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Community Meeting: Welles Park 'Light the Diamonds' Proposal - Shared screen with speaker view
Michael Sewall, 47th Ward (he/him)
15:12
Once we reach the public portion of the meeting, here is the format we will follow:—Comments or questions can be either typed into the chat and Michael will read them, or if someone wants to be unmuted they can type, "Stack."—If making a comment, that will be limited to 1 minute.—We'll leave comments/questions visible to everyone on the call.—We will share this format at the top of the meeting and again before going into the public portion.
Gene Schulter
29:52
Stack, I would like to speak. Former Alderman Gene Schulter
Steve Glaab
29:52
You indicate “safety, safety, safety” can you or the alderman speak to the crime in the park today before 9:30PM? I don't believe you will find that much.
Michael Sewall, 47th Ward (he/him)
31:15
Thank you, Gene. We will open up comments when we reach the public portion. Steve, we’ll ask your question during that portion as well.
susan ackerman
34:25
Weekends are the busiest times for neighborhood gatherings,sit down restaurants the Davis Theatre and Old Town concerts and classes. Reduced parking caussed by people participating in Night baseball games would greatly impact the above venues. People coming to a neighborhood party,going to a sit down dinner, The Davis Theatre and Old Town would be needing to park and the scarse parking would be taken up by nighttime baseball participants. Those involved with nighttime baseball would most likely not be planning a sit down dinner,theatre or Old TSime concert after a game.
Lara Weber
35:17
How was this survey distributed? This is new to me, and I live facing the park.
Mark Tomlinson
36:18
What time do games typically end without having lights in place?
Julie Ericson
38:10
Yes the parking is a major problem during already existing games but in addition the park itself is also much more congested. I don’t bother having people come visit me during games because there is no where to park and I avoid the park to walk my dogs during games as well due to congestion.
Sharon O’Connell
40:25
Will someone please address the current start time for baseball at Welles Park?
Cody Beyer
40:38
Since you have said that 85% of families who participate in the WPPA live in the adjacent neighborhoods to Welles Park, will they be urged or incentivized to either walk or take public transportation to and from the Park, as is recommended by the Chicago Parks Dept. to help alleviate parking stresses?
Betsy Fiden
41:28
Did you consider lighting just one or two diamonds? These are immense lighting structures, from a height perspective. Are there shorter alternatives?
mary guzan
41:42
i
Laurie Roberts
41:46
Under “Parking Directions,” The Chicago Park District’s official website says, “Free street parking available around the park. Parking is limited; therefore, public transportation is highly encouraged.” Are teams and families being encouraged to use public transportation, and is this a reasonable request considering the large amounts of equipment needed for games?
mary guzan
41:55
I ha
mary guzan
42:06
I have livedher
Lori Mulderink
42:22
What happens when WPPA is not using the park for the rest of the year. Who is controlling the 9:30 WPPA curfew? Who is controlling the lights and activity at night. Sound travels. I live off the corner of Lincoln and Montrose and hear everything, especially at night. Parking and traffic is already bad.
mary guzan
42:39
I have lived here for 42years and I dont
MARYANNE JOHNSON
46:11
Parking is already bad, TRASH is horrible. How will that be addressed?
Mike Smith
46:46
I need to relax at night in order to be able to do my job the next day. There are kids in my building that go to bed early. You have to understand that it’s loud in our homes during baseball games. It’s different when it’s earlier. We might not even be home then. It’s not the same thing to play games at night when people around the park are trying to decompress or sleep.
Laurie Roberts
47:33
I live right across the diamond on Sunnyside. I have an early commute for my job. My family typically considers 9pm as quiet time, and I go to sleep around 10:00pm. If lights are on (and practices and games are on) until 9:30pm, this will greatly impact my family’s ability to wind down, and be recharged for our early days.
