Chicago Park District hopes to find private partner for new boardwalk at North Avenue Beach

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North Avenue Beach, Chicago
North Avenue Beach, Chicago (Wikimedia Commons)

A new boardwalk is being planned for North Avenue Beach but it will only come to fruition should the Chicago Park District find a private concessionaire who would shoulder part of the construction costs.

The plan calls for the construction of a promenade around the beach house at North Ave. which is currently under lease to Castaways restaurant. Other upgrades include more public seating, concession kiosks, parking spaces and a redesigned drop-off circle, Chicago Tribune reported Nov. 30.

It aims to build new amenities for beachgoers, improve pedestrian circulation, reduce vehicular congestion and maximize revenue for the agency.

After Castaway’s contract expires, the Chicago Park District will begin its search for a new 10-year concessionaire. Revenue made from the deal will cover part of the project’s estimated cost of $10 million. The restaurateur is also expected to fund renovations to the beach house, including a new roof deck.

The boardwalk and drop-off circle are scheduled for completion by 2020, while the additional parking spaces are expected to come online a year later.

Chicago Park District’s plan is part of its years-long effort to partner with restaurant operators who should contribute to capital investment, and give the agency revenue shares for operating on government-owned property.

“We are at the preliminary stage. Once proposals are examined and the idea develops, we will share plans and seek input from the community,” said Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.

The agency has proposed a $462.3 million budget for 2018, part of which will be used to fund construction if the project pushes through.