WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
FACILITIES OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: November 11, 2013
Place: Village Hall Training Room
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Commissioners: Committee Chair Brault, Shelly, Wolfe, Crowley, Abbott, Benz
Staff: Wilson, Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, Lambrecht, Flynn, Udany, B. Smith, D. Smith
Topics of Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes:
a) October 14, 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) Commissioner Wolfe stated a correction should be made on page 3 of 6 in the fourth paragraph which should reflect that “Commissioner Wolfe agreed and stated $5 shouldn’t make a difference and that people do not want the pool to be too populated.” The Committee then approved the minutes of the October 14, 2013 meeting by General Consent as amended.
3) Under Communications and Correspondence, the Committee reviewed an email from Joe Noth who asked that since the paddle tennis courts opened late would those matches be rescheduled. Superintendent Bowen stated he replied to Mr. Noth that this issue was going to be discussed at the next committee meeting and he would follow-up with Mr. Noth to see if the committee made any decisions in regard to compensation for the paddle tennis players due to the late opening. Commissioner Shelly pointed out that Mr. Noth was talking about the practices, not the drills which are optional.
Superintendent Bowen stated he was contacted by two other players who also asked for compensation and they were informed that this topic was going to be discussed at tonight’s meeting. Director Wilson added this was a call from a gentleman who was active in supporting this process from the start and his take is that the number of players was down due to the lack of the hut. These players are just looking for a break and have been very patient with us so we could possibly discount the league fees for next year to keep them here.
Chair Brault stated we could also invite the group for a kickoff party when everything is up and ready along with a free raffle or something similar to entice the players to return after the rough start. Superintendent Bowen stated that he and Brad would investigate the options and return to the Committee with a plan.
Superintendent Bowen also stated that even with all of our information posted on our web site some individuals were instead looking at paddle charity web sites and retrieving old contact information for Brad. After a couple of weeks, Brad looked at his previous phone which had 20 messages from players which was why they never received callbacks. However, everything has now been straightened out.
Chair Brault stated that at his recent match, the whole team was out along with some spectators. Although it was somewhat rainy and only two courts were open, their enjoyment level was high despite the hut not being open. He added that once there is some goodwill, everyone will move forward.
Director Wilson stated that there has been some user-based issues over this past Thursday night and Saturday when some men members decided to pry the door open and use the hut anyway but then proceeded to leave garbage inside the facility. As a result, it might be a good idea to remind the players that this is an active work environment and that they should stay out of the hut.
4) Recognition of Visitors: None
5) Managers Reports:
Pool Manager Brian Udany reported that staff is starting to work on hiring for the pools and that they are already receiving applications into the Applitrack computer system and employment interviews will take place during the winter break. Chair Brault added that all of the repair work at the pools is completed and the outside deck is also finished. Superintendent Lambrecht stated the only thing we need to do is move the three shade structures back into place which will probably be done in the spring.
Tennis Manager Darrell Smith reported that the players are still enjoying the new lights in the courts and that this past weekend we installed some additional padding to protect people from the steel beams. After last month’s meeting, he went back to the club to review areas of concern in regard to operations. One main issue is our permanent morning court time which consists of a lot of seniors. However, eventually they won’t be playing anymore. Staff also doesn’t want to replace those court times with drills because that will leave gaps in the middle of the day and the courts are full almost all day long. Commissioner Wolfe asked if that might then be an opportunity for younger children to participate. Darrell replied that those players really want to move from their 11:20 am or 1 pm into those earlier spots but then we would be left with gaps during the day. We are continuously busy during the day and have added more beginner and basic level classes in an attempt to attract the younger players which might also encourage them to buy court time in the future. Darrell added that they are also revising the Tennis Lottery Brochure to make it more user-friendly and easier to read.
Darrell added that pro shop sales had been flat for the last several years but this year it looks like sales have increased somewhat. As an example, last year’s pro shop sale 56 pairs of shoes were sold compared to 121 shoes this year. In regard to racquet sales, we sold 12 last year and 35 this year.
Commissioner Shelly stated there used to be a session for women who were not yet qualified to play on a team. Darrell stated that there is a drop-in session on Tuesday which could be something we could do. The women also don’t want to play in a team but would rather just participate in matches. Darrell added the reason staff is focusing on court time is because then we don’t have to pay a salary which means more revenue for us.
