WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
HELD IN THE COUNCIL ROOM OF WILMETTE VILLAGE HALL
MONDAY, APRIL 12, 2004
_____________________________________________________________________

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

PRESENT: President Henry Wolff, Commissioners Cecelia Carlson, Diana Cohen,  Jim Crowley, Richard Marcus, David Miller, Dennis O’Malley, Secretary/Director Terry Porter, Treasurer/Business Manager George Kush

VISITORS: John McGovern, Tracey Crawford (NSSRA); Frank Charhut; Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:    Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of March 8, 2004.

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

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

. . . E-mail dated March 9, 2004 from Lali Watt, 811 Chilton Lane encouraging the Park District to retain the chapel at Mallinckrodt.

. . . Letter dated March 7, 2004 from Trustee Jim Griffith to Village President Nancy Canafax discussing issues regarding the Mallinckrodt chapel.

President Wolff referred both pieces of correspondence to the Mallinckrodt negotiating team.   

. . . Letter dated March 25, 2004 from James W. Ford, 1630 Sheridan Road with suggestions for a new golf course clubhouse.

President Wolff referred the letter to the Golf Operations Committee.

. . . E-mail dated March 16, 2004 from Chis Bischoff, 114 Central Park requesting that dogs be allowed on the Mallinckrodt property. 

. . . E-mail dated March 12, 2004 from Gale Teschendorf, 1920 Schiller Ave inquiring as to why dogs are not allowed in all the parks.

President Wolff referred both e-mails to the Parks and Recreation Committee.

. . . Postcard received March 22, 2004 from Mary O’Reilly, 641 Romona regarding the no swimming area at Gillson Park.

. . . Letter and documents received April 9, 2004 from Elmer M. Walsh, Jr., Winnetka, IL regarding the Wilmette Harbor.

President Wolff referred the letter to the Parks and Recreation Committee.

. . . Letter dated March 11, 2004 to Bob Diamond, Assistant Ice/Pool Manager from Ronald Rhinehart, Vice President of Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. advising that the Centennial Aquatic Facility lifeguard staff has been awarded the firm’s prestigious 2003 Platinum National Aquatic Safety Award. 

Commissioner Cohen noted that Jeff Ellis & Associates is the Park District’s aquatic safety consultant.  She pointed out that the letter stated that only those clients scoring in the top seven percent of the audit criteria receive this award.   

President Wolff extended the Board’s congratulations and appreciation to the entire aquatics staff at Centennial.  He suggested that the letter be posted near the pool at Centennial so that the patrons would be aware of this excellent achievement.

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

President Wolff recognized Frank Charhut, who stated that he has been a golfer at the Wilmette Golf Course for over 30 years. Mr. Charhut explained that several years ago, he became very interested in the history of the golf course and working with golf course staff, he located numerous historical documents regarding the golf course.  Mr. Charhut then compiled the documents, and with the help of  Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue, he assembled a collage, which was put into a large frame.  On behalf of the Ouilmette Golf Club, Mr. Charhut presented the collage to the Board for display at the golf course along with a check in the amount of $350.00 to help offset the cost of the project.

President Wolff congratulated and thanked Mr. Charhut on behalf of the entire Board and staff for this wonderful gift and expressed appreciation to Mr. Charhut for all the time and work that he put into this project. 

Commissioner Cohen added her thanks to Mr. Charhut and the Ouilmette Golf Club, and suggested that a copy of this information be sent to the Chicago Golfer Magazine.

President Wolff recognized John McGovern, Executive Director of the Northern Suburban Recreation Association.

Mr. McGovern explained that he was in attendance to update the Board on the current status of NSSRA, and he introduced NSSRA Superintendent of Recreation Tracey Crawford.  He briefly outlined the mission and history of the organization, which is a partnership of 12 municipal recreation agencies and park districts on the north shore.  Formed in 1970, it was the first special recreation association in the country.   Mr. McGovern noted that the mission of NSSRA is to ensure that recreation opportunities are available for adults and children with disabilities.  The association has grown from a small group serving only children with mental disabilities to a comprehensive recreation leisure services agency which presently serves approximately 5,000 individuals with all types of disabilities.  Due to the success of NSSRA, the Illinois General Assembly has passed laws allowing park districts and cities to join together to provide leisure services for people with disabilities, supported by local property taxes.   Mr. McGovern stated that many families move to this area precisely to take advantage of the programs offered by both NSSRA and the Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED), which works closely with NSSRA.  Mr. McGovern noted that Director Porter has served on the NSSRA Board for many years and is a very active member. 

