Park and Recreation CommissionMinutes
Monthly meeting: Monday, September 13, 2004 in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.
Meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.
By roll call, members present: John Walsh, David Mikos, Karen Izzo and Al Felice. Beverly Moran, Matt Cripps and Edward Handi were excused.
Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell and Athletic Director Joseph Orazetti were present.
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 August 9, 2004, as written. Motion carried with Karen Izzo and David Mikos abstaining.
No one came forward and public portion was closed.
Nothing was presented.
NEW or OTHER BUSINESS:
A.) Temporary repairs to Little League field: Kenneth Marcucio of 38 Chatfield Street, Gary Haydu of 10 Commodore Hull Drive and Ron Russell of 66 Harold Avenue were present to speak to the Commission on the behalf of the Derby Little League Board of Directors. Mr. Marcucio was encouraged by the Board of Alderman Sub-Committee’s discussions to explore solutions for the need for fields. He understood that the current discussions are for two fields to start, noting the eventual need for three fields total.
Mr. Haydu noted that new fields will take time and there are current needs. The current state of the major league field can be classified as poor at best. The infield is rough, with a three-inch lip outlining the infield and outfield grass areas. This play hazard has been built up from years of improper preparation procedures using the current drag mat. These procedures have also caused degradation to the infield outline making it inconsistent with Little League guidelines. The skin areas are subject to washout in the same places after every rain. Poor quality clay fill and improper drainage makes preparation and maintenance challenging. The backstop and dugout fencing is falling apart and will be in need of attention in the near future.
The Board of Directors discussed the current conditions of the existing fields and the ongoing discussions of future plans and they felt that a temporary repair of the existing major league field was needed. They reviewed their budget and funds being saved for a new batting cage could be used for these temporary repairs. They expressed the fact that these are only temporary and for the purpose of relieving safety concerns and providing for a transitional period until new fields are built.
The options for the water connection would be to replace the connection that is broken to the High School or install a holding tank. The water would be used to water the sod once installed. It was noted that the Board of Education would have to be approached to discuss the connection with the High School. It was also noted that water pressure at the High School is an issue and the holding tank may be the better option.
The League will also look at various fundraising methods including working with Mr. Dunne to explore possible grant funding.
Members questioned whether this work would be a Public Works union issue. The proposal will be presented to the Board of Alderman Neighborhood Committee for discussion.
A motion was made by Al Felice and second by David Mikos. Move to endorse the Derby Father’s Club initiative dated 9-1-04 for actions involving the Major League outfield, infield and the purchase of tools, as detailed; excluding any future project considerations as detailed on the initiative. Motion carried unanimously.
B.) Update on Public Works reorganization: The jobs were been posted with a closing date of 9/10/04. No further information was available.
C.) Update on Neighborhood Committee request to have the Commission oversee the administration of Witek Park: There has been no further discussions as of this time. The Commission is awaiting the restructuring of the Public Works Department.
D.) Parking issues on Nutmeg Avenue by the Little League field: Chief Cota has indicated that a representative will attend the next meeting.
Mr. Felice noted that last year the Commission defined who was authorized to park at the football field during the games and he suggested that these rules should be in place again this year.
Finance Committee – Members received a breakdown of the budget. The revenue, increased by $20,000, will be monitored through the year.
Programs Committee – The Committee has not met. One open item to be discussed is a uniform application form for all coaches. The Little League, Pop Warner and Soccer are governed by national rules that they each follow. The Committee will be looking at how to create a database of information. Ms. Izzo sought direction from the Commission on how the information should be gathered, maintained and secured for confidentiality and whether background checks should be done.
As the Little League, Pop Warner and Soccer are incorporated and governed by their national associations, members felt that the level of the City’s liability should be explored with Corporation Counsel. The form should probably also be explored with Corporation Counsel. The record keeping will be time consuming and the recreation director needs to determine if he is capable of this added demand. This matter was tabled until further information can be obtained and more conversations are held with the leagues.
