If you travel by way of West Beach, you may have noticed something missing this week.
The 31-year-old West Beach building was razed last week, awarding those traveling along Lake Avenue a clear view to the lake.
Now, the Crystal Lake Park District is beginning the task of building a new bath house in its place at 2330 Lake Ave., Lakewood.
The $1.7 million West Beach renovation project will bring the facility up to code, making both the beach and the new structure handicap accessible.
The future beach house will provide patrons with new restrooms and indoor shower facilities - in lieu of the garden hose guests have used for years to wash sand off their feet and flip-flops.
The new bath house will have a multi-purpose room with kitchenette and lake view; patio and deck overlooking Crystal Lake; first-aid space for necessary beach operations; and upgraded fencing, landscaping and paving, according to park district plans.
The bath house, (see attached drawing), will be built to blend with homes in the vicinity. The facility is expected to be completed and open for the spring 2013 beach season, said Jenny Leech, public information coordinator for the Crystal Lake Park District.
During the transitition, park district officials have made a temporary entrance gate to the west end of West Beach Park. The east end has been closed and fenced for security.
In the meantime, motorists and pedestrians should use caution when traveling along Lake Avenue. The temporary construction fences occupy much of the shoulder of the road, making it more difficult to walk or bicycle through the area.