Hundreds of people gave their applause and offered rave reviews at an open house Sunday for the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District’s work in developing the new Clubhouse at Dolphin Lake.
“I think it’s wonderful. It is nice to see the space used so well. The views are fabulous,” said Carol Gadomski of Homewood who took in the vista from the clubhouse’s wrap-around deck.
“I could see a number of special occasions being celebrated here,” said Joyce Flaws, a member of the park district’s senior advisory board.
On Sunday afternoon the park district staff held an open house to show off the $3.25 million project that will be used for park district activities as well as rental space for parties and meetings. The building, at 183rd Street and Governors Highway, stands where Dolphin Lake swimming pool and clubhouse once stood.
In 2010, the district agreed, for both financial and structural reasons, to demolish the facilities. The board met with residents in planning the new space.
“It’s a visible corner serving as a gateway into our community,” said park board president Bob Haderlein. “We wanted this project to be a showcase for our community.”
He didn’t disappoint Pat Pawlowski, a Dolphin Lake subdivision resident for over 40 years. She remembered when the pool was new and wasn’t sure what would happen when it was demolished, but standing in the clubhouse space she said “we’re very happy to have this.”
In 2014 the district approved bids and started the project believing it was going to receive $400,000 from the state of Illinois, but the money was frozen by Gov. Bruce Rauner in March 2015.
“We thought about ending the project,” Debbie Kopas, park district executive director, told the audience, “but the board made changes to our capital projects budget district-wide so we could proceed.”
Judi Sinclair, a park district volunteer, extended her thanks to the park board for “a fantastic job” despite a tough economy. “It is a great success for what they had to work with.”
Guests walk into an ample lobby before moving into the main room decorated in tones of green and beige. The vaulted ceiling and walls of windows offering views of the outside give an airy feel to the space. An accordion wall can divide the space in two. A specially designed events kitchen makes it easy to serve party favors or complete meals.
Before the official opening, nearly three dozen events were already booked into the space. Kopas said every weekend in June 2016 is booked.
Vanessa Thompson came from Chicago to check out the space that will be the location for the Goosby family reunion in August 2016.
“It’s lovely,” she said. “It’s going to be perfect for our family who will be coming from all over.”
For information on renting the Clubhouse at Dolphin Lake, contact the park district office at 708-957-0300.
Photos by Marilyn Thomas/HF Chronicle.