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Minutes of Park and Recreation Commission, 11/18/2013

AGENDA: Park and Recreation Commission

RECEIVED 11/24/2013 10:04am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Commission members: P. Degener, Chair; P. Darlington J. Dorenbosch, M. McClung, G. Miyashiro, Caroline Hunter

Staff present:  Rob Blick

Also present:  John Board was present (scheduled to be appointed as a commission member at the Board of Selectmen meeting tonight).

Mr. Degener called the regular meeting on November 18, 2013 to order at 7:37 pm.


Motion: move to approve the minutes of the October 21, 2013 meeting as corrected.  Miyashiro, Dorenbosch.  Approved. Unanimous.

Correction: under discussion of STEAP Grant, a portion of the STEAP Grant be used…..


Mr. Blick highlighted his written report.

  • Both storage facilities were approved for funding.  Mr. Miyashiro will follow the project through the various town boards/commissions.
  • Halloween Trunk or Treat event was well run.  Mr. Blick has met with the Neighbors and Newcomers to discuss doing the event again next year, along with the Park & Recreation Trick or Treat Street. Mr. Blick will arrange some meetings with the group and members of the Park & Recreation staff and Commission to work on planning alternatives for the event next year.  Mrs. Hunter stated that the issue was discussed at a recent Redding Elementary School PTA meeting and suggested the PTA President or representative and school principal also be involved in future planning meetings. The general feeling was that the two events should alternate rather than compete.
  • 2014-15 Budget Planning:  The Board of Selectmen Budget Workshop is scheduled for January 10, 2014. Mr. Blick has requested the Park & Recreation Department be scheduled early in the day to allow members to attend. Budget details will  be reviewed at the December board meeting.
  • Demountable Classroom:  There is a concern about the long-term use of the demountable unit for the Extended Day program.  Mary Jo Dix is checking with the school administration on the long term use of the demountable unit for school use, or if they plan to eliminate its use. One of the two demountable units is dedicated Park & Rec use. Repairs are continually needed and the building is aging. Mr. Blick recommended a long-term view of the use of the demountable warrants further consideration. The space is used full time for Park & Rec programs.
  • Basketball League:  the program is doing well, but participation has decreased.
  • Fall Frenzy Dance was successful.

Motion: move that the Park & Recreation Commission accept the Director’s Report as submitted. Dorenbosch, McClung.  Approved. Unanimous.


Annual Report 2012-2013:  Mr. Degener presented his revision of the annual report and Mr. Blick will review the document.  Any suggestions should be forwarded to Mr. Blick for further revisions.

2014 Meeting Schedule:  The dates for 2014 were reviewed and accepted. Mr. Degener will file the dates with the Redding Town Clerk.


John Board: Mr. Board asked if Mr. Blick had reviewed enrollment for the Extended Day program before the demountable unit was added. Mr. Blick responded that it was years ago, and there were only about 30 participants in the program. With the addition of the demountable unit, participation quickly grew to about 60. He suggested there may be a correlation of the school enrollment numbers with the numbers of participants in the program.


Mr. Degener asked Mr. Dorenbosch for his view on whether the youth of Redding would be able to play on the new Region 9 turf field.  Mr. Dorenbosch responded that he understands that the high school gets priority; he believes that the youth football and lacrosse programs will be using the field on the weekends.  The Park & Recreation programs do not typically use the high school football stadium field, but he anticipates he will continue to manage the field and indoor gym use as he currently does.


The discussion centered on the wording of the signs to inform patrons about the Lease Ordinance. Mr. Blick would like to have the signs up as soon as possible. Mr. Degener will rework the wording of the message on the sign and will circulate revisions to board members for consideration.

Mr. Degener proposed the addition of a MaryAnn Guitar Bypass trail.  The intention is to recognize Ms Guitar for her work in preserving Redding’s natural resources. Mr. Blick suggested some changes to existing trails and, in general, the needed work on some of the trails.  Discussion followed.  Mr. Blick plans to get a small group of people together, people interested in trail maintenance, to discuss the condition and repair/restoration of the trails.


Both storage projects were approved at the Town Meeting, and both are on track.  Construction is anticipated to begin mid to late March.

Programs’ Enrollment/Budget Presentation:  Mr. Blick reported the budget preparation is underway.  He is addressing the declining school enrollment as it impacts the Park & Rec program enrollment.  Some increases in fees will be included. Fewer trips to plays and ball games are planned as they have not been popular recently.

He noted that some costs included in the Program Account is for fees that are outside of the actual program costs, i.e. special events, movie night, police coverage for Concerts, etc.  In addition, the Park & Recreation budget includes all the maintenance costs for the entire Community Center building. He also noted that the recent years of Concert on the Green donations have not covered the costs.  In response to a request to have a concert on the Labor Day weekend, he will add that concert, but will begin the concert series one week later, on Father’s Day weekend. Donations for the concerts need to be encouraged.  Mr. Blick will incorporate this information when he presents the budget at the Board of Selectmen Budget Workshop.

John Read Middle School Field:  Mr. Blick reported the contractor he uses has estimated on the cost of maintenance for the John Read Middle School field, assuming the field was renovated to include a mound, $1,620 for the 27 weeks that maintenance would be needed.  His estimate of the field upgrade work is $5,700.

Mr. Degener stated that the proposal from the Boys’ & Girls’ Club is for a field upgrade on the field, using part of the STEAP Grant, for their use, with Park & Rec being responsible for the maintenance costs.  Currently Park & Rec maintains that field, including weekly grooming, and that annual budget is $1,600. Mowing all year long is done by the JRMS field staff.

Discussion of the field usage followed.  Mr. Blick noted that the field is maintained, but there are no Park & Rec programs currently scheduled on the field.  He is willing to continue to include the maintenance annual field of $1,600 for general maintenance.  The question is who would cover the costs of the additional maintenance that would be needed for the Boys’ & Girls’ Club.  In addition, new clay is needed for the field at a cost of $1,000.  Clay has not been added in recent years and is needed.

Commission members questioned why the field was being maintained if there are no P & R programs or uses of the field.  Most felt that if the Boys’ & Girls’ Club wanted to use the field, the responsibility of maintenance costs needs to be discussed with them.  A letter is being prepared to be sent to the Redding Boys’ & Girls’ Club to address these issues and their desire to use the JRMS baseball field.

Mr. Blick stressed the fact that he is responsible for the maintenance of the Town’s fields.  The JRMS is not currently being used for activities.  The schools use the grassy areas for gym classes and recess.  The schools only mow the area; all other maintenance is done by Park & Recreation.  He said that actual baseball field is not being maintained as a baseball field since it is not being used as a baseball field.


John Board:  Mr. Board commented that the Topstone Trails should be maintained.  He also commented on the verbiage planned for the Dog Leash signs.  He asked if the Boys’ & Girls’ Club has made a commitment to use the JRMS baseball field?  Mr. Blick said they have asked the Board of Education to pursue the use of the field.  Mr. Board asked if the schools would benefit from the improvements to the field.


Motion: move that the meeting recess to executive session for a discussion of personnel matters. Dorenbosch, McClung.  Approved. Unanimous.

Mr. Blick and Mr. Board were invited to be present.

The meeting recessed at 9:19 pm


The Chair reconvened the meeting in public session at 9:26 pm


Motion:  move to adjourn the meeting. Dorenbosch, McClung.  Approved Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 9:26 pm

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Maday, Recording Secretary