Welcome to the Grayslake Park District's Parkland/Open Space Need Analysis. This document has been developed to identify areas within Grayslake that lack sufficient recreational opportunities, now and in the 5-10 year future. The need for this analysis is fostered by the Illinois Open Land Trust Act. The act provides for and encourages the conservation of natural resources and public recreation, believing that such endeavors promote the public health, prosperity and general welfare of the population. The Act further declares that lands now dedicated to these purposes are not adequate to protect the quality of life and meeting the needs of an expanding population. Lands that present an opportunity to be acquired should be acquired now, for these lands will gradually disappear as the area is developed and the cost of land increases.
The Grayslake Park District's role is to ensure the Grayslake community continued access to natural areas, open space, and recreational facilities as development adds to the resident population. This analysis intends to aide the park district's preparation for the future by pinpointing community areas underserved by park land, and identifying the areas for potential park expansion.
"Our parks are a refuge from concrete, from urban noise and congestion. They provide tranquil space to balance the more stressful elements of city life. Our parks touch every neighborhood in common, constructive activity." -Forest Claypool General Superintendent, Chicago Park District, 1994
Open Space Needs Today
People's use and need for open space has evolved in the last 100 years. In this modern world, people need safe trails for bicycling and walking; easy and pleasant access to the wilderness of forest preserves, more downtown plazas and green space; and industrial corridors that are well landscaped and conducive to retaining their existing businesses and capturing new ones.
Each community in Grayslake needs enough open space available to serve the residents who live there, and residents of every community deserve to have parks or other open spaces that are within reasonable distances.
The primary concern of the park district or Village is to see that there is enough parkland, located in the right places, at the time people are there to use it. Types of equipment and leisure choices change, but the parks facilities can be recycled. However, with continuing development trends, should there be a shortfall in parkland, it will be a difficult and expensive deficit to overcome.
 Lake County Regional Framework Plan, “[Draft of] Chapter 4, Environmental Resources, Open Space, and Farmland”, 2000 [Update – 2001].  See “Competing in the Age of Talent: Environment, Amenities and the New Economy”, January 2000. Available online: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~Florida/talent.pdf
Importance of Greenspace and Environmental Resources
The interaction of various forces of nature has resulted in a splendid landscape in Lake County. The area possesses an abundant variety of environmental resources, including prairies, lakes, wetlands of all types, and various species of flora and fauna. "Greenspace" was identified as the third most important quality of life factor (after "quality schools" and "less traffic congestion") in the Lake County Resident Transportation Survey conducted in 2000.
Opens Space can have a significant impact on the economics of an area. Many factors influence our mobile society's choice of where to live, however, one important factor is the quality of life they would be able to enjoy. Access to open space and natural recreation are increasingly an amenity that influences people's location decisions. As Professor Richard Florida of the H. John Heinz School of Public Policy in Pittsburgh, PA points out, there is a high income, geographically mobile population that chooses outdoor recreation and natural amenities when considering where to live and work. Environmentally conscious cities such as Seattle and Portland are at the forefront of this trend, with great success in ensuring that their natural beauty will remain an attraction for future generations. Top of Page
Village of Grayslake & Hainesville
The Village of Grayslake is located in central Lake County approximately 40 miles from Chicago. Historically a small farming town, it was incorporated in 1895. Today, Grayslake is a growing residential community that functions as a commuter suburb hosting some light industry. Grayslake's relatively new suburban character has equaled swift growth over the past decades. Its population doubled during the 1990s. According to the 2000 Census, the population is 18,506. The median household income is $59,612.
The growth projections for the Village of Grayslake are staggering. Since January 2000, Grayslake has issued 724 permits worth approximately $75 million for single family home construction alone. The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) suggests the population will rise more than 20% to a possible 24,000 persons by 2020. This increase could have substantial negative effects on the quality of life in the area, especially because the automobile is the primary means of transportation. Not surprisingly, traffic congestion and over-development are foremost concerns of its citizens.
The Village of Hainesville is also included in this analysis for the Grayslake Park District, as it lies only two miles west of Grayslake and is thus within access distance of the Park District. Hainesville is the oldest incorporated area in Lake County, and was formed in 1847. According to the 2000 census, the population is 2,129, with a median housing value of $180,600 and median rent $732.
