WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING


Date: February 21, 2011
Place: Park District Conference Room
Time: 6:30 p.m.

Attendance
Commissioners:  Brault; Crowley; Murdock
Staff: Lambrecht; Bingham; Baird; Specht; Wilson; Bowen; Eppelheimer
Visitors: Gary Benz
     
Topics for Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Manager’s Reports
6) Old Business
7) New Business
     a) Group Fitness Exercise Programs
     b) Permit Request: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
     c) Wilmette Harbor
8) Adjourn

Discussions/Decisions Made:

1) The Committee approved the minutes of January 17, 2011 by general consent.

2) Communications and Correspondence:
     • The Committee reviewed an e-mail from Peter Burns thanking Mike Kharpak of the gymnastics staff for catching their daughter during a gymnastics event.

3) In Manager’s Reports, Holly Specht reported they have been interviewing staff for
the upcoming season and there are many applications from which to choose. The deadline for returning contracts for the Sailing Beach for the coming season is Friday, February 25 and the Sailing Lottery will be held on March 5. This year sailing lessons were included in the Camp Guide and they have already filled three sessions. Staff is trying to develop one more session but it has to be from 3 to 5 pm. The sessions are three weeks long and each session has three sections with ten participants in each. Aquatics Camp is doing well. The new 10 am morning session is almost full compared to the poor response they used to get for the late afternoon session.

Commissioner Brault asked if staff had thought about securing the sailing beach at the top of the hill by Michigan Avenue. Staff stated they are still reviewing the options. Commissioner Crowley asked if the public will be able to reserve rental boats on-line this year. Staff stated they are working on it and hope to have it up for the upcoming season. Executive Director Wilson added that Vermont Systems will be in town in the near future and they will be working with staff on exactly how to set up the process. It is not much different than renting a room at a facility. Commissioner Brault asked if the same could be done for reserving picnic tables in Gillson Park. Staff replied that they hope to have that in operation also this year.

Lakefront Manager Specht stated they did a lot of work with the Sailing contracts this year so that next year’s renewal of the sailing racks can be done on-line. Commissioner Crowley asked if staff has done any more research on renting umbrellas and chairs this summer. Superintendent Bingham responded that staff has been looking at it and that the biggest issue is storage since there is no room in the beach house to keep the items. The only other beach in the area that rents umbrella and chairs is Glencoe and they do not make money from it and have to replace the umbrellas on an annual basis. Glencoe also has to have staff that sets up and takes down the umbrellas. After further discussion it was agreed that staff would come back with more information at the next meeting.

4) Commissioner Brault asked if staff had done any more research into having a beer tent at the July 3rd Independence Day event. Staff stated they have had discussions with the Village including Chief of Police Brian King. He informed staff that most of the problems handled on the night of the event are as a result from consumption of alcohol. While they would prefer we not do it, they will work with us in any way they can. Staff stated that if this is done the tent would have to be surrounded with a fence and a second perimeter of fence would also have to be installed to keep people from passing beer from the tent. Staff added it is their feeling that it changes the nature of the event. Commissioner Brault suggested this year could be an experiment and that the tent would hold about fifty people. Commissioner Crowley stated that he does not think it should be done. Commissioner Murdock stated he would hope it could be a fundraiser to help underwrite the entire event but he agrees it should be tried at a smaller venue. After further discussion, Commissioner Brault made a motion to recommend to the Board the sale of beer at the July 3rd Independence Day Event. Commissioner Crowley seconded the motion. The motion passed with Commissioners Brault and Murdock voting aye and Commissioner Crowley voting nay.

Commissioner Brault asked if staff has any more information on setting up an ice rink at Thornwood Park. Staff reported they have some costs but are waiting for pricing on a new water service, hydrant and backflow preventer.

Commissioner Brault asked if any more thought had been given to a Winterfest. Staff reported that some discussions have been had with the Chamber of Commerce and the Village about doing something together. The Chamber of Commerce will discuss the event with their membership and get back to us. Staff believes if it includes snow or ice sculpting it needs to be held in January for it to be successful.

 Commissioner Crowley asked how many entries there were in the snowman contest and staff replied they were disappointed with the results. A suggestion was made that submissions be accepted electronically next year.

5) The Committee began a discussion of the Group Fitness Programs by asking Nick Baird, Fitness Center Manager, to provide an update on the facility. Mr. Baird reported that the facility has been very busy and there are currently 1,805 members which is up from the 1,500 recorded in December. New programs include Pilates Reformer which is a one-on-one class. Staff has sent a mass mailing to previous passport participants inviting them to renew and to date, the center has picked up 20 new participants. Camp Fusion is being set up for the summer and 20 children have already signed up. Staff is currently researching the bikes for the program. A local Curves woman’s workout center went out of business and their members were invited to join the Center Fitness Club. This included over 200 participants with some of them bringing in their spouses to join. It helped that two of their staff members also came to work for our Center. They are now running a “circuit” training program at specific times in the small exercise room.  Staff is pricing out ten pieces of circuit equipment. In regards to Group Fitness classes, there were some classes that should not have been moved and some classes will be put back to where they were originally held. Some classes that were moved allowed other similar sessions to open which has increased enrollment. The spin classes were moved to a larger room to facilitate more storage area for the bikes and they had a hard time moving the bikes. One of the complaints is that participants want particular bikes to use and they have to move others to get the one they want. That was the same issue in the original room as well. Superintendent Bingham reported that a total of six classes were moved and some had such low participation and staff is hoping that will increase. Nick may make more adjustments including canceling some poorly attended classes. After further discussion, staff was asked to come back with an update in one month.

6) The Committee reviewed a permit request from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to hold an event in Gillson Park on May 22, 2011, from 8 am to  Noon. Staff reported that date is the week before the beach opens for the season. There is also a Park District Lacrosse program in the park at noon during that time. After some discussion, the Committee agreed to approve the permit if the ending time is changed to 11 am.

Staff stated a request was received from Rich Lavigne to have a fundraiser in Gillson Park on September 17, 2011, for a group that raises money for school supplies for inner city schools. Staff’s recommendation is that if they want to submit a formal permit it must be held no earlier than mid-October since the park is still very busy into the early fall. After some discussion, the Committee concurred.

7) The Committee reviewed a memo presented by staff regarding the timeline and description of discussions between staff, the Wilmette Harbor Association and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD). Staff was asked to include a copy of the memo as part of the minutes of the meeting. Staff went through the memo and explained that the MWRD had contacted the Park District about meeting with the MWRD staff and representatives of the Wilmette Harbor Association regarding the expiration of the harbor lease in mid-2012. Staff reported that in addition to the information in the memo, Charlene Holtz was reviewing what, if any, options there would be for the Park District to take over the lease and to have some form of agreement with the Harbor Association to continue the management. MWRD does not allow the subleasing of their properties so that is not an option. Staff was directed to discuss the harbor issue with the Lakefront Consultant in regards to infrastructure and potential funding opportunities and obtain a proposal to perform that work. After further discussion, the Committee directed staff to continue to reach out to the Harbor Association to see if an agreement could be reached in regards to a cooperative venture where the Park District would assume the lease in mid-2012 and would then take over management of the Harbor with the Harbor Association Board remaining in an advisory capacity to the Park Board.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:47 p.m.

Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht

MINUTES APPROVED ON MARCH 21, 2011.