WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
CENTENNIAL OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: September 12, 2011
Place: Administration Office
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Commissioners: Gary Benz, Jim Crowley, Mike Murdock, Shelley Shelly
Staff: Jeff Bowen, Eppelheimer, Wilson, Juliar, Smith, Udany
Visitors: Olvany, Vulgaris, Wielzorer, Robertson, Frost, Patch.com
Topics of Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Recognition of Visitors
4) Communications and Correspondence
5) Managers Reports
6) Old Business
7) New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.
2) The Committee approved the minutes of the August 8, 2011 Committee meeting by General Consent
3) Under Communications and Correspondence, Superintendent Bowen reported on a letter he received from a resident which stated she was surprised the pool did not offer daily admission discounts for senior citizen. Superintendent Bowen explained we do offer senior citizen discounts throughout the District for memberships but not for daily admissions or for programming types of fees. Commissioner Crowley reported an email had been received complimenting the ice skating competition held at Centennial this summer. Superintendent Bowen stated that this complimentary review was taken from a blog which highlighted how well the event had been run. Commissioner Benz asked that this review be passed along to Ice staff and to thank them for the wonderful job they did on this competition.
Superintendent Bowen stated a letter was received requesting that staff take a look at the New Trier Swim Club and suggested possibly moving the swim club from where they now swim at 5-7 pm each weeknight and move them back on Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 pm. The swim club had previously responded they would not be in favor of moving their times.
Ms. Evita Vulgaris stated that they were hoping to get changed from two days a week to at least three days a week and be able to swim during the 5-7 pm time slot. She stated that as working parents with little children that is the only time they are able to use the big pool. Commissioner Crowley pointed out that not all of the pools are closed at that point. Superintendent Bowen explained that in the main pool there are eight lanes – three reserved for the lap swimmers and five lanes reserved for the swim team. The team also uses half of the diving well. As a result, what is open at that time are the three lanes for lap swimmers, half of the diving well and the entire activity pool (i.e., bucket pool). The facility has never been entirely closed from the 5 to 7 pm slot for over 20 years that the New Trier swim team has rented that time slot. Ms. Vulgaris stated they are students – do they not have the whole day open during the summer.
The Treasurer of the New Trier swim team, Mr. Forbes Robertson, stated that in their developmental groups the children range in age from 6-8 years old and since they are so young, the team didn’t want them swimming at the pool at night. He believes the times were originally selected to be over the dinner period so that it wouldn’t interfere with other children and residents who use the pool. There are 119 children participating in the New Trier swim club who live in Wilmette which comprises 32% of the members and they already pay to use the pool themselves and the swim club pays to use Centennial for practices which results in the club contributing significantly to the revenues of the pool. The swim club feels it is unfair to make children that age swim from 7 to 9 pm.
Commissioner Shelly stated that it wouldn’t have to be a Tuesday or Thursday schedule and that the initial idea for the time slot was that it was for people who worked and then the swim club would have the opportunity to schedule around them. The Treasurer, Mr. Robertson, stated the club is restricted for pool time and they appreciate the time at Centennial. The 5 to 7 pm time is critical for the club because of the age of the children.
After further discussion, Committee Chair Crowley asked if the swim club could have more flexibility regarding this issue and the Treasurer stated he would follow-up. He also stated there are a lot of children who use the pool at that time so we have to be careful of timing and suggested that the swim club think about how to resolve some of these issues and return to the Committee with their proposal. He added that both sides need to be flexible.
5) Managers Reports:
Centennial Ice/Pool Manager Terry Juliar reported that the summer skating program finished for the season with approximately 54,500 participants this year compared to 47,300 last year. Some of that activity was helped by the Skokie ice rink being closed down and that our own professionals also had their children skate more often at Centennial. Fall classes began on August 22. There is a current enrollment of 400 enrolled in the fall session compared to 416 last year so staff will accept registrations for another week or so in the hopes of surpassing number by next week. Most of our contracts have begun but we are still waiting for Metro North and Hockey North America who will begin their season this month. Staff is working with the Wilmette Hockey Association (WHA) who were pleased that we were able to provide them with the multi-purpose room and ice rink for their USA hockey developmental training session on Saturday, September 3. There were 60 coaches in the session from the Chicago area and there were about 30 players on the ice. The WHA was very pleased with the session and appreciative of the use of Centennial.
Assistant Manager Brian Udany reported the pools were closed after Labor Day weekend which experienced a mix of weather. It started off nice and then became more inclement as the weekend continued. Overall attendance for the last half of August was down about 10,000 from last season with a total of approximately 105,000 patrons for the entire season. This year the month of August had the same schedule as last year but the weather at the end of the summer last year was much nicer and attendance numbers were very high. This year attendance was down due to the weather. As part of the capital budget process, there will be some projects scheduled for next year including repair of the leaks in the pump seals, replacement of the chemical controllers, and the need to replace the chemical feed units.
Superintendent Bowen reported that Assistant Ice/Pool Manager David Johnson will be leaving the Park District to work at the Glencoe Park District as the outdoor ice rink and lakefront manager at the end of this month. He will stay on for a couple of weeks to help with budgeting for his areas and we wish him well.
Tennis Manager Darrell Smith reported the indoor court season started yesterday. This year a total of 161 court times have been sold which is two higher than last year. For the last 10 years this area had been going down so this is good news. The basic and advanced level lessons have been ongoing for a couple of weeks now and people are still coming in. This is a short eight-week session but it’s full which is great. The travel teams start practices next week and the matches follow the week after that. The annual September Welcome Back pro shop sale is ongoing. However, sales have been weak as they have been the whole year.
6) Under Old Business, Superintendent Bowen reported the picnic tables have been set up outside of the pool facility so that people can bring their own food and eat outside. He is also working with Commissioner Shelly on some input for the concession stand.
7) Under New Business, Superintendent Bowen provided a preview of the 2011 Pool Report. In 2011 there were 67,010 resident pool members and non-resident members totaled 2,214. On the revenue side, the 75% of residents make up 52% of the revenue and 25% of non-residents make up 48% of the revenue. Daily admissions totaled 15,599 with 5,261 being residents and 10,338 non-residents.
Commissioner Crowley asked if staff was comfortable that the financial software is accurate. Superintendent Bowen replied that he is. He reported the wading pool had a total of 18,882 residents and 90% of the non-residents contributed. Commissioner Shelly asked if they could get a comparison of other pools in the area and the costs for resident and non-resident admissions. She feels that the price being charged is a lot less than other city pools. Superintendent Bowen replied that will happen during the budgeting process.
Superintendent Bowen distributed the 2011 schedule of the end-of-season hours of operation. In summary, the facility was open almost every time staff said it would be open. The facility sees a lot of business during prime time on weekdays but not a lot on a regular basis in the mornings. Positive things have been done with staff over the last three years and it is hoped that will continue but only if we are able to retain lifeguard staff which we were able to do this year.
Also, staff will be taking a look at some of our neighboring community pool fees to determine what fee increases the market will bear and will be making their recommendations during the budgeting process.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Minutes taken by Jeffrey Bowen.
MINUTES APPROVED ON OCTOBER 25, 2011.