October 23, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm.
Parks & Rec Commissioners: Mike Genest, Joan Gorga, Peter Lamb, and Isaac Lombard
Recreation Director: Celeste Lunetta
The minutes from the September 11, 2014 meeting were approved as written.
CIP Follow-up. Joan was called before the CIP budget committee on September 30. Their feedback regarding the Parks and Rec CIP budget was not encouraging. They do not support the proposal to install lights at Shea Field, and demanded that we demonstrate the need by renting lights, as they told us last year. They think that we should begin immediately to save money for the gym floor replacement, and think we are asking for too much money for Memorial Park without having spent the money allotted at Town Meeting last year.
We reaffirmed our commitment to installing lights at Shea Field. Portable lights are powered by diesel generators, which are loud and give off fumes. Referees do not like them because they are not tall enough, and players frequently lose sight of the ball. The permanent lights are warrantied for 25 years, including all maintenance, which takes the urgency away from having to develop a new field. The electricity costs would come out of players’ fees. We can also increase revenue from increased field use. It was also suggested that the CIP budget committee attend a Parks & Rec meeting.
LWCF Grant. We submitted a “Notice of Intent” to submit a LWCF grant proposal for Memorial Park Revitalization on September 26, and Celeste and Joan attended a workshop regarding this grant on October 8. We feel we fit the criteria well and should be competitive for this grant funding. Antrim has received LWCF funding for several previous projects, and overdue inspections will be scheduled soon, along with a site evaluation for the current application. Completed applications are due on January 9, 2015.
Other. We were advised that there is a foundation (The Stanton Foundation) that helps to fund dog park construction. Peter investigated grant opportunities from other sports foundations, and did not find any. We will continue to look for other funding opportunities.
HEAL. Joan attended a full-day HEAL NH workshop on October 16 to find out more about the HEAL program and investigate options for HEAL funding for town projects. It appears that Antrim already has many elements in place that align with HEAL objectives, and we should continue to explore this avenue.
USTA. We are planning to submit an application, due in March, to the USTA for funding to help rebuild the tennis court.
Rec Dept. Budget. Celeste submitted a flat department budget. She would like to hire a Waterfront Director, who would be responsible for staff, supplies and events at the Town Beach, and would be required to work on Sundays between 1 and 6 pm. Celeste proposed that the Waterfront Director would work a total of 160 hours over the summer, approximately 15 hours/week. She increased the budget for beach supplies by $400, as a digging toy, at least one grill and tables need to be replaced. We may also need to do some fundraising for beach improvements.
LWCF Inspections. A site inspection for the LWCF grant and overdue inspections from previously received grants will be scheduled in the next few weeks. If and when the Select Board approves the new park ordinances, a new master sign will be made. The ordinances are on the Select Board agenda for Monday, September 15.
Signs. Since the new park ordinances were passed, new signs will be a November project.
Ten-year plan/Design. Celeste, Peter and Joan met with Peter Wells of The Berkshire Design Group on September 24 to discuss plans for Memorial Park. Celeste contacted a second park design firm regarding putting together a formal park plan, but no further progress has been made. Peter Wells submitted a proposal on October 14, which outlines a 3-phase Master Plan for Memorial Park:
Phase 1 -- Base Sheets and Site Analysis -- would consist of mapping the property with regard to access and circulation, vegetation, topography and drainage, views and aesthetic considerations, utilities, overlay districts, abutting properties, and buffer zones.
Phase 2 -- Schematic Design Alternatives -- would address park improvements, including repairs to the pedestrian bridge, bandstand access, relocating the tennis court and incorporating basketball into the space, a new walkway system, shade at the skatepark, site furnishings, a drinking fountain, playground expansion, building a restroom, establishing picnic areas, lighting, improved storm drainage, interpretive/educational signage, delineating the pond edging, creating a stronger “sense of arrival,” plantings and invasive species removal. Based on these considerations, they will develop 3 schematic design alternatives for the park, in the form of renderings, photographs, and examples of similar work to facilitate the decision-making process. They will meet with us to present the options and determine which alternative
best meets the needs of the town.
Phase 3 -- Final Conceptual Master Plan -- would proceed after the selection of a preferred design, and would include the layout of all elements, access and circulation, preliminary labeling of materials to be used, a permit approval schedule and phased development recommendations, including costs.
As time is of the essence, due to the need to have a formal park plan in place in time to meet the January 9 LWCF grant deadline, the Commission voted to proceed with The Berkshire Design Group’s Master Plan. The total fee for the three phases will be $6,800.
Maintenance. Celeste spoke with Harry Paine with regard to installing fencing down the sides of the park to limit egress into neighboring yards. Harry Paine will extend the existing wood fence on the north side as far as the apple tree. Thick vegetation beyond that point inhibits egress, and it is felt that this will be sufficient until the major park renovations get under way. Esthetic considerations concerning the war memorials made us question even temporarily placing fencing along the south side from the tennis court to the water’s edge. Pete has some 6-ft high fencing, and will talk to Harry Paine about possibilities.
It was suggested that security cameras could be placed high on the utility poles across the street, since one of the newly-installed cameras was stolen out of its box. All the No Smoking signs have also been stolen.
Beach/Boat Launch Issues. It was suggested that a security camera should be installed at the beach. See also the Rec Dept. budget discussion above.
Lighting plans. Pete sent out mock photos Mike and Jill Kuchinos made of what lights would look like when installed. We will outline our plan to install all the light bases and poles on the soccer field in 2015, followed by the remaining poles in 2016, in the next issue of the Limrik. See also the CIP budget discussion above.
Shared Use Issues. Pete Ketcham has moved to split the girls and boys soccer teams so GBS teams won’t be on the field so late in the future. Lights would still be useful so that our programs can grow, rather than just sustain what we are currently running.
Maintenance. The water to Shea Field was turned off without notice, but the issue seems to have been settled amicably with the Water Dept. Andre Lazar will give Pete a quote for installing cobblestones on the slope by Shea Field.
Antrim’s Counterproposal. We are under the impression that the Town Gym agreement has been approved by all sides, but we have not seen any indication of it in the School Board minutes. Joan will contact David Martz regarding beginning negotiations over the use of Shea Field.
Update. The floor reseal is scheduled for Monday, November 24. Although there will be some parent conferences that week, the school will not be in session, and the floor will have a full week to dry and degas. C&C Flooring of Manchester will be doing the job, and was approved by the School Board (?) . The doors will be sealed to limit fumes in the rest of the school, and Tim Grassi has offered to leave the air handling unit on to expedite curing and evacuation of VOC’s.
Community bus use. The community bus maintenance is almost done. The alignment was completed, and Celeste is setting up the undercoating. She is working on an agreement with the Senior Center and is looking for drivers.
Update. Soccer season is over; it went well. Pickleball is now being played on Thursdays from 4:30 - 6:00 pm in the gym. There has been high demand for the tumbling class, which began on Sunday. Basketball registrations are under way; we are trying to make a second team. Basketball is being run in conjunction with ConVal athletes and coaches in order to ensure more uniform coaching across the school district.
The next regularly scheduled Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 13th at 7:00 pm at the Rec Office.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm.
-Joan Gorga, Chair and Secretary