The Preserve of Highland Park Compton Avenue Trail Connection

PROJECT UPDATES

STAY UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST RENOVATIONS

July 11, 2024

The trail is open for use!

Please be aware that landscape restoration is still underway and contractors will intermittently be working on or around the path

July 11, 2024
July 10, 2024

Restoration work around the trail is nearing completion.

July 10, 2024
June 26, 2024

Paving work has been completed!
Restoration work will begin this week.

June 26, 2024
June 13, 2024

Construction is underway!

June 13, 2024
May 30, 2024

Construction has started!
The trail system in the construction area is now closed.

May 30, 2024
Park Avenue North Beach Access Improvements

Layout Plan

The Project scope includes (the letter corresponds with the layout plan below):

The Park District hired Hitchcock Design Group (HDG) to take the concept plan through to implementation.

The layout plan below builds on the approved concept plan and is based on a survey of existing conditions, dimensions, and utilities. The layout plan will be shared with the Park Board at a public meeting on October 4, 2023. HDG will then complete the construction documents for the project to be bid out this fall.

Plan Details

Phase 1

This phase is funded through the OSLAD grant award and Park District capital budget. (Highlighted in the red dotted line in illustration below)

Highlights of the plan include:

A: Reconfigured parking lot for improved circulation, landscaping, and viewing of the Lake.
D: New concrete sidewalk for easier beach access for pedestrians walking to the beach.
H: New accessible boardwalk along the beach, improving access to the beach and circulation around Park Avenue Boating Facility.
G: Seating along the boardwalk.

Phase 2:

This phase is unfunded. These elements will be designed and bid as alternates to Phase 1, and if funding is available, Phase 2 will be implemented. (Highlighted in the black dotted line in illustration below)

Highlights of the plan include:

A: The fenced boat parking will not be resurfaced as part of this project but has been identified as a future need.
B: Plaza with pergola, tables, and chairs to enhance patron experience as the beach and provide space for gathering and passive use.

Please note: Park Ave construction begins in July. See new parking configurations.

Process

Districtwide planning efforts, including the Park Avenue Site Master Plan, Beach Management Plan, and the Lakefront Master Plan, support the Park Avenue Access Improvement Plan  These plans were enhanced by engagement with the community and patrons of the Park Avenue Boating Facility.

Process
Begin
End
Master Plan Approved
August 24 2021
OSLAD Grant Application Submitted
August 24 2021
OSLAD Grant Award
July 2022
Review Proposals and Award Design Contract
Winter 2022/2023
Design
Design Development/Construction Documents
April 2023
February 2024
Permitting
November 2023
February 2024
Bid/Award
December 2023
April 2024
Construction
September 2024
Fall 2024

PROJECT UPDATES

STAY UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST RENOVATIONS

July 5, 2024

Construction is expected to begin September 3.

July 5, 2024
Danny Cunniff Park Fence Replacement & Resurfacing Project

Site Plan

Larry Fink Park Tot Lot Renovation

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Larry Fink Park Tot Lot Playground Survey

Take the playground survey and help select the playground equipment you’d like to see at Larry Fink Park Tot Lot! Feedback collected will be used to refine playground design options.

Get Updates!

If you are interested in receiving notifications about this project, please fill out the form below.

Process
Target Start
Target End
Design
June 2024
October 2024
Bid/Award
November 2024
January 2025
Construction
April 2025
July 2025

PROJECT UPDATES

STAY UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST RENOVATIONS

June 27, 2024

June Community Engagement Opportunities at Larry Fink Park

The Planning and Projects team was at Larry Fink Park’s tot lot on the following dates to share playground equipment options and collect feedback

• Sat, June 15, from 10:30am-12:30pm
• Mon, June 24, from 3-5pm
• Tues, June 25, from 5-7pm

Thank you to everyone who visited the park to share your feedback on the playground equipment! Your feedback will be used to refine the playground design options.

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by the park, or have more to say, please take the online survey before it closes on July 19.