Mr. McGovern and Ms. Crawford discussed some of the challenges that currently face NSSRA.  It was noted that NSSRA has been able to provide a wide range of programs and services for participants, such as ice skating, camps, swimming, overnight trips, etc.   Many individuals have used NSSRA programs for over 30 years and have outgrown some of the programs, so it is necessary to offer programs that are of interest to those participants.  Ms. Crawford noted that there are also people who have finished their formal education and are looking for job opportunities.  NSSRA is investigating ways to work with their various agencies to provide jobs for those who are able to work.  Ms. Crawford explained that NSSRA is focusing on the transition process.  The staff is  trying to get a good sense of what people want and to make sure it is within NSSRA’s mission.  She also noted that more and more individuals are opting for inclusion in regular Park District programs, which has become a large part of the services offered by NSSRA in recent years. This is another exciting and challenging innovation in special recreation services offered by NSSRA.  She added that the Wilmette Park District has the greatest number of inclusion participants in NSSRA, and does an excellent job with this program. 

Mr. McGovern reported that the State of Illinois recently passed legislation that exempts park districts’ special recreation tax levies from the tax cap.  This will enable the districts to levy sufficient taxes to fund their special recreation programs, and to help meet the challenges of the expansion of these services.  He concluded his report by stating that NSSRA looks forward to many more years of working with the Wilmette Park District and providing the best recreation services possible to people with disabilities.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,265,180.12, 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 Carlson, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Parks and Recreation – Committee Chair Carlson reported that the Committee met on March 15. At that time, Recreation Manager Kathy Bingham reported that approximately 280 counselors will be hired for all the summer camps and that all hiring should be complete by April.  It was also reported that fitness memberships continue to increase.  Resident family memberships are going up while non-resident memberships are slightly declining. It was reported that the monthly memberships have been a huge success and staff has begun to offer the option of converting to an annual pass before the end of thirty days and applying the monthly membership fee towards an annual membership.  In response to a question from Commissioner Crowley, it was reported that there had been a notable increase in program participation since the opening of the CRC.  For example, the gymnastics program went from 400 participants a week at Highcrest to approximately 1,400 to 1,800 per week at the CRC. 

Commissioner Carlson further reported that the sailing lottery had been held.  There are still some spaces available, but it is anticipated that these will be filled by the summer.  Lakefront Manager Betty Duguid also reported that the Park District is purchasing new equipment for testing the water at the beach.  The water plant will perform the tests and the cost of the equipment will be reimbursed by the State Department of Public Health. 

Commissioner Carlson concluded her report by reporting that after discussion with the Gillson Park neighbors, it was agreed to deny the request of the North Shore Youth Health Services (Links) organization to have a battle of the bands event at Gillson Park.  Staff offered some alternatives, which were declined by the organization.

Commissioner Carlson moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the following bids to supply t-shirts and uniforms for camp and soccer programs:

  Score American Soccer, Wilmington, CA    $12,746.00
  Sunburst, Glendale Heights        $11,754.94
  Windy City Silkscreening/Sportswear,  Chicago, IL $  4,743.70
  Identity, Mundelein, IL      $  1,566.25
  Good Impressions, Highland Park, IL    $  1,404.36
  Clothing Store, Normal, IL     $     287.85
  T-Shirts.Com, Lake Forest, IL    $     251.78
  Modern Screen, Chicago, IL    $     247.80

  For a total cost of                $33,002.68

Director Porter pointed out that the bid document was structured in such a way that vendors could bid on individual  components, and the low bidder in individual categories could  be selected.   He noted that bid solicitations had been mailed out to forty or more vendors. 

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

Golf Operations – Committee Chair Crowley reported that the Committee met on March 20.  He noted that there are currently 365 golf course members, which is 85 more than last year. Also, 68 teams participated in the lottery as opposed to 65 last year.

Commissioner Crowley stated that at the meeting, Director Porter updated the Committee and visitors on the status of the clubhouse.  He reported  that negotiations are ongoing, and it is hoped that in the near future, there will be a settlement enabling construction of a new clubhouse to begin in the fall in order to be open for the 2005 golf season. Commissioner Crowley further reported that the primary purpose of the new clubhouse will be golf related.  He stated that the food service operation will not be the same, but will exist as a service to the golf facility. He outlined the key elements in the new facility as follows: 

• Pro Shop
• Locker Room with day lockers
• Seasonal club storage
• Grill Room with nominal seating for 100, expandable
   to 150 for golf outings
• Kitchen to support a grill-type operation, which could
   be available for rental during off season
• Outside patio overlooking the course
• Lower level cart storage for 70 electric carts
• Outside access to food service between the nines
• Exterior washrooms available between the nines
• Staff offices
• Small conference/meeting room

Commissioner Crowley explained that the entire area should have a footprint of approximately 11,000-12,000 square feet.  He added that the parking lot replacement would include approximately 180 to 200 spaces, which is close to what is currently provided.  It was also noted that since the insurance reimbursement would not provide sufficient funds to construct a new clubhouse, additional money for this project would have to come from the golfers.  These funds would probably be in the form of a $2.00 to $3.00 surcharge per round.  

