COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE JUNE 27, 2005
WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE OF THE BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS
HELD IN THE COUNCIL ROOM OF WILMETTE VILLAGE HALL
MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2005
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.
President Miller called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PRESENT: President David Miller, Commissioners Jim Brault, Diana Cohen, Jim Crowley, Richard Marcus, Dennis O’Malley, Henry Wolff, Director Terry Porter
VISITORS: See attached.
President Miller welcomed those in attendance. He announced that this meeting is the first of two scheduled public hearings regarding a potential skate park being built in Wilmette. He noted that all citizens of Wilmette had received a letter from the Park District regarding the public hearings and inviting comment and correspondence pertaining to the skate park issue prior to the meetings. President Miller stated that each person would be allotted three minutes to speak and that he looked forward to hearing from everyone. He added that there would be no Board discussion at this meeting and no decisions will be made. The purpose of the meeting is to hear what the community has to say. President Miller explained that at this point, no decision has been made as to whether to build a skate park or what the best location would be. After public comment at the second hearing, which is scheduled for July 18th, is concluded, the Board will begin discussion. President Miller then called upon Commissioner Marcus.
Commissioner Marcus, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, stated that at the last committee meeting, several residents had expressed concerns regarding the condition of outdoor tennis courts in certain Wilmette parks Commissioner Marcus noted that he had personally visited the sites mentioned and agreed that there is work to be done. He assured the tennis players that the possible construction of a skate park would not interfere with plans to maintain and repair the outdoor tennis courts, and he set forth the following schedule for tennis court work.
• Hibbard Park – Resurface with Sports Court material. Work to be done
• Community Playfield – Temporary repair shortly with complete color coating this fall.
• Maple Park – Color coating to be done this fall.
• Vattmann Park – Complete rebuild in 2006.
• Gillson Park – Color coating in 2006.
President Miller stated that prior to taking public comment, he would acknowledge the letters and e-mails which had been received prior to the meeting.
CORRESPONDENCE IN FAVOR OF SKATE PARK
E-mail dated June 9, 2005 from Bill Stewart, 1624 Washington (not at Community Playfield)
Letter dated June 9, 2005 from Herb Doneen, 212 Hibbard Road (Wilmette & Crawford Ave. recommended)
E-mail dated June 9, 2005 from Zhaoping Shi & Wei Li (Hibbard Park preferred)
E-mail dated June 9, 2005 from Susan Kick, Principal, Harper School
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Doug Zalesky, 2236 Schiller Ave. (Community Playfield preferred)
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Linda Herman (Hibbard Park preferred)
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Debbie Van Heck, 1608 Wilmette Ave.
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Dick Nugent
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Loryn Kogan, 1020 Greenleaf Ave. (Community Playfield preferred)
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Ann Rutherford (Hibbard Park preferred)
E-mail dated June 11, 2005 from Cyndi B. Lafuente,
E-mail dated June 11, 2005 from Tom and Virginia Grossman, 2621 Greenleaf
Letter dated June 12, 2005 from Carol M. Berkron, 517 Kim Court (Hibbard Park preferred)
Letter dated June 13, 2005 from Mark & Elzbieta Gajos, 3035 Old Glenview Road
E-mail dated June 16, 2005 from Susan Gottlieb
E-mail dated June 18, 2005 from Ed Wicks, 2326 Meadow Drive North
E-mail dated June 20, 2005 from Diane Field, 2233 Birchwood
E-mail dated June 22, 2005 from Sherry L. Oberlin, 2327 Greenwood
E-mail dated June 27, 2005 from Paul & Lee Fischer, 443 Highcrest Drive
CORRESPONDENCE NOT IN FAVOR OF SKATE PARK
Letter dated April 28, 2005 from Thomas C. Scanlan, 1005 Chestnut Ave.
Letter dated June 5, 2005 from Sharon Ferrill, 1630 Sheridan Road
E-mail dated June 9, 2005 from Kurt Koeplin, 801 Park Ave.
E-mail dated June 9, 2005 from Tony Reynes
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Bob Kafkis
E-mails dated June 10, 2005, June 19, 2005, & June 21, 2005 from Doug Wallach
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Bob Taylor
E-mail dated June 10, 2005 from Pat McCann
Letter dated June 11, 2005 from D.A. Nonnemacher
E-mail dated July 11, 2005 from Jeanne Siegel, 2406 Meadow Drive North (objects to facility at Community Playfield)
E-mail dated June 11, 2005 from Howard Klieger
E-mail dated June 12, 2005 from Shirley Harris, 2924 Central Ave.
