On the Horizon – Centennial and Elder Lane Park + Beach Projects

On the Horizon - Support your Beaches

The Winnetka Park District is working on a marketing campaign to help reach out to the community to help better inform it’s residents and users on the current and future project details for both the Elder Lane and Centennial Park and Beach Projects. As a staff, we are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the public and more importantly the residents of Winnetka to work on implementing our plans to enhance both Elder Lane and Centennial Park and Beaches not only for now, but for future generations to enjoy!

It’s been a long journey from the approval of the Winnetka Waterfront 2030 Master Plan, and as you might have noticed, as a park district we are working to implement our plans for both Elder Lane and Centennial Park + Beaches. We want to make sure you are aware of what is on the horizon, and we look to gain your support on these projects.

We will continue to update you on our journey. Please join us to support your project and community as we work together to get the beaches open for the 2026 Beach Season!

The Four Pillars

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Community: The Park and Beach development project at Elder Lane and Centennial Park and Beach is a testament to the power of community collaboration and engagement. By involving residents in the planning process, the project ensures that it meets the diverse needs and desires of the community it serves. Through vibrant programming, cultural events, and recreational opportunities, the development will foster a sense of community pride and cohesion, creating a gathering place where neighbors can connect, relax, and celebrate together. This spirit of community involvement will ensure that the park remains a beloved hub of activity and enjoyment for generations to come.

Sustainability: The projects at Elder Lane and Centennial Park + Beach aim to minimize its environmental footprint and preserve natural resources for future generations. The section on materials and design will raise awareness about sustainability among visitors, encouraging environmentally responsible behaviors that help protect Winnetka’s natural heritage for years to come.

Accessibility: Accessibility lies at the heart of the Park and Beach development projects, ensuring that the beauty and recreational opportunities of Elder Lane and Centennial Park and Beach are accessible to everyone. With inclusive design principles, the project will provide equitable access for individuals of all ages and abilities, including those with disabilities. This commitment extends beyond physical access to encompass programming and outreach efforts that engage diverse community members, ensuring that everyone can participate fully in the park’s activities and enjoy its natural splendor.

Legacy: The Park and Beach development at Elder Lane and Centennial Park and Beach in Winnetka, embodies a commitment to leave a legacy for future generations. Through preservations and enhancements to the natural beauty of the area, the project aims to create a space that honors Winnetka’s history while providing modern amenities that cater to the needs of today’s residents and beach visitors. Through careful planning and design, the development will ensure this legacy is a cherished community asset, fostering pride and a sense of belonging among all who enjoy its offerings.

These pillars collectively support the vision of creating a Park and Beach development that not only enhances the natural beauty of Winnetka but also enriches the lives of its residents, embodies sustainable practices, and fosters a strong sense of community for years to come.

FAQ's of Centennial and Elder Lane Beach + Park Project

The Park District is committed to ensuring that the projects are completed for the 2026 Beach Season so you can enjoy the exciting new facilities as soon as possible. This, however, is dependent on the permitting processes with the Village of Winnetka, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Right now! While we make excellent progress on the Elder Lane and Centennial Projects, we encourage you to enjoy the amenities at Tower Road and Maple Street Beaches for swimming, Lloyd Beach and the Stepan Family Boat Launch at Lloyd for boating and watercraft needs, and the on-leash dog beach at Centennial for you and your furry friends.

The Winnetka Park District is actively engaged in the Village of Winnetka’s Special Use Permit Process for the Centennial Park and Beach Project. The District submitted the application to the Village of Winnetka on April 3, 2024 and we have provided responses on the first round of comments. The second round of comments was received on June 26, 2024 and are under review. We hope the Village will schedule dates to meet with the Zoning Board of Appeals, Plan Commission, Design & Review Board, and Village Council soon. We are also working diligently to finalize our submittal for the Elder Lane Park and Beach Project. After permits are obtained from the Village, we will submit permit applications to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other relevant regulatory agencies.

Your support is invaluable! Please attend upcoming meetings for the Special Use Permit Process for the projects and let your elected and appointed officials know your thoughts! We will update our website and notify the public once the meeting dates are scheduled. 

In the coming months, the Winnetka Park District will present the Centennial Park and Beach Project Plan to the review bodies for the Village’s Special Use Permit process. Once these dates are set, we will inform the community with the times and locations. We greatly appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you there!

The current cost estimate is $6,331,719 (as of April 8, 2024, w/o contingency) 


The current estimated cost is $6,807,744 (as of October 2, 2023, without contingency and including stormwater piping in the breakwater).

The Centennial Park and Beach Project is proposed as a marine-based project with elements installed from the table land. This means materials will be brought in by barge from the water primarily with some elements installed from the land side. The Elder Lane Park and Beach Project is proposed as a land-based project. If the timing aligns, we aim to bid these projects together as a single land-based project to reduce overall costs and improve project sequencing.

Centennial Beach will feature both swimming and a fenced-in, off-leash dog beach, with an accessible pier and plenty of space to enjoy the stunning lake views! Elder Lane will offer swimming, excellent accessibility, beautiful views, and passive areas for all to enjoy for generations to come.

Referendum requirements are determined by municipal laws and is not required for the Winnetka Park District. However, your input is always important to us. While a referendum offers a simple yes/no vote, the Park District welcomes ongoing conversations with residents about the projects and anything else Park District related!

Please note that these answers are subject to change as more information becomes available. We will continue to provide updates to keep you informed about the project’s progress and any new developments.

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