Cook County Forest Preserve Commissioners Board Meeting
January 24, 2023
Results of a 15 week customer service survey by the Forest Preserves had a 25% response rate. Results indicated:
Observer: Laura Davis
Forest Preserve District (FPD) of Cook County Board Meeting
July 26, 2022
A long awaited report was shared today with the Cook County Forest Preserve Commissioners. The coyote living at the River Trail Nature Center has been determined to be well cared for and healthy. Recommendations suggested such as increasing the size of the enclosure, creating a more natural environment and increasing enrichment opportunities will be pursued. Many public speakers, including during this meeting, suggested moving the coyote to a Wildlife Sanctuary in Colorado. The Wildlife Sanctuary responded to the Cook County Forest Preserve that they turn down as many animals every year as they take in. Furthermore, it would be very stressful to move this animal to the sanctuary. The coyote will stay and live in an enhanced enclosure and continue to broaden the learning opportunities for the over 10,000 preserve visitors, field trip attendees and school children. The enclosure will have improved interpretation and messaging and a camera is planned to be installed.
Another topic of interest discussed was the amount of capital improvement ongoing in the Preserves. The list included:
* improvements to boat docks
* repair of Nature Centers
* meeting ADA access needs
* parking lot removals and restoration
* repair of bike trails
* culvert removal and repair
* water filtration related to picnic areas
* replacement of FP Police vehicles
The Forest Preserves discussed expansion of the Conservation Corps which has worked to restore and conserve 400 acres so far. Money from the federal infrastructure bill will allow the FPD to put in electric car charging stations.
The Cook County Forest Preserves was awarded the “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award” for the 14th year in a row. “The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and represents a significant accomplishment by a local government. The award is given by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) upon its review of the Forest Preserves’ Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for FY 2020.”
Observer - Laura Davis Meeting Length: 2 hours virtually on Facebook
Forest Preserve District (FPD) of Cook County Board Meeting
June 14, 2022
Observer: Carolyn Cosentino
Cook County Forest Preserve District Board Meeting
January 26, 2021
A successful rollout of a vaccine site has opened in the Tinley Park Convention Center. The challenge is having enough vaccine to meet the demand.
Written public comment from Benjamin Cox, Friends of the Forest Preserve, requested that the board set up live video for public speakers, similar to other government units. Commissioners agreed to pursue this option.
Observed online by Laura Davis Meeting length: 2 hours — 10am to 11:57am
Update from Conservation and Policy Council Provided to Forest Preserve District of Cook County Board
Cook County Forest Preserves District (FPDCC) Board Meeting
December 15, 2020 (Meeting held virtually)
Conservation and Policy Council Update
FPDCC is contributing $6,000 from a previous grant to Audubon Great Lake so it can take interested community members on four field trips to restored and enhanced coastal wetlands at Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve and Eggers Marsh in the Calumet region. Forest Preserve Foundation grants have been accepted for ecological restoration at Cranberry Slough Preserve near Village of Palos Park and at Schubert's Woods Preserve near the Village of Park Forest. A third Foundation grant was accepted for the "Forest Preserve Experience Program", an outdoor learning and basic job skill training summer program available to 75 to 100 high school-aged youth whose families are clients of the Housing Authority of CC. Activities include hands-on restoration, environmental education, job skills training. This program is administered by Friends of the Forest Preserves.
NeighborSpace is a nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago established in 1997 by the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and FPDCC overseeing ownership of vacant/untended lots used for community developed gardens and play areas. An intergovernmental agreement was approved for continued funding to NeighborSpace for the period 1/1/2021 to 12/31/2025.
Advertising and promotional services were approved for 2021, targeting groups throughout CC across all media, with attention to economically disconnected areas and those diverse black and Latino populations that usually don't go to preserves. The pandemic has affected distributing copies of event guides to physical locations. Winter programs/activities/information are on the FPDCC website HERE
A contract extension was approved for one year with busing companies. FPDCC's Conservation & Experiential Programming Dept connects community members to nature through a wide range of educational and outdoor experiences. This Dept and the Volunteer Resources Center provides bus transportation for school and community groups to attend programs/events.