Sheila
48:16
The earlier introduction made it sound like there’s misinformation around the number of games that would be enabled by the proposal. I just double-checked… The WPPA website says currently, “That’s 280 more games in the spring season alone!” Further down on the current website, it says, “Adding lights will also allow us to reduce or perhaps eliminate our wait list by giving us the field space for 280 more games at Welles Park in the Spring season alone.”
Renee Girardin
49:45
During a pandemic is a great time to consider keeping people outside where we know it is safer. We are coming to the end of the pandemic and it will take a year to get things going. I don’t believe this is rushed.
Cody Beyer
49:48
You all avoided the KEY element to the crime statistic question of crime BEFORE 9:30pm. NOT crime in general.
Mike Smith
50:44
I love the park because it’s peaceful. I take my hammock or hang out with friends. Night baseball would change the park for those of us who like to relax there and for people who enjoy doing other activities.
Julie Ericson
51:09
The parking is absolutely already completely taken up during current games so I don’t know why you would say this would not be an issue with night games.
MARYANNE JOHNSON
51:23
Agree with Julie!
Thomas Wilcynski
51:27
Thank you for everything. I think the idea is great. One question. With the curfew at 9:30 does that mean events are over at 9:30 or lights go off at at 9:30? Or both?
Nelson Armour
51:56
So, is there a specific proposal to address the parking issue?
Julie Ericson
52:38
When does the fall season run? Baseball games in the park definitely do not end in July.
Sheila
52:44
This is a question for Becky Kliber. What exactly would the lights be used for outside of WPPA youth baseball?
Lara Weber
52:56
The Old Town School’s primary class schedule is between 7 and 10pm. In non-pandemic times, there already is a crunch of music students trying to park as games are ending. How are you working with the OTS to address this? The OTS will need to rebuild once the pandemic ends — do you believe this added parking crunch will help them?
Cody Beyer
53:42
15% of people sure do take up a lot of parking then
Lori Goss
54:00
Encouraging people to take public transportation isn’t going to change their minds. Most people drive there. Also, do you have a plan for trash removal services?
Julie Ericson
54:00
Agree with Cody!
Gene Schulter
54:07
Let’s have in person community meetings, this is being rushed during a pandemic, Seniors are being disenfranchised, they don’t know about putting lights in the baseball fields. I hope the Cubs, who might help pay for this understands this.
Julie Ericson
54:29
You can say that you promote trash pick up but it’s not happening
Lara Weber
54:55
What sort of Welles Park cleanup programs does the WPPA require its team players to participate in then?
Jeff Judge
55:01
All the coaches are encouraged to clean up the fields and dugouts when their game is done. As a coach, I’ve done this for the past six years.
William Bergfalk
55:23
My number one concern is parking WPPA - lists other parks that have lights Warren / Gompers / Portage / Hamlin/ NO restaurants, bars, movie theatre and concert hall - I do NOT understand how WPPA can say 85% will be walk to the park LAST Friday 4-2-2021 No events taking place no concerts no movies I drove around and saw only 11 parking space WPPA has said that the Restaurants - How many 8-9-10 years old's are going out to dinner at 9:30pm or 6pm prior to playing baseball . Folks from Uptown / Lakeview and other areas do not walk to the park they drive!
Sheila
55:26
Miku, the Bistro, Due Lire, and the Grafton are all close to the park. Kids won’t go to those restaurants before baseball. We already don’t have enough parking when Old Town is busy with classes and concerts. How do you think later baseball will affect restaurants like Bistro Campagne?
Lara Weber
55:38
The field/dugouts are kept clean. It’s the area where all the parents sit that is problematic.
Harry Konstantopoulos
56:11
Had 2 kids that had great experiences there playing baseball and had seen lights installed at another park and brought joy to many families
Ted Kreuser
56:14
I have been to around 200 WPPA games in the last 10 years and have always arrived to clean fields and left them that way.
MARYANNE JOHNSON
56:21
Agree with Gene Schulter. I agree that folks who live around the park aren’t aware of these proposed changes. All local businesses and restaurants need a voice in this.
