Highland Park approves Rosewood permit
Rosewood Beach plans
HIGHLAND PARK — Construction could begin as early as late summer on the Rosewood Beach improvements that have sparked controversy for more than a year.
Dozens of supporters and opponents were present Monday night when the Highland Park City Council unanimously agreed with the city’s Natural Resources Commission that the construction and proposed usage met the standards of the Lake Michigan Protection Zone. The council directed the city’s attorney to prepare the building permit contingent on final drainage and elevation plans. The vote marked the last legislative hoop for the Park District of Highland Park.
The controversy has centered on plans to construct a 1,950-square-foot Interpretative Center at the north end of the beach. The center will be built along a boardwalk at the base of the bluff that serves as a link between the four low-lying structures, including restrooms, a concession stand and lifeguard station that everyone has agreed are needed.
The Interpretative Center will include informational panels explaining shoreline conservation efforts and the lake ecosystem.
Park officials say the multipurpose space, which will be heated and air conditioned, will provide beach visitors with necessary shelter from severe weather conditions, sun overexposure or extreme heat and cold.
The project is expected to cost the park district about $4.7 million, after grants have been applied.
Park Board President Scott Meyers reported Monday that a coastline and ravine restoration project to take place concurrently also is on schedule for a late-summer start. The park board has received a draft copy of a contract for those improvements.
To protect the beach and bluff areas from further deterioration, the corps will bring in barges of sand, doubling the size of the beach; and construct a natural stone breakwall in place of the current steel groynes. The project will create dune and fish habitats and restore the ravine, bluff and upland areas. The park district will contribute 35 percent of the cost of the $7.1 million project.