Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Board of Commissioner Minutes April 15, 2020

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Forest Preserve Headquarters

April 15, 2020


PRESENT                                                     STAFF

Judy Barnard -via phone                                Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                 Steve Chapman, Finance -via phone

Jake Henry

Audrey Johnson -via phone

Gloria Lind -via phone

Cheryl Maggio -via phone

Jeff Tilly



No guest due to COVID-19 restrictions



The meeting was called to order at 5:35 PM, by President Tilly.  Executive Director, Mike Holan called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Jake Henry led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for March 18, March 20 and April 3, 2020 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



New Corporate Attorney – Mike discussed the RFQ packets that were sent to the Board of Commissioners a couple months ago. There were two firms that sent in quotes, which the Board will now need to make a decision on the new corporate attorney. Mike mentioned setting up an interview with the firms as soon as things start to open again or by phone. The Board can either set up a sub-committee to meet with the firms or all the Board members can meet with the firms. Due to possible property closings, the Forest Preserve will need a new corporate attorney by the middle of May or beginning of June. Mike offered to call the firms to set up the interviews. The Board of Commissioners would like Mike to investigate the possibility of getting the Zoom application for video interviews. Mike and Judy will look into what questions were asked the last time interviews took place for a corporate attorney. The Board members are to email Mike by April 30th with any questions they would like asked during the interviews. Interviews will be set up at a later date.



Statement of Economic Interest – All of the Board members should have been sent a Statement of Economic Interest to fill out and send back to the County Clerk. This will need to be done by May 1st to avoid paying a $15 fine and being locked out of their account. This can be done online or by paper copy.


Jake Henry brought up the five-year comparison report that was submitted at the March Board Meeting. He questioned why we still have shelter houses that have not been reserved in the last five years. He recommends that staff tear down the shelters and plant it back to nature. Mike told the Board that the shelters may still be used by people visiting the preserve even if they do not reserve the shelter. Mike said he would look into which preserves the shelters are located.


Judy Barnard wanted to speak on a couple topics. She mentioned that she has been seeing a lot of organizations create learning tool videos on their websites. Severson Dells has a video on frogs and Natural Land Institute has a video on flowers. Judy thinks this is something the Forest Preserve should be advancing on their website and that it would be a great way to virtually show the public the Forest Preserves. She also mentioned linking the Severson Dells and Natural Land Institute videos to the Forest Preserve website. Mike told the Board that he already spoke with Ann from Severson Dells about having Jamie link the video to the website. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic started, Jamie was working with Jessie Crow-Mermel on making a video series of different preserves. This has now been halted due to COVID-19. Mike also announced that Jamie’s retirement date has been moved from June 30 to May 15, 2020. Judy also wanted to make sure that staff is keeping in touch with the volunteers at this time, which Mike told her that Kim keeps in touch with the volunteers the entire year.



Bills for March – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Judy Barnard seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for March in the amount of $491,830.12.  Motion passed unanimously.


Acceptance of Bids for Bunker Renovations at Atwood Homestead & The Ledges – This item is for phase II of rebuilding multiple bunkers at Atwood Homestead and Ledges Golf Courses. The number one complaint from golfers at these courses for many years has been the condition of the bunkers. Over time many of the bunkers at these two courses have become increasingly difficult for staff to maintain due primarily to their inadequate drainage and excessive size. Poor drainage has been as the result of incorrect or deteriorating substrate and incorrect or missing drain tile. Water run-off from greens causes erosion and washouts on a regular basis. Additionally, the massive size of many of the bunkers has been problematic. Because of their large size, maintaining bunkers has been extremely labor intensive and materials required to refurbish them every season overly expensive. Currently there are 49 bunkers at Ledges and 46 bunkers at Atwood, many of which will not require additional work. Some bunkers have already been removed, re-worked, or renovated by staff, including 16 bunkers in 2017 & 2018. Additionally, a total of 8 bunkers were renovated by the phase I capital bunker renovation initiative completed in 2019. However, there are approximately 20 remaining bunkers which will require more time, materials, equipment, and expertise than in-house staff can provide. Money was allocated in the 2020 FY Capital Improvement Fund to contract phase II portion of the bunker renovation work. Initial project specifications were offered for bid and only one bid was received, which exceeded the budgeted amount. The bid was opened on April 8th, and meets the required project specifications, however, for all 16 bunkers requested it does come in over the original budgeted amount. Because each individual bunker was itemized in the bid specs, staff have removed 4 bunkers from the total amount of 16 to bring the project total to 12, and within the original budgeted amount. Staff recommends awarding the project to the qualified and lone bidder, Hollembeak Construction, in the amount of $119,139. Due to the nature of the project requiring on site adjustments to the final bunker layout, staff is requesting provision for a maximum additional 10% cost overrun if necessary. $120,000 was budgeted in the 2020 FY Capital Improvement Fund for this project and staff recommends any additional funds, if necessary, be obtained from the capital fund balance. It should be noted that phase I of this project completed in 2019 by the same contractor did not incur any cost overruns or expenses. This company has been terrific to work with and their finished product has exceeded expectations. Mike Eickman made a motion and Audrey Johnson seconded, that the Board of Commissioners of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County approves awarding the bunker Renovation Project at Atwood Homestead and Ledges Golf Courses in the amount of $119,139.00 to Hollembeak Construction in Big Rock, Illinois plus a provisional 10% project overrun with all additional funds over the 2020 FY budget amount obtained from the capital fund balance if necessary. Motion passed unanimously.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Scott Stewart, Scott Wallace and Bryan Helmold submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp & Mark Freiman submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Natural Resource Staff submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.


Human Resources/Volunteer Program Report – Kim O’Malley submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Sheriff’s Department submitted a written.


Executive Director – Judy Barnard requested and update from Mike. Mike mentioned that he met with staff via telephone today from about 10:00 am-1:00 pm. Staff gave him updates on what they have been working on. Some staff are working from home and some are coming into the office a couple of days a week. Golf course managers are out on the courses mowing with mechanics coming in next week to help. Some seasonal golf course staff may come in next week to help mow also. Preserve staff, as of now, are on a rotating schedule and will start mowing next week and working as many hours as needed. This morning, staff started working on the strategic plan strategies, goal #1. This is being done over the phone while using a google document. This document is live so everyone can observe it on their computer. Judy requested a clear posting on the website about the equestrian trails being closed. Mike told her as of yesterday the postings about the closings were condensed down to one posting and should be visible on the home page of the website.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:25 pm to discuss Personnel.  At 6:57 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



Meeting adjourned at 6:59 PM.


Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, May 20, Forest Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Kristy Knapp

Administrative Assistant