Highland Park Country Club Golf Course May Close

The park district is slated to take over the course next year, meaning it would have a second course to operate since it currently operates Sunset Valley.

A group studying the long-term plans for the Park District of Highland Park is recommending that the district stop operating the Highland Park Country Club golf course once the district takes over the course next year, according to a press release from the district.

The park district already operates Sunset Valley Golf Course and “given the dip in the golf industry and the number of private golf courses currently located in Highland Park, operating two public golf courses is fiscally imprudent,” said Scott Freres, president of The Lakota Group, the consulting firm helping the park district.

The following is the full press release from the Park District of Highland Park:

Following nine months of community input, program assessment, and district-wide analysis, The Lakota Group is prepared to make a recommendation on targeted five and ten-year initiatives for the Park District of Highland Park. Divided into two phases, complete with timeline and budget considerations, the draft GreenPrint 2024 master plan will be shared with the public, sister agencies, and community stakeholders during an upcoming open house before landing on the Park Board’s agenda for further review and approval in early spring.

The Park District’s anticipated acquisition of the Highland Park Country Club triggered the impetus for the master plan development. The Park District is scheduled to take over the clubhouse, banquet facility, and golf course in 2015 as part of an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Highland Park. As such, the Park District acted upon the unique opportunity to evaluate the park system as a whole to strategically integrate this property into its mission and vision for the community.

The Park District of Highland Park currently owns and operates Sunset Valley Golf Course, and the pending Highland Park Country Club acquisition presents the first big recommendation by the team of consultants; whether to manage two golf courses.

“Given the dip in the golf industry and the number of private golf courses currently located in Highland Park, operating two public golf courses is fiscally imprudent,” comments Scott Freres, co-founder and president of The Lakota Group.

Following an extensive analysis of the infrastructure needs of both golf courses, as well as the financial status, potential alternate uses, and community sentiment, Sunset Valley solidly garners the project team’s choice as the recommended course to remain in operation. The Highland Park Country Club Golf Course will continue operating at least through 2015.

“Aside from providing an integral core service, Sunset Valley is steeped in history and clearly a favorite among the golfers,” continues Freres. 

The consensus on the golf course is one of many recommendations included in the draft GreenPrint 2024 master plan. Working with staff and Park Board liaisons Cal Bernstein and Lori Flores Weisskopf, The Lakota Group has identified phase-one, top priority Park District improvements for which reserve funding has been allocated. Phase-two projects will require the need to secure alternative, non-referendum based funding.

Commissioner Cal Bernstein notes that GreenPrint 2024 was developed using a holistic approach. “We have looked at everything. We have touched everything. We have listened to residents and developed a 10-year master plan that identifies some great projects that offer multigenerational benefits,” states Bernstein. “We think residents will be pleased and excited about the potential improvements.”

Watch for upcoming information on the date, time, and location of the community open house during which the entire GreenPrint 2024 will be presented for public review and comment. Contact the Park District of Highland Park at info@pdhp.org or 847.831.3810 for more information.

Samantha Stolberg March 08, 2014 at 04:45 PM
Sorry - I meant Independence Grove in LIBERTYVILLE.
David Greenberg March 08, 2014 at 05:16 PM
Yes, they've supposedly spent a lot of time reviewing options. I appreciate that. Supposedly the report is complete - so what's the delay? Post it on the website so we can read it BEFORE the community meetings, that way we can come prepared with cogent questions.
Benny G. March 10, 2014 at 03:28 PM
The group that had a contract to reinvent the Alcyon spent much time doing studies as well. We all know what happened there. HP is a sleepy bedroom community with many aged out homeowners who do not spend money to support local business. Yes, there is new money moving in and moved in with new families but not nearly enough to grow the town and fill the holes that these boards contemplate. The Park District could sell off nine holes for a PUD residential development and be done with it while retaining golf there as well. I am all for open space as it seems most here are.


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