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, FEBRUARY 13, 2012
7:30 P.M.
______________________________________________________________________ 

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.

PRESENT: President James Brault; Commissioners Gary Benz, James Crowley (via electronically), Darrell Graham, Michael Murdock, John Olvany, and Shelley Shelly; Secretary/Director Stephen Wilson; Assistant Secretary Judy Ostrem

ABSENT: None

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

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to allow Commissioner Crowley to participate in the Park Board’s meeting tonight via audio conference.

President Brault explained that per Resolution 2010-R-7 (A RESOLUTION PERMITTING PARK BOARD MEMBERS’ PRESENCE AT AND PARTICIPATION IN PARK BOARD MEETINGS BY VIDEO OR AUDIO CONFERENCE AND ESTABLISHING RULES FOR SUCH PARTICIPATION) and in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act, the Board is allowed to enable any member who is not physically present at the meeting to join in the meeting electronically insofar that there is an established quorum of the Board without the electronic attendee. President Brault stated the roll call indicated a quorum had been established and it was confirmed that Commissioner Crowley could hear and also be heard.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 9, 2012 Regular Board Meeting.

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

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Shelly seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 4, 2012 Administration Committee meeting.

Commissioner Murdock explained that a minor adjustment was made to the Administration Committee meeting minutes and which is now reflected in the minutes being considered tonight for approval. Director Wilson indicated that in the original version of these minutes, Commissioner Murdock was listed as absent although he was actually present at the meeting and these minutes were changed to accurately reflect that.

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

COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE

Director Wilson stated he and the Park Board received an email today from resident Bill Lemieux in regard to the discussion at the last Golf Operations Committee meeting which is also an agenda item for tonight’s meeting. Commissioner Olvany stated he received correspondence a week or so ago from Steve Keyser requesting that someone on the Board speak to him about the Wilmette Eagles football program. Commissioner Olvany then passed along that information to Commissioner Murdock who is Chair of the Parks & Recreation Committee.

VISITORS: Fred Watson, Bill Lemieux, Tim Tercheck, Peter Chadwick, Pat McCann, and David Kritzler

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,345,097.64, 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, Olvany and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None. Motion carried.

Commissioner Olvany questioned the expenditure for excavation from Lenny Hoffman. Superintendent Lambrecht explained this specific expenditure was for water service at the Thornwood Park ice rink. Director Wilson added the expenditure was specifically for excavating that area for drainage. President Brault explained this firm has done quite a bit of work for the District over the years and it is a local business. They also provide the grading work which is done at the beach every year to smooth out the sand after the winter.

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

COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Graham reported the Committee met earlier this evening and discussed two main issues. The first was the debt issuance ordinance which is in the amount of $279,000. This issuance was discussed in previous Financial Planning meetings and consists of a one-year bond being issued. The other main order of business was the carryover capital project list which the Committee considered. After discussion, the Committee agreed to recommend that a total of $1,049,629 be approved for carryover capital items for 2012. These capital items were delayed or deferred in 2011 and will now be placed in 2012.

Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Benz seconded the motion to approve Ordinance 2012-O-2: AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUANCE OF $279,000 IN GENERAL OBLIGATION LIMITED TAX PARK BONDS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.

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

Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded the motion to approve the carryover of capital projects in the amount of $1,049,629 as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.

President Brault explained that this carryover is for those projects that had previously been approved. Commissioner Graham added that what we try to do every year is to review the projects to see if they fit within the budget and, if necessary, they will be deferred or delayed for various reasons such as budgetary or timing concerns. In 2011, we deferred or delayed $1,049,629 worth of budgeted projects.

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

Parks & Recreation Committee – Committee Chair Murdock stated the Committee met on January 16. At that meeting, there was correspondence from Ken Goldstein who asked why there was not an ice rink at West Park this year. Commissioner Murdock stated it had been discontinued as had been previously reported and as it turned out there was no ice at any location this winter. In addition, the District’s normal practice is to stop making ice in February but this year, if there is a stretch of cold weather, staff will attempt to make some ice at the beginning of March. This will be the third year in about a dozen years that there hasn’t been any ice. There was also discussion at last year’s meeting on the ice rink at Thornwood and it was determined at that time that the Committee would revisit the topic at the April meeting. However, that discussion will probably not be held until later in the year but everyone will be informed when it will be on the agenda. Also to be discussed at the meeting will be the West Park ice rink as well.

