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, FEBRUARY 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, Dennis O’Malley, Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Terry Porter

STAFF: Business Manager George Kush, Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht

VISITORS: Deena Mitchell (League of Women Voters), Anne McGivern (St. Francis Xavier School), Student Government Participants (See Below),  Alex Litin, Tyler Oberlin, Ty Frost (Skate Wilmette), Mark Weyermuller

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of January 9, 2006.

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

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Administration Committee of January 30, 2006.

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

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

. . . Letter dated February 7, 2006 from Heidi Voorhees, League of Women Voters inviting President Miller to participate in the Wilmette League of Women Voters “State of the Village” event scheduled for April 6, 2006.
. . . Letter dated January 23, 2006 from Roy Jensen, PDRMA, Risk Management Services Manager congratulating the Park District on its Level A-Excellent Rating along with a check for $1,500.

. . . E-mail dated February 10, 2006 from Dr. William Maloney responding to a Letter to the Editor of the Wilmette Life stating that skateboarding is not a dangerous sport and there is no need for an ambulance to be stationed at any skate park.

. . . Letter and information dated February 1, 2006 from Jim Keene, 633 Elmwood Ave regarding Reform Rider 28 regarding the environmental impact of overhead utilities.

Commissioner Marcus reported that a resident had inquired if the Park District could investigate the concept of offering a combined Fitness Club and Centennial Pool membership.

President Miller referred the issue to the Parks and Recreation Committee. 

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

President Miller stated that tonight’s meeting marks the kick-off the annual Student Government Program.  He  introduced Deena Mitchell of the League of Women Voters of Wilmette, the organization which sponsors the program.

Ms. Mitchell thanked the Board and staff of the Park District for their continuing support and help with the Student Government Program and Anne McGivern of St. Francis Xavier School for her help with the program.  She stated that this year for the first time, students from St. Francis Xavier will be representing the Park District.  Ms. Mitchell noted that this program has been in existence for 35 years and provides an excellent opportunity for eighth grade students to learn about how local government operates in Wilmette. 

Director Porter thanked the League of Women Voters for once again sponsoring this very worthwhile and educational program and stated that the Park District is pleased to  be represented by students from St. Francis Xavier School.    Director Porter noted that the first workshop for the students working with Park District staff is scheduled for February 16th, and that there will be a second workshop scheduled prior to the mock Board meeting, which will be held on March 16th.  He encouraged Board members to attend the Student Government Breakfast scheduled for February 23rd.    Director Porter added that several local government officials and members of Village commissions have participated in the Student Government program over the years.  He noted that the current Village Board President, Chris Canning, was among those participants. 
Director Porter introduced the students participating in the program:

Elected Officials:
Board President      Rachel Flanagan
Board Vice President      Austin Stroud
Commissioner       Patrick Smith
Commissioner       Ellie Suse
Commissioner       John Round
Commissioner     Maddy Urban
Commissioner       George Weschler

Appointed Officials:
Director of Parks & Recreation    Will Hrabe
Superintendent of Recreation & Facilities    John Ostrem
Superintendent of Parks & Planning    Dillon Oberlin
Business Manager       Maeve Donohue
Recreation General Manager     Courtney Cosgrove
Ice/Pool Manager       Margaret Tobin
Tennis Manager       Bob Dixon
Lakefront Manager       Colleen Smith

President Miller administered the oath of office to the students, congratulated them and wished them well with the program.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,550,214.11, 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, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Parks and Recreation --  Committee Chair Marcus reported that the Committee met on January 18th.  At that time, Cheryl Smith, a neighbor of Langdon Park, addressed the Committee regarding neighborhood concerns that Langdon Park is being overrun by non residents during the summer months.  In addition to the overcrowding of the park and the unauthorized swimming, parking in the neighborhood becomes very difficult.  During discussion, Superintendent Grisamore explained that last fall, staff had presented cost estimates to the Committee to make both Langdon Park and the Gillson Park overlook usable as swimming areas, and it had been determined that this would not be financially feasible.  Commissioner Marcus further reported that the neighbors in attendance asked if it was possible for the Park District to control access to the park.  If this is not possible, it was suggested that the Park District post “Swim At Your Own Risk” signs at Langdon and it was agreed that staff would review that option.  Commissioner Marcus stated that he recommended that the neighbors contact the Village to discuss making the surrounding streets permit parking, which may help to eliminate non residents from swimming at the Langdon Park beach.  He also noted that parks are public land and the Park District cannot legally limit access to non residents.

