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, JUNE 13, 2011
______________________________________________________________________ 

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 Brault called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

PRESENT: President James Brault; Commissioners Gary Benz, James Crowley, Darrell Graham, Michael Murdock, and Shelley Shelly; Secretary/Director Stephen Wilson

ABSENT: None

STAFF: Superintendents Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, and Lambrecht; Communications Manager Donoghue

President Brault read a news release that was made public this afternoon stating the Wilmette Park District Board of Park Commissioners has announced that Commissioner Dennis G. O’Malley has resigned from the Board effective immediately. Mr. O’Malley, who served as commissioner for eight years, notified the Board by letter that increased travel requirements related to his work made it necessary for him to submit his resignation. O’Malley was first elected to the Park Board in 2003, was elected to office three times, and has served as President for the past two years. I announce today that the Board will be accepting applications to fill the vacancy through the next regularly scheduled election which is in April 2013. Residents are invited to submit statements of interest and qualifications by July 8 of this year. Details regarding the application process will be posted on the Park District website at www.wilmettepark.org. All applications will be reviewed by the Committee which will then make a recommendation to the full Board. The Board would like to vote on this appointment at our regularly scheduled Park Board meeting on Monday, August 8. The Board would also like to express thanks to Commissioner O’Malley for his many years of service to the Park District and the community at large.

OATH OF OFFICE:
Secretary Wilson administered the oath of office to newly re-elected Commissioner James Crowley.

Director Wilson stated that the Park District is a member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) which recognizes the efforts of volunteers in local park organizations throughout Illinois. They have issued a certificate as well as an award to recognize your 20 years of service to the Wilmette Park District. Director Wilson then read the Certificate of Appreciation which recognized Commissioner Crowley’s outstanding contributions, community leadership and service to advance parks, recreation and conservation in the State of Illinois as a member of the Wilmette Park District’s Board of Park Commissioners. He stated that he has earned it over the last 20 years and the Board and community thank you very much. Steve then presented Commissioner Crowley with his plaque and award. Commissioner Crowley thanked everyone for their support and he appreciates the recognition. President Brault added that it has been a pleasure to have someone with that many years of experience on the Board.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May 9, 2011 Regular Meeting of the Retiring Board.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May 9, 2011 Annual Meeting.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May 9, 2011 Regular Board Meeting.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.


COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE
…. The following is a list of people who sent correspondence related to the chain link fence on the southern property line of Langdon Park:

 Robin Baugher and response from Director Wilson
 Nasser and Grace Amir-Fazli
 Gene J. Kocian
 Jamie Miller
 Margrit Kuehn

President Brault referred the correspondence to the Park s & Recreation Committee.

… Email from Mary Louise O’Reilly who feels the Park District should “drop” the fireworks in the future. This email was forwarded to Director Wilson from Village Board President Chris Canning.

President Brault referred the correspondence to the Parks & Recreation Committee.

…. The Board also received a packet of information regarding the Elmwood Avenue property in the Real Estate Committee packet from Mike Boyer.

VISITORS
Beth Beucher, 1420 Sheridan Road, #6E
Amy Boyer, 1029 Sheridan Road
Mike Boyer, 934 Linden Avenue
Kevin Carey, 424 Pinecrest Lane
Steven Cotsirilos, 1025 Sheridan Road
Patrick Duffy, 932 Illinois Road
Natalie and Neil Framke, 2347 Old Glenview Road
Judy Mandel, 141 Green Bay Road, Apt. 809
Hugh Rider, 1720 Walnut

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:
Patrick Duffy, 932 Illinois Road addressed the Board stating that as a full disclosure he and Mike Boyer are both on the Village of Wilmette’s Zoning Board but they are present at this meeting as residents to address the issue of the property located at the end of Elmwood Avenue at Lake Michigan, the ownership of which is in question since they have not yet seen a title. They stated they are here tonight on behalf of a number of residents seeking the Park District’s assistance. Where Elmwood Avenue ends at Lake Michigan there is a parcel of land about 80 feet wide and over 250 feet in depth. Their goal is to retain the Elmwood Avenue property for the benefit of Village residents rather than selling the land to nearby neighbors. Their vision is to retain the property for public use and to provide the public another access point to Lake Michigan. The objective is to have as little impact as possible on the land and on the neighborhood and to use the land as a nature area with just a path down to the beach.

