WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
HELD IN THE COUNCIL ROOM OF WILMETTE VILLAGE HALL
MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2006
_____________________________________________________________________

Written notice of said meeting was given to the Commissioners and the Wilmette Life in accordance with the Wilmette Park District Code, Section 2103, and Section 2.02 of the Open Meetings Act.


 

President Miller called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.


 

PRESENT: President David Miller, Commissioners Diana Cohen, Richard Marcus, Dennis O’Malley, Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Terry Porter


 

STAFF: Business Manager George Kush, Parks Superintendent Bill Lambrecht


 

ABSENT: Commissioners Brault and Crowley


 

VISITORS: See attached list


 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:


 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of September 11, 2006.


 

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE: President Miller acknowledged receipt of the following:


 

. . . E-mail dated September 28, 2006 from Charlotte Adelman, 232 Lawndale regarding the possibility of Indian artifacts existing on the Mallinckrodt property along with a reply from the Village stating that no artifacts have been found and referring to the Archaeological and Paleontological Resources Act which regulates such findings.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 3, 2006 from Charlotte Adelman, 232 Lawndale suggesting the establishment of a Wilmette Commission on American Indian and Early Settlers Artifacts with the goal of protecting any artifacts found during construction projects.

. . . E-mail dated September 27, 2006 from Mark and Trent Weyemuller, 208 Lawndale St. supporting the construction of a skate park at Hibbard Park and suggesting that a young adult, preferably a skater, be assigned to weekend supervision at the skate park during the summer months. There is also a recommendation that the Park District provide classes and/or clinics on in line skating and skateboarding.


 

. . . E-mail dated September 29, 2006 from Joel Kurzman, 243 Valley View Drive expressing concerns about a skate park at Hibbard Park and the possibility that even when the skate park is closed, there will be skateboarding in the area outside of the skate park.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 2, 2006 from Mark Singer objecting to the current plans for a proposed skate park at Hibbard Park


 

. . . E-mail dated October 5, 2006 from Adina Torchman stating that the choice of Hibbard Park for a skate park is not acceptable and urging reconsideration of the decision.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 4, 2006 from Fay Paras, 416 Skokie Court objecting to a skate park at Hibbard Park and recommending that the Board reconsider the decision prior to expending funds for zoning.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 4, 2006 from Pat Cuevas, 408 Skokie Court objecting to a skate park at Hibbard Park due to its proximity to many residences.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 4, 2006 from Katherine Larko, 2048 Washington supporting the skate park.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 5, 2006 from Joanne Wilson, 310 Skokie Ct. objecting to a skate park at Hibbard Park and recommending it be located at Gillson Park.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 5, 2006 from Linda Liebling, 3006 Hill Street objecting to a skate park at Hibbard Park and recommending it be located at Gillson Park.


 

. . . E-mail dated October 5, 2006 from Tony Rizzato objecting to spending taxpayer’s money on a skate park.


 

Commissioner Cohen reported that she had met with a resident who told her that she is moving into the Mallinckrodt condominiums and is very grateful to the Village and the Park District for their work in providing housing for seniors instead of allowing the property to be sold for the purpose of building single family residences.


 

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:


 

President Miller recognized Anita Lutkus, 622 11th Street and Arlyn Stern, 2010 Elmwood who stated that they were in attendance to present two proposals to the Board.


 

Ms. Lutkus presented the first proposal, asking that the Park District provide a meeting area within Mallinckrodt Park for residents to get to know each other and foster community spirit while sharing their mutual interests. This area would be a fenced in dog play area providing the residents of central Wilmette a much needed gathering place, while at the same time, providing an area to exercise and play with their dogs. Ms. Lutkus stated that there are more Wilmette residents with dogs than with children and these people pay taxes to educate and entertain Wilmette’s children, and this would be an opportunity to offer an important service for these residents.


 

Ms. Lutkus stated that currently the Village has very little in the way of amenities for its dogs, considering how many pets there are in the community and what neighboring communities offer their dogs. She stated that the Gillson Park Dog Beach is not appropriate for many dogs and their owners. The overwhelming consensus among dog owners in Wilmette who were polled is that West Park is inappropriate for dogs and dog owners because it is not fenced in, there are no park amenities provided, such as benches or shade trees for residents to use, and there is very heavy traffic on Lake Avenue.