June 27, 2024
West Ridge Park Building and Site Planning

Project Background

In 2019 the Park District conducted a GreenPrint 2024 Review and Amendment, which expressed the need for a multi-purpose facility as well as the need to address West Ridge Center to provide flexible programming space to better serve the community with youth and adult programming, and an opportunity for a gymnastics studio.   

The Park District started the design process for a new community center at West Ridge Park to replace the existing West Ridge Center in 2022. The plan to build new on the southeast section of West Ridge Park is supported by a preliminary planning assessment completed in 2023.

This year, the Park District of Highland Park was awarded $1.4 million through the Park and Recreational Facilities Construction (PARC) grant program administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to support elements this project including a gymnastics gym, multi-functional dance room, and youth enrichment space. The PARC grant program provides funding for park and recreation facility construction projects.

Schematic Design Plans

Click on image to view description

Join the Conversation!

There will be various opportunities throughout the project to get involved.

Process
Preliminary Planning
complete
Schematic Design
complete
Design/Engineering
in progress
Bid/Award
Construction

PROJECT UPDATES

STAY UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST RENOVATIONS

June 5, 2024

On Thursday, May 30, the Park District hosted a community open house to share schematic design plans for the new recreation facility and site improvements project at West Ridge Park.

We want to extend our thanks to the 20 community members who joined us and provided valuable feedback that will help in the continued development of the design.

If you have any questions and/or comments, please contact [email protected].

There will be a public hearing at City Hall at the June 18th City of Highland Park Plan and Design Commission meeting.
Click here to view the plans shared at the May meetings.

June 5, 2024
May 29, 2024

On Thursday, May 23, the Park District hosted a meeting with the direct neighbors of West Ridge Park to discuss the new recreation facility and site improvements project, and to review schematic designs.

We want to extend our thanks to the 20+ neighbors who joined us and provided valuable feedback that will help in the continued development of the design.

If you were unable to attend, there will be another community meeting this Thursday, May 30, between 5-7pm. The plans shared at the May meetings will be posted on the website on May 31.

May 29, 2024
May 16, 2024

This week, the Park Board of Commissioners reached consensus on a refined schematic design for a new recreation facility and site improvements at West Ridge Park. The schematic design plans are within the District’s budget and prioritize recreation programs that support community needs and interest. The schematic design for the new recreation facility and site improvements at West Ridge Park will be shared with the community at two upcoming meetings. See above for up-to-date meeting information.

May 16, 2024
April 11, 2024

Park District staff shared a progress update at the April Facility and Recreation Committee meeting on April 10, 2024.

Park Board Commissioners provided feedback and requested additional information from the design consultants. They also asked to postpone the project’s community meetings until this information is provided.

April 11, 2024
March 18, 2024

In March 2024, the Park District of Highland Park began hosting internal stakeholder meetings to collect feedback to influence the schematic designs.

March 18, 2024
January 11, 2024

In January 2024, the Park District of Highland Park was awarded $1.4 million in PARC grant funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

January 11, 2024
June 15, 2023

The Park District of Highland Park submitted a grant application requesting $2.8 million from the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s Park and Recreational Facilities Construction (PARC) grant program to help fund the New Community Center at West Ridge Park.

June 15, 2023
May 7, 2023

On May 6, 2023, the Park District of Highland Park held a Community Open House to share preliminary concept plans with the community to collect cares and concerns about the proposed project.

May 7, 2023
June 14, 2022

In early 2022, Holabird and Root was hired by the Park District to study options (renovate or build new) for West Ridge Center.

In June, a Preliminary Planning Study was completed for West Ridge, recommending building a new facility on the southeast portion of West Ridge Park, and demolishing the existing building once construction is complete. See the results here.

June 14, 2022
Lincoln Park Improvements Project

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If you are interested in receiving notifications about this project, please fill out the form below.

