Improvements at Lakeview’s Lakeside Park ‘really is amazing’

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 11:16 am on Thursday, October 03, 2013

Lakeview’s new outdoor theater will play host to several live concerts each summer, including the inaugural show slated for Oct. 5. The stage is part of a $250,000 park improvement project. — Courtesy photo

LAKEVIEW — At the next concert in Lakeview’s Lakeside Park, the music will not only sound good, but — thanks to the installation of a new bandshell and myriad other improvements — it’s going to look good, too.

This past summer has been one of significant change for the park. A $100,000 grant from the Meijer Foundation, coupled with another $150,000 from the village’s general fund, paved the way for a new pier, the purchase of adjacent land, the installation of high tech LED street lighting and LED pathway lighting, a camera system and — the icing on the cake — a new outdoor theater.

A block-long portion of Sixth Street was removed and seeded in order to create a more expansive park than had been there previously. Additional green space was obtained through the demolition of a home located near the park’s previous entrance on Lincoln Avenue.

According to Lakeview Village Manager James Freed, the ball started rolling on the project with a written funding request to the Meijer Foundation last fall.

Crews install the new pier that is just one facet of a park improvement project that took place this summer at Lakeside Park in Lakeview. Other improvements included a lighted pathway, an outdoor theater and the purchase of additional real estate.

“Lena Meijer is from Lakeview,” Freed explained. “The Meijer family has always been close to Lakeview, so I personally wrote her a letter last year. The foundation wrote me back in May, at her direction. This is just another generous gift from the Meijer Foundation.”

The new outdoor theater will be especially welcome by music lovers next year when the village’s popular Music in the Park concert series again opens its season. For years, area concert promoters Lou Lincoln and David McIntire have brought high-caliber entertainment to the park with funding obtained from area businesses and groups like the Wheatland Music Society.

Next year’s concert series, Freed said, will have even more to offer, thanks to the additional facilities.

“At the pavilion where we used to present the concerts, we’ll now have things likes arts and crafts,” Freed said. “Or maybe when you come to see a concert, there will be a wine and cheese tasting party going on at the same time.”

Area residents don’t have to wait until next summer to experience the new park, however; a special inaugural concert is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 5, funded by donations from some Lakeview residents.

“The park is amazing,” Freed said. “If you come up, you’ve got to stay to see it at night. It really is amazing.”

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