Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Ron Sandack, Stan Urban, William Waldack; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Residents & Others in Attendance: John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson; Mark Bushhouse, Williams Architects; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court Staff: Greg Zimmerman, Director, Human Resources; Bob Porter, Police Chief; Don Rosenthal, Director, Planning & Community Development; Jim Jackson, Deputy Fire Chief; Dave Fieldman Deputy Village Manager; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Marketing & Media Relations; Bob Tutko, Deputy Fire Chief; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Consent Agenda Items
Bid: Parking Lot D Improvement (CIP Project P-004).
Resolution: Participation in Development of DuPage County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan.
Supply of Bituminous Concrete Materials.
Bid: Road Side Ditch Reconstruction and Shaping.
Bid: Sewer Jetting and Manhole/Inlet Cleaning.
Bid: Purchase of Fire Department Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus.
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek reviewed the Consent Agenda items. There were no questions from the Council or the public.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Professional Services Agreement – Design Services for Fire Station 2. Discussion of Strategy. Approval by Resolution.
Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti made a PowerPoint presentation, stating that the Department wanted to determine its present status and plans for its facilities. He explained that the mission of the Fire Department is to meet the needs of what they refer to as The Big 5: 1) Fire Services; 2) Emergency Medical Services; 3) Community Support; 4) Human Resources; 5) Physical Resources. He reviewed the principal needs of the community which include emergency response, fire prevention and public education. Customer service for the Fire Department is measured in terms of response time, which they have established at a 4-6 minute goal. He showed a map depicting the response times in terms of travel times, explaining that on peripheral areas they have additional coverage through mutual aid agreements with Darien and Woodridge. Chief Ruscetti reviewed the response time zones as shown in the presentation, and then he reviewed the apparatus that responds to fires including two engines, ladder truck, squad, and battalion chief. As for staffing levels, there are 75 firefighters, with 25 working per shift, or a minimum of 19 per shift. He explained that an engine and ambulance travel to all calls for service. The Village has four fire stations, the oldest opened in 1951 at 5420 Main, and the newest opened in 1986 at 6701 Main. The oldest station is in need of work, and though it should house six staff members, it only has sleeping space for five. There are also space difficulties for modern day equipment.
In regard to issues that should be addressed, Chief Ruscetti said that fire administration is spread out and compromises customer service in terms of fire prevention and public education. The infrastructure of Station 2 is old and in need of repair. He would like to move the ladder truck to the center of town, and physically centralize the Fire Department administration. It is important for the truck and squad to be centrally located in order to respond to scenes in a timely manner. A major issue is to replace/upgrade Station 2 at 5420 Main as it is obsolete. He then reviewed where the staff would be placed after construction of a new station is completed. This plan will improve response time, provide for better administrative communication, and will not involve hiring additional fire personnel.
Mayor Krajewski asked what moving the ladder truck to Station 2 will do to meet response times. Chief Ruscetti said that there will still be a 4-6 minute response time, but it will improve the response time of the ladder truck, which is key to fighting fires. It is necessary that the ladder truck and squad be placed in the center of town for maximum response coverage. The ambulance will remain at Station 2, and Fire Station 1 will get an engine and reserve ambulance.
Commissioner McConnell said that there is no doubt that Fire Station 2 is in disarray and it is appropriate to give the staff a functional facility. She is eager to see this plan move forward, and asked about the contingency plan while Fire Station 2 is out of service. Chief Ruscetti said that they would be mapping out the streets via the GIS system. They expect to keep the engine in town, perhaps at Village Hall, and the ambulance will probably come out of Fire Station 1.
Manager Pavlicek said that when the construction contract is awarded, that plan would be specified in writing.
Commissioner Tully said that the reason there is a need for a new station is to provide better service, but also noted that it is an obsolete facility. He said that the Chief’s presentation made it clear that the ladder truck placement in the center of town improves service. He noted that historically service was made from the center of town.
Commissioner Tully then noted that there was a Station 4 at one time, which has been closed for some time.
