Dreams Do Come True

From a couple of local business owners dreaming in a downtown diner of a new vision for McHenry – one that capitalized on our greatest asset, the Fox River, “Gateway to the Chain-o-Lakes” – came the beautiful reality that is Phase I of The McHenry Riverwalk. From their doodlings on a cocktail napkin came a design plan from one of the Midwest’s premier design firms.

Inspiration From
the Past…

In the late 19th Century, McHenry, IL was a popular tourist destination attracting families who built summer cottages along the Fox River as they enjoyed the water-based activities and the amenities of a thriving downtown.

More than 100 years later, summer cottages are replaced by year-round homes for residents who savor their slice of “The Good Life” – that waterfront living provides. McHenry Riverwalk Foundation began work to insure that McHenry’s most valuable asset – its waterfront – would be protected, nurtured, and celebrated as the centerpiece of our downtown..

Row Boat - McHenry Riverwalk Foundation

Building a Better Dream

The McHenry Riverwalk Foundation and the City of McHenry completed work on Phase I, a mile-long walkway from Boone Creek east to a pedestrian bridge that connects Green Street businesses with those on Riverside Drive. Turning east from the Cunat Pedestrian Bridge the path winds its way to Miller Point at the mouth of the Fox River where public piers allow boaters to dock and enjoy the downtown.

In 2014, a new extension of the McHenry Riverwalk was built from the Rt. 120 Bridge along South Riverside Drive, linking it to Miller Point where it joins the Phase I walkway to the Cunat Pedestrian Bridge.

The Dream Continues

In 2017, the Riverwalk Foundation reignited its efforts by engaging Hitchcock Design Group to review and update our original plans to reflect the current climate. Targeting four specific geographical areas, these updates define a comprehensive plan to complete the building of the Riverwalk and fulfill the original vision of linking McHenry’s three downtown business districts in a way that promotes foot traffic and business activity.