WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
FACILITIES OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: August 12, 2013
Place: Village Hall Training Room
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Commissioners: Committee Chair Brault, Wolfe, Abbott, Benz, Olvany
Absent: Commissioner Shelly
Staff: Bowen, Wilson, Eppelheimer, Lambrecht, Donoghue, Flynn, B. Smith, B. Udany
Visitors: Bob Kuker, John Albrighton
Topics of Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes:
a) July 8, 2013
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Managers Reports
6) Old Business
7) New Business
1) Chair Brault called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm.
2) The Committee approved the minutes of July 8, 2013 by General Consent.
3) Under Communications and Correspondence: None
4) Recognition of Visitors: Chair Brault welcomed John Albrighton, President of the Wilmette Hockey Association (WHA), and Bob Kuker, Treasurer.
WHA President John Albrighton and Treasurer Bob Kuker introduced themselves to the Committee. John stated that as of July 1 they experienced a turnover in the leadership of the WHA and they are now looking forward to moving on with their new board and the Wilmette Park District. He added that the WHA views the Centennial Ice Rinks as the “hub” of their program and that the WHA anticipates there will once again be over 400 families involved with 90% of them from Wilmette. As a result, they wanted to speak to the Committee about what they are currently doing as they grow within the organization and about the rising cost of hockey in order to get a better understanding of what it takes to run a facility. It is also anticipated they will
have a total of 400 players this season. They have also been working with Ice Manager Sean Flynn for awhile now and he has been great at our meetings.
Bob added that the WHA would like to work with the Park District in the future and has been trying to figure out how to better manage the WHA budget since one of their biggest concerns is the increased cost of ice rental. They are also concerned that the WHA’s pricing is too expensive at $4,000 per player for travel hockey and a lot of that is reflected in the cost of ice at Centennial which is the most expensive around. They would also like to get more information on why Centennial is so expensive.
Committee Chair Brault responded that the District has always welcomed the WHA to speak with us and we are excited to share what we do so that they can see how we come up with pricing and how we go through the budgeting process. The budgets are always discussed in public meetings and we generally look at the facilities as a break-even operation. We don’t try to make a profit per se but we do try to balance the needs of both our users and the expenses that the community supports. This year we are spending about $2.1 million to upgrade our ice facility and we believe it will be some of the best ice in the area.
Chair Brault added that in terms of the ice pricing model itself, we have not set different pricing parameters for different users other than for some off-times.
Chair Brault asked how registrations have been going since the District is now processing WHA’s league registration. John stated that a lot of participants in their group are also big users of the Park District and the WHA’s exposure on the District’s web site and in its publications will help to increase their message. Chair Brault stated we can continue to look at ways to improve things but we also need to focus on the bottom line of costs on what we can balance on the back-end.
Commissioner Wolfe stated that communication is critical to make sure that younger families get involved since there are people out there who are not familiar with the program. As a result, there should also be more visual communications of where people need to go to get into the program
5) Under Managers Reports, Sean reported the summer session held at Winnetka this session ended on August 2. A total of 3,261 sessions were purchased which helped to cover our ice costs and class instructors. The competition held on July 13 had 79 skaters and 155 events. It was smaller than last year due to the fact that we were not able to market it to our Learn-to-Skate participants since the facility was closed at the time.
Brian reported that the end of this season is fast approaching and the third lifeguard class has been completed. In addition, we will begin to look at the numbers next week. There may also be some challenges in finding staff because of school and sports activities beginning which could result in the facility not being opened per the end-of-season schedule.
Superintendent Bowen stated that the plan was to maintain the same end-of-the-season schedule as we had in the past although there may be some days when there are staff shortages and some of the pools might be closed. We continue to do our best to control expenses by sending staff home as the weather dictates.
Chair Brault asked if staff shortages could be anticipated or will they be a last-minute decision. Brian replied yes to both and stated we will make every attempt to let the public know if there will be a change in the posted schedule. With that being said, there may also be last-minute changes if staff does not show up.
Superintendent Bowen stated that staff has received several compliments in regard to the way we have been communicating especially in regard to Twitter and our web site.
Chair Brault stated that when looking at the financials, memberships seem to be more in line with budget but because of the way we “tweaked” the fees last year daily admissions have been the most affected. Also, when looking at a comparison of daily admissions of residents and non-residents and if using residents as a baseline, the pricing and not the weather indicates a pretty big swing.
Chair Brault stated we had raised the non-resident rates to see what the breakpoint point would be if fewer people were paying more. From the membership point of view we came fairly close but we may need to address the daily fees. Director Wilson agreed and stated that would be part of our upcoming budget process. Commissioner Wolfe stated she has heard positive comments from the public that they liked that the pool was not so crowded. Director Wilson replied the pool facility relies on our non-residents to defray the costs for residents and this is where we have been hurting ourselves.
Paddle Tennis Manager Brad Smith stated that they had sold their first membership on July 15 and are now up to 37 memberships. They are also going to be the first District facility to take online memberships and some participants have already signed up for classes that will begin in October. In addition, staff has been working closely with our marketing department to develop a facility logo and also sending out a lot of informational materials to all of the local paddle players. We have also been in contact with the North Shore Women’s Tennis League and have registered two beginning level teams so far and we have until September 1 to petition for leagues that start in January. As for the men’s leagues, we should have seven or eight teams by September 1. Superintendent Bowen stated that the registrations are almost evenly split between males and females and that there seems to be more beginners compared to the other levels.
Commissioner Wolfe asked that in regard to the women’s leagues was there any childcare available for those players who would want to drop off their children at the facility while they play. Chair Brault stated that the Committee had touched upon that idea when talking about the facility’s design. Director Wilson stated the CRC also has drop-in care during the day.
6) Under Old Business, Superintendent Lambrecht updated the Committee on the construction status at the Centennial facility and reported that at the ice rink, the contractors are starting to put sand on the main rink and that the equipment is being shipped with a scheduled arrival date of Wednesday, August 21.
At Tennis, all of the shoring is out of the building and the partitions have all been taken down. The contractors are inside fixing it up, installing the lighting and painting the facility. At the Paddle Facility the footings were poured on Friday and the foundation should be poured on Thursday. They are also doing some structural changes to the roof.
7) Under New Business: None
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:20 pm.
Minutes taken by Jeffrey Bowen.
MINUTES APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2013.