Letter dated June 13, 2005 from Hank Mlynaskie, 2600 Kenilworth Ave.
Letter dated June 13, 2005 from Jan Mitchell, 200 Lawndale
E-mail dated June 13, 2005 from David J. Ford
E-mail dated June 14, 2005 from Malka Lichtor
E-mail dated June 14, 2005 from Kim and Kurt Stricker
E-mail dated June 14, 2005 from Rich and Debbie Silverstein, 701 LaPorte Ave.
Letter dated June 14, 2005 from Lois Jessup, 800 Ridge Road
Letter dated June 14, 2005 from Barbara Burns, 2033 Washington
E-mail dated June 14, 2005 from Kerry Hall, 1337 Greenwood
E-mail dated June 14, 2005 from Mark Feldman, 115 Linden Ave.
E-mail dated June 15, 2005 from Kenneth Fidel
E-mail dated June 15, 2005 from Ray and Mary Dash
E-mail dated June 15, 2005 from Sharon Komlofske
Letter dated June 16, 2005 from Mary Adair 2956 Iroquois Road
Letter dated June 16, 2005 from Mary Louise O’Reilly, 641 Romona Road
E-mail dated June 16, 2005 from Jim Bakle
E-mail dated June 19, 2005 from Sheldon & Patti Greenberg
E-mail dated June 20, 2005 from David Altman
E-mail dated June 20, 2005 from Stan Graves
E-mail dated June 20, 2005 from Mark Fogelson, 2718 Birchwood Ave.
E-mail dated June 21, 2005 from Julie Zander, 1318 Forest Ave.
E-mail dated June 22, 2005 from Bob & Tina Schultz, 511 15th Street
Letter dated June 22, 2005 from Adrienne Feldman, 2727 Birchwood Ave.
Letter dated June 23, 2005 from Shirley Merrirt
E-mail dated June 23, 2005 from Shirley Ruttenberg
E-mail dated June 24, 2005 from Elizabeth Burton, 2442 Birchwood Lane
E-mail dated June 25, 2005 from Laura Templin
E-mail dated June 26, 2005 from Robert De-Larm, 1615 Washington
E-mail dated June 26, 2005 from Paul and Wendy Carothers, 2507 Laurel Lane (vehemently opposed to Community Playfield location)
E-mail dated June 27, 2005 from Charlie Hargrave, 2540 Laurel Lane
E-mail dated June 27, 2005 from Stuart Wilson, 2210 Greenwood
E-mail dated June 27, 2005 from Adrienne Feldman, 2727 Birchwood Ave.
E-mail dated June 27, 2005 from Mary Louise O’Reilly, 641 Romona Road
President Miller opened the meeting for public comment.
The following residents spoke either against constructing a skate park in Wilmette or against a specific location:
Jack Siegel, 2406 Meadow Drive
Dan Ryan, 2615 Laurel Lane
Colette Cooper, 118 Broadway, Wilmette Arts Guild
Alan Golden, 2516 Laurel Lane
George Karagas, 319 Kilpatrick
Adrienne Feldman, 2727 Birchwood
Sid Condit, 914 Cherokee Road
Stan Winton, 304 Wilshire Drive
Pat Reynes, 2609 Marian Lane
Eric Jaffe, 839 Park Ave.
Carol Dietrich, 2536 Laurel Lane
Jennifer Manning, 1104 Forest
Joseph Fargo, 2606 Marian Lane
Charlie Hargrave, 2540 Laurel Lane
Rick Morrison, 2636 Marian Lane
Michelle Bamberger, 913 Columbus
Greg Porwancher, 3147 Hill Lane
Andrea Ventreli, 2525 Greenleaf
Morris Liebling, 3006 Hill Lane
Kevin Clarke, 2519 Marian Lane
Garrett Ryan, 804 Locust Road
Tony Reynes, 2609 Marian Lane
Carl Steiner, 3030 Indianwood
Marianne Blanas, 216 Briar
There were concerns expressed about the amount of tax dollars that would be expended on a skate park, which is a facility that would be used for a relatively small segment of the Wilmette population. It was also noted that there would be no revenue generated from the facility and that there would be no restriction on non-resident use. It was felt that the Park District should concentrate on maintaining the facilities that are already in operation rather than spending tax dollars on building a skate park, and the Park District would be fiscally irresponsible to spend up to $350,000 on a facility that would serve such a limited use. The cost of maintaining the facility was also noted and the potential for vandalism and damage to property due to the type of activity was cited.
Several residents stated that there could be serious safety and liability issues as this would basically be an unsupervised facility. It was stated that Park District insurance rates would escalate putting a greater burden on the taxpayer. There was a suggestion to consider an indoor skateboard facility which would be supervised and would not be a nuisance to neighbors of the skate board park. In addition, fees could be charged.
With reference to placing a facility at Community Playfield, It was noted that Community Playfield has drainage problems and with an impervious surface, there would be a greater influx of Canada Geese at the site. In addition, parking problems and overuse of the park were cited and concerns were expressed regarding proximity of the skate park to the tot lot and the danger to young children. Also mentioned was the problem of a skate park being close to athletic fields and the possibility of injury to participants in both venues. It was also noted that having a skate park near the Junior High would be a distraction for the students and could impede learning.
With reference to placing a facility at Hibbard Park, neighbors expressed concerns about the noise being generated and that such a facility would become a hangout for teens with the possibility of rowdiness and vandalism. It was also pointed out that Hibbard Park is the location for the annual Wilmette Festival of Arts, and locating a skate park in that area would force the Festival out of Hibbard Park. It would be difficult to find another location as suitable in Wilmette.
A resident commented that the letter which was sent to the entire community was misleading as it inferred that construction of a skate park had already been approved and it was just a matter of choosing between two sites – Hibbard Park and Community Playfield. She felt that this could account for some of the correspondence which was listed under those in favor of a skate park. It was noted that at one time skateboarding was illegal in certain areas and some day, it may become illegal again. There were also references to the fact that the Park District does not offer an indoor swimming pool and no longer has a restaurant, both of which are facilities that would serve more residents and create revenue. There were also concerns expressed about the addition of more impervious surface to Wilmette, where open space is very valuable.
The following residents spoke in favor of construction of a skate park and preferred locations:
Graham Crosh, 2339 Thornwood
The Goldstein Family, 136 Maple Ave.
Joel Rosenthal, 2450 Iroquois Road
Corey Harkins, 401 Maple
Jeanene Buck, 620 Ridge
Christine Crosh, 2339 Thornwood
Lucas Celler, 309 Ridge
Michael Rushmore, 939 Romona Road
Tim Frost, 2307 Pomona Lane
Rich Crosh, 2339 Thornwood
Barb Clayton, 1321 Maple
Don Harkins, 401 Maple
Sue Rushmore, 939 Romona Road
Ross Jacobs, Pomona Lane
It was noted that for many years, requests for a skate park in Wilmette have been made to the Park District. There are many pre teens and teens who are not interested in, or do not take part, in sports such as baseball and soccer, but do participate in skate boarding. It was felt that there should be a designated area where the skateboarders can practice their sport and not be chased away. It was also noted that a venue dedicated to skateboarding would be safer for the participants themselves in addition to not causing damage to property or a safety hazard to bystanders in public places. It was stated that skateboarding is the fastest growing sport in the country and it might be possible to receive funds from private corporations such as Nike and Coca Cola to help build a facility. As evidence that skateboarding is becoming such a mainstream sport, it was pointed out that Nike now manufactures a shoe which is strictly for use by skateboarders.
Regarding the concerns about an expenditure of tax dollars for a non revenue generating facility, it was pointed out that the tennis courts in the parks are free of charge and that non residents are able to use them. With regard to concerns expressed about the expenditure of tax dollars on a skate park, it was noted that the parents of the skateboarders in Wilmette also pay taxes which support Park District programs such as soccer, football, etc., and the skateboarding community has been ignored in Wilmette.
With regard to concerns about skateboarding being a dangerous activity, it was pointed out that hockey and football are contact sports which can cause injury and could also be considered dangerous. There were suggestions that a call box for emergencies could be located in the skate park area so help could arrive quickly if needed.
After all who wished to speak had concluded their remarks, President Miller thanked everyone for coming and expressing their opinions. He encouraged all interested parties to continue to contact the Park Board with comments and suggestions and to attend the second hearing scheduled for July 18th.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
MINUTES APPROVED ON JULY 11, 2005