City extends lease to manage Cameron Run Park with NOVA Parks

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By Missy Schrott | [email protected]

City council extended a lease with NOVA Parks at its Saturday public hearing for the use of the Cameron Run Regional Park property, where the popular Great Waves Waterpark located, for seven and a half years.

The discussion about the park has taken place for several years and was originally sparked by the impending end of a 40-year land lease with NOVA Parks in 2021. During past discussions, residents and stakeholders have voiced concerns about the waterpark, batting cages and mini golf course on the property being underused and poorly maintained for the majority of the year.

In December 2017, council established seven priorities for the space going forward, including ensuring that the park provides year-round activities, that it has natural paths and that it contains an aquatic facility. In November of last year, the city was considering renewing NOVA Parks’ lease for 10 years, with a plan of eventually taking over management of the park itself. The city currently doesn’t receive a cut of the revenue from the site. 

The lease extension that came before council on Saturday will allow NOVA Parks to continue operating the facility under certain conditions: that they create a “Winter Village” inside the waterpark from mid-November to early January, establish a community aquatics program, implement parking lot enhancements, hire a full time maintenance person for the property and partake in joint cooperative activities with the city such as farmers markets and food truck rodeos.

The Winter Village will include an ice skating rink, winter-themed light displays, children’s activities and food services, according to the lease agreement.

The proposal also limits the area that NOVA parks will lease, excluding the Lake Cook, Lake Cook Park and Ward’s Woods properties.

Council approved the extension unanimously. The new lease will span from July 2021 through December 2028.

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