Font: (-) / (+)

Comprehensive Planning

The Park District of Highland Park is committed to be an excellent, accountable, ethical, and sustainable organization based on its strong commitment to its mission, vision, and values.  As part of that commitment, the District utilizes two district-wide planning mechanisms to stay on course and achieve its goals: a 10-year Master Plan and a 3-year Strategic Plan.

Select A Page:

GreenPrint 2024 Master Plan

The Park District’s GreenPrint 2024 plan completed in 2015 serves as a community vision for the Park District of Highland Park. The Plan used input gathered from the community and staff to develop recommendations under three initiative categories: Capital Plan Initiatives, Green Print Capital Development Initiatives, and Green Print Planning Initiatives.

GreenPrint 2024 Planning Initiatives included the development of long and short-range plans intended to address community, staff, and board priorities, support GreenPrint master-planning goals as well as the Park District’s mission, vision and values. Click to learn more>

Planning staff is currently working on three planning initiatives recommended by GreenPrint: Lakefront Master Plan, Land Management Strategy Plan, Sports Field Master Plan (details listed below). 

Lakefront Master Plan

In 2007, the Park District, in collaboration with stakeholders, completed and began implementation of the 2007 Lakefront Master Plan. Since 2007, much has been accomplished along our lakefront. Now, 11 years later, our lakefront parks and community priorities have changed. As a result, the plan is being revisited and updated to better address today’s Highland Park. Click to learn more>

Land Management Master Plan

The Planning Department developed a comprehensive land management plan that addresses among other things, stormwater management, sustainability, natural areas, cultural assets, and trails across the District’s 700 + acres of owned and managed land. Click to learn more>

Sports Field Master Plan

The District’s Planning and Athletics Departments are developing a comprehensive sports field master plan that will address existing fields to meet current and projected program needs as well as explore potential new field configurations. Click to learn more>

Strategic Plan

As one of the top park districts in the state and an “Illinois Distinguished Agency” with a wide variety of outstanding programs, events, parks and facilities it is important for the Park District of Highland Park to continue to be proactive meeting the community’s ever-changing demands for programs and facilities.  Ongoing near-term strategic plans provide the means for the Park District to fulfill those evolving needs. Click to learn more>

Updates on these planning initiatives will be provided on this page as they come available. For more information on the District’s planning initiatives, please contact the Park District Planning Department at

GreenPrint2014-logoGreenPrint 2024, the District’s comprehensive master plan was adopted at the December 2016 Board meeting.  It establishes a clear set of goals, policies, standards, and vision for the District.  The plan will guide our future facility and program development decisions over the next ten years.  GreenPrint 2024 in conjunction with the District’s 4-year Strategic Plans will ensure that resources are aligned with current and future resident needs, community values and changing demographics.

GreenPrint 2024 Presentation
GreenPrint 2024 Master Plan Report
Master Plan Appendices Part 1
Master Plan Appendices Part 2
Master Plan Appendices Part 3
Pellucid Golf Study 2012
Jacobson Golf Study 2012
2013 Community Survey
2009 Community Survey
2019 Community Survey

2020 GreenPrint Review

The GreenPrint Review evaluates changes in the community and recommends an amendment to the capital development initiatives outlined in the Park District’s master plan, GreenPrint 2024, which was approved by the Park Board in 2015.

GreenPrint 2024 recommends ongoing Park Board evaluation of the identified priority projects, including capital development initiatives, recognizing that fiscal and economic conditions may require adjustment to the suggested priorities and associated timelines. It further clarifies that the GreenPrint 2024 master plan is a living document, and as civic, economic, demographic conditions change, the plan should be flexible to allow the Board the ability to adjust the course of its plan to accommodate what is best for the community.

In Spring 2019, the District conducted a community-wide attitude and interest survey.  This statically valid survey, nearing the half-way point in the master plan, presented an optimal opportunity to review GreenPrint 2024 priority projects.

The GreenPrint Review Report provides an overview of the review process and ammendements to GreenPrint 2024. The ammendments were presented to the Park District Board of Commissioners in January 2020.

GreenPrint Review Report



In early 2013, the Park District of Highland Park began developing a comprehensive master plan to establish a clear set of goals, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApolicies and standards for all of the Park District facilities, open space, and programs. The comprehensive master plan would provide a framework for investment in the park system over the next ten years.

The Park District engaged a team of consultants, led by The Lakota Group, armed with a mission to integrate community input, the knowledge & experience of the Park District staff, and the consultant resources & expertise to provide a comprehensive plan.

