Recreation Commission, Town Agendas & Minutes, 2022|

Chestertown Recreation Commission

Meeting Agenda

Monday, January 10, 2022

Meeting via Zoom

Convened at 6:06 pm. Commissioners attending were Jim Bogden, Frank Rhodes, and Nate Woodrow (three members constitute a quorum currently). Members of the public included Danielle Cudone and Erin Heckles, who are on the Wilmer Park playground design committee.

  1. Approval of minutes of October 11 and November 8, 2021 meetings

Nate Woodrow made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Frank Rhodes. The motion was approved.

  1. Financial Disclosure Statements

Chair Jim Bogden completed a Town financial disclosure statement; the other members do not need to submit one.

  1. Major cost increase on Wilmer Park playground—options

All Recreation reported a $30,000 increase in the cost of the playground before the contract was signed, due to the delay in the state grant funds being released. The Town Council has not yet decided what to do about it; they would like our recommendations.

Town official Kees de Mooy put forward four options at last week’s Mayor and Council meeting: 1) conduct the bid process again; 2) use federal COVID relief funds if allowed; 3) use Town funds to make up the difference; or 4) scale back the design to reduce its cost. The first would mean more delays and possible cost increases, so is not recommended. On the second, it’s not clear if the COVID funds could be used for this purpose. For the third option, although the Town’s budget is currently healthy the Mayor prefers to raise employees’ salaries. That leaves scaling back the project or another fifth option—to raise private funds.

Frank Rhodes suggested phasing in features over time as funds become available. Danielle Cudone responded by emphasizing the unity of design and its responsiveness to the community; she forcefully opposed any cutbacks. Erin Heckles spoke up for a private fundraising campaign. A consensus developed not to reduce the quality of the playground. Nate Woodrow emphasized the need for the contract to be signed right away before the price goes up again.

Various ideas were suggested for how to conduct a fundraising campaign, including news articles in the local press right away and approaching real estate agencies. The scope of the fundraising campaign was discussed: Mr. Bogden introduced the idea of raising funds for Carpenter and Ajax parks also, but the consensus was to focus on Wilmer Park for now. The timing and urgency of a fundraising campaign was also discussed extensively.

On a related issue, Mr. Rhodes brought up the need for permanent restrooms in a central area near Wilmer Park. Mr. Bogden affirmed that the COVID relief funds could indeed be used for this purpose. Mr. Rhodes introduced a motion to this effect, seconded by Mr. Woodrow and carried.

  1. Community meetings by Ward

This topic was deferred to a later meeting.

  1. Replacement playset at Carpenter Park

This topic was deferred to a later meeting.

  1. Kayak and windboard storage

There is nothing new to report on this matter.

  1. General discussion

Mr. Woodrow made a motion to conclude the meeting, seconded by Mr. Rhodes. The meeting was adjourned at 7:13 pm.

  1. Next regular meeting date is February 14, 2021


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