Rosewood Beach Redesign: A Plan Approved

Now that the Park Board of Highland Park has voted to go forward with the Rosewood Beach redesign proposal, here's everything you need to know about how the plan came together, what it includes and what happens next.

Update: The Park Board , including the controversial interpretive center. Read the whole story .

Earlier: Over one year ago, the Park District board of commissioners appointed a task force to come up with a proposal for a redesign.

 in June, and .

One group favors the entire plan while another would like to see the interpretive center, one of the proposed buildings, removed. Meanwhile, the park board has .

Before then, here's your chance to get the full story on what may or may not be in the works for the city's only swimming beach.


After over a year of meetings, planning, beach tours and conversations with residents, the Park Board of Highland Park voted unanimously in favor of the entire Rosewood Beach redesign, including the controversial interpretive center.

With the vote on the Rosewood Beach redesign a day away, Patch talks to residents, board commissioners and Mayor Nancy Rotering about how the proposal process unfolded and what it says about Highland Park politics.

Residents joined the park board and architects at Rosewood Beach last week to see what would go where assuming the board approves the beach's proposed redesign.

Instead of voting on the proposed beach redesign on July 26, the park board commissioners will tour the beach with the plan's architect.

Check out these artist renderings of the proposed redesign for Rosewood Beach before the Park Board votes on it. 

With the vote only a week away, the board continues to solicit feedback from residents and information from park district staff about the proposed redesign of Highland Park's sole swimming beach.

As the Park Board gears up to vote on the proposed Rosewood Beach project, two groups of residents continue to argue for and against it.

After a year spent working on its plan for Rosewood Beach, the task force will make its presentation Thursday.

Ravinia Neighbors Association heads to Monday's City Council meeting to object to the interpretive center that's part of the proposed Rosewood Beach redesign.

After hearing residents out at two community meetings, task force meets to figure out what's next. 

After touring Rosewood Beach on Monday, the group voted 6-1 to keep the controversial building in the redesign plan.

Here's why readers are for and against the Park District's proposed renovations Rosewood Beach. 


For the Interpretive Center:

In his second column on the subject, Ed Brill says it's time for Ravinia Neighbors Association to stop fighting against the interpretive center and let the Park District renovate the city's only swimming beach.

Ed Brill discusses why the Park District's plan for Rosewood is a great use of the city's only swimming beach.

Peggy Laemle paints a picture of what the proposed new lakefront view would look like.

Against the Interpretive Center:

With widespread opposition to the proposed interpretive center at Rosewood Beach, the Park District places in jeopardy an otherwise supported project.

Ravinia Neighbors Association calls proposed building at Rosewood Beach a "wasteful expenditure of money." 

City Councilman approves of Rosewood redesign, but thinks the beach house should be placed somewhere else. 

From the Task Force:

Group says Ravinia Neighbors Association's appeal to the council undermines the redesign process. 

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

Park District Resources:

Check out this page on the Park District's website dedicated to offering facts and details about the redesign proposal.

Up next: The Park Board will take a tour of Rosewood Beach on July 26 and discuss the project at its meeting after.

