PARKS, RECREATION, AND CONSERVATION BOARD MINUTES
Date: October 24, 2017
Attendance: Present: Chair Rich Brooks, Vice Chair David Sayles, Mary Mogerley, William Riker, Michael Winogard
Absent: Village Council Liaison Ramon Hache, BOE Liaison Jim Morgan, Parker Weil, Lou Lembo,
Also Present: Director Tim Cronin, Deputy Director Nancy Bigos, Assistant Parks Superintendent Daniel Cramblitt, Tyler Hansen, Mady Soukis
Public Comment: None
Director’s Report:September 2017 Directors Report was reviewed with motions, 1st D. Sayles and 2nd M. Mogerley. All were in favor to approve without questions or changes.
Minutes : The minutes for September 2017 were presented and approved by all, no changes.
Presentation: Eagle Scout Service Project – Tyler Hansen
Tyler Hansen has placed Raptor nests in selected areas throughout the Village of Ridgewood. Raptors are birds of prey whose species have declined in number. Habitat loss is a big factor but even when habitat and prey are available, the lack of a nest site can be the major reason for the non-productivity of a hawk or owl species in a given area. Old, dead trees, which provide the best natural sites for cavity-nesters, are often the first to be felled by the community. Where sites do not at present exist, or have been destroyed, furnishing artificial nest sites is a feasible method for maintaining, or even increasing, populations.
T. Hansen’s intent is to help the Raptors flourish by building and placing the nesting boxes in carefully researched areas in Village fields and parks. He contacted the Raptor Trust, one of the premier wild bird rehabilitation centers in the United States to advise him on the most advantageous way to accomplish his goal.
For any nest box to be successful there are a few requirements which must be met regarding where and how the box is placed. First, proper habitat of each raptor must be chosen and within that habitat the proper type of nest box supplied for that bird. Open fields and meadows afford the hawks proper habitat to hunt mice, moles and their summer favorites–grasshoppers. Nest boxes should be placed in open spaces, good locations are: trees along the edge of a woodlot or a lone tree in a field.
With the assistance of volunteers from Troop 5, T. Hansen built seven nest boxes and researched various fields and parks within the Village for sites to place them. He and his father hung the nest boxes about 12 feet in the air to keep mammal predators from climbing to the box. The nest boxes require little maintenance
This self funded project was presented to the Village Council and approved. He has completed his placement of the Raptor nests. The PRC congratulated Tyler Hansen and wished him good luck.
Presentation: Pickleball – Mady Soukis
Program Development/Court Use
After the favorable discussion of pickleball at our last meeting, R.Brooks spoke with Mady Soukis and invited her to attend this meeting and speak to the PRC Board about having dedicated pickleball courts. M. Soukis is a pickleball instructor.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the nation. People who never played sports are involved; it has a low learning curve. Pickleball is very beneficial for people with limitations and also satisfies the need to exercise and socialize. Pickleball is very popular in the Village of Ridgewood. When pickleball was introduced as a part of Ridgewood Recreation’s programs it became wildly popular. The program has quadrupled in size, there are now 40 - 50 people participating. The need for instructors came from resident requests. This trend is happening everywhere. The Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club has adapted their platform tennis to pickleball. Ramsey, West Milford and Leonia have designated courts and Glen Rock is proposing to do the same.
Pickleball is a year round sport that is played with a paddle and a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball; it is a cross of tennis, badminton and ping pong. The pickleball court is similar to a doubles badminton court
After several months of play, the neighbors complained about the noise at the Glen School Courts. Residents near courts complain because many of the courts were not in use and now that they are being used they do not like the noise. As a compromise, pickleball instruction was moved to the courts on N. Monroe and is being played there this fall. Along with instruction, there is also free play time and four courts in use. The pickleball courts are utilized five days a week, with games arranged through an email chain. The pickleball players must be residents and have a Ridgewood badge to avail themselves of the courts. Etiquette requires players to use courts one hour at a time.
