Village of Ridgewood PARKS, RECREATION, AND CONSERVATION BOARD MINUTES
Date: January 23, 2018
Attendance: Present: Vice Chair David Sayles, Mary Mogerley, BOE Liaison Jim Morgan, Village Council Liaison Ramon Hache
Absent: Chair Rich Brooks, Michael Winogard, William Riker, Lou Lembo
Also Present: Director Nancy Bigos, Daniel Cramblitt, Tom Thurston, Doug Messineo, Sandy Bernhardt - RLA, Joe Fox, Keith Cook - Athletic Director for RHS
Public Comment: Tom Thurston, Doug Messineo, Keith Cook – Athletic Director for RHS, Sandy Bernhardt – President of RLS, Joe Ross – RFJR
This group of concerned parents/coaches (T. Thurston, D. Messineo, K. Cook, S. Bernhardt, and J. Ross) attended the PRC Board meeting to draw attention to the deplorable condition of the turf field at Maple Park East. They explained the players on the field slip and slide as if on ice, they lose their balance and fall, the referees as well. The players have no traction and if playing soccer they cannot keep the ball on the field, there is zero resistance. They feel Maple Park Field is unsafe and has become a liability. There are metal posts exposed, gaps in the field turf and a host of other hazardous problems. They also informed the PRC Board that the kids are coming home with shin splints and ankle problems; they are afraid that there will be concussions and other injuries; they feel the turf is too hard and is on the border of being unsafe for use. The group pointed out the field turf is too old and well past its recommended life expectancy of ten years. The warranty has expired, the field is 13 years old and they want this turf replaced sooner than later, ideally for spring.
T. Thurston said he will not let his son play on Maple Park Field again. D. Messineo informed the PRC Board that when away teams come to Ridgewood and see the condition of the turf field, the coaches do not want their kids playing on that surface. It was also mentioned that our own Village teams look at their schedules and say “Oh no, not Maple...” T. Thurston told everybody that “Maple Field is a great facility, the best in town; just needs the turf replaced.”
D. Cramblitt stated Maple Field’s turf has been tested and is within the parameters for use. He said he will close the field if it is dangerous and the field will be aggressively maintained. On that note, J. Morgan mentioned the B.O.E. fields have a program for maintenance for their turf field that has proved to be outstanding, prolonging the life of the turf and offered to share and compare maintenance practices with the Parks Department if they wish.
The sports organizations had thought the turf replacement at Maple Park was already approved to begin installation because it was in the Capital Budget. $450,557.00 was submitted in the 2018 Capital Budget; this includes the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund Grant. The fact that there is not a firm timeline for installation of the new field turf prompted the parents/coaches to attend the meeting this evening.
R. Hache agreed the GMAX number was almost 200 when the turf was tested at Maple Park Field. This may mean in some areas the number is higher and some areas the number lower. He acknowledged the warranty on the turf expired but fraud charges have not. The reason fraud charges were mentioned is because last January, T. Cronin had discovered there is a lawsuit pending against Field Turf, the company that manufactures the turf the Village installed. The basis for the lawsuit is the field did not perform as marketed by the manufacturer, it states false advertising. This was being reviewed at the state level. The company does not write refund checks, they replace turf at a special discount price. P. Di Piazzo, the company’s representative came to the Village for a meeting and spoke of different types of turf and promised a steep discount for a better product.
A new company that provides and installs field turf contacted R. Hache and would like to be considered for the Maple Park field replacement. They offered a steep discount for a better product as well. A surprisingly similar price was given to R. Hache, when compared with the starting offer given by P. Di Piazzo of Field Turf.
The parents/coaches said they were all here in support of a new turf for Maple Field and will do anything needed and whatever it would take to speed up the timetable for the installment of new turf. They feel it is taking too long and want it done as soon as possible. They are having a meeting tomorrow night and the condition of Maple Field will be one of topics of discussion.
R. Hache suggested the sports groups attend the February 7th Village Council Meeting. It is a scheduled work session that would be an advantageous session to attend as it will be a question and answer session.
Director’s Report: November, December 2017 Directors Report
Tabled – Did not have quorum
Minutes November 2017
Tabled - Did not have quorum.
