Wilmette Park District
Lakefront Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, November 3, 2014
6:30 p.m. – Park District Administration Office


Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair Bryan Abbott, Gary Benz, John Olvany
Commissioner James Crowley
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Holly Specht, Steve Wilson, Ken Eppelheimer, Cindy Felicicchia, Jeff Bowen

Attendees Absent

None

I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order 6:32 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Benz moved to approve the minutes from October 7, 2014, seconded by Olvany; all voted yes, the motion carried.

III. Communication and Correspondence

Commissioner Benz acknowledged an email addressed to him regarding the rules for partners and boating. There was a change in licensing with the state of Illinois stating that registration for kayaks, canoes, SUP’s and any vessel under 14 feet without a sail is no longer required for an individual boat owner. Commissioner Benz asked committee if there is another option. Superintendent Bingham stated that this email is from an owner of a kayak. She stated they looked at this situation and will be grandfathering them in. They have been contacted by Holly. Commissioner Olvany asked what the policy is moving forward. Superintendent Bingham stated that situations as these will be viewed on an individual basis.

IV. Recognition of Visitors

Mary Shea, 735 Michigan Avenue, Wilmette
Peter Baugher, 1310 Sheridan Road, Wilmette

V. Manager’s Report

Holly Specht reported on the following:

  • Nothing was damaged due to the stormy weather on October 31st. Superintendent Lambrecht’s crew installed snow fencing at the lakefront and some of the fencing had to be reinstalled.
  • Superintendent Bingham reported on the new process for signing up for sail boat slips for 2015. She stated there are five different types of boats that are now on the beach; four of them currently have waiting lists. The staff did not see a need to go through the lottery process. After many discussions staff is proposing to allow people to register for boat spaces at the time winter registration starts on December 9th. In most of these cases people will be added to the waiting list. The staff will not know until March what people may be leaving and who may be coming back. After that process the staff can tell how many spaces will be available for 2015. There are 59 people on a wait list for SUPs and 45 people for mono hull vessels. The process will be a first come first serve. This is the first year the staff is keeping a wait list from one season to the next. Boat owners who did not check in their boat in 2014 will lose their spot. Next year in the contract it will state that if you have not brought your boat in or checked in by mid-summer your spot will go to someone on the waiting list. The returning boat owners will still have an opportunity to come to the sailing gathering in March to participate in a lottery to change their boat location. The resident registration will begin December 9th and nonresident will begin May 1st. If nonresidents are currently on the waiting list that will not change.
  • In the process reviewing applications and interviewing for the Assistant Lakefront Manager.

VI. Proposed FY 2015 Lakefront Budget and Capital Improvement Plan

A. Proposed Lakefront Fee Increases and Fee History

Superintendent Bingham reviewed and discussed the packet with the committee. She stated that the Special Use Permits went up fifty-dollars due to the fact that most of these fundraisers are for 100 or more people and often the staff needs to hire additional staff. The cutoff to be charged for this fee is events over 100 people.

Commissioner Abbott asked about the 10% increases in fees for sailing. Superintendent Bingham stated that the staff looked at areas that would help to balance the budget and also she felt this area could handle the increase. Commissioner Olvany questioned if the price should be higher. Superintendent Bingham stated we could look at this again next year and see what the 10% increase reveals this upcoming season.

VII. 2014 Lakefront Operations Report

Superintendent Bingham reviewed and discussed the report with the committee. She stated considering it was a marginal weather year, Lakefront operations had a healthy year. Sailing did very well this year. Committee agreed to discuss the operations report and budget simultaneously.

Commissioner Olvany commented on the Lakefront Operation Report being a great document with helpful information. He would like to see it summarized into bullet points if the District moves forward with the referendum process. This could be utilized for talking points for the community. Such as, how many people visit the park every year? How many walkers, strollers, runners, fields being used, picnics, Wallace Bowl, campers, organized groups, etc. He also recommends attempting to gage a percentage on the resident and nonresidents numbers that utilized the services.

Commissioner Olvany asked if there was some way to come up with a metric to earmark nonresident funds to pay off the debt. In the case of the golf course the District had a surcharge that went directly into paying off the bonds. Superintendent Bingham stated that the staff could come up with a concise summary with some of these additional factors put into it. Commissioner Olvany stated that it will mostly be guesswork.

Superintendent Bingham reviewed and discussed with the Committee the capital plan. Commissioner Olvany commented on capacity levels when it comes to the lakefront with boats and what is a safe number and what is not. He asked if staff was budgeting enough for rental equipment. Holly Specht commented that they are getting a new getaway and 2 or 3 double kayaks. Superintendent Bingham stated that rentals are added as needed with safety concerns first being addressed.

VIII. Lakefront Master Plan

Superintendent Lambrecht commented that the District is having its first kick-off design meeting this week. Commissioner Abbott stated that these kick-off programming meetings are the criteria we wish the design to adhere to. Staff has finished the first six interviews with the construction managers. The District has narrowed it down to three firms who will be interviewed by the Committee at the Lakefront Committee meeting on November 12th. Copies of proposals were given to the Committee. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that at the end of the meeting the Committee should discuss making a recommendation to the full Board.

Commissioner Abbott asked about some heavy waves that came onto the beach on October 31st. He stated that it seemed to wash out some beach area. Commissioner Abbott asked Superintendent Lambrecht what his thoughts are. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that all the snow last winter, along with the wet spring and wet summer all had contributed to the lake levels being high. He also stated that the army corps of engineers is predicting that the lake levels will start dropping which is typical over the winter. Superintendent Lambrecht stated he does not see anything at Langdon beach that raises concern. He stated that staff will be building up a berm again by Gillson beach to prevent waves moving too far up the beach.

Commissioner Olvany stated that during our community outreach we need to be sensitive to what the goals are at Langdon with the new structure and emphasize the enhanced experience. He pointed out some goals of Langdon: 1) senior access to beach, which is a large population in that area; 2) improve the tot lot; 3) maintain a high level of security since the building will not be utilized 12 months out of the year; and 4) the District is not increasing parking or circulation. Committee agreed with these talking points.

Commissioner Abbott asked about other outreach opportunities. Director Wilson stated that he has been contacted by various PTA’s to come and talk. He has been discussing putting together a narrated slide show that can be put on the web. He stated that renderings of the Lakefront were displayed at Halloween Happening. Committee reiterated to Director Wilson that they would like to be involved in the outreach events. Director Wilson stated that winter is hard due to not as many large gatherings. Director Wilson stated that he would be in touch with the Committee if an opportunity presents itself.

IX. Unfinished Business

None

X. New Business

A. Park Permit Requests

  • New Trier Girls Swim and Dive Team Banquet – This event is a repeat. Staff sees no problem with this event. All Approved.
  • St. Francis Xavier School, Holiday Sleigh Ride – Staff sees no issues with this event going forward. All Approved.

XI. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m.