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.
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.
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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.
Rosewood Beach Task Force Member
Ravinia Neighbors Association Vice President