WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT HELD IN THE COUNCIL ROOM OF WILMETTE VILLAGE HALL MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2014
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 Crowley; Vice President John Olvany; Commissioners Bryan Abbott, Gary Benz, James Brault, Shelley Shelly, and Amy Wolfe; Secretary/Executive Director Stephen Wilson;Assistant Secretary Judy Ostrem
STAFF: Superintendents Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, and Lambrecht; Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue
VISITORS: Amanda Jacobs, (Wilmette Beacon); Brendan Kelly; Kate Zigmond; Fred Watson; Mary and Charlie Shea; St. Joseph School Students re:Student Government
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 13, 2014 Regular Board meeting.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes - Commissioners Abbott, Benz, Brault, Crowley, Shelly, Olvany, and Wolfe; voting No -- None. Absent - None; Motion carried.
COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE:
Vice President Olvany stated that one of our Paddle Tennis patrons indicated he thought it was a very kind and appropriate gesture that had been made by the Park District who offered a meal to their team members as a result of the difficulties the players had experienced over the past few months.
RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:
Director Wilson stated staff has been working with the students from St. Joseph School in regard to the annual Student Government program and the Park Board is very pleased to welcome the those grade school students for tonight's meeting. He added that staff enjoys working with this program and the children did a great job.
Mary Shea stated that as a long-time observer of the Park District, she wanted to acknowledge the work done by the Lakefront Committee since it is clear that the members want to "get it right" for which she is grateful. She added that in regard to the Lakefront Plan, she feels that so far it has not fully recognized the issues recommended by the previous Lakefront Commission which was comprised of Wilmette residents in 2012 after two years of meetings. In addition, the memorial tree program remains in place in spite of citizen requests for a comprehensive landscape plan. It also trivializes the beauty of the park to have a variety of small trees dedicated to civic office holders and deceased pets which results in only a small revenue stream. There are also three more covered enclosed pavilions besides a new one at the beach which seats 80 people. This would result in additional concrete as well as tree removal which is exactly opposite of what the residents indicated they wanted. The 30-year-old equipment storage shed remains at the entrance to the park with its surrounding junkyard and the fortress-like design bears no relationship to the Lakeview Center or the contemporary design at Langdon. There have also not been any figures provided on the dimensions or square footage of the beachfront structures.
Ms. Shea then asked if it was possible to entertain alternatives to the proposed design and of other ideas could be solicited before a commitment is made to this building plan. She stated the Lakefront Commission had made it very clear in its recommendation that the plan should enhance the natural appearance of the park with more trees and grass. However, the current proposal is characterized by multiple new structures.
APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Brault seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,210,301.21, a copy of which is to be attached to and become a permanent part of the minutes of this meeting.
Commissioner Abbott asked for more information in regard to a contractor's payment of $149,000 from Edwin Anderson Construction. Superintendent Lambrecht replied this payment was for the platform tennis facility but it was not a final payment.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes - Commissioners Abbott, Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Shelly, and Wolfe;voting No -- None. Absent - None; Motion carried.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT:
Director Wilson reported that at the end of January several staff members and Commissioner Abbott attended the IPRA/IAPD Annual Conference in Chicago and the sessions were outstanding this year and helpful for everyone. We also once again participated in the marketing design competition called the "Agency Showcase" in which the District placed second overall in the judged category. We also placed second place in the Brochure category. Most importantly, however, we took first place in the People's Choice award. Well-deserved congratulations go to Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue and her staff for all of their hard work all year long and then honored by their peers.
Staff is also once again engaging in a wellness program - Steps for Success - which involves wearing pedometers and participating in special fitness activities. This program is being paid for by PDRMA and it is our second year of participating. There are over 50 employees competing with each other to see who walks the most steps. This program results in lot of camaraderie and everyone enjoys themselves. Special thanks go to Amy Lambrecht, Barb Jenkins, Carrie Kolles, Julie Mantice, and Liz Cox.
