Project Updates

As updates are provided we will post a description of each project with pictures

If you have questions about any of the projects listed on this page, please contact Ann Viger, Director of Planning and Development at 815.459.0680, ext. 4205 or via email.

Haligus Road Park

Playground Renovations Public Input Meetings

Veteran Acres Tennis Courts

Fetzner Park

Ladd Park Playground Replacement

Sterne's Fen Restoration Project

2021-2022 PROJECTS

Haligus Rd Park

site location on google maps

Future Park Site: just south of the Village of Lakewood Public Works facility on Haligus Road

The Crystal Lake Park District is in the early planning stages for a new community park on Haligus Road in Lakewood. Your input is valued! Please join us for a brainstorming session on Tu, Oct 26, 7 pm at Grand Oaks Recreation Center (1401 W. Route 176, just east of the intersection of Briarwood & Route 176). All Crystal Lake Park District residents are welcome to attend.

The park site is 10 acres in size and located just south of the Village of Lakewood Public Works facility on Haligus Road. HItchcock Design Group has been hired to design a master plan for the park and will be leading the public input session. There will be more opportunities in the future to provide input as the planning phase proceeds over the next six months. In the meantime, if you have specific questions, please email Ann Viger, Director of Park Development and Interpretive Services at

Public Input Meetings for Playground Renovations

The month of November includes three opportunities for residents of the Crystal Lake Park District to provide input on playground renovation projects planned for 2022. Attendees will be able to review a variety of concept plans to provide input and ask questions. Information gathered at these meetings will be used to finalize the plans for each park.

Kamijima Park (1294 North Avenue, Crystal Lake)

Public Input Meeting:

Mon, Nov 8 at 7 pm, West Beach Building, 2330 Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake

Kamijima Playground Options: posted Nov 9, 2021

Lapins Park (6400 Scott Lane, Crystal Lake)

Public Input Meeting:

Tu, Nov 9 at 7 pm, Rotary Building at Veteran Acres, 431 N. Walkup, Crystal Lake

Lapins Park Playground Options: posted Nov 10, 2021

Brighton Oaks Park (9818 Ballard Rd, Crystal Lake)

Public Input Meeting:

Wed, Nov 10 at 7 pm, Admin. Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake

Several possible layouts for the new playground will be presented at the meeting. These will also be posted on our website https://www.crystallakeparks.o..., after the meeting, as well as on the Crystal Lake Park District Facebook page. The options were prepared by several different equipment manufacturers and they all meet the budget and design guidelines that were established by the park district. Using your feedback, we will choose one of these options or we might end up with a layout that is a combination of elements from several options.

You can provide feedback in several ways:

  • Send an email to
  • Call Ann at 815-459-0680, ext. 4205
  • Use the 'Contact Us' form at

Add a comment to our Facebook post about the project.

Please send your comments by November 15, 2021.

For questions or more information, contact Ann Viger, Director of Park Development and Interpretive Services at

Brighton Oaks Playground Options: posted Nov 11, 2021

Fetzner Park

Fetzner Park site information

Fetzner Park: 690 Alexandria ln, Crystal Lake, IL

UPDATE: Aug 4, 2021

The contractor providing ongoing maintenance of the natural areas along the creek and in the detention basins at Fetzner Park will be on site this Thursday, August 5 or Friday, August 6. The work will include mowing and spot herbiciding areas where invasive species are present.

Veteran Acres TEnnis Courts

site information

Veteran Acres: 431 N Walkup, Crystal Lake, IL

UPDATE: Nov 2, 2021

Reconstruction of the tennis courts at Veteran Acres Park is well underway! In addition rebuilding the courts themselves, a handicap accessible sidewalk is being added to join the tennis courts, basketball court and restroom building.

