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, FEBRUARY 10, 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, Phyllis Cossarek, Jim Crowley, David Miller, Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Terry Porter, Treasurer/Business Manager George Kush

 

VISITORS: Student Government Participants, Jane Jacobson Brown (Wilmette League of Women Voters), Nell Cunningham (Marie Murphy Junior High), Gail Schechter (MUM), Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Cossarek moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 13, 2003 Regular Board Meeting.

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

 

COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE:

President Marcus acknowledged receipt of the following:

. . . E-mail dated February 4, 2003 from Tom Bonnie, 411 Vista Drive regarding the issue of identity theft with reference to the Park District registration system.

President Marcus referred the correspondence to the Financial Planning & Policy Committee.

. . . Letter to Commissioner Carlson dated February 5, 2003 from David M. Limardi, City Manager, City of Highland Park regarding the January 18, 2003 meeting relative to the Illinois Shoreline Erosion Interim IV Project.

It was noted that Commissioner Carlson would report on this issue later in the meeting.

President Marcus stated that correspondence received regarding the Mallinckrodt property would be acknowledged during the Mallinckrodt section of the agenda.

 

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

President Marcus stated that tonight marks the kick-off of the 32nd annual Student Government Program, and that the Park District is once again being represented by students from Avoca School District #37 Marie Murphy Junior High School. He added that this event is sponsored by the Wilmette League of Women Voters. President Marcus stated that the League does an excellent job of putting this program together every year, giving students the opportunity of seeing local government in action. By participating in this program, the students learn about current issues affecting the community, and have the opportunity to present and discuss projects of interest to them.

President Marcus introduced Jane Jacobson Brown of the Wilmette League of Women Voters.

Ms. Jacobson thanked the Park Board and Park District staff for their continuing support of the Student Government Program. She stated that this program, which is in its 32nd year, has been very successful in giving students the opportunity to learn about how their local governments operate. Ms. Jacobson then introduced Nell Cunningham, who is the teacher in charge of the program at the Junior High.

Ms. Cunningham thanked the League of Women Voters for sponsoring this excellent program and the Park District for their cooperation and support. She added that she appreciates the outstanding help received by Director Porter and his staff in organizing the program and working with the students to formulate their projects.

Ms. Cunningham introduced the Marie Murphy Junior High students who are the 2003 Student Government Program participants representing the Park District.

Elected Officials:

Board President David Sugtipibul Commissioner Nichole Rovner

Board Vice President Shannon Keleher Commissioner Julia Stowell

Commissioner Libby Strobel Commissioner John Christopoulos

Commissioner Sohaib Qadri

 

Appointed Officials:

Director of Parks and Recreation Nick Matchen

Superintendent of Parks & Planning Emily Regan

Superintendent of Leisure Services Rita Strang

Business Manager Jenna Allen

Community Center Director Laura Swetin

Lakefront Director Carly Cohen

Ice/Pool Manager Elora Apantaku

Tennis Manager Shaani Applebaum

Director Porter administered the oath of office to the students.

President Marcus thanked the students for participating in the program and wished them well. He noted that presently the Park District is involved in the issue of the Mallinckrodt property and there will be much community discussion regarding use of the open space in the coming months.

Director Porter stated that the students have already had their first workshop and they are a very enthusiastic group. He feels that this year’s program will be educational and fun for all involved.

 

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $872,408.81, 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, Cossarek, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, Wolff; voting No -- None. Motion carried.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Financial Planning and Policy -- Committee Chair Miller reported that the Committee met immediately prior to the Board meeting to discuss two major issues.

The Committee reviewed the current policy with respect to students who attend Districts 37 or 39 schools, but do not live within the corporate boundaries of the Village. Requests have been received from two parents of students who attend parochial schools and are residents of District 37 or 39 to allow them to participate in Wilmette Park District programs at resident rates. Current policy does not consider these students as residents of the Wilmette Park District as it does those non resident children who attend District 37 or 39 schools. The policy has been that since there is reciprocity with Districts 37 and 39 for use of their facilities by the Park District, and since these children probably associate with students who use the Wilmette Park District programs, they are eligible for resident fees for Park District programs while they are in the primary school system. Commissioner Miller stated that after reviewing the issue, it is the Committee’s recommendation that all children in grades Kindergarten through 8, who live in District 37 or 39, should be eligible for the resident fee regardless of what schools they attend since these families pay taxes to Wilmette school districts. A recommendation for formal approval of this policy change on a one year trial basis will be presented for approval at the March Board meeting.

Commissioner Miller further reported that the Committee reviewed the refinancing of the $4.5 million taxable debt certificate which was used to buy the Mallinckrodt building. The District’s financial consultant recommends that these certificates be issued with a February 5, 2005 due date with a one year early call provision in the event that the building is sold to a developer prior to February 1, 2004. Commissioner Miller asked Mr. Eric Anderson of the Harris Bank to explain the details of the issue.

