WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING


Date: August 15, 2011
Place: Park District Conference Room
Time: 6:30 pm

Attendance:
Commissioners:  Murdock, Crowley, Graham, Brault, Benz
Staff: Lambrecht, Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, Specht, Groves
Visitors: See attached sheet
     
Topics for Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Manager’s Reports
     A) Lakefront
     B) Recreation
6) Early Childhood Fees
7) Soccer
8) Old Business
     A) Outdoor Ice Rink
9) New Business
10) Adjourn

Discussions/Decisions Made:
1) The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm.

2) The Committee reviewed and approved the minutes of July 18, 2011.

3) Under Communications and Correspondence, the Committee reviewed a request by Go Green Wilmette to hold an event in Gillson Park on Saturday, September 24, from 2 to 4 pm consisting of a bicycle ride through the park. After some discussion, the Committee asked staff to further discuss the event with Go Green. If they anticipate a large number of participants, closing the roads would be a problem. However, if attendance was lower, then perhaps the roads could be closed long enough for them to cross to the middle drive and hold their parade at that location.

4) Recognition of Visitors: None
 
5) Under Manager’s Reports, Holly Specht reported there have been problems with power boats staying outside of the 600-foot restricted area off the lakefront. On the previous weekend there were some very rough lake conditions so the swimming beach was closed and the Sailing Beach was flying the red flag. This means that there is no rescue boat available and that the conditions are such that sailing is discouraged. One catamaran went out with two sailors and when they were out on the lake, the mast and boom snapped off their boat. They were both thrown from the boat into the water when it capsized and staff immediately notified the Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard did not have a boat on station that could get out into the lake so they sent staff to the shore as the sailors and the boat were being pushed towards the old pier. One of the Coast Guardsman went into the water to get the sailors out and asked for help from a Park District Lifeguard. They were eventually able to get both sailors out of the water. The catamaran was pulled up to shore and left there until the storm passed. The Committee asked why sailors are allowed to go out when the red flag is flying. Staff stated that in the past Committees have been hesitant to limit sailing during that kind of weather. After further discussion, the Committee asked that it be discussed as part of the Lakefront Report in the fall since they have concerns about putting people in harm’s way like what happened, especially when it involves young people such as lifeguards. They also asked that when considering the Lakefront Report, staff should revisit the expansion of the swimming area to restrict access to the water. At the very least people who violate the “no swimming” areas should be asked to leave the park if they do not obey staff or the police.

Holly Specht reported the lakefront once again hosted the Lifeguard games that included teams from Evanston north to the Wisconsin border. This event is sponsored by the United States Lifeguard Association (USLA) and PDRMA.  Evanston was once again the overall winner. Sailing lessons ended up the summer with 121 participants and Aquatics Camp had 323 over the summer. The Langdon Park beach will be closed during the week once school starts. Commissioner Brault reported that he had tried to gain access to the Sailing Beach but was not let in since he did not have his photo ID. He added that he was glad to see staff was enforcing the rules.

Jeff Groves reported that the bulk of Summer Camps ended on August 5. The cooperation with District 39 for building use and District 37 for busses went very well and was appreciated. There are currently 118 participants in Extension Camps. In addition there are sessions of one-day, two-day and one-week camps until school starts. Fall registration began August 9 for residents and non-residents began one week later. Fall soccer begins Saturday, August 27. Coaches meetings have been held although they are still looking for additional coaches. There are currently 1,468 signed up for soccer and staff anticipates it should be close to 1,500 by the time the program starts. Tackle football had their equipment fittings with representatives from Riddell. There are currently 111 in the travel program and 102 in the house league.

Superintendent Bingham reported there are number of new programs this fall for the “Baby Boomers” that are now listed as adult programming as opposed to Senior Programming.

6) Superintendent Bingham presented staff’s recommendations for fees for the Early Childhood programs for the 2012-2013 school year. These programs are listed in the winter brochure which is currently in production. Staff conducted extensive research of surrounding similar programs and believes that the Park District programs for Preschool and “Lunch Bunch” have been under-priced. As a result, they are recommending ten percent increases in those two areas. Staff is also making some changes in some of the other Early Childhood programs to include an introduction to foreign languages. Staff also recommended a three percent increase for all other Early Childhood programs. After some discussion, the Committee voted unanimously to approve the fees as presented for the 2012/2013 school year and to recommend them to the full Park Board.

7) Superintendent Lambrecht reported that the soccer fields have been laid out by staff and they had not moved them around as had been discussed. Staff was directed to move the fields around while avoiding areas for repair. There are a couple of new areas that were damaged as a result of the heavy rain and hot weather in July. That limited the number of areas available for field relocation. Staff reported that the new storage building is under construction at Community Playfield. Once complete, Recreation staff will have personnel on hand to loan out goals and soccer balls during the week. The building should be usable by early September.

8) Under Old Business, the Committee reviewed the most recent cost estimate for relocating the outdoor ice rink to Thornwood Park. The Committee asked what the cost would be for dasher boards for just the two ends. Staff estimated that it would cost about $8,000. The Committee then had an extensive discussion about whether this was the year to proceed with this project. Commissioner Murdock expressed his concern about proceeding with an unbudgeted expenditure like this when other budgeted capital expenditures were put on hold. The Committee also asked about staffing and hours of operation and asked staff to provide additional information. After further discussion, the Committee voted with Commissioners Crowley and Graham voting in favor of proceeding and Commissioner Murdock voting against. Commissioner Graham added that he is opposed to having two recreational rinks as close together as Thornwood and Mallinckrodt so unless the new rink is for hockey, he would be opposed. The Committee agreed to bring the recommendation to the Park Board in September. Staff was asked how much time was needed to proceed for this year. Superintendent Lambrecht responded that if the work were approved by the end of September it would still be feasible and that the dasher boards have an eight-week lead time. Superintendent Lambrecht also stated that the light levels would have to be increased for hockey use from what is used for recreational skating. He also stated he is contact with the Village to discuss whether the rink would have to go to Zoning. Staff also stated that the Park District should notify the neighbors around the park about the proposed project. If the Park District has to go to Zoning in order to get preference from the Village, the Park District will have to hold their own hearings on the project.

9) New Business: None

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht.

MINUTES APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2011.