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Parks

The Park District of Highland Park is home to beautiful natural areas, historic parks and award winning beaches that physically define much of Highland Park’s physical character.  Together, these areas provide a unique mix of ecological, recreational, aesthetic and educational value that is an integral part of the historical, cultural and natural resources of the community. Find your closest park and start exploring TODAY!

Parks are open with some restrictions.  Please see the General Parks Information page for details.

Park Listing

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All Park District of Highland Park playgrounds are now open.  To ensure our playgrounds can remain open and we all stay safe and healthy, please follow these important guidelines:

  • The State guidelines limit playground use to 50 people at any given time.
  • Be sure to use hand sanitizer before and after use, and maintain 6 ft. social distance from non-family members while playing. Playgrounds will not be sanitized. 
  • Face coverings are required when 6 ft. distance cannot be maintained.
  •  As a reminder, do not visit parks, playgrounds, or Park District facilities if you have, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.     

Bathrooms and water fountains
Park bathrooms and water fountains remain closed until further notice.  Please be sure to plan your park visit appropriately.  Updates will be provided once the Park District has determined that bathrooms can be safely reopened.
 
Basketball courts
All outdoor basketball courts are open.  Please be advised that while residents may play basketball, athletic competition with physical contact is not permitted. 

As a reminder, when in our parks and beaches, 

  • Visit alone or with members of your household.
  • Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others who are not from your household.
  • If social distancing is not feasible during outdoor activity, masks or face coverings are required, except for members of the same household together.
  • Stay home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, troubled breathing, or other flu-like symptoms;
  • If crowds are forming at a park, move to another area or return another time/day to visit; and
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm/elbow.
  • Washrooms and water fountains will remain closed. Plan ahead and bring a bottle of water and hand sanitizer. 

 

The Park District of Highland Park operates and manages over 700 acres of land in 44 park areas including three off-leash dog parks and four lakefront beaches.  Explore the district’s unique historic parks.  For a complete listing of parks, locations and amenities, click here

Visitor Information

  • Parks are open from dawn to dusk
  • Play at your own risk
  • Dogs must be leashed and cleaned up after in all areas not designated as off-leash dog parks
  • No smoking (including e-cigarettes), firearms, or alcohol are allowed on park property
  • Permits are required for groups of twelve or more. For permit information, call 847.579.3125
  • Golfing is prohibited in parks
  • No motorized vehicles on grass or paths
  • Glass containers are prohibited in parks
  • Dumping and littering are prohibited in our parks. 
  • The Park District of Highland Park utilizes Strike Guard, a state-of-the-art lightning detection system that sounds when lightning is in the area. Strike Guard sensors are located at Sunset Valley Golf Course, Hidden Creek AquaPark, Deer Creek/Larry Fink Memorial Park, West Ridge Park, Park Avenue Boating Facility, Centennial Ice Arena, Sunset Woods Park, Recreation Center of Highland Park, and Heller Nature Center.
    Please take appropriate shelter when the warning signals are activated. If the weather is threatening but no warning signal is heard or seen, use good judgment and clear the area. Do not wait for the warning signal to activate.
  • In parks with athletic fields:
    • Permit holders have priority use as scheduled
    • The use of ball fields is prohibited if field conditions are unable to support play.

If you see equipment that is broken or a hazard in any part of the park, please call the safety hotline at 847.831-3968

For emergencies, call 911

For more information and a complete listing of park, rules go to Park Ordinance Information

Progress is in Progress! 

The Park District will regularly post improvement updates happening in the parks. Below is a list of scheduled and/or ongoing projects.

Please contact planning@pdhp.org with any questions.


Danny Cunniff Park

Pond Clean Up Continues

8/17/20 – Following mechanical removal of pond weeds at Cunniff Park Pond, contractors for the Park District will clear the pond of remaining algae.  Crews will visit the pond four times over the next two months using pond chemicals to target fine algae on the surface.

Excess nutrients can affect the aesthetics and health of local ponds by promoting the growth of aggressive water plants, including two forms of algae: filamentous (tiny plants that link to form threads or filaments) and planktonic (microscopic plants that color the water in what is sometimes called an alage bloom).

A healthy pond has a balance of these plants that help support the food chain and provide shading to protect pond inhabitants.  However, extensive blooms of algae can lead to poor water quality.

Phosphorus found in lawn chemicals is the most frequent contributor to excess nutrients in ponds. By reducing the use of lawn fertilizer, Highland Park residents can promote the health of all our waterways.

For questions, please contact Dan Voss, Director of Parks at dvoss@pdhp.org or Rebecca Grill, Natural Areas Manager, at rgrill@pdhp.org.


Centennial Ice Arena

Compressor Replacement Project

Update:

The new chiller system is installed and making ice. The ice rink is expected to reopen for programming in early September.

Project Scope:

This summer, the Park District will replace the Centennial Ice Arena compressor system. The compressor system makes and maintains the ice rink. The replacement of the compressor is prompted by the discontinuation of the R-22 refrigerant that is used by the current compressor system.

The current system was installed when the building was first built in 1972.  The typical life expectancy of a rink refrigeration system is 20 years. The refrigerant that the existing system uses is typical to ice rinks but has since been categorized as an ozone depleting substance by the US Environmental Protection Agency and is being phased out. In 2020, the R-22 coolant is no longer being produced.

The $1.8M system upgrade will take advantage of the latest advancements in efficiency, operability and sustainability by leveraging the Official Refrigerant Solution of the NHL® and direct digital controls infrastructure.  The upgraded system will also use 40% less water.

The ice rink will be down during the replacement. Construction will begin on May 18th. The ice rink is expected to reopen early September.

Centennial Ice Arena is currently closed as a result of the Covid-19 closures, and therefore the construction will not impact any programs or activities at this time.

Construction will primarily be limited to the interior of the building and is not expected to impact the neighborhood.

Check back here for project updates.

Please contact aschwartz@pdhp.org with any questions about the project.


Deer Creek Raquet Club

Roof Replacement

This Summer, Deer Creek Raquet Club will be getting a new roof. Construction will be contained to the roof and will not impact patrons nor park users.

Construction is substantially complete. The contractor will be onsite periodically throughout September and early October completing remaining minor tasks.

Please contact mevans@pdhp.org with any questions about the project.


The Preserve

Highland Park Woods Restoration 

Contractors for the District’s Natural Areas Program are removing invasive buckthorn shrubs in Highland Park Woods, the woodland area on the east side of Community Park.  

Park District staff and volunteers have been working since last year to restore this area. Contractors will continue this work by cutting down buckthorn and burning it in piles. Natural Areas staff and volunteers will continue to work adjacent to contractors to enhance this area.

With the removal of the invasive species and the return of sunlight to the woodland floor, we look forward to enjoying the regeneration of native wildflowers this spring! If you are interested in becoming involved with the Natural Areas Program’s volunteer workdays, please contact Liz Ricketts at ericketts@pdhp.org.

 


Sunset Woods Park

ADA Tennis Access Improvements

9/11/2020 –  Starting next week, contractors will begin construction adjacent to the Sunset Woods Park Tennis courts. The objective of this project is to provide required ADA access from the parking area into the existing tennis courts. The scope of work includes installation of three new accessible depressed entry curbs, re-grading portions of the existing brick paver walkway, and relocation of one ADA parking stall including a painted crosswalk.  Once complete, contractors will clean and seal the affected patio and pathways.

During construction, the South entrance to the parking area will be temporary closed to traffic. Barricades and signs will be up to direct patrons.

All tennis courts will remain open for play during construction.

  • Estimated Construction Start: September 15, 2020
  • Esimated Construction End: Early October

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


Sunset Woods Park

Update: Sunset Woods Tree Care

Last summer, approximately 40 trees in Sunset Woods Park were treated with an application of phosphonates (in a salt formulation brand name Reliant)  as a preventative treatment for a soil-borne fungus called Armillaria.  We are glad to report that among the treated trees, only five were found in poor condition this spring.  Further study showed that those trees actually were damaged by the presence of another tree pest, the two-lined chestnut borer.

