Home News Winnetka Park Board Engages in Donation Offer Discussions with Justin Ishbia — No Updates Anticipated for a Minimum of One Month

Winnetka Park Board Engages in Donation Offer Discussions with Justin Ishbia — No Updates Anticipated for a Minimum of One Month

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Winnetka Park Board Engages in Donation Offer Discussions with Justin Ishbia — No Updates Anticipated for a Minimum of One Month

Representatives from the Winnetka Park Board met with property owner Justin Ishbia regarding his $3 million donation proposal, however the board’s president said that it’s going to be a while before any details will probably be discussed publicly.

Park Board President Christina Codo provided a temporary update on the donation offer throughout the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Responding to a Wilmette Park Board solicitation, Ishbia proposed a $3 million donation in September to assist fund the Winnetka Park District’s efforts of renovating Elder and Centennial beaches. The offer comes at a time when a proposed property exchange agreement between Ishbia and the Winnetka Park District is taken into account “dormant.”

Ishbia owns 261 Sheridan Road, which separates the 2 beaches. The agreement would have merged the 2 beaches, but within the face of public scrutiny, the Park Board scrapped plans that included the park-splitting property. At Thursday’s meeting, the Park Board voted to maneuver forward with a plan that addresses the problems at Elder and Centennial while ignoring the property exchange.

The Ishbia family also owns a combined 4 parcels of land that borders Centennial Park to its south.

Codo said that the meeting with Ishbia, which was held on Oct. 10, had five discussion topics, but she said the primary one was a request for more time.

She said the Park Board is in the midst of several big projects, including the Elder-Centennial plan — the ultimate designs of which were approved Thursday evening — along with the board’s annual budget process.

Codo anticipated it will be no less than a month before anything comes out of the discussions.

“I don’t know yet what the timeline will probably be, but now we have a really busy schedule this October, November,” she said. “And so I might look to sometime after that.”

Naming rights were also discussed on the meeting. Ishbia and park officials have discussed the name of the proposed Centennial dog park, some extent of contention for some community members and commissioners, with Commissioner Colleen Root particularly voicing concern about them.

All Codo said about naming rights was that “We didn’t come to any conclusion.”

She also said the park district and Ishbia got here to an agreement that their respective attorneys will document every meeting, and their notes can be shared with each other and with the Park Board.

Other discussion topics included an update on the Winnetka Park District’s plans for Elder and Centennial and Ishbia revealing that 205 Sheridan Road, the house he’s constructing just south of Centennial, is anticipated to be accomplished in December 2025.

Root asked for clarification on what document the attorneys will probably be preparing. Codo described it as “a listing of issues to be discussed further.”

Speaking on to Adam Simon, the board’s attorney, Root asked that any information from those meetings be shared with all commissioners.

Codo assured Root that every little thing will probably be transparent.

“I believe now we have adhered to every little thing now we have promised to do,” she said. “We circulated an agenda immediately before we met, which was as soon as we agreed on an agenda. And we’re reporting out the strategy of that.”

She also said that “when now we have a series of meetings, additional agendas, additional report-outs, those will probably be happening in public sessions.

“After which, as a document emerges and evolves, because it is finalized, it’s going to be shared with the board,” Codo said. “I believe it’s an appropriate process, I believe it’s a public process, I don’t think anybody is attempting to hide anything.”

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