WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: June 18, 2012
Location: Community Recreation Center – Room 117
Time: 6:00 pm
Commissioners: Murdock; Crowley; Shelley
Staff: Lambrecht; Bingham; Wilson; Bowen; Donoghue; Eppelheimer; Specht; Groves; Heafey,
Visitors: Nahida Kerimli; Ahmad Obali; Cameron Bielat
Topics for Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Manager’s Reports
c) Community Recreation Center
6) Old Business
a) Needs Assessment
7) New Business
a) Outside Vendor Policy Review
b) Park Use Permit for Saint Francis Xavier Parish
1) The Committee reviewed the minutes of May 21, 2012 with one amendment. The Committee concurred that they did not make a decision about allowing hockey at Gillson Park for the 2012-2013 season. The Committee will revisit the issue in the fall.
3) Under Communications and Correspondence, the Committee reviewed a letter from Kate Henn who asked that the Park Board change the policy regarding season passes for caregivers who are hired by families during the summer. She has two caregivers and believes they should be treated as family members. Superintendent Bingham responded that there is a special classification for in-home caregivers but they must provide a letter from their employer showing proof of employment. They can then purchase a non-resident pass at a discounted rate. After further discussion, the Committee agreed to leave the policy as it currently exists.
The Committee reviewed an email from Piotr Przeklasa regarding the strict enforcement of the rules on the south beach area of Gillson Park. After discussion, the Committee stated that staff had carried out the enforcement that they were asked to perform on the south beach area and that they saw no problems.
The Committee reviewed an email from Julie Thilman regarding dogs being allowed on the beach. She stated that in the past they had not been allowed but the rules apparently have changed because there are now dogs on leash at the beach. Staff replied that the Park District ordinances do not allow dogs on the swimming or sailing beaches. They went on to add that there have been increased incidents of people not cleaning up after their pets in the park including on the beaches. After further discussion, staff recommended they send out a communication to the pet owners with season dog beach passes asking them to be more diligent about cleaning up after their pets and that the pets must remain on-leash except on the dog beach. The Committee concurred and asked that staff include a phrase that if there is no change in their habits, they may risk loss of all privileges at the lakefront parks in the future.
The Committee recognized Nahida Kerimli and Ahmad Obali from 3112 Princeton in Wilmette. Ms. Kerimli stated she had been to the lakefront on June 3 and after paying for parking at the beach lot, she asked how to get down to the lake. She added the young person she spoke with asked her if she was going to swim. Ms. Kerimli replied she was not. Ms. Kerimli was then told she could go to the south beach area and the children could go in the water there. When she arrived at the south beach she stated she was rudely confronted by a staff person who told the children they could not be in the water. When she approached the staff member to find out the problem, she claimed they used inappropriate language with her and then called the police. She added that they kicked sand on her and were disrespectful. She also said she received different information from other various employees.
Commissioner Murdock stated he understood this incident took place on June 3 which was the second week of the new “stepped-up” enforcement of the regulations and unfortunately the first weekend did not go well. The combination of very hot weather, the Memorial Day holiday, large crowds and new employees overwhelmed the staff. Administrative staff took steps to re-train lakefront staff and during the second weekend the enforcement was increased. It appears that maybe the issue was a result of the stepped-up enforcement by staff. Superintendent Bingham added staff has been told that people can go into the water up to their ankles but anything higher than their ankles is considered a violation and people are warned twice before staff calls the police.
Commissioner Shelly asked if staff told them to go to south beach. Ms. Kerimli stated they were told if she was not swimming, they could go to the south beach and the children could go in the water there. She added she was also told by staff that after 6 pm anyone can swim there.
