Board of Park Commissioners & Meetings

The Park District of Highland Park is governed by a five-member elected Board of Park Commissioners. Members serve without compensation and are directly responsible to the electorate.   Commissioners serve staggered terms of six years with elections every two years. The Board establishes policy and strategic direction; creates ordinances that govern the District; appoints Board officers, Executive Director, Park Board Attorney and Auditor.

Each Commissioner individually acts as a liaison to the District’s internal and resident advisory committees. The Board meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month and holds a workshop (meeting of the whole) on the second Wednesday of each month. Any resident of the Park District of Highland Park who meets the requirements set forth by the Lake County Board of elections is eligible to run for a seat on the Park Board.

Park Board

Cal Bernstein

President

Re-Elected to the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners in April 2019, Calvin (“Cal”) Bernstein was named chairman of the Park District’s Finance Committee in 2011. He co-chairs the Golf and the Baseball Advisory Committees and serves as the Park Board liaison on the Greenprint 2024 project team.

His commitment to Highland Park and its ongoing success is shown through his community involvement. Over the last 22 years, Cal has coached dozens of Park District-sponsored house and travel baseball teams. He is a former member of the City of Highland Park Zoning Board of Appeals and currently serves as a charter member of the Highland Park Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Cal Bernstein earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and holds a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law. Currently, he is a named partner in the law firm Samuels & Bernstein. Cal, his wife Julie, and his children continue to be active users of the Park District programs and facilities.

Jennifer Freeman

Vice President

Jen began her journey of local voluntarism shortly after settling in Highland Park in 2010. She has held leadership positions on community boards and committees such as the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, Highland Park Historical Society, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), NSSD 112 Caucus and NSSD112 Reconfiguration 2.0 Community Team. As a board member for the Parks Foundation of Highland Park she worked closely with the Park District administration to help raise awareness and funding for the SMILE Grant-in-Aid program for those in our community who are financially unable to participate in Park District programming.

Jen is a former practicing litigator and currently holds a senior business development role for a Chicago tech company. Prior to this, she leveraged her litigation and legislative/regulatory expertise into a fifteen-year tenure in legal tech consulting for two large advisory firms.

Jen appreciates the effort and planning it takes to balance a budget and achieve balance as a working mom. With three elementary-aged kids, her personal experience with Park District facilities and programs inspired her to participate in the success and innovation of both going forward. She champions intergovernmental cooperation and has considerable knowledge of and familiarity with other local governing entities and organizations. Jen brings her dedication to Highland Park, knowledge of and love for the Park District, and prior local board experience to the Park Board.

Terry Grossberg

Commissioner

Terry Grossberg enjoys his term on the Park Board and serves as the Park Board liaison to the Human Relations Advisory Group (HRAG). He is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Music Education as well. Terry retired from teaching in 2022 after 36 years in education at all levels.

Terry and his wife Marla moved to Highland Park in 1993. They made the move in part because of the parks and lakefront which made Highland Park stand out above other communities. Along with their two children, Emily and Danny, they are still proud to call Highland Park home.

Terry is a passionate volunteer and dedicates much of his free time to a variety of causes. Aside from his work with the HRAG, he also helps organize the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, volunteers at the Moraine Township Food Pantry and helps out around the city and township whenever he is needed.

Terry’s new endeavor is as a Teen Board Advisor for Gratitude Generation, a local charitable organization whose mission is to instill gratitude in future generations through education and service. Additionally, he is the Conductor and Director of Music of the Crystal Lake Community Band in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Terry is an avid tennis, paddle and pickleball player who also enjoys finding sea glass at Moraine Beach, taking walks to Millard Beach and The Preserve with his family and their dog Shady, and of course hitting the links at Sunset Valley Golf Club.

Brian Kaplan

Commissioner

Brian Kaplan’s passion for the Park District of Highland Park was born from his own experience forming, coaching and managing a local youth travel baseball team for six years.

Elected to the Park District Board of Commissioners in April 2011, he currently co-chairs the Athletics, Hidden Creek AquaPark, Recreation Center of Highland Park, Senior Program, Sunset Valley Golf Course, Sustainability, and Youth Program Advisory Committees. He also serves as the Park Board liaison to the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA).

A member of the law firm of Dickler Kahn Slowikowski & Zavell, Brian has over 28 years of litigation experience representing parties in civil litigation matters, including personal injury claims, contract matters, product liability claims, medical malpractice claims, third party and employers’ liability claims, and arson claims. In addition, for the past 14 years he has handled workers’ compensation claims on behalf of employers.

Brian’s legal work is concentrated in all phases of trial work. He has successfully defended employers in numerous arbitration hearings and oral arguments before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, as well as several Circuit Court and Appellate Court appeals.

A Highland Park resident since 1969, Brian remains dedicated to the ongoing improvement of the community. He has two children with his wife Julie, who are all frequent users of the Park District of Highland Park programs and facilities.

