Lake County Board candidates debate Fort Sheridan plan
Two men running for a Lake County Board seat serving Round Lake and Round Lake Beach differ on their possible approaches to creating amenities for a former golf course on the North Shore.
Republican Michael Carbone, a Grayslake Elementary District 46 board member from Round Lake, is challenging incumbent Democrat Terry Wilke of Round Lake Beach in county board District 16. Voters will make their choice Nov. 6.
Because county board members double as forest preserve commissioners, both candidates were asked in a Daily Herald questionnaire about what types of amenities should be added to a 250-acre site where the Fort Sheridan golf course previously operated, along Lake Michigan near Highland Park and Lake Forest. The district acquired the site from the Army in stages starting in the 1990s and a clause in the contract had required a layout exist in perpetuity.
However, with the golf industry in decline and no private investors showing interest in building or operating a course there, forest district commissioners determined that creating other features for public use on the property was a better alternative. The Army has said it would take no action.
Wilke said he has some amenities in mind for Fort Sheridan that the forest preserve district should pursue.
"A crushed gravel walking path, lakeside beach access," he said. "Things that can be maintained at low cost to constituents and low impact to the environment."
Carbone did not immediately offer such specifics. Instead, he said, he would want ideas bounced around regarding Fort Sheridan amenities.
"I believe that if any amenities should be added at this time or in the future, the county should put together a committee that is made up of taxpayers and board members and together there will be direct involvement and ideas to be shared for all to consider," he said.
Carbone defeated Rene Hernandez Jr. in the spring GOP primary. Wilke, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, was elected to the county board in 2008.
Although the 18-hole course was torn up in 2003 so a new one could be built, the effort was halted in 2004 after cost projections came in much higher than initially estimated.
In 2009, the district established an advisory committee. After meeting for a year and a half, a majority of the group recommended a nine-hole course interspersed with trails. A request to build that option was sent to 905 golf course builders, contractors and others but received no response.
Trails, green space and educational attractions are part of the Fort Sheridan site.