William W. Powers State Recreation Area Park Enhancement Recommendations

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

William W. Powers State Recreation Area, Chicago’s only state park, has a lot of potential. The site is both an integral part of a destination network of Wolf Lake parks. Its site features and programs complement the many other innovative open space developments occurring in the Calumet area and broader Chicago region. To help understand how to better realize this potential, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) contracted The Lakota Group team to engage the community in a planning process for the site. The Lakota Team spent the first half of 2016 working on the planning process.

I’ve had the opportunity to be part of several open space, wayfinding, and recreational area planning projects lead by the Lakota Group for the Calumet region in recent years. In each instance, Lakota has taken a strategic and inclusive approach to stakeholder engagement – something of particular importance to my agency. I also found the Lakota team to be thoughtful and responsive to numerous requests for rethinking/recalibrating project strategies and deliverables mid-course. As someone who has worked with dozens of consultants over the years, I especially appreciate Lakota’s flexibility and adaptability.Suellen Burns, Senior Advisor - Millennium Reserve, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

During this time, Lakota worked with IDNR to engage the community and observe the site, evaluating its condition, and understanding park operations. Through this balanced approach to forming recommendations the Lakota Team provided IDNR with an honest, clear, and community-supported strategy that will lay the groundwork—even in the current climate of limited resources—for near-term and long-term improvements at the Wm. W. Powers SRA site.