Plans for Glen Ellyn's Lake Ellyn Park near completion as Boathouse hits notable anniversary
|Glen Ellyn residents view plans for Lake Ellyn Park during the Lake Ellyn Boathouse's 75th anniversary celebration Nov. 11. (Colin McAuliffe)|
Nearly a year after beginning the process of looking at Lake Ellyn Park and deciding which components needed attention, the Glen Ellyn Park District is on track to have a final conceptual plan of park renovations in December.
While the plan will not include blueprints, it will include fairly specific concepts, said Dave Harris, park district executive director.
And after hosting two public forums and accepting questionnaire responses from stakeholders and neighbors of the park, the park district is confident the public will be on board with the Lake Ellyn Master Plan, Harris said.
“It's essential what we do there supports and mirrors what the majority of the community wants,” he said. “We're sensitive to that and how important the property is to everyone.”
The 25-acre park, commonly referred to as the “jewel of Glen Ellyn,” is located at 645 Lenox Road in northeast Glen Ellyn. It includes natural areas, as well as a playground, picnic area, walking paths and tennis courts. During the winter, patrons can ice skate on Lake Ellyn.
The park also includes the Lake Ellyn Boathouse, which celebrated its 75th anniversary Nov. 11.
“[The Boathouse] is a landmark in Glen Ellyn,” said Kathleen Talenco, park district marketing and communications supervisor. “It’s significant to the community in Glen Ellyn. It’s popular, it’s well-used, well-loved.”
Harris said a very important part of the master plan process was to find an expert consultant who was a good fit for the project — who understands and has experience with historical reconstruction.
The Glen Ellyn Park District ultimately chose Conservation Design Forum as its partner in the master plan project. Another part of the Conservation Design Forum team is Farr Associates, an architectural firm with historical experience, suited to working on the Lake Ellyn Boathouse, he said.
The community has been active in the master plan process, with many people attending the forums held Aug. 28 and Oct. 22, Harris said.
“People value Lake Ellyn and Lake Ellyn Park,” he added.
Overall, the community has expressed support for improving Lake Ellyn Park while maintaining its existing character and being sensitive to its historical and natural values, as well as its status as a community park within a neighborhood, Harris said.
Linda Gilbert, president of Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation, said her organization is very pleased with the plan and the firms chosen to lead it, saying they have been sensitive both to the history and environment of the park.
Members of Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation have been engaged in the master plan process, responding to the questionnaire and speaking up at meetings, she said.
“We’re part of the voices in the community that are saying let’s preserve the original character of the park,” Gilbert said, calling Lake Ellyn Park “the premiere park of the village.”
After receiving public input at the first forum, the park district revised the master plan before presenting it at the second forum, Harris said. The park district now is working on another round of revisions following the Oct. 22 public forum.
“Every time we’ve presented a plan, we’ve presented it with the idea of initiating ideas and comments,” he said. “We refine the plan to reflect the information received.”
Some of the main components of the Lake Ellyn Master Plan Project include replacing the more than 20-year-old playground, improving natural areas, potentially installing a separate public bathroom facility from the Boathouse and restoring the Boathouse.
The purpose of devising the master plan was to be sure all these components would fit together, Harris said. Rather than doing each one completely separate from all the others — only to discover some parts do not work together or complement each other — the park district wanted a master plan to guide the entire renovation process.
While the park district is unsure of what the total price tag of the master plan project will be, the next step after the master plan is unveiled in December will be to prioritize components into phases and then figure out a funding mechanism for the project, Harris said.
“What will the community want to prioritize?” he said. “There are still a lot of moving parts.”