Mr. Anderson noted that this issue has an excellent rate of 2.3%. It is slightly less than a two year issue, but as Commissioner Miller noted, has a one year call provision. This issue, which will be closed on February 14th, will pay for the certificate on February 15th and also includes payment of the issuance costs. He added that since the interest rate is so low, the issue is slightly less than originally anticipated.

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2003-O-4, AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AND PROVIDING FOR A REFUNDING LOAN AGREEMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF REFUNDING AN OUTSTANDING INSTALLMENT PURCHASES AGREEMENT OF THE DISTRICT, DATED THE 15TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER 2002, AND AUTHORIZING PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUE OF $4,820,000 TAXABLE GENERAL OBLIGATION REFUNDING DEBT CERTIFICATES (LIMITED TAX), SERIES 2003, EVIDENCING THE RIGHTS TO PAYMENT UNDER SUCH REFUNDING LOAN AGREEMENT, PRESCRIBING THE DETAILS OF THE REFUNDING LOAN AGREEMENT AND CERTIFICATES, AND PROVIDING FOR THE SECURITY FOR AND MEANS OF PAYMENT UNDER THE REFUNDING LOAN AGREEMENT FOR THE CERTIFICATES as recommended by the Financial Planning & Policy Committee.

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

 

Parks and Recreation - Committee Chair Wolff reported that the Committee met on January 20th. After reviewing a memo from staff, discussion was held regarding the Centennial Community Garden Plots. Staff reported that there are currently twelve vacant plots. The Committee agreed that gardeners should be asked if they would like to relocate to different plots and then sell the remainder of the plots or consolidate them if entire rows remain empty. In addition, it was agreed that renewals will include wording that the renewal guarantees use of the plot for only the current season. It was also agreed that if no gardeners relocate, the remainder of the plots would be sold.

Commissioner Wolff further reported that the Committee discussed Nicor’s use of Lakeview Center as its headquarters during the recent gas crisis affecting Wilmette and Evanston, the sailing lottery, the use of the outdoor ice rink at Gillson Park, and registration for Aquatics Camp and sailing lessons.

Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Carlson seconded a motion to approve the bids of Modern Screen, Chicago, IL in the amount of $1,431.00, K & M Team Outfitters, Highland Park, IL in the amount of $225.00, Score, American Soccer, Wilmington, CA in the amount of $9,929.70, and Windy City Sportswear, Chicago, IL in the amount of $7,129.00 for a total of $18,714.70 to supply sports uniforms.

Director Porter explained that this bid recommendation is for a variety of Park District tee shirts and uniforms. The bid document was structured to allow for the low bidder to be picked for each individual item. Therefore, there are recommendations for four different vendors. Director Porter added that the recommendations for camp tee shirts will be submitted to the Board for approval at a later date.

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

 

Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Carlson seconded a motion to approve Policy 2003-P-1, Lakeview Center Alcoholic Beverage Policy.

Commissioner Wolff explained that Lakefront Manager Betty Duguid has received several requests to allow the serving of mixed drinks in addition to beer and wine at Lakeview Center for parties between Labor Day and Memorial Day. He stated that the Committee reviewed the current policy with respect to alcoholic beverages at Lakeview Center and is recommending a change in the policy. Currently distribution of alcoholic beverages is limited to beer and wine. Commissioner Wolff stated that the Committee recommends that this limitation be lifted and that the policy allow distribution of any type of alcoholic beverage. All other provisions of the policy, including prohibition of alcoholic beverages during the summer months and the prohibition against the sale of alcoholic beverages, are recommended to be retained.

Superintendent Grisamore stated that he felt the change in policy could result in an approximately twenty percent increase in party bookings at Lakeview Center.

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

 

Centennial Operations - Committee Chair Carlson reported that the Committee met on January 27th. The non resident fee structure for Centennial Pool was discussed. It was agreed that the non-resident daily admission fee of $12.00 is fair and is in line with fees charged at other pools in the area. It was also felt that the new $7.50 fee for guests of Wilmette residents, which was recently adopted by the Board, addresses the concerns expressed by some residents in recent months.

Commissioner Carlson further reported that Superintendent Grisamore reported on a discussion with a resident who was unhappy that public lap swimming would not be allowed between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. during the learn to swim lesson program. It was allowed last year during that time on a trial basis and did not work out. There is a need for additional pool wall space for the young swimmers during their swim lessons. The Committee agreed with staff to eliminate the lap swimming during this time period. However, staff was directed to watch registration closely, and if numbers are low for the first session or the last session, lap swimmers could be allowed to perhaps use two or three middle lanes in the 50 meter pool.

