Mr. Boersma made a motion to elect Mike Moffitt to serve as Park Board Vice President for 2022. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. Boersma made a motion to approve the 2022 Landscaping Contract with Great Lakes Landscaping. Mr. Moffitt second. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. Connelly inquired if the proposed park hours could present an issue when the skate park opens. Ms. Bennett noted that particular rule could be amended to reflect the operations of the skate park.
Ms. Bennett also mentioned other notable changes. The park hours will not apply to bike trails and sidewalks that are not on park property. Ms. Bennett also referenced the Sec. 15-90 regarding restricted parking. The updated chapter prohibits cars from being left in the department’s parking lots going forward. The other notable revisions were in Sec. 15-97 regarding park pavilion and baseball field usage.
Mr. Moffitt if the park hours would apply to the youth baseball league since games are rarely over by 10 pm. Ms. Bennett stated that program would not be in violation since they are a permitted function and sanctioned by the town.
Mr. McLead asked Ms. Bennett what the process is to establish the document by ordinance. Ms. Bennett the document would be written in ordinance form and submitted to the Town Council for their consideration. Ms. Bennett noted that in order for this section to approved, significant changes in other sections of the Town Code would also have to be made. Mr. Boersma asked if the park board should table the item for now until the other needed revisions are made. Ms. Bennett recommended approving the document and sending it to the Town Council for their consideration.
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the updated document as presented for the Town Council to review. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. Boersma expressed support for a wheelchair swing and would like to continue to explore those options.
Mr. McLead noted a future project for the department to consider would be a fully inclusive playground that would serve all ages and abilities. Mr. McLead mentioned the various benefits associated with these playgrounds and how it could make for a worthwhile future project at one of the larger parks.
Mr. Connelly asked if all the prices presented included installation for the various options. Mr. McLead responded that the only quote that included installation is the We Go Swing, but installation for molded bucket seats can be handled internally. Mr. Connelly stated it might be more affordable to look into one of these options at a new playground opposed to adding a swing to an existing site. Mr. McLead agreed that would be the easiest solution since an existing park might not have the needed safety surface or path to provide the needed accessibility for such a swing.
Mr. Bouvat asked what the current budget for a new playground project. Mr. McLead stated there are funds allocated for a new playground project this year, but he was unsure of the exact amount.
Mr. Boersma reiterated his interest in the wheelchair platform option. Mr. McLead noted that if the board wanted to move forward with that option, he would have to obtain additional pricing for installation, safety surface and pathways depending on the selected site.
Mr. Boersma made a motion to table the discussion for a future meeting. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. McLead noted another Community Serve Day in partnership with Suncrest Church is scheduled for Saturday, April 23.
Mr. McLead stated discussions regarding a community center project are ongoing with the Town Council.
Mr. Bouvat asked Councilman Aurelio if he thinks the Park Board did a good job in 2021. Councilman Aurelio stated he values everything the current Park Board has done for the town and requested for the group to give him a chance to serve. Mr. Boersma reiterated his frustration with the Town Council’s decision, citing the request that the Park Board made to retain Councilmen Pondinas in the position. Mr. Bouvat then requested for Councilman Aurelio to have Councilmen Pondinas reappointed to the position. Councilmen Aurelio added the likely outcome of that request is for the appointments to remain the same.
Mr. Connelly also questioned the process by which the appointments were made. Councilman Aurelio stated that Town Council President Gerry Swets made the appointments and the claim that a committee made those decisions is untrue.
Mr. Bouvat addressed the audience and explained the Park Board’s source of frustration with the Town Council’s decision and once again expressed his support for Councilman Pondinas.
Jim Estry (8750 W. Oakwood Drive): Mr. Estry spoke on behalf of Malt Brothers and stated the business is interested in organizing a beer festival for St. John with the idea of it becoming an annual event. The business is in the very early stages of the planning process, but they would like to partner with the town on the event and potentially host it at Heartland Park. Mr. Estry noted they would book a regional band with a large following that would draw a crowd upwards of 1,000 people. Mr. Estry mentioned his extensive experience with organizing events, most notably the St. John Evangelist Festival.
Mr. Boersma asked if the event would have vendors. Mr. Estry responded that Malt Brothers would be heavily involved with their products.
