WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING


Date: November 19, 2012 

Location: Park District Conference Room

Time: 6:30 pm

Attendance
Commissioners: Brault, Shelley, Crowley, Olvany, Benz      
Staff: Lambrecht, Bingham, Groves, Wilson, Heafey, Eppelheimer, Specht, Bowen
Visitors: See attached sheet
     
Topics for Discussion:

1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
     a. October 15, 2012
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Manager’s Reports
     a. Lakefront
          i. Lakefront Report
          ii. Sailing Survey
     b. Recreation Programming
          i. Camp Report
c. Community Recreation Center/Mallinckrodt
6) Platform Tennis Update
7) Old Business
a. Outdoor Ice Schedules
9) New Business
10) Adjournment

Discussions/Decisions Made:

1) The Committee reviewed the minutes of October 15, 2012 and approved them by general consent.

2) There was no Communications or Correspondence.

3) Under Manager’s Reports, Holly Specht reported that budgeting has been completed for 2013. There were eight rentals for Lakeview in October. In addition there was a three-day workshop conducted by PDRMA for Wilmette and Winnetka staff members. The building was also used as a polling place on Election Day. Staff prepared and sent out a survey to sailing beach users. The Rotary Club’s annual book drive is coming to an end. They used the dressing room in the basement of Lakeview as the collection point and ended up with 40 full boxes of books.

 Superintendent Bingham asked if the Committee had any questions about the 2012 Lakefront Report. Commissioner Shelly asked if staff had made a decision on the placement of storage for paddle boards. Superintendent Bingham replied they had sent out a survey to all of the sailors and to date over 170 responses had been received. Staff is currently evaluating responses and will come back with recommendations in January.  Commissioner Crowley asked how many kayaks are currently on the beach. Ms. Specht responded that 115 of the board boat spaces are now kayaks. Commissioner Brault asked how many rescues did staff participate in this year and Ms. Specht replied there were 12 “assists”. She added that with the change in boats the sailors were not as quick to go out in rougher water which made a difference. The water had been closed for 11½ days in 2012 due to roughness. Commissioner Brault asked if the same boat is used to pull the banana boat for Aquatics. Ms. Specht replied that there are now two identical rigid hull inflatables – one is dedicated to Sailing and the other is used for Aquatics Camp and other duties.

 Commissioner Olvany asked why season passes were up by 78% percent from 2011. Staff replied they would investigate and return with a response to the Committee. He also asked what the labor cost was for patrolling the overlook in 2012. Staff replied that the labor cost in 2012 was $55,000 more than in 2011. Commissioner Olvany also stated he thought activity on the overlook had been much more reasonable than in the past and that the controls put into place worked. He also stated he was concerned there was no question in the sailing survey related to the 50-foot “open space” area that is supposed to be along the shoreline. He also asked how staff came up with their improvement recommendations. Ms. Specht replied the recommendations were based on input from the users. Commissioner Crowley stated he thought staff did a good job on the survey. Commissioner Brault stated that despite the $55,000 in extra cost to patrol the overlook, the Lakefront Operation improved overall in 2012. Staff added it was also the best weather year in a long time. Commissioner Shelly asked that make sure they get input from all of the sailing beach users.

 Carol Heafey reported that Halloween Happening was a huge success. Over 1,500 people were in attendance with 730 total registrants of which 218 registered that evening. The dinner location was moved to the sports gym which was far better than the classrooms. Superintendent Bingham added that the comments received on the evaluations were 98% favorable. Ms. Heafey also reported that the first Mother-Son event had been held and had been a big success with 50 mothers and their sons in attendance. Saturday Basketball had completed their player evaluations. There are currently 574 participants in the program with games beginning on January 7. Commissioner Shelly asked about the teams and Ms. Heafey replied the coaches would be contacting participants next week. The Holiday Tournament will be held over the holiday break. Ms. Heafey added she has been working with the Sports Supervisors to develop a program to get the coaches certified and to update the manuals for both coaches and parents for all sports. Football season is done for the year and staff is sending surveys to both participants and coaches to determine where the program could be improved. The Early Childhood Center is having an open house on December 1 and staff is preparing for a number of holiday-themed programs including the Gingerbread Workshop.

Jeff Groves reported that the 21st annual Thanksgiving Dinner would be held at the Mallinckrodt Community Center from 1 to 3:30 pm on November 22. Over 70 people have signed up for the event and there will also be 25 volunteers. The wine has been donated by Lambrecht’s Jewelers and the dinner is being catered. A piano player will be donating his time to entertain those in attendance. Early voting was held at the Community Recreation Center from October 22 through November 1. Staff is close to making an offer for a new fitness center assistant manager. Commissioner Brault asked why there was so much turnover at fitness. Superintendent Bingham replied we have a small center which becomes a stepping stone to larger centers or other careers. Executive Director Wilson added that it is a small enough facility so that people are able to learn as much as possible about fitness centers. Julie has had other careers and is at a different stage of life so staff is hoping she will here for a long time.

