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Board of Park Commissioners

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 Tuesday of each month and holds a workshop (meeting of the whole) on the second Tuesday 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.

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Barney
Barnett Ruttenberg (Term ends: 2025)
President
bruttenberg@pdhp.org
Barnett (Barney) Ruttenberg was re-elected to the Park Board of Commissioners in 2019. He serves at 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 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 (Term ends: 2023)
Vice President
tgrossberg@pdhp.org
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 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.

Cal
Cal Bernstein (Term ends: 2025)
cbernstein@pdhp.org
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 name 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 (Term ends: 2027)
jfreeman@pdhp.org
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
Brian Kaplan (Term ends: 2027)
bkaplan@pdhp.org
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 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.

 


Members of the public may attend Workshop or Regular Board Meetings in-person or virtually. If you wish to attend virtually, please register below. Registrants will receive an email with meeting access information from it@pdhp.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 rhejnowski@pdhp.org

 


2021 Upcoming Meetings

TUESDAY, SEPT 21 at 4pm                  Facility Committee Meeting

WEDNESDAY, SEPT 22 at 5pm          Finance Committee Meeting

TUESDAY, SEPT 28 at 6pm                 Regular Meeting

THURSDAY SEPT 30 at 4pm               Parks & Natural Areas Committee Meeting

TUESDAY, OCT 5 at 4pm                      Finance Committee Meeting

THURSDAY, OCT 7 at 4pm                  Lakefront Committee Meeting

TUESDAY, OCT 12 at 6pm                    Workshop Meeting

THURSDAY, OCT 14 at 4pm                Facility Committee Meeting

TUESDAY, OCT 19 at 4pm                    Recreation Committee Meeting

THURSDAY, OCT 21 at 4pm                Finance Committee Meeting

TUESDAY, OCT 26 AT 6pm                 Regular Meeting

THURSDAY, OCT 28 at 4pm               Parks & Natural Areas Committee Meeting

TUESDAY, NOV 9 at 6pm                     Workshop Meeting

TUESDAY, NOV 16 at 6pm                    Regular Meeting

TUESDAY, DEC 7 at 6pm                       Workshop Meeting

THURSDAY, DEC 16 at 6pm                  Regular Meeting

 