Project Details & Concept Plan

Process
Target Start
Target End
Design
June 2024
September 2024
Bid/Award
October 2024
December 2024
Construction
July 2025
September 2025

Project Updates

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Renovations

February 1, 2024

June Community Engagement Opportunities at Lincoln Park

The Planning and Projects team was at Lincoln Park on the following dates to share playground equipment options and collect feedback:

• Thursday, June 6, from 3:30-5:30pm
• Monday, June 10, from 9-11am
• Tuesday, June 18, from 5-7pm

Thank you to everyone who visited the park to share your feedback on the playground equipment! Your feedback will be used to refine the playground design options.

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by the park, or have more to say, please take the online survey before it closes on July 8.

February 1, 2024
February 1, 2024

The Park District of Highland Park was awarded $528,500 through the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant program administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for improvements to Lincoln Park. The OSLAD grant is a state-funded program providing up to 50% of the project costs for public park and recreation projects.

Design will begin this summer and the community will have various opportunities to participate in the design process. Construction is expected to begin in summer of 2025.

February 1, 2024
September 15, 2023

The Park District of Highland Park submitted an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant for improvements to Lincoln Park.
Support from the OSLAD grant program would enable the Park District to adjust the layout of Lincoln Park to accommodate an elementary playground, increase basketball court space and address critical updates to Lincoln Park’s existing amenities. Updates include a new tot lot and improvements to the walking path, diamond fields and soccer field. The proposed concept for Lincoln Park was presented as Concept 2 in the August 15 Community Meeting.

September 15, 2023
August 16, 2024

Thank you to everyone who attended the August 15 community meeting. Your feedback will be used to guide the concept design to submit in the Park District’s grant application.

Click here to see the presentation.

August 16, 2024
August 7, 2023

You’re Invited!

The Park District of Highland Park will be hosting a community meeting on August 15, 2023 at 6pm at West Ridge Center (636 Ridge Road) to collect feedback for Lincoln Park.

The Park District of Highland Park heard the neighborhood’s interest in a new elementary playground due to the approved agreement to sell Lincoln School. Two design options have been developed that reconsider Lincoln Park with the addition of an elementary playground.

Feedback collected at this meeting will be used to assist in securing grant funding and to support adding an elementary playground at the park, which is currently unfunded.

If you cannot attend this meeting and would like to provide feedback, the presentation from the August 15th meeting will be posted to the project page on August 16th for those who are unable to make the meeting and would still like to provide feedback.

August 7, 2023
June 23, 2023

We heard you!

The Park District heard the neighborhood’s concerns over losing an elementary playground due to the sale of Lincoln School. As such, the Park District of Highland Park is going back to the drawing board to develop plans for Lincoln Park that consider the inclusion of an elementary play space. The comments and data collected through the survey will be integrated into the plans for the improved tot lot playground. There will be other opportunities to get involved in design as the Park District proceeds with planning. While the Park District will continue with the planning effort, the addition of an elementary playground is not currently budgeted in the Park District’s capital plan.

This change of direction will impact improvements scheduled for 2023. The tot lot, repaving of the path, and the patch/color of the basketball court planned for 2023 will be deferred to a future year and incorporated into the new plan.

The Park District will continue to follow the School District’s plans to coordinate efforts. Project updates will be posted to this web page.

Please direct questions and comments to [email protected].

June 23, 2023
April 26, 2023

The Park District of Highland Park is hosting listening sessions at Lincoln Park to collect feedback for the playground replacement.

Please stop by during one of the following times to share your thoughts!
• Friday, April 28 from 9:30-11am
• Wednesday, May 3 from 10-11:30am
• Tuesday, May 9 from 4:30-6pm
• Friday, May 12 from 2:30-4pm

April 26, 2023
Millard Beach Pathway
& Bluff Restoration
Portions of the Bluff Path and Benches are Temporarily Closed.

Work to repair failed slopes and improve slope stability at Millard Park is anticipated to begin late summer 2022. During this time, portions of the bluff path and park will remain blocked off due to erosion on the bluff and possible unstable conditions. Due to the nature of construction, the park roadway access and parking may be temporarily closed at times. Please follow detour signs for available paths through the park.

