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, MARCH 8, 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: Superintendent Bill Lambrecht.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Crowley seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of February 9, 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:

. . . Letter to Commissioner Marcus received March 8, 2004 from Ted Flickinger, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Park Districts noting that he had met Mr. Marcus’ son, who is on U.S. Representative’s Jan Schakowsky’s staff, and found him to be a very fine, bright young man.

. . . Letter dated February 23, 2004 to Village President Nancy Canafax from Richard S. Nopar, 3923 Fairway Drive which was forwarded to Director Porter regarding concerns with the appearance of the clubhouse area at the golf course and the temporary fence which is in place due to the fire.

. . . Letter dated March 1, 2004 from Director Porter responding to Mr. Nopar and outlining the golf course clubhouse insurance and safety issues and explaining that the Park District is required to keep the fence in place while there are still some hazardous conditions.

. . . E-mail dated February 12, 2004 from Gail Schechter, 2233 Lake Ave. supporting the retention of the chapel at Mallinckrodt for public use.

. . . Letter dated February 28, 2004 from Mari Terman, President, League of Women Voters of Wilmette thanking the Park District for their participation in the Student Government Breakfast, and for the Park District’s continuing support of the Student Government Program.

. . . IAPD Action Bulletin regarding the governor’s proposal to eliminate funding of open lands acquisitions.

President Wolff inquired if this proposal would impact the $2 million grant authorized by the Department of Natural Resources for the Mallinckrodt property. Director Porter explained that the grant was approved as part of the 2003 budget so that it should still be forthcoming.

Commissioner Carlson reported that a resident had contacted her expressing concerns with the appearance of the Keay Nature Center. The resident feels that since it is a nature center, the appearance should be more natural and less formal.

Director Porter explained that the entrance of the Keay Nature Center is somewhat groomed and a little more formal. However, the area further back is in keeping with the natural environment and is appropriate for a nature center.

There was also discussion about the tree planting program as there had been some questions by residents as to whether the program had been discontinued.

Director Porter explained that the program has not been discontinued. There is a waiting time of four years for Gillson Park plantings. However, trees can be planted at other park locations. Director Porter also noted that due to budgetary constraints this year, the Park District has ceased the matching fund program. If someone contributes $100.00 for a tree planting, a $100.00 tree will be planted. In the past, the Park District would have planted a $200.00 tree for a $100.00 donation.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,039,416.23, 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 February 16. At that time, the Committee reviewed a request from Links (North Shore Youth Health Service) to stage a battle of the bands at the Wallace Bowl on a Friday afternoon and/or evening in late May or early June. It was explained that this event has been held indoors at the Winnetka Community House in past years and attendance has been approximately 150 people. The group would like to improve the event by staging it outdoors and providing a picnic setting. Commissioner Carlson reported on the details of the request and noted that the Committee had expressed some concerns regarding the level of sound in the area and traffic concerns. It was agreed to evaluate the effect on the neighbors prior to making a decision. The Committee will make a decision for the March Committee meeting.

Director Porter noted that in conversations with several of the neighbors, strong concerns were expressed regarding this type of event being held at Gillson Park, mostly from a sound perspective.

Commissioner Carlson further reported that the Lakefront Manager had reported that there has been a great deal of winter use of the lakefront this year. The outdoor ice has been available for a long period of time and has been well used. In addition, there has also been a fair number of cross country skiers and joggers. It was noted that sailing lesson sessions for the summer are already filled and that registration for Aquatics Camps is down slightly, but is expected to increase before the start of camp sessions.

Commissioner Carlson stated that at the meeting, staff asked if the Committee had any problems with allowing the rental of Lakeview center until the start of camp in the early summer and after camps end in August. This would add about four weeks of time when additional income could be derived. After discussion, the Committee approved the extended rental time. In addition, staff reported that they plan to keep the concession stand at the beach open later on Friday and Saturday evenings to see if the teens who frequent the beach after it closes would purchase food or drinks. Commissioner Marcus suggested that perhaps some small scale entertainment, such as a steel band, could be provided some evenings at the beach to draw families. Staff agreed to look into that concept and see what costs would be.