2021 Board Meetings, Agendas, & Minutes

DATEAGENDAREGISTERVIDEOMINUTES
Tuesday, September 21 Facility Committee Meeting September 21, 2021 Facility Committee Meeting Agenda
Canceled Tuesday, September 14 Workshop MeetingCanceled - September 14 2021 Workshop Meeting
Monday, September 13 Policy Committee Meeting September 13, 2021 Policy Committee Meeting Agenda
Thursday, September 9 Lakefront Committee Meeting September 9, 2021 Lakefront Committee Meeting Agenda
Thursday, September 2, 2021 Recreation Committee Meeting September 2, 2021 Recreation Committee Meeting Agenda
Canceled Thursday, August 26 Recreation Committee Meeting Canceled August 26, 2021 Recreation Committee Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, August 24 Regular Board MeetingAugust 24 2021 Regular Board Meeting Packet (UPDATED)RegisterVideo
Thursday, August 19 Finance Committee Meeting August 19, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, August 17 Lakefront Committee Meeting August 17, 2021 Lakefront Committee Meeting AgendaAugust 17, 2021 Minutes of the Lakefront Committee Meeting
Thursday, August 12 Facility Committee MeetingAugust 12, 2021 Facility Committee Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, August 10 Workshop MeetingAugust 10, 2021 Workshop Meeting PacketVideo
Tuesday, July 27 Regular Board MeetingJuly 27, 2021 Regular Board Meeting PacketVideoJuly 27, 2021 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting
Tuesday, July 20 Finance Committee Meeting July 20, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting Agenda (updated)July 20, 2021 Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Thursday, July 15 Policy Committee Meeting July 15, 2021 Policy Committee Meeting AgendaJuly 15, 2021 Minutes of the Policy Committee Meeting
Tuesday, July 13 Facility Committee Meeting July 13, 2021 Facility Committee Meeting AgendaJuly 13, 2021 Minutes of the Facility Committee Meeting
Canceled Tuesday, July 13 Workshop MeetingCanceled July 13, 2021 Workshop Meeting
Canceled Friday, July 9 Special Meeting Canceled July 9, 2021 Special Meeting
Thursday, July 8 Lakefront Committee Meeting July 8, 2021 Lakefront Committee Meeting AgendaJuly 8, 2021 Minutes of the Lakefront Committee Meeting
Thursday, June 24 Facility Committee Meeting June 24, 2021 Facility Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoJune 24, 2021 Minutes of the Facility Committee Meeting
Tuesday, June 22 Regular Board MeetingJune 22, 2021 Regular Board Meeting PacketRegisterVideoJune 22, 2021 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting
Wednesday, June 16 Parks and Nature Area CommitteeJune 16, 2021 Parks and Natural Areas Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideo
Canceled - Tuesday, June 15 Parks and Nature Area CommitteeCANCELED - June 15, 2021 Parks and Natural Areas Committee Meeting Agenda
Monday, June 14 Finance Committee Meeting June 14, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoJune 14, 2021 Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Tuesday, June 8 Workshop Meeting June 8, 2021 Workshop Meeting PacketRegisterVideoJune 8, 2021 Minutes of the Workshop Meeting
Canceled - Tuesday, June 8 Policy Committee Meeting CANCELED - June 8, 2021 Policy Committee Meeting Agenda
Thursday, June 3 Lakefront Committee Meeting June 3, 2021 Lakefront Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoJune 3, 2021 Minutes of the Lakefront Committee Meeting
Friday, May 28 Special Meeting AGENDA - May 28, 2021 Special MeetingMay 28, 2021 Minutes of the Special Meeting
Tuesday, May 25 Regular Board MeetingMay 25, 2021 Regular Board Meeting PacketRegisterVideoMay 25, 2021 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, May 20 Finance Committee Meeting May 20, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoMay 20, 2021 MInutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Tuesday, May 11 Workshop MeetingMay 11, 2021 Workshop Meeting packetRegisterVideoMay 11, 2021 Minutes of Workshop Meeting
Tuesday, May 11 Annual Board MeetingMay 11 2021 Annual Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoMay 11, 2021 Minutes of Annual Meeting
Canceled - Thursday, May 6 Finance Committee Meeting CANCELED - May 6, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, April 27 Regular Board MeetingApril 27, 2021 Regular Board Meeting PacketRegisterVideoApril 27, 2021 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, April 22 Finance Committee Meeting April 22, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoApril 22, 2021 Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Tuesday, April 13 Workshop MeetingApril 13, 2021 Workshop Meeting PacketRegisterVideoApril 13, 2021 Minutes of Workshop Meeting
Thursday, April 8 Finance Committee Meeting April 8 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoApril 8, 2021 MInutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Canceled - Tuesday, April 6 Special Meeting CANCELED - April 6, 2021 Special Meeting
Tuesday, March 30 Regular Board MeetingMarch 30, 2021 Regular Board Meeting PacketRegisterVideoMarch 30, 2021 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting
Wednesday, March 17 Finance Committee Meeting March 17, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoMarch 17, 2021 MInutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Tuesday, March 9 Workshop MeetingMarch 9, 2021 Workshop meeting PacketRegisterVideoMarch 9, 2021 MInutes of the Workshop Meeting
Thursday, March 4 Finance Committee Meeting March 4 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaRegisterVideoMarch 4, 2021 Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Tuesday, February 23 Regular Board MeetingFebruary 23, 2021 Regular Board Meeting PacketRegisterVideoFebruary 23, 2021 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, February 18 Finance Committee Meeting February 18, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting Agenda



VideoFebruary 18, 2021 MInutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Tuesday, February 9 Workshop MeetingFebruary 9, 2021 Workshop Meeting PacketVideoFebruary 9, 2021 Minutes of the Workshop Meeting
Thursday, February 4, Finance Committee Meeting February 4, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaVideoFebruary 4, 2021 Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Canceled - Tuesday, January 26 Regular Board MeetingCANCELED - January 26, 2021 Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, January 21 Finance Committee Meeting January 21, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting AgendaVideoJanuary 21, 2021 Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
Canceled - Thursday, January 14 Finance Committee MeetingCANCELED - January 14, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, January 12 Workshop MeetingJanuary 12, 2021 Workshop Meeting PacketVideoJanuary 12, 2021 Miuntes of the Workshop Meeting

Click Here for Archived Board Meeting Information