Park and Recreation Commission
(meeting taped)

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

Meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.

By roll call, members present: John Walsh, David Mikos, Al Felice, Beverly Moran and Karen Izzo. James Benanto arrived at 7:12 p.m. Matt Cripps was excused.

Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell was present. Athletic Director Joseph Orazetti arrived at 8:15 p.m.

additions or deletions to the agenda:

Without objection, the agenda was accepted as written.

approval of minutes:

A motion was made by David Mikos and second by Al Felice. Move to accept the minutes of October 11, 2005, as written. Motion carried unanimously.

Public portion:

No public was present at this time.


Nothing was presented. Mr. O'Connell indicated that a report on the skate park is forthcoming.


A.) Update on the Greenway: Two sections of the bridge have been delivered. Completion of the bridge is delayed until the spring as concrete work is needed and weather conditions will not permit the work during the cold months. The contractor is working on signage and markings on the trail. The Safety Committee is working on creating the colored zones of the trail so that in an emergency, a person can identify their approximate location by the color zone they are in at the time. The usage of the greenway has been incredible.

B. & C.) Update on Neighborhood Committee request to have the Commission oversee the administration of Witek Park and the Onopiak property and Update on Public Works reorganization: With the recent election, these matters was tabled for further discussion with the new administration. The Commission will express their concerns for ongoing maintenance needs for the facilities that must be addressed in a timely fashion and the function of Public Works in accomplishing this task.


Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell reported that basketball registration is complete with 210 registrants. They will be playing at Irving, Bradley and the Derby Veteran's Community Center. The Saturday League at the Derby Veteran's Community Center has fourteen teams.

The Ryan Field Complex football visitors’ bleachers were inspected and subsequently removed. Portable bleachers and borrowing from other locations are being explored for the Thanksgiving Day game.

Pop Warner has finished their regular season. Two cheerleading teams have won the State competitions and are advancing to the regionals.

The 4th Annual Thanksgiving Day Road Race will be held in the morning and registration is very good. The Commission thanked the police and fire departments for their assistance in this endeavor. Last year the Boy’s and Girl’s Club received approximately $6,000 from the proceeds.

At the Derby/Wilbur Cross football game, a New Haven resident fell on the bleachers. A report is on file with the Board of Education. The bleachers were inspected by Public Works and maintained as necessary.

The Athletic Director received a request from Woodland (Beacon Falls) football to hold a tournament game at Derby (neutral field). Members briefly discussed this request voicing concern with the bleacher situation, the field conditions, the fact that Derby is not associated with the NVL league and whether this was a request that should be before the Board of Alderman. The matter will be further discussed upon the arrival of the Athletic Director.

Committee Reports:

Finance Committee – Mr. O'Connell indicated that the budget would be tight as everything seems to be more costly this year. He will be monitoring the situation.

Mr. Benanto noted that Seymour recently installed turf on the football field with financing through a State grant. It was noted that the city used Small Cities Grant funding. It was suggested that Derby explore any possible avenues of funding for their capital projects.

Members discussed the long-term needs for the recreational programs. The soccer fields will be in use in the spring and this will offer some relief to the field use but the other programs’ needs must also be explored. It was noted that as the City considers plans for a new Middle School, fields should be part of the request as the City has the opportunity for partial reimbursement from the State for the construction. They noted that many towns are now going to artificial turf on the fields. This proposal was discouraged a few years ago because of the cost, but it was felt that the City should revisit the idea as the increased amount of usage the new surface could support would equate to having another field.

Programs Committee – The Committee met November 7th. Many of the program directors were present. Wrestling indicated that they are searching for a location, possibly at the High School gym. Members questioned whether Middle School students could participate or would it be a conflict with CIAC rules. This will be explored with the High School wrestling coach. Pop Warner is exploring the cost for the installation of the lights at the picnic grove. Little League is getting prices for fencing. Little League expressed concern that the upstairs of the Little League field house is not being maintained. This will be brought to the attention of the custodian.

All of the programs were asked to begin looking at their 2006-2007 budget requests so the information can be available by February, when the Commission will begin to prepare the Recreational budget.

First Aid and CPR course offerings were discussed and there was interest so the Committee will explore scheduling said courses.

There is a possibility that an Indian on horseback may ride down the trail from the High School parking area and stage on the sideline at the game, as per a previous tradition. The Athletic Director is exploring whether this would be allowed.

Facilities Committee – Parents are very pleased with the improved conditions of the Ryan Field field house.

OSHA inspected the Derby Veteran's Community Center and noted minor violations needing to be addressed. The Mayor’s assistant is handling the matter.

At Witek Park, the fields are in good condition. The City Engineer is exploring the drainage along the side of the fields as the drainage system that was installed is not functioning as per the design.

Mr. Benanto noted that the outdoor lights at the fields lose their brightness as they age. The City’s current practice is to replace the unit when it burns out. He suggested that the units be inspected to see if they are aged and providing less than the needed lumens. An ongoing schedule could then be developed to coincide with the budget.

Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Orazetti arrived. The Woodland request was revisited. Members restated their concerns.

A motion was made by David Mikos and second by Karen Izzo. Move to allow Woodland football to use the Ryan Field Complex football field on Thursday, November 17th with the understanding that the Athletic Director and the Recreation Director will use best judgment to determine the field conditions and the ability to play and further that all facility costs will be paid by Woodland (i.e. police, public works, ambulance) with the understanding that Woodland will receive the gate proceeds and further if a postponement is necessary, the game must be played by Saturday or the use will be withdrawn.

Vote on the motion. Chairman Walsh, Beverly Moran and James Benanto were opposed, the motion did not carry.

Motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by Beverly Moran. Move to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.

The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, December 12, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at the Old 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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