PARK & RECREATION COMMISSION
August 8, 2016
Present: K. Jones, J. Board, C. Hunter, R. Bier, J. Dorenbosch (8:03 pm)
Also present: Rob Blick and Julia Pemberton
CALL TO ORDER: Mr. Jones called the meeting to order at 7:42 pm.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Motion: move that the minutes of the June 6, 2016, meeting be accepted as presented. Hunter, Board. Approved. 3-0-1. Mrs. Bier abstained.
Mr. Blick reviewed his report.
- Summer Camp: camp is going well, with an average of 73 children/week. Field trips have been successful, with the children having a good time. A farewell party was held for retiring Mrs. A.
- Topstone Beach: the bathroom improvements have been completed. A few minor required corrections are being addressed this week. Some of the replacement boats have arrived, with the bulk of the shipment due during the winter months. The staff has had many very successful special events for the beach goers.
- Topstone Park: Mr. Blick noted that during recent rain event, the path to the beach had a runoff problem. The Town’s Highway Department staff has corrected the problem. He thanked the Highway Department for their help. Mr. Blick noted that the signage at the entry to the park is blocked with trees and he suggested cutting some back. He will consult with the Tree Warden on the potential of cutting back the trees to make the sign more visible.
- Field Maintenance: The crew is going a good job. All the positions are part-time, so the number of staff members has increased.
- Concert-on-the-Green: the concerts are going well, with only one rainout. At one of the concerts, Mr. Jones explained the funding issues with the concert goers and encouraged them to make donations. Mr. Blick reported that over $2,000 had been received since the beginning of the series, bringing the concert funding to close to a breakeven point. Mr. Blick noted that he had a few complaints about the number of dogs and dog policy at the concerts. After discussion, the Commission members were in agreement that the problem was a one-time occurrence and that generally there are no major problems. No changes to the policy were suggested.
- Community Garden: Mr. Blick reported that an infestation problem has been addressed by an exterminator. He recommended that the management of the garden be the responsibility of a self-governing group of the gardeners. He has had several offers to form a group. The group would plan a work day to prepare the plots, send out reminders, and address issues. Currently there is a $50 fee/plot and there are 23 plots.
Mr. Dorenbosch arrived during the discussion below, (8:03 pm)
First Selectman Pemberton commented that she had a communication with a resident who requested a Town playground for residents. The school playground is closed for public use during school hours and one of the playgrounds is closed during the summer when the summer pre-school is in session. Discussion followed. There was agreement that a public playground would be nice, but the cost and location issues were large. The playground at Topstone is available for public use. Mr. Blick reported that repairs were made to that equipment, but that wood structure is not as desirable as the newer playground equipment. Expansion of that playground area is limited due to the location and number of trees in the area.
DISCUSSION OF SKATE PARK INITIATIVE: Aiden Sheahan, the promoter of the skate park initiative, submitted a packet of signatures of individuals (over 300) who are interested or would support a skate park in Redding. Commission members discussed the next steps for the process. There was a general agreement that the Community Center complex would be the ideal location for such a project, and Mr. Blick indicated an area that could be suitable. The area, between the Community Garden and the Storage Shed, adjacent to the parking lot, would require extensive excavation and grading. This location would require preliminary studies to determine the cost of excavation and grading, and would require approval of the land use agencies in Town. At this point, the cost of land preparation is unknown. Mrs. Pemberton added that Milone & MacBroom could be consulted for the cost of land preparation, but there is a cost for that work.
After discussion, the group indicated support for the project, but costs are a concern. Mr. Jones will work on getting cost estimates for the land preparation work involved, as well as cost estimates for the skate park equipment/installation. Commission members were in agreement that while the Town could provide a location for the skate park, the funding should to be done through fund raising activities and user/parental support. Some parents have offered to seek available grant opportunities.
DISCUSSION OF SKATING RINK DESIGN: Mrs. Hunter reported that she has discussed the project with an architect/resident who is willing to contribute to the design of the skating rink. The concept is to make the skating rink a magical experience for the users. Mr. Blick indicated that the rink itself and the side boards have been purchased and will be ready for installation in December when the weather permits. Mrs. Hunter will arrange for a meeting between Mr. Blick and the architect/resident to review design elements. Maintenance issues for the rink are being worked out with the First Selectman’s office.
DISCUSSION OF RCC2 Drainage Project: Mrs. Pemberton reviewed a proposal from Milone & MacBroom, the Town’s engineer firm. They would prefer to start the analysis fresh, examine all three fields and do the necessary testing to determine how best to remedy the drainage issues. They have recommended doing a proper site evaluation and proceed with the work that falls within the budget. Mrs. Pemberton noted that the cost of the evaluation is $18,000. Finance Director Gniadek has recommended getting two additional quotes for the work. Mrs. Pemberton will follow through and will provide the P&R Commission with the additional quotes when they are available, hopefully by the next commission meeting.
Mrs. Hunter made a suggestion to be incorporated with the Town’s Sestercentennial celebration. She suggested that one of the new canoes be dressed with a 250th emblem and be used for resident signatures ($10/each) to commemorate the anniversary. Mrs. Pemberton noted that a committee is working on the celebration planning and would consider all suggestions.
ADJOURNMENT: Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Hunter, Board. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm
Submitted by Mary Maday, Recording Secretary