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Park District Hosts Rosewood Beach Community Meetings

The Rosewood Beach Task Force has been working with David Woodhouse Architects on conceptual plans, and after almost a year, a proposed plan is ready for public review and comment.

The Park District of Highland Park is hosting two community meetings to gather resident feedback on the conceptual plan for Rosewood Beach development.

The public is encouraged to attend May 2, 7:00 p.m. at West Ridge Center, 636 Ridge Road, or Sunday, May 6, 1:30 p.m. at Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Road.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Greenberg April 19, 2012 at 11:06 PM
See the Park District's Website: http://www.pdhp.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=332 Scroll down to Page 3 for the Project Carry Over from Prior year budget, capital, and grant amounts. Essentially there was $2.7 million budgeted for the Rosewood pavilion and associated items like utilities, entry plaza, parking lots, landscaping, architectural/engineering design/construction management, playground, accessible walkway, ravine trail, beach volleyball, ravine bluff restoration, interpretive signs, picnic areas, cpa reports, construction related costs. $1.9M was capital costs, about $757K applied to grant amounts, for a net of about $1.1M. For FY 2011-2012, the budget and other amounts are listed as TBD. That the beach development can be funded through grants and reserves with no additional taxes levied is misleading in and of itself. We still have to operate and maintain the facilities - there's a cost there. We're still expending funds from reserves to build something new. How much is is going to cost? With regard to the US Army Corp of Engineers conducting a feasibility study on improvements to the lakeshore - that's certainly nice. But THE TAXPAYERS are on the hook for maintaining any improvements made by the Corps for 50 years. What's our TOTAL COST there? We don't need MORE stuff to take care of - MORE stuff = MORE TAXES (if not now, then in the future).
David Greenberg April 19, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Note also - in that document on the district's website - they have a line item for Acquiring property for a park at Fort Sheridan as "TBD". Again, we don't need MORE parks, MORE facilities, and MORE equipment to own, operate, and maintain. There's already too many parks and facilities in Highland Park. Including a few in close proximity to Ft. Sheridan. Reserves should be used for actual current or future needs to fund repairs and maintenance. Not to add MORE facilities, MORE equipment, and so on.
Don Miller April 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Absolutely right, re Rosewood Beach---The 1000+ sq. ft."interp center" they want to build is an extreme example of this largesse--we MUST stop it! Don Miller--Ravinia Resident-50 years
Doug Purington April 21, 2012 at 02:04 AM
On May 2nd and 6th, the Park District of Highland Park will be presenting to the public its newest proposal for improvements to Rosewood beach. Members of the Governing Board of the Ravinia Neighbors Association favor this naturalistic design which incorporates a wood walkway to replace the current asphalt walk and the use of wood for restrooms, a lifeguard station and a concession area. We would like these elements to have the smallest possible footprint. We object strongly, however, to the inclusion of a proposed "interpretive center"--- a relatively large building (in the range of 2000 sq. ft. as proposed) for this small beach, with no fully defined use, which would be out of scale and would have no direct relation to the functions of the only swimming beach in Highland Park. We consider it a costly and wasteful expenditure of money, to be redundant in duplicating restrooms (planned separately nearby), would be rarely used, expensive to maintain, and would obtrusively spoil and distort the natural scale and contour of the beach. We urge the Park District to forgo construction of this building at Rosewood Beach. Ravinia Neighbors Association’s Governing Board
Doug Purington April 21, 2012 at 02:04 AM
The functions planned for such an "interpretive center" can be carried out at various other locations on the lake (to preserve grant money) which already exist or can be architecturally modified, or can be newly built with the same or smaller amount of Park District investment --- but with much less intrusive results. Our website, www.ravinianeighbors.org, reveals signed petitions (these along with separately gathered petitions now total over 900), letters and blogs from throughout the Highland Park community voicing objections to the interpretative center and the overbuilding of Rosewood Beach. More of these objections will be forthcoming. We urge the Park District to forgo construction of this building at Rosewood Beach. Ravinia Neighbors Association’s Governing Board
David Greenberg April 21, 2012 at 09:02 AM
The best interpretive center at the beach? A person, sitting along the water's edge, staring out across the Lake - deep in thought, interpreting the waves, and contemplating the mysteries of the multiverse. One does not need a 2000 sq. ft. bldg for that - in fact, such a small house would likely be a vast distraction to such peaceful contemplation. We don't need MORE facilities to build, own, and operate, and given it's locale, this building will be exposed to severe levels of the elements and will cost MORE to maintain and operate. Don't forget security - another cost. Utilities: Another cost. The whole thing will have to be ADA accessible = more costs. What's the Total Cost of Ownership for the expected life of the building (say 50 years)? I suppose we'll see what the proposal entails. But I, for one, would like to believe that the Park District Board has heard the community loud and clear during the past elections. TAXPAYER RELIEF.
Richard H Heineman Jr April 22, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I think that there is confusion about the proposal. The article in the Trib said that is is a 1000 sq ft building that includes bathroom and changing areas. The extra room that is not bathroom and changing area is for events. The similar building at the water plant is rented out by the park Dist for money. Lets find out what the facts are before we form opinions. The park Dist should put the exact proposal on the website.
