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, OCTOBER 13, 2003

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

VISITORS: Tom Balzer, Rita & Fred Balzer, John McGovern, Leila Winton, Mark Rolfes, Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of September 8, 2003.

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 Marcus acknowledged receipt of the following:

. . . Letter dated September 9, 2003 from Mary O’Reilly, 641 Romona Road expressing concerns about the rebuilding of the Terrace Restaurant.

. . . Letter dated September 11, 2003 from Robert D. McHugh, 412 Central Ave. regarding the selection process of an architect for the new golf course clubhouse construction.

. . . Letter dated September 15, 2003 from John N. Becker, 2717 Orchard Lane stating that he disagreed with Tom Bonnie’s negative statements at the August Board meeting regarding changes to the golf course, and praising Golf Manager Dennis Callaghan.

. . . Letter dated September 14, 2003 to Mark Rolfes from Anne & Tom Heynen, 2106 Beechwood Ave. thanking him for his position on requiring another referendum for the disposition of the Mallinckrodt Building.

. . . Letter and petition dated September 3, 2003 from the Tuesday League of the Women’s Suburban Golf Group requesting that league play at the golf course be extended through the end of September next year.

. . . Petition dated September 4, 2003 from the Wilmette Women’s Golf Association Thursday League requesting that league play at the golf course be extended through the end of September next year.

. . . Letter dated September 30, 2003 from June Pritchard, 4072 Bunker Lane requesting changes in the current "Unlimited Play" policy and the extension of league play through September beginning next season.

President Marcus noted that the Golf/Restaurant Operations Committee has scheduled the Annual Users Meeting for October 25, and the Committee has received copies of all correspondence pertaining to golf course issues.

. . . Letter dated September 22, 2003 from Mari Terman, President, League of Women Voters of Wilmette requesting that the Park District contribute $250.00 to help defray the cost of the annual Student Government Breakfast.

President Marcus noted that the request will be reviewed during the New Business portion of the meeting.

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

 

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2003-R-5. A RESOLUTION HONORING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF TOM BALZER.

 

President Marcus announced that Tom Balzer, a Special Olympics Gold Medal winner for Volleyball, was in attendance at the meeting. He noted that Tom has been a participant in the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) for several years and was chosen to be on the U.S.A. Volleyball team which competed in the International Special Olympic games in Dublin, Ireland and won the gold medal. President Marcus said that the citizens of Wilmette are very proud of Tom’s achievements, and the Wilmette Park District is very happy to have this opportunity to recognize Tom.

Director Porter explained that the Wilmette Park District is a founding member of NSSRA, which was formed over 30 years ago to provide recreational opportunities for people with special needs. One of the activities which is handled through NSSRA is the Special Olympics Program. Director Porter read Resolution 2003-R-5, stating that Tom Balzer, son of Fred and Rita Balzer of Wilmette, is a gifted athlete who excels in team sports, such as volleyball, softball and basketball, and has demonstrated sportsmanship in all sports by coaching younger players, encouraging those who make a mistake, and congratulating those who make a good play, whether on his team or not, which earns him the respect of teammates and opponents. The Resolution further stated that Tom Balzer demonstrated a skill in volleyball which qualified him as a star athlete, and he was selected to represent Illinois and the United States at the International Special Olympics competition in Dublin and returned from Ireland as a member of the gold medal winning volleyball team. The Resolution acknowledged and paid tribute to Tom Balzer on behalf of all Wilmette residents and extended sincere congratulations and respect for him.

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

On behalf of the Board and staff of the Wilmette Park District, President Marcus congratulated and wished Tom Balzer and his family well on future endeavors, and thanked them for attending the meeting.

President Marcus introduced John McGovern, Executive Director of NSSRA, who was in attendance to honor Tom Balzer and to update the Board on NSSRA.

Mr. McGovern gave a brief history of the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association explaining that the formation of the organization, an intergovernmental partnership of park districts and municipalities, began operations in I970 to serve people with disabilities, which reduced the cost for the taxpayer, enhanced programs for persons with disabilities and improved the ability to recruit and retain skilled therapeutic recreation professionals. He noted that at the present time, 164 Illinois communities participate in 25 agencies like NSSRA and the Wilmette Park District can take great pride in being one of the first to recognize the value of joining with neighboring communities to provide services for people with special needs.

