WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING


Date: March 21, 2011   Place: Park District Conference Room

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Attendance: Commissioners:  Brault; Crowley; Murdock
Staff: Lambrecht; Bingham; Specht; Wilson; Bowen; Eppelheimer; Groves
Visitors: Shelley Shelly; Brian Moloney; Andrea Hart

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 February 18, 2011 by general consent.

2) In Communications and Correspondence:
• The Committee reviewed an e-mail from Marty Schwartz commenting about the amount of trash on the lakefront. Staff reported that the crews are currently walking the shoreline and picking up the trash. During the peak months, the beach is picked up every morning by staff.
• The Committee reviewed a letter from a number of parents complimenting Pamela Sue Fox and the experience their children are enjoying in the Dance program.
• The Committee reviewed a note from ‘Christian’ thanking Jim Scully for the birthday party he had at the CRC.
• Staff presented an e-mail received from Chris Beacom at the Illinois Baseball Academy requesting use of fields at Community Playfield in June for clinics being done in conjunction with Wilmette, Kenilworth/Winnetka and Glencoe Baseball. Staff checked with Wilmette Baseball and they were unaware of the program. After further communications, staff will inform Mr. Beacom that a permit will not be issued for the programs.

3) The Committee recognized Brian Moloney who asked what the rationale was for issuing photo ID’s at the Sailing Beach for the coming year. Staff responded that it will be in keeping with the rest of the District. The passes will also allow access to the swimming beach where photo ID’s are already in use. This policy is far different than other park districts who do not include the swimming beach access. There have been problems in the past with people passing along the old tokens or “non-picture” ID’s so that anyone could use them. Mr. Moloney stated the security at the Sailing Beach entrance has always been an issue. He believes that the boat owners pay a lot of money and he in fact pays to leave his boat on the beach all year. He does believe that access needs to be better controlled but asked if there was a better way to do it. Mr. Moloney stated that most sailors tend to spend the whole day by sailing for awhile and taking a break, then maybe going out again. It is a very social group. Commissioner Brault asked that if “guest passes” were allowed, could they be programmed on the picture ID’s? Staff replied that they could but there would have to be some agreement on the number of people who could be allowed on the passes. Commissioner Crowley stated there are sailors that abuse the system and bring two or three families for the day. Staff stated that currently the sailors receive four passes for one person and four for the partner. Mr. Moloney again responded that he is in favor of some practical limits. Superintendent Bingham asked how many passes does he think would be reasonable and he asked for time to think about it. Staff stated that the District currently offers four passes for one person and also four for the partner as well as packs of guest passes that have always been available. Currently, they use disposable wrist bands.

4) In Manager’s Reports, Holly Specht reported that staff has been checking out the park and that Parks and Planning staff has been cleaning the park as the snow disappears. There were 415 boats registered through the lottery and 10 more have been added since then. Last year’s total was 451 for the entire season. The Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA) recently hosted a workshop for beach operations for communities from Evanston to Lake Bluff. The purpose was to explain some new safety guidelines for waterfront operations. A representative of United States Lifesaving Association was also in attendance. The various park agencies also discussed plans for the 2011 Lifeguard Games that will once again be held in Wilmette. PDRMA will also be presenting a refresher program for safety boat operators. PDRMA pays the costs of all of these training programs. There will also be a program to instruct beach supervisors on how to manage summer staff. Lakefront staff is currently working on interviewing applicants for the summer and hiring is going very well.

 Jeff Groves reported there has been a focus on sports lately with the Recreation Staff. The basketball programs just wrapped up for the year. There were 487 participants in the Saturday program and 671 in the Sunday program. One of the issues staff has struggled with was the lack of adjustable rims in the various gyms. Staff is also busy organizing spring soccer and the coaches meetings begin next week. There are currently 1,513 children signed up this year compared to 1,501 last year. There are 774 girls and 739 boys registered to date. There are 172 boys registered for Lacrosse with fields being located at Gillson, Community and Vattmann. The girls program will run at Howard Park. There are currently 105 registered for girls’ softball. Skateboard lessons are being offered at the skate park for the third year in a row and there are now 15 registered for the class. The Children’s Theater just completed their production of Willy Wonka, Jr. The North Shore Theatre is currently in rehearsals for Hairspray which opens April 15. 

Staff has been very busy interviewing for camp counselors. Jeff Groves has been working with District 39 staff in regard to our summer room requests. The camps will be using 14 rooms at Harper, 19 at Highcrest, six at Romona and the gymnasium at Central in addition to most of the rooms at the Community Recreation Center.

 Commissioner Murdock asked what the current field situation was and if there are enough. Staff responded that the field at Gillson which is in the area of the ice rink had to be closed for the spring due to the bad field conditions and will need to be sodded. The use of this area by rugby, lacrosse, pick-up soccer games, summer camps, the Independence Day celebration, and the ice rink make it difficult to maintain the grass. Superintendent Bingham added that staff was able to do some creative shifting and Lacrosse will now be held at Vattmann and Howard Parks. Staff discussed the possibility of having to displace the Wings at Avoca due to the demands for Park District programs. Executive Director Wilson added that New Trier Rugby also had to be displaced this spring due to the conditions at Gillson. Commissioner Murdock asked that staff look at adding more drainage at Community Playfield to make more space usable for athletic fields.

