Font: (-) / (+)

Park Avenue Boating Beach Breakwater/Barge Project

Project Background

High lake levels accompanied by intense storms over the past few years, especially this past winter, have caused damage to the breakwater wall/barge located at the Park Avenue Boating Beach. The Park District of Highland Park (PDHP) and our engineering consultant had been monitoring the condition of the barge in past years. The significant damage that was sustained this winter was unanticipated and worse than past winters. These extreme weather conditions have affected communities all along the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline.

A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is being prepared for the Park Avenue Barge. This process will enable the PDHP to receive qualifications from engineering firms. The selected firm will recommend options for repair and replacement as well as cost estimates. The RFQ process was required for the study, and it is anticipated that fees may exceed $25,000.

For more information on the project, e-mail Jeff Smith, Assistant Director of Planning at

2018 Boating Season

To ensure the safety of our boaters, the Park District installed concrete barriers to restrict access to the breakwater wall/barge. The barriers have reduced the boat launch from two lanes to one lane. Boats will now enter and exit the lake from a single lane. A picture which shows the newly installed barriers and impact to the boat launch is to the the right. Pedestrian access to the barge deck has also been restricted. Throughout the season the Park District will work with the City of Highland Park Police Department to manage the boat launch traffic flow. During weekends, Park District staff will continue to manage the boat launch and trailering process for our boaters. To effectively and safely manage boats coming in and out of the lake, we ask for your patience while Park District staff directs and assists you with your boat.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the 2018 boating season, please contact Rob Laue, Manager of Park Avenue Beach at 847.579.4122, or Mitch Carr, Assistant Director of Recreation and Facilities at 847.579.3105,

Project Updates

6/26 Update

The Board approved the staff recommendation to engage SmithGroup JJR to explore a variety of solutions, including repair of the existing barge breakwater, removal and replacement of the barge breakwater, and removal of the barge breakwater and replacement with an alternate breakwater structure. SmithGroupJJR will also consider need for any temporary repairs. At the completion of this study, staff will present options to the Park Board which will include estimated cost, project timeline and required permitting. A determination will then be made on how to proceed with the project. 

5/22 Update

A discussion on the Park Avenue barge will take place at the June 12 Park Board meeting. A recommendation for selection of an engineering firm will be presented for approval at the June 26 Park Board meeting.