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Summary Report by RNA via FOIA Request Information 6/26/12
After vigorous public relations efforts by the PDHP for the proposed Rosewood Beach project, and subsequent solicitation of public opinion via PDHP emails to a significant portion of Highland Park households, email responses received from (presumed) Highland Park residents and given over to the Ravinia Neighbors Association by the PDHP via an FOIA request were tallied as follows:
26 residents supported the Interpretive Center. This number includes anyone expressing support for the Interpretive Center, any kind of educational facility, camp facility, multipurpose room, venue for parties or revenue source, or anyone who spoke favorably of Highland Park having a beach similar to the Glencoe and Lake Forest beaches.
31 residents supported the general project with a large percentage of these specifically mentioning one or more of the following as desirable: general beach improvement, basic amenities, bathrooms, a speedy resolution and a project that would quickly or finally get underway. In a few responses the IC was cited as not wanted or preferred, yet accepted as part of the plan.
50 residents spoke against the Interpretative Center (educational facility, additional beach house, etc.), financial expenditures, too much competing programming, or any change to the beach as it is.
19 residents had questions or concerns without clear preferences (i.e., financial information, additional public meetings, access) or single issue requests (fishing pier, fire pits, kayak launching, parking, traditional styling for buildings, biting flies).
A grand total of 126 residents responded to the Park District’s invitation to comment on the proposed Rosewood Beach project. With the exception of a (non RNA) March email citing FOIA rights to greater disclosure, emails released to RNA were dated May through June. Almost all of the emails (125) turned over to RNA would appear to have been limited to those responding to or following the formal public presentations.
In Conclusion, the Park District has not demonstrated any significant support for the Interpretive Center. The collection of approximately 950 signatures on various Rosewood Beach petitions calling for just basic swim facilities, limited development, just bathrooms or omission of the Interpretative Center would indicate that a much larger number of residents oppose rather than support the Interpretative Center as part of the Rosewood Beach improvement plan. Even if the 2010 petition signatures on the RNA website are omitted, presuming all 2010 signers are pacified by the changes made for the 2012 version of the I.C. (and this is not the case) there would still be over 725 signatures calling for permanent structures to be limited to those that provide only bathroom facilities and amenities to support the swimming beach.The Interpretative Center has nothing to do with swimming and does not belong on Highland Park’s only swim beach. It would be irresponsible for Park Board members to approve the proposed Interpretative Center given its inappropriateness to the site, excessive maintenance needs, burden upon tax payers and lack of support by the public.