It was also reported at the meeting there were over 1,200 participants in the Saturday and Sunday basketball programs. Paddle tennis was also discussed and the report was updated from a couple of years ago. The Committee also asked staff to gather additional information on paddle tennis. The next Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 20, at 6:30 pm and anyone who is interested in talking about paddle tennis is invited to attend. The Camp Fair Open House was held on Tuesday, January 24 and the number of registrations is ahead of last year so anyone who is planning on participating in our camp programs is strongly encouraged to register sooner rather than later. The District will now be offering both four-week and eight-week camps in order to provide our patrons with more flexibility and he encouraged everyone to take advantage of these great programs.

The sixth annual Winter Silhouettes Dance Concert was held on January 14 in the CRC auditorium with about 200 people at each of the two performances. In addition, the North Shore Theater of Wilmette will be presenting the show Blithe Spirit which is running through next weekend. In March the Children’s Theater will present Music Man Jr. These tickets sell quickly so everyone is encouraged to purchase them before they sell out.

The gymnastics program had some of their members qualify for the State Meet. The Fitness Center has instituted a “Platinum” membership which includes classes as well as memberships and a number of people have taken advantage of that. Additional information is on their web site.

Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to authorize the Director to sign a license agreement with the Wilmette Baseball Association (WBA) specifying the terms of the Wilmette Baseball Association’s use of Park District properties to conduct youth baseball programs, including an expenditure of $46,200 by the Park District for the Wilmette Baseball Association to conduct house league programs. Commissioner Murdock explained that the amount of $46,200 represents a 5% increase over last year but this is the first increase that we have given to the WBA in many years.

Director Wilson stated a correction needed to be made in the motion in regard to the dollar amount. The Action List indicated last year’s amount but the correct amount for this year is $48,510. Commissioner Murdock noted that in exchange for the use of our property, the WBA maintains all of our fields and outsources the work. Most people have indicated that the fields are in great condition, the District receives a good value, and it has been a positive relationship for many years. 

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

President Brault stated the next item on the agenda is discussion of the proposed fence at Gillson Park. Director Wilson explained that the three options on where the fencing could be routed had been provided to the Board with both the pros and cons indicated. Also provided to the Board were four style options on the fencing. In regard to location options, Option B consists of a straight line going from where the fence currently runs to immediately behind the sheet piling that is currently buried in the sand. Option A is at a point where it would cut up towards the walkway at the overlook and then run south from there. Option C would cut up as quickly as possible to the walkway and then run along the fence south along the eastern edge of the walkway at the overlook.

In regard to fencing style options, there are four options. The first style option is the type of fence that is currently located down at Gillson. Style Option 2 is a wooden snow- fencing type of option. Style Option 3 is what is called the Amego fence line from Metalico, is close to the fencing we currently have, and comes in various color options. The fourth option would be a standard chain link fence.

Also included in the Board packet were cost estimates for each fence type that included setting up the fence and taking each fence type down at the beginning and end of each swim season.

President Brault stated the first issue to be discussed should be the length of the fence rather than the style. What is being proposed in each case is to have the fence continue from where it currently stops to all the way down to the dog beach so that it would incorporate the entire overlook area all the way to the south.

Commissioner Murdock stated that the Board has been talking about this for a number of years and in 2009 we extended the fence 400 feet to the south from its original location. As a result, a more controlled beach space was created for some of the camps and it has worked out exceptionally well. The reality is that over the course of the past couple of years and going back even further, the area which had not been fenced in has been a no-swimming area and virtually unenforceable. The police have assisted us and staff has worked on the problem but the reality is people continue to swim in that area. He believes we need to have better control over this area. On the other hand, he also knows that many families picnic down in this area and he is sure the Parks & Recreation Committee will talk about this over the next couple of months before the swim season opens. He thinks the primary concern is to better control this area which is something he supports.

President Brault agreed with Commissioner Murdock. He stated that since the 1960’s the Park Board has been debating how to control the southern-most end of the beach, particularly as the beach has expanded and the water receded. This is entirely a safety issue and even though no-swimming signs are posted everywhere on the unguarded beach, we know they are swimming in that area all the time. Even when the police get them out of the water, as soon as they leave the swimmers go right back in. Our staff also does not have the enforcement ability to get them out of the water. By fencing in the beach it will help the District to monitor the area and bring a higher level of safety to the lakefront. In summary, he is in favor of extending the fence.

