Wicker Park Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

Wicker Park Advisory Council Meeting Minutes April 2006

Present: Kelly Torres (Park Supervisor), Denise Browning, Elaine Coorens, Richard Tilley, Peter Debreceny, Kathe Telingator, Donna Whitacre, Jeff Allen (WPAC Co-President), Kathy Graysen, Cynthia Rosario (Area Mgr), Lorrie Elliot (Secretary)

  1. Approval of March minutes: approved.
  2. Supervisor’s report:
    1. CAPS meeting update: Shooting in the Wicker Park Playground: two men got into a fight and one left, came back with a gun, apparently related to each other. Occurred approximately 7pm, perpetrator fled on a stolen bicycle. They were next to the basketball court but not on the courts. The WPAC is in agreement that the basketball courts should not be taken down because they provide a good outlet for the middle and older kids. This is the first time since supervisor Kelly Torres has been here (in nine years) that an incident like this has occurred. The community asked for a larger police presence in the park, which has happened: the police are now getting out and walking around the park and visiting more frequently. We are not asking for more police protection, but a more strategic police presence. The council discussed putting up a locking bar to prevent use of hoops after hours. This council agreed that this would not be an appropriate or effective response. Primarily because the council felt that putting up bars to prevent the hoops from being used after hours would not do anything to address the situation – in this case the altercation took place at 7pm. Also, concerns were raised about the effort required and safety of park staff having to go up and down each day to take the locks off and on. Also, the park closes at 11 and staff leaves at 9.
    2. Windows: Were replaced some time this week. Also, Playground fence and new gate facing Damen Ave is being fabricated currently.
    3. New area supervisor: Cynthia Rosario replaces Marilyn Morales. Cynthia is new to the CPD and reports to Art Richardson.
    4. Seeding of the field: The field has been seeded and grass is starting to come up.
    5. E. Coorens notes that there is a significant drainage problem along the west sidewalk, which is below grade. K. Torres will look into that –this is likely a landscaping issue and the concrete would have to be torn up and regarded and repaved. The council agreed that this was best an issue to be addressed after the summer. In addition, the motor for the fountain has broken and the CPD has taken it to be repaired. Hookup for water (spigot head) in Dog Park is broken – fixed as of 4/26. Question as well about lights in the fountain: none of them have been working since approximately 2001 – were told there were problems with the wiring and there was no schematic so it couldn’t be traced. Fountain area would likely need to be torn up to be repaired/replaced, so WPAC will keep that in mind to consider doing this work in the fall/winter. Cynthia notes that she meets with the departments on Tuesdays, so the WPAC should email her with problems on Mondays.
    6. Thanks to Daniel Marre for sponsoring one of the kids for baseball. The next activity is floor hockey in the fall, and Kelly will let the WPAC know in advance so anyone who wants to sponsor an underprivileged child has an opportunity to do so. E. Coorens indicated that the WPC would be interested in promoting this with its membership as well.
  3. Treasurer’s Report: No change from last meeting. Ft Court parkways foundation account – $7,500 from the WPAC account transferred and deposited.
  4. Committee reports:
    1. Dog Park: Amy and Deborah have been working with WPAC Co-Chairs; they asked to have the water turned on so they can begin to wash the park regularly. They have identified several issues they will work on: a carpenter who is a dog owner is going to help do the work to enhance the railroad ties to keep the gravel in. They will also raise the funds for this. They need the WPAC to approve the project and the WPAC can then send a letter of intent to the CPD. P. Debreceny moved, seconded by K. Telingator, to send letter. Motion approved – letter of intent will be sent.

      They are also interested in putting chicken wire around the bottom as well to keep the small dogs in. (R. Tilley and E. Coorens will investigate a green mesh that her neighbor uses which is sturdier than chicken wire.)

      Trash is a problem: the trash bins in the dog park are not being emptied regularly. K. Torres thinks this may be a volume issue: trash is currently being picked up on M-W-Fri and will be daily during summer. However, it is not clear the dog park is actually being included in this trash pickup. Landscape people are supposed to put the cans out onto the sidewalk since Flood Brothers can’t come into the park. Cynthia has talked to the foreman for landscaping and she will speak with them about this. (Flood Brothers does the perimeter and the landscape crew is supposed to be emptying the trash cans inside the park.)

      Dogs off leashes: the protocol is that Kelly should be notified if there are dogs off leashes, and the police said they have ticketed several people with dogs off leashes. We had also discussed signage for the dog park indicating the responsibilities of dog owners; Robert Steele is working on this.

    2. Fountain Court Committee: This project has now been approved by the CPD enhancements committee and fundraising can now officially begin.
    3. Marketing: Banner is getting ready to go up. Expected to be up early May. WPAC has allocated funds for the banner to be printed. J. Dickinson is working on a quarterly newsletter which could be emailed.
    4. Earth Day: Plans are for window washing, dandelion pulling. Art teacher has started working with the kids.
    5. Children’s Carnival: On June 17, 10-2pm. Donations and sponsorship are in place. There will be an update at the May meeting. Hoping to go to print in early May to get signs up a month in advance.
    6. Movie: J. Dickinson is working on sponsorships. Allstate is putting money into the CPD to sponsor movies in all the parks this summer. P. Debreceny will make sure that Wicker Park is included in this sponsorship so that the movie will be paid for by Allstate.
    7. Garden Club: Mulching done, roses cleaned. Plant sale May 20 of about 1500 plants; proceeds will go to buying fertilizer and other upkeep items.
    8. Playground: Gates are being fabricated. The Pick memorial, which will be benches around the donor’s circle, is being discussed. Over the long term there will also be a solution for the bear bog. Until then, a nozzle will be turned in (Trades Dept) and the landscapers will reseed some grass. There are also ongoing discussions about the damaged soft surfacing. There is also a problem with keeping the fencing around the garden on the east side of the playground.
  5. Other business: E. Coorens is concerned that votes are taken at the WPAC and then somehow ‘decisions get turned around’. She is concerned that last year’s Renegade Art Fair was a problem due to understaffing of security and cleaning crews. She helped develop the Park Usage document which was approved by the WPAC. However, E. Coorens is concerned that the Renegade Art Fair is not agreeing to pay for the extra security and maintenance: they are asking for a letter from community groups to get a reduced rate of $10,000 rather than $20,000, but they have not agreed to be responsible for security or maintenance in return. The WPAC supports having the Renegade in the park if proper security, maintenance, and an appropriate amount of port-a-potties are provided. The perception of E. Coorens and D. Browning is that the Renegade Fair is trying to proceed with the Fair without agreeing to this. There will be a meeting this week with the Alderman, the Renegade Art Fair, and WPAC representatives. The council agreed that the presence of the CPD at this meeting would be beneficial. Jeff Allen will ensure that the CPD is aware of the meeting and invited to attend.

Meeting adjourned at 8:57pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Lorrie Elliot, Secretary

Next meeting Monday, May 15, 7:30pm