Dawes Park Lagoon Renovations Move Ahead With $400,000 State Grant

With a $500,000 private donation already in hand, the city is just shy of the $1 million anticipated cost of renovating a 4.5-acre lagoon.

Renovations to a leaking lagoon in are moving closer to reality with a $400,000 grant from the state.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced this weekend that the 4.5-acre lakefront lagoon is among several projects in Illinois that will receive $12.3 million in Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Grants, according to a press release from the city. 

“The lagoon itself has been leaking, and we’ve been patching it every year,” said Doug Gaynor, director of parks and recreation. “So this will be an opportunity to completely redo that.”


Renovations are already funded in part by a $500,000 donation from the Arrington Foundation, made last June in memory of the late W. Russell Arrington, an Evanston resident and member of the Illinois General Assembly from 1945 to 1973.

“My thanks to Governor Quinn for his support of this outstanding project,” Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said in the release. “Through the efforts of State Senator Jeff Schoenberg, State Representative Robyn Gabel and staff from our Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, the residents of Evanston will now enjoy a revitalized lakefront lagoon that will serve as a peaceful respite for all of us for many years to come." 

Improvements to the lagoon, which is being renamed the Arrington Lagoon, will include plumbing upgrades, reconstruction of the stone waterfall, replacement of pavement and lighting and enhanced landscaping, according to the city.

The total project is expected to cost $1 million, Gaynor said, meaning the park district will be seeking an addition $100,000 in city funding to finish the renovations. He said the parks and recreation department will begin planning the renovations now, with construction expected to start as early as April 2013. 


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