Wilmette Park District
Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, March 16, 2015
6:30 p.m. – Village Hall Council Chambers

Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair Bryan Abbott, John Olvany, Gary Benz

Commissioners Shelley Shelly, Amy Wolfe
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Holly Specht, Steve Wilson, Ken Eppelheimer, Jeff Bowen

Attendees Absent

None

I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Olvany moved to approve the minutes from February 23, 2015, seconded by Commissioner Benz; all voted yes, the motion carried.

III. Communication and Correspondence

There were no letters before the committee under communications and correspondence.

IV. Recognition of Visitors

No one from the audience addressed the committee at this time.
(See attached attendance sheet).

V. Manager’s Report

Holly Specht reported on the following:

  • 27 people attended the Sailing lottery March 7 to change boat slip location or boat type.
  • Staff placed orders for 20 new beach mat pieces and new floating mats for Aquatics Camp.
  • Currently staff has taken reservation from 65 residents for picnic permits.
  • Tennis courts have been cleaned and nets are up.
  • Life Guard chairs have been repaired or rebuilt and painted.
  • Our new lakefront Assistant Manager Julio Rodriguez is attending lifeguard training.

Commissioner Olvany asked staff what the policy is regarding the use of Lakeview Center during the year.  Holly stated that we rent the facility from the day after Labor Day until the week before Memorial Day. 

VI. Unfinished Business

A. Lakefront Master Plan Update
Commissioner Abbott introduced the Lakefront Master Plan Consultants and asked for updates on the Lakefront master Plan.

Kris Lucius, Landscape Architect, SmithGroupJJR
Bill Wood, Civil Engineer, SmithGroupJJR
Tom LaLonde, Williams Architects
Andy Dogan, Williams Architects
Dave Olson, Dave Ridderoff, Dan Polfuss, WB Olson

Kris Lucius updated the Committee on the Master Plan for Langdon and Gillson Park focusing on items that have changed since the January 26 meeting.  The areas of focus at Langdon Park included the bluff area, beach access, the playground/tot lot and landscaping improvements.  Based on previous comments, they made changes in the playground layout in order to add four swings.  In addition, there was discussion of adding pavers to line the walkways in the park.

Due to comments on the ability to access the beach with strollers and coolers, a walkway was added next to the proposed stairs.  They have been looking at other options also.

Andy Dogan addressed the Langdon building stating that the only update was the addition of a small closet for the ejector pump for sewage.  The exterior has not changed and the new closet was an interior change only. Recommendations for the railing on the top of the structure are stainless steel pickets that would be vertical. 

Mr. Lucius stated that they revisited the trees in the park in order to limit as much as possible the removal of trees.  Overall the current plan calls for the removal of five trees, the relocation of four trees and the addition of two or more shade trees. 

Bill Wood commented that there would be a bioswale treatment area on the bluff to help stabilize the path.  Commissioner Olvany commented on the view from the water and asked how long it would take for the dune grasses to become established.  Mr. Lucius stated it would take one to two growing seasons.

Commissioner Abbott asked Mr. Lucius to explain the use of pavers and he stated that they would be used to line to path as an accent.  Commissioner Abbott also asked about the grade of the slope at Langdon and was told it was a 6/1 slope.  Commissioner Abbott stated it would be 17%. The stainless steel railing was discussed.  Superintendent Lambrecht commented that it is the best option for that location but we can look at alternatives if needed due to cost. Commissioner Olvany inquired what the height of the railing would be and Mr. Lucius stated that per code they will be 42” in height with 4” between each vertical railing.  He also stated that most likely, when sitting on a bench, visitors would be looking through the railing.  In answer to a question from the audience, Mr. Dogan stated that the building is not a rounded structure and the roof line follows the shape of the building with a 1’ overhang.  It was originally designed to be 4’ but was cut back.

From the audience, Elissa Morgante asked how wide the gravel path will be.  Mr. Lucius stated that the stairs will be 6’ and the path 4’ for a total of 10’.  At the roof level the path will be 15’. Ms. Morgante asked about the accuracy of the rendering.  Mr. Lucius stated that the trees are in approximate locations and the conditions are a close match and the water line and distance to the bluff are accurate.  Director Wilson commented that the drawings show the actual grade and bluff.  Superintendent Lambrecht commented that the model is based on a topographical survey and is an accurate rendering.  Ms. Morgante also inquired how we decided on the changes to the playground layout.  Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the changes were based on suggestions from park users. Director Wilson commented that the addition and expansion of the playground amenities will be within the same sidewalk footprint that was originally proposed.  Mr. Lucius confirmed. 

