Village looks for help on Elmwood
WHO: Wilmette trustees
WHO FROM: Wilmette Park Board
ABOUT WHAT: Beach operations
FOR WHAT: Elmwood right of way
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:23AM
WILMETTE — Village officials who want to figure out how to administer the Elmwood beach right of way, now that Wilmette has decided to keep it open for passive public use, are asking their counterparts at the Wilmette Park District for help.
They made it clear at a Jan. 21 meeting with park commissioners that they might welcome more than just good advice; perhaps an agreement allowing the park district to take on administrative duties for Elmwood in some fashion.
For now, however, they’ll take some financial data from the park district, and that’s a good start, Trustee Cameron Krueger said Jan. 22.
“This was a good first step towards understanding what they thought would be the challenges we might face,” he said, adding that the two sides hadn’t said when the park district would provide the information.
Krueger’s municipal services committee met with the Bark board’s parks and recreation committee Jan. 21.
Some of the issues about which he and committee members Alan Swanson and Julie Wolf park commissioners and staff members included:
• The cost to maintain and staff the 80-foot-strip of open space that runs from the end of Elmwood Avenue at Michigan Avenue, all the way down to Lake Michigan.
• The number of people needed to keep Elmwood visitors from using it to gain free access the district’s Langdon and Gillson pay beaches, to the north and south of Elmwood.
• The rules the district has to control beach use and how they operate, especially what rules govern where and when people can freely walk along public and private beaches and when they must either pay at public beaches or avoid staying on private beaches.
Trustee Alan Swanson was more direct.
“I’m curious, and I know it’s not a fair question now, but if we said, ‘OK, we’re going to give you the land in some fashion,’ what would you recommend? ...
“We’re in the public property business, but not the public recreation business,” he later said.
For their part, Park Board President Jim Brault and colleagues Shelley Shelly and James Crowley didn’t commit to much beyond providing advice.
“This is a learn-by-doing project,” Brault said. “My thought is that what you start out with is probably not what you’ll end up with.”