Commissioner Schnell asked what effect moving an engine to Station 1 from downtown will have on response time. Chief Ruscetti said that the response time is based on the Station, and when Station 2 is completed there will be more equipment in the center of town than they have had in the past.
Commissioner Schnell said that when the properties were purchased, the idea was to build a new fire station and consolidate the administration. She said that what happened was a debate as to whether Station 2 was in the right location, because of Station 4. She has no problem with the plan.
Commissioner Urban asked whether response time will be slower to the northwest territories when the ladder truck moves to Station 2, and Chief Ruscetti said that might be another minute added on. As for expanding the Fire Department’s needs to the northwest territory, Chief Ruscetti said that it would continue to be served well, noting that there are also mutual aid agreements with other departments. They will still be able to meet the response time of 4-6 minutes. He said that in regard to the high rise district, the buildings are constructed for inside evacuation, while the ladder truck is used more for residential properties.
Mayor Krajewski noted that the Belmont underpass, when built, would improve the response time by eliminating wait-times for trains. He said that it might be necessary to evaluate the northwest territory coverage with more businesses and people in that area.
Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court, commented on the lack of Station 4 in the northwest territory, and the proximity of the Wisconsin Station to Belmont. He said the underpass will provide optimum fluidity at all times of day. The Main Street alternative is a good alternative; however, re-installing Station 4 will give a more reliable long-term alternative to the Main Street Station. He suggested that perhaps the trucks should remain at Wisconsin Avenue.
The Mayor said that there might be a misconception that the ladder truck needs to be used for taller buildings. Those taller buildings are extensively sprinklered, and the ladder truck is used more for residential areas. He said that they need the ability to get an ambulance to the northwest territory more quickly due to the traffic and the volume of emergency medical service calls.
Chief Ruscetti noted that at any given time, if the tracks are blocked, three of the Village’s fire stations are cut off from the northwest side.
Mayor Krajewski said that the Council has received support letters from the neighboring communities for an underpass in order to get through to Good Samaritan Hospital.
Commissioner Schnell noted that the report did not look at Station 4 and whether or not it could be put back into service.
Manager Pavlicek said that they do not yet have the Belmont underpass. She said that Station 1 would continue to operate on Wisconsin with shifting equipment. Staff is watching development activities in the northwest territories. Service goals are currently being met, but as the population and traffic increases, the Council may need to reconsider the status of Station 4 in the next 6-24 months.
Commissioner Schnell said she would simply like to know if that Station is in physical condition to be put back into service. The Manager said staff would like the opportunity to provide a substantial report on that issue.
Mayor Krajewski asked about the studies done to close Station 4 in 1999. He also asked whether that was the year that the Fire Department was unionized. He said it would be good to know the rationale for closing Station 4.
Commissioner Tully said that the Station 4 discussion should be had as part of the overall plan. No one is talking about relocating Station 1 on Wisconsin Avenue, as it can house the ladder truck. Station 2 will also be able to house the ladder truck once redesigned. He noted that they are not giving up options in their design of Station 2.
The Mayor said he wants to make sure that Station 2 designers and planners consider that Fire Station 4 might become a reality, so they do not either over-build, or under-build it.
Manager Pavlicek asked Deputy Manager Fieldman to provide an overview of the actual process and introduce the Council to the architects present at the meeting.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman reviewed staff negotiations with Williams Architects, noting that at their meeting of February 28, 2006, Council authorized negotiations for design services for Fire Station 2. He said that the design includes the architectural aspects of interior and exterior design, as well as the structural and inner workings of the building. The contract will include staff to assist Village staff with the building, construction and closeout of the contract. There are optional services for furniture, etc.
Commissioner Schnell said she received a call from a resident as to whether or not this firm could do the job effectively, and asked why this firm was selected and their qualifications.
Mr. Fieldman stated that staff began in late 2005 with RFPs, and received ten to twelve responses, resulting with five firms being interviewed. The staff recommended Williams Architects because of is extensive experience with fire stations in DuPage County. They are located in Carol Stream, and have a reputation of being very responsive. Staff felt that they have proven success in Downers Grove having worked on the Park District building. He introduced Mark Bushhouse of Williams Architects.