Following positive results from the initial treatment, but the continued presence of Armillaria in the park, the District now plans to retreat about 20 trees and treat additional trees to ensure their continued health.  Contractors for the District will be using hand held sprayers to apply Reliant mixed with water to the bark and root crown (where tree meets soil) of approximately 65 trees in Sunset Woods Park identified as susceptible to, or recovering from, Armillaria fungal disease.

Of these, approximately 20 trees will also be treated with an insecticide trade-named Dinotefuran to control the two-lined chestnut borer.  Precautions will be taken minimize impacts to beneficial insects.

This work is scheduled to take 1 to 2 days, beginning after September 21, 2020.   Signage will be posted and PDHP staff will be on hand to answer questions.  As a precaution, two playgrounds in the park will be closed during the work and treated trees will be fenced off for a period of 12 hours following treatment.  Signs will be posted.

Questions? Please contact Rebecca Grill, Natural Areas Manager, at rgrill@pdhp.org.

For more information about Armillaria click here.

 


Aging Play Structure Removal

Portions of the Sunset Woods Park 21st Century Playland are fenced off and closed to the public due to the removal of the Quadsphere play equipment.  The equipment was over 20 years old and showing excessive wear and fatigue.

For the past several years, park crews have been able to make small repairs to the Quadsphere.  However, on the most recent inspection this week, crews found issues with the structure that cannot be repaired.    In addition, due to the equipment’s age, replacement parts are not available for the equipment.

For these reasons, the structure was removed.  All other park elements at Sunset Woods Park are open to the public.

Renovation of the 21st Century Playland and Titanic Tides Tot lot playgrounds are goals of the Park District’s GreenPrint Master Plan. Please stay tuned for planning efforts in the future.

Questions? Please contact Director of Parks & Planning, Dan Voss at 847-579-3130


 

For more information on other larger projects visit the Capital Project Update page.

General Park Use Permits

Groups of 12 or more wishing to use park grounds or picnic in the park are required to secure a permit prior to their visit. There is designated group picnicking in Danny Cunniff, Larry Fink Memorial, Rosewood and Sunset Woods Parks. Sunset Woods Park has two open-sided pavilions available for use by groups of up to 100, and Danny Cunniff Park has a pavilion for groups of 50 or less. The District’s park ranger and City police patrol and check for valid permit holders. Only residents may make reservations beginning Monday, March 6. Open reservations start Wednesday, April 5.

 Permit Process  & Fees
Applications for permits must be done in-person at West Ridge Center, 636 Ridge Road, at least 10 days prior to the picnic date to secure a permit. Application hours:

Mon, Wed, Thu 9am-5pm
Tue 8am-6:30pm

 

Debbie Gottlieb Beitler Dog Park – Now open. Facility limited to 10 people at a time. Please limit your visits to one hour or less.  

As a reminder, when in our parks and beaches, 

  • Visit alone or with members of your household.
  • Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others who are not from your household.
  • If social distancing is not feasible during outdoor activity, masks or face coverings are required, except for members of the same household together.
  • Stay home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, troubled breathing, or other flu-like symptoms;
  • If crowds are forming at a park, move to another area or return another time/day to visit; and
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm/elbow.
  • Washrooms and water fountains will remain closed. Plan ahead and bring a bottle of water and hand sanitizer. 

Due to heavy rains in the area and for the safety of our residents, Moraine Dog Beach is closed.  Portions of the path leading to the beach have eroded. 

For the safety of our dog park members and their pets, an electronic fob system has been installed at the Debbie Gottlieb Beitler Dog Park at Larry Fink Memorial Park.

Two dog parks are available to registered members:

  • Debbie Gottlieb Beitler Dog Park at Larry Fink Memorial Park – open year round (701 Deer Creek Parkway)  a relaxed park-like atmosphere with two off-leash exercise areas, depending on the size of your dog.
  • Moraine Beach – currently closed 
  • Highland Park Golf Learning Center – open mid-December through mid-March* (2205 Skokie Valley Highway)  a large outdoor venue for your dog to run off some of that cabin fever energy. There are two off-leash exercise areas available, depending on the size of your dog.                                                                                                                                    

   *Opening and closing dates are weather dependent.


