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, Darrell Graham, John Olvany, and Shelley Shelly; Secretary/Director Stephen Wilson; Assistant Secretary Judy Ostrem

ABSENT: Commissioner Michael Murdock

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

VISITORS: Bryan Abbott, Patrick Duffy, Paul DeGrandis, Paul Mokdessi
President Brault called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners to order at 7:30 pm. Executive Director Wilson conducted the roll call and a quorum was established.

Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the red-lined version of the March 11, 2013 Regular Board Meeting as revised.

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


- Email from Ginny Lazarus thanking Sarah Heston for offering experiences like her daughter had when participating in the production of “Into the Woods”.

- Email from Wendy Zun thanking Mike Kharpak and the gymnastics department for the wonderful year her daughters had.

- Email from Chris Dewey thanking the District for its time, attention and patience when listening to the discussion regarding the Wilmette Sailing Beach.

- Email from Julie Tritsis thanking Nicole Borchers for taking the time to help her with the spring break camps for her children.

- Letter to the staff at Centennial Tennis thanking them for coming to her aid after falling and ultimately breaking her hip. She thought the situation was handled competently and compassionately.  

- Commissioner Graham stated that Paul DeGrandis, who is present at tonight’s meeting. sent him an email asking about additional recreational gymnasium time in District facilities. He pointed out that for drop-in basketball, soccer, etc., there is only one gym located at the CRC. As a result, he wondered if there were any plans to expand or build additional gym space or other facilities.


Paul DeGrandis, 515 Eighth Street, stated he appreciated the responsiveness to his email the subject of which was in regard to the lack of open gym time at the CRC. Although he understands about the availability issues in regard to capacity, he asked if the Park District had been thinking about finding ways to obtain additional gym time. The ice rinks, tennis courts and the gymnastics area are all very good for those specific sports but they are not inclusive to the whole community. He then asked if additional open gym time could be established more of our community members.

Director Wilson stated the Park District has a long-standing intergovernmental agreement with School District #39 for the use of their gymnasium space and grounds. This long-term agreement extends through 2050 and it basically states that the Park District is able to use their facilities when the School District is not using them. We do understand what Mr. DeGrandis is saying and he would be happy to look further into the issue. However, we are already maximizing our gym capacity as best we can which is dependent upon what spaces are available in town. Commissioner Olvany asked what about gym space at New Trier High School and Director Wilson replied there have been no arrangements made with them although we did have some usage of field space there the past but no indoor space. Beyond District #39, there is School District #37 which has gym space but it would involve a fee since we do not have the same intergovernmental agreement with them that we have with District #39. Additional space could be acquired but it would be at a cost.

Superintendent Bingham stated the Park District uses space at Highcrest, Wilmette Junior High, Central, and minimally at Harper. At those four schools the Park District is there from January through March seven days per week for practices and we have Saturday and Sunday programs that run all day from 8 am until late in the afternoon. In terms of the Monday through Friday times someone could get in there between classes and basketball practices but then we are in there again at 4 pm until closing which can be 10 pm sometimes. Staff is constantly looking at shifting things around in order to accommodate everyone’s schedules. However, we are also trying to maximize our efforts with the staff to make sure that most if not all of the times are filled and that we are making the best use of staff. In addition, we are not the only user group who uses the schools and the CRC is jammed seven days a week. However, there is some open gym time on Monday and Wednesday.

President Brault then referred the issue to the Parks & Recreation Committee which will be meeting a week from tonight to brainstorm on how we could come up with other ideas.

Paul Mokdessi, 629 Elmwood Avenue, stated he is representing the group Friends of Elmwood Dunes and was hoping to provide a brief update to the Board about this Saturday’s event at the Elmwood Dunes which will involve the clean-up of the property. He then distributed some additional information to the Board and stated the event will run from 10 am to 2 pm at the Elmwood Avenue Right-of-Way. He stated the Village Board’s Municipal Services Committee last week recommended that it be named the Elmwood Dunes Preserve or Elmwood Dunes. The volunteer list has been drawn from Boy Scout Troops #5 and #9 in Wilmette, the environmental group “Roots and Shoots” from Avoca, the Audubon Society, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and several neighbors. There will also be a botanist present in tandem with the Forestry Department of the Village. They have also been working with Wilmette Police Chief Brian King to manage any parking or neighbor issues.

President Brault asked if there was an opportunity for our viewers to help out and Mr.  Mokdessi stated he anticipated there would be work for everyone who shows up. He also asked that if anyone is interested they could email Mr. Mokdessi at Elmwood.dunes@gmail.com and their phone number is 312-590-5890.

Director Wilson then provided an update on what was happening on the Village side of the issue which included the plan to schedule another joint meeting with our Parks & Recreation Committee and the Municipal Services Committee of the Village.


Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,358,831.83, 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, Olvany, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – Commissioner Murdock; Motion carried.


