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Crystal Lake prepares for opening day at Three Oaks

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:43 p.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake City Council approved new safety measures and marina rental rates for Three Oaks Recreation Area ahead of the park’s full opening on Memorial Day.

After 22 years of using a 1992 Godfrey boat originally purchased for the Crystal Lake Police Department for patrol purposes, the Crystal Lake Fire Department will receive an upgraded boat for its dive rescue team.

The City Council approved a $24,609 purchase for a Rescue One Connector boat that will be compatible with a similar boat the city purchased in 2009 and provide the functionality and power needed for rescue missions, said Paul DeRaedt, deputy fire chief.

The boat holds a maximum capacity of 3,400 pounds and has a 40 horsepower motor while also being able to link up with the department’s other Rescue One boat to form a diving platform if needed.

“We’ve had very few rescues [at Three Oaks] in the last decade, but we need to make sure we have the right equipment,” DeRaedt said. “A park district power boat is not designed for the speed or space or safety we need for a rescue.”

The purchase was made within the fund’s budget.

Three Oaks will not only be safer, it will be slightly cheaper for nonresidents when it comes to marina rentals in an effort to entice visitors to opt for the multiple-hour packages.

The longer the rental for row boats, the more money nonresidents would save. A five-hour rental for a row boat would save nonresidents $6 to $7 depending on the size of the boat while a three-hour rental would only result in a dollar or two in savings.

All other fees, such as parking and pavilion rentals, remained the same.

After being more expensive than other parks last year, the new rates are more in line with Rock Cut State Park and Independence Grove. Three Oaks also will offer a new rental option with an electric paddle pontoon boat. The rate is $30 per hour for residents and $35 per hour for nonresidents.

One additional safety measure was implemented for Three Oaks’ offseason, prohibiting snowmobiles from operating within the park.

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