Nearly five months after Evans Park at Millville opened to the public, the Millville Town Council has appointed a group of volunteers to oversee park operations and make recommendations to town officials regarding park issues.
The new members of the Park & Recreation Commission are Pat Plocek, who resides in the Coventry development; Wally Kohl, who lives in Bishop’s Landing; and Cathy Sheck, who lives in Millville By the Sea. Both Plocek and Sheck are also members of Millville’s Planning Commission.
Paul DuCott, Millville’s maintenance employee, will serve as adviser to the newly formed commission.
The concept of the parks commission was laid out in Millville’s latest Comprehensive Plan. The commission will be sworn in at a future town council meeting and will probably begin to meet in September.
At the council’s Tuesday, July 27, workshop meeting, two other park-related items were approved: the changing of the hours for lights on the pickleball courts, which was changed to keep them on until 10 p.m., and the approval of a contract for poured rubber surface to be installed under the park’s swings.
Millville Code & Building Official Eric Evans told the council that he has fielded “a lot of comments from the players” about extending the hours that the pickleball courts are lighted — particularly because players want to take advantage of cooler weather in the evenings to play on the courts.
He said he doesn’t believe the added hour or so of lights on the courts would disturb neighbors in the adjacent Parkside development, now under construction. He said he had used a noise app on his phone to estimate how much noise the pickleball players might produce and found that “It’s not something that’s going to be overbearing.
“Folks that are buying, they know the park’s there. They know the pickleball courts are there,” he said, calling it an instance of “buyer beware.”
Belinko called the change “one of the growing pains” of opening the new park, adding that he feels that since the lights on the park’s trails and parking lot are already left on all night long, the added hour of pickleball court lighting shouldn’t be a problem for neighbors.
Evans said the trail and parking lot lighting is “a security issue.”
Council Member Steve Maneri said he was in favor of extending the lighted court time.
“Why put lights up if you’re not going to use them?” he asked.
Evans said he would change the timers on the lights this week.
Meanwhile, Belinko called the current mulched area under the park’s swings “a big kitty-litter spot,” which has also already seen the areas under the swings dug out from children’s feet sliding through it.
A poured rubber surface, he said, “can be cleaned and sanitized.” The swing area is not currently ADA-compliant, Town Manager Deborah Botchie told the council, and the mulch frequently gets tracked into the park’s restrooms and, as such, “is one of our employees’ pet peeves” when it comes to park maintenance.
Council Treasurer Barbara Ryer said she feels the mulch “is actually dangerous. I think this is much safer,” Ryer said of the proposed poured rubber surface.
The surface would be 3.5 inches thick, will protect swing users from falls as high as 8 feet, and will be decorated with sea-creature shapes to match the park’s maritime theme. The contractor is Cunningham Recreation of Charlotte, N.C.
Botchie said she has applied to DNREC for a state contract on the project, estimated to cost $60,000. The State would match half of the cost, she said.
In other business, the council on July 27 approved the final site plan for locations for Morning Buns Bakery and Perucci’s restaurant. The businesses are owned by the Rickards family, and are currently in separate locations on Route 26, in Ocean View and Millville, respectively. The new location is the former site of Dickens Parlour Theatre, also on Route 26, with the theater’s new location being adjacent to Good Earth Market in Clarksville.
The new Perucci’s restaurant will be 1,476 square feet, while the bakery will be just over 3,000 square feet, including 2,045 square feet for the shop and a 1,000-square-foot customer area. Both businesses will be housed in existing buildings on the property; the bakery building has already been painted in Morning Buns’ signature yellow color scheme. A third existing building will be used as apartment space for owners or employees.
The bakery plans to reopen in its new spot in Millville next month, according to Ray Blakeney of Land Design Inc./Plitko LLC, representing the owners. The new restaurant location will open a bit later, he said.