Wilmette Park District
Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, January 26, 2015
5:00 p.m. – Village Hall Council Chambers

Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair Bryan Abbott, Gary Benz, John Olvany
Commissioners: James Crowley, Amy Wolfe, Shelley Shelly, James Brault,
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Holly Specht, Steve Wilson, Ken Eppelheimer, Cindy Felicicchia, Jeff Bowen, Shelagh Donoghue, Julio Rodriguez

Attendees Absent 


I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order 5:00 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Olvany moved to approve the minutes from December 1, 2014, seconded by Benz; all voted yes, the motion carried.

III. Communication and Correspondence

Commissioner Abbott acknowledged a letter from Syd Rocks requesting to hold a fundraiser event on July 19th. Superintendent Bingham stated that it is not traditionally something the District would honor based on the time of year and during peak season. Commissioner Olvany commented that it would not make sense to do on July 19th due to park activities in the middle of summer. He suggested discussing with Syd Rocks something before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Commissioner Benz stated that the District cannot accommodate large groups during peak seasons. Superintendent Bingham will go back to Syd Rocks and discuss some alternatives.

Commissioner Olvany acknowledged a letter from Glenn Noren who was a member of the Lakefront Commission. On January 5th he wrote an 8 page letter with photos that has been circulated to all the Commissioners. Commissioner Abbott acknowledged and commented on a letter from Diane Fisher regarding the beach house and sailing shack having a Nantucket feel with a wood deck versus a concrete porch. Her letter stated she would like to see more of a design and less of an institutional look to it. She would like to see preservation of mature trees and more natural not manicured park lands. She commented on the lifeguard station having an open door with direct visual.  Superintendent Bingham stated that Staff has not seen Ms. Fisher’s letter yet but that Staff has been discussing with the designers better visual perspectives. Commissioner Abbott commented on Glenn Noren’s letter which included photos of other beach houses. Mr. Noren would like to see the District’s designs rise to, as stated in his letter to “Wilmette standards”. Commissioner Abbott commented that his photos of different designs were helpful and useful and will be passed on.

IV. Recognition of Visitors

(See attached Attendance Sheet)

Commissioner Abbott acknowledged the visitors and commented that the Committee will review and discuss what the design process entails and what the community would be voting on.

Tom Scanlan, 1005 Chestnut, Wilmette – He stated, that on April 7th we intend to send a message to the Board and to Staff that the size, scope and cost of the Lakefront Master Plan is too big and costly. He indicated that since the Commissioners voted seven to nothing not to reconsider the Lakefront Master Plan as requested, it is likely that both referendums will fail. He stated that many are thinking past the referendum now and what can be done to revise the Lakefront Master Plan in line with the wishes of the community and this time he hopes that the District will seek out input from the community and not just from the Board, Staff and SmithGroupJJR. He asked if the bid for contract with W.B. Olson been signed yet. Commissioner Abbott stated that the contract has not been signed. He asked what the names were of the others that have submitted bids. He asked if the District received any other competitive bids other than JJR. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that an RFQ process was conducted. Director Wilson stated the names of the four firms that replied. Director Wilson explained the RFQ process. Mr. Scanlan asked what the District’s history is with JJR. Director Wilson stated this it is the first time the District is working with them. Mr. Scanlan asked how many others contractors on the Olson construction bid process applied. Director Wilson stated six construction management firms responded and he explained the bid process procedures.

Diane Wilson, 1029 Greenleaf, Wilmette – She stated she owns her own design firm working primarily with residential designs. She feels the type of structure proposed for the main beach house does not fit in. She stated that the exterior finishes have more of an industrial feel to it. She handed out some pictures to the Committee to look at. She also feels that the proposed floor plan could be a little more airy and open in the middle. Director Wilson stated that during the presentations she will see designs in further details.

Elissa Morgante, 1537 Washington Avenue, Wilmette – She stated she concurs with what Diane Wilson stated. She handed out and presented options of different designs for the Committee to review.

Kendra Olvany, 803 Chestnut Avenue, Wilmette - She concurs what others have said about the designs at Langdon. She asked the Committee where she can go with adding input into the designs. She feels the proposal would be a large concrete structure with stairs that would be sticking out. She feels that the stairs could be icy and dangerous at times. She stated that somehow it went from a small beach house to this oversized over enhanced building.

V. Manager’s Report

Holly Specht reported on the following:

  • She introduced Julio Rodriguez the new Assistant Lakefront Manager who started today.
  • Sailing contracts have been mailed out. An email blast will be going out tomorrow as well.
  • Staff is in the process of ordering supplies and equipment for the summer.
  • Staff is working on hiring staff for the summer.
  • Lakeview Center had 4 rentals for January.

VI. Lakefront Master Plan – Programming Meeting

Commissioner Abbott acknowledged the visitors presenting:
Chris Lucius, Landscape Architect, SmithGroupJJR
Bill Wood, Civil Engineer, SmithGroup JJR
Tom LaLonde, Williams Architects
Andy Dogan, Williams Architects
Dave Olson, W.B. Olson – Stated he was here as an observer.