The project team included:

  • The Lakota Group: Project Management, Master Planning, Landscape Architecture, Community Engagement
  • PROS Consulting: Programming & Services Expertise, Demographic & Recreational Trends Analysis, Identification of Funding Opportunities, Development of Implementation Strategies
  • Gewalt Hamilton & Associates: Civil Engineering, Access & Circulation Planning
  • PHN Architects: a full-service architectural firm, involved in creative programming, planning and design of  Recreation, Aquatic and Golf facilities

Planning Process

The planning process was organized into four phases: Engage, Analyze, Envision, and Confirm.

Engage Phase

Throughout the Engage project phase, the project team focused on community outreach, project promotion, and dialogue facilitation. Engagement with the community was conducted through one-on-one stakeholder interviews, small focus groupOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA meetings, public open house presentations, and web-based outreach. These conversations served to provide the team with an understanding of the needs and priorities of project stakeholders and the broader community.   Highland Park residents were given several means to participate in the development of the Park District of Highland Park GreenPrint 2024 plan including:

  • 174 stakeholder interviews comprised of advisory groups, residents, agency representatives, City staff and elected officials
  • 3 Community Meetings
  • 853 resident respondents from 2009 Attitude and Interest Survey
  • 873 resident respondents 2013 Community Survey
  • Over 2,000 visits to the GreenPrint website
  • Community conversations at major Highland Park events
  • Resident email comments
  • Social Media engagement

Advisory Groups

Athletic Advisory Committee
Recreation Center Advisory Committee
Heller Nature Center Advisory Committee
Hidden Creek AquaPark Advisory Committee
Centennial Ice Arena Advisory Committee
Tennis Advisory Committee
Sunset Valley Golf Course Advisory Committee
Parks Advisory Committee
Rosewood Advisory Committee
Field sports Advisory Committee
Ice Advisory Committee
Other local agency leaders and sports organizations

Public Open Houses and Public Event Engagement

In addition to small focus groups and one-on-one meetings, the project team conducted three public open houses that corresponded to project phases: Engage, Analyze, and Envision. Input received from these events has been incorporated into the project team’s analysis. Public Open Houses 1 & 2 provided participants with an overview of the master planning process, with a focus on the Engage project phase. It was first conducted on May 2, 2013 at Heller Nature Center with a repeat open house offered on June 12, 2013 at Highland Park Country Club.

Analyze Phase

During the second project phase, Analyze, the project team conducted a comprehensive inventory of parks, facilities, and programs owned or managed by the Park District noting needs and opportunities for further study.

Public Open House 3 focused on the initial findings of the Analyze project phase. The meeting was hosted on July 25, 2013 at the West Ridge Center.

Envision Phase

The project team’s recommendations were presented to the Park Board in advance of the fourth public open house which took place in June 2015 which gave the community its first look at the GreenPrint 2024 plan and an opportunity for their consideration and comment.

The community feedback was presented back to the Board and the master plan document was adopted by the Board at the December 2016 meeting.

Implementation Phase

Immediately following GreenPrint 2024 adoption, the initial Phase I projects were prioritized, budgeted, and scheduled in the District’s capital and strategic plans.

Plan Overview

Our lakeshore, bluffs, ravines, and public parks physically define Highland Park. The Park District maintains four lakefront properties that offer public access to this magnificent shoreline: Millard, Moraine, Park Avenue Boating Facility, and Rosewood. Each lakefront property provides a unique mix of ecological, recreational, aesthetic and educational value that is an integral part of the historical, cultural and natural resources of Highland Park.

In 2007, the Park District, in collaboration with stakeholders, completed and began implementation of the 2007 Lakefront Master Plan – a roadmap for improvements at all lakefront parks, beaches, and ravine ecosystems. Since 2007, much has been accomplished along our lakefront. The updated plan builds upon recent accomplishments and ensures that the Lakefront Master Plan reflects current community prioirites, as well as the changing landscape of the lakefront.

In 2018, Park District staff collected community feedback to determine priorities at Park District Lakefront properties. Since that time, staff have evaluated the comments and considered operational and physical improvements to reflect the community’s current attitudes and interests, all while navigating and understanding the immediate complexities of our dynamic lakefront. The Lakefront Master Plan Update details the planning process, summarizes survey findings, and outlines recommended objectives and strategies to guide improvements, maintenance, and management of the Park District’s lakefront properties. The recommendations are intended to guide lakefront operations beaches, capital planning, and support possible future grant opportunities.