The N. Monroe courts are deplorable. The tennis courts are in the process of being resurfaced, it has been included in the Capital Budget. There is a problem with parking as well. N. Bigos has approached the Fire Department for permission to allow the players to use their parking lot.
N. Bigos also shared they aspire to play pickleball year round; the thought was to ask churches if they could use their gyms.
It was proposed that the PRC bring this to the attention of the Schedler Sub-Committee and suggest a dedicated pickleball court be included in the plans for the park. If pickleball cannot be accommodated, perhaps the designation of one of the existing courts could be arranged.
Schedler Park Ad Hoc Committee Report:
The Sub-Committee has been tasked with studying the site and presenting design options, along with cost and feasibility analysis. This is to be accomplished before the end of the year so that the Village Council could consider the options ahead of budget season. Design and costs will be included in the 2018 Capital Budget.
The needs of the sports groups, Schedler area residents and the Village community at large are being taken into consideration fairly. There is a serious shortage of active and passive recreational spaces within Ridgewood. The committee is directed towards balancing the needs for a sports field, playground, walking trails and conservation areas all located within the park. The committee met with a traffic consultant and has also reviewed the results of the sound study.
There was a neighborhood meeting regarding the Schedler property. The committee was not invited and has yet to know the results of that meeting.
The cleanup of the property is Phase I. This includes demolition of some structures and the removal of dead trees and hanging limbs that pose a safety threat in addition to cleaning up the grounds. The cleanup is being done by Downes Tree Service. Downes is hosting an hour to walk through the property for residents on Saturday, October 28th. The arborist marked the dead, diseased and dying trees that are being removed with red. Many feel that the old Maple on the property should be left standing and keep the residents happy. M. Winogard does not feel the Maple should be left standing. His opinion is the facts should be offered to the residents with a lawyer present and get rid of the tree.
The sub-committee is focusing on the design and layout. There are decisions to be made regarding a multi-purpose field, the parking lot (the sizes of these to be determined) and the other park amenities. It was proposed that the garage and potting shed should be demolished along with capping of the old well.
R. Brooks had requested the conceptual plan that has been developed thus far and any updates be brought to the meeting to be reviewed by the PRC Board. M. Winogard brought the plans that have been developed to this meeting. There are four designs to be discussed on Thursday, October 26th. The fields differ in size in each design. The first design features a field that is 60’ x 40’ which accommodates 120, the second design has a 75’ x 50’ field which accommodates 1000, the next design has a field size of 125‘ x 175‘ which all feel is too large and the last plan (that is most favored) is 80’ x 60’ which will probably accommodate 1300 children. The committee feels it is the perfect size for soccer, kickball and flag football. Apparently the trend for fields is practice stations. The large field will be for the older kids. The question of whether the field should be synthetic turf or grass was discussed at length. There was an extensive and thorough study done by HoHoKus on turf vs. grass and the committee found it to be a valuable resource.
There will be a parking lot with 44 spaces. A two unit bath with handicap facilities and a unisex changing room will be established in the park. The design includes a walking path as well. The entrance/exit to Schedler will be placed away from the highway.
There will be no baseball field at Schedler and it will not go to Hawes, baseball will stay at Vets field.
The committee discussed including pickleball at Schedler, there is room to include the courts in their planning. This is a sport that is growing fast and there have been numerous requests to have dedicated pickleball courts. It was stated that it will take some effort and would like to accomplish this in stages. It was mentioned that a proposal be drawn up with a note to include pickleball in the design of Schedler.
Park Wi-Fi Update
D. Sayles has been working towards the initiation of the public Wi-Fi program for Graydon Pool and by extension our more prominent space within the CBD at Van Neste Square. To provide the benefit of public internet access for the patrons of Graydon Pool would present them with an added element of value and a more desirable destination for recreation.