In regard to the Camp Report, Commissioner Brault asked why camp revenues appear to be down. Superintendent Bingham replied there was a mistake in the text of the report and that in fact they were up. Mr. Groves added that Camp Fusion had 25 more participants registered this year but staff found it was too large of a group. As a result, the number of participants will be kept at 50 for next year. Commissioner Shelly asked if Great Gillson registration for the eight-week session was over and staff replied it was. Commissioner Shelly also asked if there were more four-week sessions available. Ms. Heafey replied there were more and that participation did increase.

Commissioner Brault asked what was going to happen this summer without those busses we normally get from the school districts. Staff replied they found a company that would lease the busses without drivers so that the Park District could continue to provide them. The cost for the leased busses would be $14,000 for the summer and these costs have been built into new camp fees based on their usage of those busses.

Superintendent Bingham reported that the Park District participated in the Holiday Parade the previous Saturday. There were over 50 staff members who volunteered their time to participate. They also learned a “flash mob” dance routine which was performed several times during the parade and a float was built by the Parks and Planning staff. Also, for the first time, the Park District won first place.

4) Tom LaLonde from Williams Architects provided an overview of the evolution of the paddle tennis design since they had been retained to design the new facility. They also met with Commissioner Shelly and received some e-mail communications from other Board members. Based on those comments, the building was flipped and enlarged by 300 square feet. The plans currently indicate a fifth future court southeast of the other courts with the potential of adding two more north of the proposed courts over the easement. It was also requested that the building be raised two feet higher than the playing surfaces. This would then require that a ramp be added to get from the court level to the building and the ramp would have to be 20 feet long. The bridge over the easement was eliminated and a new walk was added. The interior is now more open with a fireplace and kitchen.

 Commissioner Shelly expressed concern about getting the leagues organized. Executive Director Wilson replied there is money in the proposed budget to hire a pro starting in March. Commissioner Brault suggested that staff talk to the USPTA about what is involved with a start-up exercise and what is needed to get the leagues organized. Commissioner Shelly suggested the Park District petition for two men’s and two women’s leagues as a starting point. She added people would not be moving to our facility until they see that it has been completed.

 Mr. LaLonde stated the changes in the design have added $144,188 to the cost of construction. It is also too early in the design process to have a definite number until more design development is completed. Commissioner Crowley asked if the furnishings were in the budget and staff replied there was a $50,000 budget for interior furnishings. Mr. LaLonde added there would also still be a partial basement to be used for all of the utility needs. Commissioner Olvany asked about the courts themselves. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that there are basically two companies who build the raised courts and that Reilly Green Mountain does about 80% of the construction in the Midwest. Their representatives have already been to the site to review it. Commissioner Crowley stated he is concerned about the public perception in regard to the facility since it is consistently being framed in the context of being like a country club and he believes that would discourage a typical person who might otherwise be interested in trying the sport. There also has to be some public court time available. Commissioner Brault stated he believed the marketing of the facility would be the key to making it successful. He also believed there should be open play. Superintendent Bowen stated that staff had discussed offering free clinics to get new people involved and he also had concerns that people would view the facility as “exclusive”. Commissioner Olvany added he has heard complaints about the Winnetka facility and the lack of open time. If the operational model is like Winnetka’s, we might receive those complaints as well. The Park District should control the court time and let the association organize the social and league aspects. Executive Director Wilson added that he envisions the operation to be very similar to the way our ice facility operates in that the Park District runs the facility and then the Wilmette Hockey Association schedules their games on our ice.

 Commissioner Shelly asked why the hut is built two feet over the court level. Staff replied it was a request from Commissioner Murdock’s comments. Mr. LaLonde indicated that if the level was dropped to one foot, the railings would not be needed between level changes. Executive Director Wilson stated there had been a lot of comments made to staff that we should raise the deck over the level of the courts. He added that staff had developed a breakeven budget which would be included in the Budget and Appropriations Ordinance.

 After discussion, staff was asked to prepare a detailed fee schedule for the Committee to review. After further discussion, Mr. LaLonde stated he would take into consideration the Committee’s comments on the current design. In the meantime, he would like to begin preparing more detailed design plans as soon as possible. If the facility is to be open next fall, the work needs to proceed quickly.

5) The Committee reviewed the memo presented by Superintendent Lambrecht regarding allowing hockey at the Gillson Ice Rink opposite the hours it is allowed at Thornwood. Staff still believes that until they can see how the shared use would work on unsupervised rinks, they do not feel hockey should be allowed at Gillson. Commissioner Crowley disagreed and felt it would not be a problem. Staff stated they would wait to see how any conflicts are resolved when either hockey players or recreational skaters do not leave the ice when they are supposed to. After discussion, the Committee agreed to not allow hockey at Gillson at this time but if it appears it is working out well at Thornwood – and if there is ice – it could be added during this season.

6) Under New Business, the Committee agreed to not meet in December.
 
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 pm.

Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht

MINUTES APPROVED ON JANUARY 21, 2013.