As updates are provided we will post a description of each project with pictures
851 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake
Update: November 3, 2017
Due to the high groundwater table, construction work at Lippold Park is always challenging. Add the rain that has fallen over the last few weeks the project sites get very swampy. The contractor was able to make a little progress, though, mainly with the installation of a concrete curb and some concrete flatwork near the Soccer House. Dryer weather in the future will help the contractor be able to finish up quickly.
Update: October 23, 2017
A construction project started last week to provide improved handicap accessibility at several areas throughout Lippold Park. In three locations, handicap parking spaces are being paved and short segments of sidewalk will connect the parking spaces to the athletic areas. The Soccerhouse parking lot is getting a complete renovation, including additional handicap parking that is convenient to the restrooms. Over at the Tony Capalbo Little League Complex, one field is getting minor adjustments to the dugouts and spectator seating to provide for accessibility. Other walkway improvements are providing access to other parts of the little league complex.
|Little League Complex improvements
300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake
Main Beach is the oldest, most iconic park in the community of Crystal Lake, dating back to 1921 when the park district was formed by residents wishing to insure permanent public access to the lake. Our 2009 resident survey confirmed that Main Beach is the center for year round recreation for all ages. Summer camp, swim lessons, beach goers, picnickers, fishermen and boaters use the park on a daily basis throughout the beach season. Additionally, many large special events are held year round at the park including Blast on the Beach, Fourth of July Fireworks, the Cardboard cup Boat Regatta, Truck or Treat and summer concert series.
The park board of commissioners adopted a phased master renovation plan for the entire park with the goal of completion by the park's 100th birthday in 2021. Construction of Phase I will begin in September and is partially funded by an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant through the State of Illinois. The major components of the project include:
- Replacing a 23 year old wooden playground that has outlasted its useful life.
- Replacing and relocating a 50 year old boat rental facility and marina piers.
- Enlarging the sand beach to include a shaded children's sand play area. This will be a new feature at the park and will complement the more active playground with toddler oriented features.
- Adding a sheltered picnic area comprised of a shade sail system centrally located between the playground and the beach. There are currently no covered areas or shelters.
- Adding a permanent baggo court.
- New sidewalks and lighted pathways.
- New landscaping to complement our current tree replacement plan for the entire park
- Handicap accessibility throughout the park.
Crystal Lake is our park district's namesake. Public access to the water is the reason our park district was established. Main Beach has symbolized the quality of life in our community for over 90 years. Construction of the Phase I renovations will be the first step toward revitalizing and updating historic Main Beach to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the park district when we can celebrate a rejuvenated community landmark.
Update: November 17, 2017
Despite another wet and cold week, contractors continued to make progress on the new boat rental building. The roofing and exterior siding is nearly complete. This building will hold paddle boards, kayaks and equipment for other rental boats. There are counters to serve as work benches in several locations and plenty of storage space to keep the gear clean and organized. Around the site, final grading and seeding of the south end of the project site is underway. We hope to even get a few new trees planted within the next couple of days. The contractor will continue to work on site throughout the winter as long as weather conditions permit.
Update: November 10, 2017
It's starting to feel like winter along the lakeshore and the contractor is moving quickly to clean up the construction site before the ground freezes. The playground equipment was delivered earlier this week. A few pieces were installed immediately to aid with restoration work in the south end of the site. Some areas will actually be dormant seeded in the near future. The roof was installed on the boat rental house and work continues on its interior.
Update: November 3, 2017
Another rainy week has kept things moving a little slowly on site. Installation of boulder retaining walls has started and work continues on the interior of the boat rental house. Playground equipment is being delivered next week so watch for installation to begin soon.
||Playground Patio & Boulder Wall
Update: October 23, 2017
Mother Nature has been kind! The (mostly) dry, sunny weather is perfect for outdoor construction projects. The boat house construction is well underway. Around the site, grading work is being completed and new walkways and retaining walls are under construction.
||Boat House and Deck
Update: October 11, 2017
Within the last few days, the new boat rental building has risen from the ground. The contractor hopes to have the building "weathered in" before winter. This building replaces the 50 year old shed that was used for storage and operation of the rental boat fleet. A new deck and pier system will be installed adjacent to the building.
