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Rosewood Task Force Does Not Represent the Majority

One member of the Rosewood Beach Task Foce supports the plan, but argues against the interpretive center.

Dear Park District Board  President and Commissioners,

I hope that the result of our work will be helpful in making your important decision tonight regarding the Rosewood Beach plan.

Earlier:

All of us living in Highland Park have elected you to represent us in making the best decisions for the community.

When weighing your decision about the new Rosewood Beach plan and the functions to be included, it is important to bear in mind that our task force is not an elected body—it was appointed by the Park District for fulfilling quite a narrow task: to help select an architect for the Rosewood Beach project and to work with the selected architect on redesigning the plan. The Park District staff presented the functions to be included in the redesigned plan, all of which had also been in the previous failed plan. We were told by the staff when we started that they would like to present this program, including the controversial interpretive center, to the public to find out the wish of the majority of  the people of Highland Park.

Stay tuned for more in depth coverage of last week's task force presentation later this week by subscribing to Patch's newsletter.

While we as the task force have had a guiding and facilitating role, we should not be viewed as representing the majority of Highland Park residents, who you as our elected officials represent. Our task force was appointed by the Park District.

It has been a pleasure for me to be able to serve on this task force and work together with the Park District staff on the project. I believe the results have been good—we have a sensitive natural looking building project for Rosewood combined with environmentally friendly materials and a natural look appropriate for a beach. I hope that we will be able to bring Rosewood Beach to much-improved condition very soon based on this plan—this is something that the residents have been longing for for years.

Our task force has been in substantial agreement about the part of the project that addresses Rosewood Beach as the only swimming and recreational beach in Highland Park to provide facilities for this use. We have all been excited about the Army Corps part of the project, hoping this will be implemented. On this task force, I have been the only member who has been of the position that the additional space, which became to be called the interpretive center for Park District rentals and educational purposes, does not belong to this beach. I feel this way because of the strong opposition among Highland Park residents to this structure from the time it was first presented as an element for inclusion at Rosewood a couple of years ago. If needed at all, this structure, or rather this function, could be created elsewhere.

This sentiment was strongly conveyed by 75 percent of people who chose to come and speak at the two highly-publicized Park District public meetings. At these meetings, our chairman Mr. Fairman was handed a petition initiated by the Ravinia Neighbors Association that included between  900 and 1000  signatures of people across Highland Park asking the Park District Board of Commissioners and staff not to build this center at Rosewood.

Many long time residents, and former administrators and decision makers have said that they do not recall a petition of this magnitude from the past. I think that it is important for you to keep in mind that the majority of Highland Park residents share this position,  and not just 'a small interest group' _ as it has sometimes been characterized in some of the Park District press releases.

I urge you to listen to your constituents and approve of the plan. But I also urge you to omit this additional rental and educational space, the , which the public so clearly is asking you to do.

Eve Tarm
Rosewood Beach Task Force Member
Ravinia Neighbors Association Vice President 

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forest barbieri June 25, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Well stated. While I respect and appreciate the task force's efforts and will accept our elected Park District final decision, I personally am not in favor of the Interpretive Center, Beach House or whatever you call it, on the beach. This sentiment has been widely represented to the board and I hope they have listened. Perhaps the portion of monies devoted to this portion of the project can be diverted to Ravine Beach wherein an empty, open and potentially dangerous structure already exists that could be converted.
Michelle Kramer June 25, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Thanks for writing this important letter to the PDHP Commissioners and for sharing it with us, Eve. Repeatedly calling the process "transparent," does not make it so. Some supporters of the IC have downplayed the importance of 1,000 petitioners opposing overbuilding on our city's only swimming beach. Please know that opponents of the IC are not limited to people who signed the petition or live in Ravinia. Also, one cannot deduce that all people who did not sign the petition support the IC. I didn't sign the petition, but I did send a letter to the Park District to let them know that I supported the plan except for the IC. (Btw, why is Rosewood our city's only swimming beach? Does anyone else find it odd that 30,000+ people share one swimming beach while the dogs have their own beach?) When I read the HP News article of how the Task Force toured the site, I was struck by at least two things: 1. Dave Fairman was quoted as saying that the IC damages the beach: “The big issue here is the big reveal that you see when you drive down here and walk down here, and would that be damaged by the location of this building? From what I saw, I don’t think it’s significantly damaged.” 2. They appear to have staked out the 1,000 s.f. building, but not the "attached 900-square-foot utility shed". If you only stake out half, then what's the point? (http://highlandpark.suntimes.com/news/12685233-418/task-force-tours-rosewood-beach-project-site-in-highland-park.html)
Bryce Robertson June 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
One cannot also assume that by stating that the Task Force doesn't represent the majority, the Ravinia Neighbors Assocation does. Many members have commented on Patch that they do NOT stand with the RNA, and a few have threatened to drop their memberships because of the constant talk of the "RNA membership" being against the IC. Same goes for the letter above - while it raises a few valid points, nobody can state that a large group is unilaterally for or against the IC. We were taught to use "I" statements since preschool - I want this, I think this - not we want this, we think this. You can only speak for yourself. Personal speech is a constituioanlly protected right. Group speech is not, and I personally feel (although others on Patch have expressed this as well) that there is too much "we" talk in this debate.
Mosaic53 June 25, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I look forward to the Park District Board FINALLY voting (& soon I hope) on this so we can all move on. Per Bryce, I, MYSELF am so tired of the rhetoric, hostility & most importantly, the lack of civility towards those that have a differing opinion in EITHER direction. While I support the IC AND I live in the neighborhood, I respect the rights of those that don't support it & only wish that they were as respectful in return. This was not why I joined the RNA & do not feel they are being very "neighborly" in the way they've behaved.
Mosaic53 June 25, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Ms. Tarm: Are you the only Taskfirce member against the IC?
Ed Brill June 26, 2012 at 01:01 AM
According to previously reported stories, she is the only person on the task force who voted against bringing the recommendation forward, 6-1.
Jack Straw June 26, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Well said Eve.
David Greenberg June 26, 2012 at 06:48 AM
we changed the members of the Park District Board recently. We can certainly do so again.
Peggy L. June 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM
The controversial structure is set back and its 12 foot height blends into a 60 foot bluff. Further, it will take up only 2% of the current beach area - or 1.4% of a restored USACE beachfront. It's planned uses, along with a restored beachfront, will re-introduce residents to the beach. This location is appropriate, as the suggested alternate locations were not. Highland Parkers should be thrilled to have this addition to our lakefront.
Doug Purington June 26, 2012 at 08:59 PM
The proposed size of the Interpretive Center is only ONE part of the objections. Reading all of our comments on the Rosewood Beach project will yield the many, many other issues that support the reasoning that the IC does not belong at Rosewood!

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