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Community Park at the Recreation Center of Highland Park

The Park District of Highland Park has a unique opportunity to work with our community to create one-of-a-kind passive recreation areas the the Community Park at the Recreation Center of Highland Park.

With input from community residents and stakeholders, the Park District staff is working with land planning specialists to create a master plan that includes green spaces interwoven with natural areas, gardens, and woods through which people can walk, bike and run.

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The Park District of Highland Park has acquired the Community Park property from the City of Highland Park. This is in accordance with the Park District’s GreenPrint 2024 Master Plan and the community’s expressed desire for passive recreational opportunities such as walking and biking trails. The property offers unique connectivity to the Recreation Center of Highland Park, adjacent trails and the Skokie River Woods property. The District is currently setting the groundwork to create a plan for this vision.

To view the concept plan, click here

PROJECT UPDATES

1/16/19 – More than 50 guests came to the District’s public open house on January 15 to view concept plans for the HPCC conversion project.  Attendees had a chance to watch a video overview of the project, see  renderings depicting proposed nature play, paths, gathering areas, as well as a chance to review maps that show how those elements are arrayed in activity zones throughout the park.  Materials that sparked the senses were on display to highlight the areas for quiet enjoyment and habitat that are found throughout the property.   Staff gathered input from participants at four different stations.   The information collected will be used to guide design of the park.

12/19/18 – On December 4,  Park District staff presented an updated version of the Highland Park Country Club (HPCC) property  conceptual plan to the Board of Directors.   Watch for information about our public meeting in January when we will invite the community to share their thoughts on the conceptual plans.

11/15/18 – The  Advisory Committee met on Wed., Nov 14 to review and provide input on the project concept plan.  Below are highlights of the plan:

Vision – to provide our community with an inter-generational experience with multiple levels of activity and engagement in the surrounding natural habitats.
Theme – “Play in Nature
Foundation – green play spaces surrounded by thoughtfully arranged native plantings that reflect the functionality of the land.
Amenities –  spring organically from the land and feature simple ideas for augmenting enjoyment of desired activities of walking, leisure biking, cross country skiing and running, access to water, picnicking, and exploring nature.

Northern Zone – Privacy is created  with grassland habitat for birds
Middle Zone – an area for family and group activity, that takes advantage of water features and access to parking in the Golf Learning Center
Southern Zone  (closest to the Recreation Center) –  answers community desire for play close in to the building that might be especially attractive to users of the recreation center, future senior center and also families with young children.

10/2/18 – As we enter final stages of negotiation for the purchase, the Park District of Highland Park is beginning the initial stages of converting the Highland Park Country Club (HPCC) property to a new unique natural area and passive recreation park.  Seeding of native grasses and flowers is planned for late fall in areas identified as best suited for habitat.  The first Advisory Committee meeting was held September 26th.  The committee provided feedback on potential recreational opportunities for the site, gained direction to ensure that our plan addresses the needs of our diverse community and neighbors, and heard examples of other sites that can serve as inspiration for the planning team.

To view the presentation from the Advisory Committee meeting, click here

9/20/18 – The Park District of Highland Park is beginning the initial stages of converting the Highland Park Country Club  (HPCC) property to a new unique natural area and passive recreation park.

Here is a summary of the steps that will take place this Fall to convert the property:

  • Seeding will be done late fall in areas identified as best suited for natural habitat.   A quick growing grass will be used in the mix so there will be green in spring as the other plants get started.
  • To prepare for seeding, areas of the property will be treated to kill the turf grass.  The course will be closed periodically during this work. Signs will be posted.

 

Project Summary

Scope: An inter-generational experience with multiple levels of activity and engagement surrounded by natural habitats.

The foundation of the plan rests on green play spaces surrounded by thoughtfully arranged native plantings that reflect the functionality of the land.  The amenities that are proposed spring organically from the land and feature simple, cost-effective ideas for augmenting enjoyment of activities such as walking, leisure biking, cross country skiing and running, access to water, picnicking, exploring nature and a gathering place for the community.

Click here for a summary sheet of the project.

Process

On January 15, 2019 conceptual plans were reviewed at a public open house.  The plans were developed in collaboration with a resident Advisory Committee, Park District staff and Board, guided by the planning firm Hey and Associates.

The planning process now moves to Design Development where details of pathways, amenities, signage, nature areas and play spaces will be worked out.  These plans are scheduled to be reviewed by the resident Advisory Committee, staff and Board during the month of March.  A second public meeting will be held after that review.

Click here to view the conceptual plan.

 

Q:  What is a passive recreation area?

A:   Passive recreation areas highlight the natural habitat and provide low intensity amenities such as picnic areas, benches, and trails.

 

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