WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING


Date: June 20, 2011

Place: Park District Conference Room

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Attendance
Commissioners:  Murdock; Graham; Brault; Benz
Staff: Lambrecht; Bingham; Wilson; Bowen; Eppelheimer; Groves
Visitors: Robin Baugher
     
Topics for Discussion:

1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
     A) Emails re: Chain link Fence at Langdon Park
     B) Email re: July 3rd Fireworks
     C) Thank you letter to Brian Moloney regarding Sailing Beach
     D) Emails from Susan Derex and Annie O’Brien regarding CRC Art Show
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Manager’s Reports
     A) Lakefront
     B) Recreation
6) Three Day Cancer Walk Permit
7) Old Business
8) New Business
9) Adjourn

Discussions/Decisions Made:

1) The Committee reviewed the minutes of May 16, 2011 and they were approved by general consent.

2) In Communications and Correspondence:

• The Committee reviewed a request from Robin Baugher, Nasser and Grace Amir-Fazli, Gene Kocian, Jamie Miller and Margit Kuehn asking that the chain link fence at Langdon Park be removed. After some discussion, the Committee decided to refer the topic to the Lakefront Commission.
• The Committee reviewed a communication from Mary O’Reilly suggesting that the fireworks at Gillson be cancelled because they are too expensive and draw non-residents to the Park. After some discussion the Committee agreed they would continue.
• The Committee reviewed a letter sent to Brian Moloney thanking him for his input regarding the Sailing Beach operation and the use of Photo ID’s for access.
• The Committee reviewed communications from Susan Derex and Annie O’Brien to Sarah Heston thanking the Park District for the Art Show held at the Community Recreation Center for the participants in the art classes.

3) In Recognition of Visitors, the Committee recognized Robin Baugher to discuss the chain link fence at Langdon Park. She provided a petition signed by people asking for the fence to be removed. She went on to express concern about the safety of the fence down the bluff where it is falling apart. Commissioner Murdock asked if the fence was removed would they want something put back. Mrs. Baugher stated that they do not feel that people crossing their property has been a big issue. They do occasionally get people who walk through and down across their property to the beach. She went on to state that as long as the Park District does not cut down all the material on the bluff people won’t access in that direction. Commissioner Murdock asked how much is on the bluff. Superintendent Lambrecht responded that he believes seven or eight sections. The Committee also asked when would be the best time to remove the fence. Superintendent Lambrecht responded that it would be in the fall when plant material starts to die back. Some of the material on the bluff will have to be cut back just to get the fence out especially if the posts and concrete were removed. When asked how difficult it would be to remove the fence, Lambrecht responded that it would take a lot of time because it would have to be done by hand, probably by staff unless it was too difficult.

 Executive Director Wilson asked if those people who wrote to the Park District and signed the petitions are expecting that the fence would be removed just on the bluff or the entire length. Mrs. Baugher replied that she believes they expect the entire length. She is most concerned though about the part on the bluff which she believes is unsafe. Commissioner Murdock stated that he is very concerned about the traffic that is liable to cut across their property to get to Langdon with no barrier in place. After further discussion, the Committee agreed to discuss the topic later in the year and asked staff to come back with a recommendation about how and when to remove the fence.

4) Superintendent Bingham reported that season pass sales for the Lakefront are similar to last year but that daily passes are down about $33,000 due to the poor weather so far although a good weather weekend could make all the difference. Last year there was a string of ninety degree days that helped to make 2010 successful. Sailing is up $30,000 in revenue due to lessons and rack rentals. The water temperature is finally starting to warm up and is currently at sixty-two degrees. Commissioner Murdock asked how the patrolling of the overlook area has been going. Superintendent Bingham responded that the police have been very helpful and staff is adding signs along the overlook that say “no swimming” near the water’s edge. However, the weather has not been conducive to attracting the larger crowds except for Memorial Day.