There are other municipalities that provide wireless at their facilities at no charge for guests with portable computers or devices capable of receiving wireless signals. Guests are expected to use it in a legal and responsible manner. When accessing the network the user acknowledges that he/she is subject to and agrees to abide by all laws and federal and state rules and regulations applicable to internet use.
D. Sayles looked into Barracuda software, a watchdog program. When the program is accessed a disclaimer/agreement will appear on the screen which the user will have to agree to before they can access the internet. Every twelve minutes you will need to sign into the program again if you have not been actively using it. The need for accountability, security and the prevention of access to undesirable websites and the usage by pedophiles are foremost concerns. This program contains trigger words and filters to address these apprehensions.
D. Sayles had a meeting with Village Manager H. Mailander, Councilman R. Hache, T. Cronin, N. Bigos, D. Cramblitt and D. Hansen. D. Hansen has concerns about security and liability as well. He wants to do more research and would like to wait for the attorney report. As always, the big concerns are for safeguards, especially where children are involved.
There is to be another meeting after the attorney review. D. Sayles hopes to get all on board and work out the funding for the equipment. There is $6,000.00 in the Capital Budget earmarked for this. Our Village Council liaison, R. Hache is happy to assist D. Sayles with implementing the wireless program for our more prominent public spaces, including Van Neste Park, Veterans Memorial Field and Graydon Pool. Having public Wi-Fi will enhance the revitalization of the Central Business District and the implementation of the new CBD website. Therefore it has been decided to launch the Wi-Fi in Van Neste Park.
D. Sayles stated he should know which plan they will use (as there are several providers) on Thursday, October 26 and then they will discuss funding and pricing. He feels that the in Public Wi-Fi Program should be ready by April 29.
Graydon Pool Graydon Pool – 2017 Graydon Pool Sales
R. Brooks had indicated that the PRC would be interested in seeing the revenue from the 2017 season badge sales. N. Bigos shared that information at this meeting. The PRC compared the sales from last year with this year’s, which had incentives for badge sales that were put forth by the Graydon ad hoc committee. It seems usual members decided to buy their badges early to take advantage of the discount. However, there was other badge opportunities offered which had a bearing on the numbers for the 2017 season.
N. Bigos presented four reports; two reports recorded the numbers for day passes sold in 2016 and 2017. The other two reports were for non-resident passes sold in 2016 and 2017. She also provided the Membership Sales Comparisons and Annual Revenues report which covered the years 2013 through 2017. The total revenue from Graydon Pool for 2017 was $323,227.00. The incentives and discounts offered in 2017 included Free Family Passes, Free Senior Tuesday, SSA and waivers which totaled $14,310.00 which reduced the total revenue to $308.917.00. Regrettably, the incentives failed to sell more badges and produce additional revenue for Graydon Pool. It should be mentioned Graydon Pool made money in 2016, although indirect expenses assigned by Village Hall make it seem as though the pool is losing money.
It was stated all public pools are in decline. Many of our residents would like to have a cement bottom in Graydon Pool. This cannot be done due to the natural springs which provide the water for the pool. It was also mentioned that there are over 800 private pools in Ridgewood which reduces the number of prospective members. There has also been a PR problem regarding the water turning green. There is money being initiated into the capital budget to address this problem.
The fact that Graydon Pool is now an historical landmark precludes any thoughts of closing the pool or doing anything else with the property. It was brought to the attention of the PRC Board that all waters belong to the state (DEP) and there are natural springs that feed into the pool.
Walking Trail Continued on Maple Park Side
Last year for her Gold Award, Ruth Becker installed a walking trail. She has returned to ask if she could finish the trail on the other side of Maple Park. She has estimated fifteen hours to do the cleanup and establish new trails.
Update Children’s Butterfly and Sensory Garden
Phase I is about to be finished. The hardscape is done and the irrigation, electrical pumps and the sidewalk has been completed. N. Bigos announced it is beautiful and all should come over to the Stable and view the garden.