Commissioner Murdock responded there is no swimming allowed on the south beach area at any time. Commissioner Crowley added there are also numerous signs stating that it is a no-swimming area. Ms. Kerimli also stated that staff needs better training on how to be more polite to the public and to not use offensive language. Commissioner Murdock replied that obviously a problem had occurred. However, the staff was only in their second week of dealing with the new rule enforcement guidelines and strategies were still being developed. It is also difficult to clarify the situation without hearing both sides of the story. Superintendent Bingham added they have talked to staff and the police to confirm exactly what the rules and policies are. Commissioner Murdock concluded by stating that the lakefront is a great resource and he hopes they will come back to enjoy it in the future.
4) Under Manager’s Reports, Lakefront Manager Holly Specht stated the lakefront operations are going well. The Aquatics Camp has 331 registrants and sailing lessons have 131 registered. Currently, there are five Hobie cat spaces remaining and one Laser-two space. There is a waiting list for paddle board and kayak storage. There are also currently 42 trail-in permits out for those classes of boats that launch just north of the pier. The south beach crew is working hard to enforce the rules and since the changes had been made after opening weekend, everything seems to be going very well. To date, daily beach passes this year for residents total 700 compared to 181 in 2011 and non-resident passes total 4,365 compared to 1,414 in 2011. Weather has definitely been the key to these increases and some people have also moved from using the south beach to the pay beach. Season pass sales for residents total 1,686 compared to 1,655 in 2011 and non-residents total 325 compared to 234 in 2011. The combination pass sales have similar numbers.
Jeff Groves reported the Community Recreation Center (CRC) is host to numerous camps, fitness classes and various other programs and the facility is busy all day long. Gymnastics Camp currently has 73 participants and Camp Fusion is at an all-time high with 73 enrolled. Julie Mantice has been hired as the new Fitness Center Assistant Manager. She has been a staff instructor and assistant CIT Camp Director. Fitness memberships currently total 1,855.
Carol Heafey stated that summer camps got off to a great start. Afternoon Adventure Camp began today in conjunction with the summer school programs. Camp staffs participated in meetings this morning to once again review safety procedures at the beach and pool in light of the tragedy at the Glenview Park District. Sports Supervisor Jason Pilecki and Carol met with the coaches of the Eagles Football program to discuss the development of a parent board to assist the coaches. They also discussed their wants and needs including a list of equipment and the need for improved storage. They also asked for lights on the east half of the park which cannot be done due to our zoning restrictions. They also discussed including all of the equipment costs into the registration fees beginning in 2013 and they asked for better storage at Howard Park with more shelving and better organization. There has been a great deal of marketing effort put into the program with posters placed all over Wilmette. Soccer ended the spring season on June 9 with 1,574 participants. Our new General Recreation Supervisor – Nicole Jacobson – will begin work next Monday and she has already attended some of the camp open houses.
5) Under Old Business, the Committee briefly discussed performing a needs assessment. After some discussion, the Committee agreed to include the cost for such a project in the 2013 Budget.
6) Under New Business, Commissioner Murdock stated he had asked staff to explain the methodology for selecting which programs are contracted out. He was curious why the Summer Basketball League program was contracted when the Park District handles leagues all the time. Superintendent Bingham replied that in the case of the basketball program, staff does not anticipate it will ever be very big due to the enormous selection of other opportunities available. In light of the other programs, staff believes their time is better spent on all of the summer camps and other leagues. The Park District is also guaranteed 35% of the revenue when a program is contracted and at no risk to us. The T-ball program was another program that didn’t do well until the Illinois Baseball Academy took it over resulting in a revenue increase from $11,000 to $56,000. She added that the policy is basically used to determine our needs and to evaluate contracting based on staff availability.
The Committee reviewed a request from St. Francis Xavier Parish to allow their “run” scheduled for early Sunday morning, September 30, to go through the Gillson Park beach parking lot, along the overlook and out the south gate. They have held this run for numerous years. Commissioner Murdock expressed concern that it would interfere with another group’s campout in the park on Saturday night. As a result, staff will discuss the issue further with St. Francis to find out if they can change their date. Staff does not believe it would be a problem since the runners would just be passing through the park for about one hour.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:50 pm.
Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht.
MINUTES APPROVED ON JULY 16, 2012.