Wakeboard park plans move forward in Crystal Lake

CRYSTAL LAKE– The Crystal Lake City Council approved the first phase of plans Tuesday for a cable wakeboard park at North Lake that is set to open in 2015.

The proposed 32-acre park would include a main course with six towers planted in the lake and connected at the top by cables that would pull riders around a course with obstacles and stunt jumps. Two smaller two-tower courses would be available for novice riders.

Wakeboard parks require a series of cables and pulleys connected to towers that pull boarders along the water similar to water skiing. The cables are electric-powered.

It would be one of roughly 20 courses of its kind in the country.

"We're still going to see this another couple times," Mayor Aaron Shepley said, reminding the council not everything needs to be decided immediately. "I think the public will be hungry for details. This is just one step in the process."

Developers included a full restaurant and patio area in the plans in hopes of making the park a family destination. It would be a full-service restaurant that serves alcohol, but any alcohol would be limited to the restaurant and patio area and any wakeboard riders would have to turn in their wristband – which allows them to ride – before consuming a drink.

An 80-space parking lot would also be constructed. The city will receive at least 5 percent of the park's gross revenues as rent including increased parking revenues attributable to the cable park.

The agreement is for 10 years with an option for the city to renew the agreement for 10 more years.

Councilman Jeff Thorsen voiced support for the project, saying the city had nothing to lose and could provide something residents and visitors could enjoy.

"The petitioners are putting out a whole lot of risk here ... it's no risk to the city," Thorsen said. "It's a win-win."

Shepley added it's a win-win-win as it would generate revenue, provide a service to the community and attract tourists. He said it was also exciting to be ahead of a potential trend.

"It's very uique," he said. "It's always nice to be among the first."

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