RECREATION & PARKS COMMITTEE
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Avon Town Hall, Building Department Conference Room
Call to Order - 7:30 a.m. – By Peter Ponziani, Chairman
1. Members & Staff Present
Ruth Checko, Director, Todd Donovan, David Jadovich, Peter Ponziani, Kelly Jackson, Joe Weist, Don Droppo, Mark Olson
Members & Staff Absent
Minutes – September 13, 2016
Minutes from the September 13, 2016 meeting were presented. David Jadovich motioned to accept the minutes as presented and Todd Donovan seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Public Comment - None
Ms. Checko informed the committee that the Wetlands committee approved the Fisher Meadows expansion but not without challenge but it did get approved.
Ms. Checko said the operating budget has been submitted and the State has put a 1 ½ or 2 ½ % increase cap for municipalities for their budgets so she may have to go back to the drawing board. Peter Ponziani asked what the increase was for the Recreation budget and Ms. Checko said it is at about 4% because of minimum wage increasing and we have one big project which is a DEEP mandated project for an emergency plan for the Countryside Park Dam. She said the consultant wants $20,000 to put the plan together. She will wait to hear from Brandon if she needs to change the Recreation budget.
A memorandum to Brandon Robertson from Ruth regarding the Athletic Field Advertising Program was distributed. Ms. Checko said the program was very successful and several of the sponsors requested that there be a 5-season option for $3,000 added to the program. The current options are 1 year for $800 or 2 years for $1,500. The program generated $9,750 in revenue which is held in the Town’s Fund 09 account. Ruth and the baseball people are recommending offering the 5-season package and asked the committee for approval. Mr. Ponziani asked how many signs are currently there and Ruth said there are 8-10 with room for about 5 more. Peter asked what the revenue is for and Ruth said it is designated for the Buckingham baseball fields and any improvements. She said they are talking about adding a small press box behind home plate. If the press box is ground level or under 12 feet tall, it would have to be ADA accessible.
Ruth reported that the Recreation Department’s winter/spring brochure will go out on Monday, December 19. She said this issue is not sent out to residents but is emailed to people in our database and posted on the Town website. Registration for those programs will also begin on December 19.
Youth Basketball – Ms. Checko said we had a hard time getting participants this year are we ended up eliminating the 7th & 8th grade girls and sending them to Farmington to play if they wanted to. We combined the 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls program. We think many of the girls are doing travel basketball or other activities. Kelly Jackson said travel basketball has expanded and a lot of the girls are doing travel. Canton no longer does girls grades 6 and up and Simsbury doesn’t do any basketball for boys or girls grade 4 and up and Farmington had trouble with numbers as well. Ruth said we will not be using Roaring Brook School on Saturdays which will save some money on custodial fees, ref fees and gym supervisor fees but our revenue is also down.
Avon Day – Ruth told the committee that the Recreation Department participated in Avon Day and had a booth this year that kind of played off our Help Your Neighbor Fair that we did last year. Program Coordinator Bonnie Daly did a book drive this year and collected over 600 books which were donated to the Read to Grow program.
Pool Season – The season went really well. Ruth said the culture has completely changed. There were a lot of new faces and a lot of new kids and a whole different attitude and work ethic and it was a really good summer.
Flag Football – The program ended up with 283 kids participating and it was a great season. Don Droppo said he has two children in the program and they loved it. Ruth said Laurie Hicks wants to start an adult league as well.
Ruth referred to the Memorandum to Brandon that was talked about in her Director’s report. She said it was her recommendation to Brandon to approve adding the 5-season plan and she asked the committee to support this as well. David Jadovich motioned to accept adding the 5-season plan as presented. Todd Donovan seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Proposed meetings for 2017/2018. It was decided to cancel the January 10, 2017 meeting. All other meetings scheduled for 2017/2018 were approved by the committee. Joe Weist motioned to accept the meeting dates as amended. Todd Donovan seconded the motion which passed unanimously.
Mr. Ponziani brought up the High School baseball field where the freshman and JV teams play. That field needs a lot of work. The infield was recently cleaned up according to Mr. Donovan but removing the scoreboard needs to be done. Mr. Ponziani added that the mound is atrocious and the outfield needs to be improved. Ms. Checko added that the Board of Ed mows, fertilizes and paint the lines, but the Town prepares the field for games. In August when school is getting started, the custodians are working on getting the inside of the schools ready, not the field.
