Wauconda Park District officials want to hear from you on Phil's Beach

  • The Wauconda Park District is turning iconic Phil's Beach into a public park, and they want your input on the project.

      The Wauconda Park District is turning iconic Phil's Beach into a public park, and they want your input on the project. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • Phil's Beach was used as a setting for the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers." Wauconda Park District officials are turning the site into a public park.

    Phil's Beach was used as a setting for the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers." Wauconda Park District officials are turning the site into a public park. Courtesy of Mary Beth Jachec

 
 
Updated 2/9/2017 4:28 PM

As they prepare to turn iconic Phil's Beach into a public park, Wauconda Park District officials want to know what amenities you'd like there.

A community meeting about the much-anticipated project has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the park district community center, 600 N. Main St.

 

The goal is to create a "wish list" for the site, which the district purchased last year, Director Nancy Burton said.

"Phil's Beach, as we have learned, stirs a lot of memories for so many people," Burton said. "Because of this, we felt it was important to open up the planning to Wauconda."

Representatives of Hitchcock Design Group, the architects designing the project, will lead the session. Audience members will be asked to write down their ideas, preferences and any concerns.

Park board member Adam Schlick said he hopes participants will feel "a real sense of ownership of the project."

Phil's Beach is on the east side of Main Street, north of Route 176. Phil Froehlke opened the beach as a business in 1926, and his descendants ran it as time went on.

The beach drew thousands of people to Wauconda through the decades. A tall, J-shaped slide was a popular attraction.

Additionally, the beach was featured in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers." It closed to the public in 1990.

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The park district spent $690,000 for the beach and some land across Main Street that will be used for parking.

Officials are hoping for a summer 2018 grand opening.

A recently approved $386,500 federal grant will help pay for the project. A cost estimate hasn't been determined, however, because officials don't yet know what the community wants, Burton said.

Picnic shelters and a building for bathrooms and showers are among the amenities that already have been discussed.

A second community meeting will be scheduled when site plans are developed.

Burton is excited about the task ahead.

"Phil's Beach, when completed, will be an attraction created by the people for the people, and a place we can be proud of and enjoy for many years to come," she said.

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