Commissioner Benz stated the length options are reflected on the exhibits that were included in the packet. In fact, all three options go to the dog beach so the real issue is actually the placement of the fence. For example, Option B indicates the fence would be closest to the water line which makes it more of a safety assistance fence which is the number one criteria. This option also has two benefits – one is that it’s the least visible option from the overlook area and it also does not cut off any of the current useable picnicking or overlook areas. In addition, it is one of the shorter options and he feels it is the most superior approach. However, he recognizes that one negative would be the potential for erosion.

President Brault stated he looks at Option B as being the most visible fencing placement from the beach and Commissioner Benz is looking at it from an overlook perspective. One way to compromise on that would be to put it where Option C is located but then install a shorter fence rather than the six-foot fence.

Superintendent Lambrecht stated all of the fencing options would have to run down to the lakeside. The bench pads are across the lakefront which is where they are now. In order to keep the fence in front of those, all of the fences are accessible from the park. We would have to run the fence on the outside of the farthest bench area which would not make sense since they are all different elevations. Out of the three options, only Option B runs the fence along the eastern most side of the dune.

Commissioner Shelly agreed with Commissioner Benz that when parking by the overlook area, it is one of the most beautiful scenic spots on the lakefront and to have a fence located right in front of the dune grass and dunes seems unnecessary especially when the main issue is safety. She doesn’t think it will look good at the water’s edge either but still thinks you would not see much of the fence as you pulled up.

Commissioner Shelly asked that since the Amego fencing has several colors were there any other color options that would not be quite as harsh as the current fence which is bronze. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that the reason he selected that type of fence was that it is as bulky as the other fence which is currently there and there is a variety of colors available as well.

Commissioner Graham stated he understands that the fence would be removed in the fall and set back up in the spring although the posts remain for the entire year. Commissioner Shelly pointed out that the fence we currently have will remain and she then asked for more information about the gates. Superintendent Lambrecht replied there would be two walk-in gates in that section of fencing which could be opened and closed on a daily basis and then there would be one equipment-sized gate used to access the aquatic and dog beaches for cleaning. Director Wilson added staff would lock those gates during the swimming beach hours and Superintendent Lambrecht stated the fence would be open before the swimming beach opens. President Brault stated it is imperative that everything is taken down when the beach is closed for the season. Commissioner Benz stated that from his perspective he would prefer to not take it all down and is concerned about the posts in the winter because of the water table. President Brault stated we could open up several sections where the historical access points have been from the overlook and still leave several areas inaccessible.

Commissioner Murdock asked if there was any sense of what kind of “pounding” the fence under Option B is going to take during harsh weather conditions. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that with high lake levels we could experience washouts behind the sheet piling because of all the concrete rubble that gets exposed. President Brault stated that even if the water causes erosion, we could theoretically save the sections. Superintendent Lambrecht stated the erosion issues being discussed historically take place in the winter. President Brault asked that on Option B what would be the closest point from the fence to the water. Superintendent Lambrecht replied it would be approximately eight feet. President Brault asked if there was any way in Option B to step it back slightly onto the dune in order to screen it. Superintendent Lambrecht replied he would like to avoid cutting into the dune itself which could start causing erosion problems on the back side of the dune and possibly damage the fence as well. President Brault asked that if at some point we decide not to go with Option B, how difficult would it be to reroute it. Superintendent Lambrecht replied staff would take the panels down and then reset the posts.

Commissioner Olvany asked what was the Board attempting to do here tonight and if it was to determine the size, scope, direction, style, etc. this evening. Commissioner Murdock replied the purpose is to clarify what this expenditure entails and that it has already been budgeted and appropriated so there is no formal approval to be considered. President Brault added the main goal tonight is to provide a fencing recommendation for staff on all of these items. Director Wilson further explained that as part of tonight’s meeting, staff requested input from the Board to help create the bid documents for this work and since we are up against the start of the swimming season, we would need to get the materials ordered soon for the project.