 

MALLINCKRODT PROPERTY:

President Marcus acknowledged the following correspondence:

. . . E-mail dated February 5, 2003 from Laura Polkoff, 1514 Lake Ave. expressing concerns about a high density development at Mallinckrodt, which would change the character of the community. She also stated that she had assumed that the referendum was for the development of open space only.

. . . E-mail dated January 14, 2003 from Steven Ducommun expressing concerns that the Park District is acting as a conduit for developers regarding the use of the Mallinckrodt Building for purposes other than a park. Mr. Ducommun contended that he and other Wilmette residents feel that the Park District and the Village have not been open and above board about the true plans for the Mallinckrodt property.

. . . E-mail dated January 29, 2003 from Nancy Young, 925 Lake Ave. stating that the Mallinckrodt process is being driven by various political groups with housing and other agendas, which in her opinion do not reflect the wishes of the majority of voters who voted for open land at Mallinckrodt.

. . . E-mail dated February 2, 2003 from Patricia Naughton,MD, 2030 Kenilworth Ave. expressing displeasure with the Village and Park District proposals for the Mallinckrodt site. She stated that the community has been deceived by the proposals for senior housing which could be subsidized and available to non residents and that property values in the neighborhood would be negatively impacted if these plans go through.

. . . E-mail dated January 14, 2003 from William M. Klein in favor of providing housing at Mallinckrodt not only for seniors, but also for the permanently disabled.

. . . E-mail dated January 27, 2003 from J.P. Perkins, 711 Ouilmette Lane stating that the voters of Wilmette were deceived by the language of the referendum and that she never would have voted for a high density use of the building as is currently proposed.

. . . E-mail dated January 19, 2003 from Nan and Dave Hoff, 2024 Greenwood supporting affordable senior housing at Mallinckrodt.

. . . Letter dated January 20, 2003 from Jean R. Cleland, 810 Forest Ave. expressing support for a mixture of seniors and younger persons paying for housing at both market-rate and affordable levels at Mallinckrodt.

. . . Letter dated January 17, 2003 from Sally Munley, 510 Washington Ave. encouraging the development of the Mallinckrodt building to be used as affordable housing for seniors, for people with disabilities, and for other residents with limited or reduced incomes.

. . . E-mail dated January 16, 2003 from Karen Currin, 2245 Birchwood Ave. stating that her questions regarding the Mallinckrodt project had not been answered at the January 13th Board Meeting.

. . . Letter dated January 16, 2003 from Karen Currin, 2245 Birchwood Ave. urging rejection of all proposals submitted for adaptive re-use of the Mallinckrodt building.

. . . Copy of letter dated January 27, 2003 from Village President Nancy Canafax to Karen Currin responding to Ms. Currin’s letter regarding rejection of all proposals for re-use of the Mallinckrodt building.

. . . E-mail dated February 10, 2003 from Michael and Pamela Gart stating that the Park District and the Village are pursuing the worst possible option for the Mallinckrodt building - high density, low income, multi-story housing and expressing concerns about property values in the neighborhood.

President Marcus recognized Gail Schechter, 2233 Lake Ave. who stated that she is a member of MUM as well as the Director of the Interfaith Housing Center of the North Shore. Ms. Schechter noted that there are 282 seniors in Wilmette between the ages of 65-74 who have incomes of less than $45,000 per year. In addition, there are 225 homeowners in Wilmette who are currently paying more than 35% of their income for housing. She feels that these figures make the case that there is a need for affordable and moderately priced housing in Wilmette.

there is no basis for the language he has been hearing from some residents that they were "deceived" by the referendum or that the process has "not been conducted in the open." President Marcus stated that the Village and the Park District will continue to work together in an open way and to take input from Wilmette residents and community groups, such as CALM and MUM, to find the most feasible re-use of the building which will benefit the community.

President Marcus explained that at this time, the Park District and the Village are seeking proposals which President Marcus stated that he has been disturbed by the tone of some of the communications which the Park District and the Village have been receiving regarding the Mallinckrodt property. He noted that when it was decided to place a referendum question on the March 19, 2002 ballot, there were several open meetings where the issue was discussed, which were broadcast on local access Cable TV, and the Park District sent a community-wide mailing to every Wilmette household regarding the details of the referendum. In addition, well before the referendum was passed, a town meeting was held by the Village, and it was indicated at that time by the Park District that if the referendum was successful, the Park District would work with the Village to seek a developer for the building, which would most likely be for some type of senior housing. President Marcus noted that during the entire process, there was discussion that the Village and the Park District would be looking at adaptive re-uses of the building which would best serve the community at Village and Park District Board meetings and at a special joint meeting of both boards which was held for the sole purpose of taking public comment. In addition, there have been numerous articles in the community newspapers about the Mallinckrodt issue and updates regarding what has been taking place with input from both the Park District and the Village. Therefore, outline specific criteria, including roughly 80% market rate units and 20% affordable units; housing for persons 62 years of age and older; retention of the building’s historic features; shared existing surface parking or underground parking; priority consideration in sales or rentals of affordable units to persons with a Wilmette connection; Park District and/or community use of a portion or portions of the building.

Commissioner Cohen stated that part of the communication problem seems to be the misinterpretation of the term "affordable housing", which some individuals seem to feel means "low income housing". She noted that 80% market rate and 20% affordable is not "low income housing".

Commissioner Carlson pointed out that if the Mallinckrodt building could be sold to a developer and turned into housing for seniors, with priority to Wilmette residents or relatives of Wilmette residents, the community would benefit in many ways. In addition to providing needed housing for an important segment of the Wilmette population, the sale of the building would bring down the cost of the property to the taxpayer and the building would be on the tax rolls for the first time, bringing in more revenue to the Village.

Commissioner Miller noted that Wilmette already has affordable senior housing and property values have not been adversely affected. He also noted that there are waiting lists for senior housing in Wilmette as many seniors would like to stay in the Village after selling their homes. He further stated that senior housing at the Mallinckrodt building would probably cause less congestion in the neighborhood than when the building was operated as a college with students constantly going in and out.

President Marcus concluded discussion by encouraging residents to keep informed of the process though watching meetings, reading the local newspapers, and visiting the Park District and Village websites. He stated that the Park District and Village continue to welcome input from residents.

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to authorize the Director to sign the appropriate documents accepting a State of Illinois Open Lands Trust Grant in the amount of $2 Million for a portion of the Mallinckrodt property.

Director Porter explained that in August of 2002, the Board authorized the submission of a grant application to the Department of Natural Resources encompassing 5.22 acres of open space at Mallinckrodt. The Park District was informed in December that the DNR has granted the maximum amount of money available from the Open Lands Trust Program, which is $2 million. Director Porter noted that this acreage must be maintained as open space, and the location that was chosen has the majority of the mature trees on the property. He added that this will leave approximately 8 acres of land for unrestricted development of park land even if the building remains.

President Marcus commended Director Porter and his staff for doing an excellent job on the grant application.

Commissioner Miller stated that the District is also grateful to State Senator Jeff Schoenberg and State Representative Elizabeth Coulson for their help in obtaining this grant.

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

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Carlson reported that she had attended the Illinois Shoreline Erosion Interim IV Project meeting, which was held in Highland Park on January 18th. There was a report by the Project Manager of the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the background and conclusions of the study It was noted that the Army Corps had tested several methods for dealing with the erosion problem and found that the combination stable submerged berm/reshaping berm was the preferred alternative. Commissioner Carlson noted that at the present time, the study requires an additional $100,000 to conclude the Cost Benefit Analysis. The Project Manager explained that the initial analysis had found that the costs were greater than the benefits and therefore, according to federal standards would not permit the implementation of the study. The Army Corps would like to investigate construction alternatives and re-examine benefits to find a more favorable outcome. It is felt that with a positive cost benefit analysis, the Army Corps may be able to proceed to implementation of the project.

Commissioner Carlson added that concerns with the lack of progress on the report were expressed by Ed Kelly, an aide to Congressman Mark Kirk, who supports the project. Mr. Kelly stated that he would send a letter to the Army Corps requesting further explanation on the lack of progress of the project. The meeting concluded with the suggestion that another meeting be held in 60 days.

Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cossarek seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2003-R-1, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A REQUEST TO INTERVENE IN A PENDING ASSESSMENT APPEAL (KATHERINE CHEIFITZ, WILMETTE, IL).

Director Porter explained that this is a property tax assessment appeal for a private residence in the community. He noted that the Park District currently participates in an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Wilmette, School District 37, and New Trier High School District 203 in authorizing requests to intervene in pending assessment appeals.

Commissioner Wolff expressed some concern regarding the Park District intervening in an appeal for a private residence.

Director Porter explained that this is a rather significant piece of property and reductions in the assessment could negatively impact other taxpayers.

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

 

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to adjourn to executive session for discussion of the compensation and performance of a specific employee of the District in accordance with Section 2(c)(1) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

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

 

The meeting adjourned to executive session at 8:50 p.m.

 

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 9:30 p.m.

 

Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Cossarek seconded a motion to authorize an adjustment to the Director’s compensation of a $5,000 base salary increase, a $7,500 bonus, and a loan reduction of $6,600.

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

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:31 p.m.

 

 

Minutes approved on March 10, 2003