Commissioner Marcus reported that the Committee reviewed a letter from a resident requesting that fees not be charged for use of the walking track at the CRC.  After some
discussion, the Committee agreed to keep the current policy in place.

Commissioner Marcus also reported that the Recreation General Manager Kathy Bingham reported that mid winter classes had begun and registration was very good. She also reported that there was an excellent turnout for tryouts for the Children’s Theater production of the Wizard of Oz.  It was also noted that the Fitness Center Manager, the Assistant Manager and the Membership Manager have all resigned and that Jeff Groves, Recreation Program Manager is acting supervisor of the facility until a new management team can be put in place.  Kathy Bingham and Human Resources Manager Jeff Bowen are interviewing fitness staff to determine what issues need to be dealt with in the interim.

Commissioner Marcus further noted that at the meeting, Superintendent Grisamore reported that Lakefront staff is investigating an option to enclose an area at the north end of the swimming beach and rent it out as a picnic/party area for 25 to 30 people.  He added that staff is also looking at an option to offer rides on the banana boat on weekends.

Commissioner Marcus concluded his report by reporting that the Committee reviewed a request from the Wilmette Arts Guild to hold the Fine Arts Festival at Hibbard Park on July 15th and 16th.  After committee discussion, the request was approved.

Centennial Operations --  Committee Chair Wolff reported that the Committee met prior to the Board meeting.  At that time, the Committee was informed that extensive work will be done on the indoor tennis courts at Centennial.  It was also reported that court time bookings remain strong.  Commissioner Wolff noted that staff reported that the Friday Night Skate and the TGIF program are both doing well.  He also reported that staff is looking at plans for individuals to share the advertising at the ice rink.
Financial Planning & Policy

President Miller opened the meeting for a public hearing on the Budget and Appropriations Ordinance.

There were no requests to comment.

President Miller closed the hearing.

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2006-O-1, AN ORDINANCE MAKING A COMBINED  ANNUAL BUDGET AND APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS FOR THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2006 ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2006 as recommended by the Administration Committee.

Director Porter explained that the 2006 Budget consists of revenues of approximately $20 million and expenditures of $19.9 million as overall expense.  He noted that two thirds of the Park District revenue comes from user fees and one third is derived from property tax receipts.  He added that the District will be operating with a modest surplus in 2006.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.

Real Estate Committee –  Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to authorize appropriate staff and legal counsel to prepare the necessary documents to enact the sale of a portion of Shorewood Park adjacent to 1332 Forest Avenue.

Director Porter explained that the Real Estate Committee met on December 5, 2005 prior to the December Board meeting.  At that time, the Committee reviewed a request from Mrs. Macaire Trapp to acquire a portion of Shorewood Park adjacent to the Trapp property at 1332 Forest Avenue. He noted that originally, the Trapp request was scheduled for a Board vote at the January meeting.  However, at the request of the Trapps, the vote was rescheduled for the February meeting. Director Porter stated that the Committee’s opinion was that the Trapp request should be denied as the Park District does not generally sell property except under extraordinary circumstances.

In response to a question from Commissioner Cohen, Commissioner Brault noted that historically any property which has been sold by the District has been deemed as surplus, meaning that the Park District has no use for this land.  He noted that the Trapp request was for property that is part of Shorewood Park.