PRC Board Annual Chair, Vice Chair and Sub-Committee Appointments
Tabled – Did not have quorum
Parks and Recreation Department Succession Plan
N. Bigos would like to update the PRC Board on the status of the Parks and Recreation Department since the retirement of T. Cronin. N. Bigos is the Director of Parks and Recreation and with her new position, will be attending Board and committee meetings as well as orchestrating special events. Adding this to her current workload has invoked further changes. M. Anderson is now Assistant Recreation Superintendent; M. Hefferan was promoted to Keyboarding Clerk II and D. Schablik has become Program Coordinator of the Community Center.
In the Parks Department, a part time seasonal laborer was promoted to full time and a lateral promotion of one Laborer to Forestry Aide, which increases the tree crew to 4 people.
All of these changes have been approved and in effect since January 16, 2018.
Pond Resident Inquiries
The Parks and Recreation Department have been receiving a large number of complaints from residents about the Ridgewood Duck Pond because of its deplorable condition. They do not realize that it is a Bergen County facility and we have no control over it.
R. Hache stated that he spoke with the Director of Bergen County Parks and there was a resolution passed that secured $1,000,000.00 to revamp the Ridgewood Duck Pond. That will include the relining of the Duck Pond and re-establishing the waterway pump to feed the aquifer among other much needed improvements.
N. Bigos shared the quarterly report she received from the Stacey Antine, Director of the HealthBarn and apprised everyone they are submitted to her regularly to impart pertinent information about their programs, financials and community outreach sponsorships for example.
Parks and Recreation sponsored special workshops and programs for the Holiday and winter session. They have also lined up a full curriculum for the Winter Fest.
N. Bigos was happy to announce the Parks and Recreation Department; in partnership with HealthBarn, won the NJRPA Program Award for Excellence in the wellness category. This is a well deserved award and it is the second time winning. The award ceremony is March 6, 2018 in Atlantic City.
Parks a) Maple Park
• Discussed above
b) Kings Pond/Open Space Grant Application
The Village was awarded a 50/50 matching grant from BCOSTF and it will be used to make the park more family friendly, ADA accessible and delineate the border of the parkland.
• Parking will be expanded to 22 - 28 spots
• Engineering will restore the road to original width and new curbing will be installed
• Plant low shrub fence along fence line
• Establish a stone dust path for ADA accessibility along stream bank
• Perhaps a small dock
There is not enough money in the budget to de-snag or dredge the pond. There is anticipation of putting benches in the park and hope to direct residents to put their Memorial Benches there when they purchase them.
c) Schedler Property - Progress
• Park Cleanup Progress
The cleanup of the property is in Phase I. The property is nearly cleared of all debris. Sixty+ trees have been removed, some of which were donated to neighbors. The property had lain idle, was neglected and was hit by super storm Sandy, therefore this was sorely needed and now appears as a healthier landscape.
d) Van Neste/Graydon/Wi-Fi Update
• D. Sayles let all know that he had a good conversation with M. Rogers, the Village Attorney and said there was no case or law against municipalities offering public Wi-Fi. H. Mailander was informed as well. D. Hansen is to research software and M. Rogers believes D. Hansen will be providing a release as well.
• A discussion ensued regarding how much of Graydon would need to be covered by Wi-Fi. It was mentioned that part of the pool and a few zones around the pool area would suffice; there is no need to cover all of Graydon Park. The pavilion, food court/picnic area would be included.
• R, Hache said the CBD could pay for Wi-Fi at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. He mentioned this will be discussed at the February 7th Village Council work session. There is also money in last year’s Capital Budget earmarked for Wi-Fi. It was suggested the Guild and Rotary Club may contribute some money for the project.
New Business None
2018 Budget 2018 Departmental Budget Requests
The Parks and Recreation Department has had their initial budget meeting; Copies of the operating and capital budget requests were given to the PRC Board.
• The priority is the turf field at Maple Park. The reasons for that have been discussed in great detail above.
• The pumps at Graydon Pool are not functional. Graydon will not be able to be opened for the season without the necessary pool equipment.
• The tennis courts in the Village need to be resurfaced. The condition of these courts are deplorable, N. Monroe in itself is appalling. There was an incident (injury) at the N. Monroe court being used for the VOR pickleball program and the participants in the program asked to return to the Glen Ave. tennis courts. Using the Glen Ave. courts for pickleball has been a matter of contention with the neighbors, they abhor the noise. N. Bigos had to call them and explain at length, the reason for returning there and beg their indulgence.
• The request for a new truck is another “must”. Truck #113, the chip truck can no longer make the hills in the Village.
