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, AUGUST 8, 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; Assistant Secretary Judy Ostrem

ABSENT: Superintendent Bingham

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the July 18, 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

President Brault acknowledged receipt of correspondence from the list shown below:

…. Wilmette Harbor: M.C. Roderick, Sheila O’Halloran-Bower, Garry Grygotis, Ron & Aldona Walker, Rosemary Egan, Anita Lutkus, Herbert Sorock, Sallyann Garner, Neal Bernover, Marshall Moretta, Stephen T. Bobo, Mary Louise O’Reilly, Myra Zissman, Walter Schellhorn, Richard & Mary Lu Saigh, Matt Bevenour, and Bob Langil

Commissioner Murdock stated several people had contacted him regarding the mosquitoes at the golf course and asked what type of abatement the Park District does at the golf course as opposed to the Village. President Brault referred the issue to the Golf Operations Committee. Commissioner Murdock clarified that the Village is in charge of the mosquito abatement program.  

VISITORS
Robin Hungler (2240 Birchwood Avenue); Patrick Duffy (932 Illinois Road); Vern Holzhall (921 Greenwood); C. Holzhall (921 Greenwood); Ann Goodman (2227 Birchwood).

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

Patrick Duffy, 932 Illinois Road, thanked the Board for all of the time, effort and expense spent on investigating the District’s potential role at the Elmwood Avenue Beach. Mr. Duffy presented the Board with copies of a petition containing 440 signatures. He stated these signed petitions would also be presented to the Village Board. The purpose of these petitions is to indicate support for saving the beach. President Brault asked to the extent that either the Park District or the Village would maintain this access, how much does Mr. Duffy think the maintenance expense would be. Mr. Duffy replied they have discussed a couple of ways in their group which is called “wilmetteopenlands.org” including the formation of a fundraising group or possibly mobilizing different community groups like the Boy Scouts to help maintain it. If the Park District took over, his group would be happy to cooperate and keep up with the land even though it is currently overrun with weeds. He also believes they can raise the funds to help in the turning around of the property.

President Brault asked Mr. Duffy if he thought this parcel should have any type of regulations on it. Mr. Duffy replied their main goal is to keep the land from being sold and to restore it by putting up a fence that people can see through as opposed to a stockade fence. He again stated their primary goal is to save the property. He and his group believe that since it is currently a public property there should be some way for the public to enjoy it.

President Brault stated that the Park District is always very focused on safety so when someone creates an open access to the waterfront it does open up safety issues. Mr. Duffy replied that this is why his group wants to work together with the Park District to make this property something that everyone can enjoy. It is understood there are safety issues, that it is only an acre, and that it would be hard to staff. He added his group is not trying to create problems.

President Brault stated the Park District is still very much in the exploratory stage of this issue so we are looking for ideas on how to use it. Mr. Duffy stated they just started working with a landscape architect who is creating a rendering of what the potential uses of the property could be and once that plan has been completed he will present it to the Park Board in an open meeting so that Wilmette residents can also see it.

President Brault asked if the group had conducted an analysis of the title of the property. Mr. Duffy replied his group and then an attorney reviewed the title but the attorney indicated the title was incomplete since there was no ownership established in the title. He may be wrong but the legal descriptions they have seen in the title report do not extend on to the Elmwood piece of property. As a result, to state that this is a right-of-way and by removing the right-of-way it reverts back to those property owners to which his group disagrees. They believe the Village of Wilmette is the owner of that property and that everyone has the right to bid on it if and when it would go up for sale.

President Brault stated the title was established 135 years ago so all of the pieces may not be as specific as we would like and Mr. Duffy agreed. President Brault added that the Park District has not yet come to a conclusion on this issue. Mr. Duffy stated he does not understand all of the legal implications of how property is titled but this is the way he currently understands the issue and is now sharing that with the Board.

Commissioner Murdock stated the Board intends to have a discussion about the ownership of this property during a closed session following this meeting. We do not have a timetable yet for making a decision since we are still in the fact-finding process. President Brault speculated that the Board will most likely refer the issue to the Park District’s Real Estate Committee who would then proceed on whatever the Board directs. An open meeting would likely follow based upon the advice by our legal counsel.

Mr. Duffy asked if the Park District is waiting until the Village Board decides what to do about the disposition of the property. President Brault replied it continues to be an ongoing discussion between the Village and the Park District and he doesn’t think anyone has come to any conclusions. Also, given the unique nature of this property, he doesn’t think anything has been established other than that the Park District is considering it and that if we have a direction, it will be conveyed to the voters.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,838,311.13, 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 met just before the July Park Board meeting and the results of that meeting were reported at the Park Board’s regular meeting which followed. They will be meeting again on Monday, August 22.

