(meeting taped)
Regular meeting: Monday, November 8, 1999 at the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

Meeting was called to order at 7:20 p.m. By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Beverly Moran, Al Felice and David Mikos. Adam Greco was absent.

Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O'Connell was also present. Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent.

The Commission welcomed new member David Mikos.

Without objection, Chairman Walsh added the update on the Recreation Facilities Enhancement Committee under Committee reports.

No one was present to speak.

A motion was made by Alfred Felice and second by Beverly Moran. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting held on September 13, 1999. Correction was noted page 2, third paragraph; the sentence should read "The annual operating budget for Parks & Recreation is less than one half of one percent." With this correction the motion carried with David Mikos abstaining.

Chairman Walsh noted an e-mail from Randy Ritter regarding a High School reunion being planned for next year. The Cultural Commission will be sponsoring the event. They will be requesting use of the various areas within the Ryan Complex during the event scheduled for the last weekend in June, 2000 in conjunction with Derby Day. All alumni of Derby High School will be invited to attend. Mr. O'Connell noted that many of the programs are well into their season at that time. Chairman Walsh noted that this was in the early planning stages and more details would be forthcoming. He also felt that approvals may be needed from the Board of Alderman as this is not specifically a Parks & Recreation event.

Parks & Recreation Director's Report: Mr. O'Connell reported that the fall programs, the Fall soccer program and Pop Warner, are nearing the end of their seasons.

Boy's Biddy basketball has started practice. Participation is very good with eight teams in the senior division, eight teams in the junior division and instructional. The teams are playing at the Veteran's Center and also, courts are available at the Boy's Club in Shelton for two games a week.

Girl's Biddy basketball has seen the numbers go down a little with seventy five participants total. They have a senior division, junior division and instructional. He noted that the reduction in numbers is partly due to girls participating in the intermediate school or St. Mary's programs. The divisions play at Irving and the instructional programs are playing at Bradley.

Mr. O'Connell noted that the Irving After School program should be resuming next semester. He noted that he is also further studying the possibility of a free swim program at the Veteran's Center during the winter months. Possibly, this could be run in conjunction with the After School program. Further details regarding costs, administrator of the program as well as supervision of the participants are being explored.

The wrestling program has started and is using space at the Boy's Club. They hope to hold clinics within the next six weeks.

Next, field conditions were discussed. The upper field where Pop Warner practices is very muddy. The picnic grove is also very worn. The soccer field at Bradley has very poor conditions. Balls are actually redirected due to clumps of grass impeding the roll. With High School soccer and football and Pop Warner using the football field, it too is showing wear. It was noted that games have been canceled when weather conditions were less than optimum or when conditions were excessively wet in order to preserve the overall conditions as much as possible so that the field would last throughout the season.

Reviewing the budget, Mr. O'Connell noted that all is going well. He is monitoring the water expense line item as the amount expended is high for this point of the year. Transfers within budget may be necessary later in the year.

Members discussed the projects, the Bradley School bathrooms and storage area at the Ryan Complex, included for LoCIP funding under the Capital plan. With the referendum on the field improvements delayed until Spring 2000, it was questioned whether these projects should go forward so as not to jeopardize losing this funding. And if these projects were to go forward, how would they be designed so as to work into the future improvements. These questions will be explored with both the Capital Planning Commission and with the engineers overseeing the recreation enhancement designs.

Athletic Director's Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present.

Members discussed the necessity of having Mr. Marcucio present, at the very least, on a quarterly basis. This would be helpful with receiving schedules for each season as well as hearing updates on the progress of the programs.

A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Alfred Felice. Move to recommend that the Chairman communicate in writing to Mr. Marcucio requesting that he attend the Parks & Recreation meeting. All in favor. Motion carried.

Youth Advisory Council - A meeting scheduled for October 14, 1999 was canceled. Chairman Walsh felt that a meeting should be scheduled in the near future to update them on the progress of the facilities enhancement plans as well as to encourage them to seek support at time of referendum. He also noted that the budget process will be starting in the next few months for allocations for next fiscal year and he felt the programs should begin developing their requests.

Mr. O'Connell noted the time constraints on the program directors and coaching staffing during their program's season. It is often difficult to schedule a meeting without conflict with game or practice times. Members suggested that each program be invited to the regular Parks & Recreation Commission meeting the month after their season ends or the month before their season starts. This way updates could be given and the flow of programs attending would be spread throughout the year. It was suggested that Pop Warner and Little League be invited to the next regular meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission.

Recreation Facilities Enhancement Committee - It was noted that the plan approved to go to vote on the referendum was pulled from the ballot as changes to the High School building plans have offered possible alternative locations for fields. Chairman Walsh noted that the Committee will be communicating with the School Building Expansion Committee to determine the final plan. Again, the possibility of reimbursement from the State for a portion of the construction costs is being explored. Chairman Walsh stated that he has spoken to the Mayor seeking to continue to have the City Engineer assist the Committee. Additional funds will be needed for this assistance and he is awaiting a reply. The members expressed their satisfaction with the City Engineer for all the assistance and professional expertise provided.

Mr. Felice questioned whether an interim plan of maintenance could be developed for the fields. With the referendum delayed and with the fact that it will take two years for the fields to be available for use once construction has begun, he asked how the current conditions are to be addressed. Mr. O'Connell indicated that work is done at the end of the season. Loam is brought in to make repairs, areas are rolled, aerated and seeded but by the time this work is done, the growing season has long since past. Play begins early in the spring and the fields have little time to rejuvenate. With Public Works employees sharing their time between this field work and other work in the City, resources are limited. Members questioned whether an outside service would enhance the conditions but it was felt that cost and the expansive scope of duties may make such a service cost prohibitive. They did feel that added maintenance should be studied and included in the long-term plans for the fields now being discussed in Committee.

Mr. Felice questioned whether the unauthorized use of the fields could be controlled. It was noted that signs are in place at many of the fields which do ban unauthorized use but they are being ignored. While certainly the Commission's ultimate intent would be to welcome and encourage anyone to enjoy outdoor activities, due to current limitations and conditions consideration was given to the need for restrictions. Members discussed possibly issuing permits for authorized use and requesting the Police Department to increase patrol of these areas. The logistics of issuing the permits and increasing the enforcement were a concern. It was decided that discussion of this matter be added to next month's agenda with the Police Chief invited to attend.

The next meeting will be Monday, December 13, 1999 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. If the Aldermanic Chambers are unavailable then the Veteran's room will be requested.

A motion was made by Beverly Moran and second by Alfred Felice. Move to adjourn this meeting at 8:45 p.m. All in favor. Motion carried.


Respectfully prepared,


Karen Kemmesies, secretary

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