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GLIN==> Chicago Suburb Plans Dynamic Coastline

Title: Chicago Suburb Plans Dynamic Coastline

Alliance for the Great Lakes
Feb. 7, 2008

Chicago Suburb Unveils Cutting-Edge Plan for Water’s Edge

A northern Chicago suburb has developed a coastal plan that may distinguish the community as having one of the most advanced coastal open space and protection strategies on the Great Lakes.

Evanston’s draft “consensus” Lakefront Corridor Master Plan took a year for community leaders and the public to develop, and represents the first time Evanston has sought a vision for its coast.

In 2004, the Alliance recommended Evanston establish a forward-looking plan to guide lakefront uses following several years of controversial proposals that included an ill-placed marina, plans by Northwestern University to fill public waters adjacent to its campus, and attempts to cut costs by pulling lifeguards from a southernmost beach.

“The lakefront is one of Evanston’s most magnificent attractions,” said Peter Marks, an Evanston lakefront property owner and member of the Alliance Board of Directors. “It’s a place where our community gathers for recreation and renewal. This will help allow the coast to be responsibly used, not abused.”

Others echoed their support for the overall purpose of the plan, while acknowledging that planning for a dynamic coast is a challenge.

Terry Boyle, an Evanston lakefront resident, has seen up close the effects of the ever-shifting shoreline. During the high lake levels of the mid-1980s, Boyle’s property flooded, with “northeasterlies” sending shards of ice that prompted him to install bulletproof glass on the east side of his home.

Today, he wants to see the plan include shoreline protection measures against storm surges that could flood lakefront property.

An improved lakefront will also attract more people to Evanston’s parks, requiring crosswalks along the busy southern Sheridan Road corridor to accommodate pedestrians, as well as people with strollers and young children.

The plan includes big-picture details as well. Helping to unify the lakefront park system, it calls for native plantings for birding and permeable pavement to reduce stormwater pollution.

“It’s impressive to see this level of funding and effort go into the parks,” said Boyle an Evanston resident of 27 years.

The plan is expected to be taken up by the Evanston City Council later this month.
The document is available online at http://www.cityofevanston.org/departments/parks/lakefront-plan.shtml.

Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Visit http://www.greatlakes.org