Jones Island Beach in Grayslake to be Improved

Jones Island Beach in Grayslake to be Improved

If you live in Grayslake and spend time at Jones Island, some exciting new plans are for the beach and park are being planned.

The Grayslake Community Park District was recently awarded an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the State of Illinois.

Park Board President Ken Ryan and Jeff Nehila, executive director of the park district, traveled to Oak Park in May to hear Gov. Pat Quinn announce that more than $15 million in funds from the OSLAD program would be awarded to 45 different parks and recreation agencies, including Grayslake.

The $400,000 grant Grayslake will receive is to be reimbursed by the state, once the work on the park is complete. This is the first grant received for work at Jones Island, said Nehila.

Plans are to improve drainage and add new amenities to Jones Island and Grays Lake, an 80-acre glacial lake which was named for William F. Gray of Massachusetts, who set up his home along the shores there in 1840.

Much of Jones Island has had drainage problems causing the lawns to become spongy and wet. “A big one is the drainage issues,” said Nehila. “We’ll change the topography of the park using the same amount of land and soil that’s there. We can’t add any because it’s on a navigable waterway.”

The project is also to include replacement of the current picnic shelter, and the addition of a second. There will be a fully accessible canoe and kayak launch pier, a new seawall, and expanded beach. A trail system though the park and to all of its amenities will be constructed. Currently there is a volleyball court and playground area for children.

“We hope to bid the project out for spring (2014) construction,” said Nehila. And if all goes according to plan, residents will enjoy the new and improved park next year.

The park district has applied for permits including those from the Army Corps of Engineers, which generally takes some time, according to officials.

The landscape architect is 3-D Design Studio in Grayslake, and Gewalt Hamilton Associates of Vernon Hills is performing the engineering for the park project."

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Jones Island Beach in Grayslake to be Improved