Date: April 19, 2010    Place: Park District Conference Room

Time: 6:15 p.m.

Commissioners:  Crowley; Miller; Graham; Murdock; Brault
Staff: Grisamore, Lambrecht; Bingham; Groves; Specht; Bowen; Wilson
Visitor: John Hoagland, Wilmette Wings     

Topics for Discussion:

1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Manager’s Reports
5) Wilmette Baseball Association
6) Wilmette Wings
7) Other Business
a) Permit Approvals
b) Paddle Tennis
c) Lakefront Predictive Modeling System
d) Indoor Lap Pool
8) Adjourn

Discussions/Decisions Made:

1) The meeting was called to order at 6:15 pm.

2) The Committee approved the minutes of March 8, 2010 by general consent.

3) Under Communications and Correspondence, Commissioner Brault stated he received a communication indicating that more promotion should be done for the football program before school with the intent of increasing participation. Staff stated that participation was down last year from the previous year but 2008 had the highest enrollment ever at 275. Staff added that participation was down for seventh and eighth graders and last year there were 220 participants. There are four or five teams in the house league and three travel teams (heavyweight, middle weight and lightweight).

4) Under Manager’s Reports, Holly Specht reported there are 27 more boaters signed up this season for the sailing beach than last season. There are now 165 catamarans and 222 board boats/windsurfers. The beach is currently being graded and staff is moving boats to facilitate the work. Lakeview rentals were good last month. All summer staff has been hired and dates have been set for orientation and training.

Jeff Groves reported there are currently 1,499 children enrolled in spring soccer. This number is typically lower than fall soccer because of other sports opportunities available such as baseball, softball, lacrosse, etc. Registration for fall soccer is currently underway. T-ball is doing very well with 394 enrolled (227 third and fourth graders and 167 fifth and sixth graders). The program began this past weekend on nine fields set up behind Highcrest School. Girls’ softball has 175 participants this spring. Lacrosse is another sport which is growing quickly with over 280 signed up this spring. The Spring Ballet Recital is May 8 at Regina Dominican. There are about 500 dancers and tickets went on sale today via on-line. Camp counselors are almost all hired. Jeff will meet with District 39 in the next week to receive room assignments for the summer at the schools. Commissioner Murdock asked how registration looks for camps. Staff replied that overall registrations are up but the budget book looks lower. By people utilizing RecTrac this year, they were able to make deposits and pay the bills over a period of time instead of having to pay the full amount all at once.

5) Executive Director Grisamore reported he had received the signed contract from the Wilmette Baseball Association (WBA) with the game schedules for the house league attached. They will provide the practice schedules soon but these are to be considered flexible based on the coaches’ availability. They will also provide the traveling schedules as soon as they are completed. Staff explained they had been contacted by Wilmette Baseball this spring about having a larger box for the Pomona Field. Staff had informed WBA that the box at Pomona was the same size as all of the other fields. After Wilmette Baseball inspected the boxes, they agreed the boxes were the same size. Staff also told the Committee there has been ongoing issues with locks on the boxes.

Last fall Parks staff checked all of the boxes, replaced missing locks and made sure they were locked. This spring a number of the locks were missing. The WBA told staff that their coaches were having a hard time with the locking systems on the boxes. They also asked to have hasps installed on all of the boxes. Park staff complied with their request and installed locks at all locations. However, some locks went missing again within a week. Superintendent Lambrecht informed the WBA that the locks should all be changed out with a completely new key. Every year the Park District supplies the league with 150 to 200 keys. This has been an ongoing problem for over 20 years and it is difficult to determine who actually has the keys. At this point, there has been no response from the league regarding this suggestion. The equipment in the boxes belongs to the WBA so missing equipment is their loss. When Park District staff was maintaining the fields, they were at the fields every day and would check the boxes to make sure they were locked. Now that the Park District does not maintain the fields, the boxes are not checked daily.

Commissioner Graham agreed with staff about replacing the locks. He added that the WBA admitted to him they have a problem with some coaches not locking the boxes and they are working on rectifying that issue. Executive Director Grisamore reminded the Committee that the Park District’s contribution to the league this year is $46,200 to assist with field maintenance. In addition, this year the Park District has also spent $368 on locks and keys.
6) Commissioner Crowley reported a communication had just been received from the Wilmette Wings asking for field space to expand their program to U8. John Hoagland who represents the Wings stated their plan was to start a U8 Academy. They already have some U8 aged children trying out for U9 who were not able to get on teams. Staff stated that when the Wings first came to the Park District they stated they would not go below U10. Subsequently, they added U9 and now want to add U8. Staff is concerned they are going into competition with the Park District for the same participants. Staff also added there is still concern that the fields are increasingly getting more use and that they need time to rest. In addition, staff felt that increasing the number of fields would not be feasible based on the space available. Mr. Hoagland stated they are talking about maybe 20 additional children. They are also not looking for additional fields except for maybe a practice grid at Avoca Park. He also added that the Wings are willing to work with the Park District to help enhance the house league program through instruction for coaches and other opportunities. After further discussion, the Committee agreed to allow staff to evaluate the request and determine if there are any solutions that can be worked out.