Julie Ericson
56:28
Agree with Lara Weber
Mike Smith
56:30
Sulzer is the second busiest library in Chicago. How would this affect access to the library for people who drive there?
Matthew Rich
56:43
Agreed with Jeff Judge, the fields are very clean after games. The kids and families respect the guidance of WPPA on maintaining the fields and the areas where fans/families sit.
Laurie Roberts
57:00
Having these lights could make living around the park less desirable. How will this initiative impact resale appeal for North Center/Welles Park/Lincoln Square homeowners? Could this impact rentals?
Lara Weber
57:05
Who makes the final call on these lights? If it is the Park District, it sounds as if Becky is already full-in on the lights. What is the point of this then?
Sue Smock-Lawson
57:27
All are invited to join us next Saturday morning for a mulching /clean up on behalf of Greening at Welles
Steve Glaab
58:50
Who is the decision maker here? Who will ultimately decide on adding the lights?
Kim Radich
59:13
All of these concerns are valid, but adding more games and opportunities for park use helps our wider community. Having more outdoor quality activities helps retain young families in our great neighborhoods rather than another reason to flee for the ‘burbs.
Lara Weber
59:23
At what point do we also believe in the importance of teaching children the value of sharing our natural spaces? It teaches greed, arrogance and selfishness to assume a baseball league can simply be expanded repeatedly to accommodate all the kids who want to play and monopolize public space. At some point, aren't there limits? Shouldn't the WPPA also teach respect for the neighbors and their varied uses of space they get to use for a few hours a day?
Allison Bolger
59:32
We along with several families greatly enjoy eating at the local restaurants before and after games and getting carry out during games as well. We would have more opportunity to support those local businesses 100%
Cody Beyer
59:38
Can you guarantee the 9:30pm curfew for the lights EVEN in the scenario of extra innings in a game?
MARYANNE JOHNSON
59:44
Agree with Lara Weber
mary guzan
59:52
I have lived here for 42 years. I dod
Ted Kreuser
01:00:00
addressing the parking issue I have found that during the busiest time in the park there has always been lots of turnover so spots are opening up regularly.
Sharon O’Connell
01:00:13
STACK. I would like to comment.
Sean Girardin
01:00:22
The latest closing time at Sulzer is 7:00, so number of practices, games, and people around the park during operating hours wouldn’t be any different than it is today.
Nelson Armour & Molly Armour
01:00:34
Has there been in any assessment of how this lighting will impact the environment / the nature playspace WP has cultivated?
Jen Stull
01:00:52
@allison Bolger... same! We always do dinner or lunch before or after - and always at one of the local spots!
Lara Weber
01:01:18
What is the next expansion then? The football leagues also have extended the leagues’ use of the park. The sports leagues have started using the space west of the gazebo more frequently. It is chipping away at regular non-sports use of our park.
Kim Radich
01:01:22
The families are also patrons of the local business. Not a zero sum game
Harry Konstantopoulos
01:01:28
STACK Have a comment. please unmute 773 610-6778
Lori Goss
01:01:30
How and when will a final vote happen? Who will make the final decision?
Renee Girardin
01:01:40
More activity at the park brings more neighbors to the surrounding businesses. It also becomes more attractive to new businesses and helps us get rid of some of the empty storefronts we currently have.
William Bergfalk
01:02:00
Will WPPA let folks know when Games are planned? ( so folks can plan a visit or not to Lincoln Square) Will WPPA make sure Games will not take place when special events are taking place in the area IE Roots Fest Mai Fest Concert at old Town?
Mike Smith
01:02:15
If families are supposedly supporting businesses before the late
Sean Girardin
01:02:20
We grab meals at surrounding restaurants, often with several other families, after every game we play at Welles Park.
Mike Smith
01:02:42
r games, it is relevant to ask how this affects Sulzer in its last hour.
Jen DeVriendt Partras
01:03:12
Thank you to everyone involved in hosting/preparing for this meeting. I received notice of this event from multiple sources including the Alderman's newsletter, multiple emails, and social media.
mary guzan
01:03:18
I have lived here for 42 years. I do not have a garage. Parking has been a nightmare for years. Are you going to have permit parking for the surrounding area?