The informational packet that Mike Boyer put together featured articles that refer to the beach as the first public beach in Wilmette and dedicated in 1908 and the goal of the packet was to highlight the history of the site as well as the history of Wilmette’s leaders and their ambitions to promote open space for public use. Wilmette has a long history of preserving nature and creating parks for its residents and they are asking for the Park District’s help in keeping this tradition alive. Some have commented that this site is too small to save. However, the Park District currently maintains at least five parks that are smaller in square footage than this property. Also present at the meeting tonight are several people who support this movement and who are also circulating petitions to save this beach.

Mike Boyer, 934 Linden Avenue stated that Wilmette is unique in the way the sand is built up along the shore unlike what one sees when traveling further north into Wisconsin where the shoreline becomes very rocky. As mentioned earlier, they are trying to save this beach for public access. President Brault asked Mr. Boyer what suggestions they could make as far as changes are concerned since the condition of the access way is currently very overgrown and essentially inaccessible at this point. Mr. Boyer replied they are open to suggestions from the Park District if it were to gain control of the parcel. Their goal is simply to save the beach from being sold and to keep it as public property. They are not asking the Park District to expend a lot of resources since they hope to keep it as low impact as possible.

President Brault stated that after this meeting tonight the Real Estate Committee will be meeting to discuss this issue further and everyone is welcome to provide further comment at that time.

Beth Beucher, 1420 Sheridan Road stated she is representing herself and has no affiliations with anyone and no property interests. She is, however, a member of the Park District’s Lakefront Commission but tonight she is acting as a concerned resident and will be addressing the Village Board with the same comments. She is opposed to the idea of opening up the land at Elmwood Avenue to public access for a variety of reasons. The reality is that there are several points in the Park District that are already owned and operated by the Park District that provide access to our beach. People who live in Wilmette are allowed to have access to the beach by walking on it by the water’s edge. She is not in favor of selling public land for private use but is in favor of returning to the status quo which would be that there is no access at Elmwood and that the fence be installed and be maintained by the Village so that there would be no confusion on who owns that piece of property. She believes it’s an issue of public safety that needs to be addressed and does not think it is necessary to open up that particular avenue for public access. There will be a costs associated no matter who ends up owning it – either the Village or the Park District. As a member of the Lakefront Commission she is aware of the financial constraints that our currently present and that there are already several areas needing to be addressed that are owned and operated by the Village or the Park District.

Kevin Carey, 424 Pinecrest stated he believes this beach needs to be made more public since it seems to have been a surprise to many residents that this open space was even available to residents of Wilmette. Since it is such a pristine portion of the beach, it is now an opportunity for us to be stewards of the beach during this era of over-development and large homes. He stated he has a dozen ideas of what to do with the land including making it a natural, untouched beach and that we need to make sure this property does not fall into private hands. It is important that the Park District and its residents take the opportunity to determine what could be done with this piece of beach for our children and their children. Most people thought the land was privately owned but now it is an opportunity for us as residents, conservators and environmentalists to retain this special piece of land for the public.

Commissioner Graham stated this area is basically an 80-foot wide strip, the property on both sides of that strip is privately owned, and there used to be a continuation of Elmwood Avenue. The area between the end of Elmwood Avenue and to the beach is now overgrown and not currently used. He added that Mr. Carey is describing this piece as a vast expanse of beach that has been untapped when in reality it is an 80-foot strip.

Mr. Carey agreed that it is a relatively small strip of land compared to the quantity of larger parcels in this area but we now have the opportunity to slow things down in terms of development and to stop giving easements and enrichments to certain people but not provide that opportunity for others who may want to express their opinions about this parcel.