Mr. McGovern noted that NSSRA began by offering recreation programs for children with disabilities and at the outset, the association primarily served people with cognitive impairments. However, as time passed, NSSRA began to provide programming for people with physical disabilities, behavioral disorders, sight impairments, deafness, and childhood psychiatric conditions. In the 1980’s, many of the young participants became adults and NSSRA began to serve people with health disorders associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Mr. McGovern added that the biggest change in service came in the mid 1990’s when more and more families of children with disabilities chose to register their children for Park District programs alongside others without disabilities. The inclusion process has radically changed planning, staff recruitment and training, budgeting and the allocation of staff resources. Mr. McGovern noted that this year there has been a 45% increase in inclusion placements in Wilmette Park District programs.

Mr. McGovern discussed some of the budgeting challenges which lie ahead and noted that more and more people with disabilities seek to participate in Wilmette Park District programs and services. He stated that whether these people choose inclusion or NSSRA programs, the projected growth is ten percent or more annually. He explained that the State of Illinois budget leaves little room to support new initiatives, but the General Assembly did direct the Department of Human Services to create a special recreation grant program. NSSRA is continuing its efforts to persuade the General Assembly to allow local entities like the Wilmette Park District to make funding decisions based on the community’s needs. Mr. McGovern thanked the Board for their support of NSSRA and stated that he looks forward to continuing to work together to serve Wilmette residents with special needs.

President Marcus thanked Mr. McGovern for his excellent presentation, and stated that the Wilmette Park District also looks forward to a continued association with NSSRA for the benefit of Wilmette citizens.

Mark Rolfes, 2240 Kenilworth Ave stated that he was in attendance with regard to the Mallinckrodt issue. He referred to his recent guest essay in the Wilmette Life, wherein he stated that the Park District was required to go to referendum prior to selling the Mallinckrodt building to the Village for sale to a developer. He also noted that in his opinion, there had not been sufficient public input by the community with regard to the disposition of the building. Mr. Rolfes cited sections of the Park District Code which he felt supported his premise and also stated that the Intergovernmental Property Transfer Act does not apply in this case as the Village of Wilmette does not plan a public use for the Mallinckrodt building. He also noted that by selling six acres of the property to a developer for approximately $3-4 million, the Park District would be taking a loss on the property as the purchase price paid by the District exceeded $1 million per acre. Mr. Rolfes advised the Board that he has a web site which includes a petition for the Park District to go to referendum and at this point, he has approximately 150 signatures. He indicated that he will be presenting the petition formally at the November Regular Board Meeting. He also encouraged the Board to make a public statement of whether there is a plan to hold another referendum before transferring the property to the Village.

President Marcus stated that he is appreciative of the fact that as a former commissioner, Mr. Rolfes has offered his input and has obviously done research on this issue. However, there are several points which can be disputed, and there is also some misinformation regarding certain facts. President Marcus noted that there will be a report and further discussion regarding the Mallinckrodt building later in the meeting, and he recommended that Mr. Rolfes stay for that portion of the meeting.

Commissioner Miller asked Mr. Rolfes what he would like to see done with the building if it is not sold for development of condos.

Mr. Rolfes responded that he did not have any specific use in mind, but had heard suggestions that the building be used as Village Hall and/or administrative offices for the Park District and perhaps even the School District. He had also heard suggestions of making the building a cultural center or for use for Park District programs. However, he had no personal opinion at this time as to a use for the building.

Commissioner Miller also noted that Mr. Rolfes stated that the Park District will be selling approximately six acres of the land to the Village and ultimately to the developer. It is more likely that only the two acre footprint of the building will be sold, which disputes the point that the Park District would be selling the land for less than was paid per acre.

Commissioner Wolff remarked that in his opinion, the Park District and the Village have thoroughly presented this issue to the citizens of Wilmette through the 2002 referendum, numerous public hearings, community-wide mailings, Village and Park District websites, and information published in various Park District and Village brochures and newsletters. Commissioner Wolff stated that there is a point where it is time to proceed, and he believes that time has come.