Liaison Reports Village Council – R. Hache
R. Hache expressed the need for qualified volunteers for the Planning Board, Open Space and PRC Board. The lack of a quorum is a major concern. He mentioned the possibility of a resident from the Schedler Ad Hoc Committee for the PRC Board; He will approach him and inquire if he would be available. This was met with enthusiasm from the Board.
The Field Committee is a major concern for R. Hache. He is displeased with the way the committee has been functioning. Apparently, there have been days he has driven by a field that has all the lights on and there isn’t anyone utilizing the field. This is costly and a waste because there may have been somebody who would have been able to use the field on that date, time slot. He has concerns with block scheduling. R. Hache stated he feels as though some sports groups may be asking for more field time than actually needed, the schedule padded for backup and the field, empty in the end. He also would like to have set rates for the fields, have them pay for fields when they are scheduled and if they do not use them, there would not be a refund. Another concern he would like to have addressed is safety training for all coaches, he would like to have background checks done on all coaches as well.
R. Hache said he will not vote on the Field Policy amendments until the Village Council looks at and understands all of the existing policy.
CapturePoint will be used for reservations, payments and permits. It will all be done through use of this software program; CapturePoint will also be used for field scheduling. Coordinating the sporting events to fields, specific dates and times are a herculean task that will benefit greatly when the program is initiated. N. Bigos stated she must work alongside the Field Committee when field scheduling is being done, before any major changes are made.
Board of Ed - J. Morgan
A recent meeting of the B.O.E. approved an increase in fees for the use of their fields. J. Morgan stated the B.O.E. is happy to have the Field Committee continue the scheduling of their fields. They want to stay out of scheduling and grievances.
The B.O.E. wants Village children, Village nonprofit volunteers, coaches, Field Committee and sports teams to continually keep trying for more usage of their fields and facilities. Sometimes their fields or gyms are empty. They haven’t the metrics of how many people will be on fields in a given weekend. J. Morgan said they will shadow the field schedule spreadsheet.
It was mentioned that the grievance policy needs to be reviewed. If an individual has a grievance with a coach, he is hesitant to come forward because he would have to face the coach again and the coach will be with his friends when that individual is voicing his complaint. That scenario will not get him anywhere close to a resolution.
J. Morgan announced that there may be a possible bond issue in the near future to update the HVAC in the schools.
Open Space Committee
A new development regarding the diversion has been shared by R. Hache. The Village was penalized for a pocket park that was sold to the Bergen County Housing Authority in 1978. You cannot sell any parkland and still receive Green Acres funding. If you sell a piece of parkland you have to buy another parcel of land with similar characteristics and a penalty of five times the acreage to replace it. T. Cronin had led the search for available parcels of land that the Village could acquire to satisfy Green Acres. R. Hache was told recently that the Village does not have to locate and acquire land to satisfy the Green Acres penalty. The Village of Ridgewood will be able to use paper streets to satisfy the property requirements that have been so difficult to acquire. The property involved with the paper streets will merely need to be cleaned up and have a bench placed in each of those locales. Ferris Place, Spring Street, Pershing, Phelps and Cedarcroft properties were mentioned as possibilities that could be utilized to satisfy the property replacement penalty.
The Village will be able to receive the money owed for Habernickle Park and will be able to submit applications for Green Acres grant money once the properties have been converted to parks.
This has already been covered.
• Village Tree Planting – Residential - 161 trees
• Board of Education - 34 trees
• CBD Tree Wells - 4 were completed
• Adopt-A-Tree - 27 trees planted
• Trees refused by residents, being planted in parks
The landmark Sycamore tree located on the island in Graydon Pool has to be removed. There were two professional arborist analysis/reports done and there is no alternative. It has been approved for removal by the Village Council. The date of removal will not be given to anyone for security reasons. There were also two silver maples removed near the Ridgewood Skate Park.
Community Center Advisory Board
Nothing to report, meeting is Thursday
Project Pride - CBD
Four test tree wells were installed in the CBD.
Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands
The Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands had a joint meeting with REAC to discuss the upcoming annual festival. April 22, 2018 will be the Village Annual Daffodil Festival/Earth Day to be held at Van Neste Square. The focus and theme for Earth Day is Waste Reduction and Recycling. The music will be provided by Blue Plate Special and arrangements for the petting zoo completed.
Ridgewood Arts Council
Nothing to report
Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Council (REAC)
D. Sayles reported the price of recycling is going up. China is no longer accepting recycling from the United States. He also informed the PRC Board, there is now a market for styrofoam.
Next Meeting Tuesday, February 27, 2018
The Stable at 7:30 pm
Adjournment 10:00 PM