Park and Recreation Commission
Monthly meeting: Monday, April 12, 2004 in the Veteran’s Room 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, David Mikos and Beverly Moran. Edward Handi 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 as written.
approval of minutes:
A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Matt Cripps. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on March 8, 2004, as written. Motion carried with Beverly Moran and David Mikos abstaining.
Daniel R. Waleski of 23 Elm Street expressed concern for the Parks & Recreation Commission overseeing Witek Park. He was not sure whether this public area should come under the Parks & Recreation Commission, per se. The area is not a public square with concrete walks and seating areas, or manicured lawns. The nature of this parcel calls for special authority, best served for individuals for passive recreation. He suggested that the issue be put aside and given a thorough review before a definitive decision is made as to the parcel’s final authority.
Mr. Waleski noted that there have been two brush fires on the parcel in the past few weeks and today construction equipment arrived and began removal of trees although the city is in litigation over the regulatory approval by the Derby Inland Wetlands Agency. He expressed concern for the ongoing vandalism and the lack of police presence.
Chairman Walsh noted that the Neighborhood Committee did ask him at one of their meetings whether the Parks & Recreation Commission could oversee Witek Park. He brings that request to the Commission this evening for discussion. Chairman Walsh noted that all of the city owned property is ultimately under the control of the Board of Alderman.
No one else came forward and public portion was closed.
Nothing was presented.
NEW or OTHER BUSINESS:
A.) Neighborhood Committee request to have Commission oversee Witek Park:
Chairman Walsh indicated that he raised the question of the restructuring of the Department of Public Works and the relationship the Commission would have with the redefined department. He acknowledged the importance of having dedicated staff to perform necessary maintenance needs. If the Commission was to take over jurisdiction he would like the current rules for the Park revisited. He was not in favor of permits or fees. He felt the Commission should be encouraging people to use recreation facilities. Mr. Felice indicated that the desire was to develop trails once the fields were established. Chairman Walsh felt strongly that any trails should be linked with Ansonia’s trails on their High School property.
Members felt that the maintenance and administration should be clearly defined prior to the Commission considering this authority. The majority of members were in favor of eliminating the permits and fees as it was felt that they could not be enforced. Members questioned whether the volunteers for the patrol could be activated although no appointments have been made to the Open Space Commission. It was felt that the access road for the fields will provide the police with additional access. Members returned to the discussion on the maintenance, feeling that this would be paramount in whether the Commission would consider the oversight. It was noted that the maintenance plan dictated by the Derby Inland Wetlands Agency approval is quite specific and members were concerned that this plan needs to be accomplished with the necessary personnel. Members also desired to have the administration of the park defined as they wanted assurances that the Commission would oversee the development of rules for the park.
A motion was made by Matt Cripps and second by Beverly Moran. Move that the Parks & Recreation Commission communicates to the Neighborhood Committee on the request that the Commission administer Witek Park that the Parks & Recreation Commission would be in favor of the request with stipulations on roles and responsibilities, rules and procedures and overall governing authority of Witek Park. Motion carried unanimously.
B.) 2004-2005 Budget request:
Mr. O'Connell presented the 2004-2005 Parks & Recreation budget proposal. The proposed budget is for $200,870, an increase of $3,400 or 8.88% over the current budget of $197,520. There are increases in the salaries as the employees have had no increases for two years. It was noted that these increases will have to be approved by the Board of Alderman. The line item for supervisors was increased to add a person for seasonal weekend help. The building maintenance person was deleted from the budget as the administration is now under the building maintenance department. The maintenance line items have been increased to accommodate the added maintenance of the Little League field house and the skate park. Under program line items, the skate park funding and the request for training and safety programs have been added. It was suggested that the Commission invite the programs to meetings over the course of the next few months to review their by-laws and budgets, similar to what was done a few years ago.
A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Karen Izzo. Move to approve the 2004-2005 Parks & Recreation Commission Budget request. Motion carried unanimously.
Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell reported that the spring programs are underway. The season seems to be going well with practice underway and games will be started shortly. Babe Ruth will have two teams. There is no girl’s little league softball team this year due to a lack of participants. There is a Middle School team this year that many of the girls will be playing on.
Maintenance work on the field house has been arranged with improvements to the walls in the showers as well as addressing the gutters by the concession stand and repairs to exterior trim. Plans are to bring in a professional to review the football field surface and determine what can be done to repair the damage from last year’s use.
It was noted that members of the health club asked if it was possible to have music in certain areas of the club. Mr. O'Connell will explore the request and possibly consider cable television as an alternative.
Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present.
Programs Committee – The Committee will be meeting on April 15, 2004. A CPR/Red Cross course has been tentatively set for April 27 & 28. The course will be limited to fifteen participants on a first come, first serve basis for the coaches and further courses will be explored for the fall.
The Committee is continuing to study a universal application form for coaches. Ms. Izzo is pursuing the Yale Grant for this year.
Facilities Committee – Chairman Walsh noted that the Healthy Valley is pursuing grant funding to develop a database to encourage residents toward a healthier lifestyle. The participants could access the database, record their activity and monitor how active they are on a regular basis.
All needed approvals for the Greenway should be received and bids should go out in June with construction anticipated in late summer.
Mr. Felice reported that the equipment is up at Witek Park with construction anticipated to be completed by September. As noted by Mr. Waleski, there is litigation but the city fathers decided to move forward.
It was noted that the Commission voted against the Cultural Commission’s use of the Ryan Field Complex but the Board of Alderman subsequently approved the use. Chairman Walsh indicated that the Commission’s position was relayed to the Neighborhood Committee. It was his understanding that all effected Commissions and Departments will meet to discuss concerns and determine the appropriate use of the fields.
A motion was made by Matt Cripps and second by Al Felice. Move to adjourn the meeting at 9:00p.m. Motion carried unanimously.
The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, May 10, 2004 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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