Charlestown Township Parks & Recreation Board
Via Webex
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Present

Parks and Recreation:
Chris Lawrence, Chairperson, Dan Mount, Ashlee Beyer, and Tim Hubbard. Bill Longua, Frank Beyer, Jim Quay, Brian Schlorff, and Charles Buck were absent.
Visitors:
Katie Tandon, Samir Tandon, Mark Connolly, Rajat Tandon, Linda Csete, and Ester Underhill

Announcements

The November minutes were approved.

There is a possibility that there will be no January meeting, watch for posts.

Business

Trails

Trail Action Items

  1. Ms. Beyer will obtain the Spring Invasives Spreadsheet for the next meeting, either January or February.
  2. Mr. Lawrence will research a sign for Charlestown Park’s wild areas with an emphasis on erosion control and invasives.
  3. Mr. Lawrence will also research a sign for Brightside Farm’s wild areas with an emphasis on supporting native species.

Mr. Connolly asked about the trail connection at the Great Valley Nature Center that is near the creek but not on the official Charlestown Township Trails Map. Mr. Lawrence needs to see exactly where it is and see what private land it abuts, etc. If information is not available, he will reach out to Ms. Staas.

Mr. Connolly suggested the P&R Board be ready for the funding that may arrive for the Devault Rails-To-Trails Project. Mr. Lawrence updated Mr. Connolly on the timeline, citing the latest acceptance of the County application for the study of the structure of the Trail. This funding will help establish the maintenance and policing of the Trail and help all townships see where they fit in. Once these ownership steps are made, then there will be a “bank account readied for acquisition”. Mr. Connolly discussed the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trusts’ offices being at the GVNC and utilizing them to procure more grants for trails. Mr. Lawrence discussed Phase One of the Trail. He added that Mr. Longua submitted a PECO grant application that was accepted.

Glyphosate Usage in Parks

Mr. Connolly introduced Ms. Katie Tandon who suggested that the Township discontinue the use of glyphosate in parks. Ms. Tandon said that she reviewed the landscaping contract and it refers to pulling weeds. Discussion was led by Mr. Hubbard regarding the ability for the Township to consider the costs of having all weeds pulled by hand. Members discussed how to approach the Board of Supervisors with the idea.

Changing the method of weed removal would no longer expose anyone at Township parks to the effects of glyphosate (Roundup or chemicals within it). The list of impacted people includes children at the park (they are most susceptible), the persons applying the herbicide, and any wildlife or waterways near the application. Mr. Lawrence stated that:

Initially, the contract with the landscaper was thought to be neither pro nor con spraying. Mr. Lawrence doubted that the contractor had considered the manpower to only pull weeds vs spray. Dialog followed again about mowing or not mowing perimeters or bush rows and keeping park visitors informed as to why this benefits the environment. This year Charlestown Park had less mown area than the year before.

Weeding and waiting for the establishment of a long-term ground cover is a long-term plan, stated Ms. Beyer. But she requested not using volunteers to weed at the Park, since she is so reliant on volunteers working with her at other locations. Mr. Lawrence thought perhaps PMYC could find some volunteers since many of the children are from sports teams.

  1. Mr. Connolly requested a schematic of the Park as a prerequisite to consensus, goals, or suggesting policy.
  2. He will send a draft proposal to Mr. Lawrence that could be used to initiate discussion with the EAC and the Board of Supervisors, and it would suggest an alternative to spraying. This plan could be tested for 6 months then reviewed. Mr. Hubbard reminded them to be precise in the wording of the draft since the Township is using funds from taxpayers.
  3. Ms. Tandon is to send Mr. Lawrence SDS’s and informative articles on glyphosate that may be helpful in his preparation for addressing the Board of Supervisors.
  4. Mr. Hubbard suggested adding any information that proves other local townships have taken similar steps.

Mr. Connolly also suggested contacting the University to add trees in a location behind the movie theater. Mr. Hubbard suggested approaching them with this idea as cost savings in mowing. Otherwise, the administration is preoccupied with the difficulties of COVID-19.

Mr. Connolly stated that the Pickering Preserve forest is a mess and Mr. Lawrence referenced Ms. Beyer’s spreadsheet on the next meeting agenda.

PMYC Clubhouse Roof Repair

Mr. Lawrence began by reminding Members about past instances when the Township would financially assist groups or clubs with repairs or projects in its parks or open space. During a site visit with a potential Eagle Scout at the PMYC Clubhouse, the roof repair project was ruled too large for the scout. An estimate was obtained for the main section repair at $5,000, a full replacement of shingles would be an additional $5,000.

Mr. Lawrence said there was ≈$1,000 in the Friends of Charlestown Township Fund and asked if Members wanted to consider helping. Mr. Hubbard cited the parameters for obtaining bids for a township and stated that although the estimate had not yet hit that amount, he felt there may be more costs than quoted, and it may then need to go out for bid. The actual roof is falling in, and sheeting may need to be replaced that is not included in the quote.

If the Board would want to put a better roof on it, such as metal, then the roof may outlive the building. At one time, there was discussion about the clubs sharing a new building, but this has not gained momentum. Mr. Hubbard felt it wise to approach the Board to see what direction they would suggest going. Mr. Lawrence said he would email them since he didn’t feel like the roof could wait until the next meeting.

Young Lungs at Play

Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Hubbard lead the discussion regarding the scope of this resolution, being within the Park only, or being a Township wide resolution. The Department of Health has sent a proposed draft resolution for a tobacco-free playground at least at Charlestown Park. Signage was discussed.

Closing Announcements

Mr. Lawrence stated that Mr. Findlay has moved and a new EAC Member should be tapped for the Park & Rec meetings.

Mr. Lawrence gave Members a link for online seminars about obtaining a watershed friendly property. It is hosted by the Penn State Extension at https://extension.psu.edu/new-initiative-watershed-friendly-property-certification.

Volunteers are needed to listen to musical acts for the 2021 Charlestown Day.

Adjournment was at 8:43 p.m.