Lakefront Master Plan Update: October 27th Board Meeting Presentation

Lakefront Master Plan Update: Full Plan Document Approved October 27th 2020 

Improving Our Life On the Lake: Lakefront Accomplishments Since 2007


Project Updates

10/30/2020 Update

The plan was approved by the Park Board of Commissioners. The approved plan is a living document and will be evaluated annually.


10/26/2020 Update

The draft Lakefront Master Plan will be reviewed by the Park Board on October 27th.

12/17/2018 Update

Park District staff have spent the fall aggregating the information collected through the survey and gathered from the listening sessions. The initial findings were presented to the board on December 4th, click here to see the presentation. Staff are currently working on developing recommendations.

If you have questions or additional feedback, please contact

10/2/2018 Update

The survey is closed and the community engagement listening tour has come to an end. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and/or shared your thoughts with us this summer as we toured around the Park District. We heard valuable comments from residents and lakefront park patrons about how to improve Highland Park’s lakefront parks. The next step is to review the input and develop recommendations to update the 2007 Lakefront Master Plan. A project update, including initial findings, is forthcoming and will be presented at a Park District Board Meeting and posted to the website.

In the meantime, if you have questions or additional feedback, please contact

8/22/2018 Update

We made our last stop on the Lakefront Master Plan Update listening tour this past Sunday at Hidden Creek Aqua Park. Thank you to those that shared feedback either through the survey, at the open house, or talking with us at the parks. If you have not had a chance to complete the survey there is still time. The survey will be open through the month of September. We will share the results this fall and begin to update the plan.

8/1/2018  Update

It was the perfect beach day on Saturday when Park District Staff visited Rosewood Park and Beach. We spoke with park users enjoying the beach either swimming, relaxing on the beach, or walking along the boardwalk. Much of what we heard was overwhelmingly positive feedback about the park and related facilities. Those that we spoke with shared that litter can be an issue and requested more water activities.

If you haven’t visited Rosewood Park and Beach yet this season or you are looking for new ways to enjoy Rosewood, read Five Great Ways to Enjoy Rosewood Beach!

7/17/2018 Update

Millard Park is one of those spots in town that is so nice you want to scream it from the roof tops, but you hold back because part of what makes it so special is the quiet and sense of serenity. We very much enjoyed sharing Saturday morning with those that stopped by Millard Park and appreciate the feedback we received. We heard that residents value the natural feel, peace, quiet and serenity at Millard Park. Many visitors were looping around the park on a walk through the neighborhood, others were enjoying the beach. While many stated liking the park just the way it is, some suggested improvements include, repair of the stair to the upper portion of the park and to add more plantings.

We will be at Rosewood Beach this Saturday (*weather dependent). We hope to see you there!

6/26/2018 Update

It was a beautiful summer morning at Moraine Park this past Saturday. Park District staff spent the morning at Moraine Park talking with park users. Many visitors were at the park with their furry friends to enjoy the dog beach. We heard that park users value the dog beach, the quiet and view of the ravine, and walking through the sculpture garden. Some suggested improvements that we heard from park users on Saturday were to fix the gate to the dog beach and to add benches and shade. We also heard that there is some confusion with the lakefront decals – click here for more information on the various parking decals for PDHP lakefront park properties. For information on the dog beach membership pass, click here. Non-residents who purchase the dog beach membership pass will be provided a parking sticker for Moraine Park.

Are you interested in the history of Moraine Park? Check out the feature story released last week.

6/20/2018 Update

Park District Staff had a great time at Park Avenue Beach this past weekend enjoying the beautiful weather and talking with park users. We heard that residents value the views and serenity at Park Ave, the boat launch, and that many enjoy walking and biking through the park.  We also heard input for areas of improvement such as: connectivity, beautification, wayfinding, and pedestrian access to the barge.

The information that was collected will be considered in the broader lakefront master plan update process. The final plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Let your voice be heard and take the survey to share your thoughts on how to improve our Life on the Lake. Park staff will be out at the parks this summer, see the community engagement schedule above for dates and times.

6/7/2018 Update

We have received over 500 responses to our lakefront survey.  If you haven’t had a chance to take the survey it only takes a few minutes.   To provide your input, click here.

Many of you who have taken the survey have commented on the sand at Rosewood.  Below is a background on the sand.  Thank you again for your comments.   All of the feedback we receive from the survey is a key component to the lakefront update planning process.  We appreciate your participation.