Steven Cotsirilos, 1025 Sheridan Road stated Elmwood Beach is at the end of his block. Since he had moved in, a curb and a fence were installed to block the beach. He does not know if this was done privately or by the Village. However, he presumes that it was private property because the access that had previously been there had been removed. He just wanted to clarify that there is no access there now but you can walk there since the fence was taken down, although the curb is still there.

President Brault thanked all those who came to the Park Board meeting to address this issue. Even though this piece of land is not owned by the Park District it but because of its connection with the teach, it is something we are looking at.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $2,466,452.44, 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 Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Graham reported the Committee did not meet in May but will be meeting on Monday, June 20, at 7:15 pm.

Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2011-R-8, A RESOLUTION ADDING BOARD PRESIDENT JAMES BRAULT AS A SIGNATORY OF THE PARK DISTRICT’S BANK ACCOUNTS.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

Parks & Recreation Committee – Committee Chair Murdock reported the Committee met on May 16 and discussed the request from the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club for assistance with its national regatta with approximately 420 boats participating on July 15-18. To his knowledge, Sheridan Shore has held smaller events in the past but this will be their first national event and have asked us for assistance with storage and some other issues. As a result, staff will be working to accommodate them and it should be an exciting event. He stated the races will be held off-shore and can be observed from Gillson Beach.

Spring sports concluded their seasons during the last few weeks. The soccer program had 1,553 participants which is a very strong number. There are currently only around 400 sign-ups for fall soccer which is a recurring issue since when the season ends, the deadline to register has already passed. As a result, it is strongly recommended that members of the community who haven’t played soccer in the past as well as those returning players should register sooner rather than later. A storage shed is being built at Community Playfield which will be in operation for the fall season. This building will be used for storing goals on site for practices and games. Staff has been working with the School District to discuss the bus parking issue at the back of Wilmette Junior High School. Lacrosse had 347 participants this spring which is up over 15% from last year. There was an issue with one of fields where the ice rink is located at Gillson Park but staff was able to shift that to another location and staff expects it to be back at the original location in the fall. The Eagles Football registration is ongoing so once again those who may be considering football are encouraged to register. A new program has been developed in which the Park District provides equipment to participants. We have a “grandfathering” program as well and there is more information on the Park District’s web site.

Summer camps began today with a total of 3,379 participants and everything seems to be running smoothly. Registration is still open for several camps and there are also late-summer camps including the “Beat the Heat” gymnastics camps so if anyone is interested, please contact the Park District. The sailing beach opened on Saturday, May 7. New at Gillson Beach this year are the rentals of beach chairs and umbrellas. This year it is being done as a test case so people are encouraged to rent the equipment and provide feedback for upcoming seasons.

On Saturday, May 21, the annual Dance Recital was held at Regina Dominican High School with 478 dancers and although he was unable to attend, it was a great success. The fitness center membership currently totals 1,875 vs. 1,712 last year so it was a big increase. Part of the increase is a result of our new circuit training equipment that arrived on June 2 and which has been very popular so far. Also discussed at the meeting was the possibility of an outdoor ice rink at Thornwood Park and this issue will be discussed again at the next Committee meeting. As a result, if anyone has comments they would like to make, they are welcome to attend the next meeting.

The summer outdoor concert season has arrived and there is an excellent brochure which he encouraged everyone to review since it lists all of the concerts at the Wallace Bowl and Mallinckrodt. A jazz concert was held yesterday at Mallinckrodt which Commissioner Murdock attended along with approximately 80 other people and was very enjoyable. If anyone has any questions, there are pamphlets available at our facilities or on our web site.

Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the addition of a concert to the Starlight Theater Concert Series for late August as recommended by the Parks & Recreation Committee.

