Forest Park improvement plan to cost $3.2 million
Updated: October 16, 2012 9:55PM
LAKE FOREST — The proposed improvements to Forest Park will cost nearly $3.2 million, the City Council learned Monday night.
The final cost includes nearly $800,000 the city would make in improvements that officials said would have to be made even if the landscape plan for the lakefront park is not completed.
The remaining $2.4 million project cost would come from donations. With the approval of the resolution adopting the Forest Park agreement Monday, the Forest Park Project Board can begin its fundraising. The vote was 7-0; Second Ward Alderman George Pandaleon was absent.
Monday was the first time an estimated price tag has been attached to the master plan the City Council accepted in May.
The city’s costs on infrastructure improvements are estimated at $386,000 for reconstructing the Ring Road, $151,000 for replacing the storm sewers, $92,000 for improvements to the south car parking lot and $57,000 for lighting.
The project board will add an additional $100,000 for the Ring Road, to upgrade materials above what is normally required by the city, and another $100,000 toward the cost of the south parking lot.
The project board’s biggest ticket item is estimated at $716,000 for plantings to refurbish the historic park that overlooks Lake Michigan. Creating walking paths on the bluff are estimated at $353,000 and adding stone benches and picnic tables at $247,000.
Lake Forest residents John Hendricks and Romy Lopat expressed concern about the cost of the project, the maintenance the city will assume should the improvements to the park be made and what some considered a quick approval of the plan Monday night.
Lake Forest resident Ralph Gesualdo, who heads up the Forest Park Project Board, said City Council passage Monday of the agreement was “crucial to start our fundraising.”
Gesualdo said the project board hopes to raise an endowment fund “to make sure if we increase the cost of maintenance … we’re not a burden on the city and that items we put in the park are long-lasting. That is our goal.”
City Attorney Vic Filippini said that City Council action Monday night was the next step in the process.
“All plans are going to come back for final review and approval by the city,” he said.