Parks & Recreation Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, September 19, 2016
6:30 p.m. – Mallinckrodt Community Center


Attendees Present
Commissioners/Committee: Chair Amy Wolfe, Ryrie Pellaton, Stephanie Foster
Staff:  Bill Lambrecht, Kathy Bingham

Staff:  Director Wilson, Ken Eppelheimer, Carol Heafey, Jeff Bowen, Marlon Rodas, Jeff Groves
Attendees Absent

I. Meeting Called to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes
A. Commissioner Foster moved and Commissioner Pellaton seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the July 18, 2016 Parks & Recreation Committee meeting; all voted yes, the motion carried.

Minutes were approved with the following change: Page 1 of 2, V., 2nd to last sentence should read “Commissioner Wolfe asked if staff could look into finding additional coaches and available times”.

III. Communication and Correspondence

IV. Recognition of Visitors

V. New Business
A. Memorial Donations

The committee discussed developing a policy regarding memorial donations to guide donations and to specify what can be donated, locations available, and the type of recognition. Staff should consider what the purpose is of the memorial donation program.  Currently the type of recognition (plaque, rock, etc.) is based on how much money people are willing to spend.  The donation   covers the cost of the tree and “plaque”. Memorial tree donations are accepted at all parks, with the exception of the lakefront parks which ceased in 2008. The discussion included the option of eliminating the tree markers and developing a new system for recognizing donations.

Commissioner Pellaton suggested that based on the experience with the bird habitat,   the District should consider developing a comprehensive landscape plan for each park.  A specific plan could help guide the placement and type of plant/tree donations and would provide potential donors with the options available. 

In response to a question from Commissioner Wolfe, Director Wilson stated that the Board should discuss if a comprehensive plan for all the parks is a priority since  it would be costly.  Superintendent Lambrecht added that it would also require doing a plant and tree inventory at each park.  Commissioner Pellaton suggested funding one park per year from the capital budget.

Superintendent Bingham stated that staff will look at how other districts are handling these types of donations and will bring information to the next committee meeting.

B. Communication & Community Engagement
Commissioner Wolfe expressed the need to have a policy in place to identify how and when the District will communicate with residents when a project is being considered and to find a way for people to feel like they are being heard.    Superintendent Lambrecht noted that when a neighborhood park is to be renovated, the residents on two blocks in each direction are notified.  Director Wilson added that there needs to be specific guidelines regarding which projects necessitate communication.   Superintendent Bingham suggested that we can also educate people on how to find out about these projects; where to look for information and when committee meetings take place.  The Committee will continue to discuss this topic.

VI. Managers’ Reports
Carol Heafey (Program Manager) reported on the following topics:

  • Staff is busy with the brochure, fall programs and budgets.
  • There have been a few staff changes: Karly Walchli, Artistic Director of Dance has resigned.  Valerie Lober has been hired as her replacement.  Wendy Caspersen also left.  Interviews for her replacement are underway.  In the meantime, Shelby Potter and Sofia Angelov, along with the rest of the early childhood staff, have stepped up to help out.
  • There are 2315 enrollments in fall classes.
  • Over 300 people are pre-registered for the Worldwide Day of Play, up from 225 at this time in 2015.  This event will take place at Vattmann Park on September 24.
  • 325 children are participating in Afterschool Recreation at McKenzie and Central.
  • Soccer started on September 10.  Enrollment is 1194, down 45 from last year at this time.
  • Flag football registration is up 10 from last year with 75 current players.  The players like the new turf.
  • The theater department is preparing for James and the Giant Peach.  The cast includes 40 children.  27 are Wilmette residents.
  • Staff are getting ready for Halloween Happenings which will take place on October 22.  It has been moved from a Friday night to Saturday, from 4-8 pm.  This allows the event to spread out more in the building. New this year: the registration fee is for a child and two adults.    Additional adults can purchase a wristband for $5.

Jeff Groves (Facility Manager) reported on the following topics:

  • Fitness staff has implemented a new Intrinity Board training which improves strength, balance and flexibility.  Wilmette is the only certified facility on the North Shore. It will launch in October and will be an 8-week program, not part of group exercise.
  • Fall into Wellness will begin Monday, October 10.
  • The closing of the fitness center for cleaning and maintenance went smoothly.
  • Mike Kharpak completed the first round of interviews for a new coach.
  • There are 1437 registrations for recreational gymnastics and the team has 80 members.
  • Ruthie Brew, Mallinckrodt Center Manager has resigned.  She has accepted a position in the Atlanta area as the County Senior Services Director. We will be posting the job soon.

Superintendent Bingham reported on the following:

  • The triathlon took place on Saturday, September 17.  It was a great event; well organized, perfect weather, and no safety issues. There were 364 registrants and 314 finishers.

VII. Unfinished Business
A. Website RFP

Marlon Rodas reported that the RFP was published on September 7th and sent directly to five web developers.  He has received calls from three other developers since the RFP went out. The opening will take place on October 4.

Marlon also reported that the first e-newsletter was emailed on August 17 to 2961 people.  There was a 43% open rate and the industry average is 25%. There were 167 clicks which is 6% and the industry average is 7.8%.  56 people went to website link or brochure and 31% went to the bird habitat information page.  The September e-newsletter was sent to 20,159 people. 19,748 were successful deliveries. 6062 opened. 31% open rate. 22% went to the summer memories album, 11% to registration and 9% to the Lose to Win campaign. Director Wilson added that at the direction of the Board, staff is discussing ways to incorporate more board topics and trying to figure out the best way to do this.  Commissioner Pellaton suggested a possible link from the e-newsletter.  The committee discussed possible ways to share board information with the community.   Commissioner Wolfe commented that the District 39 newsletter is easy to read and very informative. Commissioner Foster also feels that a link is a good idea and likes the look of the District 39 newsletter.

B. Gymnastics Staffing – Verbal Update
Superintendent Bingham updated the committee on the availability of training space and coaches for the high school girls’ varsity gymnasts. The families want to train at the CRC prior to and after the high school season, three days a week at 4:00 pm.  This time is not available since the park district currently offers many programs at that time.   A 6:00-9:00 pm time slot has been offered instead. The new coach, when hired, would be available for this new program beginning after the high school season, some time in March.

C. Forest/Hibbard Parks - Update
Superintendent Lambrecht reported that the district is currently out to bid on both park projects.  Bids will be opened on October 4. Demolition has started on the Hibbard Park tennis courts.

VIII. Adjournment
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 7:23 p.m.