Community Pass Fields and Facilities Manager Software
There was a meeting at Village Hall with H. Mailander, R. Hache, T. Cronin, N. Bigos, D. Cramblitt D. Hansen and M. Anderson to discuss Community Pass/ CapturePoint. Community Pass is a comprehensive online recreation management solution program. It will provide registration, management and facilities software to streamline procedures in the Recreation and Parks Departments. The size and complexity of our recreational and sports programs have grown significantly while the tools we use have not evolved. This is very important to help us plan and manage our fields properly.
It was decided to pay in installments and use it to do all facility rentals first; second it will be used for field scheduling. This is the Village Council’s decision.
The decision has to be made on how the scheduling is going to be done. Should they designate someone to be the Administrator or hire someone to handle everything? It is not just scheduling, there is also the need to administer other details, for example: overseeing events, their setup and cleanup. The Council is currently more inclined to have someone from the Village scheduling Municipal fields and someone from the BOE scheduling their fields.
2018 Budget 2018 Departmental Budget Requests
The various departments are sitting down next week to discuss their budget requests.
The Parks and Recreation Department’s requests are mostly capital, the total requested is $1.3 million. This request encompasses money to update the tennis courts, fields, Graydon Pool, the need of a new vehicle, chip truck, lawnmower and fencing. There is also a request of $50,000.00 for trees to be planted in 2018
Liaison Reports Village Council – R. Hache
No Report – Absent
Board of Ed - J. Morgan
No Report – Absent
Open Space Committee - M. Mogerley
They have done the first draft of the survey information.
Fields Committee – R. Hache/ R. Brooks
• Changes to field policy discussed. Contention with Ridgewood Hoops, there is a rift between Tim Daly and Mike Troy, they are to meet and discuss issue.
• Schedule for Fall has been completed and distributed to all.
• All soccer camps went well; there was a lot of competition between camps. There is a need for a liaison from the Community School to the Field Committee to avoid some of the problems had this year
• The Field Committee need to be advised when the Community School has a new program, so it may be put on the schedule
• The Village is considering the purchase of scheduling software to handle the complexity of field usage by our recreational, club programs and Ridgewood High School Athletics.
Shade Tree Commission – T. Cronin
Andrew Lowry is the new Chair of the Shade Tree Commission.
There will be more shade trees planted this year than any other in recent memory.
• Parks Department 114 trees
• Engineering Department 52 trees
• Board of Education 34 trees
• CBD 4 trees
• Adopt-A-Tree 27 trees
This brings a total of 231 trees of varied species. This is a trend they hope to continue. C. Rutishauser (Engineering) embraced the idea of streetscape and as he receives a large portion of the Capital Budget, hopes to commit to funding 100 trees per year. JA Alexander has been contracted to do the Village planting this year.
Community Center Advisory Board
.The school mixers planned for the 6th grade and the 7th and 8th graders in October went very well.
Gary Cirillo is assisting the committee for the restoration of the CBD and has been doing a great job revitalizing the area. He is on the committee with R. Hache to obtain new decorations for the holiday season. The “Kissing Balls” originally introduced in 1961, will be replaced with Holiday LED Snowflakes.
The CBD will be updated with new plantings and decorative banners will be hung throughout the district. M. Sedon has approached the Parks Department to do four new “test” tree wells. They will give the new tree wells a year to see how well they fare before replacing all tree wells throughout the CBD. This service will be bid out.
Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands - N. Bigos
The Conservancy is now working in phases for the Children’s Sensory/Butterfly Garden and the fundraising to make it happen. N. Bigos shared that Phase I is complete.
Ridgewood Arts Council - L. Lembo
No report – Absent
Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Council (REAC)
There is a new Chair, Bob Upton.
REAC is short on members; they are considering combining with Green Team, D. Sayles will know more after their meeting.
Next Meeting: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at the Stable, 7:30 pm
Adjournment: 10:30 PM