WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: April 16, 2012
Location: Village Hall Training Room
Time: 6:30 pm
Commissioners: Murdock; Crowley; Graham; Shelley; Benz
Staff: Lambrecht; Bingham; Bowen; Specht; Groves; Wilson; Eppelheimer
Visitors: Peter Baugher; Janet Halstead; Bradley Reiff; Charles Shea
Topics for Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
a) Robin and Peter Baugher (Sand management at Langdon Park)
b) Michael Tobin (Dog Beach Holiday Hours)
c) Mari Terman (Wright-Schindler Cottage)
4) Manager’s Reports
5) Old Business
a) Paddle Tennis
b) Soccer League Changes
c) Lakefront Staffing
6) New Business
a) Park Permit Requests
b) Stand-up Paddle Boards
7) Adjourn to Closed Session (Discussion of the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees of the District per Section 2(c) (1) of the Open meetings Act.
8) Reconvene Regular Committee Meeting
a) Consideration of Action, if any, of items discussed in Closed Session
1) The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm.
2) The Committee reviewed the minutes of April 16, 2012 which were approved by general consent.
3) Under Communications and Correspondence, the Committee recognized Peter Baugher and the Committee asked Executive Director Wilson to provide an overview of what had transpired at the Langdon Park site during the previous year. Director Wilson reported that at the request of the Baughers, the old chain link fence had been removed from Sheridan Road down to the bluff. An old cottonwood tree that had declined quickly had also been removed in 2011. Staff is aware that there is a lot of sand that moved around at Langdon as it also did extensively at Gillson this past winter. The lack of snow cover and freezing temperatures this past winter did not hold the snow in place and despite the snow fences at Gillson Park, a lot of snow drifted off the beach into the parking lot which Park Staff continued to move away all winter.
Mr. Baugher stated he was representing himself, his wife and two of the neighbors south of their home. The Baughers currently have a contractor who moves the sand for them and he stated that the neighbors need help moving the sand from their property. Mr. Baugher also indicated the sand they were moving which was collected on the neighbors’ property was considered to be Park District sand and therefore the Park District should provide assistance to the neighbors since the District has the equipment to move the sand. The neighbors would also like to coordinate plantings with the Park District including dune grasses. Commissioner Murdock asked if the Park District has the equipment to grade the beach. Staff replied they contract with an excavation contractor every year to move sand on the beach.
Mr. Baugher repeated he believes the Park District needs to help the neighbors. Commissioner Murdock replied he is concerned about the precedent it would set and asked Superintendent Lambrecht if the Park District had ever done this type of work in the past. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that they had not. Commissioner Murdock went on to ask if the Park District ever removed snow from a neighbor’s driveway near a park if snow drifted from it and Superintendent Lambrecht replied that they do not. Commissioner Graham asked why the snow fence had not been placed there this past year. Superintendent Lambrecht replied they had simply run out of fencing since much more fence had been installed at sailing to keep the racks from getting buried. Commissioner Graham went on to state he believes this is not the fault of the Park District since it is an act of nature and the properties are along a beach. Commissioner Murdock asked if the Park District could have its contractor reach out to the neighbors to see if they could help. Superintendent Lambrecht replied he would talk to the contractor. Superintendent Lambrecht explained that they haul the machine to Gillson to do the bulk of the work. When work is needed at Langdon, they walk the beach so they would not have to pay for trucking.
Mr. Baugher asked that the Park District work with the neighbors to install dunes grasses. He also asked if the landscaping plans for Langdon Park had been started and he wants their landscape designer to meet with JJR to discuss the park plantings. After some discussion, staff was asked to meet with the Baughers. Mr. Baugher added that he doesn’t understand why the plans are not done yet. Executive Director Wilson replied that the Park Board did not even receive the Lakefront Commission Report until late fall. After further discussion, the Committee agreed to coordinate efforts with the Baughers but that the conceptual plans would not be complete until late summer.