 Commissioner Murdock asked how chair and umbrella rentals have been. Staff responded that so far they have rented twelve chairs and six umbrellas. They also have excellent signage that is being put out every day. The Committee recommended displaying samples so people can see what they look like. Commissioner Murdock stated he has heard complaints about the condition of the washrooms in the beach house which he did not hear last year. He is concerned about peeling paint, etc. Superintendent Lambrecht responded that it is difficult to get paint to stick to the walls because the building is so damp. This year there was no time to do any touch-ups because of other projects and the uncooperative weather. The building has no heat so there is no way to really dry it out. The block walls are full of sand which is moisture-laden and makes the walls sweat constantly. The building is actually in very poor condition. The east wall has areas where the sand in the walls has frozen and actually blown apart the block. It has been repeatedly repaired but the block is so porous it is constantly taking in moisture. Commissioner Murdock asked that staff pay more attention to keeping the washrooms clean during the course of the day.

Jeff Groves reported that the first week of camp is done and everything is going very well. There was extensive training for camp directors and camp staff. Swimming lessons have started at the pool. The moving of campers into the schools went very well despite not being able to get in before late afternoon on June 10. The schools’ staffs have been very accommodating. Camp Open House was held on Saturday, June 11 and attendance varied between camps. In Performing Arts, the Mallinckrodt Concerts have begun and the first one was a Jazz concert which had fair attendance but the weather was not optimal. The second concert will be held on Sunday, June 26. Rehearsals are well underway for the Starlight presentation of Carousel which opens July 7th. Coed Basketball continues to grow. There were 80 children enrolled last year and this year there are 130 playing at Highcrest and Romona until August 3rd.

Staff also plans an e-mail blast to beach pass holders informing them about the availability of the rental chairs and umbrellas. Lakefront staff currently totals about 90 employees. Orientation for them begins on June 17. Lakefront staff has met with Go Green about the possibility of putting together self-guided tours of the birds and plants at the lakefront. Sailing lessons currently have 96 participants which is 30 over last year. There are 216 enrolled in the Aquatics Camps. Commissioner Murdock asked if there are any good opportunities available for late summer camps. Staff responded that the largest is the Two-Week Extension Camp. There are also a few other specialty camps available and there is still room in a number of camps currently in session.

Commissioner Murdock asked if staff is still prorating camp fees. Staff replied that they are trying to phase that out since it is very difficult to plan and staff the programs when the registrations are fluctuating up and down and some of the fixed expenses never go away. Staff does work with some people who need additional flexibility. Staff did offer some camp selections that were ala carte. There is also a camp that coincides with Summer School that has over 100 enrolled. Superintendent Bingham reported the net income for the Recreation Fund is up substantially over last year.

4) The Committee reviewed the application from St. Joseph’s for a cross country meet at Gillson Park on October 6. After some discussion, the Committee approved the permit request.

5) Under Old Business, the Committee asked staff to come back at the July meeting with alternative locations and cost estimates for the proposed ice rink at Thornwood Park.

6) Under New Business, Commissioner Murdock asked staff to give some background on discussions held with the Wilmette Wings regarding their adding teams in the U8 division. Executive Director Wilson reported he had talked to retired director Tom Grisamore who stated the Wings were told that despite their request there was no field space available beyond Avoca Park. The Wings never came back to the Park District about increasing the number of teams beyond two. Commissioner Murdock asked if it was merely a matter of space. Superintendent Bingham responded that is the majority of the issue. Commissioner Murdock expressed concern about the competition the Wings may present to our program. After some discussion, staff was asked to prepare a report with participation and financial summaries for the Park District soccer programs. He asked that it show Fall/Spring participations by age groups. The Committee will discuss this issue at the next Committee meeting.

Commissioner Murdock asked that staff look at soccer field layouts for the fall and try to use under-utilized areas to give other areas some “rest”. Staff will evaluate the options before laying out the fields for the fall.

 Commissioner Murdock stated he has comments related to the fencing on the softball fields at Howard Park following the softball tournament the previous weekend that he will share with staff. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht

MINUTES APPROVED ON JULY 18, 2011.