 

Ms. Lutkus explained that the proposal calls for a generous, attractively fenced in area to insure uninterrupted use by other park visitors that would be integrated into the overall park design. This would include appropriate landscaping, trees, benches, water and a shaded roof area to protect residents from inclement weather. The rules and regulations for dog park usage would be posted and enforced by both the dog owners, and if necessary, by police/animal control.


 

Ms. Lutkus noted that over 107 polled Wilmette citizens, including both dog owners and those who do not own dogs, have expressed support for this proposal, and have signed a petition affirming that support.


 

Ms. Stern presented the second proposal. She stated that there is widespread support among Wilmette citizens polled (both dog owners and those who do not own dogs) for a water sprayer to be located near the car park sidewalk at Gillson Park so that dogs and owners can rinse off sand before returning to home or car. She noted that the expense would be minimal because of the many water fountains that already exist within Gillson Park, and the fact that the Wilmette Harbor area has a fresh water hose in the pier area.


 

In addition, Ms. Stern pointed out that unlike the other Wilmette beaches which have only seasonal use, the dog beach is used every month of the year, every day of the week, and often more than once a day. She stated that most of the dog owners who were contacted said they did not understand why the dog beach is closed every Saturday and Sunday between 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. during the summer, including Memorial Day, Labor Day and July 3rd and 4th. Ms. Stern noted that there are no children’s classes in the beach area to the north during those times and no swimming is allowed there at any time. Because it is so isolated from the rest of the beaches, it is difficult to understand why the dog beach should not be open to the dogs and their owners when no children’s classes are being given at the neighboring beach.


 

President Miller thanked Ms. Lutkus and Ms. Stern for their presentations and referred the proposals to the Parks and Recreation Committee.


 

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:


 

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,283,359.20, 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 Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:


 

Parks and Recreation – Committee Chair Cohen noted that the Committee met on two occasions in September. The regular meeting was held on September 20th and a public hearing regarding plans for the skate park was held on September 26th.


 

Commissioner Cohen reported that there were approximately 60 people in attendance at the September 26th meeting, most of whom spoke against a skate park at Hibbard Park. She announced that prior to Board discussion on authorization to proceed to zoning, the Board would take public comment.


 

Linda Liebling, 3006 Hill Street stated that it is still not clear to her and many other neighbors of Hibbard Park why the Board rescinded their original “no” vote to put a skate park in Hibbard Park which took place at the August 2005 Board meeting. In any case, Ms. Liebling felt that the original decision was the correct one since Hibbard Park is the smallest of the parks originally considered for the skate park. In her opinion, the skate park should be located in an area at Gillson Park, which is not that close to residences and is one of the largest parks in Wilmette. Ms. Liebling stated that she is also disturbed by statements that have been made that if it turns out that more parking is needed in the park, more green space will be sacrificed to add the additional parking spaces. She asked the Board to reconsider their decision and seek a new location for the proposed skate park.


 

Fay Paras, 416 Skokie Blvd. noted that at the September 26th public hearing on the skate park, approximately 60 homeowners who reside in homes on all four sides of Hibbard Park voiced strong objections to a skate park at Hibbard. It was the feeling that most members of the Committee did not really hear what was said at the meeting. She noted that there are 40 townhomes directly across the street from the proposed location and that the noise generated from the skate park would impact directly on those residences. Ms. Paras stated that she and other neighbors have investigated skate parks in surrounding communities and none of them are located near residential areas. She added that Skokie does not have a skate park because there is no location available that would be far away enough from residences. She also recommended that either Gillson Park or Centennial Park be re-evaluated as possible locations for a skate park.


 

Morris Liebling, 3006 Hill Street stated that he agrees there should be a skate park in Wilmette, but there are much better locations which are not close to residences which would be impacted. He also noted that skate parks in surrounding communities are located in industrial areas, not near people’s homes.


