Saturday, April 5, 2014

Skokie Park District's Playground for the North Shore Elite: Loyola Academy's Dammrich Rowing Center

When President Barack Obama said, "We've got to spread the wealth around," the people who run the Skokie Park District apparently took it to heart.
So do Skokie taxpayers get to use the
Wilmette and Winnetka beaches for free?

Although, maybe not in quite the way Obama meant.

Today, some 400 North Shore residents, from posh places like Kenilworth, Winnetka, Wilmette and Lake Forest took over the taxpayer subsidized, Skokie Park District's Channelside Park.

They got the run of the entire place. They got free parking.

And they didn't pay a penny.

And they were subsidized by the chumps who live in Skokie and pay property taxes to the Skokie Park District taxing authority.

The well-heeled North Shore denizens were slumming it in Skokie today, to celebrate an elite sport: competitive crew rowing.

They held a regatta which brought in contestants from Woodlands Academy (Lake Forest), New Trier High School (Kenilworth), the exclusive Lincoln Park School (Chicago), private and exclusive St. Ignatius (Chicago) as well as several other elite prep schools from New York and elsewhere.

They were all there at the behest of the exclusive, ultra-expensive Loyola Academy of Wilmette, which sponsored the event. They called it The Judge Dunne Invitational - no doubt named for some clout heavy Democrat hack with ties to the North Shore Jesuit school sponsors.
Apparently it's legal to sleep overnight in Skokie
 Parks if you're from an elite North Shore school

Skokie taxpayers paid for this.

Loyola Academy paid nothing.

That is according to a missive we received from one John Ohrlund, spokesman for the Skokie Park District. Last year we inquired as to how much the posh Wilmette school was paying to have its rowing center on Skokie Park District property.

In a missive sent to us on October 24th of last year, Skokie's Mr. Ohrlund replied: "Loyola Academy Rowing Association paid no fees per the agreement with the  (Skokie Park) District."

And Wilmette's posh private academy has an entire compound there on Skokie Park District property. It's complete with a large edifice containing indoor training facilities and outdoor sheds for storage. They store vehicles and equipment on that Skokie property year-round.

Now during the Saturday event, Skokie taxpayers who wanted to use that public parkland to reach the Skokie Pooch Park, were denied entry to the customary parking lot whose entrance is off Oakton St., just East of the MWRD canal. Loyola Academy posted guards at the gates denying entrance to non-participants in their elite event.
The Skokie Park District bike path became an
adjunct to the North Shore elitists' event

And Skokie taxpayers, who cared to bike on the bike path there -- could -- if they would just get off their bikes and walk thru the throngs of well heeled North Shore parents and rich kids who essentially appropriated the path as an adjunct to their party.

This arrangement for the free use of Skokie Park District property by an ultra-elite North Shore School was the brainchild of one Thomas J. Dammrich.

He was the President of the Skokie Park District back in 2001 when the sweetheart giveaway of public resources was made.

And guess what?

Thomas J. Dammrich's sons went to elite Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

And guess what?

Thomas J. Dammrich's sons were on the Loyola Academy rowing team.

And guess for whom the Loyola Academy Rowing Center, owned and maintained by Skokie taxpayers is named?

You guessed it.

It's the "Loyola Academy Thomas J. Dammrich Rowing Center."

But no big deal. Skokie residents aren't due to pay property taxes again for another few months.

But there were several other issues here.

1) For an estimated 200 to 400 people, Loyola Academy Rowing Association organizers arranged for 2 [count 'em 2] porta-potties which were located off Main St., nearly 4 blocks from the main event. (We'll be asking Skokie Village Health Department officials about this.)
2 portable outhouses for an event with 200-400 people

2) Loyola Rowing Association organizers had traffic control guys in orange and yellow outfits stopping traffic for event onlookers who wanted to cross Main St. (Wonder what the Skokie and Evanston Police Departments have to say about this?)

Loyola Academy had its own traffic crossing
 guards on Skokie and Evanston's Main street
Oh, and one last thing. Skokie's High schools, Niles West and Niles North were not participants in the chi-chi rowing competition. And according to members of the Loyola Academy Rowing Association, not a single Skokie resident was a member of their team at the Skokie taxpayer-subsidized event.

The elite North Shore crowd probably wouldn't feel comfortable rubbing shoulders with the Great Unwashed.

But, just out of curiosity -- do Skokie taxpayers get to use the beaches in Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka and Lake Forest for free?

Just wonderin'.


  1. You raise great questions here, none of which will be adequately explained by the SPD. Typical political hypocrisy. You would think the ultra-liberal voters and leaders of Skokie would be outraged. SPD might not be getting paid, but someone is.

  2. Thanks. It's too bad there is no longer either a serious newspaper or serious political competition in Skokie. If there were this issue would be tailor made for winning a election to the Skokie Park board. A person could campaign on the promise to exert reciprocity from Wilmette, Winnetka etc. for Skokie resident use of their beaches. And if that weren't forthcoming, demand out-of-district parking fees from anybody who parks at the spaces near the rowing center. SPD has never been bashful about taking in revenue, now have they? This should be right up their alley.

  3. Slumming it in Skokie, that's funny. What's next, Polo in Niles?

    1. You actually stole my joke. I was going to end by suggesting that the Skokie Park District might start offering free use of the big Northern field at Channelside Pk. for North Shore Polo events.

      Great minds think alike


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.