Director Wilson reported that the annual camp/staff T-shirt bid is on the agenda under New Business. This bid is done on an annual basis and three t-shirt organizations were recommended by staff. As a reminder, there is also a Special Board Meeting on Monday evening, April 15, 2013 to discuss the golf renovation bids and the platform tennis facility project bids. The Golf project bids have come in and are under review by the architect and the engineers. The numbers were higher than budgeted so staff is trying to find ways to trim the scope of the work but not impact the primary focus of the project which is drainage while still achieving as much of the golf-related work as we can. All of that information will be presented to the Golf Committee at its meeting this coming Saturday.

Platform Tennis bids were originally due on April 9 but then a last-minute contractor submitted a bid and everyone agreed to move the bids up a couple of days. As a result, the new bid opening date is on Thursday, April 11, which does present a “time crunch” in terms of the April 15th Special Meeting.

The NSSRA/NSSRF Shining Stars invitations for their annual event on April 26 were included in the Board meeting packets and this is always a very enjoyable evening.

Also on tonight’s agenda, there is a Closed Session after the Regular Board meeting.

Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Olvany reported the Financial Planning & Policy Committee met on April 3 and four major issues were discussed. The first item was to review the first part of the updated draft of the personnel policy manual on a line-by-line basis and it is anticipated that the second part will be reviewed at next month’s meeting. After that, it is hoped to have a draft for review and approval to the full Board sometime this summer. The Committee also conducted a line-by-line review of the updated by-laws of the Ouilmette Foundation which will be structured as a non-profit organization working in conjunction with the Board and the Park District to raise funds, promote awareness, create sponsorships, etc. It is estimated that document will be completed within the next month and then would go to the full Board for approval in May.

Discussion also took place at the meeting on the outstanding water bills with the Evanston-Wilmette Community Golf Course Association (EWCGCA) formerly known as Peter Jans. Their new board has a number of Wilmette residents serving on it and they have a credible plan moving forward. As a result, the Committee developed a payment plan which will make them current through the beginning of the golf season this year and hopefully will be caught up during the middle of the golf season. The last major point discussed was that our annual results came back from IMRF and the Committee reviewed the results of the performance of our investment fund and talked about the long-term liability which the Park District has due to our unfunded pension liability. Committee Chair Olvany also reported that the investment fund had a return of over 14% which helped to reduce the amount of our overall long-term liability to below $6 million.

Lastly, in reviewing the financials it was determined the District was off to a very good start in the first quarter. There is also a net contribution that is $1 million greater going into this year and with the number of projects we have on the table this is a very good result. Hopefully the District can continue that momentum through the summer months.

Parks & Recreation Committee – Commissioner Crowley reported the Committee met on Monday, March 18 with the sailing beach being the main topic of discussion. The main focus of the meeting was the relocation of the SUP boards and that safety was and continues to be our number one goal. Staff presented four options for the relocation. Option 1 was at the south end of the sailing beach just north of the swimming beach; Option 2 was the location at Langdon Park; Option 3 was a location just south of the swimming beach on the overlook portion of the lakefront; and Option 4 was a location at the south beach area. After two hours of input from a sizeable crowd of SUP, catamaran, kayak owners and other sailors, the Committee voted unanimously to accept Option 1 as the safest and most effective location. Staff will come back to the Committee with suggestions on safety and enforcement, on the actual size of the SUP footprint, and the possible relocation of the volleyball courts to the far west side in an enclosed area.

Commissioner Crowley added that he had asked staff to provide a visual guide which each Board member has since received. Option 1 was the option the Committee chose and the photographs provide an idea of where approximately the proposed location might change after staff comes back with fencing and other issues. He also reported that Alison Dornheggen has been hired as our new Artistic Director for the theater program. Alison is a Columbus University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in acting and directing along with a Master’s Degree in arts management. She has already scheduled the 2014 Children’s Theater schedule and performances of Annie get underway this Friday and run for three weekends. Camp enrollment is at 697 this year compared to 1,382 this time last year. Gymnastics wrapped up the winter session with an all-time high enrollment of 2,129 children in various gymnastics classes. The Lakeview Center had nine rentals in March compared to five in March of 2012. There are currently 170 out of 179 catamarans on the beach, the monohulls are filled at 286, and 70 of the 80 paddle boards have already been reserved.

Two new park permits were also reviewed – one from the Winnetka Covenant Church and one from the Rose Hall Montessori School. Also reviewed was a request for an upcoming triathlon conducted by Precision Multi-Sports which will take place through the communities of Wilmette and Winnetka on September 15 at 6:30 am. Finally, the Elmwood Right-of-Way topic was deferred to the April 15th Parks & Recreation meeting.

President Brault asked that when the Committee considered Option 1, would it be readily expandable if the demand was there. Director Wilson stated that Superintendent Bingham has been meeting with lakefront staff who thought about trying to balance all of the needs of the swimming beach users as well as the expanded use of the sailing beach and then attempt to create more of a shoreline especially for the younger users of paddle boards. President Brault asked that since it is now April 8 and we are already sold out of paddle boards, did we underestimate what the real demand would be and if we expanded it further, would there be a plan that would incorporate them.

