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Public feedback wanted for Main Beach renovations

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 2:54 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 12:51 a.m. CST

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake residents and users of Main Beach can help shape the future of the park during a public forum Wednesday where park district staff will unveil preliminary 2016 renovation plans.

Ann Viger, director of planning and development for the Crystal Lake Park District, said staff and board members want public feedback to prioritize a long list of renovations at Main Beach including heating and cooling systems in the main building, playground replacement, improvements to pathways and boat launch areas and a new rental shed among other things.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake. “There is no part of the park that doesn’t need something,” Viger said. “But this is a multimillion dollar project and we won’t be able to do everything all at once.”

Viger said the district is planning to spend $1.5 million on the first phase of renovations scheduled to start in 2016 and could include a mix of renovations and additions depending on what residents and users highlight as top priorities.

Some potential new additions park district staff have proposed include a splash pad, gazebos or shelters and a grand patio connected to the lake side of the building where people could have concessions.

Guidance on the additions and renovations will give Viger more clarity on which grants to pursue, which could cover 50 to 75 percent of the costs, she said.

“We started this process about four years ago, working with a landscape architect and sending out surveys,” Viger said. “Now we’re two years out and we know the funding should be there.”

The park at Main Beach was first established in 1926 and the most recent renovation occurred in 1998, but did not include work to the pavilion that still needs heating improvements and an air conditioning system.

While it is one of the oldest parks in the area, it remains one of the most popular in terms of attendance. Main Beach only ranks behind Veteran Acres Park within the district, though the city-operated Three Oaks Recreation Area remains the top draw.

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