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, MARCH 13, 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 Jim Brault, Diana Cohen, Jim Crowley, Richard Marcus, Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Terry Porter

STAFF:  Business Manager Kush, Parks Superintendent Lambrecht

ABSENT: Commissioner O’Malley

VISITORS: Andre Morcos, Elise Grillo, Fay Paras, Tyler Oberlin, Gideon Rosen, Mark Dunning, Ty Frost, Alex Litin, Tim Frost, Chuck Smith

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2006 Regular Board Meeting.

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

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

President Miller recognized the following visitors:

Andre Marcos, 3032 Hill Street stated that he was representing neighbors of Hibbard Park who have questions regarding the proposed skate park.  Mr. Marcos asked what procedure will be used to notify the neighbors, users and other interested residents  of when the planning and design meetings will be taking place.  He also expressed concerns that there has been discussion regarding keeping open space at Mallinckrodt, but the plan is to put more impervious surface at Hibbard Park, which is a much smaller area than Mallinckrodt.  In addition, Mr. Marcos asked if the Board was satisfied that there had been only one proposal for design of the skate park.
In response to Mr. Marcos, Director Porter explained that all neighbors within 250 feet of the park will be notified of the meetings as the Park District uses the same standard of notification that is used for the zoning process.  In addition, user groups and residents who have expressed an interest in the skate park, will be invited to attend the meetings.  It was also noted that although there had been only one proposal for the Phase One skate park design, Thompson Dyke has done prior work for the Park District.  Director Porter explained that Thompson Dyke was the design firm for the Maple Park project.  He stated that this was a project that was virtually designed by the neighborhood and that Thompson Dyke did an excellent job of working with the various groups in the neighborhood incorporating all the features that were requested by the residents of the area.  Director Porter also pointed out that Thompson Dyke is a landscape architect and does not represent an equipment manufacturer.  It was felt that a landscape architect would be more sensitive to the configuration of the skate park in relation to the area where it will be located, and there would be maximum flexibility regarding the type of equipment that is used at the skate park.

Ty Frost, 909 Seneca Road and Mark Dunning, 342 Wilshire Dr.  presented the Board members with a portfolio which contained pictures of various skate parks in the northern suburbs and Chicago and some pictures of out of state facilities.

Chuck Smith, 2118 Elmwood Ave. stated that he is president of the Wilmette Hockey Association, which includes 275 members, and 400 skaters, 20% of which are girls.  Mr. Smith thanked the Park District for their consideration of the possible addition of a privately funded second sheet of ice and said that he appreciated the time that the Board and staff have been devoting to working with the various hockey groups on the project.  He noted that the associations involved in this project are aware that the money will have to be contributed by private donors.  Mr. Smith also noted that the sport of ice hockey is still growing and is a vital part of the community.   

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $969,440.08, 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 Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.   Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.   Motion carried.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Parks and Recreation – Committee Chair Marcus reported that the Committee met on February 15th.  At the meeting, it was reported that interviews had begun for the Manager and Assistant Manager’s positions.  Commissioner Marcus noted that since that meeting, Michael Sneed, who formerly was General Recreation Supervisor, has been hired as Fitness Center Manager and Michelle Sandstrom, former Group Exercise Coordinator, has been appointed as Assistant Fitness Center Manager.  At the meeting, General Recreation Manager, Kathy Bingham, reported that she had been holding meetings with fitness staff to keep them up to date on changes at the facility and management replacements. 

Commissioner Marcus further reported that gymnastics has been experiencing another record breaking session with an enrollment of 1,975 participants.  He also noted that the CRC will be holding a blood drive in April in conjunction with LifeSource, that the revamped Sunday Basketball Program has more than doubled its participation numbers and that staff is planning on incorporating some of the changes, including uniforms, in the Saturday Basketball program next winter.

Commissioner Marcus also reported that staff is ready to begin design work for the replacement of the Vattmann Park tennis courts.  He explained that when the courts are rebuilt, they will have to be moved away from the south property line to provide a setback as required by the Zoning Code, and the courts will probably be reoriented to a north/south direction.  After investigation, staff determined that two courts will be adequate at that location and these courts will not be used for lessons, but will be available for reservations.  Commissioner Marcus stated that the 2006 budget includes $200,000 for this project, which should cover the replacement cost, including some site restoration work and landscaping.