Councilmen Aurelio stated the Economic Development Committee is currently in the process of vetting an Event Planner that could assist with these efforts.
Mr. Boersma stated a committee would need to be established and asked a member of the audience, Ed Welch, to approach the lectern.
Ed Welch (Welch’s Stop & Shop & Malt Brothers): Mr. Welch noted a committee would most likely have to be assembled to help plan the event.
Mr. Moffitt asked if this would be a town event and who would benefit from the funds raised. Mr. Estry replied their intention is for the event to highlight Malt Brothers as well as other local businesses. Mr. Boersma noted this would be an event hosted by Malt Brothers. Mr. Welch stated a portion of the proceeds would be donated to local charities. Mr. Moffitt asked who would coordinate the logistics of the event including setup and tear down. Mr. Boersma noted the parks staff would have to be involved if the event was to take place on one of the park properties.
Mr. Bouvat thanked the gentlemen for attending the meeting and voiced support for their efforts.
Mr. Aurelio recommended for the Economic Development Committee and the group overseeing this particular event to work together.
Joan McLnerney (9405 W. 90th Lane): Ms. McLnerney thanked the Park Board for their accomplishments the past year and cited the recent renovations to the basketball court at Lancer Park. She expressed her excitement for the prospect of a community center for the town, but had questions regarding the department’s planning efforts to date for the project and asked if a master plan that included a project budget, staffing plan and potential revenues had been completed to help the Town Council make a decision on how to proceed.
Mr. Boersma stated the department is still considering a few options and has yet to compile that data as a result. Mr. Boersma asked Councilman Aurelio for an update on the status of the 40 acre property that could potentially be used as a site for a community center. Councilman Aurelio stated he would like to see a thorough cost analysis for the project that includes data for both options, Suncrest Church and the 40 acre property. Mr. Bouvat expressed doubt that the 40 acre property is an option since it’s part of an ongoing settlement agreement. Mr. Bouvat noted the department would like to meet with the Town Council to have a general conversation regarding their appetite for the project and emphasized it’s very much needed for the community.
Ms. McLnerney expressed concerns over the lack of data available for the Town Council to make a decision on the project.
Bill Manousopoulous (10011 Parrish Avenue): Mr. Manousopoulous expressed support for adaptive play equipment and would like to see additional efforts made to make more of our parks inclusive. Mr. Manousopoulous mentioned the challenges children with special needs encounter at public parks, and cited the various benefits playgrounds have for children. He mentioned he can share resources with the department that can help provide inclusive equipment in the parks.
Mr. Bouvat and several board members thanked Mr. Manousopoulous for his attendance and input.
Mr. Bouvat asked what a potential timeline would be for the project. Mr. McLead replied that it’s difficult to know given the volatility of the supply chain, but estimated 2-3 months.
Mr. Moffitt asked what the budget is for the project. Mr. McLead responded that the earmarked amount is $230,000 but that can be adjusted if needed as long as the department stays within the entire capital budget for the year.
Mr. Aurelio asked what would be included in a breakdown of the project costs. Mr. McLead replied that the proposals would include costs for the play equipment, surfacing, and installation. Mr. Aurelio asked what the process is to create these designs. Mr. McLead noted the company has a designer that worked off a few of his suggestions that take into account the project budget as well as the current equipment in the park system.
Mr. Moffitt voiced support for the project since the lighting controls have been an ongoing issue for the baseball program and noted the current situation also presents safety issues.
Mr. Boersma made a motion to table this item for a future meeting. Mr. Moffitt seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. McLead also presented a proposal for a Memorial Tree Program that would have a similar process. The program was modeled after several other similar programs. The donation would also include all costs associated with the program including the tree, plaque and installation materials. Mr. McLead noted he consulted an arborist prior to finalizing the proposed list of trees to ensure they are native to the region and appropriate for the program. The proposed fee for the tree is $500.
Mr. Bouvat asked how the programs would be promoted. Mr. McLead replied the information would be available on the town website and also promoted through various social media platforms.
Mr. Moffitt asked if one of these programs could be an option for the Allen family who previously owned the property at Founders Park and expressed interest in a memorial at the April 2022 board meeting.
Discussion ensued regarding the proposed fees and objective of the programs.
