number of years ago but was then merged into the general maintenance items. With additional fields being considered, it was felt that the manner in which maintenance is done, should be reviewed.
Mr. O'Connell noted that the boiler has been replaced. He approached the Board of Apportionment and Taxation and a portion of the expense, $2,000, was spent from the Derby Veteran's Community Center capital account with the remainder being allocated from the special working balance of the general fund. Ms. Moran felt that the boiler was a building expense that should have been fully paid from the City Hall maintenance account rather than the Parks & Recreation capital funding which should be spent specifically on center needs.
A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Matt Cripps. Move to adopt the Parks & Recreation budget for 2002-2003 in the amount of $226,820, which includes the department budget as well as the Misc. Capital line items in the budget; with the Budget Committee further defining capital needs. Motion carried unanimously.
Programs Committee – A meeting was held on February 25th. There was poor attendance. Finance reports were requested from all the programs so as to assist in the budget preparation. Having a clinic on first aid was considered. The pursuit of two soccer fields was discussed and those in attendance did feel that the additional fields would benefit not only soccer but also all recreational programs because of the additional space. The question arose about the need for storage at Ryan Field and the LoCIP project was seen as very beneficial and something that needed to be done as soon as possible.
Commission members discussed the recent incidents in Ansonia regarding coaching staff and the possible consideration of reviewing coaching qualification standards. Mr. O'Connell was confident with the current volunteers. It was felt that this discussion could be entertained at a future Programs Committee meeting.
Facilities Committee – The Recreational Site Assessment Committee, the sub-committee appointed by the Board of Alderman, made their recommendation to the Neighborhood Committee. Mr. Felice reported that the Committee recommended the Hitchcock Farm and Witek Park, with Witek Park being the preferred site. The Neighborhood Committee accepted the recommendation and deferred action until their March 20th meeting. He noted that there was much discussion over the chosen sites and he felt the Parks & Recreation Commission should continue to work with the Open Space Commission and the Derby Inland Wetlands Agency to bring the project to thoughtful fruition.
A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Matt Cripps. Move to support the preferred selected site of Witek Park as the location for two multi-purpose fields.
Discussion on the motion. Ms. Moran noted the need for fields but expressed concern for environmental issues regarding Witek Park. Ms. Izzo indicated that she has received calls in support of Witek Park. Members felt that any development should address not only the soccer fields but it should create a facility for use by everyone.
Motion carried with Beverly Moran opposed.
A motion was made by Matt Cripps and second by Al Felice. Move to adjourn this meeting at 8:50 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.
The next meeting will be Monday, April 8, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. If the Aldermanic Chambers are unavailable then the Veteran’s room will be requested.
Karen Kemmesies, secretary
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