The Illinois General Assembly started the year on a fast track by passing all major legislative issues on the General Assembly's Republican Agenda. Bill introductions number in the thousands with more than 2473 House Bills introduced by the bill introduction deadline and more than 1215 Senate Bills introduced. Legislative Committees in both the Illinois House and Senate are putting to rest many of these bills before they reach the House and Senate floor.
A myriad of bills impacting park districts and forest preserves have been introduced this session. A sampling of the significant ones follows.
In addition those proposals on the IAPD Legislative Platform have been moving forward rapidly.
The following individual bill introductions have all been amended on to House Bill 974. These proposals are as follows:
HB 974 - Amends the Park District Code. Requires the annexing ordinance to be filed in the county where the annexation takes place rather than in each county in which the district lies.
HB 975 - Amends the Park District Code. Provides that whenever any property that is located within a park district also lies within a municipality that has been established a recreation board, and the property is being taxes by both entities, 10% or more of the legal voters residing in the territory may petition to be disconnected from the park district. Establishes referendum procedures. Repeals these provisions on January 1, 1998. Effective January 1, 1996.
Early this year the General Assembly extended the tax cap to Cook County (HB 20). This action, however, has not stopped the onslaught of additional tax cap proposals which are summarized below.
House Bill 20 (Daniels)
Public Act 89-1 extends the provisions of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law ("Tax Cap") previously applicable only to non-home rule taxing districts located in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties to non-home rule taxing districts in Cook County. The law limits the annual growth in Cook County property tax extensions to (I) 5% for taxes extended in 1995 and (ii) the lesser of 5% or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index during the calendar year preceding the relevant levy year for taxes
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extended in years after 1995. Beginning March 1, 1995, general obligation bonds secured by an unlimited tax levy can only be issued with referendum approval, with limited exceptions such as for refunding bonds. This bill did not include the park district and forest preserve nonreferendum bond clarification language.
Public Act 89-1 retains the provision in current law requiring the Cook County Clerk to extend taxes based on a taxing district's prior year's equalized assessed value.
Public Act 89-1 includes the value of TIF property (in calculating the aggregate extension base) in the first year after a municipality terminates the designation of a TIF area under the Tax Increment Allocation Development Act or the Industrial Jobs Recovery Law. Public Act 89-1 does not affect home rule units or downstate taxing districts.
Current Status - Public Act 89-1 effective February 12,1995.
House Bill 1749 (Stephens)
Creates the Property Tax Cap Extension Limitation Referendum Law. Provides that an advisory referendum shall be held at the 1996 general election in Madison and St. Clair Counties on the question of whether property tax caps should be imposed by the General Assembly in those counties.
Current Status - March 16, 1995 - Calendar order second in the House.
House Bill 2179 (Wait) Amends the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law to permit the voters of the Counties of Boone, DeKalb and Winnebago to petition for a referendum on the question of whether taxing districts that are wholly located within one of their counties shall be subject to the Limitation Law. Permits the voters of a taxing district located in more than one county but with a majority of its 1994 equalized assessed value in the counties of Boone, DeKalb and Winnebago to petition for a referendum on whether the tax cap should apply to that taxing district. The number of petitioners must equal at least 10% of the votes cast for Governor in the respective county or taxing district at the most recent general election. Provides that if the voters approve the question, those taxing districts shall be subject to the tax cap beginning on the January 1 following the election. No effective date.
Current Status - March 16,1995 - Second short debate in the House.
Senate Bill 1, as amended (Dudycz- DeAngelis-Philip)
Current Status - February 16, 1995 Referred to House Revenue Committee. Identical to Public Act 1, summarized above.
SENATE BILL 212, as amended (DeAngelis)
Amends the Limitation Law to include in the definition of "aggregate extension" the greater of (A) the amount of the extension made in the year 1992 or (B) the amount of the most recent extension made for a park district or forest preserve district to pay principal of or interest on their general obligation bonds. Provides that any taxing district (now, only a park district) may issue general obligation bonds without a direct referendum, provided that the extension to pay debt service shall be part of the aggregate extension limitation under the Limitation Law.
Also includes in the definition of "aggregate extension" refunding bonds for bonds, notes or other obligations issued between February 1, 1994 and March 1, 1994 in an amount not exceeding $34,000,000.
Effective immediately upon becoming law.
Current Status - March 24,1995 - Calendar order second in the Senate.
Senate Bill 264 (Fawell)
Amends the Limitation Law to exclude from the definition of "aggregate extension" any special purpose extension made for any municipality or township upon a levy made for local library purposes under the Illinois Local Library Act. Further provides that those municipal library extensions are a separate extension subject to limitation under the Limitation Law. No effective date.
Current Status - March 16,1995 - Referred to House Rules Committee.
Senate Bill 326, as amended (Syverson)Allows the voters of a county not subject to the Tax Cap (with current EAV equal to or greater than the county's 1983 EAV) to vote on the question of whether taxing districts that are wholly located within the county shall be subject to the tax cap. Allows voters in a taxing district that does not have the majority of its total equalized assessed value in a single county to vote on whether the tax cap should apply to that taxing district. Provides that the referenda are initiated by ordinance or resolution of their respective governing body. Provides that if the voters approve the question, those taxing districts shall be subject to the Limitation Law beginning on the January 1 following the election. Effective immediately upon becoming law.
Also amends the definition of "aggregate extension" the greater of (A) the amount of the extension made in the year 1992 or (B) the amount of the most recent extension made for park district or downstate forest preserve district to pay principal of or interest on their general obligation bonds. Provides that any taxing district (now, only a park district) may issue general obligation bonds without a direct referendum, provided that the extension to pay debt service shall be part of the aggregate extension limitation under the Limitation Law.
