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The new amphitheater opening in Nelson Park this May is part of a long-term lakefront development plan that was launched nine years ago. 

Bit by bit, the Lake Decatur shoreline is being transformed -- and there's more to come.

We're happy with the progress, which has been careful and strategic.

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The Overlook Adventure Park, already a community amenity nestled in the 180-acre Nelson Park, will be further enhanced by a $10.5 million water park being built.

The beautiful Devon G. Buffett Amphitheater, which frames the jewel that is Lake Decatur, is being readied to host its inaugural season.

The Beach House restaurant and promenade are unique assets.

Through all of these projects, effort has been made to gather public input and take a pragmatic approach. It was decided to delay the water park, for example, because of weather issues, rather than taking an approach like racing through and trying to make up time.

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We hope that same approach will be used in the next phase of the lakefront project: how to handle the private boat docks.

The 2011 Lakeshore Landing plan approved by the city and park district called for creating uniform docks on the lakefront, replacing a series of older docks running south to Chandler Park. Under the plan, the new ones would mirror the docks installed just south of the Beach House and would address concerns about electricity and maintenance.

Those were put into place as a prototype to show boaters. But some raised concerns about possible fee increases. By the second year, the park district was unable to fill all of the spots. Officials last year said interest is growing.

A lot has changed over the years since the lakefront plan was developed. We hope that helps when there's the needed conversation about the docks. Boaters need to be part of the conversation from the beginning.

We know there's plenty of interest. Last year, the park district's closure of the Snack Shack, which sold fuel in Nelson Park, because of low sales touched off an outcry from boaters. The city stepped in with a solution. In our view, it's worth exploring whether a third party should be brought on to manage the docks.

We're a more attractive, desirable community because of the investment in time, brainpower and money by the city and park district to transform our lakefront. It's a strong partnership.

We're looking forward to seeing all the pieces in place.

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