Director Wilson reported that the annual list of carryover projects is on tonight's agenda and are being presented again for approval since they had not been completed in 2013 so staff wanted the Board to be aware of those projects and their dollar amounts. Lastly, under New Business, there is a Letter of Intent to the Village of Wilmette regarding the West Park sanitary sewer project. The Village had asked us to use our property for the installation of a sanitary tank to help during rain events for the approximately 1,800 houses in Wilmette who routinely suffer backed-up sanitary systems into their basements. This issue had been discussed at the Parks & Recreation Committee meeting and there were presentations from the engineers who will most likely be engaged by the Village to provide us with a better understanding of the work involved. Their goal is to have construction completed in 2015. As a result, the engineers wanted some level of assurance that the District intends to work them• although it would not be considered a final approval at this point.
Lakefront Committee - Committee Chair Benz stated the Committee has met twice on January 21 and February 3, 2014. Considerable progress has been made but we are not yet done. However, the Committee will be providing a detailed report of where we currently stand and will soon present a master plan recommendation. Progress was has been made and work continues on having a master plan that would include the costs, timetables, and a financing recommendation for the Board by the next Board meeting in March. To date, we have also worked to create a viable plan for Langdon Park that includes a buried facility with a green roof. We also have modified some of their recommendations from Williams Architects and JJR to orient the structure in a more northerly direction and to curve the roadway around to the front so that as beachgoers enter the Langdon Park beach area, they will be directed toward the northerly section of the park which will create a more expansive space and an improved park experience. In addition, the Committee created a replacement for the Gillson Beach house which would include a shade pavilion attachment and a newly configured parking lot with both a pedestrian, ADA-approved pathway from Michigan Avenue that comes down the dune and onto the Gillson beach area. We have also created a road, bike path, and pedestrian solution so residents who come to the park will be able to safely enjoy Gillson.
However, the reason the Board is not seeing any drawings or maps at tonight's meeting is because there are still a few issues that are close to being resolved but which the Committee felt it best to not bring up the questions at tonight's meeting. For example, the Lakeview Center has an ADA compliance plan as well as a potential renovation plan which took into account opportunities for revenue enhancements. The Committee had been asked by the Board to include the Sheridan Shore Property as part of the Lakefront Master Plan and staff has been trying to set up a meeting with the MWRD to start that process which has been difficult but the Committee felt that it would be scheduled within the next three weeks which fits within the timeframe for our next meeting when there a proposal of the plan will be presented for review. There are also some unresolved issues in regard to the current deteriorating jetty and our concern is that any lakefront plan we recommend should include what would happen if there was a further deterioration of that rock mound and the potential after-effects. There was also a deal with the sailing beach which the architects and JJR presented to us in regard to a permanent bathroom configuration for the sailing beach but it was too expensive so we asked the designers to come back with some alternatives for the ADA-compliant sailing beach which included bathrooms.
Chair Benz further stated that the Committee also went to the Financial Planning Committee to review several cost options and how to pay for the project. There had also been a presentation at the last Financial Planning meeting that showed how that could be achieved with our revised plans. We are not there yet but we are close and at the next meeting the Committee will have a presentation for the Board at the March meeting.
Commissioner Shelly asked if there was a specific meeting set up with the Park District and MWRD in regard to the jetty . Director Wilson replied he has a meeting scheduled with them during the last week in February. Commissioner Olvany asked if we had received any feedback from the MWRD and Director Wilson replied we had not. Chair Benz added that the next Lakefront Committee will be held on Thursday, March 6, beginning at 6:30 pm at the Lakeview Center.
Commissioner Olvany stated that when reviewing the minutes from the January Board meeting, there was discussion on the different aspects of the plan. One of the issues which is clear in the minutes is how there was disagreement among the Commissioners in regard to the jetty and the pier but at tonight's meeting we are talking about soliciting feedback from the full Board on this topic. He then asked if the Committee anticipates feedback from the Board tonight or when the whole plan is proposed. Chair Benz replied that the entire plan will be proposed at the March Board meeting because at that point we will have the additional data from the MWRD which will allow us to publicly answer any questions that will be raised.Commissioner Olvany stated the jetty which is in the plan is a totally separate structure from the existing jetty so it is not actually relevant whether we have a discussion with the MWRD or not as it relates to that particular part of the plan.