Commissioner Marcus also reported that staff showed the Committee the floor plan for the new Senior Center space at Mallinckrodt and explained the layout.  The rooms are designed to be flexible and there will be space for both formal and casual activities.  There will be a library/computer lab, a game room, and an art room.  At this point, Williams Associates is about halfway through the plans.  The 2006 budget for construction is $572,303.  Commissioner Marcus noted that the current estimate for furniture, fixtures and equipment totals an additional $112,000, and will be budgeted in 2007.  He stated that the new center will open when the tenants begin moving into the building. Director Porter noted that the Park District has received $350,000 from Pickus for the development of the space which was part of the sales agreement. With regard to the park plans, staff stated that there should be a preliminary plan available for review at the March Committee meeting. 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to appoint Thompson Dyke to provide Phase One Skate Park Design Services at a cost of approximately $17,435.00 as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Director Porter explained that last fall, the Board authorized staff to seek proposals for skate park design services.  Requests for proposals were sent to ten firms which have experience in skate park design.  As discussed earlier in the meeting during Recognition of Visitors, the District focused primarily on landscape architects rather than equipment manufacturers because it was felt that landscape architects would be more sensitive to the immediate neighborhood and have the flexibility to specify different types of equipment.  Director Porter noted that only one proposal was received, which was from Thompson Dyke Associates.  Since Thompson Dyke has done work for the Wilmette Park District in the past, most recently, redevelopment of Maple Park, staff and the Committee feel that Thompson Dyke is well qualified for this project and is recommending that this firm be retained to do Phase One design work for a skate park.  Director Porter explained that Phase One represents development of a final concept, which would then be presented to the neighborhood and eventually to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Upon completion of Phase One, additional authorization by the Board will be required to proceed to Phase Two, which would be construction drawings and project implementation. 

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

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2006-R-2,  A RESOLUTION OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, EXPRESSING OFFICIAL INTENT REGARDING CERTAIN DEBT SERVICE EXPENDITURES TO BE REIMBURSED FROM PROCEEDS OF DEBT CERTIFICATES

Director Porter explained that the current budget includes $25,000 for fitness center equipment replacement plus $12,000 for equipment repair.  In addition, there is $10,000 budgeted for a vehicle rental for Performing Arts.  The $25,000 equipment replacement  funding was earmarked primarily for replacement of the small TV’s that are attached to the ten treadmills. The TV’s were in such poor condition that they had to be purchased  immediately.  Director Porter noted that the TV’s arrived last Friday and have been very positively received by the fitness center membership.  He explained that this resolution authorizes the funds expended for the TV’s to be reimbursed through the debt certificates which are also scheduled for approval at tonight’s meeting.

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

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2006-O-2, AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AND PROVIDING FOR AN INSTALLMENT PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PAYING THE COST OF PURCHASING EQUIPMENT, MACHINERY AND OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, AND AUTHORIZING AND PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUE OF $145,000 DEBT CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006 OF SAID PARK DISTRICT EVIDENCING THE RIGHTS TO PAYMENT UNDER SUCH AGREEMENT, PRESCRIBING THE DETAILS OF THE AGREEMENT AND CERTIFICATES, AND PROVIDING FOR THE SECURITY FOR A MEANS OF PAYMENT OF THE CERTIFICATES UNDER THE AGREEMENT.

Director Porter reported that after lengthy discussion, it became apparent that some type of financing, not only for the treadmill TV’s, but also for major equipment replacement of treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and stairmasters may be in order.  He noted that the majority of the cardiovascular equipment is now seven to ten years old and the District will be budgeting significant funds over the next several years to replace this equipment.  Since the fitness field is highly competitive, staff is recommending that the Board consider financing equipment purchases to do a major replacement of equipment now. 

Director Porter explained that originally staff looked at a leasing arrangement, and also considered installment contract or debt certificate financing. He noted that after extensive investigation, it appears that using the debt certificate is the best financing method for the District.  The District can obtain 4.38% financing for a four and one half year period, which will allow replacement of  the treadmill TV’s, all of the treadmills, all of the stationary bikes, all of the stairmasters, and most of the ellipticals.  He stated that when looking at the financing, staff also evaluated whether it would be less expensive to finance the purchase of the Performing Arts vehicle rather than continue to pay rental.  Including all items, it would be necessary to finance $145,000.  Director Porter noted that the annual payments would be approximately $32,000 compared to a budgeted expenditure of $47,000 if the District were just to purchase the fitness TV’s, repair existing fitness equipment, and continue to rent the Performing Arts vehicle.  In addition, the 5 Year Capital Plan shows capital expenses for equipment replacement averaging $35,000 per year for the next several years. 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.   Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.   Motion carried.

