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					                         PARKS AND RECREATION COUNCIL
                               Meeting of May 2, 2008

Present were Council Members:
Ron Mears – Chair           William Craven                       Brenda Bramble
Ron Breeding                Ron Whittington                      Andy Urquhart
Joan Brown                  Joe Smack

Chazz Salkin                    Paul Nicholson                   Matt Chesser
Greg Abbott                     Wayne Kline                      Elaine Harwood
Gary Focht                      Mary Voshell
John McMillon                   Jim O’Neill

Friends Group/Visitors:
Joe DiBattista – President, Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation

The May 2, 2008 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council was held at Trap Pond State Park,
Laurel, DE in the enclosed pavilion. Chairman Mears called the meeting to order at 10:03 a.m.

Chairman Mears welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the newly appointed
member, Brenda Bramble. Remaining introductions were made.

A motion to approve the minutes of February 8, 2008 was made by Ron Breeding. By unanimous
vote the minutes of the February 8, 2008 meeting were approved.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – On behalf of the Council, Ron Mears recognized Jim O’Neill’s
retirement May 31, 2008. Chairman Mears thanked Jim for his contributions over the years and
the terrific job in always providing information. He will be missed.
Andy Urquhart moved the council entertain a resolution for Jim O’Neill’s service. Joan Brown
Chairman Mears recognized Elaine Harwood and noted that she would be leaving the Division
end of next month also. He thanked her for her service to the Council.


Fort Delaware Society – Bill Craven
Fort Delaware opened for the season April 26, 2008. The Society will have a booth at the
Clayton Fund Raising event scheduled for May 16, 2008.

A $25,000.00 bequest was received and placed into the Community Foundation from which the
Society will receive annual income.

Matt Chesser was asked to talk about the filming project recently done at Fort Delaware. Ghost
Hunters from the Sci-Fi Channel came to Fort Delaware State Park and filmed an episode that is

expected to air June 25, 2008. Other locations that Ghost Hunters have filmed have experienced
20 – 30% spikes in attendance. In correspondence to this, a party will be held at the Crabby
Dick’s Restaurant. The restaurant has agreed to contribute twenty-five percent of the proceeds to
the Fort. This will bring national press for the Fort. A Halloween live taping is a future

Jim O’Neill shared his concerns of the long-term impacts of allowing this and other such groups
to film at Fort Delaware. The publicity is good but he does not want to see the historic focus

Natural Areas Advisory Council – Chazz Salkin
Chazz informed the council that John Williams had been appointed to represent the Natural
Areas Advisory Council on the Parks and Recreation Council. Mr. Williams was unable to make
this particular meeting due to the date change from May 1 to May 2.

Bi-State Council – Andy Urquhart
Andy reported the Bi-State Advisory Council for the White Clay Creek Preserve met April 30,
2008 at Blue Ball Barn. There are questions about the conceptual project to reconnect the creek
with the flood plain. Rob Line provided a presentation at the April 30 meeting and council is
comfortable with the study that will be done.

Discussions were held regarding the appropriateness for the council to offer advice on issues
outside of the preserve. The council decided it was appropriate if the issue affected the preserve.

Wildlife Committee – Ron Mears
Nothing to report at this time.

Resident Curatorship – Joe Smack
March 27, 2008 Joan Brown and Joe Smack met with Cara Blume, Lee Jennings and Alisa
McCann with the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service. Joan Brown reported that
Lisa suggested seeking grants before soliciting for curatorship, due to the large repairs needed.
The estimated repair costs are $400,000.

Public Comment/Friends Groups
Delaware Seashore Preservation President, Joe DiBattista, provided an update on the tower
restoration project. Joe displayed the certificate and holder that would be sent to those making
donations. May 17, 2008 is Armed Forces Day and will be the kick-off for the preservation

Chairman Mears asked to note the council’s appreciation for the Friends Groups.


Enforcement Report - Wayne Kline
The division responded to 146 complaints state-wide in the month of April. Greater efforts have
been placed at Garrisons Lake Golf Course to patrol. Verbal warnings have been given and one
ticket for trespassing written.
Lums Pond will be receiving a new flat bottom boat for the Rangers.
Complaints have increased in the Wilmington, Alapocas and Brandywine area.
Delaware Seashore State Park was burglarized.

An internal investigation has been completed on a former park employee who stole a division
fuel card and charged approximately $9,000.00 in fuel. The former employee was indicted by a
Grand Jury and arrested Wednesday April 30, 2008.
Killens Pond State Park held a three day hunter education class at Trap Pond State Park in April
with five participants.
Seven people completed the Junior Life Guard Program and have been hired.
Seasonal hiring is taking place.