UPDATE: Sept 29, 2021

The tennis courts at Veteran Acres will be closed for the season beginning Mon, Oct 4. The early closure this fall is to begin a major reconstruction project of the courts that will include new surfacing, nets, fencing and lights. Work is expected to continue through the winter as weather permits, with the final color surface and lines being applied in the Spring of 2022. We apologize for the inconvenience but look forward to the new and improved tennis facility next year!

Ladd Park Playground

556 Coventry Ln, Crystal Lake, IL

UPDATE: JUNE 18, 2021

Inspections are complete, the construction fencing has been removed and Ladd Playground is officially open.

UPDATE: JUNE 10, 2021

Work is coming to an end on the new playground for Ladd Park! The equipment and safety surfacing are completed. The contractor will be cleaning up the site over the next few days. When the fence is removed, the playground will be officially open!

UPDATE: MAY 28, 2021

After a shipping delay from the manufacturer, work will resume soon on the playground project. The safety surfacing is scheduled for installation the week of June 7, so watch for the playground to reopen soon after that!

UPDATE: APR 26, 2021

The new playground equipment is beginning to rise! The concrete pad in these pictures will be a patio with a picnic table and bench.

Update: Apr 15, 2021

It may not look like much right now, but work is well underway for the installation of a beautiful new playground at Ladd Park. The old equipment has been removed and underdrains have been installed. The site is now being prepared for a new concrete sidewalk and concrete curb edging around the new playground. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks - the new equipment is on its way and installation will begin soon!

UPDATE: JAN 12, 2021

The new playground at Ladd Park is one step closer to reality! After receiving a lot of great feedback from neighbors and users of the park, the conceptual designs were refined and shown here is the final plan for the playground. Keep in mind this is a computer image, so doesn't look completely lifelike! What is not shown in this image is the safety surfacing under the playground which will be a brightly colored solid rubber surface, and a stand-alone handicap accessible swingset. A paved walkway will connect the playground to Coventry Lane near the baseball field and a bike rack, benches and trash cans will also be installed.

Installation of the playground is currently "out to bid". Plans are to have a contract finalized in February or March so that the job can begin as soon as weather allows. Watch here for more schedule updates!

Overall View

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5617 E. Hillside Rd, Crystal Lake, IL

Update: August 4, 2021

Efforts to control invasive species at Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve will be expanded during the month of August and early September to include isolated stands of phragmites. This troublesome wetland plant, that looks like a very tall grass, can easily outcompete and replace native plants. Control of this species will include a herbicide application (typically by swiping individual plant stems) by licensed herbicide applicators approved by the Crystal Lake Park District. Visitors to Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve are encouraged to stay on the established paths during this time.

Update: Oct 6, 2020

Work continues at Sterne's Fen to maintain the restored fen and remove invasive species throughout the park. This work is done by both contractors and volunteers and is essential to keep the natural areas healthy.

Update: Feb 12, 2020

The contractor has finished with the tree removal at Sterne's. There are two pile of logs remaining to be removed from the parking lot, but the cutting is complete. They made to the "priority II" trees. The trail is now open for use.

Update: Feb 6, 2020

At this point the contractor is about half way through moving east to west. They are estimating being done by the end of the day on Mon, Feb 10. They have also started hauling out the timbered logs from the parking lot and hope to have the pile down to a minimum by the end of the day, Feb 7.

Update: Feb 3, 2020

A portion of the Sterne's Fen trail will be closed this week to remove unhealthy trees.

Update: Jan 25, 2020

Due to recent snowfall and ice coverage, work will resume once snow melts from path.

Update: Jan 16, 2020

Upcoming Restoration Work in Sterne's Woods and Fen

The Crystal Lake Park District will be removing several trees located along the trail system at Veteran Acres and Sterne's Woods and Fen. As a result, portions of the trails will be closed for the safety of our visitors while the work is being performed. At no time will the entire trail system be closed to the public.

Beginning next week, large aggressive trees that were allowed to establish in the absence of fire will be removed from Sterne's Woods and Fen as part of the ongoing Sterne's Fen Restoration project. This work should last approximately one week, weather permitting, and will only impact the portion of the trails at Sterne's identified in the map below.

