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, AUGUST 11, 2003

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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: Ralph McKee, Raymond G. Hart, Gail Schechter (MUM)

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Carlson seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of July 14, 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 August 1, 2003 from Margaret McIntyre-Farina, 1136 Central Ave. commending the Centennial Ice Rink and skating programs, Gymnastics Camp, the Soccer program, the Aquatics Camp, and Park District staff. Ms. McIntyre praised the Park District operation stating that her family has had an abundance of great learning and recreation experiences and stated that the Wilmette Park District is a model of excellence.

President Marcus noted that Ms. McIntyre-Farina is a former member of the District 39 School Board. He added that the Board members and Park District staff are very appreciative of her comments and pleased that her family has been able to take advantage of so many Park District offerings.

. . . Letter dated August 2, 2003 from Colette I. Cooper, President of the Wilmette Arts Guild seeking permission to use the north part of Hibbard Park for the Guild’s 2004 Festival of Fine Arts on July 17-18, 2004, and thanking the Park District for use of the park this year.

President Marcus stated that he saw no reason why the Park District could not accommodate the Wilmette Arts Guild again next year. He noted that he had attended the art show this year and had found it to be excellent.

. . . Letter dated July 17, 2003 to Golf Manager Dennis Callaghan from Michael F. Harris thanking him and the golf staff for providing an excellent outing for Indian Chief Day, especially in light of the fact that the event took place a few days after the fire at the golf course.

. . . IAPD Legislative Update dated August 6, 2003 regarding Park District and Forest Preserve Legislation.

. . . Letter dated August 10, 2003 from members of MUM (Mixed Use for Mallinckrodt) regarding the plans for the Mallinckrodt Building.

President Marcus noted that this issue would be addressed during the Mallinckrodt portion of the agenda later in the meeting.

President Marcus stated that several e-mails and letters had been received regarding suggestions and recommendations for the rebuilding/repair of the golf course clubhouse. He noted that all correspondence has been reviewed by the Golf/Restaurant Operations Committee and has been presented to the entire Board. He acknowledged the correspondence as follows:

. . . E-mail dated August 11, 2003 from William Ballantyne.

. . . E-mail dated August 11, 2003 from Sue Lies, President of Wil-Tags.

. . . Letter dated August 11, 2003 from Barbara & James Marran, 125 4th Street.

. . . E-mail dated August 11, 2003 from R.J. McKee, 235 Ridge Road.

. . . E-mail dated August 6, 2003 from Danny Healy.

. . . E-mail dated August 7, 2003 from Greenman.

. . . E-mail dated August 6, 2003 from Margaret Cornell, 1119 Central Ave.

. . . E-mail dated August 65, 2003 from Tom Bonnie, 411 Vista Drive.

President Marcus noted that Mr. Bonnie has graciously volunteered to work with a committee to obtain feedback from the public.

. . . E-mail dated August 6, 2003 from David Tyson, 111 Linden Ave.

. . . Letter dated July 28, 2003 from Jim Ford, 1630 Sheridan Road.

. . . E-mail dated August 7, 2003 from William Weaver, 834 Lake Ave.

 

. . . Letter dated August 11, 2003 from David Kreitzler, Ouilmette Men’s Club.

President Marcus noted that Mr. Kreitzler is a board member of the Ouilmette Men’s Club and is co-chairing a committee to work with the Park District on recommendations for the clubhouse.

 

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

President Marcus recognized Ralph McKee, 235 Ridge Road, who stated that he has been a user of the Wilmette Golf Course since 1974. Mr. McKee explained that his father was a New York City fireman so he knows quite a bit about firefighting. He noted that the first approach to working on a fire in a building is to attempt to save the building and save lives of anyone who might be in the building. This is called the offense mode. However, if necessary, the tactic must be switched to defense to save the firemen from injury or loss of life. During the course of the recent fire at the golf course, a member of the Park District staff who was working with the firemen advised the Fire Chief of the delicate nature of an area of the flooring in the clubhouse and the possibility of a cave-in. At that point, the firemen changed the entire operation to one of defense and got the firemen out of harm’s way. Mr. McKee stated that in his opinion, Superintendent Bill Lambrecht, the staff member to whom he was referring, is a hero and is responsible for saving lives. He wanted to acknowledge Bill Lambrecht’s efforts and offer the thanks of the community.

President Marcus thanked Mr. McKee for his recognition of Superintendent Lambrecht. He stated that the entire Board, as well as the Park District staff, holds Bill in the highest esteem and appreciates all the outstanding work he does on all Park District projects. He cited the construction of the new aquatic facility as an example. President Marcus added that Bill’s extraordinary efforts with reference to the recent fire at the golf course are very much appreciated.

