South Hero Recreation Commission MINUTES
January 13, 2022 at 6:30pm
Present: Linda Burger, Dave Hobbs, Carol Tremble, Phil Scott, Donald Bedard, Dylan Degree, Court Perry, Marion Palermo, Guy Maguire, Chuck Hulse
Community recreation needs survey
This was the second survey, also led by Phil, who reported on the results. Over 100 people participated. Adult outdoor and summer activities are most desired. Winter events are also popularly desired. Indoor events are less desired.
23 people said hiking events are most of interest (most), followed by pickleball, and outdoor gardening. Carol mentioned that pickleball is already happening in Grand Isle. Dave added there was a pickleball group that was trying to gain steam using the old parking lot at Folsom.
Guy suggested the Rec Commission could do a monthly post on FPF highlighting existing recreation opportunities. Phil also suggested posting events and classes on the Lake Champlain Economic Development Corporations website. Chuck added that we can post opportunities on the new town website as well.
New Town Park
Per the survey, more than three quarters of respondents said that a covered pavilion, trails, and pickleball courts would be desired features at existing or new parks.
Linda shared that Dave Carter and the selectboard is asking the Recreation Commission to take on the leadership on this project, which would include inviting community input and involvement, working closely with the landowner to reach mutual goals, proposing a design to the selectboard, and implementing the project. The selectboard also asked that we consider both initial funding needs and maintenance costs long term.
The proposed map for the new park was shared and discussed. It was agreed there were some good features on the map including pickleball courts and a covered pavilion that were desired in the survey, but also some potential challenges including drainage, parking, and overall space.
Chuck suggested forming a subcommittee to manage the project. The role of such a committee was discussed. Chuck made a motion to form a Park Development Subcommittee of the Recreation Commission, chaired by a member of the Recreation Commission and open to all residents, for the specific purpose of developing this new town park. Linda seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously (Only member not present was Jessica Jackson).
Phil volunteered to be the chair of the new subcommittee, at least until May. Carol, Marion, and Linda also offered to be on the subcommittee. Phil and Guy will work on developing a list of next steps and project timeline. Phil will reach out to the landowner to develop that partnership. Dylan suggested talking to the Milton Recreation Department for ideas and resources.
Court Perry is with the pickleball association in Grand Isle and said he’d be willing to share his experience developing physical infrastructure and with organizing active participation. Court was asked about costs, and he said new courts can range from under $10,000 to over $40,000 depending on site factors, how many you are building at one time, and the fluctuating costs of materials and labor. He said since there is no automobile use, the surfacing, if installed correctly with respects to drainage etc, can last a very long time with very low maintenance costs.
2022 Spring and Summer Rec programs
Dave is talking with a swim instructor to potentially lead classes at the town beach: “Swim with Amy.” Dylan said she is a great teacher, high regard for her impact on kids skills. Dave said she wanted to do a site visit and would arrange that.
The group discussed reaching back out to Local Motion to see if they are still offering bike safety classes and other resources. Dylan and Chuck said they would reach out to Local Motion.
Carol volunteered to do three more summer bike rides for kids. Linda said we need to have more structure to them so we can reduce safety concerns and liability issues. She suggested talking to Local Motion about how to best do that.
There was also discussion about giving out free bike helmets. Dave made a motion to allocate funds from the Recreation Commission budget to purchase bike helmets for kids in need. Phil seconded the motion. All voted and the motion was passed unanimously. Only voting member absent was Jessica Jackson. Dylan said he would move forward with contacting the school and creating a form for parents, as well as reaching out to Local Motion for advice.
Carol volunteered Jessica to organize a Try-Athalon this summer, hopefully once per month, with help from other parents. Sunday was not a good day for participation.
Phil said he could offer the boater safety courses again.
As the rec survey indicated residents are looking for more hiking opportunities, Dylan, Linda and Dave discussed organizing group hikes for kids and/or adults to local and regional destinations such as Eagle Mountain, Mt Philo, etc. Guy also suggested the recreation commission could partner with SHLT to put on their summer nature rambles series to visit local places.
Crosswalk on south street
Dylan mentioned he had been working on developing a crosswalk on South Street, across from Folsom, to aid in safety for pedestrians and bikers. He talked to Susan McKelvie and the landowners across the street, who are both tentatively in favor of the idea. The location would be directly across from the bike racks at Folsom. Carol and Dave mentioned that a crosswalk in this exact location was proposed in the 2012 Safe Routes to School Plan, and Guy forwarded the plan to Dylan to help him bolster his case, and also connected him with Karin Ames, who was largely responsible for installing the existing crosswalk on Route 2.
Guy mentioned the garden shed at Folsom is currently being used by fall soccer programs for storage, which is interfering with garden activities. During the past SHLT, who coordinates the garden, was fine with letting them use some space, but with the garden renovation and increased use of the garden as an outdoor classroom, as well as host site for summer and afterschool programs, there is not enough room for all the materials needed. The shed was built originally with funds from the Vermont Community Garden Network for the purpose of storing garden tools and outdoor education supplies, so Guy asked whether the Rec Commission could find an alternate plan to store supplies, perhaps purchasing or building another shed specifically for recreation program equipment. Phil gave Guy some suggestions for shed sources and costs.
Chuck said he would ask the Selectboard if the Recreation Commission could re-allocate some of its remaining funds for purchasing a shed. Guy said he could reach out to Christine and Tristan, who run the soccer programs to get their input, and perhaps there could be other solutions. Dylan and Carol mentioned that there is other recreation equipment being stored at various peoples houses, and in a basement in Grand Isle, so a permanent storage place could be handy for other uses as well, though it may be more than one shed can accommodate.
Report from the trails subcommittee
Dave reported that the discussions with landowners about a potential new public trail between the Roy Marsh and South Street is going well. He also mentioned the Trails Subcommittee is asking for support from the Recreation Commission to promote bikeability, walkability and safe routes to school.
Discuss ongoing issue of park vandalism and take a second look at camera installation as a deterrent
Linda thanked Chuck for cleaning up the graffiti and stickers at the beach. The group discussed putting up a trail camera, to hopefully identify anyone who does this in the future. Linda said that she would only want to do it if we knew the Sheriff would actually be able to use the information to do something. Discussions about setting up trail cameras. There was also some discussion about whose responsibility it was to clean up signs. Linda and Carol felt it was the Town Road Crew, Chuck replied that it only took 5 minutes with the right cleaning supplies, and that he in admiration of all the hard work the road crew already does, and did not think they had the capacity for this right now, but he also wasn’t sure it should be up to volunteers. Dave made a motion for Linda to pursue the idea of a trail camera, including talking to the Sheriff, and purchasing up to a $200 camera, if it seems like a good idea. Linda seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Chuck said people are already calling the town asking for permits. Two issues we have to decide is how many nonresident stickers to make available, and if we want to have seperate stickers for windsurfers. Linda said she and Chuck could sit in town between meetings to come up with some ideas.