Thanks to all who picked up their engraved bricks. The remaining bricks have now been removed from the site.
|Boat House Construction||
||Crane work at Boat House
Update: September 29, 2017
Thanks to the warm, dry weather, the contractor is moving quickly with concrete work. The boat rental building foundation and slab was poured, along with all of the footings for the deck that will surround the building. New walkways were poured that lead to the handicap accessible fishing pier and baggo game area. The curvilinear curb for the playground is being excavated and formed and concrete will follow next week. The engraved bricks from 1993 that are available for pick up will be removed from the site on Monday, October 2 so this is your last chance to pick yours up if you want it!
|Concrete work at Main Beach
||Concrete work at Main Beach|
Update: September 22, 2017
This week excavation of the area for the new boat rental house continued and the concrete foundation walls were poured. Watch for the building to start rising from the foundation very soon!
|Boat House Foundation||
||Boat House Foundation
Update: September 15, 2017
Anyone passing by Main Beach this week was able to see a lot of action. Trucks, tractors, backhoes - all making way for the new playground and boat rental building. The weather is cooperating nicely for the early weeks of the project and everything is proceeding on schedule.
Engraved brick reminder: The bricks are available for pick up until September 29. If you want your brick and haven't picked it up already, you have two more weeks. They are located inside the front gates, near the drinking fountain.
|Boat House Demo
||New Deck Footings
Update: September 8, 2017
The Main Beach Renovation Project kicked off smoothly this week. Old elements of the park are being removed to make way for the new playground and boat rental marina. Several trees were transplanted and several hazardous or damaged trees will be cut down. The site will look barren for a while, but be patient - good things are coming!
|Silt Fence Installation||
Why is the playground being replaced?
The playground is more than 20 years old and has outlived its useful life. Because it was custom built, there are no replacement parts available. Safety and handicap accessibility standards have changed since the playground was constructed, also, making its replacement inevitable.
Can't it be built by volunteers like it was in 1994?
Over 700 volunteers built the existing playground over a five day period. There is not a volunteer group interested in that type of undertaking today. Hiring a contracting firm to rebuild the playground would cost significantly more than replacing the old playground in its entirety.
What will happen to the engraved brick I donated in 1994?
The engraved bricks are being removed and set aside. You will be able to retrieve your brick once construction starts. Bricks that are unclaimed will be disposed of. Watch for more information.
What will the new playground look like?
The new playground will be a variety of climbing, sliding, swinging, spinning, and balancing equipment designed for children of all ages. There will be separate areas for tots and older children. The playground will be "lake" themed and will be handicap accessible with an open and airy feel.
Will I still be able to rent a paddle boat?
Yes! The old boat rental shed will be torn down and completely rebuilt into a modern boat house and marina. You will be able to rent all of the same boats and boards. The new dock system will feature a kayak launch and will be handicap accessible.
What else is new?
When completed, the park will have lighting along the walkway, a shaded toddler play area in the sand, a shaded picnic area near the playground, a baggo court, new benches and landscaping.
What is the schedule?
Construction will begin on September 6, shortly after the beach closes for the season. Construction will continue through fall and winter, as weather permits. The park will be completed in time for a grand opening on Memorial Day weekend in 2018.
Can I visit the park during construction?
The construction zone will be clearly marked and will be off limits. The building, north end of the park and boat launch will remain open.
