Park and Recreation CommissionMinutes
Regular meeting: Tuesday, December 9, 2002 in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.
Meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m.
By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Al Felice, Edward Handi, Karen Izzo, Robert Bell and Matt Cripps. David Mikos was excused.
Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell was present. Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent.
additions or deletions to the agenda:
Without objection, the agenda was accepted.
No one came forward and the public portion was closed.
Chairman Walsh was advised by Economic Development Director Richard Dunne of a communication received from the State of Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy. Per an FOI request, the office is seeking information on disability policies regarding recreation programs. Chairman Walsh noted that no formal policy is in place and the issue should be reviewed in the near future.
NEW or OTHER BUSINESS:
Regulations for the skate park: Nothing was reported.
Parks & Recreation Director’s Report:
The Biddy Basketball programs are underway utilizing the Derby Veteran's Community Center, Bradley School and Irving School. The boys have 170 participants and the girls have 100 participants.
Regarding the wrestling program, the insurance policy was forwarded to Corporation Counsel for review and Mr. O'Connell was awaiting a written reply. Verbally, Corporation Counsel felt the policy was fine noting that with any activity in Derby, not specifically recreation, if negligence can be demonstrated the City becomes liable. The program’s insurance does cover the participants, coaches and the facility where the activity takes place and is customary to any policy. The High School has been reserved and registration is underway. Mr. Felice asked that the affirmative letter from the insurance or Corporation Counsel be received before the program commences.
Regarding the tree that fell at the Ryan Complex, the tree was alive and apparently, the weather conditions caused it to fall. The tree surgeon was agreeable to inspecting the area in early spring but stressed that it would be difficult to identify with any certainty the trees that could pose an imminent risk. As the area is a slope, there is always a possibility of erosion.
The Little League directors will be meeting on December 10th and Mr. O'Connell will attend.
The Thanksgiving Day Road Race went very well. There were 348 participants with 304 completing the race. This was a very good showing and the intent is to have this as an annual event. Chairman Walsh thanked the police and fire departments for their assistance in preparing and monitoring the route. There will be an expense for a police officer for the event.
Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present.
Programs Committee – The Committee met December 4th and was well attended. Little League was there and they advised that they would be combining with Ansonia to provide more competition. Past practice has been that the Derby teams play their games within their league and repeatedly play teams against each other. This combining will allow for playing against a larger number of teams. For this year, the combining will be the Major League teams. Derby players will remain on Derby teams and the combining is in terms of game scheduling. Ansonia and Derby will continue to maintain their own charters with the National organization.
The requirement for background checks was discussed as the National Little League has made it mandatory. There is a $25 fee for doing a State check, local checks would cost nothing but would not be as comprehensive. The National League requires that anyone in direct contact with the children have the background check and the check shall include investigation of the sex offender’s registry. Ms. Izzo noted that if this check was performed for all the programs, the cost could become significant. Youth Officer Andrew Mancini is investigating how to go forward on this matter. The Committee has begun discussing how to administer this check as the paperwork could be quite extensive and the information must remain confidential. The Committee reviewed many options on how to proceed. They decided to wait and observe how the Little League and their coaches move on this subject, as their League is the only one that requires such checks at this time.
Chairman Walsh noted that in speaking with the Boy Scouts, the issue of background checks is also becoming a concern within their organization. They will share their information and guidelines as this issue goes forward. Continuing discussion on this issue is necessary and the budgetary impacts will have to be assessed.
Members discussed current staffing and the overwhelming duties that are already their responsibility. Members agreed that the overall system should be reviewed further. With the issues of ADA and these background checks as well as other liability issues that involve recreation, members felt that the Commission must initiate discussions on these many issues.
The Soccer program asked for support from the other programs on the development of the fields. They feel that the additional facilities will benefit all the programs in the long term. Soccer has sensed pressures from the community that they feel should be borne by all the recreational programs rather than only them.
The next Programs Committee meeting is scheduled for January 22nd.
Facilities Committee – Mr. Felice reported that the Witek Park plan is continuing before the regulatory agencies.
Mr. Felice noted that he toured the football field after the last game. The field is in very poor condition due to the extensive use. The cumulative effects of overuse are evident and further deterioration is inevitable. Chairman Walsh noted that Shelton will be installing artificial turf on their football field and other towns have also moved in this direction. Considering Derby’s lack of space, he felt it makes more sense here than any of the other towns to install this surface. He noted that the two fields at Witek Park will not solve the problems. The High School will still have a problem that will have to be addressed.
approval of minutes:
A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Edward Handi. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on November 12, 2002. Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made by Ed Handi and second by Robert Bell. Move to adjourn this meeting at 7:58 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.
The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, January 13, 2003 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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