When Rosewood Beach was renovated in 2015, over 65,000 cubic yards of sand was added to broaden the severely eroded beach area.  The State of Illinois controls sand management along the shores of Illinois and issues beach nourishment permits.   These permits are restrictive as to the type and source of sand that can be added to the shoreline.  A large enough source of Lake Michigan dredged sand was not available for the Rosewood beach project.  The alternative acceptable source used was sand brought to the site from a local quarry.

The parent source of the quarry sand is glacial deposits and its composition is mixed minerals.  Natural beach sand in Illinois is very much the same and is comprised of deposited minerals from the same glacial events.  The difference is the quarry sand has not been lake or rain washed over many years like natural beach sand.  Over time, the lake and rain will filter out the fine dust in the new sand at Rosewood Beach.

5/30/2018 Update

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Lakefront Open House. We enjoyed hearing from you and talking about our Lakefront. The Open House kicked off the planning process for the Park District’s Lakefront Master Plan Update. This summer we want to hear from you! Park District planning staff will be at the Lakefront parks to get your feedback about the Lakefront. If you were not able to join us at the Open House, hopefully we will see you this summer at the parks.

Our first stop will be Park Avenue Beach on June 16th from 11AM – 2PM. Stop by and share your ideas. See you there!

We are visiting all the Lakefront Parks this summer, come by and share your ideas!

Moraine Park June 23rd 9am -12pm
Millard Park July 14th 10am – 1pm
Rosewood Park and Beach July 21st 11am-2pm

All dates are weather dependent, check back here for updates.

Let your voice be heard and help us better plan for future improvements and fill out the survey online or pick up a paper copy at any Park District facility.

5/11/2018 Update

The Lakefront Master Plan Update project will kick off on May 23, 6:30pm at the Highland Park Country Club West Salon during the Lakefront Open House. Over the summer months, Park District staff will visit parks collecting input from the community and conducting a communitywide survey.  An electronic version of the survey will be posted here at the end of May.

Project Overview

The Park District provides both informal and programmed competition level sports fields at locations throughout the community. The District’s Planning and Athletics Departments developed a comprehensive sports field master plan that addresses existing fields to meet current and projected program needs as well as explores potential new field configurations that would gain efficiencies in scheduling, program management, and tournament opportunities; ancillary amenities and infrastructure; maintenance; stormwater management, lighting and utilities; as well as improved parking management strategies.


To see the approved Sports Field Master Plan,  click here.


Project Schedule

Information Gathering: Fall 2017
Stakeholder Engagement: Jan 2018 – March 2018
Plan Development: April 2018 – Winter 2019
Plan Approval: Spring 2019

Project Updates

6/28/2019 Update

The plan was approved by the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners on June 25th. The final plan can be seen here.

6/11/2019 Update

The plan was presented to the Park District Board on June 11th. The presentation offered a summary of the full plan. Click here for the presentation slides.  Approval of the plan will be determined by the board at the June 25th meeting.

5/11/2018 Update

The Park District recently completed focus group meetings with athletic program stakeholders including coaches, participants, organizational partners, and internal staff. The information gathered through the focus groups will be used to develop the plan recommendations.

Project Overview

The Parks and Planning Department completed a comprehensive land management plan that addresses among other things, stormwater management, sustainability, natural areas, cultural assets, and trails across the District’s 700 + acres of owned and managed land.

The intent of the plan is to assess and define land management practices, policies, and strategies to develop a unified and relevant approach to guide practice.

The Land Management Plan was approved by the Park Board on August 28th.

Click here to read through the plan.

As one of the top park districts in the state and an “Illinois Distinguished Agency” with a wide variety of outstanding programs, events, parks and facilities it is important for the Park District of Highland Park to continue to be proactive meeting the community’s ever-changing demands for programs and facilities.  Ongoing near-term strategic plans provide the means for the Park District to fulfill those evolving needs. 

The 2016-20 Strategic Plan is a continuation of the District’s 2012-16 Strategic Plan and meets the near-term objectives identified in the District’s 10-year master plan — GreenPrint 2024.  In addition, the strategic plan incorporates new initiatives identified through a series of focus groups with staff, Board members, and community representatives that were conducted as part of the strategic planning process:

• Establish a near-term future direction
• Align the organization with a strategic direction
• Incorporate resident needs into future planning
• Drive innovation as part of the organizational culture
• Strengthen and identify elements of organizational culture through values
• Develop preliminary approaches to infrastructure and capital project needs

To view the complete plan, click here:  Strategic Plan 2016-2020

For a look at the 2012-16 Strategic Plan:  click here