Fetzner Park, 690 Alexandra Blvd, Crystal Lake
Update: November 17
There is not much to report this week other than three of the four permanent educational signs were installed in the park. These signs give a general overview of the importance of native plants to restore degraded streambanks and to provide excellent habitat. The wet weather and muddy site conditions has kept the tree removal contractor away. It is doubtful that the contractor will return to work until the ground is frozen, but keep an eye on this space for updates if anything changes.
|November 17 Update
Update: November 10
The heavy rainfall two weeks ago has caused muddy and unstable conditions along the steam edge which has delayed the tree removal operation. The tree removal contractor is hoping to return to site before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the detention basins are being seeded with a mixture of native grasses and wildflowers. The newly seeded areas are being covered with a straw mat mulch for the winter. Four interpretive signs will be installed soon throughout the park which will graphically describe the restoration project.
Update: November 3
The inclement weather this past week delayed the return of the tree removal contractor and the tilling work. However, it certainly didn't delay the work of several busy beavers (see photos.) Park district staff is monitoring the beaver dam and removing damaged trees from public areas. Several trees were planted in the park to replace those removed due to death or hazardous conditions earlier in the year.
|Fetzner Park Beaver Damage
||Fetzner Park Beaver Damage|
Update: October 31
Update on Tree Removal Schedule
The contractor is able to resume tree removal sooner than mid-November, as was previously announced. Watch for tree removal to begin during the week of October 30. Additionally, the dead turf areas will be tilled to prepare for seeding of native grasses and wildflowers. Crystal Lake Park District crews will be in the park planting trees and performing routine maintenance.
Update October 25 Postcard mailing to neighbors of Fetzner Park
Update October 11 The Crystal Lake Park Board of Commissioners held a Special Meeting on October 5 to present the project to neighbors and listen to comments and concerns. Staff has been directed to report back to Board and public with a recommendation. Watch this space for further information. The plans previously posted here were a draft version. The final plans have now been posted.
Update September 22 Construction work on the Fetzner Park riparian restoration project in Crystal Lake was put on hold Thursday, September 21, after residents expressed concern about the scope of the tree removal phase of the project. In order to address these concerns and to provide further information about the project, a meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5 at 7 PM in the lower level of the Administrative Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake. For more information contact Ann Viger, Director of Planning & Development, 815-459-0680, ext. 1205, email@example.com
Fetzner Project background
A water quality and habitat improvement project will be starting soon at Fetzner Park. The existing stream is overgrown with invasive trees and shrubs that do little to stabilize the shoreline or provide habitat for wildlife. Many of the invasive trees, particularly those that are damaged or diseased, will be removed. Native grasses, shrubs and trees will be planted to replace the removed plant material. Inside the stream itself, four stone "riffles" will be built to provide fish habitat and improve oxygen content of the water.
The park currently contains two turf-bottomed detention basins that serve to hold water during heavy storms. Both detention basins will be naturalized with native grasses and wildflowers. The roots of native plants will filter storm water before it leaves the detention basins. The water from these basins flows into nearby streams and bodies of water, so improving the quality of the water leaving the detention basins ultimately improves the quality of water downstream. Every drop of water in Fetzner Park eventually makes its way into the Fox River.
The park district participated in a multi-agency study of the Woods Creek Watershed in 2013. These projects at Fetzner Park were recommended as high priority water quality improvements. The project is funded through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 grant program.
Fetzner Project FAQ's
Riparian- related to waterways. In Fetzner Park the riparian areas are the creek and two detention basins.
Detention basin: a low area that collects storm water during heavy rain storms so that the storm sewers do not overflow. Detention basins empty slowly when the storm sewer pipes can handle the water. Detention basins do not hold water permanently.
Riffle: a small structure made of stone in the creek water. Riffles improve water quality and improve habitat for fish and other organisms that live in the water.
Invasive: plants that are aggressive growers and choke out other more desirable plants. Invasive plants do not provide good habitat for birds, insects or mammals.
Non-invasive: plants that do not take over an area or choke out other plants. Non-invasive plants aid the bio-diversity of an area and improve habitat.
Bio-diversity: a condition where there are many different types of plants, animals, birds and insects.
Why are large trees along the creek being cut down?