Bill Yankowski
01:03:44
We grab meals before and after our games. Have additional family members come to watch and eat as well. This will help many restaurants after the pandemic.
Rob Anstee
01:04:02
You mentioned that these lights will be maintained for 25 years by contract. What happens after 25 years when we have old broken lights? Will a fund be established? Also, what happens when the company that maintains the lights goes out of business? Who will pay maintenance on the lights in that case?
Ted Kreuser
01:04:06
WPPA has been an incredible community builder and has provided an incomparable experience for the kids. WPPA has worked so hard to include every kid possible. I would love for every kid to have a chance to see what the WPPA has to offer.
Becky Kliber
01:04:13
football has not increased their usage of the park. They have actually decreased uagage
MARYANNE JOHNSON
01:04:33
Is this a done deal then? Are you absolutely certain that everyone who lives around the park is aware of this proposal?
Jen DeVriendt Partras
01:04:40
While I understand the concerns addresses here, I believe the parking issue is overblown. I live in NC and drive and walk to Welles/LS at all times. I've never been unable to find a parking spot buy driving around the block a few times.
Kristin Reynolds
01:04:42
Living in Chicago limits us greatly already by limiting outdoor sports to a few months per year. Extending the hours in the day for my softball-playing girls to play the sport they love would benefit them greatly, as friends, fresh air and exercise is so very important to them always, but especially in a world where screens rule the day. We eat at the local restaurants, they play at the playground (although they are growing out of that phase) and this is for less than THREE months per year.
Lara Weber
01:05:20
And WHEN will that decision happen?
Jen DeVriendt Partras
01:05:23
Sorry for the typos!
christopher carter
01:06:40
I am a coach and a parent at WPPA. We drive or ride our bikes to the park if we are concerned about parking. Investing in a park is always a great thing. I think it's great that lights will make more opportunities for kids to get out and play. Thank you WPPA and Welles park for spearheading this. We were at welles yesterday, played kickball, ate at Lou's and came back to practice pitching after dinner. It got very dangerous to practice and try to catch 40mph pitches without adequate lighting once it got dark. Please add the lights so we can utilize the park later.
Shawna Ryan
01:06:42
WPPA through its organization and coaches teaches life lessons through sport - teamwork, collaboration, how to win, how to lose, etc. WPPA teaches kids valuable lessons that serve them well beyond their time with WPPA
Nelson Armour & Molly Armour
01:06:55
2 questions I hope someone can answer — is there a plan for the parking issues? Has there been any assessment of environmental impact on the recently cultivated nature space in WP?
Jen DeVriendt Partras
01:07:31
We, and many other families, frequent sit down restaurants in the square with our children before and after games at Welles. As has been previously mentioned, we also utilize businesses in the square/along Lincoln after dropping off our kids at Welles for practice.
Steve Glaab
01:08:20
I appreciate this opportunity but I do not believe the opportunity to educate, inform, and hear from all residents that will be affected the most (within two blocks of the park) has been done. What can be done to ensure we do more with these community members before the decision is made?
Mike Smith
01:09:12
Well stated, Sharon.
MARYANNE JOHNSON
01:10:00
Thank you Sharon. This all seems like it’s decided
Harry Konstantopoulos
01:10:16
harry here please unmute 7736106778
Nelson Armour & Molly Armour
01:10:24
What assessment have been made regarding racial, economic equity?
Alex Hernandez
01:10:54
Just askign for clarification: Park district could decide on this by end of April due to funding WPPA is pursing? Thanks!
Sheila
01:11:56
QUESTION - Miku, the Bistro, Due Lire, and the Grafton are all close to the park. Kids won’t go to those restaurants before baseball. We already don’t have enough parking when Old Town is busy with classes and concerts. How do you think later baseball will affect restaurants like Bistro Campagne?
