City of Wood Dale Planning Zoning & Building Committee met April 13.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
Present: Ald. Catalano, Jakab, Messina, Sorrentino, E. Wesley, R. Wesley & Woods
Absent: Ald. Susmarski
Also Present: Treasurer Porch, City Manager Mermuys, Chief Vesta, M. York, K. Chrissie
Meeting Convened: 7:30 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes:
The minutes of the March 9, 2017 meeting were approved as presented.
Report & Recommendation:
Matt Ellmann, Executive Director of the Wood Dale Park District, was present with some of his staff and Board members, along with a rep from Edge Adventures, Steve Doniger. He presented a review of the White Oak Park Concept Plan to address any concerns or issues with the city early on. In 2015 they adopted a Master Plan for all the Wood Dale parks and sites. Their review showed White Oaks needed rejuvenation as it is not getting the use it should. Edge Adventures has been building aerial adventure parks throughout the U.S. including one in Indiana. During community meetings, site issues arose from those with homes near the site. Although White Oaks is underutilized, neighbors are concerned about potential future changes. The Plan includes adding more flowers, accessible pathways and making changes to the dog park area, adding environmental art, restrooms and a shelter.
Steve Doniger, Operations Executive of Edge Adventures, described the zip line experience and talked about his company. He emphasized the importance of safety for them and exhibited the equipment used. The course is for all ages and would be 332’ feet from the nearest home and no lights will be added. The company provides all the required safety equipment. Their zip lines are transition lines from platform to platform with the largest being 500’ feet in length. They can serve more kids now with a 4’ feet line off the ground for kids as young as four. They have an arborist review the forest to build with the trees. They also have a third party come in yearly to ensure everything is inspected and meets all state standards.
Mr. Ellmann stated that the Park Board wants City Council feedback prior to taking the next step to phase in elements over time, since the cost is expensive. The project will be funded through their current tax proceeds. Ald. Catalano asked who would run the Wood Dale facility. Mr. Doniger stated that they do all staffing and hire a full-time manager. For this size park they would have 15-10 individuals paid at a rate of $15.00 an hour. Ald. Catalano inquired about requiring a waiver and was advised that everyone must sign one prior to riding. The equipment remains up year round but closes around Thanksgiving. In summer they are open seven days a week. The entire course is checked out every day and every piece of equipment is checked before and after each individual uses it.
Ald. E. Wesley asked how residents were contacted about the public meetings. Mr. Ellmann said they specifically targeted that neighborhood, but also reached out via social media and flyers. The first meeting had 50-60 people in attendance, and the next one had about half that present. Ald. E. Wesley asked when Central Park’s second phase will be done if this is also being planned. Mr. Ellmann explained the Park District will release some of its debt over the next few years and it will be up the Board if they want to reissue debt. Ald. R. Wesley asked if any variances will be needed from the City. Ms. Chrisse explained that the park will need a Special Use approval similar to Central Park and that there should not be an issue. Ald. R. Wesley asked if the City could use TIF money for this. Ms. Chrisse explained that the location is outside of the TIF District so that cannot be done. Ald. R. Wesley then proposed using hotel taxes, Tourism money, to assist with costs. Ms. Chrisse stated that the park could be a draw for the public so economic development funding could be considered.
Ald. Woods felt it would be another draw to the community like Top Golf. He wanted to know how quickly this can be done and stated that the City would be interested in seeing what they can do to make it happen. Mr. Ellmann reported the Park Board is meeting next Tuesday to discuss the budget. They would like to get it started next year at this time. Ald. Messina stated that he had met with residents and Mr. Ellmann, and there were no complaints since meeting; however, there were concerns about lighting. Mr. Ellmann commented that there will probably be a need for some security lighting. He noted that The Edge lets people use headlamps for any night adventures. Ald. Jakab had concerns from the Stormwater Committee about the property being a wetland and could not be touched. Mr. Ellmann explained that someone mentioned a covenant over the donation of land preventing them from doing anything to it in the future; however, they cannot locate any documentation in their records or at DuPage County that supports that. They realize they do need to work within the regulations. Ms. Chrisse stated that as far as the wetland, there is very little footprint on the ground itself to make an impact. The park and Edge are very cognizant of that and are taking that into consideration. Ald. Jakab relayed that the Stormwater Commission was upset they didn’t know about this and asked that the Park District attend one of their future meetings to provide them with any information. Mayor Pulice commented that the City needs something for the kids in town. Ald. Messina asked about the insurance. Mr. Ellmann said Edge adventures will be leasers of the area and be responsible for the entire operations so there would be an agreement to relinquish all liability to them. His research indicates the company is what they say as far as safety. Through the agreement drafted by their legal counsel, the liability will fall entirely on Edge Adventures. Ald. R. Wesley asked how soon it can be done if the money wasn’t an issue. Mr. Ellmann said it could be next year at this time if all goes as planned. Part of the cost will depend on the size and scope of the project. Ald. R. Wesley reiterated that the City is interested in working with them in a partnership to help fund the project. Ald. Jakab asked about usage fees at the facility. Mr. Doniger explained it is for buying time and their fee structure has an all-day pass for $79. There are also two or three hour options for $39/$49 for adults, and $29/$39 for kids under 13. Discounts are available for groups and packages. They also have a scholarship fund established for groups who need additional financial assistance. Mr. Ellmann talked about having selective community days throughout the year to give residents a special discount. The Wood Dale Park District also has a scholarship program to subsidize those individuals in need.
Items to be Considered at Future Meetings:
• UDO Text Amendments – Parking, Non-conformities, Overlay (June 2017)
• Thorndale Corridor Rezoning (Winter 2018)
The meeting adjourned at 8:33 p.m.