Commissioner Olvany indicated he would like to discuss the concept of removal and type of fence. He personally thinks the only issue in the summer is the safety factor. It is his strong recommendation that the fence be removed with the exception of the posts through the rest of the year between Labor Day and Memorial Day because that area is one of the most beautiful at the beach and there should not be a fence there. He likes that particular area of the beach and does not want to look at a fence when we are not trying to keep people out of the water.

Commissioner Benz stated the question he has is whether staff feels that a four-foot fence is not a deterrent as far as safety goes. Commissioner Murdock stated that the snow fence and the chain link fence would look awful and that this area is one of the most beautiful along the lakefront. We do not want to do something which would take that away. He also agreed that the snow and chain link fences are not viable options. Commissioner Benz added the Board needs to take a look at our current fencing or the Amego fence which is less intrusive.

President Brault stated he too would be in favor of taking the fence down in the off-season when there is not a safety issue. If we approve one of the fencing options, he would like to review this issue again a year from now to see what the experience had been and to learn from it. He also agrees that starting with the premise that the fence will come down after the season is a good one.

At this point Commissioner Crowley who was participating in the meeting electronically stated he had only been able to hear a few but not all members of the Board. Since he has not been able to hear all of the information, he will be abstaining from voting on this issue.

As a result, Director Wilson stated that Commissioner Crowley was officially deemed “Absent” for the remainder of the meeting and the phone call was terminated.

Commissioner Murdock asked if it was possible to have longer fence posts and drive them in without concrete so that they too could be removed at the end of the season. Superintendent Lambrecht stated he would be apprehensive about sending his staff to dig down there. The big problem would be driving the posts into the broken concrete and it will be hard enough to do that at the north end of the fence. In addition, to excavate and put the posts in and pour the foundations all of these chunks of concrete would come out which would not be practical.

President Brault asked if the Board could initially agree that the fence would be a temporary seasonal fence and the Board agreed. President Brault then asked which fencing option everyone preferred and all agreed on Option B.

He then asked the Board if there were style or color preferences and Commissioner Shelly replied she would like to see some sample colors. Superintendent Lambrecht indicated that staff would need to specify colors with the other fence company but the Amigo fence has the basic standard colors of black and green although we could ask for custom colors as an option. Commissioner Shelly stated that she wanted the color to blend in as much as possible and that there should be additional color options other than black.

Commissioner Olvany asked that when it comes to aesthetics how high and how obtrusive will the fence be. He believes it is not going to be a deterrent if it is four or six feet high since people will figure out a way to get over the fence. His personal opinion is to go with the least obtrusive fence height such as four feet. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that his experience at the concession stand patio has been that children constantly climb and jump over the four foot fence very easily. Commissioner Shelly felt that a six foot fence would make a positive difference.

Commissioner Murdock asked how tall the fence was that runs along the water plant at the top of the sailing beach and Superintendent Lambrecht replied it was seven feet high. President Brault thought that either a five foot or six foot fence would be sufficient and that we need to be careful to not make the beach look like an institution. Commissioner Olvany stated the fence on top of the north end of the sailing beach looks very institutional and wondered if this what we were thinking of installing at the beach. Superintendent Lambrecht replied staff placed that fence there to match the water plant and it will not be going in at the beach. Commissioner Olvany expressed his concern about how well this will control the problem and that discussions have been ongoing for a long time. He still doesn’t know if fences are going to solve the issue completely and he personally advocates the shortest fence possible.

President Brault agreed that the fence would probably not be 100% effective but with a five or six foot fence we could substantially change the issue and allow us to enforce safety. However, there will always be people sneaking in no matter what we do but it will allow us to enforce the beach the way we are unable to do now.

President Brault recommended that staff choose a color which will blend in as much as possible. He knows staff has been thinking about this issue for a long time and that there might be a difference of opinion on what color would blend in but he thinks this is a reasonable approach. Commissioner Olvany agreed on providing staff with the opportunity to determine what the proper aesthetics should be and Superintendent Lambrecht indicated he will call the manufacturer for color samples.

