PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD MEETING
June 20, 2019
Members present: Steve Bryer, Chairman
Jim Hembree, Secretary
Others present: Nancy Opalka, Director of Parks & Recreation
Dr. Kim Rose, Supervisor
Mr. Bryer called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.
A motion was made to approve the minutes from the May 2, 2019 meeting. The minutes were approved unanimously.
There were no Citizens Concerns.
Civic Center Improvement Project Phase 2 - Ms. Opalka reported that the contract was awarded at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. The contractor is Ankiewicz Enterprises, Inc. and to Bonavitacola Electrical Contractor Inc. The total amount of the project is $933,883.80.
This contract includes construction of interior park trails, regrading of the practice fields, enlargement of a parking lot, paving of a stone parking lot, installation of parking lot lights and paving of the park roadways.
Before we can schedule a pre-construction meeting or start construction we need to have the storm water basin which was constructed during Phase 1 to be acceptable to the Bucks County Conservation District. Apparently, CKS did not close out the permit and in order to do so it was re-inspected and was not working properly.
The contractor seems to be very flexible and will schedule the project as we see fit. We are hoping that he will be able to set up and start by mid-July. He is aware of football camp and our camp events.
Tentatively it appears that the middle parking lot will be the first item to be addressed, followed by the regrading of the rear practice fields so that they will be stabilized and ready for seed at the end of August. After that it is expected that work on the rear field and the trails will be done next. Once the schedule is confirmed it will be shared with the Parks and Recreation Board and the sports groups.
A pre-construction meeting is tentatively scheduled for the week of July 1st.
Fall Facility Use - Field Allocations were reviewed and discussed. Mr. Bryer further stated that Spring field requests should be sent to Ms. Opalka in January and Fall requests should be sent in the spring. In addition, no permanent allocations will be made until all rosters are received.
Discussion took place regarding the format for the rosters. It is best if rosters are submitted as they are submitted to the state/national organization which it is believed are by individual teams. Addresses must be included. If necessary the sport group can submit the team rosters and then the entire leagues roster in an excel format. Ms. Opalka explained that since we began requiring rosters the process of submittals has evolved from paper submittals to electronic submittals. The registration process has also evolved. Not all software programs are the same so some differences in the way the groups submit the rosters is acceptable. Mr. Bryer instructed the groups to submit rosters to Ms. Opalka prior to the first game of the season. Whatever is sent to the coaches can be turned in. Once the rosters are reviewed by PR, the group will be notified if additional information is needed. It is important that all requirements of the accreditation process are met. We need to follow the rules put in place.
Allocation of fields is becoming more difficult as all groups conduct programs year round and PR constantly receives requests for use. Mr. Bryer prepared the following statement which was read at the meeting:
The Parks and Recreation Board and Department and community user groups have worked together for decades with the goal of providing recreational activities for the youth and young adults of Northampton Township.
Over the last few years the “balance” of field allocations has gotten much more difficult as ALL sports have stepped out of their “traditional seasons” to play throughout the year.
We have had some systemic issues that have never been worked through satisfactorily, especially with NIFA not having a dedicated area for play.
It is understandable that all user groups want to maximize their play at the Civic Center since it is the only Township owned location with lighting.
With the Phase II project beginning in the next 4-6 weeks, we have decided that it is time to make every effort to develop a plan that best serves the community-as-a-whole. In addition to youth sports, we are cognizant of the ever-increasing need for adult activities.
We will immediately begin to work through these issues over the next few months with the ultimate- goal of having each user group having a dedicated place at the Civic Center, Hampton Estates or Municipal Park.
Everyone can’t have their entire program housed at these locations and utilization of CR School District fields and other alternative fields is going to be necessary in the future as it is now.
Our first, and foremost, consideration will be to maximize recreational level programs that our user groups provide. Our second focus will be on programs that will offer opportunities to older teens and young adults-so-as to provide positive alternatives to drugs, alcohol and the boredom and dangers of idle time. Travel and elite programs will be factored in but never at the expense of the first two requirements listed above.
Over the summer, we will be setting up workshops as well as meeting with individual user groups to get input and discuss each group’s needs. Although there are no current plans for development at 39 acres, we are open to ideas on how to best use that property as well. Another consideration for user groups will be the continued loss of CRSD facilities, either temporary due to renovation or permanently at Richboro Middle School.
We understand that many of you will be facing some inconvenience as Phase II is completed and we appreciate your understanding.
Our goal is to have a plan in place so that every user group has a “home” by the fall of 2020.
