Kenilworth residents got a look last week at what an overhaul of the town’s old water plant may look like.
The decommissioned water plant became the center of the Village’s lakefront plans after trustees decided last April to keep it and eventually tabbed Woodhouse Tinucci Architects to include it in a redesign of Kenilworth’s beachfront.
The Village welcomed the public to open houses on Thursday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 4, to collect feedback on initial concepts for the waterfront, including the water plant and Kenilworth Beach.
A video presentation from Woodhouse Tinucci details a plan to convert the water plant into a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot community amenity, complete with everything from employee space and boat storage to a concessions area and community rooms.
Woodhouse’s initial concepts for the water plant, however, are not set in stone. Feedback from community members and public officials will inform the final design.
According to the presentation, other focuses of the lakefront rehab are to improve the boat launch, protect the shoreline, and create a stable and more accessible public beach.
The plan also calls to enhance the overlook atop the water plant and at the east end of Kenilworth Avenue — with a “primary goal to maintain the views of Lake Michigan,” it says in the presentation. The overlook may also be an access hub to the water plant and to the beachfront.
Designers also hope to “soften” the paved areas throughout the project, and increase the grassy area at on the north side of the water plant where boat storage currently exists.
Kenilworth Village Manager Patrick Brennan was pleased with the public turnout for the open houses. He said about 27 residents attended the open house on Feb. 2 and 32 on Feb. 4.
“It was nice to see residents so engaged with the process,” he said. “I think they gave a lot of good feedback on what amenities they’d like to see.”
The Village was seeking feedback on Kenilworth’s overall beach experience, such as the best way to store personal belongings. Brennan said many residents would like restrooms on the beach level and improved concessions, possibly with healthful options.
Another public forum will be scheduled in March, Brennan said. Meanwhile, Woodhouse Tinucci will incorporate public feedback into more realistic designs. Woodhouse said a cost estimate will likely be available in April with a public presentation of the designs in May.
Brennan said the designs may be broken up into two phases: water-side improvements and water-plant renovations.
“We want to make sure we protect (the building) before we invest money in improving it,” he said.
Brennan said if all stays on track, construction in the water could begin by the fall.
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