Wilmette Park District
Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Thursday, March 6, 2014
6:30 p.m.
  Lakeview Center


Attendees Present
Commissioners: Chair Benz, Abbott, Olvany, Crowley, Brault
Staff:  Wilson, Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, Lambrecht, Specht, Donoghue Visitors: See attached sheet

Attendees Absent
None

I. Meeting Called to Order
Meeting called to order 6:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes
A. Committee approved minutes from January 21, 2014; by general consent.
B. Committee approved minutes from February 3, 2014; by general consent.

Ill. Lakefront Master Plan Discussion
Chairman Benz recommended discussing the Lakefront Master Plan first; all members agreed. Commissioner Benz stated that the goal is to have a final Master Plan by the end of the meeting in order for the committee to make a final recommendation to the Park Board on March 10, 2014. He recommended going through the project by area then discuss and vote on each area; starting with Gillson Park.

Circulation
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
Specifically roads,sewers, roadway lighting, pedestrian and bicycle access.  Also included were reconstruction of the park roads and associated storm sewers. The new roads would include a painted bike lane. New sidewalks would be constructed to separate pedestrian traffic from the cars and bicycles. Commissioner Olvany stated that he believes these items are "must do" projects and Commissioner Abbott agreed. The Committee agreed that the work be included.

Sheridan Shore Yacht Club and Pier:
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
In regards to the lease for Sheridan Shore, staff has met with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD). Executive Director Wilson reported that the lease terminates in March 2016, but that the MWRD begins their discussions two years ahead of time. There are two types of leases, a government lease and a corporate lease. The corporate lease typically carries a larger rent since the concept is that the lessee is making money on its use. The government lease is for municipalities. There has been no commitment to any type of lease. The Park District needs to submit a formal letter to MWRD expressing interest in the lease if the Park Board decides to pursue it. Commissioner Benz stated that at this time, since the Park District does not have control over the property, no further discussions need to take place. Commissioner Olvany concurred and stated the same relates to the pier.Executive Director Wilson confirmed .There are issues related to the pier that should be discussed further but the pier is needed to insure protection of the land between it and the harbor mouth.

Recreation and Landscape Improvements:
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
This includes replacement of the tot lot in Gillson Park, dog beach improvements (fencing, water and other items), improvements to the picnic areas including tables and hardscape under the tables to eliminate the mud, improvements to the Wildflower Garden and a Landscape Master Plan for the site. Commissioner Olvany stated that he believes all these items are important to improve the park. He also added that he is excited about the improvement of site lines from Michigan Avenue by clearing out undesirable and non native plant materials. It will give a better vista of the lake.
Commissioner Abbott concurred and the Committee agreed to include the work.

ADA Improvements:
Items that were identified in an Accessibility Audit performed in 2011 include: Elevator for Lakeview Center, some of the work at the picnic areas, improved access to the wildflower garden and harbor walk east of the Coast Guard station and a myriad of miscellaneous projects throughout the park. After further discussion, the Committee agreed that these items would be included.

Jetty I Pier: Stand alone project:
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
He expressed concern over the condition of the structure. During public meetings, there were discussions of its unsightliness and safety.There are big costs associated with this item which is  not Park District property. He went on to state that the engineering report the Park District secured while in discussions about the Harbor showed that the structure is deteriorating quickly. The estimates received are for $1,850,000 to provide a usable pier just north of the existing one. There is a need to maintain some structure to protect the property between the pier and the harbor mouth, property we refer to as the Aquatics Beach and the Dog Beach. If the pier were to fail, we would most likely  lose that property. Executive Director Wilson stated that during recent discussions with MWRD about Sheridan Shores, he inquired about maintenance provisions that are included in the Harbor Association's lease for the pier. He was assured by MWRD that there are requirements in the lease and that the structure would never get to the point of failure. Commissioner Benz agreed that it should not be included in the project at this time. Commissioner Abbott stated that he wishes it could be included because it would offer a different perspective of the vistas over the lake and could offer new recreation opportunities. Commissioner Olvany replied that he never thought it should be part of the discussions since the Harbor Association holds the lease. He went on to say that it has been shown that improving the existing structure is not feasible. The only option is to build a new structure and he is opposed to that. Commissioner Abbott concurred that at this time it should not be included. There is always the possibility of doing something in the future. After discussion, the Committee decided to remove the pier from the project.

