Park and Recreation Commission

(meeting taped)

Monthly meeting: Monday, March 8, 2004 in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

Meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.

By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Al Felice, Matt Cripps, Karen Izzo and Edward Handi. David Mikos and Beverly Moran were 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 as written.

approval of minutes:

A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Karen Izzo Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on February 9, 2004, with it noted that vandalism is not the reason for the lights not being installed at the gates of the new soccer fields. Motion carried with Karen Izzo and Edward Handi abstaining.

Public portion:

Tony DelPrete reserved time to speak on the High School Cheerleaders request.

Michele Mastrianni, representing Pop Warner and Little League explained that a pipe broke at the Little League field house because the propane ran out and the heat shut off. Pop Warner and Little League pay for utilities and minor repairs to the building but she was uncertain whether the City owns the building and if so, would the City cover the cost of these major repairs. She questioned whether the damage was covered by insurance.

No one else came forward and public portion was closed.


Nothing was presented.


A.) Cultural Commission request:

Heidi Madura was present to request the use of the Ryan Field Complex for Derby Days. Rides will be placed on the High School softball field from June 23rd through June 27th. They request the use of the restrooms at the field house on June 25th through June 27th. Vendors will set up on the northern part of the football field. The Little League field will be used for fireworks on June 27th.

Mr. O'Connell noted that scheduling might be tough to call. Depending on the weather, games may be rescheduled that will run the season into this timeframe. It was noted that there was damage to the football field last year because of the rides. With the use of the football field for soccer, football, baseball and Pop Warner, the surface is very stressed and members were concerned with any further damage. Plans are to do significant work on the field to prepare for the fall season and Mr. O'Connell was concerned that this use may compromise the work scheduled to be done. Ms. Madura indicated that the softball field was being suggested so as not to impact the football field. Mr. O'Connell noted that the softball field has surface problems also and there are areas that are showing excessive settling because of the materials in the subbase and there was concern for the sprinkler system. Members raised concern with the damage from the vendors and rides and they felt that there has to be an ironclad agreement with the vendors that the area will be restored to pre-existing conditions when the event is ended, at the vendor’s expense. Further, the fireworks left debris that needs to be cleaned by them. Unexploded fireworks were found on the Little League field in previous years. Members questioned why the event was moved from the green. Ms. Madura indicated that setting up the rides takes more than a day and closing the street for an extended time was not an option. Members asked if there was another location that the event could use. Ms. Madura indicated that the High School parking lots were suggested but the vendor for the rides preferred the fields. Members discussed the request. There were serious concerns for the condition of the fields. It was noted that recreational programs have only limited use of the fields due to the conditions. It was felt that an alternative location should be explored.

A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Al Felice. Move to deny use of the Ryan Field Complex (both the softball field and football field) for Derby Days with only the Little League field being allowed for the fireworks with it understood that the vendor will be responsible for any damage and will clean the area thoroughly. Motion carried with Jack Walsh and Matt Cripps opposed.

B.) High School Cheerleaders request:

The High School Cheerleaders were seeking to use the concession stand during Derby Days for a fundraiser. Mr. O'Connell indicated that Pop Warner and the Booster Club are the primary users of the facility and they have purchased the cooking equipment. They have the right to first refusal and the authorization of the use of the equipment. As this use would be in association with the Cultural Commission event, it appears that the Cultural Commission would have to approach the two associations for permission to use the equipment and the facility. Mr. DelPrete indicated that he was willing to work with whatever group although the denial of use of the fields seems to make his request mute.


Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell reported that he discussed the matter of the field house damage with the Mayor and the Mayor was hopeful that the Parks & Recreation Commission could provide an amicable solution to the matter. Mr. O'Connell explained that there has been a standing agreement between Pop Warner and Little League to each fund $3,600 per year to pay for utilities and general upkeep of the building.

Michele Mastrianni explained the agreement between the two leagues and stated that they were on a budget plan with Suburban Propane that they pay regularly. She noted the expenditures over the year that has been paid for the general maintenance. She did contact Suburban Propane to advise them of the damage.

Ron Slowik, representing Little League, indicated that the damage occurred because Suburban Propane failed to deliver propane to fuel the furnace. He questioned whether the City could pursue this liability. He estimated that the plumbing repairs will cost approximately $2,000 and there are additional costs for sheetrock replacement. He stated that Little League is not asking that the Parks & Recreation Commission specifically take over the general maintenance but rather to help with this extraordinary expense and help in pursuing any possible claim against the vendor.

Mr. O'Connell indicated that maintenance of the building was not budgeted this year because of the standing agreement. The funding in the Parks & Recreation Commission maintenance budget would be strained to try to address this incident. A consideration could be made to explore funding in the 2004-2005 budget to take over the maintenance expenses of the building with Pop Warner and Little League only responsible for utilities. Mr. O'Connell stressed that there would have to be proper supervision of the building in order to have the Parks & Recreation department take over this duty. The department does have a full-time person for maintenance who could include these duties.

The Commission decided to move forward with the added maintenance in next year’s budget and to explore with the Mayor, Corporation Counsel and the Board of Apportionment and Taxation for resolution to the damage that occurred from the broken pipe.

Mr. O'Connell reported that Little League registration is nearly complete. There are 160 registrants so far and it is expected the number may reach 175. There will be 4 major and 4 minor teams and T-ball. To alleviate the congestion of the Little League field this year, T-ball will play at Bradley. Babe Ruth registration is beginning.

The All-Stars Basketball league is finishing up now. Youth Soccer has held their registration but no numbers were available yet.

The budget is doing well. Under maintenance issues, there is mildew that must be remedied in the field house and the ladies restroom will be painted. The drain pipe by the kitchen needs to be fixed.

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

Committee Reports:

Finance Committee – The Committee will be meeting to begin drafting the 2004-2005 budget.

Programs Committee – The Committee is looking at a universal application for all coaches. First Aid Classes will be scheduled in the spring. They will be exploring the Volunteer website to post coaching needs. The coaches have requested clinics to teach the fundamentals. Ms. Izzo questioned if there will be funding for the clinics and classes. The budget committee will include the expenditure in next year’s budget. She will be exploring the Yale Coaches Day Grant again.

Facilities Committee – Mr. O'Connell and Chairman Walsh met with the Shelton Parks & Recreation Commission to discuss the skate park. The proposed cost is approximately $76,000 with Derby contributing $40,000. Arrangements will be finalized with the Neighborhood Committee and brought to the Board of Alderman. The fees and proposed hours of operation are being discussed. The location is to the south end of Canal Street under the Route 8 Bridge. Construction is expected to begin in April and use may begin by the end of June. The State has agreed to a five-year lease but they require supervision. Sue Riley from the Valley YMCA has expressed interest in supervising the park. The members felt this joint venture will save the City money and provide for a good safe facility that is ideally located.

A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Edward Handi. Move to endorse the concept of the joint skate park proposal with Shelton as outlined in the package and authorize the Parks & Recreation Director to pursue funding for this project. Motion carried unanimously.

Members noted that the costs for supervision and maintenance will have to be included in the 2004-2005 recreation budget.

Mr. Felice reported that the Board of Alderman authorized the Mayor to sign the contract for Witek Park. An injunction was filed and they are awaiting the outcome prior to signing. The plans are in place for work to begin as soon as this is resolved.

All needed approvals for the Greenway should be in place by April 1st. Bids should go out in June with construction anticipated in late summer.

A motion was made by Edward Handi and second by Karen Izzo. Move to adjourn the meeting at 9:00p.m. Motion carried unanimously.

The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, April 8, 2004 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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