Township Sets Nonresident Fees for Park Use
By Wayne Witkowski
DINGMANS FERRY - For some people visiting Akenac Park, it’ll cost you.
And the farther you travel to get there, the more it will cost.
Park policies were finalized and approved by the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at their latest meeting, and deciding fees dominated the conversation.
As in the past, those who live in the township and Pike County in general can enter or free. Pennsylvania residents living outside of the county will pay $5 each. It’s $1 less than the original proposal of $6 per person. But if you visit from out of state, it’ll cost each person $20.
Some at the meeting felt it would enforce the idea that the park is dedicated to the surrounding community. Out-of-state residents who are guests of a Pike County resident can be admitted for free if the local resident is at the front gate to show them in. Proof of residency is required.
The original draft of park regulations read that out-of-state residents who are not a guest of a Pike County resident would not be admitted at all.
After discussion, the board rejected a $5 fee for anyone entering the new playground opened last December.
“I’m not crazy about that idea,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Scheetz said of that fee proposal.
“I have to represent Delaware Township taxpayers, and if someone uses the facility, someone has to pay for it to be maintained, either the taxpayers or park visitors,” township supervisor John Henderson said. “we’re not trying to make money but to take charges (for maintenance) off the taxpayers of Delaware Township.”
The board agreed to research data on who uses the park and who uses the playground in its first full season.
Boat rentals at the lake will continue to cost $5, and no one can bring a boat into the park.
Wording was strengthened from “will not be tolerated” to “is prohibited” for anyone harassing wildlife, harassing other visitors and defacing or removing park property.
During the workshop, board members and residents discussed fees for Akenac Park recreation and the kitchen rental policy.
It said the township charges a $400 fee for five hours and $80 for each additional hour for a township employee to work as a safe serve attendant operating the stove. The discussion centered on advertising for and training someone who is not a township employee to work per diem on weekends at the kitchen stove.
Board members said that rate would cost those using the park a lot less than the $80 hourly fee paying a township employee overtime on the weekend to be there.
The park is open during the summer season 8am to 7pm every day except Tuesday, when it is closed.
EMPLOYEE USE OF TOWN TRUCK
Another agenda issue that got a lot of discussion involved whether township Assistant Roadmaster Ed Hammond could use the township truck from June through September. The agenda item was discussed during a workshop at a previous meeting and some residents apparently came to the meeting to talk about it.
Roadmaster Charley Kroener uses the township truck during the winter months.
The board acknowledged that if Hammond uses the truck, it eliminates reimbursing mileage if he was called to fix something at Akenac park or the township building. Federal rates pay $.50 per driven mile. If he were using only his personal car, he would have to go to the site and might even have to drive back to the municipal complex to get the township truck if it was needed.
After township supervisors Ron Hough and Scheetz appeared to approve, Henderson questioned how often Hammond might be called upon. Some residents said Henderson’s objection and the lengthy discussion “is personal” and “What’s the big deal (to use the township truck)?”
At that point, Hammond said, “Forget about it. I just won’t answer the phone (to respond to a repair issue).”
Scheetz responded by changing his vote to a “no” vote for Hammond to use the township truck and instead moved to reimburse Hammond for his driving mileage of his personal vehicle. Henderson said he wanted it researched how many times Hammond gets called back to work on a repair issue during the summer months.
When township residents pressed Scheetz on his changing his vote, Scheetz answered, “He (Hammond) said, “ Forget it.’”
But Scheetz said that Hammond has been a commendable township employee and said Hammond’s remark about not answering his phone was taken “facetiously” by Scheetz.
The board also approved a 201 vote, with Henderson dissenting, the showing of the latest Power Rangers movie on free movie night at Akenac park on July 15. The motion included paying Swank Motion Pictures Inc $453 for copyright to show the movie. Henderson objected to the cost but township administrator Krista Predmore said it is a standard charge when showing a movie outdoors in public and that the township has a $900 recreation fund for the summer.
The board in the regular meeting approved use of Akenac Park by GAIT Therapeutic Riding center in Milford from 11am to 4pm on August 27th to present and celebrate the acquisition of a new therapy horse. Therapeutic riding instructor, Deborah Albrecht came to the workshop before the general meeting to find out what her organization need to do and what’s available, including refrigeration for food.
She was told 50 chairs and some tables are available. She was told a constable is needed for security as well as parking attendants, which are supplied by the fire department. Township fire chief Joe Beodeker said fees to pay attendants would be waived in good will; “from one nonprofit to another.”
Henderson said at the meeting he spoke with Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John Donahue regarding a gate being installed by the National Park Service at the end of Chestnut Ridge Road and was told the gate is only set up for safety and would only be closed to deny access when weather conditions or a natural emergency restrict driving on the crossroad route 209.
The Township moved to advertise for an August 2nd budget workshop from 7-9pm…the Township also agreed upon purchasing a new truck in August and to donate a pickup truck it’s replacing to the township fire company.