The Preserve
of Highland Park

Are there other considerations?

We are looking forward to contributing to the health and enjoyment of our community!

What about Quiet Zones?

Plans call for designated habitat areas in the north end of The Preserve reserved for walking and leisure biking. We are hopeful these areas will become popular with resident and migratory birds in the area.

What about plans to provide flood storage on the site?

The goal of the Preserve project is to create a unique passive natural recreation area for our community.  The property also presents an opportunity to enhance stormwater storage capacity on the site to help alleviate flooding for our residents, especially those residing in the Skokie River watershed.  In the near term, our plans to restore wetland habitat and native vegetation will help with both water quality and in reducing flooding on the site.

The Park District has worked with the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and the City of Highland Park to seek grant funding for flood storage areas that would also enhance the natural habitat and enjoyment of the site.  We will work in partnership with these agencies to preserve the essence of the natural areas, public spaces and trails being implemented in the community park project.

What is a passive recreation area?

Passive recreation areas highlight the natural habitat and provide low intensity amenities such as picnic areas, benches, and trails.

What is the project timeline?

Major construction began in December 2020 and was completed in December 2021. An opening celebration is planned for May 2022.

What water activities will be allowed?

There are several ponds on the property, and we heard from our Advisory Committee that access to water was key.   Plans call for several ways to engage with the ponds and wetlands on the property, including a water overlook and designated viewing areas.  Fishing will be allowed in designated areas.  Current plans do not include boating. Swimming will not be allowed.

What will be the park hours?

Like other District parks, the community park will be open from dawn to dusk.

What’s in store?

The Preserve will provide a one of a kind passive recreational experience for walking, leisure biking, running, playing and enjoying the outdoors.  It features green spaces for gathering interwoven with natural areas, native gardens and restored woods.  Park pathways will connect the community to the Recreation Center of Highland Park, the Highland Park Golf Learning Center and Skokie River Woods, as well as links between neighborhoods and downtown Highland Park.

Will bikes be allowed?

The District supports transportation alternatives, including bikes!  While walking is the anticipated primary use of the interior trails, there will be a connector path across the property that is shared use for bikes and pedestrians.  The designated City bike trail already runs along the east side of the property, connecting Park Avenue West and Half Day Road.  Bike racks will be provided.

Will cross country skiing be encouraged?

We’ve heard from many residents who already enjoy cross country skiing on our park properties!  At The Preserve, we have plans to create mown trails that can be used for cross country runners in the warm months and cross-country skiers when there is snow.  Also, mown edges on major park trails will provide additional pathways for both.

Will dogs be allowed on site?

Dogs on leash will be allowed to use the site.  Dog walkers are responsible for cleaning up after pets.  Dog bag dispensers like those found at other District parks will be provided.

Will it be possible to book parties, events and/or picnics?

In the future, we hope that picnicking on the park greens will be a popular activity!  Designated picnic areas taking advantage of tree cover for shade and vistas for great views are in the plans. Trash cans, picnic tables and bench seating will be provided, as will routine park maintenance.  At that time, groups of 12 or more wishing to use park grounds or picnic in the park will be required to secure a permit prior to their visit.

Will there be restrooms?

Plans are underway to create an indoor accessible restroom near the park entrance.