CRYSTAL LAKE – A 32-acre cable wakeboard park planned for Three Oaks Recreation Area could break next ground next month if developers get an expected final approval from the Crystal Lake City Council.
The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission gave unanimous approval to the final plan after having initially supported preliminary concepts for Vulkan Cable Park in August of last year.
The final proposal had few changes from the initial presentation as the park will feature three different tower systems connected by cables that send riders along the water. Each system is increasingly larger in size with a beginner, intermediate and advanced course that features jumps and stunts for riders.
Vulkan Cable Park will also feature a clubhouse, full restaurant and outdoor patio for dining and viewing, a stage for live music, sand volleyball courts, an outdoor hot tub, a fire pit, and a beach area for people to watch the riders.
Thomas Hayden, chairman of the zoning commission, thanked developers for the thorough plans they presented after nearly a year since the initial proposal.
"You guys have done a great job with this ... and the ideas you have come up with," he said. "I think this is going to be great for the city."
The park will be located on the southern shoreline of the north lake at Three Oaks Recreation Area while the larger south lake will remain the primary area for the marina, swimming and recreation.
A new parking lot with roughly 80 additional spaces will also be constructed as part of the project.
Vulkan Park will take the look of existing facilities at Three Oaks, developer Charlie Copley said, adding the clubhouse would have similar stone and exterior features to the rental shop and main building at the park.
Copley said he believes the park will be a huge draw for families and he wanted to accommodate as many people as possible, which is why volleyball, baggo sets, and food and drink will all be available. There will even be a water tube option for people who cannot use wakeboards. The cables will pull the tube around the course similar to the wakeboard.
"We want to keep this a family area," Copley said. "Depending on how we go, we might keep the restaurant open year-round too."
The only concern was with the alcohol risk, as Hayden wanted assurance those drinking could not wakeboard and those underage would not have access to alcohol. Copley said there would be staff to make sure underage drinking did not occur and any wakeboard riders would have to turn in their wristband – which allows them to ride – before consuming a drink.
With the zoning board's recommendation, the project only needs city council approval before construction could begin. The council will likely hear the proposal at its Aug. 5 meeting. Construction could start in August if approved with a target opening date of May 2015.
Under terms of a proposed agreement, the city would let Copley’s company use the land for up to 20 years in exchange for 5 percent of the gross revenues as rent. The private company would be responsible for the capital construction costs, estimated between $4.5 million to $5.5 million.
Throughout the process, residents and council members have expressed enthusiasm for the community and tourist attraction the park could become.
Copley has launched a website with more information on the project and cable wakeboard parks at www.vulkancablepark.com.