Langdon Park was discussed and reviewed first. Chris Lucius outlined and presented a condensed version of the changes to the Lakefront Master Plan since the last public meeting. He discussed the details of the proposed stairs replacing the gravel ramp. Commissioner Shelly felt that stairs would not work when trying to get strollers, wagons and coolers down to the beach. The Committee would like to see different options presented in regards to the stairs. Mr. Lucius stated he will look at options in regards to these issues.

The Committee discussed railings. The Staff is working on some railing options with JJR. Chris Lucius discussed some preliminary details in regards to the trees and working around some of the mature trees. He discussed the playground and the appropriate aged equipment. The new equipment will be geared towards multiple age groups. He stated how ADA access will be improved throughout both parks which include the picnic tables and drinking fountain. Mr. Lucius discussed and reviewed some design details for the playground. Mr. Lucius discussed new water and sanitary upgrades. Tom Scanlan stated he would like to get a breakdown of the tree removal in all areas. Commissioner Abbott acknowledged his comment.

Chris Lucius and Tom LaLonde reviewed and discussed the presentation slides of Gillson Park next. Tom LaLonde stated that the character of the building has changed considerably since the latest discussions. He outlined in detail the changes. Chris Lucius and Tom LaLonde touched on the designs of the beach house, parking lots, sailing center, shelters, ADA improvements, 9-11 memorial area, playground, picnic areas landscaping, and external seating areas.

Commissioner Abbott asked about the windows in the restrooms. He suggested redesigning with more detail for a better look to it. Commissioner Abbott asked about drainage and storm water details. Bill Wood commented on those details in regards to drainage and storm water. Commissioner Abbott commented on the external seating area and the fencing. He suggested lowering the fence and moving the seating a small distance closer to the beach.

Mary Shea asked what legal right the District has to fence the entire beach. Director Wilson stated that the District has a facility therefore the State of Illinois allows the District to fence in the beach and run it as a swimming facility. The Committee discussed the fencing details. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that there is an existing 6” fence there now. The fencing on the lake side of the beach house will be eliminated completely. The fencing that is there now would connect with the north side of the building. Committee agreed with 6” fencing but nothing higher. Commissioner Abbott stated the Committee will continue to discuss the fencing options. 

Commissioner Abbott commented on the beach house restrooms, operable windows and air conditioning in some areas. Tom LaLonde reviewed and addressed the plans and what makes sense in certain areas.  A Wilmette resident asked about the bathrooms at the sailing shack. She would like to see more bathroom stalls; possibly 3 and 3 or unisex. The Staff will look into options in regards to bathrooms. Next she asked about the flow of traffic when you are dropping off or picking up. Superintendent Lambrecht commented that the plan is to get people past the entrance and stop the backup at the Lake Avenue entrance. The Committee reviewed and discussed the plan with staff and Wilmette residents in earlier meetings. Staff will review drop off and pick up options again with designers.

Ryrie Pellaton asked about bike racks. Director Wilson stated that discussions are currently underway for bike rack locations. The Committee addressed that paying and non-paying patrons will be able to access the concession area. Commissioner Shelly asked about swings or tire swings in Langdon park. Staff will look into this request with the designers. Commissioner Benz commented on the windows in the washrooms on the beach side of the Gillson beach house and suggested they double their size or number for better look. He asked if it would make sense to have these windows also on the parking lot side. Mr. LaLonde will look into these suggestions with the windows in the bathrooms.

The Gillson presentation continued with Williams and SmithGroupJJR. They reviewed and discussed the following design slide foot prints: Lakeview Center lower level/upper level, roadway realignment, Lakeview Center and Wallace Bowl, 9/11 memorial garden walk and dog beach access, picnic areas south and north end, picnic shelters and furnishings, playground, pedestrian and bicycle circulation, roadway and parking lot pavements north and south end, overall landscape and ecological enhancement, existing storm sewer, storm water management and site utilities.

The Committee discussed the sledding hill. Commissioner Abbott stated he is concerned about the sledding hill. He would like to discuss this further. Commissioner Abbott asked if there was still time to consider the landscape design portion. Director Wilson stated yes and that Staff has been working with many groups, such as ecologists from JJR, biologists, along with possibly grant money from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for this project on the landscape design.

Commissioner Olvany acknowledged the firms for taking a lot of public input along with staff input and answering questions. Commissioner Olvany asked staff to summarize the points discussed and get back to Committee since so many ideas and suggestions were discussed.

VII. Unfinished Business


VIII. New Business

A. Park Permit Requests

• St. Francis Parish – Lakefront Mass July 12, 2015. All approved: Commissioners Abbott, Olvany and Benz
• Beth Hillel Congregation – Services at the Beach & Picnic June 26, 2015. All approved: Commissioners Abbott, Olvany and Benz
• Beth Hillel Congregation – Services at the Beach & Picnic July 31, 2015. All approved: Commissioners Abbott, Olvany and Benz

IX. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:23 p.m.