Local News

Proposed Haligus Road Park could include pickleball courts, playgrounds, pollinator garden

If the silo on-site is structurally sound, it could become a lookout tower, Crystal Lake Park District executive director says

Photographs and designs, such as the playground shown here, are ideas for the "organic flow" concept for the planned Haligus Road park, shown at a meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

A silo transformed into a lookout tower, pickleball courts, playgrounds and a pollinator garden are some of the ideas being considered for the planned park on Haligus Road in Lakewood.

The Crystal Lake Park District hosted a meeting Tuesday, during which renderings and a master plan for the park were unveiled. The designs were based on ideas and suggestions the public had pitched during a previous meeting in October.

Those renderings showed possible ideas such as painted silos, pickleball courts, multiple playgrounds and a pollinator garden. The master plan, put together by the Hitchcock Design Group, is meant to convey an “organic flow” concept that highlights the area’s pastoral setting.

The park will be the first the district has built in more than 20 years, Executive Director Jason Herbster said.

“This whole process is very exciting,” Herbster said. “The concept Hitchcock Design Group came up with is much different than any other park in our park system.”

Photographs and designs, such as the playground shown here, are ideas for the "organic flow" concept for the planned Haligus Road park, shown at a meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

Herbster said the area near the park was an “underserved community” and that the village of Lakewood initially reached out to them a few years ago about building a park.

The renderings still were “conceptual,” and some of the existing structures on the site, such as the silos, need to be structurally sound or they’ll be removed, Herbster said. If the silo does stay, the stand-alone silo could become a lookout tower.

“It’s a nice, historical amenity we can do something with,” Herbster said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, a few dozen residents asked questions on the difference between pickleball and tennis and how fast bikes could travel in the area. Herbster said he was happy overall with how the meeting went and the feedback the park district has received.

Photographs and designs, such as the playground shown here, are ideas for the "organic flow" concept for the planned Haligus Road park, shown at a meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

“Pickleball is the largest booming sport in the country right now,” Herbster said. “There’s high demand for [courts] because there’s nothing like that on that side of town.”

The next step for the park project will be applying for an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Grant and determining what funding might look like, Herbster said.

The most expensive items for the park are what Herbster described as “the nonsexy things” that aren’t as visible, such as land grading and leveling and adding utilities.

The timeline for the grant funding also would determine the timeline for the park’s construction, but Herbster said it probably would be built within the next two years.