The Committee reviewed a communication from Michael Tobin regarding holiday hours at the Dog Beach. Staff reported that the dog beach has been closed on holidays including Memorial Day, July 3rd and 4th and Labor Day. Those dates were set when dogs were only allowed at the beach and not in the park in general. Staff now believes that Memorial Day and Labor Day could be treated like any other holiday and that the July 3rd and 4th holiday needs to remain closed due to the set-up and clean-up for the Independence Day Celebration in the park. The Committee then voted unanimously to have the Dog Beach open on Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Commissioner Murdock suggested that since the topic has come up the Committee should discuss the Wright-Schindler Cottage. Commissioner Murdock suggested that since the topic has come up the Committee should discuss the cottage. Executive Director Wilson reported that he, Superintendent Lambrecht, Janet Halstead from the Wright Conservancy, Architect John Thorpe with the Wright Conservancy, and Jeanne Stoggin met with the realtor. Superintendent Lambrecht has developed estimates for the Committee’s information. Ms. Halstead reported that it was not known to be a Wright design until recently and was built as temporary residence to eventually be converted to a garage. The Conservancy would like the structure to remain in Wilmette if possible and they have other interested parties if the Park District does not take it. Commissioner Murdock asked if the other groups were local. Ms. Halstead replied they were made up of individuals in and out of Wilmette. Superintendent Lambrecht reported the estimates for relocating the structure were as follows:
Moving - $ 19,000
Excavation & foundation - $ 15,000
Basic needed repairs - $7,000 to 12,000
Plant relocation - $3,000
Fence work - $1,500
Power - $5,000
Natural gas - $ 2,500
Water & sewer - not included
Restoration - Unknown
Ms. Halstead added there would be a lot of interior restoration if it was brought back to its original design. There were two additions that should be removed and a lot of the interior is drywall which should be plaster. Commissioner Graham asked what material the exterior finish is and Superintendent Lambrecht replied it is currently plywood siding. Staff was unable to do a thorough examination of the structure since there is a tenant currently in the space and staff has concerns about the structure of the floor which consists of floor joists sitting on sleepers on the ground. Ms. Halstead added that it was originally stucco which may still be underneath it. Commissioner Murdock asked how much time does the Park District have to make a decision and Ms. Halstead replied a week to ten days. Commissioner Graham asked if there were any grants available for a project such as this. Ms. Halstead stated there might be a small grant of maybe $1,000 available from the Landmarks Illinois organization. Commissioner Murdock asked if she knew if there were any private parties that might be interested in helping out and Ms. Halstead replied she was not aware of any.
Commissioner Crowley stated that he is not in favor and feels that it is too much money with too many uncertainties. Commissioner Graham added he was glad that staff took time to look at it and provide some estimates but he feels there is too much uncertainty with its condition. Commissioner Murdock stated he is inclined to also say no since there is too little time to properly evaluate the structure. He would like to save it if there were grants available but it would be a financial risk for the Park District on its own. Ms. Halstead asked if it would help if they extended the time. Commissioner Murdock replied that it might help but unless at least half of the cost could be derived from outside sources he does not think it would work. Commissioner Crowley added he believes it is still too expensive. Commissioner Graham added he is concerned that the proper due diligence has not been done. Commissioner Murdock summarized up by saying that if the time were extended and outside funding became available the Committee could revisit the issue.
Also under Communications and Correspondence, the Committee reviewed an e-mail from Jeff Kost in regard to the Thornwood Park ice rink. Brad Reiff, 2425 Kenilworth Avenue, asked that if there was any discussion to relocate the rink, he feels that additional protection needs to be added since the existing boards are ineffectual. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that the original plan was to have them placed across the entire end of the rink but as a result of public input they were cut back in size. Mr. Reiff added he feels that protection needs to go up the sides as well. He also asked if the boards have to be put up before there is ice in place. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that they define the ends and the ice goes up to them. He added that the supports need to be installed before the ground is frozen. Executive Director Wilson stated the lights were turned on and tested during the last week of February and the light meter readings showed that the levels at the property lines were basically nonexistent. Mr. Reiff asked if the drainage was complete. Commissioner Murdock replied that tile had been installed under the location of the ice and into right field at the north end of the field. The low area that used to be in that location was also filled and re-graded. Mr. Reiff asked if the water hydrant is permanent. Staff replied that the hydrant, electrical control box near the batting cage, and the covers over the foundation are permanent.
Commissioner Murdock asked that staff come back in May and be prepared to discuss allowing hockey at the Gillson Park rink. In addition he asked that staff prepare the cost to add liners for all locations. Superintendent Lambrecht added that staff had tried liners before but that they had been cut when the ice melted when people walked on the liners with their skates.
The Committee reviewed a communication from Tom Bonnie regarding New Trier Rugby’s use of Park District fields. Staff reported that the Rugby team is a club sport at New Trier. The information that staff was supplied when the group discussed field use was that their participation was 45 to 50 participants with half coming from Wilmette. Commissioner Graham stated he had watched a game at Gillson and they did extensive damage to the field. Superintendent Bingham added that finding field space is difficult when we know that we have 14 soccer fields at Community Playfield and lacrosse being played at Vattmann Park and Gillson Park.
The Committee reviewed a communication from Michael Murray regarding rescue boat operations. Staff reported that the first line of response will be the Coast Guard and the second line will be lakefront staff using the two new boats.
Charles Shea asked the Committee when JJR would be bringing back the three lakefront options for review. Executive Director Wilson stated it is planned to bring them back in September after the residents return from summer vacation.