Commissioner Crowley stated paddle boarding is still a relatively new phenomenon so until we find out how well all of our users cooperate with each other we should be very cautious when figuring out how much we want to expand. As a result, we should stay within the 80 feet and then see how well the season goes. Director Wilson added the size of that area is now doubled from last year. Commissioner Crowley stated that discussion took place on adding another lane to get the serious paddlers out there and then to determine how that would work with the boaters.

Superintendent Bingham stated that staff will need to see how these changes will play out. Also, our monohull racks were sold out on the first day of the lottery so this looks like it is not going to be a typical sailing season. What staff needs to do is determine what the capacity will be on the sailing beach this season.

Commissioner Olvany stated that there will be 80 paddle boards this year on the beach which means there will most likely be plenty of activity going on there. President Brault asked how well Option 1 was perceived by those who were in attendance at the meeting and Commissioner Crowley responded he thought it was very well received.

Golf Operations Committee – Commissioner Crowley reported the Committee met on Saturday, March 9. The golf course bids were opened on March 26 with the two contractors who submitted bids in attendance. Both bids were higher than budgeted so a Special Board meeting was scheduled for April 15 to review those bids as well as the bids for platform tennis which will be opened on April 11. The golf lottery was held on March 31 with 55 teams in attendance which is six more foursomes than last year. Golf memberships as of March 31, 2013 currently total 337. The golf course will have a shortened season this year due to the closing for renovations at the end of July. Several outing requests have been scheduled and eight shotgun outings have been confirmed. The golf course is also booked on every Monday in June and July.

The Committee also reviewed the Open Kitchens contract and came up with a longer term of five years which is what Open Kitchens had requested. When the course closes, Open Kitchens had requested a rent reduction which the Committee approved. The rent will be as follows:

    2012      2013      2014      2015      2016 and 2017  
 $53,000 $30,000 $40,000 $54,500 Increased by CPI-U

The course and the driving range are now open as of March 30, Total rounds played were 313 compared to 2,603 last year when we experienced 80 degree weather in early March. Revenue was $6,600 vs. $46,000 last year. Golf Course maintenance staff has also cut down almost 70 trees, most of which were diseased ash trees. The course is open and now playable as is the driving range.

Centennial Operations Committee – Committee Chair Graham reported the Committee met tonight before the Board meeting and the pool is getting ready to open. The number of pre-season pass sales is down slightly by 65 this year. Resident passes are at the same level as last year. Non-resident passes are also down which could be due to the increase in non-resident fees. At the ice rinks, attendance at the March public skate sessions is up significantly to 2,096 from 1,496 last year. The Ice Show is set for Friday-Sunday, April 19- 21. The Ice Rink Shutdown will begin on April 22 for the replacement of the chiller system. Ticket sales for the Ice Show are down slightly this year so it is hoped more people will attend. We also began offering drop-in hockey times at Ice this year and for an introductory program it had done well. The hours were also published on our web site and the largest component were the parent/child times that had good turnouts.

The tennis court time lottery deadline was held today and court selection will be held on April 20. Kindergarten through adult summer registration is set for May 7 for residents and May 8 for non-residents. Staff has been working with the Wilmette Hockey Association (WHA) to find different ways of enhancing our hockey opportunities for the community. Director Wilson stated the rink would be shutdown starting April 22 which is the day after the final Ice Show performance. It is hoped to re-open in early to mid-September.


Director Wilson reported he is embarking on his lakefront “speaking tour” around Wilmette and met with a Rotary group which meets at the Wilmette Harbor. He spoke to them about trying to obtain additional involvement and input for the Lakefront Master Plan. He will also be attending a few PTA meetings this week in addition to some other community groups later this month. He continues to tries his best to inform people of what we have been discussing in regard to the lakefront.


President Brault stated that at our last meeting we talked about coming up with a “needs list” and the potential expenses for that list. Director Wilson stated the consultants sent an engineer to the site who worked with Superintendent Lambrecht to conduct a “first-cut” of the information. Staff then met with the consultants on Tuesday of last week to work out some differences in opinion and some miscommunications. As a result, they hope to provide us with revised numbers within the next week or two. President Brault asked if that could be done by our next Board meeting in May and Director Wilson replied they would be ready in time for that meeting.

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the bids of Score, American Soccer, Wilmington, CA in the amount of $33,712.50; Sunburst, Glendale Heights, IL in the amount of $52,880.50 and of World of Promotions, Elk Grove Village, IL in the amount of $1,047.50 to supply staff and camp T-shirts and soccer uniforms for a total amount of $89,640.50.

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

Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Shelly 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 and for the discussion of the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the District including meetings held for the purpose of discussing whether a particular parcel should be acquired per Section 2(c)5 of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

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

The meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 8:10 pm.

The Regular Board meeting was reconvened at 9:24 pm.

The Board reconvened and directed Director Wilson to contact the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to request a meeting in regard to the lease of Wilmette Harbor to discuss the Park District’s involvement in the future of Wilmette Harbor.