Evanston officials gathered at the Dawes Park Lagoon this afternoon to thank The Arrington Foundation for a $500,000 donation to fund its renovation.

The grant, announced by Michael Arrington of Evanston, is being made in honor of his late father, a Republican who served in the Illinois legislature representing Evanston from 1945 to 1973.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “the Arringtons are part of the Evanston political tradition” and that the renovation “will be a very fitting tribute.”

The 4.5 acre lagoon is one of the City’s main lakefront attractions and was first constructed in the 1930s.

Arrington noted that the foundation’s donation will be matched by a $100,000 appropriation from the city and by an anticipated $400,000 grant from the state.

Assuming the state grant is approved, work on the project is expected to begin in mid-2013.

Renovations will focus on plumbing and lagoon basin system components; a stone waterfall; stonework; failing and non-ADA compliant pavements; site furnishings, such as benches and trash receptacles; electrical components; landscaping; and site identification signage. 

Subject to City Council approval, the city plans to rename the facility the Arrington Lakefront Lagoon in recognition of the donation.

Top: A view of the lagoon. Above: Michael Arrington announcing the donation as Mayor Tisdahl, right, looks on.

Join the Conversation


  1. Based on Google Maps, the

    Based on Google Maps, the water covers around 100 ft by 500 ft, or around 1 acre.  Obviously work will be done on surrounding areas as well.


    Will any of the improvements make it easier to skate on the lagoon in winter?  It would be nice to have some benches that are covered so that they stay dry, but are right by the ice so skates are not damaged by rocks.  Also fewer roots and stones on the ice surface would be nice.  Will the improved plumbing lead to better resurfacing?

  2. Thank You!

    Thank you for your generosity Mr. Arrington. It's wonderful to see residents who have done well give back to this great community. Your gift will benefit everyone who enjoys walking, running, or biking along the lake. Thank you!  

  3. Evanston Lagoon Potential

    This is great news!  I can't wait to enjoy the new and improved park.  

    I suggest a waterside terrace that's just bigger than what we have now (is ADA compliant) for  having small receptions, official announcements, press or media conferences and other activities where people can gather, possibly having some built-in tent pole supports and accessible power source for quick set up for such receptions and events.

    Thank you,

    Dan Mennemeyer,
    Evanston Chamber of Commerce President

  4. Another vote for ice skating improvements

    After having complained to the City last winter about the outdoor ice skating facilities, I had the opportunity to skate on the lagoon.  It was wonderful, except for the fact that I had to shovel snow myself. Also, I had to prepare a spot to sit on the edge so as to not walk with my skates on concrete.

    Here's an idea for the Evanston 150 celebration- a pond hockey tournament on the lagoon.

    1. Another good idea

      Good Idea John.  Park functionality can be integrated with beauty and sustainability! 

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.