November 2010 Meeting Minutes

Horner Park Advisory Council
Meeting Minutes

Peter Schlossman – President, presiding, called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM. Lisa Cleveland was Recording Secretary for this meeting. The meeting was held at the Horner Park Fieldhouse. See roster below for attendance.

I. Riverbank Project – Status Report (Nicole Roach – USACE):

John O’Connell gave a historical overview of the Riverbank Project, which dates back to 1998. Nicole Roach, of the US Army Corp of Engineers described the status and intentions of her organization. The objective of the USACE project is to improve river structures, riverbanks, and wetlands to reduce erosion and provide for and foster wildlife habitats. Ms. Roach emphasized that their design will be based primarily on those features that provide the greatest benefit to the ecosystem at the lowest cost.

The Riverbank Project will be done in partnership with the Chicago Park District. The cost sharing agreement is still under formation but any enhancements beyond the restoration and improvement of the ecosystem will be the sole responsibility of the CPD. Examples of these enhancements can be found in a plan developed 10 years ago by HPAC and include bridges, architectural and landscape features, and paths. There are a myriad of factors that will influence the agreement, such as the value of the land given to the USACE and time committed by staff. USACE stated that HPAC could assist by providing volunteer labor, professional guidance, and public support for the project.

The USACE is currently funded with $300,000 for a feasibility study, which will require about one year. The feasibility study will then be submitted for approval. Once approved, a final contract with CPD must be negotiated. The target date for project completion is 2013.

Several questions and issues were raised:

  • There is a concern about flooding on the baseball fields and that the riverbank slope may encroach on the fields.
  • There is a question about the involvement of the Water Reclamation District.
  • There were many questions about improvements beyond those being done by the USACE, such as comfort stations, bridges, and canoe launches.
  • There is a concern about the effect that CPD projects would have on property taxes.
  • There is a concern about where the fence that borders the river would be relocated.
  • A request was made about the possibility of including a vegetable garden in addition to native plants.
  • A question of using material from cutting back the riverbank to upgrade the Horner Park grounds was raised. Possible uses include adding height to the sled hill and improving the baseball fields.

USACE stated that they would consider the potential environmental issues, quality, and amount of earth to be relocated as they proceed with their design. USACE stated they always look at options for beneficial use for fill on-site.
USACE indicated that a public presentation of the design would be held at the end of the design process. USACE will pursue the plan with the greatest ecological benefit.

John O’Connell gave an update on the Under Bridge Connector Project, expected to be implemented in either 2011 or 2013. This project is part of the city’s efforts to connect parks and bike paths. An issue was raised about the need for additional policing once the connector is finished. Several people expressed the importance for the project for safety reasons.

II. Approval of Minutes: The minutes of the October 2010 meeting were approved.

III. Reports

Treasurer’s Report: The following funds are in HPAC accounts: $5,359.60 in Checking, $14,145.08 in Savings, $3,889.44 in Paypal. Total Funds = $23,394.12. The bank balances are reconciled with HPAC QuickBooks

Ceriale Memorial: Within the next week, Christy Weber Landscaping will install the memorial stone and plaque, provide a cement platform for the benches, and add a color enhancement to the gravel. A flag dedication ceremony is being planned for the spring. John Lyman and John Bernbom suggested sprucing up the memorial site in the spring, prior to the dedication ceremony.

Park Briefs:

Horner Park: Tom McManamon described all the ADA improvements being made at Horner Park. Outside ADA improvements: The fountains will be changed and will be seated on a concrete base. Four new benches which were not part of the original plan are being added to the south end. New bleachers are being provided to some of the baseball diamonds. New cement walkways are being provided by the basketball and tennis courts.

Inside ADA improvements: Locker rooms are being renovated, an elevator is being installed, and the ventilation and electrical system are being improved.

Classes are well under way and 95% full. On-line registration for the winter term begins Nov. 20 and walk-in registration begins Dec. 4.

Co-ed volleyball will start next week; additional teams are still being recruited.

On Oct. 22, a successful Halloween party was held for the children in classes at Horner Park. The Baseball Association provided juice and paper goods and they were thanked for their contribution. Nearly 200 children were able to participate in the festivities.

Several people raised the issue of a dog park at Horner Park. A dog run was suggested several years ago, but dog owners were not interested and the idea was dropped. To create a fenced dog park would require the sacrifice of other types of use, such as picnic areas. No further study of a dog park is planned. Study of a dog park will be considered if a group of concerned park users choose to pursue the idea. Park District security has been out issuing dog warnings.

Ravenswood Manor Park: Graffiti continues to require on-going maintenance. The kiosk appears to be structurally compromised and a committee will be formed in 2011 to address the problem.

Jacob Park: On-going planning underway.

Buffalo Park: Graffiti needs on-going maintenance.

Sunken Garden Park: No report.

Concert Committee: A planning meeting is being scheduled for Nov. 9 or 10. There is a $600 surplus from last year. Tom McManamon asked if the committee would consider mid-week movies.

Garden Committee: The Garden Committee is still awaiting approval for a site within Clark Park. There was some discussion about installing a fountain equipped with a tap as part of the ongoing ADA improvements so that the garden could be kept at Horner Park, but adding this to the fountains would delay the project. The garden committee’s renewed registration with GreenCorps is pending, and cannot be completed until they received the required approval letter from CPD. They want to be registered by February to take advantage of donated plants.

Web Site Committee: New officers were trained on using Joomla. A new committee to maintain the website is being recruited.

IV. Other business:

Liability/Insurance: Peter Schlossman raised the issue of the lack of liability support from the CPD at a recent Friends of the Parks meeting. He received enormous support from other attendees. A subcommittee may be needed to address this issue.

Bylaws: A small committee will meet to finalize the bylaws.

V. New business: No new business.

VI. Announcements: No Announcements.

VII. Baseball: Eilleen Bergemos announced that the Horner Park NW Little League is debt free and is now affiliated with The National Little League. In addition to baseball and girls softball, they offered baseball for the handicapped this past season. All of the programs are growing, with the participation increasing from 525 in 2009 to 700 in 2010. Participation for 2011 is expected to be near 900 athletes. They are talking with Tom McManamon about instituting a draft. They are also working to keep costs down. Two years ago, a single season cost $400 for 40 games. Last season, the cost was $300. For 2011, they are hoping to bring the cost down to $225 for the younger players; the cost for the teens is still under analysis. Four of Horner Park’s teams made it to state finals this year. Horner Park NW Little League conducted an internal audit. Audited financial statements will be completed as required by Little League in the future.

Because of the on-going construction field house, the feasibility of Horner Park hosting the annual winter baseball clinic is being evaluated.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM, PM, after which Tom McManamon gave a tour of the construction in the basement.

The next regular HPAC meeting will be held Monday December 6 at 7:00 PM at Horner Park.

Respectfully submitted: Lisa Cleveland

Roster of those in Attendance:

Peter Schlossman, President; Kevin Anderson –Treasurer; John Bernbom, Co-Secretary; Lisa Cleveland, Co-Secretary, Tom McManamon – CPD; Elizabeth Aspen, Eilleen Bergemos, Matt Campbell, Jesse; Ceja, Reid Cleveland, Austen Coker, Brent Davies, Fruzsina Eordogh, Robert Eichler, Carolyn Gourash, Mike Gschwind, Vanessa Hernandez, Larry Hodak, Bob Horton, Nate Hutcheson, Jerry Jaecks, John Lyman, Zach Maiorca, Timothy Mata, Alan Mueller, Susie Novak, John O’Connell, Christiana Rey, Nicole Roach, Ray Steigerwald.

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