4) Under Manager’s Reports, Jeff Groves reported spring soccer has 1,562 participants with 780 girls and 782 boys. Lacrosse has 140 girls and 181 boys. T-ball registration is at 475 compared to 381 in 2011. The Wilmette Storm travel basketball program has four girls teams this year compared to one last year. Three girls on the gymnastics team competed in regional competition in Indianapolis. One boy also competed in the boys regionals.
Holly Specht reported there are currently 251 registered for Aquatics Camp which is up from 196 in 2011. Sailing lessons have 109 enrolled which is an increase from the 87 enrolled in 2011. Staff has been moving sand at the north end of sailing. Park staff also cut back a lot of brush and trimmed trees. The locks have been changed and the concession stands cleaned in preparation for the new vendor. Lakeview rentals have been very good with two a day. The hiring of summer staff continues and work on the manuals is finishing up. Superintendent Bingham reported the new vendor for concessions will be Organiclife LLC. Staff has reviewed sample menus and their pricing is far better than it has been in the past. They also seem very enthusiastic.
5) The Committee began the discussion on Platform Tennis. Superintendent Lambrecht reviewed the pricing for the three locations that were chosen by the Committee. Scott Greer stated he believes the estimates for the paddle hut are too high especially compared to residential construction. Commissioner Murdock replied he agreed that it appears high compared to residential but he has found that commercial construction is generally higher. The Park District must pay prevailing wages which also affects the price. Superintendent Lambrecht reported that the number was received from a construction management firm which had built the hut at Westmoreland. Shirley Merritt addressed the Committee and stated she is happy that the Committee is looking at the possibility of adding platform tennis and believes it should be at Centennial since people could then have access through tennis and a hut would not be needed. Charles Shea asked if the plan was to add additional parking if Gillson was chosen. Commissioner Murdock stated staff’s information indicated no additional parking is recommended at this time. Mr. Shea replied that both sides of the upper road were packed this past weekend because the park is over-programmed. Commissioner Benz asked if staff had looked at using the Wright-Schindler cottage as the paddle hut. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that it had been discussed but then found it to be too small and the restoration requirements might not be ideal due to possible restrictions.
Commissioner Murdock asked if staff had any comments on possible locations. Executive Director Wilson stated that Gillson should be discounted because of the weather conditions during the winter. He believes the other two locations should be available for public discussion. Staff reported that when the skate park was being discussed, all locations were reviewed but Hibbard was chosen before a public hearing for installing the skate park itself was brought forth. Commissioner Crowley stated he believes West Park is the best location and Commissioner Murdock concurred. Scott Greer replied he feels there is a synergy for tennis and platform to be together and that it does not belong at West Park.
Staff’ has been told that most paddle tennis usage at other locations takes place during the day and consists of mostly women. Winnetka is even offering programs for children. Glenview is building courts at the National Nine Hole Golf Course and Northbrook is working with a private concern to build there. Commissioner Murdock asked what staff anticipates the financial results will be. Executive Director Wilson stated that based on models done internally it would be a breakeven or a small surplus at best. Commissioner Murdock believes that children’s programming and definitely lessons should be pursued and that leagues provide the bulk of the revenues. He also believes West Park is the best location. After further discussion, the Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the Park Board the location of West Park for the building of a platform tennis facility.
6) The Committee next discussed the changes made by the reorganization of teams for the fall soccer program. Staff continues to recommend that the new program be kept in place through the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 cycles. Staff also moved the registration dates to a later time to make it easier on parents. Commissioner Shelley stated she believes the 4 + 4 mix is good and provides the children with a chance to meet other players. Commissioner Murdock stated it could be difficult if some children are not on the same team. Superintendent Bingham replied that in regard to the older children, many of them have been switching to the travel programs.
7) Superintendent Bingham stated that as discussion progresses, the “security” personnel will all now be hired and trained by the Police Department.
8) The Committee reviewed and approved three permit requests as follows:
a) Rose Hall Montessori School picnic on Saturday May 19th at Gillson Park for up to 275 people between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 pm;
b) New Trier High School annual Sunrise Graduation party on Monday, June 4 from 4 am to 7 am. As in the past, staff will be present during the part and the Wilmette Police provide will have personnel there as well.
c) St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church Services on Sunday mornings from 7 am to 9 am from June 3 through September 3. Staff anticipates the usual attendance of 50 people.
9) Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to adjourn to Closed Session 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 Murdock, Crowley and Graham; voting No – None. Absent – None. Motion carried.
The Committee meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 8:06 pm.
10) The Regular Committee meeting was reconvened 8:40 pm.
Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to accept all of the Employee Incentive Program submissions for the Recreation Department.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Murdock, Crowley and Graham; voting No – None. Absent – None. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:42 pm.
Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht
MINUTES APPROVED ON MAY 21, 2012.