Minutes of Regular Meeting of the
Board of Park Commissioners
Monday, July 13, 2015
Village Hall Council Chambers

Attendees Present

Commissioners: President John Olvany, Vice President Amy Wolfe, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott, Stephanie Foster

Secretary/Executive Director Steve Wilson
Staff: Jeff Bowen, Ken Eppelheimer, Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Shelagh Donoghue

Attendees Absent

Commissioner Ryrie Pellaton and Commissioner James Crowley

I. Meeting  Called to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.

A. Roll call taken.

President Olvany addressed the audience as the new president. He would like to engage the public with open dialogue with the board as well as staff on an ongoing basis. He stated that the meetings will follow the Agenda. He reminded the audience that during the recognition of visitors that they should be mindful of their time when addressing the Board. He stated that if visitors send in an email they do not need to reread the email at the podium. He commented that everyone on the Board is a volunteer and very passionate in what they do. He reminded everyone that we are a community of neighbors and the meeting should continue as such.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Abbott moved and Commissioner Shelly seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the June 8, 2015 Regular Board Meeting.

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

III. Communications and Correspondence

President Olvany acknowledged an email from Piper Rothschild regarding the Bird Habitat Grant and her voicing support for the project. Director Wilson stated her email also addressed who can be employed as the landscape architect. 

IV. Recognition of Visitors

Joseph Keefe, 411 Randolph, Glencoe, stated that the Keefe family trust owns a piece of property between Isabela and Maple. Mr. Keefe presented and discussed the exact property location. The family would like to sell this property. He discussed the undeveloped land that is leased by the Wilmette Park District. The family is working with Metropolitan Water and Reclamation District (MWRD) and they have requested that the family get in touch with the park district to get a letter in writing stating that the selling of this property will not interfere with the Wilmette Park District operations. Mr. Keefe reviewed the letter from MWRD and their request from the Wilmette Park District in writing. Commissioner Abbott commented that with this request the District would be giving up any rights for this property for future developments. He feels the community or neighbors should have a chance to weigh-in. President Olvany stated that the Real Estate Committee will meet again to discuss this request and follow up with Mr. Keefe.

Karen Glennemeier, 719 Laurel, Wilmette, commented on the Bird Habitat Grant and how she is willing to work with the Board, Staff and the Community to help make this great project come to life.

Barb Clayton, 1321 Maple Avenue, Wilmette, commented and reiterated her support with the bird habitat project. She would like to be more active in the Lakefront development project moving forward. She stated that Wheeler Park is a great park. She suggested an informal survey for the patrons currently using Gillson and getting their perspective since it is fresh in their minds. She gave a copy to the Board with her suggestions.

Joel Larkus, 811 Park Avenue, Wilmette, commented on his thoughts for developing the survey and gathering the communities input.

V. Approval of Voucher List

Commissioner Wolfe moved and Commissioner Foster seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,993,571.13, 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: Olvany, Foster, Abbott, Wolfe, Shelly; voting No: None. Absent: Crowley and Pellaton; motion carried.

VI. Executive Director’s Report

Director Wilson reported on the following topics:

  • The July 3rd festivities were successful with over 25,000 people in attendance. The weather was ideal for the entire duration of the festivities.
  • The Fun Run and Walk started the day off with 350 adults participating in the 4-mile run and over 160 children competing in the children races.
  • This event would not be possible without the assistance and hard work of the Village of Wilmette by way of the Police, Fire, and Public Works Department.
  • A big thank you goes out to the Pace Bus service for their shuttle service that is provided.
  • The cool weather has made an impact on the District’s revenue for seasonal operations such as golf, pool, and Lakefront. The Staff is doing a great job of counterbalancing the expenses where they can.
  • The Real Estate Committee meets on an as needed basis and will be giving a report later in the meeting.
  • The Financial Planning & Policy Committee will be discussing a policy on Military Discounts for the Park District.
  • The annual longstanding contract with the Wilmette Baseball Association will be discussed under New Business.

President Olvany thanked all the staff members working on the July 3rd festivities for their hard work and dedication. 

President Olvany commented on the lift station at Lakefront and how it failed due to the possibility of a large object flushed. He stated this will be monitored for further problems.