Lakeview Center:
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
He stated that is a vital component of the plan and of the park as a whole and no matter what else happens to the facility; we are required to install an elevator which will require a modest addition on the east side of the lobby.The Committee looked at various options to expand the facility to increase the seating capacity for larger events. There are also advantages to realigning the road in front of the facility with a better parking situation. This part of the plan also includes enhancements for winter activities including a sled hill (utilizing the old beach parking lot access), a fire pit and a designated cross country ski trail. During the discussion related to expanding Lakeview, it was shown that there would be thirteen year pay back for a Lakeview Center expansion. During prior discussions between staff and the architects,there were options to improve the facility within the existing foot print. A complete renovation of the upper level could include improved kitchen space and better storage plus a larger room for events that could potentially be subdivided. Offices could be moved to the lower level. Commissioner Olvany commented that he was glad to see that the costs for this portion had been cut dramatically. In the original concepts, the costs for Lakeview were approximately $2,900,000. The costs for this area are now down to $1,650,000. Commissioner Abbott expressed some concern about the estimates for utilities. Staff stated that the utilities could be refined more once a plan is established.The issues are water supply and access to a fire hydrant, phone lines that keep failing for the entire site, internet access and storm and sanitary sewers. After further discussion, the Committee approved this section as proposed.

Beach House Area:
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
The beach house has reached the end of its useful life. There are some design problems with the current structure, especially given the harsh environment it exists in. The proposed facility addresses all the summer needs and offers options for extended seasonal use. The new building includes expanded washrooms. The layout would permit people on the beach access to the washrooms and concession without having to show beach passes. The controlled access would be through the middle of the building, similar to the pool. There would also be washrooms accessible to the general public at the north end of the building. There would also be a pavilion at the south end of the building that would provide a shaded area. It would also have a fireplace that would extend usage, hopefully inviting patrons earlier and later in the season. The parking lot would be reconfigured to allow better circulation and help eliminate backups at the entrance. There would be landscape improvements that include bioswales to enhance storm water management. They also include native plants. The new layout expands un­ paved areas at the south end that would also improve sight lines from Lakeview.There would also be expanded landscaping on the west end including improved screening around the maintenance/storage building. There would also be improved pedestrian access though the center of the lot. The old Michigan Avenue parking lot entrance would be improved to allow pedestrian and bike access. It would also include an accessible ramp to get from the bluff walk to the beach level. Utility upgrades are also part of this project for water, sanitary and storm sewers as well as electric, phone and
internet. Commissioner Olvany stated that this section (Beach House) is the most
important part of the entire project and he added that the shelter will be an exciting addition and will offer opportunities to use the area more times of the year.
Commissioner Abbott added that he is excited about the winter activities as well as the reconfigured parking lot that will improve access.After further discussions, the Committee approved this section.

Sailing:
Commissioner Benz reported on the following:
The original concept was to add washrooms at the north end of the sailing beach. When estimates were prepared, the cost of $675,000 including utilities made the location prohibitive. Staff and consultants were asked to go back and evaluate the cost of replacing the existing Sailing office and storage and add washrooms. The revised plan does that and takes advantage of the utilities for the beach house. The new plan comes in at $550,000 which gets us a sailing office as well as bathrooms and storage.
Commissioner Olvany stated that the new concept absolutely gets more for the money and went on to add that Sailing continues to be very popular. Commissioner Abbott added that it is good to look to the future and that the existing Sailing buildings have out lived their usefulness.

Gillson Park:
Commissioner Benz asked the Committee to approve a recommendation to the full board of the total project for the Gillson Park portion of the Master Plan, in the amount of $9,574,144. Adding a design contingency of $1,914,829 plus an escalation amount of $478,707, the total project recommendation is $11,967,680. Commissioner Olvany seconded the recommendation and the Committee unanimously approved making the recommendation to the Park Board.

Langdon Park:
Commissioner Benz stated that with the continued popularity of Langdon beach for swimming, improved facilities are important. The proposed improvements include a new beach house tucked into the bluff. There were numerous revisions to the design over many meetings. The final design includes washrooms, a small office, minimal storage, a green roof and an overlook. It would not be visible from Sheridan Road. Access to the beach would be redirected towards the north past the building in hopes of encouraging swimmers to utilize the middle section of the beach. There would also be a stairway adjacent to permit safer access to the beach. The existing ramp would be improved as would the southern bluff. The tot lot, walks and landscaping would be improved in the main part of the park. He went on to add that the beach at Langdon does not need to be made accessible as long as the Park District designates Gillson as the accessible beach. The cost for the work totals $650,000 for the beach house and $400,000 for park improvements . Commissioner Olvany stated that he believes that the improvements are important for the neighborhood and the community at large. The improved access will make it easier for people to use the beach all year.He also added that people have asked about the beach house and he has told them what they will see from the park is lower than the split raif fence that exists there now. The Committee has spent a lot of time making this design unique for the site and it is the only totally new building in the plan. Replacement of the tot lot would have been part of the regular maintenance program but was delayed to coincide with the master plan. Commissioner Abbott also added that the building is a design sensitive to the site. He also believes that the green roof and improved vistas and viewing area make this design unique. The fact that it is tucked into the bluff is beneficial.

