Wilmette Park District
Minutes of Regular Meeting of the
Board of Park Commissioners
Monday, February 9, 2015
7:30 p.m. – Village Hall Council Chambers

Attendees Present

Commissioners: President James Crowley, John Olvany, Gary Benz, James Brault, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott, Amy Wolfe

Secretary/Executive Director Stephen Wilson
Superintendents: Jeff Bowen, Ken Eppelheimer, Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht
Staff: Shelagh Donoghue, Cindy Felicicchia

Attendees Absent


I. Meeting  Called to Order

With the direction from President Crowley St. Joe’s student Chris Hara called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners to order at 7:30 p.m. Photos were taken in front of the Dias with the St. Joe’s students and Commissioners.

A. Roll call taken.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Shelly moved to approve the minutes from the Regular Board Meeting of January 12, 2015 and Commissioner Wolfe seconded; all voted yes, the motion carried.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

III. Communications and Correspondence

Commissioner Crowley acknowledged the District has received various email responses in regards to the factual informational emails that are going out weekly. 

IV. Recognition of Visitors

Commissioner Crowley acknowledged the visitors and asked anyone if they would like to speak. (See attached list).

Mark Weyermuller, 208 Lawndale, Wilmette – He welcomed the future student leaders from St. Joe’s school. He expressed his views on the April 7th $14.5 referendum questions to which he will be voting no for on both questions. He is willing to let the democratic process work.

Tom Scanlan, 1005 Chestnut, Wilmette - He read an email he sent earlier today to Commissioner Crowley and Director Wilson. Mr. Scanlan asked that his email be part of the record. The email reads as follows:

Dear Jim:

The Park District voted last month to ask voters to approve referendum bond issues for Langdon Park and Gillson Park, despite standing-room only opposition to these plans at the two preceding Park meetings in December. The village-wide vote is set for April 7, the Tuesday following New Trier spring vacation, Easter and Passover. 

Save Wilmette Lakefront, a Wilmette citizens group I chair, opposes these referendums.  We believe Wilmette voters deserve a full discussion of the Langdon and Gillson referendums before being asked to vote on them at a cost of $14.5 million.  We believe these plans are being rushed and that we can all do better.

We invite you or others favoring the referendums to join us in a neutral public forum for an informed exchange of views on the strengths and weaknesses the Langdon and Gillson referendums.  We suggest two forums--one on Langdon, one on Gillson--to be conducted at Village Hall and on cable television on two of the following five weekend dates:  March 7, 14, 15, 21, or 22.  We suggest each forum last 90 minutes, led by a neutral moderator from the League of Women Voters or the press/media. 

Because time is short, I ask that you take this matter up at your board meeting tonight and let me know your preference on dates this week.

Thank you for your consideration,
Thomas Scanlan, Chair
Save Wilmette Lakefront

Mr. Scanlan asked if what he read will be addressed tonight. Commissioner Crowley stated he would address his comments tonight.

Commissioner Crowley stated the following:

Over the last 6 years the Park District has held approximately 95 Open Meetings concerning the Lakefront Project. All of those meetings have had prior notification postings in accordance with state law.

• 9 Lakefront Commission Meetings
• 4 Public Workshops
• 2 years of review by the Parks and Recreation Committee equal to 24 meetings
• 20 Lakefront Committee Meetings
• 2 Rotary Groups
• Most of the Elementary PTA’s
• 2 Go Green Meetings
• 19 Leisure Guide’s going back to 2008 Inclusive of the Park Bench
• 11 Presidents Messages
• Every Park Board Meeting since May of 2013 equal to 22 meetings
• Soccer Saturday at Community Playfield
• Street Fair, downtown Wilmette
• July 3rd Festivities
• Public design renderings on display at the CRC, Lakeview Center and Centennial
• Multiple Informational email blasts to users with Park District Accounts.
• Prominently featured on the front page of the Wilmette Park District Web Site
• Numerous newspaper articles covering the proposed project

In addition, the Park District will participate in the League of Women Voters Forum on the Referenda questions and has already provided answers and information to their board. Staff will participate in the interview process as will both the local groups who either favor or don’t favor the referendum.

Legally the Park District is prohibited from engaging in any advocacy for the pending referenda. The Park District is allowed to disseminate communications that describe the two questions at hand, but not to urge a yes or no vote.  Communications must be factual and include relevant data, but cannot include persuasive language.  Within this framework, a “debate” which by definition is contention in argument, dispute, controversy or discussion, especially the discussion of questions of public interest would likely be interpreted as advocacy or even electioneering, and therefore is not allowed.

Individual Commissioners are allowed to advocate their positions on the referenda.  However, a debate forum with more than two Commissioners could be construed as a “meeting” of the board and must comply with the Open Meetings Act. As such, Commissioners would not be able to do more than communicate the facts of the referenda.

We will continue to “reach out” to all our residents and users to provide up to date factual information to the best of our ability.

V. Approval of Voucher List

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,151,020.15, a copy of which is to be attached to and become a permanent part of the minutes of this meeting.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

VI. Executive Director’s Report

Director Wilson reported on the following topics:

  • The Park District for the third year is working with the 8th graders from St. Joe’s school who have volunteered to participate in the League of Women Voters student government program. The program will allow them to hold their own mock board meeting. 
  • Since the last Lakefront Committee meeting and the presentation given from the District’s consultants the work has progressed following the input. The considerations regarding the tree removal during the construction process have been discussed and with the direction from the District have now cut the tree count removal down to four and possibly less than that in the Langdon design.
  • The District is engaged in their annual Steps to Success health and wellness program which is organized by staff. This program is a great way to improve health and wellness and add a little fun while doing it.
  • Under Financial Planning a few things will be discussed: (1) 2014 Carry-Over Capital Project list. These are projects that either are in process or have yet to get started in 2014; (2) Bond Ordinance, the restructuring would retire debt at an even more accelerated rate, at lower interest costs; saving the District some money; and (3) under new business is the discussion for the contract for construction management services with W.B. Olson.
  • There is a closed session on the agenda for tonight regarding a specific employee of the District under Section 2(c)(1) of the Illinois Open Meeting Act.