VII. Committee Reports

A. Lakefront Committee:

Commissioner Shelly reported on the following topics:

  • The Lakefront Committee met on Monday, July 6th.
  • The Committee will be bringing to the full Board a recommendation to proceed with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Grant Opportunity once the contract is finalized with USFWS.
  • The Committee discussed some preliminary options on implementing a community-wide survey. The Committee emphasized the importance of reaching the entire community and getting their views. The next step is the Request for Proposal (RFP) process which will take place soon. The Committee should have a proposed recommendation at the August Board meeting. The Committee discussed inviting 3 to 4 groups of people from the community; such as, Save the Wilmette Beaches, Go Green Wilmette, and the Yes for Wilmette Beaches once a survey company has been chosen.
  • The Committee discussed ADA accessibility with John McGovern the President of the Recreation Accessibility Consultants to help clarify some of the ADA requirements. Commissioner Shelly stated that it was recommended that the District follow the Federal guideline standards. She discussed Mr. McGovern’s recommendations as outlined at the Lakefront Committee meeting.
  • President Olvany stated that the District should hold to an extremely high standard with ADA accessibility standards. The highest standards should be met.
  • Two Park Permits were approved by the Committee one for Giving Rocks Foundation on September 27th and the other St. Joseph School October 1st.

B. Facilities Operations Committee:

Commissioner Wolfe reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met tonight.
  • Tennis: Summer classes are in their 4th week. There are 856 participants enrolled in the summer classes. The new air conditioning has been working out very well. There are 14 ladies and men’s teams competing this summer.
  • Pool: The Dive in Movie “Home” will be held this Saturday, July 18th. Staff is getting ready to start the third session of lifeguard training on July 19th. Pool admissions are down due to the rainiest June on record. Staff has done a great job managing expenses.
  • Ice: Hockey contracts have gone out for the fall. The summer skating program began on June 15th. There were 493 skaters that attended the public skate. The numbers have gone up significantly with more times being offered. Open hockey is ongoing throughout the summer with 223 visits in June. The Turcotte Stickhandling School is being held July 13th through July 17th. The Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Camp will be held August 10th through the 14th. The Chicago Blackhawks equipment sale will be held again this year the date and time are to be determined.

C. Parks & Recreation Committee:

Commissioner Wolfe reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on June 15th.
  • Camps are up and running. There are still a few spots left in some of the camps.
  • There are 3,800 campers enrolled which is up over 250 from last year.
  • The Gymnastics facility has been newly renovated which will help with additional class times being offered.

D. Golf Operations Committee:

Commissioner Shelly reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on July 11th.
  • The weather has negatively impacted the golf course revenue. The positive side is that the drop in fee rounds is not down.
  • July rounds and revenue were ahead of budget for the first week in July.
  • Staff is working hard keeping up with the mowing due to all the rain.
  • Staff is working on a new plan to market to new golfers.
  • The Committee approved a request to switch the needs of certain equipment that was approved in the capital budget last year to different equipment within the budget. This equipment will benefit the new golf course and the needs of it.

E. Real Estate Committee

President Olvany reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on June 22nd.
  • The representatives from the Women’s Club of Wilmette came to the meeting. They would like the District to evaluate their needs and possibly utilizing the Women’s Club.
  • Joseph Keefe came to the last meeting to discuss the possibility of selling some property as outlined above.  

F. Financial Planning & Policy Committee:

Commissioner Abbott reported on the following topics:

  • The Committee met on June 22nd.
  • David Ennis came to the meeting to discuss tax revenues between the school district and the park district.
  • The Staff has done a very good job of controlling expenses due to the weather and it affecting some of the facilities.

i. Military Discount Policy
Commissioner Abbott moved and Commissioner Shelly seconded a motion to approve the 2015 Military Discounts Policy as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.

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

VIII. Unfinished Business


IX. New Business

A. Wilmette Baseball Association Agreement 

Director Wilson commented that the District has an annual agreement with the Wilmette Basement Association (WBA). This agreement consists of WBA using our fields and maintaining the baseball fields and we pay them a portion of the maintenance.

Commissioner Foster moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the Wilmette Baseball Association Agreement.

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

Commissioner Wolfe commented that this agreement should be reviewed and discussed and compared with what we are doing with other organization that the District is working with. President Olvany stated that this will be forward to the Parks & Recreation Committee.

President Olvany stated that the Board of Park Commissioners meets the 2nd Monday of each month with a conflict for the August 10th meeting. He recommends that the meeting be scheduled for August 17th. The Board agreed to have the meeting on August 17th.

X. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.