Golf Operations – Committee Chair Crowley reported that the Committee met on February 25th.  He noted that the driving range opened on February 28th and the golf lottery is scheduled for March 14th.  There are 62 four person teams, which is one more than last year.  Commissioner Crowley also noted that staff reported that during the previous two week period, there were approximately 8,000 hits on the website.  He also reported that the Ouilmette Golf Club will have three major golf outings this year and the Women’s Golf Association will have four outings, including two guest days.  Golf Manager Callaghan also reported that there are currently eight major Monday golf outings booked compared to four last year.

Commissioner Crowley further reported that staff reviewed the restaurant operation.  He explained that the months of August through December were used to experiment with different meal periods and operational models, including various staffing levels.  It became very clear that it is not possible to successfully serve both golfers and the general public.  Commissioner Crowley stated that the operational losses sustained since opening have highlighted that the facility needs to return to its primary mission, which is service targeted for the golfers.  At the committee meeting, Superintendent Grisamore reviewed the operational changes that will be made as the golf season approaches.  Wednesday and Thursday Dinners, which have not been successful,  will be discontinued.  Friday Dinner and Sunday Breakfast will continue through March, but will be discontinued during the golf season due to operational and parking restrictions.  The decision on whether to continue with Friday Dinner after the golf season will be made at a later date.  Superintendent Grisamore further explained that the model used after April 1st will be patterned after the “Corner Bakery” operation where customers will select their own seating, will order and pay for the food and drink at the bar area, and the food will then be delivered to the tables by a server.  It was also reported that menu items will be simplified.  There will be some appetizers, two salads and sandwiches, which are items that can easily be prepared by a line cook.

With regard to the banquet operation, Superintendent Grisamore explained that banquets which are on the books will be covered by restaurant staff, but after those are concluded, new events will be offered at the facility on a rental basis with the Park District retaining the bar service.  The restaurant facility will continue to prepare and provide buffet lunches as part of golf outings, if so requested.  Staff will provide a list of local caterers for groups interested in renting the facility.  Superintendent Grisamore stressed that these changes are being implemented to better serve the golfers.
Centennial Operations – Committee Chair Wolff reported that the Committee met prior to tonight’s meeting.  Staff reported that Friday Night Skates have been very successful with very good turnouts.  Commissioner Wolff also noted that staff is currently interviewing for summer positions and jobs are being filled quickly.  He stated that the regular hockey season has ended and spring hockey is beginning. 

Commissioner Wolff also reported that Tennis Manager Ray Bachmann has announced his retirement at the end of June.  Ray will be moving to Washington State and will be missed by the many tennis patrons he has served over the years as well as Park District staff and commissioners.  Everyone agreed that Ray did an excellent job of managing the tennis facility for over 27 years, which has been one of the Wilmette Park District’s most continuously successful programs.

Ice Rink Expansion Task Force – Director Porter stated that since there have been a number of questions posed by Board members with regard to the possibility of constructing a privately funded second sheet of ice at Centennial Park, he would report on the status of the project.  Director Porter explained that in September of 2005, the Board appointed Commissioners O’Malley and Wolff to meet with user groups to discuss the feasibility of additional ice at Centennial.  There have been three meetings to date, which have included representatives of the Wilmette Hockey Association, the New Trier Hockey Club, the Winnetka Hockey Club, the Loyola Academy Hockey Club and the Wintrust Financial Group.  Director Porter noted that Mr. Chuck Smith, President of the Wilmette Hockey Association, had addressed the Board earlier in the meeting stating the Association’s appreciation for the Park District’s cooperation and noting that the groups are aware that the money for the venture has to be raised through private sources. 

Director Porter explained that at the meetings, the group discussed possible locations for the facility, which included the south parking lot area and an area north of the existing rink. Using a drawing of the area, Director Porter pointed out both sites and explained that after evaluation, it was agreed that the south parking lot should be the location for the rink as there would be a cost advantage, and construction in the north area would require the removal of two tennis modules.  The disadvantage to the south parking lot would be the loss of 85 parking spaces, which are needed.  Therefore, the plan would be to construct underground parking. 