Commissioner Benz replied that as it is currently laid out, the jetty structure which was proposed by Williams and JJR was a completely different structure since JJR handled the engineering study back when the Park District was reviewing whether to participate in any kind of lease-holding in the harbor and they demonstrated to us that the rock pile was deteriorating and a cost assessment and projected timetable was provided when they thought it was going to fail. So when they presented a plan for a new jetty to the Lakefront Committee they had a completely different structure away from the existing
jetty which prompted additional questions and these are the kinds of questions that need to be raised with the MWRD in terms of what their proposal would consist of and what they feel their responsibility is. We would also need to know what type of financing options would be available for a new jetty and their willingness to guide us through that operation.
Commissioner Brault stated his understanding is that the existing jetty is sub-leased to the harbor and he believes he has seen that agreement. Director Wilson stated we did see a "boilerplate" sub-lease but he hasn't seen the actual signed document which is part of the information-gathering process that Commissioner Benz is referring to in regard to having a firm understanding of what is in the lease, what the maintenance requirements are, and what is the likelihood the jetty could crumble. Commissioner Brault stated that so in terms of that discussion, are we contemplating putting in a separate jetty and leaving the existing jetty intact and then have a conversation with the MWRD and the Harbor Association. Commissioner Benz stated the jetty had been discussed with the Committee members since they felt more information was needed. His hope for next month's Board meeting is to have a presentation and make a recommendation with regard to certain components of the master plan. We may also be looking for some concrete direction since the Committee may be unable to come to a consensus in terms of a recommendation .
Commissioner Brault asked if the Committee contemplated having a framework plan next month and Commissioner Benz replied yes and that even with all of these open issues the Committee feels it is time to move forward. Commissioner Abbott stated that so many things are out of our hands so we're waiting so the Committee is waiting for next month's meeting to hold further discussion but we are not trying to propose one or the other at this point since so many things are out of our hands which is why we are for this upcoming meeting to hold further discussion.
President Crowley stated that this is a project we have been working on for over three years and at some point we have to move forward or jettison the project because it is taking up a lot of staff time with increased expenses and the longer it takes the more likely nothing happens. As a result, he strongly recommends that the Committee come back with a concrete plan at the March Board meeting and even if they have to cut some or add some items, just do them. We are not going to spend another year to complete the plan since we need a final program in place. Commissioner Shelly stated she thought that three months ago when the Board was going through each of the items we all decided to remove the jetty due to its exorbitant cost and Commissioner Benz stated that was correct and added that the new information had been presented to the Committee which had not been shared with the full Board in terms of what happens when the crumbling jetty disappears which is why we are discussing this now. Commissioner Brault asked what the engineer's timetable was for a predicted fail of the jetty and Director Wilson replied 10 years.
Facilities Operations - Committee Chair Brault reported that the Committee had met earlier this evening and discussed that the Tennis facility and the upcoming lottery for the next session will be held on April 26 and applications will be accepted until April 14. The Tennis Pro Shop sale will be taking place during the entire month of our. Lastly, there are only 39 spaces left for summer Pirate camp so sign up soon. At the ice rink we are experiencing an "Olympic bump" and this year there are currently 35 soloists participating compared to only 15 last year. Facility Manager Sean Flynn reported the facility had also been used on the school days off this winter. There is a used equipment hockey sale this weekend from noon until 6 pm on Friday, noon until 8 pm on Saturday, and noon to 6 pm on Sunday which is being coordinated through the Chicago Blackhawks. In regard to the pool staff is already interviewing for summer jobs and will still be accepting applications for both guards and swimming instructors. Our early bird passes go on sale March 1. In regard to our paddle tennis facility the weather has caused cancellations of some of the outdoor lessons and activities that are typically scheduled but we have provided make-up sessions so staff believes we will be able to balance everything out before the end of the year. Lastly, there is a temporary sign for the facility which had been knocked down by the snow blower but a permanent sign will be installed when the weather improves. President Crowley added that Commissioner Brault recently participated in a pond hockey tournament in Winnetka.
Parks & Recreation Committee - Committee Chair Shelly reported the Committee met on January 20 and Carol Heafey reported staff is currently interviewing for the General Recreation Supervisor position which oversees the camps, special events and other programs. Jeff Groves reported that a new gymnastics coach has been hired named Sara Gonzalez. At the time of our meeting,Bill Lambrecht reported this was the second longest run of our outdoor ice rinks this season and Bill and his crew had done an amazing job. The Children's Theater presentation of "101 Dalamations" opens this weekend. Also at the last meeting,discussions continued on the proposed storage tank at West Park and a Letter of Intent had been delivered to the Village. The next Parks & Recreation Committee meeting will be held on Monday, February 24 and followed immediately by the Financial Planning Committee meeting.