Commissioner Carlson also reported that staff informed the Committee that they had been in discussions with School District #39 regarding mowing services provided by the Park District. The School District has requested that the Park District provide more landscaping services, including planting. Since the scope of work the School District is requesting requires more time than Parks staff can provide, it was agreed that the Park District will no longer charge the School District for the basic mowing services. This will free up funds for the School District to hire outside contractors to complete the extra landscaping work. In exchange for waiving the mowing fee, the School District will provide access to school facilities for adult programs at no charge.

Commissioner Carlson stated that staff had reported that they had been in contact with the Village regarding the dogs in the parks issue. The Village stated that they would enforce a dog on leash law if the Park District’s ordinance was changed to match the Village ordinance. Staff stated that Park District staff would assist with the enforcement of the revised ordinance. The Committee asked staff to develop a new ordinance patterned after the Village’s Ordinance for the Committee to review.

Director Porter recommended that if the Board agrees to change the ordinance, it would be a good idea to get public input and make sure that the community is aware of the changes before a final decision is made. He noted that currently there are two places where dogs are allowed off leash, namely, the dog beach at Gillson Park and the dog park at West Park. The dog beach is used much more than the West Park area.

Golf/Restaurant Operations - Committee Chair Crowley stated that the Committee had not met in February. He noted that due to spring break, the March meeting has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 20, which is one week earlier than usual. He added that the golf lottery will be held on March 13. He then asked Director Porter to report on the golf clubhouse situation.

Director Porter reported that negotiations with the insurance carrier are continuing, and are now well into the excess carrier level. One of the problems has been that the Park District does not have any of the original drawings or blueprints of the building so recreating and identifying what was lost and damaged has been a long, tedious process. Director Porter asked Superintendent Lambrecht to elaborate on this issue.

Superintendent Lambrecht stated that working on this project is almost a full time job at the present time. He reported that he has received a second round of estimates from the insurance adjuster, which was broken into two parts. The first part was a corrected estimate of the items lost or damaged, and the second estimate is supposed to include code upgrades. Superintendent Lambrecht noted that he and the adjuster went through another long list of questions which was generated by the second estimate and he feels that now the adjuster does have a somewhat better idea of what should be covered in the settlement. However, there are still many questions to be answered. He continues to work with W.B. Olson to cross check some of the estimates.

Director Porter reported that the 2004 golf season is rapidly approaching and improvements are being made in the temporary structures which will be in place for the entire 2004 season. The tents have been removed and will be replaced with trailers. There will be one trailer designated for food services purposes. This will allow any golf events to have an inside space for the food service portion of an outing. In addition, there will be a locker room trailer divided into sections for men and women. There will also be some day lockers. Director Porter felt that these two improvements will be much appreciated by the golf users. The trailers will also provide a safe shelter in the event of a storm. In addition, a small trailer will be rented to serve as the food service operation this year. Director Porter also noted that due to nice weather, the driving range was open the last weekend in February and generated about $1,000 in revenue.

Centennial Operations - Committee Chair Cohen stated that the Committee met on February 9. At that time Tennis Manager Ray Bachmann reported that the tennis lottery brochure was due to be mailed out on February 12 and that informational postcards will be sent to neighboring communities. The deadline for returning reserved time lottery applications is April 7 with court selection scheduled for April 24. Mr. Bachmann also reported that mid winter lesson registration totals 845 students and that summer tennis camp enrollment currently totals 157.

Commissioner Cohen further reported that Ice Manager Terry Juliar noted that the second session of learn-to-skate lessons has 832 skaters enrolled and that Saturday class enrollment alone totals 290 skaters. Mr. Juliar also reported that ice show registration now totals 203 skaters, that two new skating professionals have been hired, and that packets will be mailed out mid February for the summer competitive skating program.