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Carl Lambrecht July 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Rosewood beach needs a toilet and changing room. This toilet and changing room was there in1970 when I moved to Highland Park. Poor maintence is the reason we lost this building. Ravinia beach has a toilet and changing room, but the public is not allowed to use this toilet and changing room. Ravinia beach has an empty building which can be used for the interpretive center. Because of legal corruption the state of Illinois is broke. We can have all for thousands not millions. Above Ravinia beach is acres of land for parking.
Amy Lohmolder July 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
The Ravinia Neighbors Association has long been trying to find a compromise.The Park District should set up this vote so that it is not an all or nothing proposition. Since the architect designed the bathrooms and swim facilities separately, it is possible to go forward with what so many have long awaited. At the very least the problems with the controversial Interpretive Center need to be solved before committing tax payer money. The PD has not yet even received the federal funding that would allow for beach augmentation and proper set backs. Go forward with the needed beach facilities and table the IC.
Doug Purington July 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
As Amy has alluded to, the Park District(PD) refuses to consider the interpretive center portion of the overall Rosewood Beach plan separately from the rest of the plan which has much needed and long awaited for improvements to the swimming and recreational areas of the beach. And the PD has yet to provide any logical reason why this should be the case! Their agenda has long been to place an interpretive center on Rosewood Beach, wanted by the residents or not, and they refuse to consider any options excluding it, despite the huge number of public outcries to table the interpretive center for further research into its appropriateness and move on with the rest of the much needed and desired improvements! It is at the very least nonsensical to have a strictly up or down vote on the entire plan! Park District: please, please don't hold the good parts of the Rosewood Beach plan hostage for the likes of the very controversial interpretive center! Do the right thing and do it now!
Carolyn Cerf July 18, 2012 at 06:05 PM
THANK YOU, JACOB for putting all of Patch.com's material on Rosewood in one place. I know there's a subject page dedicated to Rosewood Beach, but now I have a fresh link to share with folks.
Jacob Nelson (Editor) July 18, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Thanks, Carolyn! I'm glad it's useful and will continue to add to it. I appreciate the note.
Bryce Robertson July 18, 2012 at 07:03 PM
President Scott Meyers of the Park Board expressed very eloquently at the last meeting the reasoning behind an all-or-nothing vote. One gentleman stood up at the very end and yet again, asked why. Mr. Meyers stated that his past comments stand, and he wasn't going to try explaining it a different way to get to the same point. I agree with that sentiment - and Doug, I don't know if you were there, but if you were and still don't understand, I can't help you. If you weren't, please talk to somebody who was and get the reasoning from them. It makes perfect sense and is actually the most fiscally and socially prudent thing to do.
Doug Purington July 18, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Bryce, I was there and heard his attempt to justify the "all or nothing" stance as regards the upcoming vote. There is nothing perfect about the sense! I appreciate Scott's eloquence that night and up until that statement, I respect his leadership and his attempts to be fair to both sides of the issue of the IC. However, there is NO good reason to continue to hold firm to the "all or nothing" position. It appears the Park District is fearful that by splitting the plan into two separate entities that the IC would forever be doomed, something they could not live with. It's high time they agree to move forward on the swimming and recreational facilities NOW and take their chances on the IC down the road!
Michelle Kramer July 19, 2012 at 11:29 PM
According to the Park District, at the present time “on summer weekend days, the lower and upper parking lots are both full.” (http://www.pdhp.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=607). Before any improvements, parking is already an issue. A party rental at the Interpretive Center could take a significant share of the estimated 97 parking spaces (53 in lower lot/44 in upper lot). Where will beach goers and staff park? Doubling the area of the sandy beach and making other beach improvements will guarantee more visitors and will require additional staff. The beach is not walking distance for most residents, myself included. I hope that the Park Board does not vote to build an expensive, unessential building (IC) which could preclude residents from using our city’s only swimming beach for its intended purpose.
Merle Branner Branner July 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM
If this multi-purpose education building often referred to as the interpretive center can generate income by renting it out in the evening for parties than the total estimated cost for the project is $4,661,372 would be an investment. If the multi-purpose education building does not generate income even thou it would be an asset to the community it is a lot of money in these hard economic times!
Richard H Heineman Jr July 23, 2012 at 06:15 PM
If I might the above comments needs some details. First "The interpretive center/beach house is estimated to cost approximately $579,000 (wood and glass) or $630,000 (stone, wood, and glass) to build. A significant portion of that cost will be covered by IDNR/DCEO grants." The $4.6 million is for the entire project. Also the expected revenue from renting out the beach house is only $5,600. Most of the revenue is from park district programs.
David Greenberg July 25, 2012 at 12:20 AM
The costs covered by the Grants come with many strings attached, which will make it even more difficult to recoup our costs on a project with a negative ROI to begin with, and which may adversely affect the way we operate other aspects of the PD. As the PD stated, right now they lose about $60K/yr at Rosewood beach. If this proposal is implemented, they project losing $50K/yr. So it's still losing money, and we have even higher costs related to maintenance and operations to contend with. The IC is a lousy investment. We need some permanent bathrooms - put them up in the parking lot to protect against flooding/ice dams. We don't really need, but might find a small concession stand useful - and we don't need to spend hundreds of thousands on it either. Rinsing off sand can be accomplished with a pole that has 4 shower heads on it - I seem to recall seeing this on the beaches of Maui.
Carl Lambrecht July 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
The should visit also Ravina Beach and see the building which is ready to be used. It will cost little for the tax payers.
Richard H Heineman Jr July 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I believe that before you think that Carl's idea is good, that you should go look at the building and the end on Ravine Drive. The idea that it can be used with little expense is absurd. I believe that the cost of making this building safe for children would be more that the cost of the beach house at Rosewood.
forest barbieri July 26, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Richard: While there would be a cost in revamping the VACANT Ravine Dr "beach" building, there are several cmunity benefits: 1. Removes an unsafe and potentially dangerous open building hidden from sight. As a father of two young daughters living close to this hidden structure, I worry about that. 2. Preserves precious beach space at Rosewood . 3. Increases the potential and breath of our beaches..
Carl Lambrecht July 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Safe for Children? Please explain! Park District employee is using the building.
forest barbieri July 27, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Safe in that while perhaps a park employee lives in the building above, if you walk to the North side you will see that the lower structure is open with just a large vacant space surrounded by three walls. It appears to be concrete and lends itself to the potential of being used improperly. I am not sure that the park employee living there can hear and certainly can not see that area of the building which is hidden from view of the parking lot, beach or lake front.
Richard H Heineman Jr July 27, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I am simply suggesting that people go look at the building before buying in on this concept.
Susan Kozloff July 30, 2012 at 02:31 PM
the IC will lbe just another tax drain for taxpayers. First, tax reserves will be used for its construction. When reserves are gone who will replenish? YOU AND I! In addition, not only are there the building costs, but also the maintenace. What is the projected budget for maintenace and security? A glass building stting on the shore will sustain serious damage once the wind, ice and sand have its way. Have we not learned a thing about local government over-reach with the Highland Park Theatre fiasco? Maintenace costs will supercede the construction costs within a handful of years. This building is NOT needed NOR wanted. Listen to the taxpayers...we say nay.
Bryce Robertson July 30, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Susan: See my post on a previous article - probably from about a month back. In short: WE don't say nay. You say nay, maybe some of your friends and associates as well, but I can't speak for them. I say yay. Your opinions are the same as mine, they carry the same weight because when it comes down to it, you and I each are just one vote for the Park Board, one vote for any referendum, one vote for anything in HP. One vote, one voice - not the voice of many.
Bryce Robertson July 30, 2012 at 03:06 PM
A correction: when I say "your opinions are the same as mine", I am referring to the weight they carry. Obviously, they differ on this subject.
forest barbieri August 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM
See 3 pictures of the door and windowless portion of the structure on Ravine Beach which creates a dangerous space in a remote location of Park District property. There is no doubt that this needs to be addressed ASAP in some responsible fashion and it could easily serve as the Intrerpretive Center/Beachhouse at a much lower cost than adding a new structure for this purpose on Rosewood Beach.


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