The FPDCC calendar 12/15/20 to 12/30/20 is on the website. The nature centers are open only for restrooms. With Covid-19 restrictions, there are no in-person events. Information on virtual programs can be found on their website.
The Forest Preserve Foundation was founded in 2006 to help supplement tax dollars in support of FPDCC. In 2012 it launched an annual golf benefit the "Conservation Cup". In Sept 2020 over 100 golfers at George Dunn National helped the foundation raise $137,000. Since the foundation's beginning, it has awarded $2.5 million.
It was noted that President Preckwinkle and Superintendent Randall have served 10 years in their positions. The 2021 Jan-Dec yearly Wall Calendars are out, featuring photos of Forest Preserves landscapes, close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife. Calendars are available at nature centers.
Observed by: Michele Niccolai Meeting Length: 1.5 hour
Forest Preserve District (FPD) Cook County Board Meeting
Sept. 22, 2020
Meeting called to order at 10:00 am
Agenda Item 20-0279 Adoption of Amended Tree Mitigation Plan. Commissioner Arroyo made a motion to discharge this item from committee, substituting it for 20-0278 which was put into effect Nov. 1, 2020. This substituted item provides greater detail for planning tree mitigation projects within the forest preserves between public utilities and the FPD. Resolution was passed. Other agenda items relating to tree mitigation, including 20-0320, were also passed.
Agenda Item 20-0303. Partnership Agreement with Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) Master Plan. This is a collaboration with over 90 organizations and agencies to leverage their knowledge, resources and expertise to build a healthier, more diverse and resilient regional forest. Partners include Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Arborist Assoc., Antioch, IL; Chgo Dept of Health, Chgo, IL; Metropolitan Mayors Conference, Chgo, IL. Com. Britton stated that a healthy tree canopy is essential in addressing climate change. Passed.
Agenda Item 20-0333 Corporate Fund Analysis of Revenue and Expenditures for July 2020.
Agenda Item 20-0334 Procurement and Disbursements Report, June 1, 2020-July 31, 2020
Agenda Item 20-0335 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), Fiscal Year Ending 12/31/2019, Audit completed. Ending balance for 2019 was $84.7 million, an increase of over $12.6 million from 2018.
CFO Steven Hughes stated that cost cutting steps taken since April include a hiring freeze that has resulted in 50 open positions. Only the most necessary will be filled; these are primarily law enforcement positions. Budget for July was met. CFO reported a “healthy corporation fund balance” is expected this year, due in part to last year’s balance. Vote to Receive and File was passed.
Agenda Item 20-0304 Proposed Resolution in Support of the 10 Shared Principals of the Illinois Assc. of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois NAACP was presented by Com. Britton and co sponsor Com Miller. Com. Britton stated its purpose is to support continued progress in policing. Commissioners made comments and had questions for the sponsors. In response, Britton stated that every suburban police dept. with which they have communicated has already adopted this and adhere to its principles. The IL Association of Chiefs of Police have been involved in discussions with suburban and urban police in developing this and the Association approved this specific language. Com. Miller stated that this statement of principles allows police dept. to review and become current with present concerns in policing. Supt. Randall stated that within the FPD, the focus of policing continues to be developing relationship with the public that is respectful. Supt. Randall stated that the values and intent in the 10 Shared Principles initiative reflect standards the FPD police are expected to achieve. Com. Arroyo moved to refer this to the Law Enforcement Committee for further discussion. Com. S. Morrisson seconded. Com Moore, committee chair, stated this would be be called at next month’s meeting. Passed.
Other items of note:
Observer - Carolyn Cosentino Length of meeting - 2 hr 8 min
Individual authors are credited at the end of each report.