Park and Recreation Commission


Monthly meeting: Tuesday, September 9, 2003 in the Veteran’s Room of City Hall.

Meeting was called to order at 7:04p.m.

By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Al Felice, Edward Handi, Matt Cripps and Karen Izzo. David Mikos and Robert Bell were excused.

Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell and Ronald Culmo from Public Works were present. Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent.

additions or deletions to the agenda:

Without objection, the agenda was accepted.

approval of minutes:

A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Matt Cripps. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on August 11, 2003, as written. Motion carried with Karen Izzo abstaining.

Public portion:

No one was present and the public portion was closed.


Nothing was presented.


Mr. Culmo reported that everything is operable at this time. The Public Works has been painting the fields every week for soccer and football. He estimated that 15 to 18 gallons of paint are being used each week on each field totaling between 45 to 50 gallons each week. He asked that the list of maintenance needs prepared by the Parks & Recreation Commission be sent to him. He noted that the department has had employees on vacation throughout the summer resulting in the remaining staff only having the time to do the basic grooming and painting of the fields.

The tree behind the bleachers at the Ryan Field Complex should be removed in the fall. Public Works Director Gary Parker intends to include this proposal with other work pertaining to the construction of a salt dome and funds will be available from the road referendum. The professionals retained for the project will look at the area. It was noted that adverse weather conditions brought the tree down and this is something that could not be anticipated.

Chairman Walsh asked if there were any problems that the Public Works Department has identified that the Commission had not listed. Mr. Culmo noted the drainage behind the softball field at Ryan remains an issue. Measures were taken to lessen the problem but not solve it. The backstop at the softball field needs to be replaced and possibly shifted further back for better flow around the area but this will require installing a retaining wall. Members noted that these repairs were included in the long-range plan but this project would require capital funding. Bleachers at the field are also desired at the field. In the outfield there are areas that are settling. Public Works fills the area with loam when conditions require it but then the area must be left unused to allow for the grass to reestablish.

Mr. Culmo felt that the fields were in pretty good condition. The trucks on the field damaged the football field during Derby Days and the excess amount of rain this season has also impacted the conditions. The batting cage is in a damp area and the poles are leaning inward. Supports will have to be installed.

Chairman Walsh noted funds are available for the bathroom facility at Bradley. He asked if Public Works could design or construct the facility. Mr. Culmo felt that the project would be overwhelming taking into account the current staffing levels. Mr. Felice indicated that he has had conversations with Mr. Parker to get a prefabricated building. Members decided to move this project forward through the Facilities Committee with conversations with the Board of Alderman.

Chairman Walsh questioned how Mr. Culmo felt Witek Park would be maintained with the construction of the fields. Mr. Culmo indicated that at least one person, five days a week, would have to be assigned to the Park to accomplish the maintenance needs.

Members noted that the field house bathrooms need to be painted. Mr. O’Connell was asked to pursue this within his budget. It was noted that there were health department issues with the drinking fountains in the bathrooms and they have been shut off.


Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell indicated that the fall programs are underway. The football field is being fully utilized with High School football, High School soccer and Pop Warner.

The High School fast-pitch girl’s league will be utilizing the softball field at Ryan as well as the fields at Bradley on Sunday mornings and the program has started.

At Bradley School, the Little League graduates, a division of the Orange league that includes 13 year olds, are playing on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fall Soccer utilizes the Bradley School facility five nights a week. There is also the adult men’s soccer playing at the field on Sundays.

Mr. Handi noted that he was up at Ryan Field watching a soccer game. He noted that there are people walking the track and riding bikes. He questioned whether this co-mingling should be allowed. Mr. O'Connell noted that it is also a problem during Pop Warner. It was his position that the program authorized to use the field should deal with the situation as it arises.

The issue of parking during Pop Warner games was raised. Cars are parked inside the gate and also blocking the gate. It was decided that the program has to determine who should be authorized and further there must be no parking that would block access to the building or the field should an emergency occur. Members indicated that there should be a maximum of six vehicles allowed and also the ambulance.

Members indicated that the parking by the Little League field is also an issue. It was suggested that Andy Mancini be invited to the next meeting to discuss this matter.

Members noted that the 3-on-3 basketball league has been leaving the facilities in poor condition at times. The Director of the program will be advised on this issue.

Mr. O'Connell noted that the Derby Veteran's Community Center was shut down and maintenance was done. Members noted that youth did a fine job painting a mural in the Center.

The budget was discussed. Mr. O'Connell noted that certain line items were increased with the additional funds received from the Yale program.

Members questioned whether there were funds for Witek Park in the budget. No allocation could be identified. Members will investigate this matter.

Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present.

Committee Reports:

Programs Committee – Nothing was reported.

Facilities Committee – Mr. Felice stated that the archeologist study for Witek Park has been completed. The Task Force studying the needs for baseball/softball reported to the Neighborhood Committee on the findings. Witek Park was taken off the Neighborhood Committee agenda but it was his understanding that once funding is in place, the project will go out to bid.

Mr. O'Connell continues to communicate with Shelton on the joint venture for the skate park. They will be holding a meeting on September 18th and members are invited to attend.

The Facilities Committee attended the Athletic Sub-Committee of the Board of Education. Both committees discussed their thoughts on field usage and the Athletic Sub-Committee was asked if construction of fields was a consideration with the expansion planning. Mr. Felice indicated that the main focus of the expansion was directed at the overcrowding. Parks & Recreation members were encouraged that the Athletic Sub-Committee stated that the field needs would be brought to the Board of Education for further discussion. The overuse of Ryan Field was discussed and they agreed that no regular practices should be on the field. It was understood that there are pre-game practice times allowed. Mr. Handi questioned if estimates from the HALO project have been figured into the population figures as some feel that the school population may be reduced. That information was not available.

A motion was made by Edward Handi and second by Al Felice. Move to adjourn this meeting at 8:15 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.


The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Tuesday, October 14, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. If the Aldermanic Chambers are unavailable then the Veteran’s room will be requested.


Respectfully prepared,

Karen Kemmesies, secretary

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