After city officials announced earlier this week that the Lincoln Street beach was reopening, an Evanston Now reader and long-time resident said she’d never heard of a Lincoln Street beach before.

So we sought some clarification from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, who, in an email message this morning, offered the following background.

“The Lincoln Street Beach is a reconfiguration of the beach that was used for many years by Norrhwestern students. When NU decided to build the new athletic complex, it went through an extensive permitting process with the State of Illinois.

“Part of that process was a clearer delineation of the property owned by NU.  A complicating matter was that lake shoreline has adjusted over time so portions of the Lincoln Street Beach on at least some maps is underwater. 

“As part of the state permitting process, NU agreed to staff and maintain the beach with access to those with city beach tokens.”

A couple of maps may help explain the situation.

The map above, from the city’s property browser website shows the conditions about the time construction work on the athletic complex was getting underway.

There’s a lot of sandy beach area below the red line that juts into the water and that marks the northern boundary, at least according to the map, of NU’s land.

This map, from Northwestern’s website, shows the outlines of the completed athletic complex buildings, and how what had been Northwestern-owned beach area is now built up.

Bobkiewicz says Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, has asked for further discussion of the status of the beach area and its ownership, and that he plans to place the issue on the City Council agenda for discussion at its July 23 meeting.

He adds that the parcel of land just north of the beach belongs to the city.

“The beach front at the immediate end of Lincoln has been washed away for sometime,” he says, and, “The beach that is part of the water plant complex has not had public access for many years.”

Related story

Lincoln Street beach reopens (7/3/18)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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