In order to make this long-range plan work, we are all going to have to make some sacrifices. Once we have worked though these issues, we will have a better set of programs than we have now.
Mr. Bryer further stated that it is our goal that by fall 2020, Northampton Indians Football will have a dedicated place to play.
Report of Field Users
Council Rock Basketball – No representative was present.
Council Rock Holland Baseball – No representative was present.
Council Rock Northampton Baseball – Mr. Jim Gallagher reported that Districts will begin on June 21st.
Council Rock United Soccer – No representative was present.
Northampton Girls Softball – Ms. Heidi Van Steenburgh asked if regrading can be done at Municipal Park Field #1. The field accumulates more water than the other fields. Ms. Opalka said she would look into this request. Since the engineers will be working on the trail project at the Municipal Park it may be feasible for them to look at the fields at that time.
Northampton Indians Football - Mr. Steve Szydlik reported that the air conditioner at the shack is not working and needs to be replaced. Mr. Bryer reported he would look into this problem. Mr. Szydlik said the flag football season went well and that there were 80 more kids registered than last year. NIFA will run a camp the week of July 15th and the season will start August 1.
Report of Parks and Recreation Director
Ms. Opalka reported the following:
- Camp starts on Monday June 24th and reported on the camp registrations. Overall there are 13 more campers than 2018 with a total of 631 campers. However, the total is shy of the projection of 686. Registration is as follows:
Renovations at Holland Middle School are complete which has allowed us to host camp there once again. Staffing camp this year was an issue as number of applications received was much lower than in the past. On a positive note, our Camp Adventure is well received with the most campers this year than ever before but sadly we have 20 on a waiting list. We’ve made a few changes this year. Campers can attend the pool before camp starts to participate in their deep water test.
Jen Fean, Program Manager continues to do unbelievable job coordinating the camp programs. This year was a bit more difficult as Barb who works closely with her has been out.
- Preschool graduation took place on June 5th and 6th. Again, Barb Primavera, who is the coordinator of this program, has been out but she had everything ready for the last two months of the program and graduation. The staff stepped in where needed and although the parents knew Barb was out found the program to run without a hitch due to the staff’s ability and desire to make it work. There were 56 children enrolled this past year in the Preschool Potpourri Program and so far we have 60 registered for next year. This is a great program as it not only prepares the children for school it introduces the families to our many other programs.
- The Community Yard Sale was a huge success with 80 households participating. May 2018, we had 82 households. The weather was great and we had great feedback.
- The fishing derby was scheduled for June 1st but was postponed due to the heavy rains. The new date is July 21st. Hopefully the rain subsides and the creek is safe for fishing. Registration remains open and it looks like there will be close to 100 kids fishing.
- A Star Gazing event with the Bucks Mont Astronomical Association took place on Sunday June 8th with 114 registered. It was a free event. Again great feedback was received.
- The concert series continues each Thursday evening. Tonight’s concert like last week’s will be held inside. We tried to reschedule the performers but they are booked through October. The next concert on June 27 at 6:30 pm features Lolly and Yo-Yo, children’s performers.
- Lastly, July is National Park and Recreation Month. Here in Pennsylvania, the third Friday in July (July 19th) is Park and Recreation Professionals Day. It honors the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide the high quality programs and facilities we desire and expect in our parks and public spaces. It is a day to recognize the normally unsung services of some 8,000 Pennsylvania park and recreation professionals, along with thousands of other volunteers who contribute to our wellbeing by serving on Boards, Committees, Commissions, Friends, Neighborhoods, Trails and other groups, including the youth sports volunteers.
Pennsylvanians are blessed to own more than 6,000 community parks and 12,000 miles of trails in every nook and county, and 121 (award-winning) state parks, with one within 25 miles of nearly every resident. And along with them are countless playgrounds, pools, beaches, campsites, marinas, picnic areas, athletic fields, skate parks, dog parks, festival venues, gardens, visitor centers, historic and cultural attractions, and many other recreational facilities and amenities.
The healthful value and relative importance that Pennsylvanians place on their parks and natural areas is shown in the fact that, although Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest state, only Alaskans and Californians have more park land.
Supervisor Liaison Report
Dr. Rose had nothing to report this evening.
There were no Citizens Concerns.
At this point, Mr. Bryer reminded the sports group representatives about supplying information required as accredited user groups and that the Board must follow the rules and regulations. In addition, Mr. Bryer will reach out to the User Groups to schedule meetings.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:57 pm.
Jim Hembree, Secretary
Next Meeting – July 18, 2019 7 pm