The trees along the creek primarily consist of non-native and/or invasive species, such as box elder, buckthorn, cottonwood, and honeysuckle. The shallow roots of these trees and shrubs do not stabilize the banks of the creek, allowing soil to erode into the water and be deposited downstream. The trees are weak because of the erosion at their roots and are easily damaged or uprooted during storms.
Aren't the trees natural? Why are they growing along the creek?
Historical maps indicate that the area was prairie and/or oak savannah prior to settlement. By the 1940's, the creek was channelized (straightened and probably deepened) for farm field drainage purposes. As the area was subdivided for residential homes in the 1980's and 1990's, the stream bank was left untended, seeds from aggressive and invasive plant species took hold.
Why was the grass killed in some areas?
The areas where the turf grass was killed will be seeded later this fall with a mix of native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Native prairie vegetation has very deep roots that will provide soil stability along the shoreline of the creek, improve and increase wildlife habitat, and clean the storm water in the detention areas and creek.
When will the path re-open?
The path will re-open as soon as conditions are safe for pedestrians and other park users. If the project continues on schedule the path will re-open in late fall or early winter of 2017.
What are the risks to neighboring property owners?
There are no risks to neighboring properties or residents, as long as the work zones are not entered. Safety fencing is in place to indicate areas that the public is not allowed to enter. Removal of older trees improves the safety of the park.
Will work along the creek cause my property to flood?
Work along the creek and in the detention basins will improve the flow of water and will not increase the chances for neighboring property to flood.
The park district said that the work would start in August but it didn't start until September. Can you explain why?
The tree removal contractor was too busy (due to the recent storms in late July and August) to begin the work at Fetzner Park in August as originally planned.
When will the park look pretty again?
As long as the project stays on schedule, all of the new landscaping will be installed this year. The native seeds being planted will germinate next spring. It will be several years until the prairie vegetation reaches its full potential. As part of the grant agreement, the park district has submitted and received approval from the Illinois EPA for a long term maintenance plan.
Will I be able to see Ackman Road from the back of my house?
Depending on where you live, you will be able to see Ackman Road. The tree removal plan was developed to remove fewer trees behind houses that directly face Ackman Road than those that are farther away from Ackman Road or are angled away from Ackman Road. Native trees and shrubs will be planted in the areas with the greatest visibility of Ackman Road to help reduce the impact. Shade trees were planted along Ackman Road, north of the creek, over the last two years to also lessen the impact.
Will the new plantings bring more mosquitos?
Since the new plantings do nothing to increase the amount of water in the park, the number of mosquitos will not be affected by the project.
My child's soccer/football/baseball/cheerleading team practices in the detention basin. Where will they go now?
South of Barlina Road in Crystal Lake, there are over 170 acres of neighborhood and community parks (not including Fetzner.) An interactive map and description of each park can be found on the park district website.
How can I get more information?
Online: Plans and a written description of the project are available on the park district website. Information is regularly updated on Facebook and Twitter.
By phone or email: Ann Viger, Director of Planning and Development, firstname.lastname@example.org, 815-459-0680 x 1205
Update: September 11, 2017
What's with all the dead grass at Fetzner Park? Well, the Stream Restoration and Detention Basin Naturalization Project has begun! The first step was to kill off turf areas that are going to be reseeded with native grasses and wildflowers. Soon, the tree removal contractor will start removing invasive, damaged and hazardous trees along the shoreline of the creek. Please be patient - Fetzner Park will be reborn with new native habitats next spring!
|Grass at Fetzner Park|
Boncosky Concession Remodeling
Color Coat Stamped Asphalt at Main Beach
Administration Building HVAC Renovation
Ken Bird Basketball and Tennis Court Color Coat
Administration Building Office Upper Level Remodeling
Sterling Meadows Playground Replacement (with grant)
Barlina House Pavement and Awning
Lippold Handicapped Parking Paving
Colonel Palmer Tuckpointing and Drainage Improvement
Main Beach Boat House and Playground Renovations
Racket Club Handicapped Access Projects
Fetzner Stream Restoration (with grant)