 

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,694,984.75, 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 July 17th. A letter from Mary O’Reilly regarding providing dog waste disposal bags at all parks was reviewed. It was agreed that since the current ordinance prohibits dogs from being in the parks of Wilmette other than the dog beach and the area at West Park, there is no need for the dispensers. However, if the ordinance should be changed, these dispensers will be provided at all parks. The Committee also reviewed a suggestion form submitted by a resident regarding charging admission for Wallace Bowl programs. After some discussion, the Committee agreed that this would not be feasible.

Commissioner Carlson further reported that the Committee reviewed a request from Aaron Schiff to allow Kite-boarding at the sailing beach in the evening during the week. He described the sport in detail to the Committee, and the Committee’s safety concerns were explained to Mr. Schiff. Staff was directed to contact some of the other beaches where this sport is allowed to find out how safety is handled and what their rules are. Staff will do more research on the activity and come back with some recommendations as part of the Lakefront Report in the fall. In the meantime, Kite-boarding will not be allowed at Gillson Beach.

Commissioner Carlson noted that Recreation General Manager Kathy Bingham and Lakefront Manager Betty Duguid both reported that the camp programs have been running extremely well this year with very few problems. There have been some problems with fee collection and staff is looking at alternatives for fee payment.

Commissioner Carlson also reported that Elliot Schiff inquired as to why the hours at the dog beach are so restrictive. Staff explained that the hours were expanded after the first year and that the dog beach is open all day prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day. The dog beach is closed during the middle of the day during the week because of Aquatics Camp being in the same general area, and on weekends because of the heavy use of the park and proximity to the picnic area.

Golf/Restaurant Operations -- Committee Chair Crowley reported that the Committee met on July 26th. There were a number of interested people in attendance with regard to the clubhouse/restaurant fire. The Committee set a schedule for two public hearings, the first which was held immediately prior to tonight’s meeting. The second hearing will be held on Saturday, August 23rd at the golf course. Commissioner Crowley encouraged all interested parties to attend the meeting and share their comments and suggestions. He noted that approximately 50 people attended tonight’s public hearing and most of them did comment on what they would like to see in a new golf clubhouse. He stated that the Park District is very eager to hear from all those who have recommendations for replacement/repair of the clubhouse, and that the Board and staff are working towards turning the negative of the fire into a positive with a facility that will meet the needs and wishes of the community.

Commissioner Crowley noted that work is continuing with the insurance adjuster and that insurance reimbursements will be coming through four distinct areas, which are replacement of the south half of the clubhouse, repair expenses for the clubhouse portion on the north side of the fire wall, reimbursement for building contents lost as a result of the fire, and business interruption insurance. He explained that Park District staff has completed the inventory of all the contents of the building, and has been working with W. B. Olson, Williams Architects, and a structural engineer to provide cost estimates on replacement of the south half and repair to the north half of the clubhouse.

Director Porter added that staff will be meeting on Tuesday, August 12th with the insurance adjuster regarding cost estimates, and he anticipates that at that time, there will be a good indication of how negotiations will go. In response to a question from Commissioner Carlson regarding his position on the PDRMA Board possibly putting him in a difficult situation, Director Porter responded that he anticipates that there will be no problem as PDRMA will be working with the insurer on the Park District’s behalf as negotiations move forward.

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the quote of Lenny Hoffman Excavating, Wilmette, IL in the amount of $29,980.00 to provide demolition and haul away services for the south half of the Golf Course Clubhouse which was destroyed by fire.

Director Porter explained that this represents demolition of only the south portion of the structure. Authorization from the Village to proceed with demolition has been received, and the District is awaiting final approval from PDRMA pending the outcome of the cause and origin investigation and verification of the building contents. Director Porter stated that it is recommended that nothing be done to the north half of the building until there is an agreement on the amount of money that will be received from insurance. He also noted that it would be premature to make a final decision on that portion of the building before the public hearings are completed. In response to a question, Director Porter stated that clearance to proceed with the demolition of the south half of the building should be received from PDRMA and the Fire Department within a week to ten days, and demolition will take one week.

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

Commissioner Crowley stated that is a pleasure to see how supportive the community has been and it is gratifying to see the process working so well.

President Marcus thanked the Golf/Restaurant Operations Committee for the excellent work they have been doing with regard to this situation.

Centennial Operations -- Committee Chair Cohen reported that the Committee met on July 14th. At that time, a letter from Carol Callahan relative to her objection to the $10.00 replacement fee for lost pool photo ID cards was reviewed. Staff outlined the steps that had been taken to inform customers to save their photo ID cards. It was noted that renewal information was mailed to each pass holder in February 2003 and the replacement fee was waived until May 23rd. After discussion, the Committee agreed to review the issue at the end of the season for possible modifications next season.