Commissioner Shelly stated the supervised option didn’t actually feel “supervised” since at the minimum everyone just shows up and that could be run from the desk. Jeff stated just like at the golf course, we have people who always just take lessons but don’t play the games so how do you get people comfortable enough to get on the court or the golf course and play. Jeff stated that Tennis staff is planning to market those people in order to make them feel more comfortable when making that transition to permanent court time since sometimes it is intimidating for them to play. Staff would like them to do both the programs/lessons and also do permanent court time instead of professional lesson-takers.
Chair Brault asked if staff had ever considered partnering with any of the schools wherein the children could take a class during the day. He added that the children could come over for an hour and maybe we could have busses to pick them up and drop them off at Tennis. Darrell stated that was a good idea and he felt those children might enjoy doing something like that. Commissioner Shelly asked about having the Tots play in the morning and Darrell replied that if and when the morning courts ever open up, we could take a look at that option.
Platform Tennis Manager Brad Smith reported we currently have 155 platform tennis members. In fact, the entire membership has been extremely calm and very understanding of what’s going on in the building aside from the paddle hut break-ins. The members are also happy to be playing in Wilmette since they don’t want to be traveling all over the area. On the fourth court, the net was installed and all of the lights are now. It is also anticipated the hut will open before Thanksgiving. Brad stated he also sent out emails to all of the players indicating that members could now reserve courts online. There are currently 80 students consisting of both men and women in all of the 16 classes and the plan is to add more in the future. Staff is attempting to get the men’s league running and it is hoped to be at 90 to 100 players depending on the week. The junior program is starting to grow and there are currently 15 children playing. He stated staff is also doing more promotion with among the parents while staff continues to wait for the completion of the hut. Staff also contacted North Shore and we added two more ladies leagues. Plans are also being made for a Thanksgiving Round Robin. Brad also reported he will be hiring a full-time employee in a week or so.
Ice Manager Sean Flynn reported that for the public skate in October we were up 96 people from last year which he attributes to the upcoming winter, our new facility, and the upcoming Olympics. In addition, the Blackhawks are winning and opening day was October 5. The numbers for our TGIF’s totaled 123 in October and in November we had 169 participants compared to 80 last year. There will also be additional TGIF’s in December, January and February. In regard to the Fall II session, the numbers have gone up and we’re currently at 619 participants. The Loyola Championship Tournament will be occurring during the Thanksgiving weekend and all of their championship games will be held at Centennial.
Chair Brault asked for an update on the ammonia leak at Centennial. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that inside the building there was a piece of pipe that needed to be repaired and a crew from Maryland was here on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to repair it by cutting out the bad part and replacing it which solved the problem immediately. Chair Brault stated he was concerned from a safety point of view about this type of potentially dangerous leak. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that the manufacturer went through the entire system and only found that one leak. Chair Brault stated that if this had been detected in the middle of the Thanksgiving Tournament would there have been any risk to anyone in that environment. Superintendent Lambrecht replied the spectators would not have been in any danger. Chair Brault added that it still is a frightening issue. Sean stated that if there was a leak, an alarm would go off and then a button could be pressed to remove the exhaust.
Superintendent Bowen stated we have budgeted a $15,000 controller which allows us to operate the system remotely so that we would also receive those alarms using this new component which we are purchasing for 2014. A smart phone could also be used for this purpose. Brian added that there will be ongoing training with staff on the new system. Chair Brault stated he still has some concerns about the potential issues.
Chair Brault asked if any complaints were received on the quality of the ice and Sean responded that currently they are still evaluating what the coaches are liking in terms of the ice surface. Chair Brault stated the only comment he has heard was that it wasn’t setting as well as they thought it had in the past. He also thought it would make the ice slightly warmer. Sean responded that we did have some issues with the dehumidification system and once those were resolved we have not
had any other issues. Sean added that the only complaints he has heard is that the rink itself is colder and Chair Brault stated that it used to be one of the warmer rinks in the area.
6) Old Business: None
7) New Business: None
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:05 pm.
Minutes taken by Jeffrey Bowen.
MINUTES APPROVED ON DECEMBER 9, 2013.