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 May 15, 2019

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

May 15, 2019


PRESENT                                                     STAFF

Mike Eickman                                                 Mike Holan, Executive Director

Audrey Johnson                                              Steve Chapman, Finance

Gloria Lind                                                      Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jeff Tilly                                                          Ann Wasser, Education

Jake Henry – left at 6:35 pm                           Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program


ABSENT                                                        GUESTS

Judy Barnard                                                  Jeremy Oster

       John Richards

       Alex Mills, Klehm Arboretum



The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM, by President Tilly.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Mike Eickman led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for April 17, 2019 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Jeremy Oster – Mr. Oster sent an email to Executive Director Mike Holan with several complaints.  He distributed copies of that email to the Commissioners.  He introduced himself as the President of Hononegah Archery and also mentioned that he is a former writer for the Rock River Times.  He wanted the Commissioners to know that he is unhappy with the way Executive Director, Mike Holan, has failed to handle an issue he brought to his attention.  Mr. Oster brought up several complaints that he has, that were not directed to or at Mike Holan.  Those complaints were against Macktown Living History and included a prejudice against Native Americans, including people who re-enact the history, the fact that his family has been banned from Macktown, and that his disabled daughter’s picture was used in a Facebook posting that he claims is being used as a paid advertisement for Macktown.  He then stated that the Preserves do not have permission to use her picture and that he believes his first amendment rights have been violated.  He also advised that he has an attorney, but unfortunately his attorney could not be with him at the meeting.  Mr. Oster was given three minutes to speak, and he was given three verbal alerts, by President Jeff Tilly, that his time was up.  He thanked the Board for their time.  Later in the meeting the Board discussed Mr. Oster’s complaints and issues at length.



Klehm Arboretum – John Richards and Alex Mills presented to the board the issue of naming rights as a non-tax revenue source.  There are several structures at Klehm that could potentially be named with a sponsor.  They would like to pursue the opportunity to pursue naming rights as an additional fund source.  They presented regional and local examples of several structures that have been given naming rights.  John Richards believes this would be a very good funding source.  It would also help with maintenance of the possibly named structures, as well as any future projects, etc.  They are seeking a resolution from the Preserves to authorize Klehm to enter into naming rights agreements for specific structures.  In addition, the Preserves could set limits on maximum years of terms, and hold veto power over the name itself.  Lastly with supportive feedback from the Preserves, Klehm will begin discussions with potential naming rights sponsors.  Mike Holan advised since this is a newer issue in the Preserves, he is suggesting an ordinance as to whether the Preserves would like to allow naming rights.  They are seeking consensus from the board if this is something to pursue.  Consensus from the Board is that Klehm should pursue the naming rights as an additional funding source.



Chamber of Commerce Membership – A few months back, a representative from the Rockford Chamber, Lynette Jacques, spoke to the Board regarding the Preserves becoming a member of the Chamber.  Jeff is wondering how the Board feels about becoming a chamber member.  Several board members are concerned that the cost of membership wouldn’t really benefit the Preserves.  It was suggested to possibly budget it for the 2019/2020 budget.  Mike Holan will also talk to other similar entities that are members of the Chamber to see if it benefits their organizations.



Quarterly Finance Report – Steve Chapman went through the Quarterly Finance Report, which consisted of the Corporate Fund Details, Improvement & Development Fund and the Interim Financial Results.

Campground Discussion – Last year, the electric went out in the Hononegah Campground.  A company came out and looked at the electrical system.  That company was able to get approximately 75% of the electrical system working again.  The system is still in need of renovation.  There are several options for Hononegah (1) keep it operating until it goes down again; (2) close it at the end of this season; (3) try and fit in the funds to have a company do an engineering study to renovate the electrical system in phases; (4) reduce the number of sights; (5) close down the campground for a year, redesign it and then have a grand re-opening; (6) evaluate whether or not the Preserves need all the campgrounds that they currently have and reduce the number of campgrounds and keep the two busiest campgrounds. The preserves staff is looking for a consensus from the Board as to what to do.  A suggestion was made to budget money for the engineering study in next year’s budget and go from there. Commissioners agreed to keep it as is for now and think about Hononegah Campground in the coming year.



Bills for April – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for April in the amount of $516,601.25.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Acceptance of Bids for Bunker Renovations at Atwood Homestead & The Ledges – The bids are for 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 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 is overly expensive.  Currently there are 49 bunkers at Ledges and 46 bunkers at Atwood, most 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.  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 2019 FY Capital Improvement Fund to contract a portion of the bunker renovation work.  Initial project specifications were offered for bid and only one bid was received which far exceeded the budgeted amount.  Project specifications were revised, put out for bid and opened on May 9th, with two bidders.  One bid was disqualified due to not being received as a sealed bid. The remaining bid meets the required project specifications; however it did come in over the original budgeted amount.  Staff recommends awarding the project to the qualified lowest bidder, Hollembeak Construction, in the amount of $89,258.  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.  $70,000 was budgeted in the 2019 FY Capital Improvement Fund for this project and staff recommends additional funds be obtained from the Atwood Foundation donation to cover the balance of $19,528 plus 10%. Cheryl Maggio made a motion and Mike Eickman 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 $89,528 to Hollembeak Construction in Big Rock, Illinois plus a provisional 10% project overrun with all additional funds over the 2019 FY budget amount obtained from the Atwood Foundation donation. 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 – Tom Hartley 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.  Employee appreciation picnic is Wednesday, August 7, 2019.


Law Enforcement – Sheriff’s Department submitted a written report.



May 18 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Rockford Rotary Forest Preserve, Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – Noon

May 18 – Family “Learn About Leaves” Day at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Saturday from 9:00 am – 11:00 am.

May 29 – Wildflower Walkabout at Colored Sands Forest Preserve, Wednesday, from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm

June 1 & 2 – Garden Fair Weekend at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, Saturday, from 9:0 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

June 8 – Hooked on Fun at Four Lakes Forest Preserve, Saturday from 9:00 am – Noon

June 12 – Wildflower Walkabout at Kieselburg Forest Preserve, Wednesday, from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm



Meeting adjourned at 7:41 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, June 19, Macktown Living History Center



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary