Park Avenue Boating
Facility Breakwater
& Boat Launch

Background

High lake levels accompanied by intense storms over the past few years caused damage to the breakwater wall/barge and concrete ramp at Park Avenue Boating Beach. These extreme weather conditions have affected communities all along the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline.  

In June 2018, the Park District engaged with 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. 

In 2019, the Park District formed a Park Avenue Working Group comprised of Park District Staff and Board, Highland Park City Staff and Council, North Shore Yacht Club Members, and resident boaters. The Park Avenue Working Group worked with our coastal engineer to seek fiscally responsible site improvements that provide long term access to boating activities at Park Avenue Boating Facility. The Park Avenue Working Group’s objectives were to:

The future of boating at Park Avenue and the Park District’s ability to provide programs and services safely amidst Lake Michigan water levels and weather-related conditions were contingent upon:

At the April 27 meeting, the Park Board approved construction of Phase 1 of the Park Avenue Breakwater Project in the amount of $2,221,890.  The base scope of this project includes removal of the existing barge breakwater and boat ramp, stockpiling and salvaging existing breakwater fill and armor stone, construction of a new steel sheet pile breakwater with a concrete crown wall and construction of a new concrete boat launch.   Funding for the project includes $2,000,000 from the Park District’s capital fund and $400,000 from the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, made possible from community donations. Construction began as scheduled on Sept 6, 2022.

Phase 2 of the Breakwater Project is construction of ancillary items that support safe use of the boat ramp including an ADA accessible floating dock, safety bollards and lighting.  This phase is currently not funded and is estimated to cost $280,000.  The Park District has applied for a Boat Access Area Development Grant through IDNR for $200,000.  If the Park District is awarded this grant, additional funds will be needed to complete the project.  If the Park District is not awarded the grant, portions of Phase 2 will be delayed until funding has been secured.  In this instance, an estimated $180,000 will be needed to complete necessary portions of Phase 2.  The Park District will likely seek construction bids for Phase 2 in December 2022 for construction to be completed by Memorial Day Weekend 2023. 

For more information on the project, e-mail Jeff Smith, Director of Planning and Projects at jsmith@pdhp.org.

Boating Facility Overview

The Park District has operated the Park Avenue concrete boat ramp and decommissioned barge since they were installed by the Park District in 1981.  Power boaters and  non-power boaters including their family members and guests enjoy the benefits of boat launching and boat storage at Park Avenue Boating Facility.  Additionally, many enjoy the benefits of kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, and simply appreciating the natural beauty of Lake Michigan. 

Boat launching and boat storage is also a service provided by the Park District.  Like many recreation programs and services offered through the Park District, these services provide the most benefit to the individual participant. In keeping with Park District Policy, recreation services must be supported by user fees and are expected to exceed the direct operating cost.  User fees support the administration, staffing, annual dredging and maintenance for the barge, concrete boat launch, and beach at Park Avenue.  The Park District works with the North Shore Yacht Club (NSYC) providing small craft boating programs and services to the community. NSYC is an affiliate of the Park District and provides its own leadership and administration.

Updates

November 10, 2022

Sheet pile installation continues and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

November 10, 2022
October 21, 2022


Demolition of the barge breakwater has been completed. Crews have begun installing sheet pile.

October 21, 2022
September 28, 2022

Project Progress

Work continues to remove the existing barge breakwater in preparation for the installation of the new breakwater and boat ramp.

September 28, 2022
September 6, 2022

Project Begins

Crews are mobilizing at the site to begin demolition of the existing breakwater and boat ramp.

September 6, 2022
April 28, 2022

Project Approved

At the April 27 meeting, the Park Board approved construction of Phase 1 of the Park Avenue Breakwater Project in the amount of $2,221,890.  The base scope of this project includes removal of the existing barge breakwater and boat ramp, stockpiling and salvaging existing breakwater fill and armor stone, construction of a new steel sheet pile breakwater with a concrete crown wall and construction of a new concrete boat launch.   Funding for the project includes $2,000,000 from the Park District’s capital fund and $400,000 from the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, made possible from community donations. Construction begins this Fall.

PHASE 1
Capital Budgeted 2022$2,000,000
Donations (approximate as of 4/27/22)$400,000
Lakes & Rivers Construction Total Base Bid with Value Engineering($2,221,890)
5% Contingency($110,000)
SmithGroup Construction Phase Service($68,000)
Anticipated Amount Under Budget$110

Phase 2 of the Breakwater Project is construction of ancillary items that support safe use of the boat ramp including an ADA accessible floating dock, safety bollards and lighting.  This phase is currently not funded and is estimated to cost $280,000.  The Park District has applied for a Boat Access Area Development Grant through IDNR for $200,000.  If the Park District is awarded this grant, additional funds will be needed to complete the project.  If the Park District is not awarded the grant, portions of Phase 2 will be delayed until funding has been secured.  In this instance, an estimated $180,000 will be needed to complete necessary portions of Phase 2.  The Park District will likely seek construction bids for Phase 2 in December 2022 for construction to be completed by Memorial Day Weekend 2023. 

April 28, 2022
March 9, 2022

Staff reported to the Park District Board of Commissioners that six bids were received for the Park Avenue Boat Launch Improvement Project on February 23, 2022. Staff reviewed potential savings through value engineering. Due to the fact that bids were over budget, staff will continue to explore potential project savings and work with the Parks Foundation and community to continue to fundraise.

Bid Results:

CompanyTotal Base BidTOTAL BID (With Alternates)
Lakes & Rivers Contracting$2,265,450$2,582,400
Rausch Infrastructure$2,434,000$2,694,560
John Keno & Company$2,685,302$2,925,662
Kovilic Construction Company$3,743,150$3,979,650
Michels Construction$4,009,382.53 $4,392,664.88
Copenhaver Construction$4,186,505$4,621,705.00


Financial Impact:
Capital Budgeted 2022$2,000,000
Donations $361,881
BADD Grant (If Awarded)$200,000
Lakes & Rivers Construction Bid($2,582,400)
5% Contingency($129,120)
SmithGroup Construction Phase Service($68,510)
Anticipated Amount Over Budget($218,149)

March 9, 2022
January 20, 2022

Staff reported to the Finance Committee that SmithGroup has completed construction documents and that on January 19, 2022 a bid solicitation was released for the reconstruction of the breakwater and boat ramp. If approved, construction will begin after Labor Day 2022 and be completed by Memorial Day 2023. Staff shared an updated opinion of probable construction cost.

ConstructionCellular Sheet Pile - 100% Design OPCC
Mobilization & Site Preparation$115,941
Demolition & Removal$493,000
Boat Ramp Construction$195,275
Breakwater Construction$1,140,076
Ancillary Items and Furniture$349,150
Project Total$2,293,442
Contingency @ 20% (100% Design)$458,688
Project Subtotal (w/contingency)$2,752,130

January 20, 2022
September 28, 2021

The Park Board approved Phase 3: Final Engineering and Permitting for Option 3 Cellular Sheet Pile. Option 3 will provide pedestrian access with an approximately 12 foot-wide ADA accessible walking surface as well as a two lane boat ramp with two 6.5 foot ADA accessible floating docks. The anticipated timeline for the project is:

January 2021 – Release Bid
September 2022 – Start Construction
December 2022 – Construction Complete

September 28, 2021
September 9, 2021

SmithGroup presented its Phase 2 findings, including an updated opinion of probable construction cost, to the Lakefront Committee. SmithGroup reported that current cost estimates were:

Option 3 Cellular Sheet PileOption 4 Rubble Fill (Barge Not Removed)Option 7 Rubble Breakwater with Pre-Cast Walkway
40' wide ramp w/ 2 floating docks Publicly accessible walkway32' wide ramp w/ 1 floating dock No public walkway access40' wide ramp w/ 2 floating docks Publicly accessible walkway
Mobilization & Site Preparation$110,000$110,000$110,000
Demolition & Removal$530,000$150,000$530,000
Boat Ramp Construction$100,000$270,000$470,000
Breakwater Construction$1,350,000$320,000$970,000
Ancillary Items & Furniture$230,000$90,000$200,000
Project Total (w/o contingency)$2,320,000$940,000$2,280,000
Contingency @ 25%$580,000$235,000$570,000
Project Total (w/ contingency)$2,900,000$1,175,000$2,850,000

September 9, 2021
August 26, 2021

At their meetings this week, the Highland Park City Council and Park District Board of Commissioners approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the City-owned property commonly known as Park Avenue Boating Facility.   Under the conditions of the IGA, the Park District will have the right to use the property for public recreation purposes for a term of 50 years, including but not limited to fishing, power boating, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, use of the Yacht Club building, camp programming, and other comparable activities.  No rent or fee will be paid to the City by the Park District for the term of the agreement.  The agreement allows the Park District to make any necessary repairs or improvements to the boating facility so long as they do not impact the operation and maintenance of the water plant or present any threat to the safety and security of the water plant. 