Commissioner Olvany commented on the railing and wondered if there is a safety concern regarding people trying to climb the fence.  Bill Wood commented that it is designed to allow people to enjoy the view.  The distance from the roof level to the bottom is 11’.

Mr. Lucius addressed the changes in the Gillson Park Master Plan proposal stating that there were three areas of major scope changes.  He stated that the sledding hill location continues to present a challenge and they will continue to look for an area where they can include 5’ of run off for every 1’ of vertical change.

The first area of scope changes Mr. Lucius discussed was the beach house area and he stated that next to the beach parking lot, 30 bike parking spots have been added.  Regarding the beach house, the paved area around was reduced by moving the building closer to the driveway, reducing the amount of pavement.  In addition, the seating area north of the beach house was moved further from the building and the patio lighting was eliminated and will be surface mounted on the building.  Mr. Dogan stated that there were no changes in the footprint of the building and the more detailed drawing shows the addition of the equipment in the concession area. The shade pavilion also shows no changes.  The exterior changes include white trim on the window and building posts to achieve a more Cape Cod feel.  They are currently studying ways to get more daylight into the locker room/bathroom areas. 

Commissioner Benz asked what the distance was from the peak of the roof to ground level and was told it was 17’. 

The Sailing Center had only one change and that was the addition of one more toilet in the women’s bathroom which they were able to do without changing the footprint of the building.  The only update to the exterior was that the columns will be thinner than what is shown on the rendering.

At Lakeview Center, Mr. Lucius explained that the biggest change is the elimination of reconfiguring the roadway south of Lakeview and bordering the Wallace Bowl.  Bill Wood stated that we can still create a plaza with a drop off entry to the building without making changes in the location of the roadway. This change also eliminates the removal of some large evergreen trees across from the Bowl. The pathway along the roadway near the WWI memorial will be eliminated and they will avoid this area.

Mr. Dogan from Williams discussed the Lakeview Center floor plan.  The update on the lower level includes moving the stairs to the outside corner of the addition in order to get the height the elevator needs in the building.  The relocation of the elevator helps to get natural light into the stairwell and the upper and lower lobbies since there will now be windows on both sides of the stairwell.  There will also be the addition of a family/companion restroom.  On the upper level, there has been some additional coat storage added in the multi-use room.  The interior large room can seat up to 120 and the additional multipurpose room can hold 30 for a total of 150 seated.

Kris Lucius discussed the exteriors of the park, stating that there are no changes in the pedestrian walkways; however, they are exploring the use of pavers as accents and permeable pavers in select areas.  Bill Wood addressed the pedestrian path on the southeast end of the park stating that in order to save 6-7 trees; the path will now meander to avoid their removal.

Mr. Lucius addressed the comments from the January meeting regarding the creation of bike/pedestrian paths at the lake street entrance to the park.  They feel the proposed access routes are the best options since widening the road to provide the additional paths is not possible. 

Mr. Lucius next described the new diagram for trees in the park.  The diagram showed the total number of trees taken out and the number being transplanted.  In the zone around the parking lot there will be 73 new trees added.  Superintendent Lambrecht commented that the bulk of the trees removed will be the island trees in the parking lot.  In the south section of the park (6 trees will be removed and 17 will be added).

Mr. Wood commented on the storm water changes, stating that the two underground infiltration vaults have been removed.  Bio-infiltration areas have been added instead and they will take on a detention character and manage storm water to prevent flooding in the parking lot.  The butterfly garden area will be another infiltration area as well as an infiltration zone on the south end of the park. 

Commissioner Abbott asked fellow commissioners for comments and he started by stating that he liked the improvements around the beach house but is still concerned about the fence height.  The fence as shown is 6’ and Commissioner Abbott asked to make the fences as low as possible.  He feels the 6’ fence is unnecessary.  He also commented on the size of the seating area on the south side of the building and asked about how the lighting would be attached to the building.  Superintendent Lambrecht stated that there will be soffit mounted lighting.  Commissioner Abbott suggested they bring the windows down in the beach house for better natural lighting and to break up the mass of the building.  Superintendent Lambrecht mentioned that we would need to be careful not to go too far due to the location of toilet partitions in the washrooms.

