Fox Lake park to get amphitheater, pickleball courts in project that begins Monday

A ceremonial groundbreaking Monday marks a major milestone in the grand plan to enhance Fox Lake's signature park fronting Nippersink Lake.

Mayor Donnie Schmit and others involved in the $12.5 million effort will share the vision at noon at Lakefront Park, 71 Nippersink Blvd.

The design for the first phase of improvements was finalized in spring. Key features include an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and events, outdoor pickleball courts, an enhanced splash pad and playground, restrooms and a beach with a shaded shelter.

Construction is set to begin next week on onshore amenities. The second part of the project involves offshore features including a pier and a boardwalk. The design for that work is being finalized, according to Jessica Chernich, assistant to the village administrator.

Monday's ceremony signifies the beginning of construction and realization of the community's "collective aspirations," according to Chernich.

The groundbreaking has been years in the making. In 2018, Fox Lake hired site design group, ltd., of Chicago to develop a master parks and recreation plan.

Adopted in 2019, it includes the revitalization of village lakefront property with several new amenities and the acquisition of other lakefront parcels over time, Chernich said.

Last year, the village issued $12.5 million in general obligation bonds to fund the project. The village also is working to get state and federal grants, she added.

With picturesque views of Nippersink Lake and a range of activities, Lakefront Park draws the most visitors among Fox Lake parks but rates just above average, according to the master plan. Upgrades and improvements to create a more engaging, cohesive space are considered priorities.

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