Park and Facility Updates Around the District
Environmental Improvements at Sportsman's Country Club
The welcome mat is out at Sportsman’s Country Club―for bluebirds, tree swallows and chickadees. The Golf Maintenance staff installed wood nesting boxes on the property to attract and provide a habitat for birds.
As part of a project to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, 14-year-old Russell Winnie of Northbrook organized a group of volunteers, who joined him to build 25 nesting boxes for birds, 2 houses for wood ducks and 2 houses for bats. Golf Course Superintendent Mark Kosbab developed the plan for the boxes.
“Birds used to fly over Sportsman’s and keep going, but now we’re encouraging them to stop here by having nesting areas,” Kosbab said. “When they nest once, they typically come back. Some will stay here year-round. Sportsman’s is a giant open area, and utilizing the landscape for wildlife really enhances the environment.”
Sportsman’s is working with the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP), an international certification program to help golf courses develop conservation and wildlife enhancement programs. The ACSP includes six key categories, and Sportsman’s has received certification in two―Environmental Planning and Wildlife and Habitat Management.
To maintain and enhance wildlife habitat at the golf course, Sportsman’s has done the following:
- Implemented a successful shoreline stabilization project
- Removed exotic invasive vegetation
- Naturalized 11.35 acres
- Planted native vegetation when landscaping
- Provided habitat near water to provide food and shelter for wildlife
- Implemented a nesting box program with help from local Boy Scouts
The four remaining categories for certification are: Water Quality Management, Water Conservation, Chemical Use reduction and Safety, and Outreach and Education.
Kosbab already has observed tree swallows and Eastern Bluebirds in the nesting boxes, along with eggs and nestlings. The next phase of the project involves setting up a monitoring schedule to keep out predators, such as sparrows and starlings, to measure activity and protect the native species. Kosbab is looking for another group of volunteers to assist with the monitoring. Anyone who is interested can call him at 847·897·6142.
Crestwood Park Renovation
Crestwood Park – near downtown Northbrook – received new tennis courts, a practice tennis wall, a new playground and fitness equipment during the summer of 2013. When the Park District held a Community Input Meeting, neighbors asked for a tennis practice wall and fitness equipment. The equipment consists of an elliptical trainer, chest press and leg press, for ages 14 and older. The new playground has a tennis theme, with a climber shaped like a tennis racquet and round steppers that look like tennis balls. There are two groups of play features, for ages 2-5 and 5-12.
On August 10, an official Ribbon-Cutting celebrated the reopening of the park, which also contains a picnic table and benches with shade, new landscaping, and improved accessibility. The original playground was donated to the nonprofit Kids Around the World to be installed at a children’s village for orphans in Uganda.
Park District Ash Tree Removal
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive, non-native insect that feeds on and ultimately causes the death of the ash tree. The beetle is a metallic green in color and approximately one half (1/2) inches in length. The EAB was first discovered in the United States in Michigan in 2002 and is believed to have been transported to the United States from China on shipping crates.
Northbrook’s first confirmed case of EAB was found in the western part of the Village in May, 2011. Since then, additional locations have been confirmed.
The Park District has been proactive in its approach to the EAB. The District has been conducting visual inspections in looking for signs of activity and/or symptoms of the EAB. In 2009 the District conducted an extensive tree inventory that also rated the conditions of our trees.
The Park District began actively removing Ash trees last fall that were rated poorly or showed suspicious symptoms of EAB. That tree removal process will begin again in late September.
With assistance of an Urban Reforestation Grant through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the Park District has been actively replanting the parks with a wide variety of trees. This year over 80 new trees will be planted.
Techny Prairie Park and Fields
On December 16, 2011, the Park District closed on a six-acre parcel at 180 North Anets Drive. The property was annexed into the Village and became part of Techny Prairie Park and Fields. The former manufacturing plant on the parcel was removed, and many of the materials (brick, steel and concrete) were reused. No decision has been made about the future of the property. Click here for the fact sheet.
The Park District is continuing a public process to determine how to use the land and to collect community feedback about recreation options. In 2009, a Community Survey identified residents’ greatest unmet needs as: walking and biking trails, indoor fitness and exercise facilities, outdoor swimming pools/water parks, indoor running/walking track and indoor swimming/leisure pools. Click here to view 2009 Community Survey results.
As a follow-up to the 2009 survey, the Park District commissioned a survey In January and February of 2012 to collect community feedback about recreational options and help determine how to use the six-acre parcel. The survey was conducted by Leisure Vision/ETC Institute, an independent, nationally known consulting firm that specializes in park and recreation surveys. Click here for a summary of the results.
Thank you to everyone who attended our Community Forums to discuss the results of the 2012 Community Survey. The consulting firm that conducted those meetings issued a report with key findings and recommendations. Click here to view the report.
The Northbrook Park District is setting the stage for the next 10-20 years with Master Plans for three of the larger parks. Based on input from the public and from staff, the Hitchcock Design Group has developed Master Plans for each park. “We’re excited to be able to make improvements and enhancements at these parks,” says Jennifer Rooks-Lopez, Park Planner/Project Manager with the Northbrook Park District. “We want to improve the experience for the people who use the facilities.”
Just east of downtown, Meadowhill Park could receive a new playground between the Chalet and the main parking lot. Park planners also have suggested adding picnic shelters, improving the Chalet and creating access to the Chicago River. According to Rooks-Lopez, “even some of the residents don’t know there is a connection between the two parks.”
At Wood Oaks Green Park, on the west side, the concept plans show additional trails, more picnic shelters and enhanced landscaping. The Park District is considering enhancing the fishing area, water quality and shoreline treatment at Lake Shermerville. Plans also continue about lighting the tennis courts and a softball field at this premier facility.
Near central Northbrook, West Park could gain an expansion of the walking trail, to make a continuous loop. Plans call for improved storm water management to keep the baseball fields dry. The plan would also reconstruct the driveway to relieve traffic congestion around the Northbrook Sports Center.
At all three sites, the Park District wants to update park amenities and infrastructure and incorporate results of the Community Interest and Opinion Survey. The District will consider bringing in sustainable elements at each location, such as low-maintenance turf areas and more efficient lighting.
|Final Master Plan Concepts|
|Meadowhill Park||West Park||Wood Oaks Green Park|