Wicker Park Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

Present: Jason Zaffaroni (PT-Physical Instructor), Denise Browning (WPAC-Co-President), Susan Fontana (WPAC – Co-President), Richard Tilley (WPAC – Treasurer), Doug Wood (WPAC – Secretary and Garden Club), Elaine Coorens (Our Urban Times), Pat Pierce (Neighbor on Schiller), Scott & Ashley Venable (Mosaic Church), John Shirk (Urban Encounter), Ryan Jackson (Softball)

  1. Minutes – Doug Wood – September Minutes were read and approved.
  2. Treasurer’s Report – Richard Tilley– Report Submitted .
  3. Committee Reports
    • Dog Park Committee – Adam Housley – Absent
    • Web Site Committee – Tim Kolecke – Absent.
    • Softball Committee – Ryan Jackson – Lock Box installed, but a piece is missing – will be purchased by Soft ball funds. He will begin discussions with park staff for the 2011 season in March 2011.
    • WPPA (Wicker Park Parent’s Association) report to the WPAC – Absent – No report submitted
    • WPPA Music Concert Final Report – Absent – No report submitted
    • WPPA Scholarship Fund – Balance & Projected Plan –Absent – No Report Submitted
    • Park Programming Survey Update – Absent – No Report Submitted
    • Open Mic – John Shirk (Urban Encounter – Reported) The event was well attended and fun for all. The August event was cancelled due to Church in the City’s schedule. Next year – try one per month.
    • Gardens and Landscape Committee – Outreach – Budget Hearings (WPGarden and WPAC Landscape) – Doug Wood
    • FOTP MEETING – Doug Wood attended the FOTP Oct 5 meeting with Chicago Park District Board of Directors President Dr. Bryan Traubert.
      Topics discussed: Advisory Councils complained out the permit forms and lack of partnership responses, liability insurance, rules for sales of food by Park Advisory Councils to raise funding, implement park programming for all ages – very little for adults, park hours – want parks open on Saturdays and Sundays to dark. President Traubert’s staff will follow up.
    • BUDGET: Budget hearing letter was submitted – copy below. No Park District response received to date.
  4. Staff Reports – John Davidson was Absent (on vacation) – Jason Zaffaroni reported on the success of the sports programs, park kids, teen program and the delayed Moms – Pops- and tots program (delayed due to gym repair).


Superintendent Timothy Mitchell, Art Richardson, Cynthia Rosario and Budget Hearing Staff:

On behalf of the Wicker Park Advisory Council and Wicker Park Garden Club I am submitting this list of suggestions to facilitate improvements in communications and procedures in our park. We thank you for the work and the support that you have given us this year.

  1. COORDINATE DEPARTMENTAL COMMUNICATIONS: We suggest that the Park District works to streamline communications between its departments so that projects can be determined, initiated, and realized in a timely manner. When projects are initiated, a more effective timetable must to be established to facilitate purchasing items needed for those projects. In addition, it would be helpful to consider the timetable of the project and compare that to the usage of the park, and attempt to complete projects during down times. Most recently, Patrick Levar did a great job of managing a roofing project, but the project was greatly delayed due to purchasing timetable protocols, etc.
  2. DESIGN PROGRAMMING APPROPRIATE FOR THE COMMUNITY NEEDS AND SURVEYS and IMPLEMENT PARK HOURS THAT REFLECT USAGE We suggest that the Park District analyze parks that are highly utilized, move staff to those parks from less busy parks, and increase programming for all ages. Our surveys suggest that our neighborhood is interested in programming for adults, senior adults, arts programs for children, and weekend sports programs for children. In past years, our park offered Saturday athletic programming for children; these programs were filled and brought considerable income to the park district. These programs were discontinued. The enrollment in our park suggests that the neighborhood is interested in registering for park programming. Our partner’s programming for adults is highly attended (Garden Club Educational Series, Art Classes for Children, Little Kickers, etc). Following several community surveys, we have presented these findings for several years, yet our programming consists of offerings for children 12 years and under, with the exception of a one-day a week teen meeting. Most ironically, our park is located across from one of the largest senior residences in the city, yet we offer no programming for seniors. PARK USAGE HOURS: The majority of the community use the park on weekends, yet, the park closes at 5PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Suggestion – Extend field house hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
    We suggest that the Park District work to facilitate events planning and management and work with the advisory councils to help promote those events to the community. In order to obtain the names of groups who received permits for Wicker Park Events, we currently must request this information from FOIA. In addition, we suggest the Park District negotiate with an insurance carrier to be able to afford group policies for individual recognized advisory Councils. It would be helpful to draft Advisory council liability waivers for their volunteers and presenting organizations for their events. An example of the corporate initiated insurance is the insurance offered to members of the Garden Clubs of Illinois, which covers member groups and their collaborators for one year for only $150.
    Consider working collaboratively with the neighbors to assist with trash and graffiti removal. Currently, seasonal staff finishes working in early September while park usage is very high through late October. Set a plan listing days that Park Staff, Landscaping Staff, and volunteers will cover the job and post this schedule in the Park. This would require an official meeting where the responsibilities of each group would be laid out and adhered to for the period discussed.
  5. PROTOCOL IMPLEMENTATION – Staff Walk Park Hourly and Document Results
    In order to work collaboratively with the police department, we request that the Park District establish a policy that the Park Staff are required to walk the grounds hourly to be additional eyes for the security groups. In addition, this walk would allow them to communicate regularly with park patrons outside and give an overall feeling of welcome and group ownership to the integrity of the park. This small – no cost protocol – would cut down on dogs off leash, trash, graffiti, drinking in the park, and vandalism.

RESPECTFULLY, Douglas Wood – WPAC-WPGarden