At the November 13, 2018 City Council Meeting, the City of Highland Park City Council approved four agreements finalizing the long-term future of the Highland Park Country Club (HPCC). The Park District of Highland Park will consider approval of the agreements at the November 20, 2018 Park District of Highland Park Board Meeting. Included in the agreements are a transfer agreement of the HPCC golf course property from the City to the Park District. The Park District will pay the City $500,010 for the property. In addition, the Park District agrees to invest $1.4 million to transition the golf course property into a passive recreational natural area. The transfer of the property is expected to be finalized by December 2018.
A provision in the property transfer agreement requires the involvement of the Park District and the City if the Army Corps of Engineers determine that portions of the property may be used for regional storm water management purposes.
In addition, the Park District will lease back four acres to the City for a tree nursery. The leased acreage is located at the northwest end of the property and is adjacent to the City’s Public Services facility.
The City will retain ownership of the HPCC building and the Learning Center property accessible from Route 41; the Park District currently owns the Recreation Center. Banquet operations and meeting room rentals at the HPCC will continue. In addition to banquet events, the City plans to move the Senior Center from its current location on Laurel Avenue to the HPCC within the next few years.
Through a lease agreement, the Park District will continue to manage on-going operations at the Learning Center including the driving range and miniature golf course. The Park District and the City will share annual revenue after operating expenses. Operation of the dome located at the Learning Center will continue to be leased through an outside operator through 2019.
In keeping with the Park District’s long-term plan for GreenPrint 2024 and meeting the Highland Park community’s desire for additional outdoor and passive recreation opportunities, the Park District began planning for the transition of the golf course property into a passive recreational open space earlier this year. The Park District has convened a Public Advisory Committee consisting of residents and stakeholder agencies to provide input on passive recreation amenities and activities to complement the landscape and meet community interests and concerns.
“This is a wonderful example of how two governmental bodies can work together to address the needs of the community for generations to come,” said Brian Kaplan, President of the Park District Board of Commissioners. “It is a rare opportunity for any community to have a large beautiful natural area right in the center of town for all to enjoy. We are truly grateful to have the opportunity to create a first class outdoor and passive recreation facility.”
"After much public input and thoughtful conversation we are pleased that we were able to come together with our colleagues at the Park District of Highland Park to implement an agreement that works in the best interest of the community. The process in which the agreement was created was collaborative and we carefully considered the core priorities of both governments,“ stated Mayor Nancy Rotering. "The City will continue to work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a stormwater management plan that may include the former golf course and looks forward to providing our seniors with a new ADA accessible home with ample space and parking.”