French students win top honors in national competition

The view from Dolphin Lake Clubhouse. 
(October 2015 Chronicle file photo)

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District board agreed to make changes to the rental agreement for The Clubhouse at Dolphin Lake and increase fees in an effort to generate more revenue and improve the staff’s working relationship with the renters.

On average, five customers call each day for information on renting The Clubhouse. 

Staff is finding that 50 percent of those renting the space don’t live within the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District boundaries, and of the remaining 50 percent, approximately 25 percent of those renters use an H-F relative’s information to get a resident’s reduced fee.

Park commissioners accepted staff’s recommendations at the board meeting on Tuesday, June 21. It will be the second time fees have been reassessed. The Clubhouse opened in October 2015 and within months staff realized fees were too low. They were raised Feb. 1 and will be increased a second time on July 1.

The $3.25 million clubhouse, at the intersection of 183rd and Governors Highway, replaced a facility that was demolished after it had become obsolete once the park district closed Dolphin Lake pool.

The Clubhouse has a capacity for 120 persons in the main room with its vaulted ceiling and walls of windows offering views of Dolphin Lake. The building has a wrap-around porch and a specially designed events kitchen.

The Clubhouse is typically used for meetings, luncheons, parties and weddings.

With the changes, the park district will consider non-prime time as Monday through Thursday with fees varying between $50 and $70 per hour depending on the size of the room and need for a kitchen. Prime time for rentals will be Friday through Sunday with a fee of $150 per hour, with a four-hour minimum. Weekend party rentals will get an additional hour so events can run until midnight.

There will no longer be a distinction between resident and non-resident charges. Board members were concerned that tax dollars helped pay for the facility and residents should get special consideration, but they had second thoughts on keeping the tiered costs when staff said too many times they have been working with a client who has deceptively used an H-F resident’s address.

It becomes a hassle for staff because, according to the contract, they must work with the resident who signed the paperwork even though that person is not planning or running the party.

“I had a party this weekend and I was calling the resident who signed the contract asking how the tables should be set up, and she told me it wasn’t her party and she hung up,” said Sherri Klein, park district manager of Wiley’s Grill who assists with rentals.

Eliminating resident and non-resident distinctions will give the party planner a direct working relationship with H-F Park District staff, Klein explained.

Stephanie Simpson, superintendent of recreation, asked the board to change the clubhouse deposit fee to $300 for all parties, no matter the number of guests.

Currently the deposit fee is a sliding scale for parties with fewer than or more than 100 people. Many contracts are signed for parties with 96 or 97 guests so that the lower rate applies, but days before the party the number of guests is increased, she explained.

Simpson also urged the board to drop the requirement for a police officer to be present when beer and wine is served. Park district staff members are certified as servers in Illinois and will take on the responsibility of monitoring parties. The fee for the liquor permit and insurance fee will be $300.

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