Wicker Park Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

ATTENDED: Clare Rodriguez (Chicago Park District Wicker Park Supervisor), Cynthia Rosario (Chicago Park District Area 1 Manager), Adam Housley (WPAC President), Scott Venable (WPAC Vice-President), Doug Wood (WPAC Secretary), Denise Browning (Former WPAC President and WPGarden), Susan Fontana (Former WPAC President and WPGarden), Mike Payette (WPAC Security Committee Chairman), Erik Harmon (WPB Chamber Executive Director), Molly Huber (WPB Chamber Special Events Coordinator and Farmer’s Market), Elaine Coorens (Our Urban Times), Brian Culliton (Skating Rink Interest & Culliton-Quinn Landscape Design), Joe Sawicki (Softball Teams), Leah Root (Wicker Park Committee President), Mary Tamminga (Wicker Park Committee member and WPGarden), Alfred Mojica (Wicker Park Committee Member), Steve M. Maris (Chicago Park District – Director of Information Technology), Isidor Bo Ramos (Chicago Park District Park Security), Ginny Warnecke (Wicker Park Security Guard), Sargent Joe Giambrone (14th District Police), 2 patrol officers from the 14th District Police

SECURITY MEETING – This section of the meeting was under the direction of Mike Payette, WPAC Security Committee Chairman.  The information below was provided by Steve M. Maris (Chicago Park District – Director of Information Technology), Isidor Bo Ramos (Chicago Park District Park Security), Ginny Warnecke (Wicker Park Security Guard), and Joe Giambrone (14th District Police).  The 1st Ward Alderman’s office was not represented.  Due to the weather, Rocio Varela, the 1st Ward representative, could not secure a sitter for her child and could not attend.  The 1st Ward responses must be obtained at a future date – see NEXT items below.

  1. Status of outside cameras and inside monitors. Who can view the camera footage?

    Steve M. Maris (Chicago Park District – Director of Information Technology), Sargent Joe Giambrone (14th District Police), and Isidor Bo Ramos (Chicago Park District Park Security) stated the following:

    • There are a total of nine working cameras distributed either inside the field house or outside in the park.
    • The Park District, OEMC and the Chicago Police Department have had access to the live feed and to recorded footage from these cameras.  
    • Ginny Warnecke (Wicker Park Security Guard) was given access on February 3, 2015. She can now view the cameras.
    • Clare Rodriquez, the WP Supervisor, will have access soon.
    • Mr. Ramos didn’t know if any other entities (WPAC or other groups) would be allowed to view the footage.
    • The cameras are not regularly monitored on a real time basis, but can be by either Park Security or 14th District Police.
    • They can be viewed in real time if the WP security officer or Park Supervisor wants to view them if they have concerns.
    • If a vandalism incident, fight, or other incident occurs while the cameras are not being monitored, the video clips can be retrieved and viewed. However, the request has to be made immediately (immediately not defined at the meeting), as the video clips will not be retained for a very long time.
    • CALL 911 to Report Vandalism: According to Sargent Giambrone of 14th District Police, we should call 911 when we detect an act of vandalism.  The police will come and file a damage report and view the footage.
    • Ginny Warnecke, Wicker Park Security Guard, demonstrated that the night vision of the cameras is excellent; she showed us a real time view of the fountain.


    • What are the exact locations of nine cameras?
    • Answer from Bo Ramos – CPD Park Security: 1) East walkway 2) West walkway 3) Fountain 4) Lobby 5) West b-ball court 6) East b-ball court 7) West playground 8) East playground 9) Fieldhouse entrance
    • Will there be a monitor located in the lobby of the field house for all to view? Mr. Maris did not indicate that he had heard about this request. The alderman pointed out that the monitor should be one similar to that installed at Haas Park.  The monitor allows park patrons to know they are being view and the camera, in that park, has acted as a deterrent of aberrant behavior.
    • Answer from Bo Ramos – CPD Park Security: After some long deliberation and thought I feel that it is in the best interest of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Police Department, not have the surveillance monitor in plain view for the public viewing. Reason being that, If an incident take place where a person is placed under arrest, there is a good possibility that all of the park visitors that viewed the video could be served subpoenas for court proceedings. I would prefer that the Chicago Park District Employee on duty that views the violation of any municipal laws on park grounds be the one to testify at any court proceedings.
    • The method of distinguishing which cameras are which – e.g. Fountain Court, Basketball Court, etc.?  This information will be provided by the IT staff.
    • Answer from Bo Ramos – CPD Park Security: The cameras all have designation labels at the bottom of the screen that coincide with the locations.
    • Who can view the cameras and what is the procedure for viewing the footage (length of time footage is retained and who can view)?
    • Answer from Bo Ramos – CPD Park Security: The officer on duty along with the park supervisor have the ability view the footage at any time, weekends included and they will be the person (s) that WPAC would contact to view the video footage of any criminal behavior. (My understanding is that the footage of any criminal activity can be stored indefinitely by moving the video footage to a folder.) also we hope to enable the Chicago Police Department with the ability to view any criminal activity at wicker park in the near future.
  2. Park District’s Park Security Coverage- listing days, times and weekend coverage options
    • Isidor Bo Ramos (Chicago Park District Security) stated that in 2015 Ginny Warnecke (Wicker Park Security Guard) would be budgeted to work for 5 hours per day (4pm – 9pm) on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays. 
    • No funding has been budgeted for weekend Park Security Guards in 2015.
    • The Park District has a roaming security car that covers many parks, but it did not sound as if the roaming patrol would be able to give WP much coverage due to the large area in which it will roam.