Commissioner Olvany asked about the various emails coming to the District in response to the weekly factual informational emails and what the process is of handling those. Director Wilson stated that he responds to all emails usually within a day or two. He stated he is the point of contact person and people should not hesitate to contact him.

VII. Committee Reports

Commissioner Crowley discussed the process of Committee’s to the St. Joe students.

A. Lakefront Committee:

Commissioner Abbott reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on January 26th. He apologized for the length of the meeting but thought it was very informative and an interesting give and take with the designs. Comments were noted from all. Changes have been made based upon input. The design process is moving forward. The approval of the contract will come up later in this meeting under new business.

B. Facilities Operations Committee:

Commissioner Shelly reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met tonight.
  • Tennis: The Tennis lottery brochure is going out in March. Tennis is accepting applications until April 13th. Court selection will be on April 25th. Spring session runs from January through March. Registration was on January 17th with 414 registered. This tops last year’s number by 51 more spots for participants. Over 500 people registered with some not getting a spot. Pirate and Scallywags camps are sold out. There are other camps that still have space. Breakfast Club is now 4 days a week instead of 3.
  • Pool: The summer interviewing process is underway. Annual summer contracts have gone out for renting the pool. The District will certify all lifeguards. The District was awarded for the third year in a row a 5 star Certification for safety from StarGuard. This award is international in nature and places the District in the top 5 percent for safety of swimming facilities.
  • Ice: 108 participants registered this past session. There were 111 last year at this time. Plans are underway for the 40th annual ice show.  A special guest skater will be performing, Ryan Bradley.  Ryan was a U.S. National champion and a performer with “Stars on Ice”.
  • Paddle: 140 participants registered for classes this last session. Numbers are growing. There are 192 paddle members. Paddle rentals are booked for every weekend in February and March; except March 7th when Nationals are held at paddle.

C. Parks & Recreation Committee:

Commissioner Wolfe reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on January 19th.
  • The winter break camps were up over 100 kids from last year.
  • The District 39 after school programs have started with the addition of Harper school. There are 801 kids registered.
  • A fencing class has started. There are two classes with a total of 10 registered.
  • The theater department cast 44 children in Willy Wonka Jr., which finished up this past weekend.
  • Camp planning is well underway.
  • Lose to Win fitness program has stated with 53 participants registered for the 8 week program.
  • Gymnastics held a competition the end of January.

D. Golf Operations Committee:

Commissioner Crowley reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on Saturday, January 10th.
  • Cross Country skiing trails have been marked at the golf course with many enjoying the skiing trails.

E. Financial Planning & Policy Committee:

Commissioner Olvany reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on January 26th. 
  • The Committee discussed financing options for Gillson and Langdon referendums. The Committee will continue to look into financing plans once the outcome of the referendum is determined by the public.
  • The Committee received the unaudited financial statements for 2014. Commissioner Olvany is happy to report despite the outcome of the weather and the golf course being closed for most of the year it was still above budget year which is very positive.

(i) 2014 Carry Over Projects
Commissioner Olvany stated that every year a budget of capital expenditures is made. The projects that have not been finished or started yet will carry over into the next year.

Commissioner Olvany moved to approve 2014 Carry-Over Projects as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee, seconded by Commissioner Brault.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

(ii) Ordinance 2015-O-2, An Ordinance providing for the issue of $620,000 Taxable General Obligation Refunding Park Bonds, Series 2015.

Commissioner Brault moved to approve Ordinance 2015-O-2, an Ordinance providing for the issue of $620,000 Taxable General Obligation Refunding Park Bonds, Series 2015, for the purpose of refunding certain outstanding bonds of said Park District and for the payment of the expenses incident thereto, authorizing and directing the execution of an Escrow Agreement in connection with the issue of said bonds, providing for the levy of a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the principal and interest on said bonds, and authorizing the sale of said bonds to North Shore Community Bank & Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, seconded by Commissioner Benz.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

VIII. Unfinished Business


IX. New Business

A. W.B. Olson Construction Management Services Contract approval for Lakefront Plan

Commissioner Abbott stated that included in the packet was the contract form W.B. Olson for construction management services for the Lakefront Master Plan. W.B. Olson was one of six firms. Three firms were interviewed and W.B. Olson was the unanimous recommendation. The contract was not reviewed by the Lakefront Committee but was attached to this packet. Commissioner Abbott stated he read through the documents and recommends approving it.

Commissioner Abbott moved to approve a contract in the amount of $15,000 in preconstruction services and 2.5% of construction costs for construction management services regarding the Lakefront Plan with W.B. Olson, seconded by Olvany.

Director Wilson pointed out that the $15,000 in preconstruction services will be refunded back out of the 2.5% if the project continues upon the outcome of the referendum vote. If the referendum does not pass there will be no charges beyond the $15,000.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott and Wolfe; voting No: Brault, Shelly. Absent: None; motion carried.

X. Adjourn to Closed Session

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Shelly seconded a motion to adjourn to Closed Session for discussion of the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity), per Section 2(c)1 under the Illinois Open Meetings Act discussion of the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of a specific employee(s) of the District per Section 2(c)(1) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.  

The meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 7:58 p.m.

XI. Reconvene Regular Board Meeting

A. Consideration of Action, If Any, of Items Discussed in Closed Session.

The Regular Board meeting was reconvened 8:45 p.m.

XII. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at
8:46 p.m.