Commissioner Benz moved that the Committee approve the Langdon Park portion of the Master Plan at $1,050,000 plus a design contingency and an escalation amount totaling $1,312,500. Commissioner Abbott seconded the motion and the Committee approved the recommendation unanimously.

IV. Communication  and Correspondence
The Committee reviewed an email from Susan Gottlieb regarding the sailing lottery and the lack of available space. She does not believe that non residents should be allowed spaces on the beach. Commissioner Benz asked If staff had any more information.
There is a lack of spce on the beach. Superintendent Bingham replied that non residents pay a much higher fee than residents. There is a concern that there is a finite amount of shoreline and to keep increasing the numbers of boats will cause bigger problems. She added that it is tough to say what the correct number or "mix" of slips is. Commissioner Abbott asked if it is correct to say that staff controls the crowding by the number of slips on the beach. Staff replied that is correct. Commissioner Olvany asked about letting people launch by the pier and then come to the sailing beach for the day. He said it does not seem that crowded to him. Superintendent Bingham replied that her fear is that the demand has outpaced available space. She stated that we need to determine what our capacity is based on the actual shoreline, not on the depth of the beach. Staff will gather information on safety and report back to the Committee.
Commissioner Abbott stated that he does not want to end up like the Wilmette Harbor Association with people never getting a slip. Superintendent Bingham added that one third of the shoreline at Gillson is now dedicated to sailing. Maybe some thought should be given to relocating non wind driven boats (kayaks and paddle boards).
Commissioner Olvany replied that he believes that there needs to be a plan in place before the 2014 season begins. Commissioner Benz asked for staff to come back with a report at the April meeting.

V. Recognition of Visitors
Karen Glennemeier, 719 LaurelAvenue, stated as a member of the Lakefront Commission, she heard a lot of sentiment regarding natural areas. She wondered to what extent details will be reviewed. Commissioner Olvany replied that what the Park Board is reviewing now is conceptual plans. Once a plan is approved, the next step is for the landscape architect to get into the detailed plans. Ms. Glennemeier went on to state that while she likes the idea of the bluff views, that work can be good or bad.

Executive Director Wilson replied that what we are talking about is work similar to what was done at Langdon Park, not clear cutting the area.

Bob Gardula, 1410 Sheridan Road, stated that he thinks the plan for Langdon Park is tremendous. His concern is light pollution and what lighting would be included? Superintendent Lambrecht replied that there would be minimal exterior lighting on the proposed beach house. All lighting would be "down" lighting so no light source would be visible. We are required by code to provide exterior lighting by doors. Mr. Gardula asked to not forget about aesthetics when it comes to the tot lot, eliminating from consideration bright, garish colors. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that specific equipment had not been chosen yet. Wood is an unlikely candidate due to initial costs and ongoing maintenance. There are attractive metal and other materials that can be chosen in a myriad of colors. Staff is sensitive to these issues and foresees the colors being more natural such as greens and browns.

Margrit Kuehn 915 Ashland Avenue, asked about the size of the tot lot. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that the area would be approximately the same size, but due to new requirements, there needs to be two distinct pieces of play equipment. One set geared to children two to five and the other for those five to twelve. She also stated that at the • sailing beach, we should not limit partners on boats to two owners. Holly Specht replied that the state limits the numbers of owners on a title to two people.

Fred Fitzsimmons asked if an elevator is needed for Lakeview if the building is not expanded. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that it is required under the new Americans with Disabilities Act. It was identified in an accessibility audit performed in 2011.

Mr. Fitzsimons asked if the Park District gets Sheridan Shores Yacht Club, he believes that it will need a good deal of work and that use will still be limited by its size and limited parking. It will not allow access to any of the one hundred plus events now turned away from Lakeview Center.

