Park and Recreation Commission

(meeting taped)

Monthly meeting: Monday, May 9, 2005 in the Veterans Room of City Hall.

Meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m.

By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Al Felice, Matt Cripps, Karen Izzo, David Mikos and James Benanto. Beverly Moran was 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 Karen Izzo and second by Matt Cripps. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on March 14, 2005, as written. Motion carried unanimously.

Public portion:

Chairman Walsh noted for the record that the Commission has no intention to fill the lower reservoir as commented in a local editorial.


Nothing was presented.


A.) Discussion of the 2005-2006 Budget: The Commission was confident with the budget presented to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation. The raises were included in the request and the Commission will be approaching the Board of Alderman to pursue the necessary approvals. The capital requests are separate from the budget and they will have to go before the Capital Planning Commission. A list will be compiled and forwarded to the Capital Planning Commission.

B.) Update on Public Works reorganization: C.) Update on Neighborhood Committee request to have the Commission oversee the administration of Witek Park: D.) Update on Little League field improvements:

These agenda items are interrelated. The Commission will be inviting Public Works Director Gary Parker to review these items once the department organization is complete. The department is in the process of hiring and the new structure has created a foreman to oversee the recreational facilities. The foreman is coordinating with Mr. O'Connell on necessary maintenance and is in the process of purchasing equipment to effectively complete the essential duties.

It was brought to the attention of the members that the Mayor’s assistant has been charged with completing the study requested by the Derby Inland Wetlands Agency in conjunction with the approval of the Witek Park application. The study will include maintenance details for Witek Park. The Commission’s position has been that the maintenance of the Park would have to be detailed and acceptable to the Commission prior to them accepting the oversight of the facility. Currently, the construction company who built the fields has the obligation to bring the conditions up to the requirements of the contract prior to the City accepting the project.

Little League has expressed discontent with the maintenance of their fields. Mr. O'Connell noted that the Public Works has been down staff during the reorganization, burdening the existing staff with many duties. The schedule of maintenance for putting down clay, reseeding and repairs was explained to the Little League as they felt they were being neglected. They were made aware of the timing of each of these duties throughout the year. During their improvements, the Little League did cut in a third field unbeknownst to Mr. O'Connell. It was questioned whether this will cause a problem for football practices. Members stressed the need for prior approval from the Commission before undertaking a major change such as this addition.


Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell noted that the ceiling in the health club has collapsed again, this is the third time in six months. They are seeking proposals to remedy the cause of the collapse as well as the repair. There is a sinkhole developing on the Ryan baseball field behind third base that is being investigated and may be very costly to remedy.

Mr. Mikos noted that the football sled by the T-ball field might pose a hazard. Mr. Orazetti will explore moving it.

Little League, Babe Ruth, Girls Softball and Youth Soccer are in full swing. Babe Ruth is playing in the Housatonic Valley Regional League that includes Watertown, Naugatuck, Oxford, Seymour, Ansonia and Derby.

A Summer Basketball League is being explored. A Three on Three program is being scheduled. The High School age Basketball League will be playing at Coon Hollow.

There was an issue with a men’s soccer team playing at Bradley although the conditions were poor due to the rainy periods experienced. They were approached to stop and asked to communicate with the Recreation Department prior to any further use.

The Summer Playground program will continue at Bradley School. There was not enough interest to have the program in two locations.

The Ansonia cafeteria staff contacted the Recreation Department presenting a proposal for a free lunch program designed for low-income children during the summer. It will be housed at the Derby Veteran's Community Center and gym time and free swim will be included. Irving School enrollment demonstrates that the area satisfies the provisions for the funding for this program so there will be no need to create a certification process. Similar programs are offered throughout the valley.

The Elks have requested use of Ryan Field for a softball tournament for the weekend of June 26th. Facility availability is not a problem and they were given permission to use the facility.

Major work has been done to satisfy safety code violations at the field house. An agreement is being drafted to detail the use and responsibilities for the concession stand.

Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Orazetti noted that new bleachers have been installed at the High School. They are a great improvement.

Mr. Orazetti questioned whether Witek Park would be ready for fall play. It was felt that it was unlikely that play would begin in the fall. The turf has to grow and mature prior to considering use of the facility.

Committee Reports:

Finance Committee – Mr. O'Connell indicated that he has made transfers within the department to address the repair and renovation expenses. The water account is in good shape due to the rainy season so funds were drawn from it and also from the training line item, which will not be expended prior to the end of the budget year.

Programs Committee – The Committee has scheduled a meeting for May 23rd at 7:00 p.m.

Facilities Committee – This was discussed earlier in the meeting.

Motion was made by Matt Cripps and second by David Mikos. Move to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.

The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, June 13, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 35 Fifth Street. If the Aldermanic Chambers are unavailable then the Veteran’s room will be requested.


Respectfully prepared,

Karen Kemmesies, secretary

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