 Commissioner Brault asked if there were going to be any operational changes for the Wilmette Eagles football program this year. Mr. Groves responded that there will be changes in responsibilities among personnel and the coaches have already been selected which is the earlier this has been done. He added that staff is currently out to bid for helmets, shoulder pads and face masks. They will also be purchasing yard signs that will be displayed by participant families promoting the program. Staff will also be doing more training with the coaches. Commissioner Brault recommended putting more information on the Park District website about the changes in the program so that they are made more available to the public. Commissioner Murdock asked what the status of the storage building is at Community Playfield. Superintendent Lambrecht responded that we were waiting for the Village to make changes to the zoning ordinance and that they have been delayed in getting to that relevant section. Staff and our Park District attorney met with Village staff regarding this issue. After lengthy discussion, it was decided the attorney would develop a letter outlining the project, point out the fact that it is a replacement garage and that it will not increase the use of the site. Village staff will review the letter with their Corporation Counsel and make a determination if the project needs to go to zoning.

5) The Committee reviewed some possible new revenue streams. Staff pointed out that some are already in practice and that they are reviewing other options. After some discussion, staff was asked to come back with further information for the Committee to review.

6) Under Old Business, staff reported they have received more requests for more fitness programs from members. As a result, Building Services staff will be dividing Room 208 into two rooms. One half will be used for spin classes and the other will be developed for circuit training. The Park District gained 200 members when the Curves Center in Wilmette closed. Staff has already developed a circuit program and new equipment has been ordered. Since the program started, existing members have also become interested and there are currently five different sample spin bikes available for people to try out. All of the bikes are going to be replaced possibly over two fiscal years. Later in the year, staff is considering taking Room 206 and converting it for specialty classes such as Yoga and Pilates.

Staff presented cost estimates for installing infrastructure to allow an ice rink to be placed at Thornwood Park in lieu of the rink at West Park. The total price of just over $17,000 included water service, a frost-proof hydrant, sewer and lighting. The power installation would also provide power for the Thornwood Park Concerts. Staff explained that since lighting is involved a special use permit would be required by the Village. After some discussion, the Committee recommended that the project be forwarded to Financial Planning for their review as part of the Capital Projects review this summer. Staff was asked what would be the latest time the project could proceed this year. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that since zoning would be involved, Labor Day would be the latest date that it could be approved.

 Staff presented cost estimates to purchase beach chairs and umbrellas that would be available for rent at the beach. Staff explained that it would not make sense to buy inexpensive items due to the potential usage. Storage of these items on a daily basis is also an issue. Staff believes that they will have to assign a staff person to monitor this equipment especially during peak times. After some discussion, it was decided that the ideal number for the first year would be 20 chairs and ten umbrellas. Staff was asked to come back at the next meeting with a final plan and a resolution for storing the items.

Executive Director Wilson presented a financial summary of revenues and expenses relating to providing a beer tent at the Independence Day event. Superintendent Lambrecht described a tent approximately 20 x 40 feet.  In addition, we would need two rows of snow fencing to prevent individuals from passing drinks to others outside the fence and to enclose the area since drinking would be limited to within the tent itself. The total cost of $2,893 to operate the tent would require a minimum of 579 beverages sold to simply breakeven. After discussion, it was decided that this would not be a viable revenue opportunity considering the short time period and the committee agreed it would be impractical.

 Staff is working on getting the picnic reservations online for the coming summer. Executive Director Wilson reported that the Park District needs to purchase the license to use that module of the software. The order has since been placed with Vermont Systems and it should be installed soon.

 Staff reported there was nothing new regarding the possibility of a Winterfest. Executive Director Wilson reported that the Chamber of Commerce had been looking at revamping the sidewalk sale and making it more of a community event. The Committee discussed the possibility of having bands in the evening. Staff will report back once additional information has been put in place.

 Staff reported they are awaiting a response from the Wilmette Harbor Association as a result of the meeting with their representatives and Executive Director Wilson,  
Superintendent Lambrecht and Attorney Charlene Holtz. Staff has been told the letter was being reviewed by their representatives and should be delivered within the week.

7) Superintendent Eppelheimer reported the Park Board is required to adopt an Identity Protection Policy by June 1 of this year. This policy is crucial in deciding when we would need to require social security numbers. The only areas that they are needed currently are payroll-related such as taxes, etc. Staff has now been removing all social security items from forms and documents. The policy will also need to be included within our Personnel Policy Manual. The entire purpose of this policy is to protect people from identity theft. Commissioner Brault asked if there was any other time that social security numbers are requested. Superintendent Eppelheimer replied that we do ask for them during the scholarship application process but they are not retained by the District. This is done just to prove the applicant’s income level through previous income tax documents. After some discussion, the Committee agreed to recommend adoption of the policy to the full Park Board.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:51 p.m.

Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht

MINUTES APPROVED ON MAY 16, 2011.