August 26, 2021
June 22, 2021

At the Regular Board Meeting, the Park Board approved Phase 2: Preliminary Engineering.

June 22, 2021
June 8, 2021

At the Workshop Meeting, the Park Board approved Phase 1: Data Collection.

June 8, 2021
June 3, 2021

The Lakefront Board Committee provided consensus for staff to request a proposal from SmithGroup to develop engineering and construction documents for Option 7 Rubble Breakwater with Pre-Cast Walkway.

June 3, 2021
March 3, 2020

Last week, Park District staff met with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).   Both agencies were accessing damage to the south parking lot from the January 10 and 11 storm for possible federal funding to help with the repair of the lot.  

March 3, 2020
January 29, 2020

SmithGroup presented additional options for the repair or replacement of the barge/breakwater including a Trapbag Cofferdam with Walkway and an H Pile adaptive wall.  After extensive discussion, the Working Group recommended that the only options considered going forward should include removal of the current barge, and replacement with a new structure.  The Park Avenue Working Group identified two of the options as viable including:  Option #3 Cellular Sheet pile and Option #7 Rubble Breakwater with Pre-Cast Walkway.  Park District staff will discuss the two options to refine costs and begin working on funding models to be shared with the Park District Finance Committee.  The Working Group will reconvene in March. 

January 29, 2020
January 14, 2020

SmithGroup presented an overview on lake levels and the effects to the beach if the barge were completely removed.  In addition, the following barge repair/replacement options were presented to the Park Avenue Working Group:

Barge Repair Encapsulation: The barge would be cut down and encapsulated with sheet pile. However, the length of the barge cannot be extended nor is there a pedestrian walking surface. 65-70 year lifespan.

Barge Replacement In-Kind: The barge would be removed and replaced in-kind. This option includes a pedestrian walking surface, however,  the length of the barge cannot be extended. 28-34 year lifespan.

Cellular Sheetpile: The barge would be removed and replaced with a cellular sheet pile. The sheet pile can be adjusted to any width or length, which increases the project costs, but provides flexibility.  Low cost maintenance would be required every 10-15 years.  A floating dock is included with this option.  A cantilever dock is an alternative option. 65-70 year lifespan. 

Rubble Fill & H-Piles: The current barge would remain, H-Piles installed for support, the cargo box will be filled with rubble. 20-25 year lifespan. 

Rubble Breakwater with Sheetpile: The barge would be removed, a sheet pile would be driven and surrounded with rubble breakwater. A floating dock can be attached for an additional cost. 50 year lifespan. 

Rubble Breakwater with Raised Core: The barge would be removed and replaced with a breakwater. A floating dock can be attached for an additional cost. 50 year lifespan 

Rubble Breakwater with Pre-Cast Walkway: The barge would be removed and a breakwater would be built around a pre-cast narrow pedestrian walking surface.  High cost optional items are an H-Pile with an attached floating dock and the pier or groin can be widened.  Low cost infrequent maintenance would be required.  50 year lifespan.

Cantilevered Sheetpile Wall: The barge would be removed and replaced with a sheet pile wall and stiffeners. The wall would block the view of the lake from certain points of the beach when the lake levels are low.  65-70 year lifespan.

H-Pile Adaptive Panel Wall: H-Piles would be installed behind the current barge to extend its life. This project can be completed in two phases to maximize the life of the current barge and reduce upfront costs. Once the barge is completely removed a floating dock can be attached for an added cost, but this will reduce the launch to a single lane. There are potential high costs for ongoing maintenance, because the panels can break easily during severe storms. 50 years beyond residual barge. 

