In 1985, the City of Palos Heights reclaimed some natural space where people could get away from the rush of everyday life.
In the nearly twenty years that followed, Lake Katherine developed into the crown jewel of Palos Heights. Its award-winning landscape was joined by a rededicated clubhouse in 1993. In 1995 a nature center building was opened along the northern shore of the lake.
The City of Palos Heights provided tremendous financial support to develop Lake Katherine. However, the city came to realize that continued growth and expansion would require additional resources beyond the city's means.
In 2004, the City of Palos Heights commissioned a study by the Association of Nature Center Administrators to review operations at Lake Katherine. The report recognized that Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens has the potential to become the premier community-supported and volunteer driven environmental learning destination in the region. It also recommended management changes to build on past success and move Lake Katherine forward.
The City of Palos Heights, following the recommendations of the study, turned management of the Lake Katherine over to a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 2005.
Today, with 85 acres of water, wooded trails, gardens, and open space, Lake Katherine brings fresh air and a bright smile to people of all ages.
The future of Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens is filled with great promise. With continued support from the community, the professional staff, dedicated volunteers and board of directors look forward to the success of the strategic plan and preserving Lake Katherine for generations to come.