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 Dec. 18

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


Macktown Living History Center

December 18, 2013


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Randy Olson                                                              Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Gloria Lind                                                                 Chad Miller

Charlotte Ferguson

Ray Ferguson



The meeting was called to order at 5:34 PM by President Barnard.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

INVOCATION and PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Judy Barnard led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Logo discussion was added to the agenda and, by assent of the Board, the Penfield Crossing land acquisition will be laid over to the January 15 agenda.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for November 20, 2013 were approved with one change.  Gloria Lind’s roll call vote was inadvertently left out of the law enforcement budget vote.  That has been added back in.


Charlotte and Ray Ferguson – Macktown Historic Village – Char made a presentation about Macktown Historic Village.  She gave an overview of Macktown and the programs they offer.  Their school programs are full with approximately 850 students attending.  Ray Ferguson then gave an overview of the Living History Center.  He thanked the District for all that they do to support Macktown.  Judy thanked Ray for preserving the heritage of Winnebago County.

Chad Miller – Deer program – Chad spoke to the Board regarding the whitetail deer program.  He believes there needs to be a change to the program.  Bow hunters spend thousands of dollars on objects related to bow hunting.  He would like the Board to consider a more scientific approach to allowing bow hunting to control the deer population.  He is recommending a pilot program allowing a few hundred hunters the opportunity to hunt.  He stated that if the District would charge $200 per hunter, the District will come out ahead financially instead of spending approximately $10,000 per year to cull the herd.  His program would include a scientific approach, trail cameras, population censuses, monitoring for sex ratios, age classes and food plots.   He would like the Board to consider trying his program for one year.  His program is a 365 day a year program.


Bills for December – Mary McNamara Bernsten moved and Mike Eickman seconded to authorize the payment of the December 2013 bills totaling $515,858.84 to be paid by the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.  Motion passed unanimously.

Budget amendment – At the end of fiscal year 2012-2013, the Macktown Historic District barn project budgeted for the 2013 season was not completed.  This project has been budgeted for the last two years.  The District has been waiting to receive the grant from the Illinois Department of Community and Economic Opportunity, promised since 2011.  Today, the District was notified that the grant was awarded for the Macktown historic barn. Audrey Johnson moved and Mary seconded to approve the budget amendment moving appropriations form 2013 to 2014 in the Capital Development Fund for a total of $50,000 for the Macktown historic barn.  Motion passed unanimously. 

Budget amendment – Recently, the District was awarded a development grant for $15,000 to establish a canoe education program through Severson Dells Nature Center.  The appropriation will be used to purchase canoes and related equipment.  Severson Dells Nature Center will purchase a canoe trailer for the match and will then donate the trailer to the District.  Mike moved and Audrey seconded to approve the budget amendment to fund equipment for a canoe program in the Capital Development Fund for a total of $15,000.  Motion passed 5-1.  Cheryl Maggio voted No.


Logo update – Mike Holan met with a few marketing agencies regarding the logo change.  Those agencies have all indicated that the starting point is the name.  The consensus among the Commissioners was to keep Winnebago County in the name.  The other general consensus was to drop “District” from the name.  Mike would like to pick a name as soon as possible.  A few names that the Board has come up with were Winnebago County Forest Preserves or Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.  Mike has talked to Manifesto, Rycom, Mike Bugler of Bugler Design, and is waiting to hear from Shawcraft.  Mike was then given additional names of local marketing agencies that the Board would like him to contact.  Judy asked about the “Four Rivers Forest Preserve District of Winnebago County”, since that was a name preferred by three of the Commissioners.


Strategic Plan – Mary would like to continue referencing the strategic plan, as it was supposed to be a measure of successes and challenges.  The Board needs to create a clear vision of where they are going.  Mary would like to have a meeting with Mike, Judy, and Pam Clark Reidenbach in January and have Mike address the staff’s goals and timelines.  In that same meeting new goals will be discussed as well as holding a special session about the proposed land acquisition.  After two meetings with Pam, Mike, and Board, she would also like to have a strategic plan meeting that would include the full staff and full board, to include staff input, changes, and additions.  Mary would like the meetings to be completed by the end of February.  Judi Day will contact the board with the possible dates.  Mike said that he has met with the staff on the strategic plan, and they considered each goal individually.  Cheryl Maggio asked that Mike email a recap to the Board of what he and the staff have discussed so that the Board can come to the meetings with knowledge and an idea of what the revised objectives of the staff are.


Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.

Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.

Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.

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

Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.

Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.

Randy Olson inquired about the vehicles that are towed in the preserves and wondered if the District collects for those towing fees.  He asked that Mike follow up on that to be sure those towing fees are being collected, and to talk about a possible towing ordinance in the future.  Cheryl also inquired about the fines that are given.  When and if they are not paid what are the next steps, and how they are collected.  Randy would like to re-visit a local ordinance about ticketing at the January meeting.  Cheryl would also like to revisit the alcohol policy.  Judy referred both of those issues to the strategic planning process.


Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:30.  At 6:50, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.

Land acquisition –   Audrey moved and Mike seconded to authorize President Judy Barnard to finalize the purchase of the Winters property for a total of $1,001,562, as indicated in the Offer to Purchase. A roll call vote was taken.  Motion passed 4-2.  Randy Olson and Cheryl Maggio voted No.  Gloria Lind was absent.

Judy thanked all who supported the purchase of the property.  This purchase puts the District over 10,000 acres.  She gave a special thanks to Mike Holan and Tom Hartley for their time and attention to the negotiations.  She would like the property to be a part of the strategic planning session, and how it can benefit the county economically.  She also sees lots of sponsorship opportunities.  She then gave a very special thank you to Ray and Charlotte Ferguson for their generous contribution.


Staff luncheon and service awards will be held at Klehm Arboretum 11:30-1:30 on December 20.


Meeting adjourned at 6:52 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, January 15, District Headquarters

Respectfully submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary