The Beach Bash, July 27-29

Learn More about the Forest Park Master Plan at “The Beach Bash”, July 27-29

 

Join the Forest Park Project Board in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Forest Park Beach at “The Beach Bash” this weekend, Friday through Sunday, July 27-29  (http://lakeforest.suntimes.com/news/13849874-418/beach-bash-to-celebrate-25th-anniversary-of-beautiful-spot.html).

 

During all three days of the Bash, we are hosting three tented booths staffed by volunteers in prominent locations.  It is an excellent opportunity for all Lake Forest residents to learn more about the Forest Park Master Plan that was recently unanimously approved by the City Council.  

 

Each booth will have a poster of the Master Plan and brochures with more information about the full project.   A "Walk Thru the Park" will be available for all residents with visual markers located at strategic areas of the Park illustrating the “BEFORE & AFTER” condition of the park as it relates to the proposed rehabilitation.

 

Residents also will receive free "give-aways" such as Frisbee's, pens & pencils, and other items featuring the Forest Park logo.

 

We hope to see you there!  Our booths will be open during the following times:

 

Friday, July 27

6-8pm

 

Saturday, July 28

1-3pm

 

Sunday, July 29

1-3pm

 

For more information about other activities during “The Beach Bash”, please visit the City of Lake Forest Park & Recreation Board’s special events webpage at http://www.cityoflakeforest.com/cs/rec/cs_rec2d7.htm.

Forest Park receives "Development of the Year"
 
(l-r): SMC Commissioner Ann Maine; Forest Park Forest Project Board President Ralph Gesualdo; Vice-President Jane O’Neil; Vice-President Joan DePree; Member Karen Stensrud; Treasurer Peter Cherry; Landscape Architect Cliff Miller ; Superintendant of Parks and Recreation Chuck Myers; City Engineer Bob Ells; City Manager Bob Kiely; SMC Commissioner Mike Rummel.
 
Forest Park has been awarded the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission’s 2014 "Development of the Year” Stormwater Award. This award honors one of the important goals of this project. It was presented to the Forest Park Project Board and the City of Lake Forest for the following reasons:

“The Forest Park Project is being commended for addressing infrastructure needs, solving drainage issues, promoting sustainability, maintaining natural site amenities, and encouraging ravine education as part of the Forest Park Master Plan. The project provides a system of bioswales and rain gardens, impervious surface reduction, permeable paving, and native landscaping that provide on-site stormwater storage, filtration and infiltration, sustainable landscaping, and water quality benefits for Lake Michigan. In addition, the project restored flatwoods wetlands for habitat and education purposes along with ravine educational signage at Seminary Ravine. Equally impressive is the Forest Park Board, a private-public partnership established to finance and construct the project, and to maintain the historical 30-acre park, one of the last green open spaces along Lake Michigan.”

The park is now open to the Public. All pathways, the parking lot and the belvedere are accessible to dog walkers, joggers and those who just want to enjoy the beauty of this natural setting. The plantings and amenities will be completed by Memorial Day weekend.
Winterberry - February 2015
A Chicago winter leaves its mark on this Winterberry!
 

Forest Park photo: Galen Gates

Lake Forester Article - Jan. 1, 2015
 
As Lake Forest residents walk and run beside Lake Michigan on the paths of the newly reopened Forest Park, they will be taking advantage of award-winning facilities.

Forest Park, which has been undergoing extensive renovation for over a year and has been partially reopened for nearly two weeks, was selected development of the year by the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission earlier this month.

“It was a big surprise,” Forest Park Corporation Publicity Chair Karen Stensrud said. “We were thrilled.”

Peter Cherry, the organization’s treasurer, said it all came about “through the city’s effort.”

Residents are now able to walk and run on nearly ¾ of a mile of crushed gravel trails and a boardwalk around the park. The ring road is also open to pedestrians but will remain closed to traffic at least through the winter, according to Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Marketing Director Cathy Japuntich.

Restoring the park’s infrastructure is a public private partnership between the city and the nonprofit corporation. The taxpayers’ portion of the effort is $800,000, according to Cherry, and the group has raised more than $3.2 million of the total $4 million project cost.

“It worked perfectly with the level of (civic) commitment we have here,” Cherry said of the partnership. “We did the same thing with Market Square 20 to 25 years ago. This is the way things should be done.”

