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updated: 6/2/2011 4:10 PM

Lake Zurich discusses Paulus Park improvements

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By Danielle Gensburg

A shelter large enough to host 100 people, an outdoor amphitheater, a dog park, and an improved playground with interactive learning are possible additions to Paulus Park in Lake Zurich.

The amenities are included in the proposed Phase II master plan for the park at 200 S. Rand Road that was presented Wednesday to the Lake Zurich Special Park and Recreation Advisory Board.

A team from Norris Design has been busy working on the plan for the past couple of weeks and will apply for a $400,000 OSLAD (Open Space Land Acquisition and Development) grant to fund the project by July 1. The total estimated cost of the improvements is around $800,000.

"We're trying to make new amenities and provide new opportunities," said Norris Design consultant Keith Desichinski. "Things we're looking to improve upon or add that the community doesn't have."

The first phase of park improvements, which took place in 2006, included a new spayground, additional pathways, and lakeshore restoration.

At Wednesday's meeting, one Lake Zurich resident voiced concern over the cost of the proposed improvements and the reality of their actual use.

However, Michael Perkins, Lake Zurich's park and recreation director, said amenities such as the large shelter and the amphitheater can be used for a variety of gatherings, such as weddings, reunions, and concerts.

"They provide an opportunity to bring in revenue," Perkins explained.

Village officials and consultants believe the combination of new amenities, environmental education, and the ability to attract a variety of ages -- from adults to children and high school students -- will help the village get the grant.

The plan also calls for more paths throughout the park that would provide new entrances and access for emergency vehicles, a boardwalk, and a floating dock.

One of the goals of the new improvements is to preserve the park's natural environment. To do so, ideas ranging from log or limestone benches, a playground resembling a tree house and using NEOS play units (interactive outdoor games), and more energy efficient restrooms, are being considered.

Norris Design also hopes to restore the park's wetlands area and add signs throughout indicating the types of trees or natural habitats found in the Lake Zurich area, as another step toward environmental education.

The long awaited dog park would be located at the park's south end, which is currently a large open space.

After final tweaks are made, the proposal will be presented to the advisory board on June 20 to make a recommendation to the village board.

If the grant application is accepted, actual work on the park is not expected to begin until early winter or spring 2012.