September 12, 2018
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.