“The public private partnership worked because so many people dedicated so much time and effort to make it work,” Lake Forest Mayor Don Schoenheider added. “I think it is reflective of the city’s and residents’ spirit of giving back to the community.”

One person who was not surprised about the award was Mike Warner, the director of the commission. He credits the ecological effort to assure rain water storage and benefit Lake Michigan.

“This was a very coordinated effort and encompassed the whole park,” Warner said.

In particular, Warner noted a bioswale in the middle of the parking lot, a depression of soil between the rows of parked cars that will help drain the snow and rain of pollutants before the surface water reaches Lake Michigan.

The intentional use of permeable pavers, like the gravel paths and bricks in the parking lot, is something else that caught the commission’s attention, according to Warner.

Though the stormwater management commission will be giving out six prizes at its annual awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 in Libertyville, it selected the Forest Park project as the development of the year because of its expansive nature, according to Warner.

“Something that benefits Lake Michigan so much is really good to see,” Warner said.

The project is currently 85 percent complete, according to Cherry, with the installation of benches and the landscaping surrounding them yet to be finished.

“Those areas are fenced off for safety and to protect the area to be landscaped around them,” Cherry said.

The paths and boardwalk are now open, however, enabling people to navigate the park in ways that were once off limits.

“If people wanted to walk in the park they had to go on the ring road or Lake Street,” Cherry said. “Now they can circumnavigate the park without going on the road.”

The infrastructure leading to the award was not the only sustainable effort made by citizens working on the project. A group of people gathered acorns that were native to the park when it was first built over 100 years ago, according to Cherry. They sprouted and started growing in McHenry County and were ultimately transplanted to Forest Park.

Steve Sadin
Special to the Tribune | @sadinsteve
Dec. 31, 2014 8:30 a.m
http://lakeforest.chicagotribune.com/2014/12/31/forest-park-reopens-4-million-renovation-wins-award/  
 
 
Forest Park receives award! - December 3, 2014
NEWS RELEASE
For more Information, contact: Chuck Myers
847.810.3565
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 3, 2014
FOREST PARK PROJECT RECEIVES AWARD
The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission recently recognized Forest Park as its 2014 “Development of the Year” and invited Forest Park Project Board members and consultants to its award ceremony and reception.

The Forest Park Project was commended for addressing infrastructure needs, solving draining issues, promoting sustainability, maintaining natural site amenities, and encouraging ravine education as part of the Forest Park Master Plan. The project provides a system of bioswales and rain gardens, impervious surface reduction, permeable paving, and native landscaping that provide on-site stormwater storage, filtration and infiltration, sustainable landscaping, and water quality benefits for Lake Michigan.

In addition, the project was recognized for the restoration of flatwoods wetlands for habitat and education purposes along with ravine educational signage at Seminary Ravine. Lastly, the Commission wishes to congratulate the Forest Park Board, a private-public partnership with the City of Lake Forest, established to finance and construct the project and maintain the historic 30-acre park, one of the last green open spaces along Lake Michigan.

"We are honored to receive this award and are proud of the Board's public/private partnership with the City to achieve the rehabilitation of the Park while maintaining a dedication to conservation and education. Future generations of Lake Foresters and visitors will enjoy the benefits of the updated Forest Park for many years to come,” commented Mayor Donald P. Schoenheider.
October 2014 Update

The crisp days and nights of autumn seem to be foretelling, one can imagine winter right around the corner - fortunately that is not quite the case. The Forest Park Project Board is thankful for these clear days to complete the schedule established this year. 

 
We are invigorating the Park by employing existing growing conditions and with additions to the native plant populations. Enhancements to existing populations are done as they occur in nature - only in a more dramatic way so as to enhance their effect and to be in scale for a Park of this size.
 
The north woods have been transformed with tree, shrub and wildflower enhancements. Additional oaks and hickories will transition into the over-story as the current oaks senesce and “pass away”. A compliment of large shrubs and smaller understory trees are also in place, providing seasonal interests with their spring flowers, fruit and fall color – not to mention their value to wildlife.
In fact, there are over 200 bird species that call Forest Park home at some point during the year.
 
