Present: Amy Wolfe, President; Bryan Abbott, John Olvany, Gordon Anderson, Stephanie Foster, Ryrie Pellaton, Commissioners; Steve Wilson, Director; Libby Baker, Executive Administrative Assistant.
Absent: Shelley Shelly, Vice President
Meeting Packet: https://www.wilmettepark.org/agenda/1338
Public Comment (note not all comments are included):
Significant Information Items:
Since the Village staff gave its presentation at the July Park Board meeting, Director Wilson reported that he and Superintendent Ulrich met with the Village engineering staff and their consultants, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL) to discuss the project. The Village staff and consultants were provided with information about each of the park sites, including their use for Park District programming and residential activities. CBBEL is currently working on conceptual designs, but no plans have been submitted to the Park Board or Park District staff as yet for review.
Following the presentation, there was a lengthy discussion among the commissioners, which at times was heated and during which many issues were raised, including:
Whether the Park Board should:
Additionally, comments were made:
That the Park Board should:
Because of the wide variety of issues and viewpoints expressed and the extraordinary nature of the discussion, the LWV-Wilmette recommends readers view the Board discussion on this issue, which takes place from minute ranges (11 to 26), and (41 to 1 hr 13) in the meeting recording found here: http://wilmette.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=718.
At the conclusion of the discussion, President Wolfe asked staff to add a Committee of the Whole meeting to the Board schedule in the near future to discuss the Village stormwater plan and to allow an opportunity for public comment. (Background note: Although Committee of the Whole meetings do not allow for motions or votes, the goal in this case would be for the Park Board to discuss their role and responsibility in the Village Neighborhood Storage project. Formal motions and voting could then take place at the next scheduled Park Board meeting.)
3. Lakefront update: The construction project has begun. Fencing is in place and a construction trailer is now onsite.
4. Budget process update: The budget process for FY 2019 is about to start in all committees.
Observers: Trudy Gibbs and Mary Lawler Meeting length: 95 minutes
Next meeting: October 10
LWV-Wilmette Remarks to Park Board: September 12, 2018
Good evening. My name is Kate Gjaja, and I live at 325 Central Ave. I am co-President
of the League of Women Voters of Wilmette. Tonight I am speaking on behalf of the League. Let me begin by thanking the Park District Commissioners and Staff for all of your hard work for our community.
One of the ways that the League stays abreast of the happenings of local government is through our Observer Corps. One observer recently flagged to us that the Village staff attended a Park Board meeting in July to present the stormwater plan approved by the Village Board.
We have gone back and reviewed agendas, minutes and video from Park Board meetings and Real Estate Committee meetings since December, 2017, to see what reporting from Park District staff and discussion among Park Commissioners has taken place up to this point. We have also met separately with Village and Park District staff to check our understanding of the communication between the Village Board and the Park Board.
With passage of the stormwater plan by the Village Board, the development of a detailed plan by Village and Park District staff has now begun, and we see that Director Wilson is updating the Board on that plan tonight. In many ways, the ball is now in the Park Board’s court. Although we appreciate the level of Park District staff involvement to date, the massive nature of the stormwater project and the effect it will have as currently envisioned on the Village’s parks require Park Board involvement. As the elected representatives of the citizens of this community, Park Board engagement is the citizens’ best way to have a “representative in the room” looking out for our parks and also the best way to make sure that there are opportunities for citizen input on park development throughout the process. Public meetings lend themselves to these goals. The Village Board and the Park Board represent the same constituency but they represent different resident priorities.
Residents have a strong interest in being informed about and having opportunities to comment on issues related to park land such as: 1) How the stormwater plan will impact their current and future ability to use and enjoy the parks; 2) The financial implications of these plans for the asset values and running costs of the parks in question as well as any long term limitations on potential alternative uses of the land; and 3) Analyses of environmental impacts.
We urge the Park Board to establish a process for periodic systematic input on the stormwater plan. We defer to Park Board Commissioners for the best way to make sure that happens. This Park Board engagement should be in addition to, rather than a substitute for, the cooperation currently underway at the staff level of both organizations.
Thank you for your consideration of the League’s recommendation.
Present: Stephanie Foster, Chair; Gordon Anderson and John Olvany, Commissioners; Steve Wilson, Staff (Director, Wilmette Park District)
The meeting consisted of updates on the activities of each segment of the Wilmette Park District.
Two items were of special interest to the League of Women voters:
Observer: Trudy Gibbs Meeting Length: 40 minutes
No next meeting date was established.
Wilmette Park District Parks & Recreation Committee Meeting, August 28, 2018
Present: Park Board Commissioners Bryan Abbott (Chair), John Olvany, Stephanie Foster; Staff: Superintendents Kathy Bingham and Jerry Ulrich. Also available to answer questions was Executive Director Steve Wilson.
Link to Meeting Packet: http://www.wilmettepark.org/agenda/1333.
Public Comment: Many commentators speaking for (about 6) and against (about 15) the proposed Langdon Park redesign (see below). Among those against there were differences: some wanted to scrap the whole plan and start from scratch, some were focused on eliminating the improvements outside the playground area (e.g., circular paved paths heading nearer to the bluffs, a porch swing overlooking the bluffs), some wanted only natural space at the park and no playground, some thought a playground should be there but didn’t like the design and/or size of what is proposed; some wanted to keep the park as it is; some were concerned improvements to the park would cause erosion issues. Some against thought there had not been enough opportunity for public comment; many of those in support noted that they been to multiple meetings over the past 4-5 months on this park and argued that there was plenty of opportunity for public comment. Those in favor generally noted the disrepair and how unsafe the current playground equipment is and the need for a playground in the neighborhood, which does not have another playground within walking distance, and that the playground design is consistent with public input given at previous meetings. Many written communications for and against park design in the meeting packet, and Commissioners noted that they have received much input on this park over the past several months, including at 2 meetings the Park District staff held at Langdon Park in April and June.
Significant Action Items:
Langdon Park Redesign: Staff submitted in the meeting packet the two bids received on the Langdon redesign, which the committee had approved for going out to bid at its July 9 meeting, and a recommendation to accept the lower bid, which came in at $286K ($16.5K over budget after taking into account what was budgeted for the park redo and ADA funds available to the project). Staff also included in the meeting packet options for value-engineering the project to get it within budget. See Packet (link above) pp. 80-83 for these two items. The proposed Langdon redesign that went out to bid includes a playground roughly within the pathway surrounding the existing equipment, which existing equipment is 34 years old and in disrepair. The proposed design has a rubberized surface under the playground equipment that makes the equipment accessible and meets current federal fall zone requirements. The proposed design also included improvements outside the pathway surrounding the existing equipment: a circular paved pathway throughout the park, heading toward the bluffs, making all benches accessible by pathways; new benches; a porch swing over the bluff; and decorative screens around the port-a-potties. For pictures of proposed playground equipment and the design scheme approved for going out to bid, see July 9 meeting packet at http://www.wilmettepark.org/agenda/1314 (p. 11 for pictures, p. 13 for design). Commissioners discussed at length whether to recommend to the whole Park Board the bid recommended by staff. They noted, among other things, that: 1) they read and listened to all input over the past months, including at two sessions staff held at Langdon to get input, 2) the replacement of the playground equipment at Langdon is long overdue, 3) many of the equipment and design elements, including things subject to much criticism during the public comment section (e.g, the porch swing and the circular walkway throughout the park), came from public input, to balance interests of different park users, and from research, 4) the original “tot lot” from 34 years ago could not be built on its same footprint today because of current federal fall zone standards, and 5) they strive to balance many competing interests in designing a park. The Commissioners made several modifications to the July 9 plan before voting, noting that the modifications would bring the plan back under budget and address concerns of residents who wanted nothing new outside the playground area but still provide for a new, safe playground. Modifications included: 1) excluding the walkway loop extending toward the bluff, the screen fence surrounding the porta potties (instead an in-house solution would be used), new park benches (instead providing park benches from current inventory), and the porch swing and 2) changing the walkway to the playground to pavers, instead of concrete or asphalt. Unanimously approved. Next step: The Park District Board must vote whether to proceed. Next Board meeting: September 12.
New Fitness Center Equipment: As part of annual equipment replacement, staff submitted a bid summary and bid recommendation for equipment to be replaced at the Fitness Center. Bid came in under budget. See Packet (link above) pp. 77-78. Unanimously approved.
Observer: Mary Lawlor Meeting Length: 2 hours 20 minutes
Next Park Board meeting: September 12, 2018.
Next Parks & Recreation Committee Meeting: September 17, 2018.
Other Park Board Committee Meetings in September: Lakefront Committee (Sept. 4), Facilities Operations (Sept. 12, before Board meeting), Golf Operations (Sept. 15), Financial Planning & Policy (Sept. 24).
Park District, Lakefront Committee, November 16, 2017
Committee members: Ryrie Pellaton, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott
Also, Park District members Amy Wolfe and Gordon Anderson were in the audience as well as staff. Other members may have been there as well but I did not recognize them.
Significant Topics Discussed:
The main topic discussed was the Lakefront proposal that has been sketched out by Woodhouse Tinucci Associates, which is available on the Wilmette Park District website, Lakefront tab, bottom of the menu “Beachhouse/Parking lot project”. The Committee read (and distributed) e-mails received from the community on the project, and then commenced a presentation by a representative from Woodhouse Tinucci.
The subjects of concern in the e-mails/correspondence are: (1) presence of so many non-Wilmette residents at the beach crowding out residents and making parking impossible; (2) several petitions for “decent toilet facilities” at the Sailing beach signed by approximately 94 people; (3) other concerns about facilities at the sailing beach; (4) preferences for the beach house kitchen; and (5) parking. For the most part, these topics occupied the Committee which heard a presentation from the designer and took comments from the audience.
Discussion centered around the following:
(1) The road access which is too narrow for bikes now (in addition to cars) and would need to be widened but widening is limited because of an electrical facility. Audience members suggested a bike lane adjacent to the sidewalk to the center of the park where there is a perpendicular walkway directly toward the beach. The designer said he would consider this.
(2) The design of the parking lot itself in terms of how the cars circulate and need for shade. The planned size is about the same as currently, from 327 to 334 spaces.
(3) The size of the kitchen. There were three options, a small kitchen (microwave and vending machines); medium kitchen allowing staff some minimal ability to cook and reheat but not a full kitchen with frying ability; and large kitchen with cooking facilities. The Committee decided to ask the designers to go forward with a final design using the medium kitchen but price without the full equipment at this time. The difference was $125,000 versus $172,000. The idea was to add the equipment later if the budget can be held in check.
The Committee discussed the schedule which was presented on a Gantt chart. Design will be finished in January with signoff in early February 2018. Site and scope will be finalized in November 2018. Contract documents will be completed in February 2018. Permitting will take place from March to Labor Day 2018. Bids will be obtained by June 2018. The work would begin after Labor Day 2018.
FY2018 Budget: There were discussions about how some fees were proposed to rise more than the 3% cost inflation of the budget numbers. Numbers are always rounded to the nearest dollar so for small fees, there may be no change. Fees that are proposed to rise in excess of 4% (which I will use because some fees going up 4% are just the 3% rounded) are “Season Parking Resident” – up 8%; Season Parking non-resident, up 23%; Daily parking weekday, up 6%; Daily parking Weekend, non-resident, up 8%; Aquatics camp up 7% for both residents and non-residents. There was a lot of discussion and many questions about the various numbers.
The Committee went on to managers reports at 10 p.m. when the Observer had to leave.
Observer: Anne Treadway
Meeting Length: The Observer attended the meeting from 7:30 until 10:00 p.m. The meeting began at 6:30 p.m.