Mark Bushhouse , Williams Architect, said he is a principal of the firm that has done many municipal buildings. He reviewed a number of projects in various communities including the Lisle Police Department and Village Hall, Fire Stations in Schaumburg, Skokie, Barrington Hills, Riverwood and others.
Commissioner Waldack asked about the details of services Williams Architects will be performing for the Village. Mr. Bushhouse responded that the architect, civil engineers, structural engineers, and landscape architects will be responsible to coordinate planning for the Fire Station. They are presently doing an analysis of space needs for the equipment, and they are keeping in mind the potential of Station 4. They will provide the Village with a basic facility size and budget for the Council approval, and then a schematic design will be prepared. Mr. Bushhouse said that there would be a public session in which they will discuss the concepts and design of the Fire Station. The Village’s owner’s representative will check costs with Williams Architects to make sure they are following the approved plan. The schematic design phase takes about eight weeks, and after adjustments, constructions documents and specifications are determined they will go to bid for a general contractor. Mr. Bushhouse said that Williams Architects will be involved in the project through construction, and they will prepare a punch list for all of the items that need to be completed at the end of the project. Re-inspections will be provided, and a warranty review will also be conducted before the warranties expire.
The Mayor then asked about the background of Scott Lange, the other Williams Architects representative working on this project. Mr. Bushhouse said that Mr. Lange has worked with him on ten of the facilities that they’ve designed.
Mayor Krajewski asked if Williams Architects acts as an owner’s representative. Mr. Bushhouse said they have on some projects. The Mayor asked what the typical cost is for a million dollar building. Mr. Bushhouse said he has not been involved in the cost estimating.
Mr. Fieldman said that all participants were asked to do the pricing and were within $5000 of each other.
Regarding bids, Mr. Bushhouse said when bids are opened, as long as a company is qualified and can do the work, the low bidder would be the choice.
The Manager said that there may be an advantage to having two firms doing some crossover work, and he asked whether the Village’s owner’s representative reviewed the contract. Attorney Petrarca said they have.
Commissioner Schnell said that the site is surrounded by a residential area, and she inquired how Williams Architects works with the residents. Mr. Bushhouse said that some of the contact takes place in the zoning approval process. The public is also asked to participate in the design level meetings. He noted that the owner’s representative and building contractor are encouraged to notify the neighbors of anything happening that might effect them, and provide contact information with the contractors. Mr. Fieldman said that the detailed process for public input is in the control of the Village. This is the Village’s opportunity to set the benchmark for how to do in-fill development in a residential neighborhood.
Commissioner Schnell said the reason she asked about working with residents is that concerns were expressed with the building of the Park District Recreation Center, and she doesn’t want to see some of the same problems occur here. From her perspective she would like to see invitations extended to the neighborhood when meetings are to be scheduled. Commissioner Schnell said she would get the information to Mr. Fieldman regarding the concerns expressed during the building of the recreation center.
Commissioner Waldack said that he understood that the owner’s representative has not worked with William Architects in the past. Also he himself researched Williams Architects, stating that Mr. Bushhouse’s name had come up, and Commissioner Waldack is comfortable with Williams Architects and the Village’s owner’s representative selected to work on this project. He then asked about having a “green” firehouse and an energy saving building.
Mr. Bushhouse said that they are a LEED certified firm and will go through energy conservation steps to design a “green” building at whatever level the Village chooses. Most municipalities have not been interested in getting any particular rating, but are interested in being environmentally friendly. He said that there is a cost both in design and functionality for green buildings. He added that most municipalities do not pay for electricity and gas, which is actually where the highest savings are made.
Commissioner Tully thanked Mr. Bushhouse for his information. He then asked Mr. Fieldman about some of the references from other communities where Fire Stations have been designed. Mr. Fieldman said they received very positive feedback in terms of reference checks and many municipalities invited the Council to visit the site designed by Williams Architects. Commissioner Tully said he would be interested in doing that because he noted how helpful it was to him to visit parking decks when trying to determine what would be done for the Village parking deck.