In regard to the height of the fence, President Brault indicated that Commissioner Olvany is advocating four feet. Commissioner Shelly stated that if we are going to spend the money, the fence should be a little higher. Commissioner Murdock felt a four foot fence would be too low but is aware that we want to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Commissioner Olvany stated he is having a hard time understanding if the height of the dunes is where that sight line is created since it seems that people will jump over the dunes and over the fence. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that in his opinion because of the way the dunes slope down on the east side, he doesn’t think the fence would be against the bottom of that slope nor would it be that easy to jump over the fence.

President Brault asked for opinions on the style of the fence. Director Wilson stated staff is also looking for direction on the style but we are also wary of the wooden snow fencing as well as the chain link fence that is easy to climb. However, choosing between matching the existing fence or a new style that might blend in better is where staff is really looking for direction. He added that Option 3 might blend in better because the space between the vertical bars is greater so therefore the bars appear to disappear a bit more. It also comes in more custom colors. Commissioner Murdock indicated that would be his preference as well since he wants to do whatever possible to blend in.

President Brault stated that at this point there is a consensus on the Board to install a temporary seasonal fence to promote water safety and operational control of the beachfront during operational hours only and based on Design Option B as presented here and Option 3 for the Metalico style of the fence with a color to blend in as much as possible at staff’s discretion.

In terms of height, Superintendent Lambrecht indicated the fence comes in a range from four to eight feet. President Brault then recommended a five foot fence which he thinks would serve the purpose. Commissioner Benz thought it might be too short and Superintendent Lambrecht added that he would not go any shorter than five feet. Commissioner Olvany indicated he was comfortable with a five foot fence and hopes it will work. The Board then agreed to go with a five foot fence.

Director Wilson thanked the Board for providing direction to staff so that they can begin to put together the bid documents. When the bids are received, they will be presented to the Board for review.

Commissioner Murdock added that in the three years he has been on the Board, this was one of the longest discussions we have had which he believes shows that the Board is very concerned about safety and that extending the fence was a big decision and we want to this right. He also thanked Superintendent Lambrecht and asked that if he had any other suggestions or thoughts, the Board would welcome his comments.

President Brault stated this is his seventh year on the Board and although the lakefront issue has been discussed on an annual basis, this change will now have one of the most positive impacts on the beach and it is a change for the better.

Golf Operations – Committee Chair Brault reported the Golf Operations Committee met on Saturday, January 14, at the golf course. He stated that for over the last year and a half, the Golf Committee has been studying the nuances of the Golf Master Plan. At the last Committee meeting, a number of options were reviewed related to the scope of the plan. In the Board packet this evening, there were six different options that were considered beginning with doing nothing at all and ending with Option #6 which was to do the full master plan as previously engaged by the Committee. After extensive discussion and input from a variety of members, Golf staff and our consultant from Martin Design, the Committee made a recommendation to the Board to pursue Option #4 which is a hybrid of various points of the entire plan where some of the work would be done by staff and the majority would be done by third party consultants. The primary goal of this plan is to improve drainage on the course. The expectation is that we will redo a number of the greens, although not all, and a number of the sand traps, again not all, and will incorporate re-grading a number of the fairways in an attempt to allow the course to drain more quickly and to get the course back into play after a significant rainfall. The overall scope of the cost of this plan is $1.75 million with about $225,000 of associated soft costs resulting in a total project cost of $1.977 million.

President Brault explained this plan will involve a significant amount of work to be done at the course and the Committee debated whether to do it in one phase or two phases. After further discussion, the final recommendation was made to do it in one continuous phase which would require the course to be closed at the beginning of August 2013 then have the course completed in the early spring of 2014 with the objective of opening on Memorial Day depending on weather conditions and the progress that had actually been made. A decision was also made to offer two-year memberships for the price of one year to encourage golfers to play for a partial season in the first year and a partial season in the second year.

Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded a motion authorize staff to begin the preliminary design and permit-related work to prepare for renovation work at the Wilmette Golf Course in a future year as recommended by the Golf Committee.

President Brault explained that another element of the recommendation was that 25% of the proposed costs would be borne by the users so that the base costs of the course improvements brings it up to a base standard without making any specific improvements, changes or enhancements. It was thought it should be the District’s responsibility to maintain the course at a playable level and also incorporate the design changes and improvements, many of which were advocated by our users, and to share the costs between the District and those who use the course the most.

Commissioner Olvany stated the Committee talked at length about the importance of this asset and that it is a responsibility of the overall community to maintain the asset whether it is an ice rink, tot lot or the beach. However, there is also another element of improving the facility and it was in his opinion a very appropriate way to try to come up with an idea to frame the costs between the taxpayers and the users of the facility and to try to put a percentage on what is an improvement versus what is maintenance of the asset. This 25% figure that the Committee came up with was a function of the recommendations made by the golf course consultant, golf course staff, and Administrative staff looking at a lot of numbers to determine where the relative costs should be borne. He believes it is important that when the community looks at this project and sees that $1.7 million amount, they know it is not going to be borne by the non-golfing community of Wilmette.

Commissioner Murdock agreed with Commissioner Olvany and stated that a lot of time was spent talking about how to allocate some of these costs and looking at the different plans. He added that when we first began talking about a master plan, his focus was on drainage and clearly with the location of the course there are some serious challenges with drainage. After going through the process, he feels very comfortable with where we ended up in terms of the scope of the project and also in terms of balancing the commitment to this asset and that that the community and the members will be bearing some of the costs as well. As we neared the end of the process and looked at some less expensive options in terms of renovation work, he became very concerned that they would not be meaningful. Commissioner Murdock then thanked Golf Course Manager Mike Matchen for taking him on a tour of the course to look at the drainage issues. He is pleased with the plan that we have and moving forward is hopeful the drainage issues will be resolved not only with pipes in the ground and grading but also in other ways which will not be available to us when the MWRD’s new rules regarding additional retention offsets go into effect. This is a critical time to do this project and to do it right because as times goes on it will be more difficult to address these issues.

Commissioner Graham indicated he had also been on the Committee in the past for several years and thought that staff did a very good job of looking at the cost savings, the incremental positive revenue from these repairs, and changes to the course that in the long-term will benefit the course and benefit the revenue stream and cost savings. Staff did a good job of balancing all of these different needs.

President Brault stated the original master plan had re-grading and re-drainage for all of the fairways and also included rebuilding of all the greens. As a result, the plan that is being contemplated now encompasses only 11 of the 18 fairways and only 10 of the existing greens so the scope is significantly less than the original master plan but still addresses the most needed elements of the course which will keep it in place for the next 25 years or so.

President Brault stated he would like to make an amendment to the motion which is currently on the floor to direct the Financial Planning Committee to come up with a recommendation as to how we incorporate that the users will be paying for 25% of the scope of the project. He believes that can be done in conjunction with the directive to staff to move forward on the design work. Commissioner Murdock seconded the amended motion.

Commissioner Benz asked what was the anticipated timeline of the renovations. President Brault replied that the best estimate if we begin to move forward now is that the work would not be able to start until August 2013 since we will need to go through permitting with the Village as well as other regulatory agencies.

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

Centennial Operations – Commissioner Benz reported the Centennial Operations Committee did not meet this month.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Wilson reported there had previously been discussion about the Thornwood Park ice rink especially in regard to the lighting. Although there has been no ice for skating, the District plans to turn on the lights for the next couple of nights in order to gather data for the Village.

Director Wilson reported the District has recently received a couple of awards and asked Superintendent Eppelheimer to speak about the first award. Superintendent Eppelheimer then explained that the District once again received the Certificate of Achievement in Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by the government and its management. Our CAFR had been judged by an impartial panel to determine if we had met the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive spirit of full disclosure. This is the District’s fourth consecutive CAFR award and it will be on display in our offices. 

Director Wilson asked Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue to present to the Board the awards that District won at the annual IPRA/IAPD State Conference in January in honor of the marketing projects that she and her staff had created over the past year.

Ms. Donoghue stated that the District competed in a number of different categories and took first place in the Large Format Marketing category which was a banner designed for an art show. The District also took first place in the IPRA Agency Showcase competition which consists of an overall look at all of our marketing materials for eight different categories. The entries were judged by outside professionals in the field who look for multiple aspects in these entries. Our display came in first place this year which is the second time in three years the District has won this award. We also received first place for our People’s Choice entry which is the second year in a row we have achieved that. For this entry, everyone who attends conference receives a ballot and can vote if they so choose which means we were judged not only by professionals but also by everyday people who work as we do. Ms. Donoghue then presented the two awards to the Board but added staff is still waiting for delivery of the People’s Choice award.