Woofstock_30Membership Registration

  • Membership is required for admittance in the dog parks. You will receive a key fob membership card within ten business days of registration. You must carry this key fob membership card with you when visiting all off-leash dog park areas.
  • Registration can be completed online.
  • Membership is valid for a 12-month period from date of purchase.

Membership Fees

  • Resident: $50 first dog ($25 each additional dog). Must provide 2020-21 City of Highland Park dog tag number.
  • Nonresident: $150 first dog ($75 each additional dog). Must provide current rabies vaccination tag number.

Hours of Operation

  • Dog parks are open from dawn until dusk 7 days a week.
  • The parks will close periodically for cleaning and maintenance.

DSC02883Amenities

  • Locked off-leash exercise area, accessible only with key fob membership card at Debbie Gottlieb Park.
  • Wash station available mid-April through October at Debbie Gottlieb Park.
  • Pickup bag dispensers and trash receptacles.

The dog parks are the ONLY Park District locations that dogs are allowed off-leash.  We want all of our guests to have fun and be safe; rules and regulations will be strictly enforced. Dog owner cooperation and compliance is the key to the success of this program.

Rules and Regulations

Membership may be revoked if rule is violated.

  • Presentation of your key fob membership card is required for use of the parks and is not transferable.
  • Owners/handlers are solely responsible for damage or injury caused by their dogs to another dog, person or park property.
  • Dogs must be fully immunized and display City of Highland Park and rabies tags.
  • Maximum of two dogs per person on any single visit.
  • Dogs known to be aggressive are prohibited. Be prepared to leash your dog if it becomes aggressive.
  • Dogs must wear collars at all times. Spiked or pinch collars are prohibited.
  • Owners are responsible for immediately cleaning up and properly disposing of waste.
  • Children must be at least 10 years of age to enter the off-leash area and must be closely supervised.
  • Appropriate dog park behavior: no running, no chasing dogs, and no petting of other dogs unless permission is requested from owner first.
  • Food is prohibited in the off-leash area.
  • Designated small dog areas are reserved for dogs 25 pounds or less.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times when outside the off-leash area. Fines up to $500. City Ord. 61-09, J.35, p. 193-219 (Passed 10/26/09), Park District Ordinance No. 01-04, SECTION 2.03.

Outdoor Ice Skating  

 For status updates on the Sunset Woods Park outdoor skating rink, please check the Rainout Line 

Sunset Woods ParkSW_IceRink_trees
1801 Sunset Road
Hours: 9am-9pm daily (rink is lit by existing park lights)

Skating is free and the rink is sectioned off to allow for separate hockey and recreational skating. Groups should be considerate of one another. NEW! For the safety of our patrons, helmets are required in the hockey rink.

There is no supervision or skate rental at the outdoor rink. Anyone using the ice rink should be aware that the risk of injury is present. The Park District encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and suggests that children be supervised by a responsible adult.

Seasonal Opening of the Outdoor Rink

When weather conditions allow (an average temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for 5 consecutive days, 5-6 inches of ground frost), park district staff will begin flooding the ice rink at Sunset Woods Park. It takes four 24-hour days to spray and freeze the water to create a base and finish ice.

Throughout the season, the rink may be closed for snow removal or unsafe ice conditions. Sign up for the Rainout Line and get up-to-date information on the outdoor rink status.

Outdoor Sled Hill 

Danny Cunniff Park
2700 Trail Way Street (located toward the back of the park, just south of Centennial Ice Arena)
Hours: No set hoursWinterFest_Sledders_49

The sled hill is free and open to the public. Please be aware that there is no supervision or warming facility at the sled hill. The Park District of Highland Park encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Children should be supervised by a responsible adult.
  • The user assumes full responsibility for determining if the Sled
  • Hill is safe to use.
  • Use the Sled Hill at your own risk.
  • Walk to the top of the Sled Hill along the fenced sides of the hill to avoid collisions.
  • Use caution when sledding and be considerate of others.
  • Sled down the hill only when it is clear of other sledders.

Throughout the season, the sled hill may be closed from time to time. Sign up for the Rainout Line and get up-to-date information on the sled hill and outdoor ice rink status.