WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, July 6, 2015
6:30 p.m. – Mallinckrodt Community Center

Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott, Stephanie Foster
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Ken Eppelheimer, Jeff Bowen, Cindy Felicicchia

Attendees Absent

None

I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the minutes from June 1, 2015 as amended; all voted yes, the motion carried.

The minutes will reflect a change made by Commissioner Abbott on page 2, 3rd paragraph, “asked” and not stated.

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.

IV. Recognition of Visitors

Attendance Record will become a permanent part of the record.

Commissioner Shelly introduced John McGovern the President of Recreation Accessibility Consultants. He is here tonight to answer questions regarding American with Disability Act (ADA).

Commissioner Shelly acknowledged visitors that would like to speak:

Barb Clayton, 1321 Maple, Wilmette, stated she was the Garden Club’s past president and one of the founding members of Go Green Wilmette. She stated she supports the bird habitat at Gillson Park.

Piper Rothschild, 1046 Elmwood, Wilmette, stated she supports the bird habitat. She stated she does not support any destruction of what is already there or any concrete buildings.

Fred Fitzsimmons, 2229 Crestview Lane, Wilmette, stated he supports the bird habitat at Gillson Park. He stated that he supports the lakefront improvements regardless of what the referendum outcome was.

Karen Glennemeier, 719 Laurel Avenue, Wilmette, stated the bird habitat project will be to build around existing canopy trees. The canopy trees would be the starting point and the anchors for the project.

Marcie Heeter, 910 Tenth Street, Wilmette, stated she supports the bird habitat at Gillson Park. She hopes people see this habitat with a deeper value with something they experience.

V. Manager’s Report

Kathy Bingham reported on the following:

  • The Staff was busy with 4th of July weekend festivities.
  • Staff has done a remarkable job controlling expenses due to the weather in June.
  • Camps are running smoothly. There have been a few complaints regarding the aquatic camps due to the weather.
  • The largest crowds have been reported with over 25,000 patrons for the 3rd of July festivities.

 VI. Unfinished Business

A. Lakefront Priorities Memo Recapped with Changes

Commissioner Shelly mentioned that Superintendent Lambrecht updated the Lakefront Priorities memo based on the Committee’s input. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the memo is broken down into the next 3 years of work priorities based on the accessibility report from John McGovern. Commissioner Shelly commented that the priorities list of projects for 2015 is already budgeted for this year and that the District can move forward with those projects. The Committee agreed. The Committee discussed section 2015 - Item #2 regarding the 20% of the tables for picnic shelter accessibility and installing pads and accessible routes for the grills. Commissioner Pellaton commented to use the 20% of table accessibility that are closest to the concrete rather than adding additional concrete. John McGovern stated that under ADA this would be called dispersion meaning the picnic tables would need to be spread throughout the site.

Tom Scanlan, 1005 Chestnut, Wilmette, asked John McGovern about the discrepancies in his report versus the State of Illinois officials in regards to accessibility guidelines. Commissioner Shelly asked for specifics of the contradictions. Mr. Scanlan stated that Robin Bauger had the specifics and he did not. Mr. McGovern discussed the state and federal guidelines for ADA. He stated that the state and federal standards may vary but that the federal standards are stricter and should be followed. He commented on following “smart practices” regarding accessibility to elements in parks and recreation for which the federal government hasn’t finished or that Illinois has ever addressed, such as beaches, playgrounds and sports fields. He stated he always incorporates “smart practices.” Smart practices are methods or techniques that sum up the 89,000 in states and local governments that are implemented and effective. He stated that Illinois makes a practice of waiving accessibility requirements which is a very dangerous practice. Illinois cannot waive a federal requirement. Commissioner Abbott asked if the District got sued with the states waive it. Mr. McGovern stated that the District would not be protected.

Commissioner Abbott asked Mr. McGovern if the Lakefront Master plan triggered any of these recommendations. He asked if Mr. McGovern’s report anticipated the Lakefront Master Plan or was it independent of it. Mr. McGovern stated it was independent of it. Mr. McGovern stated that Illinois statutes and Illinois codes do not impose on the park district’s affirmative action to go out and evaluate your existing sites. The Illinois requirements only kick in once you make an alteration or create something new. ADA Title II does impose a requirement to evaluate everything from Gillson Park to the Lakeview Center to this facility. Commissioner Shelly commented that if someone called and asked about the Illinois requirements, there answers could be confusing with the state and federal guidelines that are outlined. Mr. McGovern stated that the trade for the District not having to make every site accessible is that every site would have to be evaluated. Mr. McGovern stated that some of the guidance you get from the department of justice is that the unique sites have a higher priority, such as Lakeview. Commissioner Pellaton asked if the park district was served notice that this work needed to be done by 2015. Mr. McGovern stated that they do not serve notice but that in their detailed report identifies the deficits that are sited. The report outlined the order that things should be addressed.