Shelagh added a lot of time has been spent talking about the talented staff we have in the Marketing Department which is true but the Recreation staff really need to be recognized as well since they are the ones who come up with the programs. For example, programs like Breakfast with Santa and the Daddy/Daughter Dance have captured the public’s imagination and recognition should go to these staff members as well.

Director Wilson reported that Superintendent Lambrecht is scheduled for surgery and will be out of the office for awhile but steps have been taken to handle his responsibilities while he is out and he will be working from home. All of us here extend our best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

President Brault reported he along with Commissioner Graham and Director Wilson were in attendance at the Wilmette Harbor Association’s (WHA) Annual Meeting and spent an hour and half outlining their thoughts on why the District was potentially considering some involvement with the harbor and possibly expanding our overall activities at the lakefront. In summary, the meeting was no different than what the Board has talked about before including issues such as the potential costs to repair the seawall. There have not really been any updates since our last discussion when we received one bid from JJR in the amount of approximately $45,000. We suggested to the WHA that the District share the cost of the bid results so that we are on a common ground with the harbor but they declined to share those costs with us. Since then, the District has sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit additional bids to analyze the condition of the seawall and to come back with projected repair costs but so far we have not received any bids from the RFP although we are continuing to work with two groups who might do so. The District still has a number of questions but no decisions have been made to move forward. However, we are actively in the process of looking at the potential expenses and potential enhancements of our services at the lakefront. Over the course of the next several months we will hopefully have more information to consider, particularly in regard to the costs.

Commissioner Olvany stated by virtue of being appointed as the District’s representative at the IPRA/IAPD conference last month, he attended two sessions about partnerships overall and on public/private partnerships. The main reason he attended those two sessions was to get a better understanding of how other park districts have dealt with private and public partnerships and some of the potential ways that we could work directly with a non-profit organization such as the WHA. He attended a very informative session that described other examples of where non-profits worked with park districts or school boards in order to promote both sides of the same issue. He learned a lot from this session and felt that what he learned could be potentially useful in the discussions moving forward. President Brault agreed that would be very helpful and it is along the same lines of our discussion with the WHA in that we would look to retain their knowledge and expertise about the management of the harbor to the extent that the District is involved. President Brault also stated he hopes Commissioner Olvany will share in detail what he learned at conference during our next round of discussions.

Commissioner Murdock stated the Elmwood Avenue right-of-way, otherwise known as the Elmwood Avenue Beach, is a property owned collectively by the State of Illinois and the Village of Wilmette. The Village, not the Park District, has a right-of-way from Sheridan Road to the lakefront. At this point, the District does not have any rights or any type of claim to the access or the easement to the lake. As a result, from this Board’s perspective, the Park District is not involved. However, he did meet with Village President Chris Canning to talk in general about what we might be able to do with them in the future. After the meeting, President. Canning indicated he was going to talk to his staff about what some of the potential opportunities could be of working together and then they were going to get back to us. However, at this point we haven’t heard anything. We are aware that the Village is dealing with several high-profile issues but while they continue to review this issue we as a Board have not yet had a chance to talk about it.

NEW BUSINESS

Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2012-R-1, A RESOLUTION TO RATIFY THE AMENDED AND RESTATED ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT FOR THE NORTHERN SUBURBAN SPECIAL RECREATION ASSOCIATION (NSSRA) AS APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF NSSRA.

Director Wilson stated these Articles of Agreement are basically the guiding articles of the NSSRA cooperative which serves 13 communities of which Wilmette is one. He also indicated that similar Articles of Agreement were approved by the Board about five months ago. At that time, other member agencies had a few questions that came up which resulted in some changes. This amended resolution being considered tonight will make us the 12th out of 13 park districts to approve the resolution so it is not anticipated there will be any more changes.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Graham, Murdock, Olvany, Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioner Crowley. Motion carried.

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to adjourn to Closed Session for discussion of minutes of prior meetings lawfully closed per Section 2(c)21 of the Open Meetings Act for the purpose of review, approval or release of such minutes; and for discussion of the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of a specific employee(s) of the District per Section 2(c)1 of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

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

The meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 8:55 pm.

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 9:58 pm.

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Closed Session minutes of November 14, 2011.

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


There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:59 pm.

MINUTES APPROVED ON MARCH 12, 2012.