Personnel (Greg Abbott)
Greg distributed and reviewed personnel updates. Debbie Bell with the Accounting office will
retire June 1, 2008. The division was able to fill several positions that were requested before the
state hiring freeze due to their funding sources. Cultural and Recreation Services hired two
Trainer/Educators; Laura Lee at Fort Delaware and Claire Earnhart at Brandywine Creek. Also
hired was Drew Fioravanti who is responsible for the management of the publications section. In
the Planning Preservation and Development Section, Kendall Sommers was hired as a Planner III
beginning May 5, 2008. Greg mentioned the passing of Benny Divita, Killens Pond Water Park
Manager and the retirement of Mike Felker. Laura Madara, Park Superintendent at Brandywine
Creek State Park transferred to Lums Pond State Park May 1, 2008. IRM position should be
filled by June.

Budget - Greg Abbott
Chazz began by commending Greg Abbott and his staff on the job they have done over the last
several months. Particularly in response to the day to day demands from the Budget Office.
Chairmen Mears stated he had attended the Bond Bill Hearings May 1, 2008. Ron also stated that
he recently learned that the division was able to gain approval for its normal 593 seasonal
employees necessary to operate the state park system during the summer season.

Greg Abbott distributed hand-outs and reviewed the FY-09 budget reductions and revenue
alternatives. The division will feel the impacts of this July 1, 2008. Wilmington State Parks
which is almost 100% generally funded has the largest cuts. Other proposed reductions include:

Special Use Facilities - Daily admission fee to the Killens Pond Water Park will increase.
Port Penn Interpretive Center will be closed weekdays during the summer.
Lums Pond Nature Center will close to the regular daily public; White Clay Creek State Park,
Judge Morris Estate will continue for large revenue producing events but reduce the amount of
small meetings/events.

Fort Delaware State Park - Grass Dale will be closed to the public for meetings and rentals.

Ocean Parks - The division will reduce visitor services at Fresh Pond, Delaware Seashore State
Park and the Division is considering unguarded beaches at Fenwick Island Unincorporated
Beach for the 2009 spring season.

Alapocas Run State Park -Three General Fund maintenance positions were lost as well as a
reduction in the supply and contractual monies. This will impact the development and operation
of projects especially the new facilities East of Route 202 scheduled to open spring 2008. The
Division has requested that the three GF positions be converted to ASF with the hope that in the
future enough revenue could be generated to cover their annual salaries.

Greg reviewed a memorandum that defined the implications of each of the proposed reductions.
Chazz added if alternatives are found we will reverse these reductions. The division must be as
specific as possible and be able to show the impact of the reductions.

Killens Pond Water Park Entrance Fee increase:

The Division is proposing an increase in the daily entrance fee for the Killens Pond Water Park
to $3.00 per person.
Andy Urquhart asked if the division had considered offering family rates / discounts.
Gary Focht reported maintenance costs have been approximately $70,000.00 annually.
In addition to the fee increase, scheduled morning group times have been reduced and money to
reserve these times is now required to be paid up front. It is hoped this will reduce the number of

The division proposes to implement a daily entrance fee at the Indian River Marina and Fort
Dupont boat ramp. The division currently spends $15,000.00 at the boat ramp area for portable
toilets and electric with no revenue generated.

Chairman Mears asked for a motion to support the draft on fee increases. Motion moved by Ron
Breeding, second by Andy Urquhart. Chazz explained the division has the department’s support
for these increases but it is possible the numbers could change. Chairmen Mears revised the
motion to allow the division to state the Parks Council supports the recommendation of the fee
increases. Council was in favor, none opposed.

Section Reports
Cultural and Recreational Services (CARS) – Jim O’Neill
Work has started to rebuild the otter bridge at the zoo. The bridge had become unsafe and had
been closed for a month. It is expected to be completed next week.

The animal keeper position was filled by a seasonal employee, Meghaan Figgs. It was one of the
positions approved during the hiring freeze.

Work has started on new landscaping for the Andean condor exhibit. The old material has been
removed. The intent is to give the exhibit a cleaner look and to also give a better impression of
South America. (This project was started before the budget cuts)

Jill Karlson at the zoo worked with the Latin American Community Center last year to help
create a cross-cultural event for the Wilmington Hispanic community. It was successful drawing
over 400 participants from that community, in addition to the normal zoo attendance. The event
included musical maracas, live animal presentations with a focus on Latin American animals,
stories in both English and Spanish, animal piñatas, and conservation talks. This partnership
earned Jill Karlson and Nancy Falasco, the zoo director, the Departments diversity award for the

This year we had programming at each state park for Earth Day. Programs included an Earth
Day Poster contest at Bellevue, Clean up at Holts Landing, and the zoo attracted over 2000
people for their Curious George program.

