Park and Recreation Commission

 (meeting taped)

Monthly meeting:  Monday, June 13, 2005 in the Veterans Room of City Hall. 

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

By roll call, members present:  John Walsh, Matt Cripps, Karen Izzo, Beverly Moran and James Benanto.  Al Felice arrived at 7:15 p.m.  David Mikos was excused. 

Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell was present.  Athletic Director Joseph Orazetti was excused. 

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 James Benanto.  Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on May 9, 2005, as written.  Motion carried unanimously.

Public portion:

No public was present at this time.


Nothing was presented.


A.)  Discussion of the 2005-2006 Budget:  The Recreation Department received their requested budget.  A letter to the Capital Planning Commission is being prepared to address capital projects not in the general budget.

B.)  Update on Public Works reorganization:  Mr. O'Connell communicates with the Public Works Department daily and having a foreman overseeing the recreational needs is functioning well.

C.)  Update on Neighborhood Committee request to have the Commission oversee the administration of Witek Park and the Onopiak property:  Chairman Walsh indicated that the Commission is awaiting the report being prepared by Mr. Lutz in conjunction with the Derby Inland Wetlands Agency stipulation of approval that will detail maintenance needs for Witek Park.

D.)  Update on Little League field improvements:  Mr. O'Connell stated that Little League has completed their regular season and will begin All-Star play.  The regular season seems to be finishing earlier as per the apparent desires of the parents.  The Programs Committee will have conversations on this scheduling change.

The League would like to install the batting cage.  It will be movable with a gravel base and will be located by the left field third base line.  This was a suitable location as it does not interrupt the use of the field.

A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Matt Cripps.  Move to allow Little League to purchase and install a temporary batting cage to be located in the vicinity of the left field third base line.  Motion carried unanimously.

It was noted that the Little League Field house experiences water problems during heavy rain events.  Mr. O'Connell indicated that it is a roof gutter and leader issue and he is working to relieve the problem.


Parks & Recreation Director’s Report:  Mr. O'Connell noted Babe Ruth has three teams and they are starting play.  Little League is in All-Star play.  The Girl’s Softball has finished and went well.

The Red/White game for the High School is this week.  The football team has been told by the Athletic Director not to play on Ryan Field as the contractor has indicated that the turf needs an additional month to take hold.

New cinders will be added to the track and work continues on addressing the sinkhole by the football field complex.

The Summer Playground program will run from July 5th through August 13that Bradley School.  Staff are currently receiving CPR and First Aid training. 

The Summer Basketball league is experiencing fluctuating numbers and play will be dependant on the participation. 

The Free Lunch program will go forward beginning July 5th.  It will include gym time and open swim time.  It runs weekdays from 11:00 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. 

The number of Derby residents using the Skate Park is low.  Interest for the sport may be waning at this time in the region. 

Mr. Benanto expressed safety concerns and asked Mr. O'Connell to explore fencing or something that will distance the T-Ball players from the batting area. 

Athletic Director’s Report:  Mr. Orazetti was not present this evening. 

Committee Reports:

Finance Committee – Mr. O'Connell indicated that he would be expending the remaining funds prior to the end of the fiscal year.  The revenue will be lower than projected. 

It was noted that there remains $20,000 in the Skate Park line item due to the fact that the program was merged with Shelton.  The suggestion was made to approach the Board of Apportionment and Taxation to see if these remaining funds could be transferred for the purpose of purchasing and installing new bleachers at the Derby Veteran's Community Center gymnasium. 

The wrestling line item is not expended.  Mr. O'Connell will investigate whether expenses have been submitted. 

Programs Committee – The Committee met on May 23rd .  They are exploring the level of interest in holding CPR & First Aid courses at this time.

Programs discussed various issues at the meeting.  The refreshment stand at the Little League is moving along.  Pop Warner questioned when the lights for the lower field are to be installed.  Mr. O'Connell indicated that he would coordinate with Public Works to have them installed prior to their needed use in the fall.  The protocol for getting work done on the facilities was discussed.  Volunteers would like to take on some special projects.  It was understood that any work needed prior approval by the Commission and certified or qualified people would oversee any such work.

The Committee received a request to start a Diamond Club for funding-raising and financial support for programs to make improvements to the facilities.  This would be separate from High School affiliations.  Members raised concern over the oversight of funds collection, whether the focus would be on all programs or weighed heavier on one, whether this would overlap with High School groups that would then be partially a Board of Education issue and whether this should be a matter for the Parks & Recreation Commission or should it be a private organization.  Members felt this required further explanation as to the intent of the Club.  Ultimately, it was expressed, any improvements would have to be reviewed by the Parks & Recreation Commission prior to any purchase or implementation.

Facilities Committee – Mr. Felice indicated that there were outstanding issues remaining at Witek Park that the contractor is addressing.  With the spring rains there was some erosion that is being addressed and the base of the fields remain wet so drainage needs are being reviewed to explore possible springs that require additional attention.

Work on the Greenway is underway.  Shultz Construction was awarded the contract and the City was very satisfied with their performance as to the work at Witek Park.  They were confident that the project would be another success.

The Baseball Exploratory Committee has yet to schedule a tour of possible facilities.

The Mayor will be forming a Committee to study the reuse of the Derby Veteran's Community Center and former City Hall now that the City offices have moved to 1 Elizabeth Street.

Mr. Benanto questioned whether the fees for the Derby Veteran's Community Center should be reviewed.  This will be discussed at a later meeting.

Motion was made by Al Felice and second by Karen Izzo.  Move to adjourn the meeting at 8:17 p.m.  Motion carried unanimously. 

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