The Sunrise Park and Beach Citizen Advisory Committee is ready to take its message public.
The committee, which was formed a year ago by the Lake Bluff Park District to review and propose improvements to Sunrise Park and Beach, has created a list of immediate, mid- and long-term solutions to be paid for by donors only.
Committee Chairman Geoff Surkamer of Lake Bluff asked the Park District Board on Monday night to slate a community forum in July at the north beach shelter of Sunrise Park and Beach. The forum will showcase many of the suggestions that came from more than 850 Lake Bluff residents who responded to an online survey, which was conducted in September 2011 and whose results were posted in January.
The Park District Board’s next regular meeting is July 16.
The committee spent three months interpreting the survey and then met with Hitchcock Design, a planning and landscape architecture firm in Naperville/Chicago, to create an item-by-item list of improvements based on the priority it received in the survey.
The focus is north of the road down to the beach due to the presence of the North Shore Sanitary District building to the south of the road.
“There is so much unknown with NSSD, so much which could be torn up, that we don’t want to slow down,” Surkamer said. “We figure we can make progress on the north side of the beach, as you come down the road right where the sand hits and all the way down to the end of the property.”
The park board voiced its approval of creating a breakdown of improvements rather than roll it all into one price tag.
“It’s so easy to put all of it in one package, but then it becomes too much for anyone to sink their teeth into,” Surkamer said. “But when you break it down, we feel as a committee, if we can do a couple of things, more people will come forward willing to participate.”
Surkamer said they have some residents ready to donate for a particular item.
“Through community forums, we will have individuals, families, or maybe even corporations say, ‘I’ll donate the money to fix the bathrooms, or fix the bluff’,” Surkamer said. “We have had people step up in a quiet, confidential way and said they will do it.”
Among the 12 short-term priorities, the costs ranged from $2,500 to pay for fencing to enclose the dog beach at the north shelter to more than $225,000 to redesign and reconstruct a stairway to the north shelter. The latter was the biggest ticket item of those shown Monday night. Surkamer noted the stairs now are difficult to navigate, in disrepair and too steep.
Among the other short-term priorities were:
- Restroom: includes interior fixtures, flooring, exterior façade, roof and access improvements. $16,000.
- Park signage: the idea is consistency at various points at the park and beach, boat area, and dog beach. $7,500 to $10,000.
- Outdoor shower at dog beach: includes a low shower with a 5-foot by 5-foot concrete pad. $4,000 to $6,000.
- Recycle bins: one for each beach area (boat, main and dog), anchored to concrete pad. $1,500 each or $4,500 total.
- Lighting: Seven solar pedestrian light standards with LED fixtures. $3,500 each, $24,500 total.
“We have a beach that is lit by natural means,” Surkamer said. “We don’t want to light the whole place up. It’s very low level, small and just a handful. It’s more for safety than anything else.”
- Enclosed charcoal grill: built-in stone pedestals and counter surface, 10-foot by 8-foot concrete pad and coal disposal receptacle. $7,500.
“We want to do something more permanent and durable,” Surkamer said. “We have awful winters, and they just destroy all of this stuff. Hopefully we can take better care of it once it’s done, like covering it during the winter.”
- Transportation vehicle: capable of transporting minor equipment, supplies or passengers up and down the slopes, also for emergency purposes. $20,000.
“We’ve had someone interested in donating this already,” Surkamer said.
- Beach accessibility improvements: the installation of a boardwalk from the central parking area to the north restroom and dog beach entrance. $100,000.
“This is very, very modest,” Surkamer said. “The boardwalk can be picked up and stored during the winter.”
- Showers: people rinse stations: one at the main beach, one at the boat beach with a 5-foot by 5-foot concrete pad. $10,000 each, $20,000 total.
- Bluff restoration: A plan is being drawn up by Cliff Miller, a landscape artist who led the landscape architecture committee of the Forest Park Project in Lake Forest. The restoration would be done over three phases. $19,000 per phase.
Among the mid-term priorities are: shade structures, viewing area from the bluff and drinking fountains. Long-term priorities include a swim platform, shelter renovations, new benches and bike racks.
Once the community forum is held, Surkamer recommended hiring a landscape architecture firm or individual to design three-phase conceptual designs excluding the bluff. He also recommended a joint meeting with the park board, Sunrise Park and Beach Citizen Advisory Committee, 20-year Capital Citizen Task Force and Lake Bluff Park District Foundation to coordinate efforts to move the process forward.
“Every day we talk about it, we think about it, it’s amazing how lucky we are to have such a great asset, but also reminds us of how much work is still left,” Surkamer said. “The good news is we’re pretty excited about making some changes.”
The rest of the Sunrise Park and Beach Citizen Advisory Committee includes Tom Terrill, Bob Wallace, Jill Danly, Bill Hermann, Sophie Twichell, Jim Salanty, and Pat Falligant. Trustee Steve Christensen is the Village representative, while Kevin Considine is the Park Board representative.