Facilities Committee –The soccer fields at Witek Park are well underway. They anticipate seeding the fields in the next few weeks. They have been working on finishing the road and with the materials being put down; the width is better defined as not as wide as the original clearing.
Chairman Walsh indicated that bids were to go out last week on the Greenway with the construction being done next year.
The Commodore Hull Road Race is scheduled for Thanksgiving.
The skateboard park was to be constructed by Shelton’s Public Works but they have been very busy on other projects. Shelton is working out the details. The Derby Board of Alderman raised concerns on liability and tabled the approval.
Ms. Izzo indicated that she has received calls on the poor conditions of the women’s bathrooms at the field house. People have also asked if the Fire Marshall has completed his review of the entire building. Mr. Felice noted the storage of fertilizers in the building and the need for a separate storage/equipment building. He felt there should be conversations with the Board of Alderman to get this project moving forward. He also noted the downspout by the concession stand needs repair. Chairman Walsh indicated that consideration should be given to transferring the responsibility of the field house to the Board of Education, as they are the primary users.
Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell arrived at 8:08 p.m.
Mr. O'Connell stated that there is a full-time custodian who maintains the city hall and the recreational facilities. The list of work is provided to him but currently there is no clear supervisor to oversee his work on a day-to-day basis. Under the restructuring of the Public Works, he will fall under their jurisdiction. Regarding the bathrooms, he indicated that the leagues must better monitor the use of the facilities as they are cleaned at the start of the day. Regarding the question of the Fire Marshall, he has not completed the review of the entire building. Regarding the downspout, the contractor is supposed to return and replace the downspout but his schedule has been very busy and he has yet to return.
Mr. O'Connell noted the new speakers at the football field. He will speak with the building inspector on their installation.
Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Orazetti arrived at 8:15 p.m.
The members and the directors discussed the parking at football games. As noted earlier, there were rules set last year and it was agreed that they should continue. It was suggested that passes be provided with six (6) for Pop Warner, (6) for the High School program, three (3) for the Booster Club and (3) for the ambulance. Parking by the Derby Neck Library is determined by the High School and the Athletic Director will oversee the authorization with it understood that he should be aware of the Derby Neck Library’s hours of operation, most specifically during Saturday games.
Mr. Orazetti presented a proposal for the Ryan field grass maintenance. The Athletic Director of St. Joseph’s School referred him to Rick Capaslotrato. After looking at the field Mr. Capaslotrato recommended that after the next heavy rain, the field should be aerated to encourage deep root growth and dragged to breakdown the plugs from the aeration. A heavy application of fertilizer should then be applied and heavily watered. To prepare the field for next year, the day after the last game, the field should be ripped and tilled from hash mark to hash mark and Canadian sod should be laid. This sod is used at Amity and St. Joseph’s and it should hold up better to the 58+ games on the field. He would also kill the crabgrass near the track. The estimate for this work is $9,000. Mr. O'Connell indicated that this cost is not in the budget and a special request should be made to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation.
Mr. Felice noted that soccer should be playing at Witek next fall. Mr. Orazetti indicated that the technical schools have adopted a policy that games cannot be played after school and as such, soccer would need to play at night under the lights so they would likely continue on the football field. Chairman Walsh indicated that the Commission should converse with the Board of Education on including fields during the building construction.
Continuing on the discussion of the proposal, members questioned whether a portion of the work could be done by city forces or whether material such as fertilizer was available from Public Works. Also, being that Public Works employees are going for training for turf management, maybe their new expertise could assist in this endeavor. The question arose whether this project would have to go out to bid because of the cost. It was decided to get further prices from Mr. Capaslotrato breaking down each step of the process. A portion of the Ryan Field capital funds may be available to do the beginning stages of the proposal. Members will bring this proposal to the attention of the Neighborhood Committee.
Members mentioned that the bleachers needed to be inspected and any necessary repairs should be done. This has already been brought to the Public Works attention. There is a bulb burnt out at the field and it will be replaced. The lights have yet to be installed at the picnic grove.
A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Al Felice. Move to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.
The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Tuesday, October 12, 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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