Director Porter stated that at the meetings, the user groups agreed that they would work together to allocate the ice time, but that the amount of money raised would not impact on how much time each group receives.  It was also agreed that the hourly fee would be approximately $280.00 per hour, which is less than what other facilities in the area are currently charging.  The group is aware that the demand for ice time would cover the operational expenses, but not the debt service for the additional rink. 

Director Porter noted that at the last Board meeting, the Board authorized an expenditure of $15,000 for a rendering of what the facility would look like and for the construction of a model to be used as a marketing tool.  It was agreed that the Park District would pay $7,500 towards the design work with the hockey groups contributing the other $7,500.  He displayed the drawing which was done by Williams Associates Architects, and noted that the next step will be construction of the model.  Director Porter also noted that the cost estimates will be refined and the revenue and expense figures are also being updated.

During discussion, it was noted that the size of the proposed facility would be the same as the current ice rink.  There had been a proposal that the rink be 100 feet by 200 feet, which is the new Olympic size standard.  However, it was agreed that the area which would be available for construction would not accommodate the larger rink.   President Miller asked Chuck Smith if the Loyola Hockey Club would be contributing towards the architect’s fees for the design and model of the facility, and if Loyola is still interested in being involved.  Mr. Smith stated that he is not sure of Loyola’s position at this time, but he feels there is still a possibility that they may be involved.

NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2006-R-3, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING ADOPTION OF THE VANTAGECARE RETIREMENT HEALTH SAVINGS PROGRAM.

Director Porter explained that the Park District currently offers full time employees an opportunity to invest in a deferred compensation plan, known as a 457 Plan. He noted that all contributions to the 457 Plan are made by the employee, and the  District makes no financial contribution to the 457 Plan, but serves as a trustee of the funds.  The employee has the benefit of putting money in the 457 Plan on a tax deferred basis.  This resolution authorizes adoption of a Health Care Retirement Savings Program, which allows employees, at their own expense, to set aside a portion of their salaries to be used for post retirement health care costs on a tax free basis. Director Porter stated that this program is offered through the same organization which manages the 457 Plan, and gives employees additional options as they plan their retirements at no cost to the Park District. 

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

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2006-R-4, A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS TO INCLUDE COMPENSATION PAID UNDER AN INTERNAL REVENUE CODE SECTION 125 PLAN AS IMRF EARNINGS.

Director Porter explained that this resolution is a companion to the resolution authorizing the Heath Care Retirement Savings Program.  This resolution directs the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) to include the retirement health savings program as reportable income when calculating an employee’s pension benefit payment. 

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

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2006-R-5, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL (CAROL FARRELL).

Director Porter explained that this resolution authorizes intervention in a tax assessment appeal by Carol Farrell, 1300 Sheridan Road for tax year 2004.  This is a residential appeal that has already been considered by the County Board of Review and is now moving to the Property Tax Appeal Board.  He noted that as is the case with commercial properties, the District only receives notice of pending property tax appeals if the property owner is asking for a reduction in excess of $100,000 of the assessed value.

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

Director Porter stated that he wished to alert the Board to an issue that requires no action at tonight’s meeting, but will be requiring Board action next month.  He explained that for several years, Wilmette School District 39’s technology needs were serviced through the New Trier Technology  Cooperative (NTTC).  In November of 2005, District 39 announced its intention to exit the Cooperative and handle their technology needs on their own.  Part of the District 39 plan is to provide fiber optic systems connecting the Mikaelian Education Center (MEC), Romona School, Wilmette Junior High, and Highcrest Middle School.  The fiber optic system between the MEC and Romona School and between the MEC and the Junior High will be handled primarily on School District property. Director Porter stated that the School District has approached the District about running a fiber optic system underground through Community Playfield to connect to Highcrest.  He explained that the work would be accomplished using underground horizontal directional boring technique resulting in a minimal disruption to the park land.  The area for the work has been identified as adjacent to the existing east/west sidewalk in the park.  Director Porter stated that the work will have no impact on park use. He noted that an easement agreement with the School District will be required to complete the project, which should be available for presentation to the Board at the April meeting.

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

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

The meeting adjourned to executive session at 8:45 p.m.

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 9:10 p.m.

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the November 14, 2005  Executive Session.

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

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at  9:11 p.m.

 

APPROVED ON APRIL 10, 2006