forest barbieri April 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Rosewood beach is an intregal part of the communities ability to access and use the beachfront. As a primary beach recreational access point there is nobody that questions the need for bathrooms and changing areas as well as some sort of family integrated recreational area. Lifeguard facilities and consessions add to the safety and comfort as a family destination. I am pleased to see that it has been scaled back from the original nonsensical and poorly thought out plan brought about during a poor goverance period. I am also pleased that the public has and will be on the front lines of the decision making process and only hope that the board will be decisive realizing that they will never please everyone, to move this forward so we can enjoy these improvements sooner rather than later. In addition, the comments of ongoing maintence costs are off point and to a degree with all due respect, pointless. As to the interpretive aspect, the comments are "spot on". If you want to interpret, stay home and watch the Discovery Channel. My kids are never going to say, "dad, can we please go to the beach because we want to spend time in the interpretive center." Nor will they beg to come out of the water or beach to spend quality time in such center. The keyword is "BEACH."
David Greenberg April 25, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I disagree that a discussion of ongoing maintenance costs is pointless. When one considers buying a car - more often than not, one of the selling points is the warranty, because one doesn't want to end up shelling out money year-on-year to maintain the vehicle. In this case, we have proposed infrastructure which will be sitting on a beach, in an environmentally active area. Maintenance costs are certainly a consideration of mine. If we put up a building on the beach and have to spend thousands every year to battle against Mother Nature - that adds up. If we end up with 5 years less life on a roof because of Mother Nature, that's a cost to be considered too. I also believe that the Army Corps of Engineers requires us to maintain their improvements for 50 years. What's the cost of that? It's not free, and it could be quite expensive. If we're going to propose spending $2 million on something, I think it's fair to ask what else we have to spend over the lifetime of that investment to maintain it, and where that maintenance money is going to come from. The taxpayers should be given a Total Cost of Ownership for the investment they're being asked to make, and not "oh don't worry about it. It's a built-in cost." That kind of thinking has gotten us into this economic mess...
Carolyn Cerf April 26, 2012 at 05:13 PM
The Park District has not yet made public the designs that have been drawn up for Rosewood Beach. I'm not sure what the public is supposed to comment ON at next week's meetings if no one has seen the proposed designs. Perhaps they will be on display at the public hearings May 2 and May 6.
Carolyn Cerf April 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Thank you, David, for spelling out the potential financial implications of (over)development on Rosewood Beach. I've been concerned about that side of things since the beginning, and I am disappointed that the Park District has yet to address the budgetary questions that WILL be asked at the public hearings next week.
Carolyn Cerf April 26, 2012 at 05:24 PM
To clarify, the designs I have seen (which were recommended to the Board by the Task Force, but which are unavailable on the Park District's website) indicate that the multi-purpose interpretive center is at least 1,500 square feet. Nevermind whether 500 square feet is enough to quibble over - there has been a misrepresentation, and the fact that the designs aren't available to the public makes it awfully easy for the Park District and the press to say it's smaller. If we're trying to stick to the facts, I can't just let that slide.
David Greenberg April 26, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I wish the Park District was having additional public hearings - unfortunately due to prior commitments I'm unable to make either of the times they have detailed.... While I understand the desire to explain everything in person, It certainly would be nice if the Park District were to post the items on their website so taxpayers unable to attend the meetings in person would be able to comment on and question the proposed designs.
Carolyn Cerf April 26, 2012 at 07:20 PM
David, you should write a letter to the editor and send it to the HP News, TribLocal, Patch, etc. and also to the Park District. If you can't make it to the meetings, your above comments would be a fine letter, especially your point about the lack of attention to budget considerations.
Doug Purington May 01, 2012 at 08:09 PM
We all want and deserve a beach in Highland Park (Rosewood) as nice as the one in Lake Forest and with the naturalistic designs and amenities proposed by the Park District. That said, in no way is an "interpretive center", or "beach shelter",or whatever one wants to call it, necessary to accomplish that. Again, the 7 or so alternatives that have been suggested for that building make so much more sense. The primary focus of the restoration of Rosewood Beach should be to provide a beautiful, comfortable, accessible, natural in concept venue for all families in Highland Park to be able to enjoy all year-round, something that we've been without for years and years. This proposed structure is in no way necessary for that premise to be realized! An "interpretive center", in of itself, is a wonderful concept...it just needs to be properly placed. According to one of the Park District board members, that placement can be elsewhere without sacrificing the matching grant monies. So, let's support the Park District's plans sans this unwanted and unneeded building (at Rosewood)!

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