Manager Pavlicek added that the end users of the Fire Station is the firefighters, as it is their home as well as their workplace, and they are in the best position to know the placement of laundry facilities, mop closets, etc.
Commissioner Tully said his reason for suggesting visiting the other sites is to enable the Council and Village staff to have a better understanding of what the consultants are talking about, and not to actually design the building.
Manager Pavlicek said that the Village wants to challenge Mr. Bushhouse and the owner’s representative to be sure that the Village gets the best design.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the staff has been in contact with Mr. Cermak of the Park District, and Mr. Fieldman said they have.
Commissioner Tully then said that, with respect to the parking deck, the Village had the engineer as well as an owner’s representative working with the general contractor. He noted that this situation is not dissimilar from the parking deck project. He stated he would make no comments as to the placement of the mop closets.
Mayor Krajewski noted that sometimes when there are construction issues, the problems often are between the Council members and not the specialists.
Mr. Fieldman said that staff is now working with five people on the committee, and throughout the process they will seek input from all of the firefighters. He noted that staff would clearly outline the process and distribute that information to the Council. The team consists of the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief, Battalion Chief, Lieutenant and a firefighter from Station 2. Surveys have been distributed to all of the firefighters and their responses have been tabulated.
Budget Amendment for Fiscal Year 05/06. The Manager said that this budget amendment is for unanticipated Police Pension payouts. Two individuals made a determination to make withdrawals in lump sums from their retirement. Those figures were not calculated in the earlier amendment.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
The Manager said that the first Farmers’ Market Coffee with the Council will be Saturday. She added that she and Mike Baker will be attending a conference in Galena from Wednesday to Friday this week. Deputy Village Manager Fieldman will be in charge.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting three items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing attendance and participation in the DuPage County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement for professional services between the Village of Downers Grove and Williams Associates Architects, Ltd., and 3) An ordinance providing for an amendment to Ordinance #4766 and the Village of Downers Grove budget for Fiscal Year 2005/06.
Chris Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, congratulated the Council on the completion of all sidewalk segments and expressed her gratitude to the Village and staff for completing the project. She noted that the corner of Cornell and Gilbert was a work of creative engineering. She is pleased that three parks are now connected, and residents can now walk to the downtown area.
Commissioner Tully said there are ten days remaining until Heritage Festival, which will be held June 23, 24 and 25. It is free and the best festival in the West. He said ride preview night is June 22. Discounted ride tickets are on sale through June 21 at various locations throughout Downers Grove including the Village Hall and Public Works facility.
Commissioner Tully said he was pleased to attend a Community Tree Preservation Forum at the Morton Arboretum. It was attended by representatives of many localities. Different ideas to preserve trees and provide incentives were discussed and he will share that information with the Council.
Mayor Krajewski said that Heritage Festival draws 120,000 people annually. He referenced the DuPage Convention Bureau book and did not see the Heritage Festival mentioned, nor the bike race or the car shows. He asked if schedules are sent to them.
Mary Scalzetti , Director, Tourism & Events, said schedules were sent to the Bureau. The Mayor noted that other communities that are not members have activities listed. He asked Commissioner Schnell to call and discuss this matter with the Bureau.
Ms. Scalzetti said that staff sent the Convention Bureau all of the 2006 events. She noted that the Village is not on their website either. The Mayor said it seems as though this is the second time the Convention Bureau has not recognized the Village’s events.
Mayor Krajewski congratulated the Downers Grove South Mustangs for taking 2nd place in the State 12” softball competition.
The Mayor asked staff to look into ComEd providing municipalities with free electricity. He asked if they are under contract for that, as there have been inquiries from the Park District to participate as well. The Manager said staff would obtain that information.
Mayor Krajewski said that next week’s Council meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m., and will continue with the Strategic Planning meeting immediately following the Council meeting.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh