The city of Crystal Lake has been named a recipient of the 2012 Governor's Hometown Award, Mayor Aaron Shepley announced on Tuesday.
The city was named a Project Winner by the state for work done converting Vulcan Lakes gravel pit into Three Oaks Recreation Area. Crystal Lake was selected from competing communities with populations of 25,001 to 70,000 for the award, according to the state.
"That's a very high honor to receive," Shepley said at the city council meeting. "This award reflects on the staff- they poured their heart and soul into this project, and so did (Councilman) Mr. Dawson.....This will be a facility that will continued to be enjoyed for decades to come."
In 1991, Vulcan Materials proposed donating the 500-acre property with its two lakes to the city in exchange for mining rights under Three Oaks Road. That portion of Three Oaks Road was mined and is now gone. It once ran from Berkshire Drive to where Three Oaks Road now starts near Pingree Road.
The city established a Vulcan Lakes Study Committee in 1994, and had conceptual plans in place by 2003, according to the state. In 2008, Crystal Lake approved a home-tax rule for the purpose of financing the $14.5 million project.
Three Oaks Recreation opened to the public in October 2010, and offers visitors a beautiful lake house, beach, splash pad, boat rentals, fishing, sand volleyball, sledding hill and three miles of hiking trails.
"Three Oaks Recreation Area is an example of successful community vision and planning," the Governor's Hometown Award announcement states.