Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, March 7, 2016
6:30 p.m. – Mallinckrodt Community Center

Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott, Stephanie Foster
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht

Staff: Steve Wilson, Ken Eppelheimer, Jeff Bowen, Cindy Felicicchia, Holly Specht, Katy Bradford
Commissioners: Ryrie Pellaton, Gordon Anderson, Amy Wolfe

Attendees Absent


I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order at 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Foster moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the minutes from February 1, 2016; all voted yes, the motion carried.

The minutes were approved as amended with the following change from Commissioner Shelly, Page 1of 3, Section III, Paragraph 1, last sentence, should read, Commissioner Shelly inquired about the trail-in location being the same as last year. All voted yes; motion carried.

III. Recognition of Visitors

Attendance Record will become a permanent part of the record.

Jeff Andreasen, aQity Research and Insights

Seth Martin, Wilmette resident commented on the sailing beach capacity with vessel spots. He would like the District to consider this issue very carefully and not rush to judgment by adding more spaces. He is concerned with safety and mixing catamarans and SUPs. He commented on adding a launching area. He mentioned that currently SUP’s are going in and out between catamarans causing safety concerns. 

Roni Crystal, Wilmette resident commented on moving all the SUPs to the south end of the swimming beach due to safety concerns with catamarans and sailing.

Marcia Heeter, Wilmette resident commented on preserving the open spaces and program options to teach children about the different plants.

IV. Community Wide Survey Presentation

Commissioner Shelly introduced Jeff Andreasen from aQity Research and Insights. Jeff Andreasen presented and discussed the results of the community wide survey for the Lakefront. He highlighted a few points as outlined in the presentation document. The total collected surveys used for the findings were 1,703 from Wilmette residents. This response rate of 17.1% is a very good response rate. The average is a 3-6% response rate. There were 1,224 surveys completed online, 447 were completed on printed questionnaires and 32 were interviewed by phone. Surveys were collected between January 5 and February 10, 2016. Mr. Andreasen explained how the process of geographic distribution of the 1,703 surveys was categorized.  The random sample of 1,703 respondents was weighted to reflect the actual distribution across the Wilmette population. Mr. Andreasen explained how weighting worked with the survey results. Overall residents see Gillson as a valued asset which contributes to the quality of life in the community.

Mr. Andreasen reported on the top tier needs out of three tiers. The most important priorities to residents are: preserve open space, replace/upgrade storm sewers, replace beach house, repair roads/curbs, and repair swimming beach parking lot. Preserving open space is the most important goal/improvement based on the responses. He commented that most people believe that something needs to be done with the beach house and most comments focused around doing only the necessary improvements such as bathrooms/changing rooms and overall structure but not for $2.5m. He emphasized the detailed findings report is available with more explanation.

The Committee thanked Mr. Andreasen for the detailed and analyzed data. Commissioner Shelly commented that this working document will be very helpful moving forward. Commissioner Abbott commented on a digestion period that will be needed for the Committee to digest all the information before moving forward. Commissioner Shelly asked Mr. Andreasen for a condensed summary of the survey report. Director Wilson stated that the survey report is located on the website now under the Agenda for Lakefront as a draft and once the Board accepts it the survey report will be posted in other areas on the website. He commented that a summary version will also be available.

Tom Scanlan asked Mr. Andreasen about the process of the reminder phone calls and how those were accomplished. Mr. Andreasen stated that the reminder phone calls were all human beings. This helped with more people completing their surveys along with mailed reminders. Mr. Andreasen commented that the majority of households no longer have landlines which also can make it more difficult for follow up phone calls.

Commission Shelly commented that the Committee has a lot to absorb with all the information. Commissioner Shelly asked for a motion to recommend that the full Board accept the results of the community wide survey as presented by Jeff Andreasen from aQity.

Commissioner Abbott moved and Commissioner Foster seconded a motion to recommend to the full Board the results of the community wide survey. All voted yes; motion carried.

V. Sailing Beach

Superintendent Bingham reported on some expansion options at the sailing beach. Staff has done research on what other beaches are doing. The District is by far the most densely populated sailing beach between Chicago and Waukegan. Commissioner Shelly asked if these areas have certain carved out areas for sailing. Superintendent Bingham stated that they are all doing sailing a little differently but they don’t have the numbers that the District has. Staff has looked into the options of safely making more spaces available. Superintendent Bingham highlighted on the different options: (1) eight to ten spaces may be added by creating additional kayak spaces by condensing the top rack; (2) allowing kayak storage under catamarans. There are 11 catamaran owners who have additional rack spaces for kayaks; (3) add 25 additional SUP spaces to the current sailing beach. This will require additional staff on weekends when it is busier; (4) create SUP storage space and access to water. An area on the south end of the beach is a potential location with launching at the current trail in location. This would require additional portable toilets and additional staff may be needed to help monitor launch space.

Commissioner Abbott would like to go down to the lakefront and review the above options further. Commissioner Foster agreed. The Committee discussed the waitlist for the vessels. The Committee agreed to revisit this discussion next month.

Commissioner Shelly and Commissioner Foster agreed to have staff move forward with the process to see if patrons would be interested in additional SUP rack space at the south end of the non-swimming beach. Superintendent Lambrecht stated it would be about $500-$600 for the additional rack space to be built. Superintendent Bingham commented that these spaces would probably be available for a reduced rate. Staff will continue to work on the waitlist and see if patrons would be interested in using the south end area for storage.

VI. Communication and Correspondence

A. Update on Syd Rocks Application for Park Permit

Superintendent Bingham updated the Committee that the Syd Rocks event will not be held at Gillson Park this year.

VII. Unfinished Business

A. Bird Habitat Verbal Update

Director Wilson reported that Living Habitats held an open house with 35 people in attendance. At this preliminary meeting, Living Habitats highlighted on where planting may go along with gathering feedback from the community. Living Habitats will be in attendance at the Going Green Matters event on Sunday, March 13th at Michigan Shores.

B. Drones – Deferred to April

VIII. New Business

A. Bid Recommendation for Summer Concession Food Service – Organic Life

Superintendent Bingham commented that Organic Life has been the food service provider for the past 4 summers. The Committee inquired about only getting one bid. Superintendent Bingham commented that due to the lack of amenities such as gas and proper ventilation other bidders are not attracted to placing a bid.

Commissioner Abbott moved and Commissioner Shelly seconded a motion to approve the bid recommended for the summer concession food service for Organic Life. All voted yes; motion carried.

B. Park Permit Request: Precision Multisport, September 18, 2016

Commissioner Foster moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the park permit for the Precision Multisport Triathlon on September 18, 2016. All voted yes; motion carried.

C. Seth Martin commented that the survey was eye opening. He suggested something like this to be used for sailing. He would be happy to join a focus group.

IX. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:29 p.m.