Mr. Connelly made a motion to accept the proposals for the Memorial Bench and Tree Programs as presented. Mr. Boersma seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
An application has been submitted for the NIRPC CommuniTree Program. If approved, the department will receive 1” caliper trees. Mr. McLead noted the department has identified a few parks and open areas along the trail that would make for good locations for additional trees.
Mr. McLead reported the electrical transmission lines that run east/west through town are being upgraded in 2023. The project will impact use of the trail as well as the parking lots at the Gates Park. The work will be completed in either the spring or the fall of 2023.
Mr. McLead noted information on a few ongoing programs including Bricks 4 Kidz, Young Rembrandts, Soccer Shots and NFL Flag Football. The annual Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, April 9 at Lake Hills Park. The event is open for kids ages 1-9. The department is hosting two hunts again to accommodate the growing community; one at 10:30 am and one at 12:30 pm. Registration opens on Monday, March 7.
Mr. McLead thanked Gabe Hernandez and Russell Vogel for their hard work throughout winter and noted how they plow a large route for public works in addition to their park related duties.
Mr. Bouvat thanked Gabe and Russ as well for everything they do.
Discussion ensued regarding the event and the participation from the various entities that will be needed.
Mr. Bouvat complimented a few of the proposed designs, in particular the zip line piece and various climbing apparatus. Mr. Bouvat asked for a potential timeline on this project. Mr. McLead noted the lead time for equipment is currently around 6-8 weeks.
Mr. Bouvat asked Councilman Aurelio how much ARPA funds would be available for the project. Councilman Aurelio replied that a significant amount of funds could be available and the town will have more details within the next few weeks.
Mr. Bouvat asked what the budged is for this project. Mr. McLead replied the department has earmarked $230,000 for this playground, but there is flexibility within the capital budget. Mr. McLead recommended to approach this playground as if it will be the primary park for the east side of town, which is rapidly growing.
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve Ordinance 1759 as presented. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the Independent Contractor Agreements. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (0).
The Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, April 9 at Lake Hills Park. There will be two hunts; one at 10:30 am and one at 12:30 pm.
Councilman Aurelio thanked Mr. McLead for pursuing facility assessment services.
Councilman Aurelio also acknowledged the accomplishments of the Lake Central Centralettes, a dance program at the high school who has won the Indiana State Championship 27 years in a row and also the 2022 National Championship.
Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): Mr. Swets, Town Council President, attended to receive updates on park projects and addressed the ongoing discussions concerning the Town Council liaison appointments. Councilman Swets stated the decision to appoint Councilman Aurelio as Park Board Liaison is final and encouraged the board to accept that decision, noting the various ways Councilman Aurelio could be of service to the board.
Councilman Aurelio inquired about the lead time for the project. Mr. Bouvat halted the questioning and instructed Councilman Aurelio to allow the Park Board time to discuss the project.
Mr. Moffitt asked about the lead time for the project. Mr. Gardiner replied the project has a ten to twelve week lead time for equipment currently. The installation process would take an additional three weeks.
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the Sourcewell Contract with Landscape Structures for the playground at Gates Park in the amount of $388,500. Mr. Boersma seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. Bouvat asked if the executed contract with Spohn Ranch was for the initial design. Mr. Eichorn responded in the affirmative stating that the contract and construction documents were for the design that is now being altered. Discussion ensued regarding the updated design.
Mr. Boersma asked if the contract price would decrease due to the proposed changes. Mr. Eichorn responded the pricing would remain the same. Mr. Boersma expressed concerns regarding the price decreasing for the contractor but remaining the same for the town and also noted the various project delays. Mr. Bouvat echoed those concerns.
Councilman Aurelio agreed with the concerns and asked how the changes would affect the proposed electrical work. Mr. Bouvat halted the questioning and told Councilman Aurelio he was out of order.
Mr. Eichorn stated he will plan to attend the next regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 19. Mr. McLead noted he will work with Mr. Eichorn to provide more details at the next meeting.
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to accept Mr. McLead’s resignation. Mr. Connelly seconded. Motion carried. Ayes (4). Nays (0).
Mr. Wiszowaty and the board members thanked Mr. McLead for his service to the town and wished him well.
Mr. Moffitt made a motion to approve the application documents as presented. Mr. Connelly seconded motion. Motion carried. Ayes (3). Nays (1- Boersma).