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.
Barnett (Barney) Ruttenberg was re-elected to the Park Board of Commissioners in 2019. He serves as the Park Board president 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 and Park Avenue Beach where Barney enjoys sailing and kayaking. Active in the North Shore Yacht Club, Barney served as both Commodore and Board President.
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.
Terry Grossberg is enjoying his first term on the Park Board and serves as the Park Board liaison to the Parks Foundation of Highland Park. 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. Terry has been a teacher for 34 years and currently serves as the Instrumental Music Department Chairman in Deerfield District 109.
Terry and his wife Marla moved to Highland Park in 1993. They made the move in part because of the parks and the lakefront which made Highland Park stand out above other communities. Along with his two children, Emily and Danny, they are proud to call Highland Park home.
Terry is a passionate volunteer and dedicates most of his free time to a variety of causes. He is the liaison to the City’s Human Relations Advisory Group (HRAG), organizer of the MLK Day of Service, a volunteer for the Moraine Township Food Pantry and the Stupey Cabin Restoration. Terry is a recipient of the City’s Character Counts Award and is the founder of HPForward – a pro-kindness initiative on the North Shore.
As the head of HPForward, Terry has helped build a community of over 1,200 – mostly Highland Park residents, which aims to volunteer more, do more random acts of kindness, and overall simply look out for each other around town. The HPForward community has done several initiatives around town, but the two of which he is proudest are “Dinners with Dignity”, in conjunction with Catholic Charities at St. James Church in Highwood and “Tree Hugs.” In the past year, Tree Hugs provided coats and other warm winter gear to over 200 residents in less fortunate neighborhoods.
Terry is an avid tennis, paddle and pickle ball player and enjoys playing golf at Sunset Valley Golf Club.
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 is serving her first term as a Park Commissioner.
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.
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.
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.
Workshop and Regular meetings will be held in person and live streamed. If you wish to attend virtually, please register below. Registrants will receive an email with meeting access information from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone wishing to speak who is attending virtually will need to use the “Raise Hand” function in Zoom to indicate that they would like to speak. The Board President or Board Secretary will call on registrants who have activated the “Raise Hand” feature in alphabetical order. Comments are limited to 3 minutes per person.
Written statements from the public will be shared with the Park Board, but not read aloud at Park Board Meetings during public comment. Written statements may be emailed to Roxanne Hejnowski, Executive Coordinator, at email@example.com
|Jan 5, 2022||Special – CANCELED|
|Jan 11, 2022 @ 5pm||Lakefront, Parks, & Natural Areas Committee|
|Jan 11, 2022||Workshop|
|Jan 20, 2022 @ 5pm||Facility & Recreation Committee|
|Jan 20, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Jan 26, 2022 @ 6pm||Regular Board|
|Feb 2, 2022 @ 6pm||Special – CANCELED|
|Feb 9, 2022 @ 5pm||Facility & Recreation Committee|
|Feb 9, 2022||Workshop|
|Feb 16, 2022 @ 5pm||Lakefront, Parks, and Natural Areas Committee|
|Feb 16, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Feb 23, 2022 @ 5pm||Policy Committee|
|Feb 23, 2022 @ 6pm||Regular Board|
|Mar 9, 2022 @ 5pm||Facility & Recreation Committee|
|Mar 9, 2022 @ 6pm||Workshop|
|Mar 16, 2022 @ 5pm||Lakefront, Parks & Natural Areas Committee|
|Mar 16, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Mar 30, 2022 @ 6pm||Regular Board|
|Apr 13, 2022 @ 5pm||Facility & Recreation Committee|
|Apr 13, 2022 @ 6pm||Workshop|
|Apr 20, 2022 @ 5pm||Lakefront, Parks, and Natural Areas Committee Meeting|
|Apr 20, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Apr 27, 2022 @ 6pm||Regular Board|
|May 18, 2022 @ 6pm||Workshop (May 11 Rescheduled and Revised)|
|May 25, 2022 @ 6pm||Annual Meeting|
|May 25, 2022||Regular Board|
|Jun 15, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Jun 15, 2022 @ 6pm||Workshop Board Meeting|
|Jun 22, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Jun 22, 2022 @ 6pm||Finance Committee Meeting|
|Jun 29, 2022 @ 6pm||Regular Board Meeting|
|Jul 13, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Jul 13, 2022||Workshop|
|Jul 20, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Jul 20, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Jul 27, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Jul 27, 2022||Regular Board|
|Aug 10, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Aug 10, 2022||Workshop|
|Aug 17, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Aug 17, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Aug 24, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Aug 24, 2022||Regular Board|
|Sep 14, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Sep 14, 2022||Workshop|
|Sep 21, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Sep 21, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Sep 28, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Sep 28, 2022||Regular Board|
|Oct 12, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Oct 12, 2022||Workshop|
|Oct 19, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Oct 19, 2022||Finance Committee|
|Oct 26, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Oct 26, 2022||Regular Board|
|Nov 9, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Nov 9, 2022||Workshop|
|Nov 16, 2022||Regular Board|
|Dec 7, 2022 @ 5pm||Committee TBA|
|Dec 7, 2022||Workshop|
|Dec 14, 2022||Regular Board|