Hainesville is also experiencing strong growth. From a 1990 population of only 134, it has grown to 2,129 in 2000, and is expected to surpass 3,000 by 2020, according to the Northeast Illinois Planning Commission.
Lake County Development
Lake County is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, just south of the Wisconsin Border; an integral part of the dynamic Chicago/Milwaukee metropolitan area. Nine million people live within a 60-mile radius of the county seat, Waukegan. Lake County has a diverse land use pattern in its 457 square miles. It has an outstanding real estate market with development radiating outward along the major transportation corridor running through Lake County- the Tri-State Tollway.
Lake County's population surpassed the one-half million mark by 1990 and is estimated to be near 605,000 today. According to the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), over the 25 years between 1990 and 2020, Lake County is expected to experience employment growth of 72% - higher than the rate of the region as a whole.
The Northeast Illinois Planning Commission, along with other agencies, has begun to formulate a Growth Strategy in order to successfully channel this growth, instead of allowing unplanned sprawling development as in the past.Lake County's first permanent settlement of European-Americans was established in 1843, only one year after Chicago was established as a village. According to land use inventories completed by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, 136,263 acres, or 45 percent of the county was developed in 1990. By 1995 the developed area increased by over 11,000 acres to 147,716 acres, or 49 percent of the county area. This is an 8-percent increase in the developed land area in just five years.
 Lake County, Planning, Building and Development, “Grayslake: Quick Facts,” Website referenced Nov., 2002: http://www.co.lake.il.us/about/communities/grayslake.asp
on September 27, 2000), Referenced 10/2002 from website: http://www.nipc.cog.il.us/fore2020.htm  “Resident Survey for the Grayslake Park District.” Evanston, IL: Richard Day Research, January 17, 2001. Lake County, Planning, Building and Development, “Hainesville: Quick Facts,” Website referenced Dec., 2002: http://www.co.lake.il.us/about/communities/hainesville.asp  Revised 2020 Forecasts for Northeast Illinois Area: TABLE A, POPULATION, HOUSEHOLD AND EMPLOYMENT FORECAST (As Endorsed by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission on September 27, 2000), Referenced 12/2002 from website: http://www.nipc.cog.il.us/fore2020.htm Top of Page
Neighborhood and Community Park Summary
Neighborhood and Community Park Summary Category Area Served Goals Minimum Size Distance National Standard Neighborhood Parks Small areas Active & non-active facilities 5 acres 0.25 to 0.5 miles (5-10 minute walk) 4 acres per 1000 persons Community Parks Several neighborhoods Protect unique landscapes and open space 20 acres 0.5 to 3 miles 6 acres per 1000 persons Source: Mertes, James D., PhD. and James R. Hall, CLP. Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Guidelines, A Publication of the National Recreation and Park Association, 1995
The National Recreation and Park Association defines neighborhood parks as the "basic unit of the park system." Neighborhood parks serve small areas of the community with a combination of 'active' park facilities, such as playfields and basketball courts, and 'non-active' facilities, such as park benches and picnic areas. Five acres is considered the minimum size of neighborhood parks and seven to ten acres is the optimal size, located at a five to ten minute walking distance from every resident within the area.
Community parks serve a broader section of the community. Community parks provide a few combined neighborhoods with recreational facilities, and potentially protect unique landscapes and open space. The National Recreation and Park Association recommends a minimum size of 20 acres for community parks, located within ½ mile to 3 miles from the residents of its neighborhoods.
Miniparks, parklets, Village-owned open space, YMCA and school parks may also help to serve the community, so they are included on the maps for reference, but these do not factor into the total available community and neighborhood parkland.
Grayslake Park District Analysis - Methodology
Recreational needs can be measured by several standards. Nationally accepted standards recommend that 10 acres of parkland be provided for every 1,000 residents in a community. This standard should be viewed as a guide; it addresses minimum, not maximum, goals to be achieved. The standard should be interpreted according to the particular situation to which it is applied and the specific local needs. The standard simply counts all acres of public green space, regardless of what type of park is provided. The green space may be small, passive, landscaped areas, designed to provide visual respite and perhaps a neighborhood facility such as a playground; larger neighborhood or community-wide parks with active recreational facilities such as ball fields; or large regional facilities, such as forest preserves, beaches or natural areas.
