Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, August 8, 2016
6:30 p.m. – Village Hall Training Room

Attendees Present
Commissioners/Committee: Chair, Ryrie Pellaton, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht

Staff: Director Wilson, Holly Specht
Commissioner: Gordon Anderson
Attendees Absent
I. Meeting Called to Order
Meeting called to order at 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes
A. Commissioners Abbott and Pellaton shared concerns and comments regarding the minutes from July 1, 2016. Superintendent Bingham will amend the minutes to reflect the items identified by Commissioners Abbott and Pellaton.  The minutes will be brought to the next Lakefront Committee meeting for review and approval.

III. Recognition of Visitors
Sarah Lyke and Dan O’Bara felt compelled to write a letter and address the committee after reading an article in the paper about the bird habitat. They are concerned that the view of the lake between Washington and Lake, which is the only part with a high vantage point over the lake, will be obstructed by the trees that are proposed to be planted. They would like to see a balance between the needs of the bird lovers and the views of the lake. Ms. Lyke distributed to the committee a list of suggestions for improving the bluff. Commissioner Pellaton stated that staff will find out from Living Habitat where the new trees will be planted and will determine what affect the trees will have on   the view of the lake. Mr. O’Bara also requested that the District address the rest of the bluff area to improve the lake views. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that an inventory of the entire bluff area will be done to identify the invasive vs. native species to determine what can be removed.

Ray Balzano asked to have input on the placement of the trees and shrubs that will be planted. He also shared his concern that the plants may not survive due to the soil conditions and existing foundations from old houses. Commissioner Pellaton explained that it is balance everyone’s personal opinion but will ask staff to communicate with Living Habitat the concerns of the residents. Members of the audience expressed their desire to know what the area is going to look like before it has been completed. Commissioner Pellaton directed the audience to send all comments to Director Wilson.

Mrs. Mary Shea questioned why the bluff wasn’t considered as the area for the bird habitat and stated that a landscape plan for the lakefront would be helpful.  Commissioner Abbott expressed his desire to have a landscape master plan but noted that now is not the time.

Mr. Scanlon referred to the design program for the replacement of the beach house that was presented at the June 6 committee meeting and asked how the program needs of the beach house was determined? Commissioner Abbott explained that the plan was a result of staff’s evaluation of the needs and functions of the existing beach house.

IV. Communications and Correspondence

V. Unfinished Business
A. Lakefront RFQ

Superintendent Lambrecht informed the Board that the RFQ for a beach house design has been mailed to twelve firms and has been advertised and posted on the website. In response to a question from Commissioner Abbott, Superintendent Lambrecht noted that the RFQ’s are due back to the Park District September 23rd. Commissioner Abbott stressed the importance of informing qualified individuals of the RFQ.  Superintendent Bingham will communicate with Marlon Rodas to prepare a press release.

B. Lakefront Project
No new news.

C. Lakefront Levels
Superintendent Bingham shared with the Committee the report that was received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the lake levels.

D. Dune Grass
As a follow up from a question received from Commissioner Abbott at the last meeting, Superintendent Bingham explained that the north-south paths in the dune grasses in the Gillson Park overlook area have occurred over time from pedestrians and the tire tracks are from maintenance vehicles and lakefront staff.  Commissioner Abbott was satisfied with the response.

E. Trail in Boat Fees
Staff received a request to lower the daily fees. Superintendent Bingham explained that the reason for the higher fee was to encourage individuals to purchase season passes. Currently 45 people have purchased a season pass.
Staff recommended that the fee remain the same for now, but the topic should be discussed during the budget process.

F. Bird Habitat
Superintendent Lambrecht reported that the plant material is on order. On September 24 and 25  various volunteer groups will be doing the planting. Commissioner Shelly requested information on the total cost of the plant material ordered.

VI. New Business
Commissioner Anderson inquired what dollar amount the Financial Planning & Policy Committee should be using for the construction at the lakefront.  Superintendent Lambrecht recommended that an expert be hired to update the numbers originally submitted by Olson. He will contact Olson to ask for a proposal to update the numbers. Commissioner Pellaton stated that he is not comfortable using Olson and would like other firms to be considered and would like to solicit proposals to find out the price for doing a review of the cost estimates.

VII. Manager’s Report
Lakefront Manager Holly Specht reported on the following topics:

  • The Jr. Lifeguard program has doubled in size from 2015.
  • Sailing lessons are wrapping up.
  • Due to inclement weather, the family camp out scheduled for 7/29 has been rescheduled for 8/12.
  • South Beach no swimming compliance is much better this season.
  • Attendance at Langdon is down this season.
  • Through a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project did presentations on open water safety rescues with the camps and junior lifeguards and provided a 4 hour in-service with lifeguards.
  • The lakefront staff is working well together.
  • Staff is supervising Elmwood Dunes on the weekends from 10 am to 7 pm and the Village reimburses the District.  Attendance is minimal.
  • The sailing beach closes October 16 and Gillson will close at the end of the day on Labor Day.

Commissioner Shelly shared a request from residents attending Great Gillson and inquired if it would be possible for the campers to have more access to the boats in the future.  Currently the campers sail once a week but do not utilize any other boats.  Staff will take this into consideration for next summer.

VIII. Next Meeting
Due to the Labor Day holiday, the next meeting will be held September 6 or 7th.

IX. Adjournment
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 7:52 p.m.