7. Under Other Business, the Committee reviewed and approved permits for the following activities that included groups over 100:

• Highcrest Middle School Picnic at Gillson Park which is done annually
• New Trier Graduation Party “After Party at the Beach” on May 30
• Rose Hall Montessori School Pee Wee Olympics on a Saturday before the beach season begins from 9 am to 1 pm
• American Cancer Society Bike/Walk event early Sunday morning in May for a water stop at Gillson Park for about 300 participants. This has been done in the past without any problems.

Commissioner Brault stated that a number of people did not receive the program evaluations for the football program and there are people who have a number of recommendations to improve the program. The banquet was not done well and more changes are needed for the program. Staff stated that the evaluations are sent by e-mail to all participants in the program who provided e-mail addresses. Superintendent Bingham stated that staff is anxious to hear comments which are the purpose of the evaluations but that no one has contacted staff regarding any issues.

Commissioner Brault gave a brief report on the steps that the Centennial Operations Committee had taken so far in developing the report on Platform Tennis. He added that staff had sent out a survey to all those in our RecTrac system (about 6,500). A total of 809 responses were received that were not duplicates. Commissioner Brault added that 550 stated they would support construction of the courts. Commissioner Graham asked if there was any indication if the 327 respondents who said they would pay $400 to join would be willing to pay court time on top of that. Commissioner Miller asked how the whole process started. Commissioner Brault stated about 25 people approached him about the possibility and Commissioner Murdock added that 10-20 people asked him about it. Commissioner Miller stated that based on the percentages in the survey, the number of people willing to participate did not look that strong. Superintendent Bowen added that the Winnetka facility has been in operation for 40 years and the Park District feels that Winnetka has “maxed out” participation. Lake Bluff just built a new facility and they had 100 respondents say they would join but only 40 actually did. Lake Bluff is losing money in their second year even though they include Lake Forest residents as “residents”. Executive Director Grisamore stated that if the project proceeds, we would have to build a very nice “warming hut” to draw people and that a major part of the success of the facility is the “social” aspect which would include consumption of alcohol. This would open up another issue that could be a problem. Winnetka issues a permit to use the hut and they in turn purchase their own dram shop liability insurance.

 Commissioner Miller asked if the facility could pay off the debt to build it. Staff stated that it might be able to but Lake Bluff is not. Commissioner Brault stated that he thinks it could pay the debt but is not sure if any debt at all should be secured for the project. He added that the National Championships are being held in Chicago in 2011 and they build courts all over the area for that event and then sold after the event at a 20%-30% discount. Commissioner Crowley asked if there would be lights and was informed that lights would be a necessity. Commissioner Miller expressed some concern about being able to do this at a location where the neighbors would not mind and asked what locations were looked at. Commissioner Brault replied staff originally provided some possibilities but the Committee had decided that for discussion purposes no sites would be named so early in the process. Commissioner Crowley felt that lights would be an issue no matter where the courts are located.

After further discussion, staff was directed to obtain an estimate from an independent company to conduct a community survey on the topic. Staff will report back on this topic at the next meeting. Commissioner Brault stated he did not think the survey would add anything. Commissioner Crowley stated the intent would be to validate the results of the survey done competed by our RecTrac registrants. The Committee also asked staff start to obtain the names of people interested in participating in a Commission to discuss the topic.

Staff presented photos of the equipment that would be installed if the predictive modeling system were used at our beach which is in use at a number of beaches in Lake County. After viewing the photos, the Committee asked if there were other alternatives. Staff responded that within two years, a new quick response test would be available which would provide results in four hours. The cost per test is high but the results are accurate and do not require a piling to be set up in the lake off the beach. The Committee agreed with staff to reject the predictive modeling system and to wait for the quick response test. Executive Director Grisamore stated another concern was that the District had to pay for everything upfront and then submit for reimbursement. With the current condition of State finances, staff has concerns about being able to get reimbursed.

The Committee decided to defer discussion of an indoor lap pool until the May meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:53 p.m.

Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht