Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, June 1, 2015
6:30 p.m. – Mallinckrodt Community Center

Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott, Stephanie Foster

Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Holly Specht, Steve Wilson, Ken Eppelheimer, Jeff Bowen, Shelagh Donoghue

Attendees Absent


I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Abbott moved Commissioner Foster seconded a motion to approve the minutes from April 20, 2015; all voted yes, the motion carried.

The April 20, 2015 minutes will reflect a change under Communications and Correspondence, second paragraph the date for sailing contracts check-in date is July 10th and not July 1st.

III. Communication and Correspondence

Commissioner Shelly acknowledged several emails regarding support of the bird habitat at Gillson Park which will be addressed under recognition of visitors.

Commissioner Shelly commented on an email from Heather Oliver regarding lakefront beach access fees for nonresidents. Commissioner Shelly stated she reached out to Ms. Oliver to let her know that the fees have been set for this year but this discussion will continue with the Lakefront Committee annually during the budget process.

IV. Recognition of Visitors

Attendance Record attached.

Commissioner Shelly commented on how the meeting will run in regards to visitors. She stated that Karen Glennemeier will be speaking tonight regarding the bird habitat at Gillson Park. She advised if anyone tonight wanted to comment on the Lakefront Priorities memo, could speak after Karen Glennemeier. Next, the Committee will review the Lakefront Priorities memo with no dialogue from the audience until after the Committee reviews and discusses the Lakefront Priorities memo. Finally, questions and comments will be taken at the end in regards to the Lakefront Priorities memo.

Karen Glennemeier commented that the District has been offered a grant through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Agreement for $60,000 to improve migrant bird habitat at Gillson Park. This would consist of a multi-layered habitat area. This will provide a critical habitat for threatened bird species. The lake is a primary route for birds migrating from South America to Canada and the northern states. Commissioner Shelly stated this is a great idea for the lakefront with added value since the plan has a matching funds contingency, approval will depend on funds available to support this project which may have to be deferred.

Therese Heyek, 337 Washington Avenue, Wilmette thanked Karen Glennemeier for all her work regarding the bird habitat project. She commented she is a big supporter of Karen and this proposal which in turn would look like natural landscaping.

Commissioner Abbott asked if the project will be very unobtrusive as well as creating a habitat for the birds.

Jan Barshis, 2344 Pomona Lane, Wilmette stated she is very excited about this possible addition to the community. She compared it to bringing paddle tennis to the community.

Superintendent Bingham commented that the District has added nature programming which will continue to grow with this possible addition.

Mary Shea, 735 Michigan Avenue, Wilmette stated she is excited for this program. She would like to see this plan become part of the overall landscape design of Gillson Park.

Patrick Duffy, 932 Illinois Road, Wilmette commented that it looks like the District is not willing to commit to this project. Commissioner Shelly stated that the District will have further conversations with the USFW about the grant specifics. The Committee agrees it is a great idea and more discussions will follow at the next meeting.

Commissioner Pellaton asked Karen Glennemeier how this would be different from the Keay Nature Learning Center that already exists. Karen stated that it would be in different locations and the lakefront itself is a critical place for migrating birds.

Tom Scanlan, 1005 Chestnut, Wilmette commented that Save the Wilmette Beaches Organization is willing to work with the Lakefront Committee on the plan. He would like to see an ad hoc committee formed. He would like for the Agenda to be more specific when it is posted on the website. He stated his opinion regarding how the committee can work with Save the Wilmette Beaches Organization. Commissioner Foster asked Superintendent Bingham if the companies conducting the surveys would be willing to do a focus group. Superintendent Bingham stated that could be part of the process. The Committee discussed how to get the input from the Community. Superintendent Bingham will bring to the next Committee meeting some different options of surveys and the price breakdowns. Commissioner Shelly stated that this topic would be covered in more detail under Unfinished Business.

V. Manager’s Report

Holly Specht reported on the following:

  • May is a busy month for Staff getting ready for the summer months.
  • Multiple end of year school picnics have been held.
  • Residents are also busy holding picnics and reserving picnic areas for the summer. Nonresidents can only get reservations, if available, the day of the event. 
  • The Park District is finishing up its lacrosse season and spring nature programs.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation held its walk on May 17th.
  • The Staff has been busy with multiple events going on.
  • Katie Bradford is the new Assistant Lakefront Manager.
  • Sailing beach opened on May 9th.
  • Lakefront Staff orientation was held on May 18th. 59 out of 110 staff returned from last year.
  • On May 28th an all Staff emergency response training was held in conjunction with the Wilmette Fire Department.
  • The Memorial Day Weekend was okay. The next weekend was slow due to the weather.
  • Lakeview Center had 13 rentals in May.
  • Aquatics Camp currently has 366 enrolled and 5 out of 7 sections are full.
  • Junior Lifeguard has 17 enrolled.
  • Sailing lessons has 124 enrolled.
  • The Campout event is full for June 20th. 

