(meeting taped)

Monthly meeting: Monday, March 14, 2005 in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

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

At this time Mayor Garofalo swore in new member James Benanto.

By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Al Felice, Matt Cripps, Karen Izzo, Beverly Moran, David Mikos and James Benanto.

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 Beverly Moran and second by Karen Izzo. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on February 14, 2005, as written. Motion carried unanimously.

Public portion:

Mayor Garofalo commended the Commission and welcomed the ongoing relationship toward overall long-term vision for recreation in the City. The soccer fields are a natural step toward that vision and the next phase will be the softball fields. Working toward that continued vision, he welcomed the input on the future use of the Derby Veteran's Community Center and the management of Witek Park and the Onopiak property. He asked the Commission to think about the Open Space Model for the City. He explained that the ordinance is somewhat vague and was set up as a vehicle for Planning and Zoning to parcel out land as it pertains to subdivisions. He noted the reorganization of the Public Works department and the incorporation of the facility needs. It was noted that the City is working with Ansonia to obtain a grant to develop connecting trails through Witek Park and the Ansonia High School.

Juan Fealis questioned whether the over 30 soccer league would have access to the new fields for the fall season. The league currently has a home schedule of games played at Bradley School on Sunday mornings. He was advised that the status of the use of the fields has not been decided for the fall season. His league would have continued use of Bradley School until the fields are available.


Nothing was presented.


A.) Discussion of the 2005-2006 Budget:

The proposed budget (attached) was distributed to the members. There were minor increases in the line item amounts for equipment maintenance, building and field supplies and recreation equipment to address the new soccer fields at Witek Park (i.e. field maintenance, goals, etc.). A line item increase for the skate park was also added. There were no increases in the payroll line items. Commission members felt that the Committee should consider increases. Colt Baseball was increased to address the added increase in Babe Ruth participation. It was noted that the other programs have not requested increases although it is known that there will be increases in the cost for game officials.

A separate capital request was presented to replace the bleachers at the Derby Veteran's Community Center. Members also suggested painting of the light poles at the football field and repair or replacement of the bleachers at the Ryan softball field.

Also suggested were additional bleachers on the other side of the field, which is not being addressed in the budget. There still remains the electrical work on the football field lighting that has yet to be done although necessary repairs have been done. The Amendola bathrooms have yet to be built although funding is available. The delay in the construction is due to the fact that the Commission does not have the expertise to create the necessary construction paperwork and design. It was mentioned that this funding might be redirected to Witek Park.

A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Karen Izzo. Move to accept the proposed 2005-2006 operating budget for the Parks & Recreation Department with a three (3%) percent increase in the salaries. Motion carried unanimously.

A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Beverly Moran. Move to request funding for capital projects to include $17,000 for bleachers at the Derby Veteran's Community Center, $4,000 for painting of the football light posts as $8,000 for the repair or replacement of bleachers at the Ryan softball field. Motion carried unanimously.

B.) Update on Public Works reorganization: This item was discussed during the Mayor’s comments.

C.) Update on Neighborhood Committee request to have the Commission oversee the administration of Witek Park: This item was discussed during the Mayor’s comments.

D.) Update on Little League field improvements:

Mr. O'Connell continues to communicate with the League.


Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell stated that Youth basketball season is coming to a close with All-Stars now being played. The season went very well.

Little League registration has been completed. They will be playing in the regional league with Ansonia and Seymour again this year.

There are discussions in regionalizing with Ansonia and Seymour for basketball next year. The boy’s league are in favor to this change as it provides a more diverse program with more opposing teams for the Derby teams to play.

Girl’s softball registration is underway.

Details are being finalized for the opening of the skate park.

A presentation was made to the Downtown Committee on the proposed uses of the old City Hall. The Recreation Department sees a number of potential programs that could be offered for all age groups such as arts and crafts, dance, etc. A committee will be formed to further explore the possible uses. The ADA compliances will be explored.

Mr. O'Connell asked if there should be additional security measures at Witek Park. Mr. Felice indicated that the contractor still maintains the responsibility until the project is considered complete and he does have a number of minor items yet to be done. The city will have to have discussions with the Police on the supervision. The use of the fields by the programs will be dependent on the surface conditions. The grass has to take hold and be well established prior to any use.

Ryan football field was serviced in the fall through special funding and the contractor will do additional work in the spring. This should not impact the spring baseball programs.

A fundraising dance was held for the Tsunami disaster and it raised $1,160.

Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Orazetti noted that the State Legislature is considering a proposal to eliminate the use of pesticides on school playing fields. If approved, it will go into effect immediately.

Electrical work was done on the baseball scoreboard.

Committee Reports:

Finance Committee – Discussed earlier in the meeting

Programs Committee – The Committee did not meet.

Facilities Committee – The Exploratory Committee studying the baseball fields have yet to tour various locations. They have asked Mayor Garofalo to approach St. Jude’s Church for possible use of their land that adjoins the Bradley School complex.

A motion was made by Matt Cripps and second by David Mikos. Move to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.

The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, April 11, 2005 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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