Days after a temporary path granted access to Langdon Beach for the first time since 2019, Wilmette Park District commissioners continued to move forward with a plan to create a permanent solution.
A majority of the Park Board signaled support for a permanent path to the south end of Langdon Beach during the board’s regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 11.
And while no vote was taken, commissioners directed park district staff to create a more detailed plan for the southern path — referred to as Option 2 — that will come before the Park Board for a decision.
Before a temporary gravel and stone path was installed earlier this month, Langdon Beach, located at Sheridan Road and Chestnut Avenue, had been closed since 2019 after continued erosion made it unsafe.
A drawing of the Park Board’s preferred Langdon path concept. | Image from Wilmette Park District
At Monday’s meeting, five of the park commissioners said they were on board with Option 2, which according to the Park Board’s Aug. 28 packet, would have up to a 10 percent slope and an outlet to the south and match the existing upland grade at the top of the bluff. It also, according to the packet, would disturb less vegetation than Option 1, which would create a path to the north and not require a retaining wall.
Commissioners who voiced support for the southern path cited its similarities to the temporary path and their belief that it is the “least-impactful” of all the options.
“I’m hoping that, along the way, with some design input from experts … we can achieve a more cohesive look that Option 2, I think, will bring with entry to the south end of the beach, which I think is really imperative in this case,” Commissioner Allison Frazier said.
But while most of the board supported the southern path, two commissioners had different ideas.
Commissioner Patrick Lahey backed Option 1, which would create a path to the north. He said that it would protect the bluff more and that he doesn’t “feel any enthusiasm” for Option 2.
“(Option 2) is steeper and factually more difficult for strollers, push carts, and, more importantly, people with mobility devices,” Lahey said. “By definition, it’s less accessible.”
Board Vice President Patrick Duffy was the only commissioner to voice support for Option 3, which would create a boardwalk to the south of Langdon.
“To me, it’s just least-impactful,” Duffy said. “It would be brown, it wouldn’t be white concrete sticking out. It just blends in better.”
Board President Kara Kosloskus said she could support either Option 1 or Option 2. She liked that the north path would send people away from the property line to the south, while the southern path is similar to the previous Langdon Beach access.
“I’m not necessarily convinced that the only option is to be like it was before,” Kosloskus said. “Sometimes I think there is room to see if there’s a new design that could be more beautiful or a different type of functionality, or offer more to the community.”
Hearing the opinions of her fellow commissioners, Kosloskus voiced support for staff to develop final plans for Option 2.
The board heard only one public comment regarding Langdon from resident Elissa Morgante. She said she did not like any of the options, but shared her thoughts regarding the pros and cons of both Options 1 and 2.
Murdock proposes withdrawing paddle tennis request
A park commissioner who had previously served as the board’s president suggested that the Park District rescind its proposal to amend regulations of paddle tennis play at West Park.
The proposal, which appeared in front of the Village of Wilmette Zoning Board of Appeals on Aug. 16, seeks to extend the deadline of paddle tennis to 10:30 p.m. at all times and remove lookback provisions that were put in place by Village trustees.
The request was filed less than one year after the original regulations were approved in 2022, and the ZBA voted 3-2 to give the proposal a negative recommendation. It is on the Village Board’s agenda for this evening, Sept. 12.
Commissioner Mike Murdock, who was the Park Board’s president from 2021-2023 and has continually lobbied for more paddle tennis resources at West Park, said he believes park commissioners should consider withdrawing the proposal.
“The project isn’t even yet built,” Murdock said. “A lot of the things we’re trying to do to make sure that it’s sensitive to neighbors’ concerns in terms of lighting and landscaping and sound deadening, none of that’s installed at this point.”
With the park district’s request in jeopardy of Village Board rejection, Murdock suggested that the baord withdraw the proposal and wait until the expansion is completed and get feedback from paddle tennis players and neighbors “and then make whatever additional adjustments are necessary.”
No other commissioners spoke in support of withdrawing the request, and Steve Wilson, the Park District’s executive director, indicated he intends on presenting the proposal to the Village Board.
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