VI. Unfinished Business

Superintendent Bingham commented on last meeting discussions regarding a community survey. The Staff had previously researched different options on completing a community survey. She stated the prices fluctuate anywhere between $12,000 and $20,000 based on what type of survey you want done. The company would make sure no questions are biased and that the questions are done impartial. Staff will continue exploring the survey options and report back to the Committee. Commissioner Shelly agreed that the fall right after the summer season would be a good time to get this survey in place.

Superintendent Bingham commented on a prior question from Commissioner Olvany in regards to a launch area for people who do not have a sailing beach slip. Superintendent Bingham stated the District offers a yearly trail-in pass for $155.00 with a parking pass. Commissioner Olvany recommended having an option for a daily use. The Staff discussed expanding the trail-in program by adding a daily option. Commissioner Pellaton asked about adding additional racks. Superintendent Bingham stated that looking at this option the District took into consideration a lot of factors. She stated the key factor was the amount of shoreline. There is a lot of depth but not a lot of shoreline which could lead to a congestion problem. There seems to be no industry standards when it comes to this. The Committee discussed what other park districts are doing in the area for trail-ins. The Staff suggested charging per vessel a $20 resident fee and a higher fee for nonresident. Evanston charges $35. This area will have to be staffed on the weekends which would cost $68 per day to staff. The Committee agreed it would be a great option to offer at this time.
A. Lakefront Priorities
Commissioner Shelly asked Superintendent Lambrecht to step the Committee through the memo. Superintendent Lambrecht outlined the categories and started with the accessibility work. Director Wilson commented that this memo is set up as an opinion from Staff to facilitate discussions and get direction from the Committee. Commissioner Abbott asked about the laws of accessibility for park districts. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the mandate for the District’s review from 2011 stated that we should be completing the work by the end 2015 with some flexibility for completion by 2017. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that as long as you have the design in hand you are showing them the intent to complete the work. The Lakefront Priorities memo was discussed in detail with some comments highlighted below:

Gillson Park: C(2) to add a connecting walk from behind Lakeview Center to existing walk at the base of Wallace Bowel seating. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that it needs to be an accessible route which cannot be grass.

The Committee decided to use a category 1-3 for each item depending on the cost involved. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that a lot of this work described has a domino effect. Superintendent Lambrecht added that the entire park needs to be ADA compliant.
The Committee discussed Gillson Park: C(4) regarding handicap parking places at Lakeview which will be very costly. Lakeview Center: C(21). If accessible parking is relocated to the lower level, an elevator must be added to provide interior vertical access. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that if three parking places are added upstairs then no elevator will be needed. The problem is that the upper area is tight on space given that the spaces need to be perpendicular in conjunction with the reconfiguration of the walkway to the main entrance. 

The Committee discussed C: Beach House items. Commissioner Shelly stated that the beach house is a must do. Superintendent Lambrecht concurred that is what Staff thinks. Director Wilson stated that this list is something that can be addressed if a new beach house is not built. The Committee discussed the Beach House list in details.

The Committee discussed Langdon Park: C(1) relocating the drinking fountain adjacent to walkway and replace with dual height fountain. The Committee discussed adding a sidewalk by the drinking foundation instead of relocating the drinking fountain. The Committee discussed C(2) installing a concrete pad and one accessible picnic table. The Committee agreed to take out the picnic table at Langdon Park.

The Committee discussed and questioned the Must Do Projects list. Commissioner Shelly suggested putting Gillson Park: A(1), A(2) and A(3) aside assuming that the beach house will be replaced at some point. A(5) goes with A(4) and are not as time sensitive. A(6) goes with roads. A(7) move to accessibility list. The Committee agreed to put A(8) on hold with the rest of the beach house items. The Committee agreed to put A(9) with the landscaping plans portion.

The Committee discussed Langdon Park: A(1) to replace or remove tot lot in the park. If replaced it must be accessible. Director Wilson stated this park gets used a lot. He stated that Staff does monthly inspections at all tot lots but when replaced it needs to be accessible. The staff maintains a twenty year replacement schedule for all tot lots. Langdon was due for replacement in 2004. The Committee agreed to hold off until budget discussions.

The Committee discussed Programmatical Changes B(1) and B(2) which are in category 3 for expenses. The Committee agreed these items were wish list items that can be discussed down the road. 

Commissioner Shelly ask Superintendent Bingham if the memo could be recapped and sent to the Committee based on two groups accessibility of what has to be complete and the beach house/sailing and some of the programmatical changes that are not time sensitive.

Commissioner Shelly asked if anyone would like to comment.

Mary Shea asked Superintendent Lambrecht if the landscape designs were almost complete. He stated that the plans consist of a detailed plant list. Commissioner Abbott stated that a landscape design plan has not been signed off on. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that Karen Glennemeier was part of the planning process and provider her input.

Beth Beucher commented that she would like to see that the Agenda specifically states what is discussed at the meetings. She would also like to see that attachments are added to Agendas on the website. She also suggested that Committee meetings be televised if talking about something substantial.

VII. New Business

A. Bird Habitat at Gillson Park
This item was addressed under Communication and Correspondence.

VIII. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.