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:
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.