Winnetka Park District offers several plans for Elder Lane/Centennial with no land swap; workshop taking place on August 25 – Chicago Tribune
The Winnetka Park District Board of Commissioners continues to shape the plans for the Elder Lane and Centennial Beach renovation projects with several plans for each beach for the public to review.
Six plans for Centennial Beach and three for Elder Lane Beach have been released by the park board, which do not include all of the land that would be in possession of the Park District if the land were exchanged between it and the owner at Lake Justin Ishbia, which has several properties just south of the two beaches, have been completed.
Discussions about the plans were kept to a minimum at the August 18 meeting of the Winnetka Park District Board of Directors.
Board Chairman Warren James told the audience that the commissioners did not intend to discuss the plans at the meeting and were instead holding a discussion for the workshop session on Thursday, August 25. . He said the nine plans along with their cost estimates were included in the meeting package and asked residents to review them before the workshop.
“I’ve learned a lot during this process since we began our public commentary in March,” said Winnetka Park District Council Vice Chair Christina Codo. “I think you can see we’ve made progress, we’ve made some big changes. The shutters have disappeared. The walls have disappeared. Planter pockets are gone.
Codo said current discussions revolve around using stone versus steel and splitting the original plan into two separate projects.
Residents can also bring their own plans to the workshop session or submit them to the park board for review.
“Anyone who wants to come up with plans and present plans during the workshop session, that’s the goal,” James said. “I appreciate everyone’s feedback. We’re listening.”
Residents continue to raise concerns about the land swap and the inability to use Elder Lane Beach, which has been closed to the public for three years.
“It’s clear that while the community may like the idea of unifying the parks, we do not support the exchange agreement or the park board’s current plan to develop Elder/Centennial,” said Randy Whitchurch, resident. “Repair and open Elder Lane Beach. It has been closed for three years; It’s not good.
He said the new plan must be cost-effective and done in a way that meets the real needs of the community and not “a fever dream of over-development of real estate”.
Whitchurch said the community opposes the land swap because of future costs to the village, hidden obligations and that the council would swap the better part of Centennial Park.
Resident Irene Smith referenced the results of the village caucus survey in 2022, which contained many negative comments about previous lakeside plans.
“However, while there has been overwhelmingly positive feedback in 2021 on the transformative work being done by the Park District in Lloyd Beach, community feedback regarding Elder/Centennial can best be described (in good company) as ‘Go back and sharpen your pencil,'” Read part of the 2022 caucus survey summary. “While the Winnetka Waterfront 2030 plan enjoys continued support, the community values access and views shoreline, and to people rather than pets.”
“I would like to suggest tonight that the people of Winnetka want none of that,” Smith said, referring to the land swap.