This past week our community celebrated the opening of The Preserve of Highland Park. Festivities kicked off on Thursday June 2 at an event recognizing key partners in the project including the construction teams, Resident Advisory Committee, the City of Highland Park, Lake County, and the State of Illinois. Park Board President Terry Grossberg hosted the ceremony. Among those in attendance were Illinois Senator of the 29th District, Julie Morrison; Illinois Representative of the 58th District, Bob Morgan; and City of Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering along with members of the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners, Parks Foundation of Highland Park Board members, and City Council members.
The public grand opening event took place on Saturday, June 4. Over 200 residents enjoyed a day exploring the natural world around the ponds and at the turtle meadow, new nature maze, pollinator garden, and sand play area.
The Preserve of Highland Park is a unique 100+ acre property comprised of green lawns, nature-based play areas, specialized native gardens, restored woodlands, and walking and biking trails that connect neighborhoods, downtown Highland Park, and regional biking trails. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and experiences of nature and outdoor play. The property provides enhanced habitat for several native species including turtles, pollinators, and over 110 species of birds.
Interpretive, interactive signage and ongoing public programming opportunities will allow visitors to learn about important conservation efforts. The Preserve will host summer camp visits, nature educational programs, fitness classes, and special events. The Recreation Center of Highland Park, The Highland Park Senior Center, and the Highland Park Golf Learning Center/Rivers Edge Adventure Golf are steps from the outdoor spaces and trails of The Preserve.
The Preserve is also designed to take advantage of manufactured and natural features to help with local flood relief – including added capacity for flood storage, conversion of 50+ acres of turfgrass into native plantings that absorb and cleanse stormwater, and restoration of more than 2,500 linear feet of pond shoreline providing large-scale water quality benefits in the highly developed Skokie River watershed.