VI. Committee Communication
Ruth told the committee that Brandon would like this committee to serve as the Building Committee for the Fisher Meadows expansion project. Mr. Ponziani said that would not be a problem if that is what Brandon wants.
VII. Old Business
A. Synthetic Turf Field Project – Avon High School
Ruth gave a quick report on the progress of the Avon High School project and had the committee look at the latest budget of the Avon High School Athletic Field Project. Ruth said the latest scope of work will be synthetic turf on the main field and north field. The buffer will go all the way across West Avon Road and the buffer all the way down to the border of Sudbury, the track did not change, bleachers and a press box, but the lights have been taken out. The reason the lights were taken out is because fundraising for lights is a little more glamorous than fundraising for bleachers and a press box. Ruth said Eric re-worked the budget but there is one more change that has to go in the budget that Ruth gave the committee. Ms. Checko said this budget reflects a reduced buffer and the new budget that Eric is working on will extend the new buffer all the way to the front. Joe Weist asked if we need a buffer that will go all the way across the front if the lights have been removed. Ruth said the conduit will be put in the ground so if lights do eventually get put it, the conduit will already be there. Kelly Jackson said she knows someone who may be willing to do the lights. She said big corporations donate things all the time and she just needs to get this person the specs.
Ruth said she and Brandon are going to the Board of Education next Tuesday, December 20 and they will present this latest scope of work to them. Once the Board of Education gives it their blessing, then Town Council should officially give it their blessing and then the project goes on hold until we have a funding mechanism from the state. Ruth said we will be at the mercy of the Bonding Commissions schedule. Once the Scope of Work is set, then the Town can go to the State once the Bonding Commission meets. She said it looks like it would be at least a year until referendum.
B. Field Demands – Ruth said she has been working on an exercise for the last two years of trying to quantify field use needs in Town. She said there 225 events per field, that is standard and that is kind of the goal is to have between 225-250 events which can be any sport. Ruth said that has been narrowed down to be able to quantify that we need 7.79 fields to get into the “green zone” which is the 225-250 fields. Ruth said this is what was used for the Power Point presentation for capitol and they just “got it”. Ruth said the information and the presentation was very successful and she doesn’t think that there was any question, but it gave Town Council the graph and the numbers to say okay we can back this. Ruth said when they got questioned at Wetlands, they pulled the presentation out again and it helped them there and it also helped Bruce Williams quantify another position at Public Works because the mowing is going to be doubled with the addition of new fields.
Peter Ponziani asked where we are in terms of fields. Ms. Checko said in terms of fields, keeping Enford, Alsop, Roaring Brook
and Huckleberry Hill, we still need 8 more fields. Ruth said even expanding Fisher Meadows is not going to alleviate the other areas like she thought. She said the High School will help a little bit. The lighting use has been changed now too. March is being eliminated for the lights being used and the shut off time has been changed to 7 p.m. Ruth said she will send the report on the field use.
VIII. New Business
A. Fisher Meadows Expansion – covered earlier in the meeting.
B. 2017 Commission Meeting Schedule – covered earlier in the meeting.
Programs – Ms. Checko told the committee that for the summer of 2017, the Camp Discovery program is being revamped to include 2 field trips per week. This is the day camp that we run out of Pine Grove. The older kids will have 2 trips per week and the younger kids will have 1 field trip per week. Ruth reported that the numbers in camp were up 9% last summer.
Peter Ponziani asked how the department was doing in terms of revenue. Ruth said in fiscal year 2014/2015 we were in the hole $9,000 in the Special Revenue account. In fiscal year 2015/2016 was a $13,000 gain so we are heading in the right direction. She said fees were moderately increased, and we changed the formula for administrative fees from $25 to 25%, we added a materials fee to some of them and we also cut expenses way back.
Todd Donovan motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 AM. Don Droppo seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Respectfully Submitted by Sharon Brummert
N:\Recreation\Rec. & Park Committee\Minutes\Minutes - December 13, 2016.doc