 

Richard Goodwin, 334 Skokie Court stated that the proposed location for a skate park at Hibbard Park is too close to residences. He asked that the Board reconsider their decision.


 

Joel Kurzman, 243 Valley View Drive also felt that Hibbard Park is too close to residences and that having a skate park in that area would change the character of the neighborhood, and have a negative impact on the quality of life for the residents due to the noise generated by the facility. He suggested that the Board consider an enclosed facility, a different location, or an upgrade to better equipment.


 

Mark Singer, 236 Valley View Drive stated that the type of equipment in the current plan will amplify the noise of the skate park and the plan should be sent back for revision. He added that if the Board approves this plan, they demonstrate that they do not care about the effect on the neighborhood and the Park District is not a good neighbor.


 

Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to authorize staff to prepare a zoning application for construction of a skate park at Hibbard Park contingent upon receipt of a sound study indicating that the sound standards in the zoning ordinance can be met prior to filing the application for zoning.


 

Commissioner Cohen stated that before the Board votes on this motion, she feels now is the time for the Board to re-evaluate their decision to locate a skate park at Hibbard Park.


 

Commissioner Wolff stated that he is concerned with the issue of the noise which has been brought up by the neighbors. He feels that there must be a very thorough examination by a sound consultant on the noise impact in the neighborhood before proceeding to zoning. He also noted that he previously recommended West Park as the best location for a skate park.


 

Extensive Board discussion ensued and it was agreed that it is very important that prior to applying for zoning, a sound consultant be retained to conduct a study of whether or not, the proposed skate park will meet the noise standards as set forth in the Village of Wilmette Zoning Ordinance. Director Porter explained that the sound study will take 30 to 60 days. If the report comes back with a positive recommendation, staff will consider any recommendations that may be offered by the consultant and would prepare the appropriate zoning application. If there is a negative result, the Park District would not proceed to zoning for this plan.

 

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Marcus, Miller, O'Malley and Wolff; voting No – Commissioner Cohen. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

Commissioner Cohen stated that she would now report on the September 20th Parks and Recreation Committee meeting. At that meeting, the Committee heard from Myrna Siegel who expressed concerns about seeing dogs off leash at Mallinckrodt and in other parks in Wilmette. She recommended stronger signage explaining that other communities list the penalties for violating dog rules on their signage. Ms. Siegel also felt that there isn’t enough coordination between the Village and the Park District with regard to rules about dogs. Superintendent Lambrecht explained that the Park District ordinance now mirrors the Village ordinance and so far, the results have been very successful in enforcing the rules regarding dogs.


 

Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve the inclusion of funding in the 2007 Budget for staffing of Langdon Park as a swimming beach, including lifeguards and admission attendants as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.


 

Commissioner Cohen explained that the Committee held extensive discussion regarding problems incurred this summer at Langdon Park, which became a very popular place and made it extremely difficult to control. She noted that there has been no charge for use of Langdon Park nor is swimming allowed at this park. Because of the low water and the free beach, there were significant problems this year, including alcohol use, unauthorized swimming, and inconsiderate parking in the neighborhood. In August, a police presence and lakefront staff were added in an attempt to control the swimming at this site. Commissioner Cohen stated that the Committee recommends that in 2007, Langdon Park be operated on a fee basis, which will include some budgetary items for next year. She explained that the Committee is recommending that the same fee structure be implemented that is used at Gillson. Lifeguards and admission attendants would be employed, which should control the alcohol problem, and, in all likelihood, will reduce the popularity of this beach.


 

Commissioner Marcus noted that there will also be expenses incurred in addition to the staffing of the facility and recommended that the motion be amended to reflect these costs.


 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to amend the motion to include the addition of capital expenses.


 

By a roll call vote to amend the motion, voting Yes -- Commissioners Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion to amend carried.


 

By a roll call vote on the amended motion, voting Yes -- Commissioners Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to officially name the park land at 1041 Ridge Road (Mallinckrodt property)Mallinckrodt Park as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.


 

Commissioner Cohen explained that the Mallinckrodt property was acquired in September of 2002, but has not yet been formally named by the Board. In light of the historic significance of the property and the commonly known name, the Committee is recommending that the park be formally named Mallinckrodt Park.