Commissioner Crowley explained there are two local bands who will be performing at the Wallace Bowl in August. The “T-Birds” are a local band made up of parents whose children go to our public schools and whose children are enrolled in Park District programs. They are a cover band and are a lot of fun to listen to and watch. The other band “Hoopla” is a local group who plays at venues and private parties as well. Both groups are extremely talented with lots of Rock and Roll and fun for everyone. People are invited to come down to Gillson, have a picnic and then stay for the show on August 27.Commissioner Murdock added that there are a number of other local bands in the area and it is hoped this will be the start of something that can be expanded in the future and which would be a wonderful use of the Wallace Bowl.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

Golf Operations Committee – Committee Chair Murdock reported the Committee did not meet this month and the next meeting will be Saturday, June 18. The weather has certainly been difficult this spring and rounds are down significantly. At the end of May, the course was down 26%, or approximately 3,500 rounds. Revenue from rounds is also down at 26%, or approximately $61,000. However, membership revenue is up $35,000 and through expense management the course was basically within $3,000 at the end of May of where we were last year at this time. There has been difficulty on the revenue side but the situation was well managed all things considered.

Centennial Operations Committee – Committee Chair Crowley met earlier tonight before this meeting. The Committee covered the Ice, Tennis and Pool operations and two of those operations just began their summer programs. There are a lot of outdoor leagues within the WWTA and WMTA who have been playing since May 16. There is a total of five outdoor open locations this summer and the summer indoor leagues will be hosting four USTA travel team matches at our tennis facility.

The Ice Show was held May 13-15 and received great reviews. There was a lot of participation and everyone had a great time. The Skokie and Highland Park ice rinks are closed for the summer so a lot of people are looking for ice in our rink and staff is hoping to accommodate them.

The pool opened on Memorial Day with a full house of 2,600 people. Memorial Day turned out to be very sunny and hot and Commissioner Shelly was concerned that maybe the pool was over capacity although after checking the numbers it turned not to be the case. When you take the hottest day of the year and it is at the very beginning of the summer, there are going to be a lot of people. Combine that with the fact that there was no swimming at the lakefront meant everyone headed to the pool. It was a stressful day for pool staff but they all did a fabulous job and should be commended.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:
Director Wilson stated that the Park District has worked with the North Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) which is a spectacular organization and wanted to point out that they have established a foundation which raises money. In fact, there are two upcoming fundraising events for Board members and the general public. In June they will be hosting an “NSSRA Night” which is will be a tennis tournament at the AC Nielsen facility. The cost is $50 per person and covers admission, food, drinks and tennis. It is a great value and will be a fun time. Also in September they will be hosting a golf outing in Northbrook at the Sportsmans Country Club on September 22. It will be a fun time and he encourages anyone who wants to participate to do so. If anyone is interested, please let him know.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:  None

NEW BUSINESS: None

Director Wilson stated that next on the agenda is the passage of the ordinance regarding Prevailing Wage. This is a standard business transaction the District is required to do with the State of Illinois who sets the wages. This ordinance has historically been passed every June. Commissioner Graham asked if the passage of that ordinance is mandated by State law. Director Wilson replied yes. Commissioner Graham asked if what we adopt and what most communities adopt is data from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). Director Wilson replied that yes it was. Commissioner Graham asked if the District could go out and determine the prevailing wage independent of the Illinois Department of Labor as a comparison to see if the wage rates at IDOL are reasonable. Superintendent Eppelheimer replied that yes a District could go to a different agency to determine the prevailing wages but he has not heard of anyone taking the time to do that. In addition, the Park District’s attorneys at Tressler recommended we accept the standards set by IDOL and Cook County. Commissioner Graham asked if there has ever been an attempt by a group in Illinois and Superintendent Eppelheimer there may have been an attempt but he does not know for sure.

Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2011-O-2, AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING PREVAILING WAGE RATES TO BE PAID TO LABORERS, MECHANICS, AND OTHER WORKERS PERFORMING CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC WORKS FOR THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.


There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 pm.

 

MINUTES APPROVED ON JULY 18, 2011.