Commissioner Crowley also reported that at the meeting, staff stated that since there is an opportunity to enhance the District’s golf operation, the Board should consider changing the name of the golf operation to the Wilmette Golf Club instead of the Wilmette Golf Course.  It was also recommended that the Terrace name be eliminated and a new name be chosen for the golf grill.

Centennial Operations --  Committee Chair Cohen reported that the Committee met immediately prior to the Regular Board Meeting.  At that time, Tennis Manager Ray Bachmann reported that 231 applications had been received for the reserved time lottery scheduled for April 17.  This is down from the 246 received last year.  Commissioner Cohen noted that while there is still some permanent court time available, lessons, leagues and drills are  filled. 

Commissioner Cohen further reported that the lottery for the summer competitive skating program will be held on April 24 for skaters purchasing five or ten week packages.  She noted that staff has heard positive comments regarding the make-over of the program schedule.  She added that there was also discussion about an additional sheet of ice.  Commissioner O’Malley reported that he and Director Porter had met with a Wilmette Hockey Association representative and a local banker, and Director Porter had explained that the Park District would not be able to pay for the cost of construction.  Commissioner O’Malley stated that another meeting will be held once commitments are received from ice users. 

MALLINCKRODT BUILDING

Director Porter reported that the Village of Wilmette and Oculus-Pickus are in negotiations regarding the sale of the Mallinckrodt Building and some adjacent land for the development of approximately 86 condominium units for seniors.  As part of the proposed agreement, the Village would sell the chapel space to Oculus-Pickus and the Park District would retain an approximate 7,000 square foot portion on the ground floor of the south wing of the building for Park District use.  Director Porter referred to three documents which the commissioners had received in their packets.

1) Letter dated 3/9/04 from Joel S. Pickus, Vice President of the Pickus Companies regarding the retention of the chapel by the Park District. This letter outlines the developer’s rationale for including the chapel space as part of the sale.  Mr. Pickus states that the Park District retention of the chapel for use as a performance area and/or a community center would greatly affect the marketability of the project from the developer’s perspective.  It was noted that hosting public events in the center of a senior residence would have a negative impact on the residents. In the letter, Mr. Pickus also outlines issues of ingress and egress which factor into their conclusion to offer an alternative space for public use.  
2) Correspondence dated 3/10/04 from James Bayley, Chair of the Village Historical Preservation Commission, regarding the status of the chapel Mr. Bayley essentially stated that while it would be very nice to retain the chapel for public use, the prospect of providing some affordable housing is more important to the community.

3) Memo dated 3/15/04 from James Wascher, Friedman and Holtz, regarding the Park District use of the chapel on the Mallinckrodt property. Mr. Wascher wrote a detailed analysis of the issue and cited several examples of lawsuits involving the concept of separation of church and state.  It was his conclusion that the Park District could not retain ownership of the chapel if the items of religious significance were preserved.

After short discussion, President Wolff stated that he had been approached by a number of people inquiring as to when hearings would be held regarding development of the remaining property.

Commissioner Marcus stated that he feels that the sale of the building should be closed before any plans are made for the development of the property. Commissioner Carlson noted that the Mallinckrodt property is very beautiful and she would encourage the District not to clear cut a number of trees.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Porter reported that now that the golf season is under way, some improvements in the temporary facilities have been provided at the golf course.  The tents that were used on a temporary basis last year have been replaced by trailer units, which significantly enhances the food service and safety aspect for the golfers.  Director Porter noted that one of the major concerns last year was providing shelter for the  golfers in the event of stormy weather.  He explained that a small construction trailer has been added which will be used as a temporary locker room, and there is now a trailer for the food service operation instead of a smaller tent.  The Parks Department has completed construction of decks and ramps which link all of the facilities. Director Porter stated that for the most part, the golfers have been very understanding and patient with the temporary facilities and have welcomed these improvements at the course.

Commissioner Cohen inquired about the letter from Mr. Walsh regarding Wilmette Harbor.

Director Porter explained that there have been issues between the Harbor Association and some former members, and some people want the Park District to take over the operation of Wilmette Harbor.  He added that there will be some significant expenses in the future with regard to repairs to the walls surrounding the Harbor. 

After brief discussion, it was noted that the Wilmette Harbor is not the responsibility of the Park District and that the Harbor Association has a lease with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District until 2012.

There being no further business to conduct, Commissioner Carlson moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting sine die.

By a voice vote, voting Yes – All;  voting No – None.  Motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned sine die at 8:25 p.m.

 

MINUTES APPROVED ON MAY 10, 2004