 

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Carlson seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $2,281,597.32, 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 September 15th. At that time, the Committee reviewed a request from Wilmette Youth Resources to have a movie night at Howard Park on Friday, October 3rd. It would be a PG-13 movie shown in the general area of the northern goalpost. After reviewing the request, the Committee did give permission to the group to show the movie. However, as it turns out, the event was rained out and the movie was shown indoors.

Commissioner Carlson further reported that the Committee discussed a request received by Commissioner Wolff for a boat launch ramp at Gillson Park. Staff reported that this idea has been investigated previously and there are some issues which have prevented the project from proceeding, such as parking, the cost of construction, and the provision of protection from wave action in the form of piers or jetties. After Committee discussion, it was agreed that the issue will be revisited after the golf course clubhouse issue is resolved.

Commissioner Carlson reported that John Walsh, Commissioner of the Wilmette Baseball Association, addressed the Committee and gave a brief overview of the history of the WBA beginning with its charter in 1951. This year, the organization celebrated the 50th anniversary of Roemer Park. They currently use ten Park District fields and one WBA field for their program and they thanked the Park District for the "best maintained fields" that they have seen as compared to other park districts on the North Shore. Commissioner Carlson noted that the WBA had a number of issues for discussion with the Committee regarding their needs for some additional fields, some reconfigurations, and some scheduling adjustments. The Committee agreed to several of the requests and agreed to review alternatives for reconfiguring or relocating the Pomona Field and for adding another Pinto Field.

 

Golf/Restaurant Operations: Committee Chair Crowley reported that the Committee will be meeting on Saturday, October 25th at which time the annual golf users meeting will be conducted. He asked Director Porter to update the Board on the golf clubhouse issue.

Director Porter reported that negotiations continue with the insurance adjuster regarding the damage to the golf clubhouse. He noted that the insurance adjuster has identified the entire north half of the clubhouse plus the kitchen and office areas located south of the brick wall as areas that could be repaired without building demolition. Director Porter explained that PDRMA’s obligations under the Park District’s insurance policy require either a complete rebuilding or reconstruction of the structure, whichever is less costly, and that replacement generally means restoring the building to like condition prior to the damage. Also, in order to receive an occupancy permit for any of the existing portions of the building, there will have to be compliance with all Village Building and Safety Codes as they exist today. Director Porter stated that the Village has retained outside architectural consultants and fire safety consultants to review the existing structure and identify what code upgrades would be required. Once the reports from the Village consultants are received, W.B. Olsen will prepare cost estimates to determine what the replacement or repair costs of the structure will be. At that point, a final settlement price and the scope of coverage will be negotiated with the insurance adjuster.

Director Porter noted that the insurance adjuster has given authorization for the demolition of the most heavily damaged portions of the restaurant section, and that this past week, Hoffman Excavating completed that demolition work. He added that the remaining sections of the restaurant site which are still standing have been sealed with waterproof coverings so that minimal additional damage to these areas will occur.

 

MALLINCKRODT PROPERTY:

Director Porter noted that at this point, the Park District is still in negotiations with representatives of the Village and Oculus/Pickus for the sale of the Mallinckrodt Building, and there are certain areas which are not yet ready for public disclosure. He reiterated the Park District’s guidelines which have been stated throughout the process: 1) Compatibility with the neighborhood; 2) Compatibility with the parkland; 3) Community access to portions of the building; and 4) Purchase price. Director Porter reviewed each of these guidelines as follows:

Compatibility with the neighborhood -- This is primarily an issue that will be reviewed as part of the zoning process. The developer has proposed 80-86 condominium units for persons 62 years of age and older. The Village has passed an ordinance requesting the conveyance of the Mallinckrodt Building and up to two additional acres of land to the Village of Wilmette to allow an adaptive re-use of the building consistent with the goals of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.

Compatibility with the parkland -- The Park District’s primary purpose has always been to maintain the open land that encompasses 13 of the 17 acres. In negotiations with Loyola, it was made very clear to the Park District that Loyola was not interested in selling a portion of the property. In the Village’s Request for Proposals seeking purchasers for the building, the conditions were that there is a willingness to sell the two acres on which the building sits plus a maximum of an additional two acres for parking. At this point, it is felt that the conveyance to the Village can be limited to only the land upon which the building sits, which would make the subsequent sale to Oculus/Pickus, approximately 2 acres in total.

