23 Aug 2014
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Rosewood Task Force Signs Off on Interpretive Center

After touring Rosewood Beach on Monday, the group voted 6-1 to keep the controversial building in the redesign plan.

Rosewood Task Force Signs Off on Interpretive Center Rosewood Task Force Signs Off on Interpretive Center

The Rosewood Beach Task Force voted 6-1 to keep the in the Rosewood redesign proposal after meeting on the beach Monday.

"Getting out there and getting a feel for the size made quite the impact," said Park District Board member , who accompanied the task force. "It was an accurate way to see what was going to be there."

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According to the Highland Park News, stakes and pillars were set up to mark the proposed location and size of the interpretive center. Weisskopf told Patch that the setup revealed that the center would not cut into the bluff,  

“The big issue here is the big reveal that you see when you drive down here and walk down here, and would that be damaged by the location of this building?" Task Force chairman David Fairman told the Highland Park News. "From what I saw, I don’t think it’s significantly damaged.”

Eve Tarm, the lone task force member who voted against the interpretive center, told Patch that she was not swayed by Monday's tour. She thinks the  1,960 square foot building -- 1,000 for an educational room and 960 for restrooms and storage -- is large and unnecessary.

"What does the beach gain by having that building there?" Tarm said. " could be a much better location."

The beach tour comes after where the task force heard residents opinion and concerns about the Rosewood Beach proposal. According to Park District Executive Director Liza McElroy, a majority of residents favor the proposal, with one caveat: the interpretive center, also known as the beach house.

" don't think it belongs on the beach," McElroy said.

Those people include and , who expressed excitement at the park district's plan even if the interpretive center ends up getting built.

"I prefer the beach house, small structure or [interpretive center] to be placed other than on the beach," Barbieri wrote on Patch. "However, I leave it in the good and capable hands of Dave Fairman's task force and the elected Park Board to bring it to a welcomed final decision that will enhance our community regardless of their decision." 

According to Margaret Gienger, the Park District's Communications and Marketing Director, the interpretive center's main purpose will be to offer educational opportunities to residents. Park District staff will lead active learning activities, and school groups will have the option to use the space as well.

"If you're going to learn about beach and ravine restoration, what better place to do that than right at the beach and on the ravines," Gienger said.

The Rosewood Beach proposal also includes three other buildings: a concession stand, a bathroom and a guardhouse. Part of Tarm's opposition to the interpretive center stems from the belief that these three buildings make a fourth unnecessary and obstrusive.

"Everything that has to do with any aspect of using this beach has been moved to three other buildings," Tarm said. "What does the beach gain by having that building there?"

Task force member Steve Sider, who voted in favor of keeping the interpretive center, believes the building will enhance the Rosewood redesign. He called Tarm's argument that the building would obstruct the view "very weak." The building would be beneficial, Sider said, as it would offer protection from the elements.

"It would be very disappointing for the community if we didn't have that additional shelter for whatever use you want to have it for," Sider said. "It's by far the best solution."

The task force meets again on June 4 to continue discussing the proposal. The group will make its final recommendation to the Park Board on June 21.

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