Millard Park and Beach is one of four lakefront properties owned by the Park District and is maintained as a passive natural area with minimal recreation amenities. Access through the park begins along a rustic path that runs across the western portion and middle of the park, passing both through and around a historic garden. Another trail runs along the east edge of the park, along the bluff. All paths unite to a single route along the northern half and lead to a gazebo structure. Overall, the park encompasses about 1,300 linear feet of bluff face ranging in height from 20 to 75 feet above the lake. The beach divides into four sections by sheet pile walls extending 70 to 150 feet long into Lake Michigan.

Over the past few years, storm and wave damage exacerbated by high lake levels have led to slope failures at the toe and top of the bluff. Based on a recommendation from the 2021 Beach Management Plan completed by SmithGroup, staff received Board direction to select a firm to provide a geotechnical study of the bluff and recommendations for future treatment. V3 Companies conducted a Slope Stability Analysis and recommended strategies for ensuring safety and long-term preservation of the bluff in keeping with its natural character and use as a passive park and beach. That report was delivered in July 2021 and presented to the Park Board of Commissioners on August 24, 2021. On September 30, 2021, staff received direction to develop a bid document for recommended remediation. This work may include:

Site work began in Fall 2022.

Project Updates

May 28, 2024

Native seeds and plants installed on the bluff last growing season have established well in several zones throughout the project area. In late May, staff and volunteers installed plants and moved the fence closer to the bluff’s edge to allow visitors more access in the upper park. Staff will continue to assess the site on a weekly basis, with the goal to reopen the northern section of the upper park closest to the gazebo in the next month.

May 28, 2024
June 2, 2023

Grading work is now complete on the bluff. Native seeds and plants have been installed on the bluff; these deeply rooted plants will help in the re-establishment of the bluff’s native plant communities in the three grading zones. Additionally, a buffer of native seed was installed along the top of the bluff, and grass seed was installed in the upper park. This area will remain fenced off to allow the plants to establish.

June 2, 2023
March 27, 2023

Grading work is set to begin this week to create a more stable slope and upper park. There may be closures to the beach parking lot to allow safe movement of construction equipment.

March 27, 2023
January 26, 2023

Historic lake bluff and beach species such as White Cedar, Common Juniper, Serviceberry and Staghorn Sumac stand out now in the restoration areas.

January 26, 2023
January 24, 2023

Tree work is nearly complete and the next phase of work, grading of the bluff to create a more stable slope, is set to begin. There may be closures to the beach parking lot to allow safe movement of construction equipment as we make this transition.

January 24, 2023
December 19, 2022

Tree work continues this week. Frozen ground conditions are helping to protect the sensitive bluff areas.

December 19, 2022
December 1, 2022

Tree removals to protect the Millard Park lake bluff from further erosion are scheduled to begin the week of December 5. During this time there may be construction traffic on the west access road leading to the top of the park and there may be path closures. The work is expected to take 2 to 3 weeks but will depend on suitable weather conditions to avoid damaging the sensitive lake bluff.  

When large trees fall due to storms or other natural causes, major damage can occur as they tear away soil and underlying clay.  By proactively removing at-risk trees on the slope and installing native plants and shrubs, we hope to stabilize the bluff. For more information, contact Rebecca Grill at [email protected].

December 1, 2022
October 10, 2022

Restoration to the lake bluff at Millard Park has begun with the re-routing of park pathways by Parks crews. New connections will allow visitors to walk in the popular upper park at most times during this project. The first construction phase is anticipated to start in November and continue through the winter and early spring of 2023.

October 10, 2022
October 4, 2022

Park District crews have begun to reroute portions of the Millard Park pathway to prepare for the Bluff Restoration project. Some of these temporary paths will eventually become permanent. This is due to the need to move paths away from the bluff edge to protect from future erosion.

