Glencoe beach group barks about butts
A group of young women visited the Glencoe Beach on an unseasonably warm day Oct. 25 | Irv Leavitt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2013 4:48PM
GLENCOE — A new broom sweeps clean?
Not necessarily at Glencoe’s beach, according to the Glencoe Beach and Park District Advisory Group, at least, not yet.
The Park District has a four-month interim director, Steve Nagle, and a one-year beach and facilities boss, Dave Johnson. It also has continuing issues with garbage, smoking and employee unresponsiveness on the beach, according to group member Tom Sparks.
“We have a problem at the beach,” Sparks complained to the Park Board at a recent meeting. “This didn’t happen overnight.”
It may be worse, he added, due to “a lot more non-residents, a lot more people.”
Last season, the ranks of beachgoers were swelled by a deal with the Northbrook Park District that gives that town’s residents equal rights to the beach for similar rights of Glencoe users at Northbrook’s pools.
Smoking often goes unchecked, Sparks and other members said, leading to cigarette butts in the sand. Garbage stays on the beach. People curse at each other, and illegally walk dogs on the sand during beach season.
Group members, now preparing a report, hadn’t warned they’d vent in public, district President Max Retsky said, but the board didn’t blame police response or otherwise react defensively. Neither did Nagle when asked about the complaints last week.
“As we get that feedback, we’ll try to figure out what our managers and beach supervisors can do better,” he said Oct. 24. “Can we improve? Absolutely.”
He said the group has done a lot for the beach, recommending about a dozen recent changes, including a larger swimming area, new “sprayground” kids’ play area and picnic deck.
He said he and Johnson will study the upcoming report and a beach users’ survey, and start changing things before next season.
Lasting remedies won’t be a slam-dunk, as beach employees tend to be temporary and young. Also, the beach isn’t like a gym, easily locked up to prevent illicit or careless use.
“People have access to it 24 hours a day, and we cannot control it every moment,” Nagle said.
“We’ll try to get better at what we do when we are there.”