Nelson Armour & Molly Armour
01:11:57
I hope that the survey will be more broadly distributed and that we can have another meeting to try and get these questions answered.
Lara Weber
01:12:11
We are not the suburbs. That’s the point.
Alex Hernandez
01:12:30
Just asking for clarification: Park district could decide on this by end of April due to funding WPPA is pursing? Thanks!
Sheila
01:12:30
QUESTION - This is a question for Becky Kliber. What exactly would the lights be used for outside of WPPA youth baseball?
Becky Kliber
01:12:54
Park District will decide whether to approve, deny or delay by the end of April
MARYANNE JOHNSON
01:12:57
agree with Nelson and Molly Armour. We are NOT the suburbs. Residents need to be respected. We need more meetings about this
Alex Hernandez
01:13:02
Appreciate it Becky!!
Cody Beyer
01:14:02
Thank you for those concerns @Lori (Doug)
CRYSTAL RILEY
01:14:04
Both of my sons played at Welles Park, both baseball and football, for years. It was an incredible experience for them and I can tell you, we spent a ton of money in the community before and after games and practices.
Laurie Roberts
01:14:12
Living by the park will certainly become less desirable. Residents within two blocks are going to hurt from this.
Lara Weber
01:14:23
The condition of the field has deteriorated significantly over the past five years.
Mike Smith
01:14:24
It sounds like the needs of kids who want to play baseball are being prioritized over the needs of neighbors. My comment was not read earlier - I need to relax at night in order to be able to do my job the next day. There are kids in my building that go to bed early. You have to understand that it’s loud in our homes during baseball games. It’s different when it’s earlier. We might not even be home then. It’s not the same thing to play games at night when people around the park are trying to decompress or sleep.
Becky Kliber
01:14:44
Sheila- there is no plan at this time to use the lights for anything else except for football practices in fall that end by 7pm- Weekday only
Ceannaich Ryan
01:15:05
Does WPPA provide financial assistance to families in need?
Sheila
01:15:11
Becky - what else might be possibly added?
Jeff Judge
01:15:26
I appreciate that concern Mike. I’d say that the fields take up less than half of the park, thus there’s plenty of space to relax through the entire day.
Alex Hernandez
01:15:34
Appreciate PAC, WPPA and Park District hosting/moderating this! Have a good rest of your Saturday everyone!
John McBroom
01:15:37
This is an excellent opportunity. Kids need to be outside! Great work, thank you!
Renee Girardin
01:15:51
This is not just about the youth players, this is about making our neighborhood better, safer, and supporting local businesses and hopefully getting new businesses to come to this area.
Jen Ruff
01:15:55
Businesses will certainly benefit from increased foot traffic in the evenings, as will neighborhood families.
Jen DeVriendt Patras
01:16:05
Bringing new amenities to the park just enhances the park and everyone's experience. Lights also increases foot traffic and increases safety. It really seems like a slam dunk to me.
Mary Oellrich
01:16:12
I agree with Sharon and continue to have problems with increased organized spectator sports at Welles. Comparisons to other parks in less dense residential areas and with parking lots &/or more street parking are not valuable.
Nelson Armour & Molly Armour
01:16:19
I hope that the survey can be extended. Many people I know along the park are not aware of it.
Michael Sewall, 47th Ward (he/him)
01:16:23
You can reach the 47th Ward office to share questions and comments by calling us at 773-868-4747 or emailing me at michael@aldermanmartin.com.
Nelson Armour & Molly Armour
01:17:14
I have not filled out the survey because was hoping to get questions answered before filling it out.
Becky Kliber
01:17:23
You can reach Becky Kliber- Park Supervisor at becky.kliber@chicagoparkdistrict.com 0r 312-742-7511
Sue Smock-Lawson
01:17:47
Also wellesparkgreening@gmail.com
Rob Anstee
01:17:48
Please publish the studies re: parking, congestion, safety, and equitable use of park facilities.
Sue Smock-Lawson
01:18:01
thanks for all of the input!