Commissioner Abbott asked about penalties for not following accessibility. Mr. McGovern stated that it is not referred to as penalties but injunctive relief. Commissioner Abbott commented that the District can get sued and Mr. McGovern stated it could be substantial when a complaint is filed. He stated that the District should be complying with the federal guidelines.

Commissioner Shelly proposed tabling the 2015, 2016 and Beach House portion of the Lakefront Priorities memo until next month due to the time constraints. The Committee agreed.

B. Community Wide Survey Options

Superintendent Bingham reported to the Committee on her research of four companies that would provide a community wide survey. The Committee reviewed and discussed the report of companies and the best way to go about getting the best input from the community. Commissioner Shelly discussed getting the proper feedback from the community and possibly setting up a group to benefit everyone. Superintendent Bingham stated by outsourcing this survey the company will provide the expertise to make sure the survey is done properly. Superintendent Bingham will go back to the companies with parameters. She will report back to Committee members to discuss.

C.  United States Fish and Wildlife Service Grant Opportunity

Commissioner Lambrecht updated the Committee on the grant opportunity from the United States Fish and Wildlife (USFWS). He stated the grant is a matching grant opportunity for $60,000 for which the District would have to spend $60,000 in a period of time of two years to complete the work. The deadline for the contract is the middle of August for which a decision needs to be made if this grant opportunity should continue. Commissioner Shelly commented that this plan will not interfere with any other work that may or may not be done in the park.

The Committee discussed the design work. Commissioner Foster asked if the design plan would be open to other firms. Commissioner Abbott pointed out that there were aspects of the design that was in the process of being developed with a bird habitat. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that Karen Glennemeier did meet with the District and SmithGroupJJR at the start of the landscape design. Karen Glennemeier stated that she was comfortable with the ecologist she met with during the initial meeting. She stated that the design that was given did not have a lot of the specific details. Commissioner Shelly asked if the project would incur any additional costs if the design went with another firm. The Committee discussed that it would not incur additional costs since the conceptual plan was not complete. Commissioner Pellaton stated that it would be a political advantage to not use SmithGroupJJR plan because that plan was objected by the voters two to one. His thoughts were by finding another design firm is a strategically good idea. Ms. Glennemeier stated that the conceptual plan did not have much on it. Her thoughts were if the plan needed to be given to another firm that they could start with the layout of the conceptual plan.  Commissioner Shelly stated again that these areas will not be affected with any changes to the lakefront.
Commissioner Shelly asked the Committee if they would like to move forward with this plan. She stated that the Ouilmette Foundation is also in support of this opportunity and would like to make it a reality. Their goal is to raise the funds needed.
Diane Fisher asked to speak to the Committee. Commissioner Shelly invited her to the podium. Ms. Fisher stated she is generally in support of the bird habitat at Gillson Park but is concerned about who will be watching the oversight and keeping the plan as it was designed. She is concerned about the non-native trees and the District’s policy and philosophy. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the policy is to remove non-native shrubs; typically the District does not go after non-native trees unless something is wrong with them. Ms. Glennemeier stated she would be happy to be involved from start to finish with all the planning.

Commissioner Shelly would like to recommend to the full Board to move forward with the bird habitat grant proposal. The Committee all agreed.

VII. New Business

A. Park Permits

i. Giving Rocks Foundation – Superintendent Bingham stated she will work out the prior location for this event with the Foundation.

Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the park permit for Giving Rocks foundation on September 27, 2015.

By voice vote, voting Yes: All; voting No: None. Motion carried.

ii. St. Joseph School

Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Foster seconded a motion to approve the park permit for St. Joseph School and their annual event on October 1, 2015.

By voice vote, voting Yes: All; voting No: None. Motion carried.

VIII. Adjournment to Closed Session

The Regular Committee meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 8:12 p.m.

IX. Reconvene Regular Meeting

The Closed Session meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m. and the Committee returned to the Regular meeting.

X. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:26 p.m.