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Melissa Creech: Master plan to help preserve Lake Ellyn Park

Published: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 10:59 a.m. CDT

As a resident of Glen Ellyn, president of the Park District and user of Lake Ellyn Park, I recognize the importance the park holds.

Nestled amidst the foliage of beautiful trees, Lake Ellyn Park is the “Jewel of Glen Ellyn.” It offers the community a variety of experiences along with serving as a hub for major community events.

Last year, the Park District made a commitment to develop a master plan for this iconic setting. While on the surface the park appears in good shape, the property is in need of review and direction to enable it to prosper for the next 100 years.

The playground is past its useful life. The boathouse is in need of renovations, and the natural areas are in decline.

Recognizing the complexities of the property, the district retained the consulting firm of Conservation Design Forum. Community dialogue was essential to the development of the master plan.

The master plan reflects the wants and needs of many as the property is both a neighborhood park and a community asset serving more than 35,000 residents. To encourage input, the process included stakeholder meetings, questionnaires, public meetings and information on our website. Many ideas were tested, and the plan was refined with an outcome that reflects the collective vision of the community.

The master plan is an exciting vision that reflects the consensus to retain and enhance what makes it a great community park: to “polish the gem.” It provides for a historically authentic renovation of the boathouse, with an eye toward listing the building on the National Register of Historic Places.

The plan includes improved accessibility through pathways and parking, a picnic shelter, restored landscape and natural areas, and a new playground. Focus will be on improving the water quality of the lake as well as access to the lake through outlooks and bridges. All improvements will be developed with sustainable practices in mind.

The Park District will develop strategies for securing funding and plan implementation. The Park Board fully realizes that the plan as presented exceeds the district’s funding capability; we know we will have to be creative and resourceful in order to fund the project.

However, as identified in our recent community survey, Lake Ellyn Park is our most frequently used park and upgrading this park was listed as the top priority for the Park District. For additional information, please visit http://gepark.org/boa_LE-Park-Plan.html.

Melissa Creech is president of the Glen Ellyn Park District Board of Commissioners

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