Trapbag Barrier Wall: A leveling base material and trapbags filled with tremie concrete would be placed inside the cargo box of the barge. Tremie concrete is $300 per cubic area and requires special equipment to place the trapbags into the cargo box, so this  increases the costs of the project. The residual life of the barge is dependent on the stability of the trapbags.  Lifespan based on residual life of barge. 

January 14, 2020
December 16, 2019

The Park Avenue Working Group identified its goals and objectives:

– Gain a clear understanding of the current lake conditions, the proposed concepts for the barge/breakwater repair or replacement, and the risks associated with activities and shoreline protection at Park Avenue. 

– Explore fiscally responsible funding options to support site improvements. 

– Evaluate site improvement options and determine priorities based on feasibility. 

– Provide a recommendation to the Park Board on proposed site improvements and funding options.

Park District staff was directed to work with Smith Group to develop conceptual design options for barge repair or replacement. 

December 16, 2019
November 18, 2019

On Wednesday, November 13, the Park District of Highland Park invited Park Avenue powerboat launch pass holders to a meeting, at which an update was provided on the current status of boat launching via the concrete ramp at the Park Avenue Boating Facility.   Park District staff indicated that the barge, which acts as a breakwater for the concrete boat launch, has met its useful structural life and needs repair or replacement.  The costs associated with a repair or replacement of the barge is estimated to range between $550,000 – $1.6 Million.  The Park District is seeking third party funding for this project and asked the boaters to share their feedback.  Currently, the Park District plans to operate all facilities at Park Avenue Boating Facility in 2020.  However, numerous factors will play a role in the future of boating at Park Avenue. 

November 18, 2019
April 3, 2019

Staff provided a recommendation for the repair or replacement of the barge breakwater structure at the October 23 Board Meeting. The Board asked that Staff go back to SmithGroup to discuss additional options.

At the March 12 Board Workshop Meeting, SmithGroup presented on the options developed for the repair or replacement of the barge breakwater structure, including four additional options. The Board directed Staff to review the options presented and prepare an economic analysis based on usage costs, fees and the various costs involved and report back to the Board.

A summary of the options is below:

Barge Repair – 6-8 months permit process, 8-10 week construction. Cost: $1,588,100 (65-70 year service life)

Barge Replacement – 12+ months permit process, 12-14 week construction. Cost: $1,337,350 (28-34 year service life)

Cellular Sheetpile – 6-8 months permit process, 12-14 week construction. Cost: $1,389,620 (65-70 year service life)

Rubble Fill w/ H-Piles – 3-4 months permit process, 6-9 week construction. Cost: $555,770 (20+ year service life)

Rubble Breakwater w/ Sheetpile – 8-10 months permit process, 10-12 week construction. Cost: $848,950 (~50 service life)

Rubble Breakwater w/ Raised Core – 9-11 months permit process, 12-14 week construction. Cost: $918,550 (~50 year service life)

Rubble Breakwater w/ Precast Walkway – 8-10 months permit process, 12-14 week construction. Cost: $827,500 (~50 year service life)

Cantilevered Sheetpile Wall – 3-4 months permit process, 6-8 week construction. Cost: $1,136,750 (65-70 year service life)

April 3, 2019
October 19, 2018

At the October 16 Board Workshop meeting,  SmithGroup JJR presented its findings and four design concepts for the repair or replacement of the barge at Park Avenue.  As part of their work, SmithGroup JJR was asked 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. Each concept was examined for ease of design and construction, permitting requirements, service life, and cost. A summary of the concepts is below:

Barge Repair – 6-8 month permit process, 8-10 week construction. Cost: $1,588,100  (65-70 year service life)

Barge Replacement – 12+ month permit process,  12-14 week construction. Cost:  $1,337,350   (28-34 year service life)

Cellular Sheetpile –  6-8 month permit process, 12-14 week construction. Cost: $1,389,620 (65-70 year service life)

Rubble Fill w/ H-Piles – 3-4 month permit process,  6-9 week construction. Cost:  $555,770 (20-22 year service life)

A staff recommendation will be presented to the Board for approval at the October 23 Board Meeting.

October 19, 2018
June 26, 2018

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. 

June 26, 2018
May 22, 2018

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. 

May 22, 2018