Commissioner Cohen also reported that Commissioner O’Malley had been contacted by some of the user groups at Centennial Ice requesting either the expansion of the studio rink or that another full size sheet of ice be added. Commissioner O’Malley stated that he informed the groups that they could demonstrate the need for additional ice by indicating the amount of additional time they would be willing to purchase. He explained that he also informed the groups that at this time, the Park District is not in a financial position to cover the cost of construction, which is estimated at $5 to 5.5 million and that private funding would be required for any ice expansion. Commissioner Cohen added that Ice Manager Terry Juliar was authorized to contact the major ice user groups to secure information as to the amount of additional ice time to which they would be willing to commit. At the committee meeting, Director Porter and Commissioner O’Malley were authorized to meet with interested parties to discuss the private funding of a new or remodeled facility.

MALLINCKRODT PROPERTY

Director Porter reported that he had received a letter from several Wilmette Avenue neighbors inviting the Park District to send a representative to a neighborhood meeting on March 13. He explained that Ronald Knox Montessori School, which currently leases property from the Sisters of Christian Charity adjacent to the open land portion of the Mallinckrodt property, owns four homes along Wilmette Avenue. These homes are being held in the event that Ronald Knox chooses to enlarge and relocate to a different site. Director Porter stated that he had contacted Mary Karon Dash, the writer of the letter, to inquire as to why the Park District was invited to this meeting. Ms. Dash informed him that in conversations with Ronald Knox representatives, she was advised that the School would like to consider purchasing some of the Mallinckrodt property for improvements and enlargement of their building. Director Porter noted that this is a issue that has been brought up on numerous occasions at the Mallinckrodt hearings, but has never been formally discussed. He explained that he had indicated to Ms. Dash that the Park District has not had formal discussions with Ronald Knox about the sale of any property.

After Board discussion, Director Porter was asked to write a letter to Ms. Dash notifying her that there are no negotiations with Ronald Knox Montessori School for purchase of any Mallinckrodt property. It was agreed that it was not necessary for a Park District representative to attend the meeting.

 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Porter reported that the sailing lottery had taken place the previous weekend. There was a good turnout, which was about the same as last year. There are still some spaces available for Hobies and catamarans.

Director Porter also reported that the deadline for the golf lottery was on February 29. The numbers should be the same as last year with perhaps a few more groups. The lottery will be held at the CRC on the morning of Saturday, March 13.NEW BUSINESS:Commissioner Marcus referred to a letter received from the Village of Wilmette regarding the responsibilities of the Appearance Review Commission. He noted that currently the Park District and all units of local government are exempt from the Appearance Review Commission process, and he is concerned with some of the changes that are being proposed which could impact on the Park District and create another layer of the zoning process for the District. He noted that this issue arose because of the plans for the Manor Care Health Facility to expand their facilities and it was discovered that the plans were not subject to the appearance review process. The Park Board acknowledges the requirements to follow the zoning regulations but appearance review has no zoning implications. Commissioner Marcus also expressed concerns about an appointed commission having the authority to review decisions made by an elected board.

Director Porter explained that the Park District is subject to the Village’s Zoning Ordinance, which includes some special regulations regarding units of local government. The Park District has gone through the zoning process on several occasions, and special use rules include presumptions in favor of the units of government as long as some special conditions, such as public hearings with the neighborhood, have been met. Director Porter noted that If the authority of the appointed Appearance Review Commission were to be expanded as outlined in the letter, Park District structures, parks, and playgrounds could be subject to the Appearance Review process. From a staff perspective, there seems to be a clear distinction between private institutional use and governmental use. He pointed out that all parks, playgrounds or any proposed structures go through a rigorous review by the elected Park Board prior to being reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals and subsequently, the Village Board.

After Board discussion, it was agreed to send a letter to the President of the Village Board voicing concerns about expanding the Village of Wilmette’s Appearance Review Commission role to include units of local government.

 

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to appoint Jeffrey Ring to the Advisory Board of the North Shore Theater of Wilmette for a two year term expiring on March 31, 2006.

Director Porter noted that the North Shore Theater Advisory Board is required to have a majority of Wilmette residents, and Mr. Ring is a Wilmette resident.

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

 

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Marcus 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.

The meeting was adjourned to executive session at 8:20 p.m.

 

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 8:38 p.m.

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to increase the Director’s compensation by two percent of his base salary.

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

 

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:39 p.m.

 

Minutes approved April 12, 2004