October 4, 2022
September 28, 2022

On September 28, 2022, the Park District Board of Commissioners approved the award of 2022-2023 Millard Bluff Grading and Tree Removal project in the base amount of $319,300. The contractor, RES Environmental Operating Company LLC, is expected to begin work in the coming weeks.

September 28, 2022
June 1, 2022


Priority removal of trees is along the top and base of the slope where significant slope failure is already occurring, exacerbated by uprooted trees that tear out fragile bluff soils.

A revised invitation for bid will be issued for 2022 Millard Bluff Grading and Tree Removal. Work will include grading of sheer top of bluff slopes to a stable 2:1 ratio, removal of trees to promote soil stability and restoration of the area with native seeds and live plants.

June 1, 2022
May 1, 2022

District Staff worked with City of Highland Park Building and Forestry departments to refine the scope of work, significantly reducing the number of trees for removal and getting approval for grading and restoration plans.

May 1, 2022
January 1, 2022

With Army Corps, City Forestry and IDNR permit reviews complete, an invitation for bid was issued for 2022 Millard Bluff Tree Removal. A single bid was received and opened on January 14. Staff recommendation was to defer this work to take place under safer weather conditions and to combine tree removal with proposed grading work, therefore, no bid was accepted.

January 1, 2022
November 30, 2021

A Joint Application to the US Army Corps of Engineers to permit access to the beach has been submitted as planning for work to stabilize the bluff continues.

November 30, 2021
November 8, 2021

Staff met on-site with V3 Companies and City staff to plan a detailed topo survey of the bluff face and tree inventory.

November 8, 2021
September 20, 2021

At the Parks and Natural Areas Committee Meeting, staff presented the Millard Park project plan for 2021 and 2022 based on the bluff stabilization report by V3. Recommendations include bluff trail relocation and grading, tree removal and slope grading on the bluff, seeding and planting, repair of the concrete seawall on the beach, and ongoing monitoring. The total cost for these projects is estimated to be $313,500. The Committee provided consensus to enter into an agreement with V3 for engineering, design, survey, and permitting in the amount of $24,300. 

September 20, 2021
August 24, 2021

Slope Stability Analysis presented to the Park Board by Greg Wolterstorff, V3 Companies.

August 24, 2021
Project FAQs

What is the proposed playground surfacing for the new playground?

The proposed playground surface will remain Engineered Wood Fiber (woodchips).

When will the playground be closed?

The playground will be closed during construction. Construction is expected to begin April 2025.

Will the playground footprint change?

Yes, the playground footprint will grow to accommodate the separation of the 2-5 and 5-12 play areas.

Will the playground remain a playground intended for ages 2-12?

The proposed design will separate the play areas, with a tot lot (2-5 years of age) and an elementary (5-12 years of age) play area.

Don’t see your question? Contact us at [email protected].

Rosewood Park Playground Renovation

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Upcoming Community Engagement Opportunities

The Planning and Projects team will be at Rosewood Park to share playground equipment options and collect feedback (*weather permitting, check this page for any schedule changes). Join us anytime during the following dates and times to learn about the project and share your feedback.

  • Wednesday, July 24 from 9-11am – Stop by to share your feedback and participate in a kid’s craft activity (while supplies last)
  • Monday, July 29 from 3-5pm – Stop by to share your feedback and enjoy popsicles (while supplies last)
  • Tuesday, July 30 from 5-7pm – Stop by to share your feedback and enjoy popsicles (while supplies last)

If you cannot make it to the park during one of these times, please take the survey!

Get Updates!

If you are interested in receiving notifications about this project, please fill out the form below.

Process
Target Start
Target End
Design
July 2024
October 2024
Bid/Award
November 2024
January 2025
Construction
April 2025
July 2025
Project FAQs

What is the proposed surfacing for the new playground?

The proposed playground surface will be a mix of poured-in-place (soft surface) and woodchips.

When will the playground be closed?

The playground will be closed during construction. Construction is expected to begin April 2025.

 

Will the playground trees be removed?

No trees are expected to be removed as part of this project.

Don’t see your question? Contact us at [email protected].