Barnett Ruttenberg

Commissioner

Barnett (Barney) Ruttenberg was re-elected to the Park Board of Commissioners in 2019. He serves as the Park Board Commissioner and as a member of the Finance Committee. Having earned his BA from the University of Illinois and his JD from Northwestern Law School, Barney’s legal career focused on Real Estate transactions. His ability to listen to people, synthesize information, and negotiate solutions to problems serves him well in public service.

Serving on the Park Board is another in a long list of Barney’s public service contributions. While actively engaged in his legal career, Barney served as a member and chairman of the Highland Park Plan Commission. He served on the Lakefront Advisory Committee, the Rosewood Beach Task Force, and on his synagogue’s school board. Barney offered pro bono counsel to Openlands in the acquisition and development of the Fort Sheridan nature preserve site.

Raising two sons in Highland Park, the family enthusiastically used many of the Park District’s programs, camps, and facilities. As energetic adults, he and his wife Marsha are frequent users of the Recreation Center of Highland Park.  Barney served as Commodore of the North Dhore Yacht Club.

With a wealth of professional experience, his finger on the pulse of the community, and a focus on fiscal responsibility, Barney is well prepared to represent the residents of Highland Park as they look to the Park District to provide excellent programs, services, and facilities for residents of all ages.

Board Meetings, Agendas & Minutes

Public meetings are held in person at West Ridge Center, 636 Ridge Road, Highland Park, IL 60035 unless otherwise indicated. Meeting dates are subject to change by action of the Board of Commissioners.

Emergency Meetings may be scheduled in addition to Regular or Committee Meetings. Notice of these meetings will be posted on this website, in the lobby of West Ridge Center, and sent to local news media. If you are interested in meeting agendas and minutes that are not archived on the website please call: 847.831.3810.

The Park Board of Commissioners welcomes public comments during Regular, Workshop, Committee, and Special Meetings. Pursuant to Policy # 2.06.14, of the Park District Policy Manual, the Board has adopted and approved the following ordinance regarding rules for public comment.

Monthly Meeting Highlights

2024 Meetings

Date Meeting Agenda Minutes Video Register
Jan 10, 2024   @ 6pm Facility and Recreation Committee
Jan 17, 2024   @ 6pm Revised Workshop
Jan 31, 2024   @ 6pm Revised Regular
Feb 14, 2024   @ 5pm Facility and Recreation Committee
Feb 14, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Feb 15, 2024   @ 8am Finance Committee
Feb 28, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Mar 12, 2024   @ 8am Finance Committee
Mar 13, 2024   @ 5pm Facility and Recreation Committee
Mar 13, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop-REVISED
Mar 20, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Apr 10, 2024   @ 5pm Facility and Recreation Committee
Apr 10, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Apr 16, 2024   @ 8am REVISED – Finance Committee
Apr 24, 2024   @ 5pm Lakefront, Parks & Natural Areas Committee
Apr 24, 2024   @ 6pm REVISED – Regular
May 1, 2024   @ 5pm Facility and Recreation Committee
May 8, 2024   @ 6pm REVISED – Workshop
May 13, 2024   @ 4pm Facility and Recreation Committee
May 14, 2024   @ 8am REVISED – Finance Committee
May 22, 2024   @ 6pm Annual
May 22, 2024   @ 6:15pm Regular
Jun 12, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Jun 26, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Jul 17, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Jul 31, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Aug 14, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Aug 28, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Sep 11, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Sep 25, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Oct 16, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Oct 30, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Nov 13, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Nov 20, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Dec 11, 2024   @ 6pm Workshop
Dec 18, 2024   @ 6pm Regular
Date
Jan 10, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Facility and Recreation Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Jan 17, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Revised Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Jan 31, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Revised Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Feb 14, 2024   @ 5pm
Meeting
Facility and Recreation Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Feb 14, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Feb 15, 2024   @ 8am
Meeting
Finance Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Feb 28, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Mar 12, 2024   @ 8am
Meeting
Finance Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Mar 13, 2024   @ 5pm
Meeting
Facility and Recreation Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Mar 13, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop-REVISED
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Mar 20, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Apr 10, 2024   @ 5pm
Meeting
Facility and Recreation Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Apr 10, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Apr 16, 2024   @ 8am
Meeting
REVISED – Finance Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Apr 24, 2024   @ 5pm
Meeting
Lakefront, Parks & Natural Areas Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
Apr 24, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
REVISED – Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
May 1, 2024   @ 5pm
Meeting
Facility and Recreation Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
May 8, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
REVISED – Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
May 13, 2024   @ 4pm
Meeting
Facility and Recreation Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
May 14, 2024   @ 8am
Meeting
REVISED – Finance Committee
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
May 22, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Annual
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
Register
Date
May 22, 2024   @ 6:15pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Jun 12, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Jun 26, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Jul 17, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Jul 31, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Aug 14, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Aug 28, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Sep 11, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Sep 25, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Oct 16, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Oct 30, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Nov 13, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Nov 20, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Dec 11, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Workshop
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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Date
Dec 18, 2024   @ 6pm
Meeting
Regular
Agendas
Minutes
Videos
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