    NEXT – TO DO:

    • The WPAC members again stated that the park experiences the heaviest traffic on the weekends and we need to work to obtain security coverage on the weekends.
  3. 14th District Coverage-Days and Times
    Sargent Joe Giambrone, who was accompanied with two patrol officers from the 14th District stated
    • The 14th will continue their practice of closing Wicker Park at 11 pm daily.
    • The 14th will make random checks during the night. This is especially important from April-October when the “rail riders” want to live in Wicker Park 24/7 and violate all Park District rules. We need them to understand that Park District rules will be enforced the first day they show up.
    • The 14th will make random checks of Wicker Park when possible especially when the Park Security officer is not on duty.
    • Sargent Giambrone said he will have more officers on bikes that will patrol the park, as he also has jurisdiction over the 606 Trail. We were also encouraged to continue to call 911 with regard to incidents that we want the 14th  to respond to quickly
  4. Security Coverage during the Green Music Fest and Wicker Park Fest (14th, Park District and Private)
    • Mike Payette started this discussion by noting that while this was not the center of discussion as in prior years, it is still very important to WPAC.  Crowds generated by popular music festivals pose a threat to the integrity of Wicker Park’s assets, especially when they are located adjacent to and near to the Park.  We have numerous examples of damage as witnessed at festivals held in Humboldt and Grant Parks.  In addition in past years numerous fest goers have come to the park during both festivals and security was very important.
    • Erik Harmon, the new Executive Director of the WPB Chamber, indicated they would meet with WPAC before the events and discuss security.
    • Sargent Giambrone indicated that the 14th had provided increased protection during 2014, including barring some Fest attendees from entering the Park. He will continue to do this in 2015.
    •  Last year Alderman Moreno covered the cost of private security within Wicker Park during the Wicker Park Fest ($1200) and the Park District built fences for the Green Music Fest; however, they indicated they will not build fences in 2015.


    • Determine the support that the 1st Ward Alderman will give in 2015 for security within the park at both festivals.
    • Determine the support that the Chicago Park District will give in 2015 for security within the park at both festivals.
    • Determine the support that both Festival Producers will give in 2015 for security within the park.
  5. Security for Special Events such as Movies in the Park
    • Both Mr. Ramos and Sargent Giambrone told WPAC to advise them both before these events occur, as a reminder.
    • The 14th will provide presence at these events as they have in the past, and the Park District will notify their traveling security officer. It sounds as this item is the status quo of what occurred in 2014.
    • Both security groups asked the WPAC to provide volunteers at the gates to remind event goers of the rules of the park. 
    • They suggested posting additional and larger No Drinking and No Drugs Signs at entrances.
    • We will look at fundraising to finance security guards at the movies, music concerts, and Boo-Palooza.

Security Meeting Adjourned at 8 pm.


  1. Secretary (Doug Wood) – It was decided that the December and January minutes would be emailed to WPAC regular members who attended those meetings for their edits and approval.
  2. Budget Report: Richard Tilley was absent and no report was submitted.
  3. Park District Report – Clare Rodriguez, Park Supervisor and Discussion of topics with entire council.
    • Snow blower is working again.
    • Clare Spoke has spoken with Wolfgang Bientzle to incorporate Cirque Experience into Wicker Park Curriculum.  Currently, it looks like they may be incorporated into the Summer Camp and also offer classes in the summer of 2015.
    • Winter Programming is going well with good attendance; Spring registration is held in late February.
    • She is waiting to hear back on the date when the two vacant Physical Instructor positions will be filled.
    • She discussed the Valentine’s Day Dance to be presented on Friday, February 13 at 6:30pm – 8pm – $2.  She will send an electronic version of the poster for Tim to upload to the WPAC website and for Doug to use in email marketing.
  4. Farmer’s Market Presented by WPB Chamber – Erik Harmon and Molly Huber
    Molly and Erik said they’d like to start advertising for vendors and asked Cynthia Rosario, Area I Manager for a rough estimate for the turnaround time for partnership paperwork and if she believes the Park District will partner with the Chamber.   Cynthia Rosario said the process was rather quick and that she would work with them to stream line the procedure – maybe only 2 weeks.
  5. Dog Park Fundraiser – Adam Housley
    Adam Housley discussed the annual fundraiser and said all was going well in preparation for the event.  He encouraged all to attend.
  6. Events Planning – Doug Wood reported that the event dates were being solidified. Time was limited for his report.
  7. Skating Rink Community Meeting – Brian Culliton and Doug Wood lead a discussion to set a meeting for the community to discuss their support for a skating rink in Wicker Park and to form a working committee.  The date was set for Tuesday, March 10 at 7pm at the Wicker Park Field House.  The Goal of the meeting is to determine if a working committee of committed individuals can be formed to do survey work.  They will survey interest and funding options and then work with the Park District to obtain a design and quote. They will then start funding raising and set a 5 year plan for maintenance. This is all contingent upon if enough community members attend the meeting and commit their time to do the work.