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Readers Argue Both Sides of Rosewood Project

Here's why readers are for and against the Park District's proposed renovations Rosewood Beach.

The  may have gotten more than it bargained for when it  to its plans to redevelop .

If you've been reading Patch lately, you've noticed there's been no shortage of opinions on the issue.

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According to a FAQ recently posted about the development , the proposed plan includes a boardwalk along the beach, a guard house, a concession stand, restrooms, picnic areas, a sand volleyball court, outdoor showers, a beach playground and improvements to the ravine walk and bluff stairs. 

The estimated cost of the project is about $3.7 million, and would be funded through grants and reserves, according to the FAQ.

Since the meetings were announced, Patch has been inundated with letters to the editor and blog posts arguing for and against the plan. Most of these arguments have centered around the Park District's proposed multipurpose beach shelter

The FAQ describes this shelter as a "gathering and departure point for park district camps and school group exploration of the diverse lakefront ecosystem."

From the FAQ:

Interpretive information provides passive education and the glass enclosed room will be available for community use and rentals during off-hours and seasons. (room capacity 35-50 people, restrooms, utility sink). This community space will help to educate and celebrate this Great Lake which is uniquely ours. Revenues generated through rentals and programming will help offset the cost of operation. 

Some residents, including many members of the Ravinia Neighbors Association (RNA), think this building is unnecessary and will harm the beach.

"It will impede the view looking north on the beach and no meaningful purpose has been stated for its presence," .

A loss of lakefront space and a "change to the natural feel that this spot isendowed with" were other reasons argued against the building by Annette Jacobson 

"This is not an appropriate use of the beach," she writes.

Michelle Holleman, on the other hand, called the park district's plan  

"Instead of giant porta potty trailer and ugly metal walls dividing the beach," she writed, "we’ll have functional facilities, a restored beach, and excellent multi-purpose space. Rosewood will be the crown jewel in our park system."

Peggy Laemle, who helped found RNA,  in her argument in favor of the Park District's plan. In her blog post, she details the scenarios in which the multi-purpose building and new facilities would be helpful to visitors both in summer and winter weather.

"How nice it would be to have it improved and to have restrooms instead of the porta-potties," writes  in the . "The beach is a hidden asset for Highland Park and I firmly believe that we should have full access in at least one location."

What do you think? Vote in Patch's poll and, if you're interested in getting into the conversation, click here to post a blog. 

Here's the full list of for and against pieces published on Patch:

For

Against

The public meetings to discuss the project will be held May 2 at 7 p.m. at , 636 Ridge Road, or Sunday, May 6, 1:30 p.m. at  2821 Ridge Road. 

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forest barbieri May 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I attended the meeting last night, unfortunately it was my soccer car pool night and I had to leave before the end of the Park District presentation and Q & A for an 8:00 pick up. What I saw I liked, the exception being the "Interpretive Center." I did hear the call for teaching and using the beach as an educational opportunity for the public and students. However, I am still 100% comfortable that my children could care less about an interpretive center and are MUCH more interested in an accessible, safe, fun beach experience. Just as they do not go to summer camp for extensive studies of mathematics and reading the classics, they do not go to the beach for an education. I would much rather see a structure with a thatched or similar roof, (Perhaps one like the ones at Sunset Park) freestanding, that would compliment a beach environment without walls or sides....no need for the impediment and maintenance of glass on this particular unobtrusive structure....containing some picnic tables. This would encourage picnics, birthday parties and enhance the overall use of the beach in a somewhat sun and rain protected environment. Interpretive would be the open air, beach and fun experience of having a beach that our community can be proud of and utilize. Hopefully that was expressed and the Park District can interpret the communities lack of interest in their interpretive center but support of the rest of the project.
Harris May 13, 2012 at 05:50 AM
I'm all in favor of Rosewood Beach improvements, however, I would be extremely saddened to lose the pier. While I recognize it is not in the greatest shape, I grew up walking out on that pier with my family, and its position away from the shore makes it a perfect place to view fireworks displays at neighboring communities. Any plans should include a renovated and modernized pier.
Paul Silverman July 08, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Doug, While that expresses your view, there is a significant majority of Highland Park parents who value the proposed educational component. Come on RNA, don't be obstructionist
David Greenberg July 08, 2012 at 06:38 PM
"A significant majority of Highland Park Parents". As a HP Parent myself, I don't ever recall being asked in any survey how I felt about the so-called educational component. When was this survey taken? How many were in the survey? What was the demographic of the sample? What questions were asked and how were they asked to limit bias? As an aside, I don't believe the RNA is being obstructionist at all. Rather, quite the opposite - the Park District is obstructing the long-term stated wishes of the Public to NOT have an IC/Beach House/whatever on Rosewood Beach.
Amy Lohmolder July 08, 2012 at 07:23 PM
The RNA is supporting most of the proposed improvements to Rosewood Beach, and has stated that these improvements should be implemented immediately. The Park District should not let the controversy surrounding the Interpretative Center be a bottleneck preventing the public from getting long the awaited restroom/ changing rooms, lifeguard station and all the other amenities for the swimming beach that are completely separate and could be implemented at anytime. Interestingly, per a 7/3 meeting, the Park District’s executive director confirmed that the PD has not yet even secured the grant for the Army Corp of Engineers work (which the RNA also supports).

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