Through the artistic eyes and calculating minds of Cliff Miller and Craig Bergmann, these north woods now contain a series of “rooms”; notice how plants strategically-placed shape these new areas. As you traverse the new path, you will come upon a greater opening, a larger room - foyer almost - all within the sanctuary of grand oaks. If traveling the trail west, you will ascend a small rise -- not realizing your proximity to “civilization”.
 
Wildflower planting has begun. Plans include establishing 80,000 natives! As gardeners, we know the long-term health of all plants requires proper and timely planting – which in effect, ensures survivability and health. Native wildflowers in small plug-form are best established before October 1. After this, your odds of success diminish due to frost heave – which often leads to death. If some of the forecasts for this winter are correct - long periods of bitter cold with no snow – all bets are off.
 
A group of plants deserving far greater attention is finally coming into its own. Sedges are a huge group of nearly 150 species in the Chicago area. Watch for the ‘inflated narrow-leaved sedge’ as you cross the most northern part of the new path system. A veritable “river” of this sedge transects the path at its lowest point. During storm events water runs through this area entering the ravine beyond. This moisture loving sedge will not only flourish in this setting but will slow storm-water, and reduce erosion capturing silt in the process, minimizing silt runoff down the ravine and into Lake Michigan. While sedges are not always considered attractive, this is a workhorse, the leaves feed several butterfly and moth larvae while birds and squirrels feed on the seed it produces and again.....fortunately…..deer pass over it!!
 
At this writing, the Park is experiencing yet another winged visitor – a migration of monarchs are making their way along the Park’s bluff taking advantage of the good weather and thermal updrafts.

Galen Gates
Craig Bergman
May 2014 Update
 
The Forest Park Project Board is pleased to share the attached construction plan and timeline, which serves as a snapshot of what will be occurring at the Park beginning June 1 and continuing through the fall. This same plan and timeline will also serve as the main sign to be installed the first week of June at the beach level and on the south side of the path which connects Lake Road to the Belvedere.

 

Highlights of the plan include*:

  • · Until September 1, the Ring Road will be open (for enjoying the lake vistas but not for parking) on weekends only

  • · After September 1, the Ring Road will be fully opened and closed only for a short time when paving occurs

  • · Throughout the project, access to the Belvedere stairs will be provided

  • · The newly-constructed west path along Lake Road will be open throughout the project

  • · By September 1, the east path and boardwalk path will open

  • · After September 1, all the paths throughout the park will open

 

If you have any questions related to the construction, please feel free to contact Peter Cherry from the Forest Park Project Board at pbcy@me.com.

*Please note that during construction where safety is a concern for beachgoers, temporary signage may be installed and shuttle bus service may be provided for beach access.

 

Fundraising Update

Of the $3.2 million goal, $2.3 million has been raised. All contributions of $1,000 and above will be recognized on a Donor Board in the Park, however any contribution, large or small, makes a difference, so please consider making a gift today or over a 4 year period. Go to www.ForestParkProject.com or send to Forest Park Project at PO Box 868, Lake Forest, IL 60045.

 

For further information, or to find out how you can contribute to the project, please visit www.ForestParkProject.comClick here to view large map of project schedule (image above)

 

Sincerely,

Ralph Gesualdo,                                                      Robert R. Kiely,

President, Forest Park Project Corporation       City Manager

Project Update - May 2014 Letter from Mayor
July 2014 Update
Updated July 30, 2014: The limestone edging for the new paths is going in now, and the final grading of the pathway will be completed in August. It will be similar to the path surface at Elawa Farm, only finer. Once complete, there will be over 1300 feet of new park and woodlands paths.

Work will commence on the terrace areas at the top of the Belvedere and the South Parking Lot and work on the Deerpath to Belvedere path will continue through September and October. The foundations for the bluff-side benches will begin to be installed next month, and a portion of the benches will be installed this fall.

The planting of trees is nearing completion (a total of 500 new trees). The next focus, through the fall, will be on the addition of shrubs and herbaceous ground material.

The Forest Park Project Board is pleased to share the above construction plan and timeline, which serves as a snapshot of what will be occurring at the Park beginning June 1 and continuing through the fall. This same plan and timeline will also serve as the main project signage at the beach level and on the south side of the path which connects Lake Road to the Belvedere.
Project Update - October 2013 Letter from Mayor
Click the image below to open the October 2013 Letter from Mayor (PDF).
 
 
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