Angel Burns was the Division’s Employee of the Year at the Department awards program.
Ray Bivens worked to update a partnership with the Division of the Arts. This has resulted in a
grant significantly more than we have received in the past. Ray has also submitted a $93,000
grant request to the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network for funding Trap Pond exhibits.

Creative Services
Several long term projects are finishing up. The Division Comprehensive Guide is in final draft
and will be ready for printing soon.

Our division website is being redeveloped and will have a total new look. Drew Fioravanti has
developed the basic format and is converting the current material to the new web pages.

First State Heritage Park
The AmeriCorps member researched, wrote and acted in a women’s suffrage program in
Legislative Hall. This program received significant recognition for its innovation and quality.

The heritage park staff will be moving their offices to the Rose Cottage. This is a small
historical building owned by the state on State Street in Dover.

Cultural Heritage
There are two new institutional curatorships proposed. 92 A and B, a duplex at Fort DuPont and
the Civil Air Patrol building.

Senator Carper visited the Fort Miles historic area and offered his help

Planning Preservation and Development – Matt Chesser
Matt distributed print-outs explaining the development of an information management system
(IMS). This will be a unified system for tracking and housing information. The division
purchased a software system called Archibus that will tie items together on projects such as
location, maps, buildings, leases, contracts; anything to do with that project. Chazz added this
initiative is the beginning of a comprehensive package plan for tracking and reporting and will
eventually be accessible to anyone.

Operations – Paul Nicholson
The Cape Henlopen Pier has been shut down temporarily. Staff is currently fencing areas of
issue. Portions will be opened for the season by the end of May.

Air stations at beach parks are being updated. A larger unit will be installed at the Cape Naval
Crossing and building built to house. The division requested the Division of Soil and Water
assist in relocating the Conquest Road crossing, north to the parking area for better access and
where electric is available for a new air station. A new air station will also be installed at
Savages Ditch.

Mike Felker retired from Lums Pond. A tribute from the Governor was presented to him.

Revenue at self-registration areas in March was $20,000.00. The division hopes to see more
increases in April.

Mary Voshell reported the ticket reservation system at Fort Delaware went live. Reservations
can now be made on-line.

Chazz shared the August council meeting would focus on the Children In Nature subject and
hopes to bring together partnerships statewide to attend. The division has identified a team to
coordinate efforts with the National Park Services on this initiative.

A contract with Delaware State Golf Association (DSGA) for the day-to-day operation of
Garrisons Lake Golf Course has been signed. The basic contract calls for:
            Deed requires a not-for-profit
            A model each month giving operating expenses and profit. DSGA receives 4%,
              the State 4% for management/lease/license fees. Remainder will be placed in a
              special needs fund (programming and course).
            Future ability to spend money at any other parks.
No special membership privileges.

Andy Urquhart had provided Chazz with an article “Trends in Parks” which was distributed. It
was suggested that one item per meeting be discussed as to how we will respond to these trends.
Andy suggested a structure for discussions at future meetings could be to what extent trends are
affecting Delaware state parks and what the council could bring.

Gary Focht reported the division’s Green Group is making progress and a lot of other going-
green projects are being implemented ranging from chemicals to recycling. Chazz suggested
Gary provide a report at a future meeting.

Chairman Mears asked Chazz what the council or Friends Groups could do to enhance or assist
regarding the budget cuts. Chazz responded there are no specific answers and strongly suggested
talking with elected officials. Most comments received have been in concern for the Open Space
program losing money rather than the 8% operation budget cuts that effect staff, visitors,
resources and the way we manage. Friends Groups will play a key role getting the message to
legislators. It will take concerted efforts targeting legislators with specific requests; effective
advocacy. Salvaging a percentage would be helpful.

On behalf of the council Ron Mears recognized Ron Whittington’s induction into the Delaware
Sports Museum Hall of Fame.

Upcoming Events
Kids Day in Sussex County Wednesday May 21, 2008.
Jim O’Neill Retirement May 29, 2008 at the Duncan Center
Next Parks and Recreation Council Meeting August 7, 2008 (location to be determined)

By unanimous vote the meeting adjourned at 12:19 p.m. Lunch was provided by Georgia House
of Millsboro followed by a tour of the Bethesda Church.

                                                     Respectfully submitted,

                                                     Elaine Harwood
                                                     Recording Secretary