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

Ice Rink Task Force --  Commissioner O’Malley reported that the Task Force held a meeting on January 23rd.  He noted that there were representatives from the Winnetka Hockey Club, the Wilmette Hockey Association, and the New Trier Hockey Club.  Several items were discussed, such as a proposed Mission Statement, the possibility of building a state of the art hockey arena at West Park, which was rejected, and the type of presentation that would be required to raise funds.  Commissioner O’Malley stated that the group agreed that if there is a belief that outside funding is likely, a request would be made to the Wilmette Park District Board to provide some seed money to have architectural renderings or models completed.  This will allow the user groups to make presentations to prospective donors.  It was suggested that the cost of any models or renderings could be shared between the organizations and the Park Board.

Lengthy discussion ensued regarding the request for the Park District to contribute funds toward an updated cost estimate for a second sheet of ice and a model to be used in a presentation for prospective contributors. Commissioner O’Malley explained that in order to raise such a large sum of money for the project, it is necessary to have something tangible to show what the rink would look like. Commissioner Crowley expressed concerns that this project could be perceived as a Park District initiative with the plans already in place.   Commissioner Marcus stated that he didn’t particularly like the idea of the Park District being involved in marketing the project, and he felt that it is important that before the Park District expends funds, that the hockey groups involved in the venture have donors in mind. Commissioner Cohen commented that an expenditure of $7,500 by the Park District, which could possibly lead to a facility financed by private contributions that would serve the community for many years to come, would be a worthwhile investment.  Commissioner Brault noted that this is a business matter and in order to raise the necessary funds for the project, it is important to have something tangible to show interested donors. 

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve an expenditure of $15,000, $7,500 of which will be reimbursed by the Wilmette Hockey Association, New Trier Hockey, and the Winnetka Hockey Club for the development of models and a revised cost estimate for consideration of a second full size ice rink at Centennial Park as recommended by the Ice Rink Task Force.

Commissioner Crowley inquired as to why Loyola Hockey was not included in the motion.

Commissioner O’Malley explained that no representative of Loyola attended the last Task Force Meeting.  However, there is still the possibility that  Loyola, after consulting with their Board, will also be a contributor of funds for the model and cost estimate.

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

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Porter reported that outdoor ice is finished for this season.  He noted that this year for the first time in his memory, due to a very cold December, there was outdoor ice for the holidays.  However, due to an unseasonably warm January, it is now gone and it is too late in the season to attempt to make more outdoor ice.

NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve a contribution of $350.00 to the Wilmette League of Women Voters Education Fund to help defray the cost of the annual Student Government Program Breakfast.

Director Porter explained that the League of Women Voters is requesting $350.00 from the Park District to help defray the cost of the Student Government Breakfast.  He noted that all the local governments involved in the project are asked to contribute towards the cost of the Breakfast. 

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

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2006-R-1, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL FOR 2004 BY CARSON PIRIE SCOTT & COMPANY.

Director Porter explained that the District is part of a cooperative with other units of local government requesting intervention in the appeal process if the property assessment exceeds $100,000.  He stated that if the petitioner is successful in reducing their assessment, the ultimate result is transference of the cost to the remaining taxpayers in the District.  Director Porter noted that the Park District has participated in this process on several occasions. 

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

Commissioner Brault inquired if there was an appropriate method to track the level of use of Park District facilities by non residents as opposed to residents.  He noted that as an example, one third of pool users are non residents.  He asked if the Board felt that the District should consider a higher proportionate differential between the resident and non resident fees to take advantage of the non resident use.

During discussion, President Miller stated that if not for “fair share” use, some of the Park District’s facilities may not be operating.  He noted that if there is a new ice rink , it will probably be used more by non-residents.  Commissioner Cohen stated that she felt that the non residents currently add important revenue to the District and that a ratio of one-third non resident to two-thirds residents seems appropriate to her.  She would not like to discourage non resident use by raising fees too high.  Commissioner Crowley agreed with Commissioner Cohen.  He noted that the fair share costs have been developed over the years based on tracking resident/non resident use, market conditions, etc.  Director Porter pointed out that it is also necessary to take into account changing market conditions over time and the need for flexibility in this matter.

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:52 p.m.


MINUTES APPROVED MARCH 13, 2006