The work at Veteran Acres will take place over the next three months and will involve the removal of several large dead or dying trees along the trail north of The Nature Center. These trees pose a potential threat to the safety of our visitors, volunteers, and staff and will be removed as weather and time permits. Detailed information regarding the schedule and location of the removals will be posted as it is available.

Please direct questions to John Fiorina, Manager of Natural Resources and Interpretive Services at or 815.321.9080.

Update: Nov 1, 2019

Upcoming Restoration Work in Sterne's Woods and Fen

In 2014 the Crystal Lake Park District began a multi-phase project to restore the hydrology of Sterne's Fen. The info below pertains to the next phase of restoration that will take place early in 2020.

Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve is dependent upon an uninterrupted and unaltered flow of groundwater. Currently, a series of invasive trees located primarily along the toe of the slopes adjacent to the walking path are intercepting that groundwater flow. It has been estimated that through transpiration each large tree wicks away approximately 700 gallons of groundwater daily. The goal of this project is to remove the trees that are responsible for this great loss of groundwater. The project is being funded through the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County via a stewardship grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

Four areas have been identified for removal and are ranked by priority. The exact scope of the project will be determined once bids are received for the tree removal.

map of sternes woods and fen detailing invasive tree removal priority areas

Print map

This project will be started once the ground is well frozen in order to lessen disturbance in the removal areas. It is anticipated that the work will take place in January or February of 2020.

This project has received the approval of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the Crystal Lake Park District. Prior restoration projects at Sterne's Woods and Fen have yielded very positive results in a very short amount of time. Just recently, the reintroduction of sunlight to the soil has allowed a dormant bank of native seeds to flourish during the 2019 growing season.

We will continue to post updates on this page. As always, feel free to contact the park district with questions.

Update: March 29, 2019

As soon as the weather is appropriate, the fen will be seeded with native plants. Invitations to the April 23 open house were mailed to neighbors earlier this week. A notice about the open house is also on our website, on Facebook, on our lobby monitors and posted in several buildings.

Update: March 21, 2019

Removal of invasive trees and undergrowth is complete. When weather permits native seed will be spread throughout the restoration area. An open house is being planned for April 23 at 6 PM at Sterne's Woods and Fen to discuss the renovation project and tour the site. Watch for further details.

Update: March 8, 2019

The removal of invasive trees and shrubs that damage the sensitive fen is nearing completion. When weather permits, native seed will be spread to encourage healthy development of the fen.

Update: February 19, 2019

The removal of invasive trees and shrubs along Hillside Road is underway. These plants are undesirable because they remove a large amount of water from the area and shade the ground nearby, therefore endangering the high quality native plants within the fen. Weather permitting, the tree removal is expected to last for several days.

Update: December 14, 2018

The check dams have been installed. Clearing/burning of buckthorn and other invasive species continues.

Update: December 7, 2018

Work continued all week in the fen. A crew is busy removing buckthorn and other invasive trees from the fen. The material is being piled and then burned so there is a few constant plumes of smoke over Sterne's every day. Four of the six check dams have been installed.

Crew at work at Sterne's Woods
Work continues at Sterne's Woods

Update: November 28, 2018

The Crystal Lake Park District will begin another phase of the Sterne's Fen Restoration Project in early winter. Similar to the most recent phase of restoration, this phase will concentrate on rehydrating the fen by removing invasive trees and brush, installing check dams in channelized streams, and ongoing management of vegetation. The project will include approximately 4.5 acres of invasive/weedy tree removal in the park and along Hillside Road.

The project is being funded through McHenry County's Wetland Restoration Fund and in cooperation with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

Questions may be directed to John Fiorina, Manager of Natural Resources and Interpretative Services, at or Ann Viger, Director of Park Development and Interpretive Services at