A gross measure of overall acres within a community does not usually take into account where those park acres are located. So our analysis seeks to determine both whether a community's overall park needs appear to be met, and if individual neighborhoods are also adequately served.
The National Recreation and Park Association classifies park land into five separate categories of use and service. These are mini-parks, school parks, special use parks, neighborhood parks, and community parks. This study relies on the two largest park classifications, neighborhood parks and community parks, to evaluate the availability of parks within the Grayslake Park District. Based upon area population and park accessibility, it serves to graphically and descriptively locate areas of Grayslake that are currently underserved by park land, and therefore are the logical areas for land acquisition. Top of Page
Recreational Facility Standards
Mertes, James D., PhD. And James R. Jall, CPL. Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Guidelines. A Publication of the National Recreation and Park Assocation, 1995
Facility Space Standards
Today's parks are expected to provide a wide range of recreational, sporting, and sometimes even cultural activities and spaces. For some of these kinds of facilities, a community may need only one, while other facilities may need to be provided in several locations. For the purposes of this report we will use the NPRA'S Facility Space Guidelines as an expression of the amount of space required for a specific recreation activity. A community, when determining facility space, should also consider using other communities as guidelines when developing their standards. Newer trends involve the use of market research to determine relevant recreation needs. The theory behind the market research standard is that facilities should be developed only with strong market data to support a need for the facility, such as the results of a community study. These three approaches or guidelines should then be applied to the unique population characteristics of the local community itself. The community can then select a facility menu, which best satisfies the needs of its citizens.
Below is a chart that lists the amount of land needed for specific recreational activities. These land minimums can then be utilized when determining a park size. In addition to the needed land for the facility space, the park planner must allow space for ample street parking, more spectator space, more space to separate facilities, and more space for amenities.
Planning Areas and Land Uses
This analysis divides the Grayslake Park District into eleven neighborhood planning areas for a closer perspective on the needs of the community. Within those planning areas, the study applies nationally accepted standards of 4 acres of neighborhood parkland per 1000 persons. The study discusses community park needs, but does not divide the district into those planning areas due to the smaller geographic size of the park district. The standard of 6 acres of community parkland per 1000 persons is applied.
The Grayslake Park District has been divided into eleven neighborhood planning areas. The planning areas are generally the same size with similar populations, though in areas of expected growth the populations are currently small. The planning areas also subdivide the park district based upon natural and transportation boundaries, such as lakes and rivers, railroad tracks, and highways, to ensure pedestrian accessibility.
 Illinois Periodicals Online, Illinois Parks & Recreation, “The New NRPA Guidelines for Open Space,” Website referenced Oct., 2002: http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/ip970317.html
Currently, the Grayslake Park District nearly satisfies the needs of its community. The Park District's first priority is to fully meet the standard requirements for its current residents of the Village of Grayslake, but it must also prepare to accommodate future growth, with an expected 20% increase in population by 2020. It is also serving residents of the Village of Hainesville with little difficulty at this time.
Today, only two out of the eleven planning areas are lacking in acreage. Accessibility is the drawback in these areas, and that problem will only increase with development in the outlying areas. Land acquisitions of at least five acres for new neighborhood parks within planning areas 9 and 10 are necessary in terms of acreage. For walkability, the main concerns are in areas 1, 9 and 11.
In the area of community parks, it is not the location of the parks but total number of acres that is the concern. The acquisition of land for the creation of a third community park, or extension of an existing park by at least 35 acres or more is recommended. Expanding Doolittle Park would meet this need. This will both satisfy the shortfall of community park land, and further ensure the accessibility of community parks to the residents.
New land acquisitions for neighborhood and community parks may fall within the current boundaries of the park district. The current boundaries of the park district and the village have already been expanded to include huge tracts of undeveloped open space and farmland. They are already recognized as areas ripe for development. The current residential areas may experience some increases in density, but new development is more likely.
Finally, in a community like Grayslake that is still developing, projections of future needs are essential. We suggest that parkland acquisitions take place immediately- before development pressure increases the price of land or limits its availability. Then as new subdivisions are laid out and developed, each should be designed with accessibility to local parkland.
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