Commission members: P Degener, Chair; J. Dorenbosch, J. Board (7:44 pm), C. Hunter, S. Palmer, P. Darlington, V. Alward (8:05 pm)
Staff: R. Blick and M.J. Dix
Mr. Degener called the regular meeting on March 28, 2014 to order at 7:40 pm.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move to approve the minutes of the February 24, 2014 meeting as submitted. Dorenbosch, Hunter. Approved. 4-0-1. Mr. Palmer abstained.
Mr. Blick highlighted his written report:
- Athletic fields: the opening of the fields for play was delayed due to the snow and heavy rain. Mr. Blick noted that most fields in the State were delayed from opening for the same reason. While the fields are now open, the forecasted rain this week will likely result in another closure.
- Topstone staffing: a large turnover in staff is expected this year. Rory O’Donnell and Katie will be back to manage the beach. Plans are in place for opening the beach for the weekends of May 10 & 17, weather permitting.
- Halloween event: Caroline Hunter reported that a meeting, with representatives of the Neighbors & Newcomers, the RES PTA, Mary Jo Dix, RES Principal Wessman Huber, and herself, was very productive. There was agreement to move forward with a combined event, combining the Neighbors & Newcomer’s Trunk Or Treat with the P & R Trick or Treat Street, to be called Trunk or Treat Street. The plan includes having vehicles decorated, handing out candy, parked outside the Community Center. The children and parents would then filter into the Community Center for refreshments and musical entertainment. The entry fee would be one bag of candy. Mary Jo Dix has agreed to wear a costume and distribute the candy to the decorated vehicles. This would offset the cost of candy for those who choose to decorate their car and distribute candy. The Park & Recreation Department will be responsible for decorations in the Community Center, some kind of refreshments, musical entertainment, and the cost of police coverage for the event. All agreed that this was a good compromise and best for staff and participants.
- Demountable Units: Mary Jo Dix recapped the events leading up to the decision announced at a Board of Education meeting that the demountable units will be removed/demolished this summer. She noted that there were meetings regarding the conditions of the demountable units and concerns about the cost of repairs. The Board of Education’ plan was to removed or demolish the units at some time in the future. It was noted that the Board of Ed owns one unit and the Town of Redding owns the second, the one used for Extended Day. During the budget process, the Board of Education made the decision to include funding for the demolition of the demountable units in the 2014-15 budget and have the work done during the summer of 2014. The decision was made in conjunction with the need to meet the State’s MBR requirement for educational financing. Commission members expressed concern that they were unaware of the discussions and plans, and caught off guard when the announcement was made. Mrs. Dix reassured all that plans are in place for the permanent use of one classroom for the Extended Day program, and the continued use of additional classrooms as needed. She noted that the Program has a good relationship with the classroom teachers, are very respectful of the classrooms, and have not had any problems. Mrs. Dix also explained how the security at the entry door would be handled. Mrs. Hunter requested that there be a formal written agreement for the use of the permanent classroom and use of other areas. Mr. Degener will draft a letter to the Board of Education for review by Mr. Board and Mr. Hunter. Mrs. Dix will consult with Principal Wessman Huber regarding the request for a formal agreement.
Motion: move that the Park & Recreation Commission accept the Director’s Report as submitted. Dorenbosch, Board. Approved. Unanimous.
1. Youth Triathlon: participation in this event was cancelled, the group decided to limit the event to Ridgefield properties.
2. Gate opening: Mrs. Alward asked for clarification on when the Topstone gate was opened. Mr. Blick reported the gate is opened by a volunteer in the mornings between 9 & 9:30 and closed at dusk. The gate will remain closed when the weather warms up and before the beach is open, generally the two weeks before the beach is opened for the season and two weeks at the end for the season. This is to prevent swimming in the pond when lifeguards are not present due to liability issues. Mrs. Alward questioned why the gate could not be opened during this time since the closure prohibits or limits the use of the Town’s only playground. Mr. Blick noted that the procedure is in place on the advice of legal counsel, but he would check again to see if there are any options available.
3. Leash Ordinance & Enforcement: the signs have been posted and patrons are being reminded about the new ordinance. Procedures and a reporting system are in place for reporting violators. Mr. Blick noted that he hopes the existence of an ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed in the parking area and roadway will result in a change of behavior of dog walkers.
4. Trail Planning & Restoration: Mr. Blick will form a small committee of volunteers to work on trail conditions and improvements. Mr. Board and Mrs. Hunter will participate on the committee. Mr. Blick noted that the pond will be hydro raked this week and the Highway Department would be moving the removed weeds and working on the roadway.
5. Topstone Park Survey: Mr. Board was tasked with working on the survey for the next meeting.
RCC STORAGE: The work on the two storage areas will begin soon.
ATHLETIC FIELD “RAINOUT/CLOSURE” POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: The procedure in place if that Mr. Blick makes the call for weekday use of the athletic fields at the Community Center, RES & JRMS. The Barlow staff makes the call on their fields. On the weekends, a representative of each of the user groups makes the determination of suitability of field for use based on their specific guidelines, specifically standing water or saturation of field will close the field. The condition of the field and the safety of the users are the guiding factors.
P&R BROCHURE, content, timing and publication schedule
Mrs. Hunter commented that she and others would like to see the brochure earlier than two weeks before sign up for program begins. She asked if the brochure printing/mailing could be earlier. Mr. Blick commented on the work that goes into the brochure. A suggestion was made to provide preliminary information on the P&R’s webpage. Mrs. Alward will meet with Mr. Blick and Laura Anderson to work on the issue.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Dorenbosch, Board. Approved Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary