How you can make your name a part of Phil's Beach history in Wauconda
As a $3 million renovation of Phil's Beach nears completion in Wauconda, a charity benefiting the project is selling commemorative bricks that will be installed at the historic site.
The bricks will form a border along the walkway into Phil's Beach, which is on the east side of Main Street just north of downtown Wauconda.
Each 4-inch by 8-inch commemorative brick will have up to three lines of text. Sponsoring a brick will cost $150.
Funds will go to the Wauconda Parks Foundation for the beach project, which is being headed by the Wauconda Park District. The foundation has raised more than $30,000 for the Phil's Beach renovation so far, officials said.
Four hundred commemorative bricks were made available. So far, about 100 have been bought, parks Director Nancy Burton said.
To order a brick, download the form at waucondaparks.com/wp-content/uploads/customer-Buy-a-Brick-form.pdf and return it to the park district headquarters at 600 N. Main St. You can also buy a brick by calling (847) 526-3610 or by visiting the park district headquarters.
A Memorial Day opening is planned for the renovated Phil's Beach. This will be the first summer the site has been open to the public since 1989.
Phil's Beach drew families to Bangs Lake starting in the 1920s. Both the beach and its giant, J-shaped slide were featured in the classic 1980 film "The Blues Brothers."
But the family that owned and operated the beach closed it in 1990 because of rising insurance costs. The park district bought the property and about one acre on the west side of Main Street in 2016, with the intent to renovate the site and reopen it as a public parks facility.
Visitors will be able to enjoy a splash pad, a picnic pavilion, a long boardwalk, a concessions building and other amenities. The land across the street will be used for parking.
Burton estimates the project is about 85% complete. The splash pad, boardwalk, a bath house and the concession building are finished, and signs for the main entry and the buildings have been installed, she said.
"The district is very proud of the project and excited to open the facility up to the public," Burton said. "We feel we have been able to recreate the feel and essence of what Phil's Beach was years ago."