 

Commissioner Marcus suggested that the Board take more time to officially name the park. He felt that perhaps the community would like to be involved in naming a park that was purchased with taxpayers’ money. He recommended that the motion be tabled for the time being, and the Board look at alternative ways to name the park.


 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to table the motion to officially name the park land at 1041 Ridge Road (Mallinckrodt property) Mallinckrodt Park as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.


 

By a roll call vote to table the motion, voting Yes -- Commissioners Marcus, Miller, and O'Malley: voting No – Commissioners Cohen and Wolff. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion to table carried.


 

Commissioner Cohen reported that the Committee also discussed the possibility of banning smoking on the swimming and sailing beaches during the beach season. It was agreed that smoking could be controlled while staff is on duty during the summer months. However, during the off season, control will be difficult, but signs would still be posted. Commissioner Cohen stated that at this time, staff would like to get Board consensus on this issue before drafting an amendment to the Ordinance Code. If the Board is in favor of the change, an ordinance will be presented at the November meeting.


 

During discussion, President Miller recommended that smoking should also be prohibited at special events in parks, such as soccer games, baseball games, etc. The possibility of banning smoking in all parks was also discussed. Commissioner O’Malley stated that in his opinion, this would not be feasible. It was agreed to send the issue back to Committee for further review prior to drafting an amendment to the Parks Ordinance.


 

Golf Operations -- Committee Chair O’Malley reported that the Committee met on September 27th. Golf Manager Dennis Callaghan reported that rounds of play through that date were 37,123, which is approximately five percent higher than for the same time in 2005. Commissioner O’Malley noted that there were two bad storms which forced closure of the course for three and a half days, unfortunately on the weekends. A great deal of clean-up was necessary, especially after the second storm.


 

Commissioner O’Malley further reported that the Committee is looking at the possibility of outsourcing the food service operation. He stated that two proposals have been received, and that staff has interviewed both of the firms and will put financial information together for the Committee’s review at their October meeting.


 

Commissioner O’Malley announced that after 28 years of service to the Wilmette Park District, Cliff Butler, Food Services Manager, has announced that he will retire the end of this year. He stated that Cliff has done an outstanding job at the golf course, and he will be missed by staff and patrons alike. Commissioner O’Malley added that the Board wishes Cliff the best of luck with his future plans.


 

Financial Planning & Policy – In Committee Chair Brault’s absence, Commissioner Wolff reported that the Committee met prior to the Board meeting. Business Manager Kush discussed the tax levy with the Committee. The Committee also reviewed the budgets for IMRF/Social Security, Handicapped Recreation, and Security. Commissioner Wolff also reported that the Committee discussed a letter received from the Bond Representative of Harris Bank regarding the possibility of restructuring the District’s bonds.


 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:


 

Director Porter reported that there were two major storms since the last Board meeting. The first storm did more damage as far as trees are concerned. The second storm caused many problems due to hail damage and standing water.


 

Director Porter also reported that in late 2007 or early 2008, the Village will be resurfacing Sheridan Road for the entire length of Wilmette. He noted that the street will never be completely closed. The work will be done in the same manner as Wilmette Avenue was resurfaced a few years back. However, there will most likely be a significant impact on the District in the summer of 2008, especially with regard to the July 3rd celebration and 2008 being the centennial year of the Wilmette Park District.


 

NEW BUSINESS:


 

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to appoint James Brault as delegate and James Crowley as alternate to represent the Wilmette Park District at the IAPD Annual Business Meeting to be held on January 27, 2007.


 

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to adjourn to executive session for discussion of the performance of a specific employee of the District in accordance with Section 2(c)(1) of the Open Meetings Act.


 

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

The meeting was adjourned to executive session at 8:40 p.m.


 

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 9:20 p.m.


 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the executive sessions of June 12, 2006 and September 11, 2006.


 

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Cohen, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioners Brault and Crowley. Motion carried.


 

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:21 p.m.


 


 

MINUTES APPROVED NOVEMBER 13, 2006