One of the goals in this process was to maintain as much of the current look of the site as possible. The Park District’s voter information pieces leading up to the referendum stated that the Park District had no use for the entire building, but that there would be an attempt to save it for an adaptive re-use acceptable to the community. If it was determined that it was not economically feasible to reuse the building, the Park District would demolish the building and make the entire 17 acre site into parkland. The approved referendum amount of up to $25 million would not come close to the amount of money needed if the Park District wished to renovate the entire building for its own use. The Park District evaluated the feasibility of using the entire building for recreational uses and concluded there was not a need for an additional 170,000 square feet of program space. Further, parking requirements would have resulted in a dramatic loss of existing green space, not to mention a major increase in traffic in the neighborhood. It is estimated that renovation alone would probably be in excess of $20 million, which would necessitate another referendum seeking an additional $15 to $20 million.

Community access to portions of the building -- Negotiations with Oculus/Pickus continue on this point. While it is not feasible or desirable for the Park District to renovate the entire structure, it would be highly desirable to include Park District related activities within a limited portion of the building.

Purchase price - The Park District’s position has been consistently stated that the District will not subsidize any developer in the sale of the building. The Village also has noted that they are not in a position to provide any subsidy relating to adaptive re-use of the building. Therefore, the developer is expected to pay a purchase price that makes the Park District financially whole in all respects. The purchase price is still estimated to be in the $3 to $4 million range for the approximately 2 acres on which the building sits.

In summary, the potential sale of approximately two acres to the Village provides the following opportunities:

· Recouping $3-4 million of the purchase price of the property.

· Saving the taxpayers approximately $2 million in demolition expenses.

· No financial subsidy from the Park District or the Village of Wilmette.

· Preservation of the historic facade of the building on the Mallinckrodt property consistent with the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.

· Providing senior housing at the site consistent with the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.

· Retention of the maximum amount of green space possible on the property without removing the historic building.

· No impact to the schools in the community.

· For the first time, the building will be on the property tax rolls.

During Board discussion, President Marcus noted that the negotiating team will continue to negotiate with the developer for community access to areas of the building. He also commended Commissioner Miller for coming up with a creative idea regarding parking issues.

In response to a question from Commissioner O’Malley, Director Porter explained that negotiations are continuing between Oculus/Pickus and the Village, and the next step for the Park District will be to prepare a resolution approving the sale of the building to the Village. Director Porter noted that all contracts will be approved in public.

Director Porter reported that he had received a call from a resident regarding the two grottos which the Park District has to retain in order to receive the $2 million State grant. The resident was concerned that the Park District had not had enough discussion regarding Church/State issues. However, these grottos have been examined and do not contain any religious objects or have any religious significance.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

League of Women Voters’ Request -- Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve a contribution of $250.00 to the League of Women Voters Education Fund to help subsidize the cost of the annual Student Government Program Breakfast.

Director Porter explained that the League of Women Voters has sponsored the annual Student Government Program for over 30 years. In the past, the Park District has contributed financially to this event through providing breakfast for the students, counterparts, and local officials at the Terrace Restaurant at cost. As a result of the fire this year, the League will be using a different location and hiring an outside caterer to provide the breakfast. In order to help defray the cost of conducting this worthwhile event, the League has requested Wilmette’s units of local government to make $250.00 contributions.

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

IGCC Meeting Topics -- Director Porter reported that the Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee is scheduled to meet on November 6th. He asked for topics to be put on the agenda. It was agreed to place a Mallinckrodt update and a Golf Course Clubhouse update on the agenda. Director Porter stated that if any commissioners wanted additional topics, they should contact his office.

IAPD Business - Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to appoint Terrence C. Porter as Delegate and Richard H. Marcus as Alternate to represent the Wilmette Park District at the Illinois Association of Park Districts Annual Business Meeting scheduled for January 24, 2004.

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 8:40 p.m.

 

 

Minutes approved November 10, 2003