Golf Operations Committee - Committee Chair Brault stated the Committee met on February, 2014 and reviewed the overall state of the course. Because of the very cold winter there has not been a lot of activity on the course. However, staff did review conditions based on the extreme weather and Mike Matchen's expectations are that at this point we have not suffered any significant damage. However, there has been some icing on a few fairways which is why staff is constantly watching everything. The contractors have also designed a plan on how to melt the ice with flat sand to break up it up in order to allow the grass to breathe. Staff will know more as the thaw starts but it is anticipated that we will be opening on time on Memorial Day. Staff has also been coming up with a number of different ideas for a Grand Reopening event and if any Commissioners would like to provide any input of what the event should include, let the Committee know.
Financial Pl anning & Policy Committee - Committee Chair Olvany reported the Committee last met on January 27 and covered a few topics. Work is still progressing on the updated Personnel Policy and had a lengthy discussion on paid-time-off, use of sick days, as well as other issues and how they relate to our policies including retirement benefits. The Committee asked staff get from the IMRF some additional information regarding the District's potential exposure for a possible significant number of employees going into retirement at the same time and although that may be unlikely, staff believes we should still do an analysis on that exposure. The Committee next reviewed the 4th quarter results followed by a lengthy discussion on the 4th quarter results relative to the projects we reviewed at the December meeting of the Committee of-the-Whole. Further discussions will also take place on that topic since there were some reasonable differences between our projections and actual results. As referred to earlier, Eric Anderson from BMO Capital Markets was in attendance to provide additional information and answer any questions. Mr. Anderson also proposed three different financing structures for different lengths of time and different amounts of money. Because of the nature of our debt rolling off over the next few years we have a reasonable amount of financial flexibility from our bonding authority which will allow us to hopefully pay for our capital expenditures at the lakefront in the future.
At the meeting, Commissioner Brault brought up his thoughts about reducing the amount of paper we currently have here by discussing our use of electronic devices and a spirited debate took place but no recommendations were made on that topic. Lastly, a motion will be made tonight related to the carryover projects that are to be included in the upcoming budget. Commissioner Brault stated that the estimate received by everyone at our Committee-of-the-Whole budget meeting was $597,163 and that number is now down to $451,936. Commissioner Olvany added that these amounts represent existing projects that had been approved in 2013 but that were deferred .for a variety of reasons. The largest amount which is currently outstanding is approximately $175,000 for the reconstruction of the park area at West Park which had been delayed in order to incorporate it into the paddle tennis facility. These were projects that were already approved in the 2013 budget and we took these into consideration when the budget plan was put together.
Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Wolfe seconded a motion to approve the carryover of capital projects as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee in the amount of $451,936.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes - Commissioners Abbott, Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Shelly, and Wolfe; voting No -- None. Absent - None; Motion carried.
OLD BUSINESS: None
Director Wilson stated that in regard to the letter of Intent to the Village of Wilmette related to their request to install a storm sewer, it would be a major project by the Village in order to alleviate some of the flooding that occurs in the basements on the western part of our the Village. They asked us for a letter giving them some idea on where the Park District stands on that project. Once again, this is a letter of intent and, not a final vote. However, staff is asking that the Board approve the draft of the letter tonight so that Director Wilson can present it to the Village Board at their meeting tomorrow night and then the Village can proceed with their engineering studies to rectify the flooding issues in West Wilmette.
Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded a motion to authorize the Director to sign and deliver the letter of intent to the Village of Wilmette in regard to the usage of West Park.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes - Commissioners Abbott, Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Shelly,and Wolfe; voting No -- None.Absent - None; Motion carried.
Director stated that the interplay between the Village's project and our restoring the park, they are actually interrelated because if you are to do a synthetic type of surface, a lot of the engineering work would include the sub-surface for drainage purposes. However, until the Village is able to design their system, the Park District will not be able to finalize the details of our design and or its cost. As a result, everything is currently at on•hold which is why the Village asked for a Letter of Intent.
Commissioner Olvany 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.
The meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 8:15 pm. The Regular Board meeting was reconvened 8:52 pm.
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:53 pm.