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Lakefront Planning & Projects

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.

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In 2007 the Park District completed the first Lakefront Master Plan in collaboration with the City and the community. The Lakefront Master Plan looked at the four lakefront properties individually and holistically. In 2020 the Park District updated the plan based on community input and lakefront activity from 2017 – 2020.

Click here to read through the plan.

In 2020 the Park District was awarded a grant from the Illinois Coastal Management Program to conduct a Beach Management Plan to recommend achievable operations and maintenance strategies to respond to climate change effects at Park District lakefront properties. The Park District worked with coastal engineers and regional experts to develop strategies tailored to each unique property.  The Park Board of Commissioners adopted the plan in April 2021.

The Park District of Highland Park Beach Management Plan is supported by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program through a federal grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Current and ongoing planning efforts and projects at Park Ave Boating Facility. Click the links below to learn more.

The Park District is working with The Lakota Group to develop a site concept plan for Park Avenue Beach (both the north and south beaches). The Plan is an initiative from the Lakefront Master Plan Update, that considers access, boat storate and amenities, passive and/or active recreation, infrastructure repair and replacement and is also consistent with the District’s Beach Management Plan. The Park Avenue Site Plan does not include specific engineering, architectural or construction plans (such as the replacement of the boat launch and barge). However, it does represent these projects as current planning initatives and incorporates them into the overall site and capital plan.

The Park District is collaborating with the Park Avenue Working Group as part of this initiative which consists of Park Avenue Boaters, City Council Members, Park Board Commissioners, Park District and City Staff, and Members of the North Shore Yacht Club. The site plan will be posted here.
Please send comments and questions to planning@pdhp.org.

Current and ongoing planning efforts and projects at Rosewood Beach. Click the links below to learn more.

  • Rosewood Beach Shoreline Project
  • Drainage and Grading Improvements

    This project seeks to sustain and improve the ravine path that connects upper Rosewood Park with Rosewood Beach.

    The scope includes installation of a drainage system at the upper park to prevent runoff from upper Rosewood Park and the resulting path washout. Once complete, stormwater falling on the upper park will be collected in a system comprised of storm sewer and drainage structures. The stormwater will flow through the underground system to the ravine stream down below.  The grading improvements are intended to ease the slope of the path at the steepest section to enhance pedestrian access to Rosewood Beach.

    During construction:

    • The ravine path and the north west portions of the upper park will be closed.
    • All other areas within the park and beach and both parking lots will be open throughout the project.
    • To access the beach from the Upper Park (off of Roger Williams) use the bluff stairs at the east side of the parking lot. Signage will be placed at the park.

    This project is scheduled to take place from Mid- April through Mid-May. We appreciate your patience as we work to improve the park.

    Questions? Please contact Mike Evans, Landscape Architect, at mevans@pdhp.org.

Current and ongoing planning efforts and projects at Moraine Beach:

  • Dog Beach Access Path Repair

Record-setting, heavy rainfall in spring 2019 caused portions of the ravine path leading to beach to fail. For our residents and dog beach pass holders’ safety, the path and access to the dog beach were closed.

In summer 2019, Park District began working with engineering firms, contractors, and the US Army Corps of Engineers to investigate numerous repair approaches and reopen the path and Dog Beach. In early 2020, an engineering firm was hired to develop preliminary site improvement plans. Those plans were presented to the Park Board in August 2020. After careful consideration, the Park Board elected to defer the final design phase to a future year.

Repair of the beach access path is a goal in the Lakefront Master Plan Update. The project’s final design is included in the 2021 Capital Plan, with construction scheduled for 2022. The project will be brought back to the Board in the summer of 2021 for their consideration to move forward.

Current and ongoing planning efforts and projects at Millard Beach:

  • Millard Park bluff evaluation

The District is working with an engineering and geotechnical firm to evaluate the trajectory of the bluff at Millard Park to determine recommended management for public safety and protection of resources. During the evaluation, because the stability of the bluff is unknown, portions of the bluff path, as well as the benches directly along the bluff, are temporarily blocked off .  Please  follow detour signs for available paths through the park.

Bluff Management:

Bluffs are naturally an ecosystem of disturbance. Once made unstable through failure at the toe or slippage on the slope, bluff disturbance tends to continue until the area reaches its “angle of repose” or relative stability. This may appear as a small surficial slump on the bluff or full toe to crest slip failures.

Questions? Please contact Dan Voss, Director of Parks, at dvoss@pdhp.org.