WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PADDLE TENNIS PUBLIC HEARING
Date: June 25, 2012
Location: Village Hall Counsel Chambers
Time: 7:00 pm
Park Board Commissioners: John Olvany, Gary Benz, James Brault, James Crowley, Michael Murdock, Shelley Shelly
Executive Director Steve Wilson, Superintendent Jeff Bowen, Superintendent Ken Eppelheimer, Superintendent Bill Lambrecht, Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue
Visitors: See Attached
1) Public Hearing was called to order at 7:00 pm.
2) Opening Remarks: President Brault welcomed everyone to tonight’s Paddle Tennis public hearing. In terms of background, the Park District had previously considered Paddle Tennis in 2009 as a response to suggestions made by the public. In late 2009, an informal survey was conducted among the users of the Wilmette Park District (the “District”). In addition, a survey was sent to everyone who registered with the District and was also posted on the District’s web site. We received quite a bit of input from that process and the issue came before the Board again in 2010 but was tabled because of financial priorities. In 2011 the review process began again and a fair amount of review was conducted. In general, the process the District followed was that an idea is received from the community and then it is debated at the Park Board level. Staff then comes up with conceptual ideas and takes it back to the public for their input.
In terms of costs, we have received a number of questions. The cost of the project would be approximately $1.2 million and the expectation is that we would not raise any taxes since it would be funded through a bond issuance and from District reserves.
President Brault stated that the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to listen and everyone is invited to talk about how they feel about the proposed paddle tennis facility at West Park.
3) Recognition of Visitors – Public Comments
David Parker, 2018 Greenwood- stated he plays paddle at the Winnetka Park District and is in favor of the proposed plan in Wilmette since he felt it would be a welcome addition to the community’s recreational opportunities. In response to various questions from the commissioners, Mr. Parker stated he would leave Winnetka to play in Wilmette and that he felt if alcohol was not allowed, it would negatively impact the number of members. He also felt that if the District sold alcohol versus allowing people to bring their own alcohol, then that would be acceptable. He also answered questions that indicated he felt a lot of people would sign up for memberships and that if the association model was the direction the District wanted to go then that would be feasible.
Steve Shepherd, 616 Isabella – stated he was a long time player of the sport and has played at Winnetka and currently at Michigan Shores Club. He stated he felt that Winnetka is overcrowded as evidenced by too many people on each team and therefore a Wilmette facility would be great because it would give more people the opportunity to play. He also stated that having a good pro is very important to make sure there is a good lesson program. He also mentioned that a junior program would probably be viable and should be considered. He stated that he felt allowing beer was very important and that he might consider leaving Michigan Shores to play in Wilmette. When asked by the commissioners about what a good price might be for a membership, he did not offer a dollar amount as a response. When asked by the commissioners how many people he felt would join the facility, he stated he thought a lot of people would join not only from Wilmette but also from Evanston and other areas as well.
Eliner Gusinde, 197 Mark Dr., Glenview – stated she lived just west of West Park in Glenview and asked if the District currently allowed alcohol at any of its facilities. The commissioners answered we currently allow alcohol at the golf course as well as the Lakeview and Mallinckrodt centers during facility rentals.
Gerson Field, 110 Carriage Way – stated he was against the project because he felt that 400 people out of the population of Wilmette was not enough interest to justify the expenditure as proposed. He was also concerned where the money was coming from and if there were better uses for the money than the proposed new facility. When asked by the commissioners what percentage of the population did he think was needed to justify the discussion about the project, he stated a significant percentage.
Ellen Goldsmith, 2211 Washington – stated she was in favor of the concept because if you build it they will come. She stated she does not currently play but was interested after learning a little about the sport. She also liked it because it provided another winter exercise option which is good for the whole community. She also stated she did not feel the community needed the facility but that it would be a great addition if it could be done. Lastly, she hoped the District would set the prices to use the facility at a reasonable level so everyone could use it.
Seeing that no one else wished to address the board, President Brault thanked those in attendance for their time and informed them that the Board will debate the results at its next regular meeting on July 9.
There being no further business to conduct, the public hearing was adjourned at 7:29 pm.
MINUTES APPROVED ON JULY 9, 2012.