Parks & Recreation Committee – Committee Chair Murdock reported the Committee met on July 18 and will be meeting again on August 15. He added they are in the process of completing a storage building at Community Playfield for the children who play soccer. This building will be able to hold soccer goals for practices and games moving forward. The building needed to go through zoning and it took almost two years but that has all been resolved and the building should be operational for the fall season. A plan is being developed for the tot lot at Vattman Park and he believes some residents have already provided input and encouraged any residents who have an interest to contact the Park District. When the Thornwood Tot Lot was redone, a number of community residents became involved and because of that it most likely became a better playground facility. Summer camps just ended this past week although there are some extended camps for the next two weeks. Auditions are coming up for the Wilmette Children’s Theater’s production of Mulan on August 22 and 23. The North Shore Theater of Wilmette will present Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on November 11-December 4 and there are roles for children as well. Auditions will be held on September 19 and 21. The fall Leisure Guide came out recently and registration begins this week for residents.

Golf Operations Committee - Commissioner Brault reported the Committee met on July 30 and probably the most important item was the approval by the Committee of the hole #6 improvement project which is now currently out to bid and expected back by August 16 in the hopes that the work can begin this fall and that the new green and surrounding area will be open early next spring.
 
Due to bad weather, the Men’s Club golf championship was rescheduled for September 10 and 11. Revenue at the course is also down due to the bad weather. Paid rounds are down about 13.5% through the end of July and net profit at the course is down about 8.6% compared to last year. One issue that has not yet been included in the financial statement is that there were problems with two of our water wells. As some may know, the water used at the course does not come from the city but from these wells. Unfortunately, for the first time since 1994 they both failed and we had to use the city water. The wells have since been repaired but it did cost almost $20,000 to repair them and that expense will be reflected in our financial statements next month.

Also at the meeting, there was a very interesting summary of the history of the golf course from one of our long-term golf members. A question was raised as to when the master plan will be considered in terms of its implementation and scope. The Committee stated it will likely happen when we start the budgeting process later this year.

Centennial Operations Committee – Committee Chair Crowley reported the Committee met tonight before this meeting. Some issues discussed included the flooding on the tennis courts as a result of a storm on Saturday, July 26, which caused some damage. There were also some issues with drainage outside the building when sand apparently clogged up one of the run-offs. Also discussed was the lap pool and how to provide some flexibility and timing in the usage of these lanes from 5 to 7 pm. One option would be to extend the hours to 9 pm and staff is investigating that option. Conversation took place on the food service and quality at Centennial and on the issue of patrons bringing their own food into the facility which is not allowed. As a result, we will now be putting picnic tables on the grassy areas outside of the facility for patrons to use. At the ice rink, a total of 450 gallons of Freon were added to it which was the first time this year this was done although the amount of Freon added was actually not that much. The Centennial Prairie area will be receiving some new plants this fall courtesy of Charlotte Adelman. 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT:
Director Wilson reported registration begins tomorrow for residents at 9 am and non-resident registration begins next week Tuesday at 9 am. Camp programs have come to an end for the summer and there were over 3,000 children enrolled. That number has currently dropped down to about 200 children who are enrolled in our specialty and extension camps. He added the Park District employs nearly 300 counselors for the summer and that number is now probably down to 100 or less. The golf course had a visit from our USGA Turf Advisor Ty McClellan and Commissioner Benz joined the Committee on a tour of the course. Some samples were taken and Mr. McClellan will be writing a comprehensive report on the current conditions of the course and offer advice on handling troubling spots moving forward. Superintendent Lambrecht and Director Wilson have been meeting with representatives from the Youth Warming House which is located off of Howard Park. This organization runs a program for teenage children and they’re looking to renovate their space. They have also received grant funding from a group called Designs for Dignity with whom Bill will work with to improve the space.

OLD BUSINESS
Commissioner Graham reported the Board Vacancy Committee is still in the process of interviewing candidates for the vacant position. There were 11 candidates and we talked to all of them. This process is still ongoing but should be completed before the next Board meeting in September.

NEW BUSINESS: None

Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to adjourn to Closed Session for the discussion of a person to fill a public office, as defined in the Illinois Open Meetings Act, including a vacancy in a public office, when the public body is given power to appoint under law or ordinance per Section 2(c)(5) and for discussion of the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the District per Section 2(c)(5) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

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

The meeting adjourned to closed session at 7:54 pm.

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 9:00 pm.
 
Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the meeting minutes of the July 18th Closed Session of the Board of Park Commissioners.

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 9:02 pm.

MINUTES APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2011.