Regarding the sidewalk plan, Commissioner Abbott stated that someone mentioned to him the lack of a clear view looking south from the south end of the park near the harbor.  He stated he would like to see an area cleared and a path added just west of the dog beach. Commissioner Olvany agreed that this would be a nice addition.  Mr. Lucius stated that they would study the area for feasibility. Superintendent Lambrecht remarked that a lot of that material is there to prevent sand from blowing into the harbor.

A member of the audience asked about the surface of the walkways and Commissioner Abbott stated it would be concrete.  He was asked if gravel was considered and Mr. Lucius stated that it was not, due to ADA accessibility, and ongoing maintenance issues. Commissioner Abbott added that under the redevelopment plan, we went from 16.7% paved surfaces to 17.4%, less that a 1% increase.  Mr. Lucius mentioned that the 5’ concrete threads throughout the park will have minimal impact on storm water. 

In the beach parking lot, with the new configuration, the amount of pavement actually decreases by 1.3% to 428,000 square feet.  The existing lot has 316 parking places (307 regular and 9 ADA) the new design would have 318 parking spaces (302 regular and 16 ADA).

Director Wilson commented that we had requests from members of Go Green Wilmette to add more walkways through the park to connect the various areas.  Elissa Morgante asked where the request for concrete pads in the park is coming from.  Mr. Lucius stated that the pads were to help secure picnic tables and to prevent wear and tear of the area under the tables.  Superintendent Lambrecht mentioned that it is required by the ADA that we provide accessible picnic areas.  Ms. Morgante asked how the new building would be easier to care for when what we currently have requires no maintenance. Superintendent Bingham stated that the cleaning and maintenance of the building would not require additional staff and those duties could be added to current staff’s responsibilities.  Ms. Morgante asked about the three options presented for the remodeled Lakeview Center, showing room for up to 280 people seated.  Superintendent Bingham explained that those plans were from over a year ago during the planning phase when there were many options being considered.  The option for 280 people included an expansion of the footprint of the building and that idea was rejected by the Committee. 

A member of the audience asked about the bike path and cross traffic coming together and how the district will control that.  Superintendent Lambrecht stated that in several areas we will control traffic with stop signs.  When asked if the roads will be rebuilt, Superintendent Lambrecht stated that they will be resurfaced but not widened.  Commissioner Abbott added that the old road will be used as a base for the new road.  When a member of the audience asked about the flow of bike traffic, Mr. Lucius stated that the intention was to have bike traffic go one way, like vehicular traffic.  James Egan suggested the Park District consider two way bike traffic throughout the park. He also commented that bikers will use Lake Avenue whether we build in bike lanes or not.  He also suggested that when parked at the east end of the beach, people should be able to see the park and the beach.  Wes Fisher asked the Committee if there would be lightning rods on the buildings.   Commissioner Abbott stated that it is a complicated issue but suggested the consultants look into it.  Mr. Lucius stated that they would.

Commissioner Wolf asked if there was a need for so many bathrooms outside the interior of the beach house.  Commissioner Olvany stated that he has heard from people that due to the change in how people access the beach, it is the only way for people to use restroom facilities if they are not paying for beach access. 

Dave Olson addressed the committee regarding where the budget stands to date.  He stated that his team is involved in working with the design team and keeping costs within scope.  He said that currently, the cost estimate is $12,338,000.  While we are close to budget, they are looking at refinements to hold cost at target budget.  Commissioner Abbott asked if this included all contingencies and what the soft costs were.  Mr. Olson stated that the soft costs associated with Gillson are $456,668 and the fees are $644,347.  Our current contingencies are 1.6 million and escalation is included in the numbers with a 5% design contingency.   Commissioner Abbott stated that he felt the cost was $500,000 too high.  Mr. Olson explained that there are a number of things on the table for cost savings and some design elements are still in flux.  Commissioner Abbott asked what the next steps were, including value engineering opportunities.  Superintendent Lambrecht stated we are currently working through value engineering with recommendations from staff, the design team and W. B. Olson and will continue to do so. 

VII. New Business

A. Park Permit Requests
Two permits were presented to the Committee, the first for a Central School end of year picnic on June 9th.  The Committee approved by consensus.  The second is a request from The Rotary Club of Chicagoland who would like to hold a fundraising event walk/race in Gillson Park on September 19, 2015.  Staff advised them that we may be under construction however, the group still wanted to complete the application process.  Staff also recommended that due to the annual increase in permit requests for outside events in the park, we should consider reviewing how many of these events we allow in the park annually and review how we determine what events are appropriate for the Park.  Commissioner Olvany suggested we table this discussion until the April meeting and the committee agreed by consensus.

VIII. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:38 p.m.