Commissioner Cohen further reported that the Committee heard managers’ reports. Pool Manager Terry Juliar reported that all technical aspects of the pool are working well, swim lessons are going well, and the pool scored a 98% on the first lifeguard audit. Tennis Manager Ray Bachmann reported that he had heard many positive comments about the opening of the tennis courts at Thornwood Park and that the summer tennis camps have been going well with registration being up almost four percent.

Commissioner Cohen stated that staff reported that two lanes in the middle of the 50 meter pool have been opened for lap swimmers from 9:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. This additional lap swimming time addresses the concerns which were expressed by certain lap swimmers.

 

MALLINCKRODT BUILDING:

President Marcus noted that earlier in the meeting he had acknowledged a letter received from MUM (Mixed Use for Mallinckrodt) expressing concerns about the plans for the Mallinckrodt Building. He stated that even though it has been reiterated on numerous occasions, he feels that he must again stress that the Park District, by law, cannot be involved in housing issues or subsidies with regard to affordability for senior housing. As has been indicated often during this process, the Park District’s mission is to provide recreation and open space opportunities for the community. As part of the adaptive re-use process for the Mallinckrodt building, criteria were established which would be pertinent to the Park District’s mandate for development of park land. President Marcus listed the four criteria as follows: 1) Compatibility with the neighborhood, 2) Compatibility with the park land, 3) Community access to portions of the building, and 4) Value to the community, which would include purchase price. He noted that as far as the Park District is concerned, these criteria have been met in the proposals that the Village is considering. The type of housing units, the number of market rate versus affordable units, etc. are issues that must be addressed by the Village Board and are not in the purview of the Park District.

President Marcus stated that the Village has indicated that they would like to proceed with negotiations with the Oculus/Pickus group to develop condominiums in the Mallinckrodt building. The Park District interview team has met with the financial consultant. He is preparing options which should soon be available for presentation to the Village. Both the Village and the Park District would like to proceed with the development of the Mallinckrodt building as soon as possible, and the Park District is anxious to begin public hearings on the development of the park land.

Commissioner Carlson moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to appoint the Park Board President, the Chair of the Real Estate Committee, the Director of Parks and Recreation and Park District Attorney, Charlene Holtz, to serve as the negotiating team for the sale of the Mallinckrodt building to the Village of Wilmette.

President Marcus explained that the Park District attorney recommended that the interview team be converted into a negotiating team for the transfer of the Mallinckrodt building to the Village in accordance with the Local Government Property Transfer Act.

Commissioner O’Malley inquired as to whether the Park District negotiates only with the Village or also with the developer.

President Marcus explained that procedurally, the Park District would sell the property to the Village, and the Village, as a home rule unit of government, would sell the property to the developer.

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

 

Director Porter noted that the Village has indicated a desire to come to an agreement with a purchaser by mid October of 2003. If an agreement is reached, the Park Board would have to pass an ordinance authorizing the conveyance of the property to the Village. Once an agreement is reached, there are several steps which would be required for the developer and the Village, including revisions to the Zoning Ordinance to allow the retention of this building within the Zoning District, and the developer would have to go through the zoning process itself. Director Porter stated that It is important to move quickly to take advantage of the existing interest rate market. Also, it is important to remember that the Park District has a deadline of January 2005 for the maturity of the taxable debt certificates which were issued in anticipation of the possible conveyance of the building to the Village.

 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Porter reported that camp programs have worked out very well this year with no major problems and have shown a very positive financial picture. Unfortunately, the District is experiencing one of the worst summers in recent memory with respect to pool and beach operations. It has been generally cool and there have been many major storms which have affected operations. There have also been many days of the water being closed at the beach due to high bacteria counts. As a result, there is a definite decrease in daily fee revenue at both of the lakefront and the pool.

Commissioner Wolff pointed out that there has been a decrease in membership at the Fitness Center, mostly due to the opening of Lifetime Fitness, which also has an economic impact.

Director Porter noted that the Financial Planning Committee will be meeting the end of August to review the first six months financials and to begin the budget process for 2004.

Director Porter referred to a letter from the Illinois Association of Park Districts discussing Senate Bill 1881, which was passed in the Illinois Legislature this spring and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. He explained that over the past several years, the needs of the special recreation area have been rapidly exceeding the District’s current funding ability. Unlike Park District programs where additional participation means increased revenue and an improved bottom line, the special recreation participant requires a great deal of special care and much more staff involvement. Therefore, increased participation means increased subsidies, which is especially true as there are increasing numbers of medically fragile individuals enrolled in Park District programs. Director Porter noted that while the special recreation levy is a very small component of the overall Park District levy, Senate Bill 1881, if approved by the Governor, will allow the District to levy a tax higher than the tax cap allows to provide special recreation programs.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to appoint Renee Schneider to the North Shore Theater Advisory Board for a term beginning immediately and expiring on March 31, 2005.

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 8:11 p.m.

 

Minutes approved on September 8, 2003