Together, Let’s Improve Our Life on the Lake

January 7, 2022

There are so many things that make living in Highland Park special. We have an amazing and supportive community, beautiful landscapes, and the best location in the Midwest, right on the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Big plans for a $2.5 million improvement at the Park Avenue Boating Facility are in the works.   The project, is estimated to begin in Fall 2022 and be completed by Spring 2023 and will include a new breakwater and  boat launch.   The new breakwater will replace the existing structure that has outlived its useful life and the new launch will replace the existing launch that collapsed in 2021. 

The Parks Foundation of Highland Park, the Park District, and a group of committed Highland Park residents are determined to see this project become a reality—funding will come from Park District funds, a potential grant from the state of Illinois, and $300,000 in individual donations.

A generous individual has stepped up to offer up to $150,000 in matching funds to see that you and I can safely enjoy walking and boating at Park Avenue Beach for years to come.

Including matching funds, right now, the Foundation is more than 66% of its way to the goal with $204,000 in individual donations. 

As you consider your philanthropic giving for this year, please consider a gift of any amount to support the Park Avenue Breakwater & Boat Ramp.  Donors will receive the following recognition: 

You will be contacted in Spring 2022 with specific details on your donation recognition. For additional information, please get in touch with Liz Gogola at [email protected] or 847-579-3136.

About the Project

The new breakwater will have a sheet pile foundation, need little maintenance, and have an expected life of 50-70 years.  Its “pedestrian-friendly” paved surface will be approximately 22 feet wide, with benches for residents to sit and enjoy the lake.  The new concrete ramp will allow for two-way boat launches. 

The new breakwater and boat launch will make our lakefront more enjoyable and safe by:
• Protecting the beach from erosion
• Protecting the cove that allows all watercraft to launch safely
• Providing a safe place for walking and fishing, powerboating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and events
• Maintaining a rescue boat launch for the Fire Department and water safety personnel
• Enabling the Yacht Club to launch its safety boat team for classes and races

With the project complete, all Highland Park residents can safely enjoy everything their lakefront has to offer. The project will help ensure safe water recreation activities can continue in Lake Michigan.

In addition to boating activities, the improved Park Avenue will attract and support our downtown district use and tourism. Improvements to the breakwater and boat ramp will help Highland Park retain its reputation as a vibrant boating community, attracting new business and residents.