2013-12-05 / News

Council hears final report on parks and recreation

By Margo Sull ivan

The Parks & Recreation Department and the senior center should be consolidated, and both might someday be absorbed as part of a community services division, the Town Council learned on Monday.

Rob Haley and Monica Lamboy, consultants with the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts, delivered their final report on Dec. 2.

Among their recommendations, they said:

• The department should develop or purchase software enabling residents to register and pay for programs online;

• Job descriptions should be updated to reflect basic mental and physical requirements per the American Disabilities Act;

• The department and the town should write a strategic plan for recreation;

• Maintenance of buildings, grounds and Fort Getty should be taken over by the Public Works Department;

• Enforcement of Fort Getty’s rules and regulations should be transferred to another town department;

• The Finance Department should continue random audits of cash handling and night deposits;

• At least one park maintenance employee should be certified as a playground safety inspector;

• The town should create an improvement fund to pay for capital projects at Fort Getty;

• The department should set standards for the teen center and targets for attendance, and provide clarity on allocation of space;

• The department should expand communication efforts to include social media and other channels because currently “97 percent of residents” obtain all their information from the Jamestown Press.

The consultants also recommended building a space for the arts organizations and a swimming pool. They also recommended writing a master plan to improve bike facilities.

Although the study does include timelines, Town Administrator Kevin Paicos said the next step should be for the staff to review the recommendations. He estimated about 80 to 90 percent will be feasible. Paicos said he will report back to the councilors in January.

In other business, Fort Getty campers will pay the same rates in 2014 and not see any price increases, the Town Council agreed. According to Recreation Director Bill Piva, the 2014 season will run from May 14 to Sept. 14 and include 123 nights.

The rate is $4,500 for the season for nonresidents and $3,700 for Jamestown residents. If there is still a need for transient sites, the rate will be $40 per night with a two-week minimum.

Piva asked the council to allow him to attempt to rent all the sites for the entire season, if possible. Last year, five sites were not rented for the whole season and were converted to transient sites. However, the letters were sent out late for the 2013 season because the councilors decided to raise the rates and shorten the season. This year, he said, the Recreation Department will have more time and should be able to make all the RV sites seasonal.

The other rates for tents, boat moorings and parking will also remain status quo, the councilors agreed.

Councilor Blake Dickinson said after making significant changes at the campground last year, the councilors should keep the same rates for several seasons to better evaluate the impact of the previous decision to reduce the number of camping sites and raise the rates.

Also, councilors accepted the 2014 rules for the Fort Getty campground after Council President Kristine Trocki verified the town solicitor had reviewed the package.

In other Fort Getty business, the councilors agreed to move forward with the “limited site design and updates to the concept plan” for landscaping at the Col. John C. Rembijas Pavillion. According to Arek Galle, a Jamestown resident and the senior project manager for Gates Leighton & Associates, the landscape architects will address five tasks for $38,475. The cost breakdown was $7,130 for the landscape and site design; $17,065 for stormwater design; $5,130 for Coastal Resources Management Council permitting; $4,210 for designing an on-site wastewater treatment system; and $4,940 for state Department of Environmental Management permitting.

The DEM permit is required because the site is larger than one acre, Galle said.

The councilors accepted the proposal on the understanding that some tasks may be eliminated as the project develops. For example, Councilor Mary Meagher said, if the CRMC disallows bathrooms at the pavilion, there would be no need to design a wastewater system. Money for the design will come from the Fort Getty fund, the councilors also agreed.

In other business, the councilors voted to pay $3,850 to the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management for a survey of space needs for arts, cultural and other community organizations. Lamboy, who worked on the recreation study, will continue on this project, but Stephen McGoldrick will be the project manager.

Lamboy said the project will require about four weeks to complete. She estimated the survey would include about 16 community groups.

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