Wilmette to Narrow Ideas for Elmwood Beach
What will happen to Elmwood Beach? Wilmette's Municipal Services Committee will discuss plans for the beach at its next meeting in September.
What Wilmette will do with Elmwood Beach, an 80-foot strip of land wedged between two properties on the lakeshore, remains to be determined after a meeting last week.
The Village’s Municipal Services Committee is looking at ideas for the land at Elmwood and Michigan avenues. Several options have emerged, but a consensus has yet to be reached.
“It’s moving to some resolution, I am not sure what that is,” said Cameron Krueger, chairman of the Municipal Services Committee. “The upshot is we met and we have a good range of ideas as to what to do with that property."
Among the questions that would have to be resolved is what role - if any – Wilmette Park District will play.
“We have conveyed to the village that if they wish to explore a future for this property that could involve the Park District, we would be willing to discuss their ideas, and our board would make a decision as to what role, if any, the District will have,” Park District Board Executive Director Steve Wilson said in an e-mail.
In the early 20th century, the parcel was one of several right-of-ways granted to the village. The right-of-way status means that while the village controls the land, they do not own the property.
Krueger is optimistic the list of options will be narrowed down at the next Municipal Services Committee meeting in September.
“I am very pleased with the progress we are making on the subject,” he said.
Ideas for Elmwood Beach
Restricting Beach Access
Dennis Chookaszian, who lives adjacent to the property, has offered to purchase the strip of land. He told Patch last year that he was concerned about safety and would like to close off access.
"Someone’s going to be seriously injured because there are no buoyies," Chookaszian previously told Patch. "It’s attracting people from all over the city to swim there because it’s free." He went on to note there were dangerous parts of the area including overgrown vines and loose tree limbs and branches.
Keeping Beach As Is
Other neighbors including Guy Chipparoni say the status quo is fine.
“As a Wilmette citizen I want to keep it the way it is. Inevitably nature will take care of itself and leave it open and accessible,” Chipparoni said. “It is a quiet little amenity the taxpayers should be able to enjoy but that is going to be difficult now that it has become center stage.”
Chipparoni added, “If we are going to open our doors, I don’t think we can open them in one place and not another.”