Commissioner Abbott stated that he is concerned about the amount of work the building might need if it is secured. Mr. Fitzsimons added that he believes that there needs to be an element in the plan that would bring in more revenue to offset the cost. He believes that a second floor on the beach house would offer that opportunity. The parking exists and the addition could bring in as much as $200,000 annually in revenue. The pavilion could be eliminated and a porch built on the second floor that could provide shade. Currently summer events are not allowed in Lakeview Center at all. Superintendent Bingham replied that weekends are when there is demand, not during the week. Mr. Fitzsimons added that the second floor would provide a larger open space and could pay for itself in two and a half years.

Tanya Chevalier, 789 Michigan Avenue, asked if it is necessary to replace the tot lot in Gillson Park. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that the area is actually past due for replacement. It was delayed due to the Lakefront Plan process. Commissioner Olvany asked when it was scheduled on the Park District's Capital plan. Superintendent
 
Lambrecht replied that it was due to be replaced in 2011. He added that the Park District replaces tot lots on a twenty year cycle, far longer than surrounding suburbs. Parts are in need of replacement currently. The area also has to be made accessible to all. Commissioner Abbott stated that it is too bad it cannot be a sand surface. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that any granular or loose fill surface also requires daily grading according to CPSC guidelines to make sure there are no depressions. Ms. Chevalier also asked about the cost for utilities. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that the electrical and phone lines that come into the park are from the early 1900's and they come from more than a block outside of the park. The closest access is behind the homes on Michigan Avenue. Executive Director Wilson stated that these will all be reviewed once a final plan is approved .You can't leave it out of any one structure in case it is not included in the final plan. There will some economies by scale once a plan is approved.

A resident asked about the size of the proposed Sailing Beach structure. Staff replied that it would be about the same size or smaller than the existing Sailing office and storage building area.

VI. Manger's  Report
Holly Specht reported that the Sailing lottery had been held on Saturday, March 1st. Contracts were due back by February 21st. All monohull and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) spaces are filled. All but 22 catamarans spaces were filled by the end of the lottery. We have 30 individuals on the waiting list for both the monohull rack spaces as well as the SUP spaces.  Staff continues to interview summer staff, order supplies and organize training. The new beach cleaner was delivered and the old one returned in trade. The lake is projected to be up fourteen inches this summer due to the amount of snow and the ice limiting evaporation.

VII. Old Business
None

VIII. New Business

The Committee reviewed a request from the Boy Scouts of America reuesting the use of Gillson Park for a three day, two night camp out April 25 to April 27 . Staff has concerns about allowing more than one night. Lacrosse is scheduled in the park on Sunday and there are concerns about them being out of the park in time They are setting up a number of stations for the Scouts to perform tasks. Staff is willing to discuss with them starting Friday over night and be out by dusk on Saturday. Commissioner Olvany asked if this had been allowed in the past. Superintendent Bingham replied that we have allowed groups one night. They will also be cooking and require a generator. Commissioner Olvany concurred with staff to discuss with them one night. Commissioner Abbott asked if they were going to have a fire pit. Staff replied that if they did ask, they would have to do it on the road per the Fire Department guidelines.

The Committee next reviewed a request from the Felicia Kaplan Memorial Fund for a race that would start in Gillson Park. They have obtained a permit from the Village for the race route. It is scheduled for May 3rd which should be before the park gets busy. Commissioner Abbott asked if the park would have to be closed.Superintendent Bingham replied that it would not. After some discussion, Commissioner Olvany moved to approve the request and the Committee approved the request unanimously.

The Committee reviewed a request from the Adventure Guides to hold an overnight event in Gillson Park on October 4th. Executive Director Wilson explained to the Committee that staff has reservations about allowing this event. We have had problems with the adults consuming alcohol in the Park. Staff stated that if it is allowed, they must be put on notice if there are problems they would be asked to leave and not allowed back in the future. Commissioner Olvany moved to approve with the condition that they will not be allowed back if there is consumption of alcohol at the event. The Committee unanimously approved the permit with the conditions.

The Committee reviewed the request of McKenzie PTA to hold a run starting at Gillson Park on May 10, 2014 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.Staff stated that they have concerns with the event. It is the first day of sailing and there is a wedding at Lakeview Center. The group also still needs to get a Village permit for the race. Executive Director Wilson recommended that if staff can work out the date, can the Committee approve the event with that condition? Commissioner Olvany moved to allow the event contingent on staff coming up with an agreeable date. The Committee approved the permit with the conditions.

 IX. Adjournment   
8:47 p.m.


Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht