Water was starting to go down Friday at Jones Island Park, one of the hardest hit facilities in the Grayslake Park District, said Joe Vocke, the district’s superintendent of parks.
As of late Friday morning, Vocke said he could see the seats of the picnic table benches at Jones Island, while Thursday he could only see the tops of the tables. The only part of the park not flooded was the playground.
Video taken via a drone launched by Sky’s the Limit Dronography on Wednesday showed the five-acre park, which sits on the north side of Grays Lake off Harvey Avenue, all but submerged in water.
Vocke estimated water levels have fallen about 2 to 3 feet at the park, which remained one of the most affected sites in the district, along with Doolittle Park on Lake Street, Chesapeake Landing Park in the Chesapeake Farms subdivision and Jaycee Park on McMillan Road.
On Wednesday, district officials announced that all parks in the system were closed due to flooding and standing water. Central Park re-opened on Thursday, though many parks remained closed.
At Jones Island, the channels that circle the west, north and east sides of the property saw their water levels drop 8 inches between Thursday and Friday, Vocke said. He added that he had never seen all of them overflow in his 21 years with the park district.
Water levels are at a point where crews plan on sandbagging the beach and then pumping the water out, he said. The preschool building that neighbors the park was also flooded, and the basement will need to be redone.
The park district hasn’t had a chance to bring in an insurance adjuster yet because of the standing water, but Vocke said he expects insurance to cover "quite a bit" of the damage and the district to take only a small hit.
Vocke added that he also expects the renovations completed in 2016 at Jones Island to be fine as well.
The Grayslake Park District completed about $400,000 worth of grant-funded improvements to the park last year, including the replacement of the old picnic shelter with two new ones, the addition of a fully accessible canoe and kayak launch pier, a new seawall, and an expansion of the beach. A trail system was also constructed through the park.