Also amends the One-year Property Tax Extension Limitation Law to provide that extensions made for the payment of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Bonds are included in the District's aggregate extension base for the 1993 levy year.
Current Status - March 23, 1995 - Passed in the Senate 44-8.
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On January 30, 1995 Governor Jim Edgar announced more than $ 11.7 million in grants for 69 projects throughout the state to acquire and enhance park lands for Illinoisans.
Fifteen acquisition projects and 54 development projects will be funded by $10.8 million in state Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants and $860,000 in federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LAWCON) grants.
Seven of the acquisition projects will preserve a total of 1,240 acres of high quality natural areas, with three of them protecting endangered or threatened species. Another seven projects promote environmental study and include elements such as interpretive trails, wildlife observation stations or prairie restorations. Thirty-two of the development projects will create totally new recreational facilities for their communities.
The Department received 153 applications seeking nearly $24 million in grant assistance.
OSLAD has been in existence since 1986, and including the grants announced today, has provided $45.5 million for local park projects.
Both grant programs provide up to 50 percent reimbursement of eligible costs incurred by local governments for approved recreational land acquisition and development work.
Financed through federal funds, LAWCON has been in existence since 1965 and has made nearly $134 million available for state and local park projects in Illinois.
Maximum grant awards are $400,000 for acquisition projects and $200,000 for development projects. Twenty-seven of the projects received the maximum amount for either acquisition or development.
Local governments interested in applying for grants for the coming year should submit applications by July 1.
Program information and grant forms are available by contacting the Department of Conservation, Division of Grant Administration, 524 S. Second St., Springfield, IL 62701-1787 or by calling 217/ 782-7481, TDD 217/782-9175.
A list of grant recipients, funding amounts and project description follows.
Arlington Heights Park District,$200,000, to complete the second phase of construction of an outdoor athletic field at Melas Park complete with four regulation-sized ballfields/soccer fields, a picnic area, playground, sand volleyball courts, a restroom/concession building and parking.
Bartlett Park District, $137,900, to develop a 17-acre site acquired from the village of Bartlett with play apparatus, a halfcourt basketball area, a picnic area, open play area, a baseball field and off-street parking.
Belvidere Park District, $400,000, to acquire about 93 acres for the future development of a sports complex and a nine-acre neighborhood park. The sports complex is planned to include six soccer fields, one football field, seven baseball/softball fields, volleyball courts, batting cage, path, concessions, shelters, and parking. Plans for the adjacent neighborhood park include a soccer field and baseball, tennis courts, basketball court, volleyball court, play ground, shelter and parking.
Bolingbrook Park District, $200,000, to develop a 20-acre neighborhood park, known as Pheasant Chase Park, with two tennis courts, a basketball court, gazebo, two baseball fields with overlapping soccer/football fields, a natural ice rink, an accessible playground, parking lots, pathway, signage and landscaping. The site also contains a 10-acre retention pond that will be available for fishing.
Bourbonnais Township Park District,$104,500, to continue recreational development at Perry Farm with bank improvements and construction of a fishing dock on the park pond. Additional amenities include signage, landscaping, bicycle racks, picnic tables, parking area security lights and two picnic shelters.
Buffalo Grove Park District, $119,000, to develop Cherboun Park in the heart of a high density multi- and single-family residential subdivision. The proposed development features a soccer field, sand volleyball, basketball court/ice rink, a playground, picnic shelter and two tennis courts.
Canton Park District, $165,300, to improve and provide accessible pedestrian circulation, rehabilitate an existing playground, add a little league backstop, construct a new parking lot and a new shelter in Wallace Park. In addition, picnic tables, park benches, grills, bleachers, benches and safety lighting will be installed.
Central Stickney Park District, $75,000, to acquire a vacant parcel of land which is just under 1/2 acre. The land will be used as open play space which will include a picnic area, an athletic field and serve as a location for the community's summer festival.
Champaign County Forest Preserve District, $177,500, to further develop the Salt Fork River Forest Preserve, which will feature a welcome center structure, a water recreation facility and a system of marked interpretive trails. The welcome center structure will accommodate all-season recreational activities and educational and recreational group programming events. It also will act as the trailhead for the existing 2.3-mile interpretive trail system, and a three mile trail extension will be constructed. The water recreation facility will include a boat dock and approach to connect with the welcome center.
Collinsville Area Recreation District,$91,300, to develop Schnucks Park, including play areas, an observation/fishing deck jogging/walking trails, picnicking and a natural interpretation area to serve the neighborhood residents.
Cook County Forest Preserve District,$400,000, to acquire 65 acres of the Burnham Prairie, one of the largest and most pristine unprotected natural areas
12 • Illinois Parks & Recreation • March/April 1995
remaining in Cook County. Burnham Prairie, on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, is home to more than 250 native plant species including two that are state threatened and one that is state endangered. More than 75 bird species, including six Illinois threatened and endangered species, have been observed on the site. Burnham Prairie also is noted as being the most probable location for rediscovery of the plant Thismia Americana.
Cook County Forest Preserve District,$200,000, to begin initial construction of the Wetfoot Lake Development by constructing two fishing walls, a boat launch facility and related shoreline improvements. The Wetfoot Lake site will include a 114-acre lake, 95 acres of enhanced wetlands, recreational trails, as well as educational and interpretive facilities.
Decatur Park District, $200,000, to renovate 15 urban playgrounds in neighborhood parks located within the city of Decatur. Project "Safe Playgrounds" involves the removal of existing antiquated play equipment, installation of new play equipment and safety surfacing meeting accessibility and playground safety guidelines, burying of overhead electrical lines, and the construction of accessible walkways to the equipment. Park locations include: Baker Woods, Brush College No. 1, Fair-view, Galloway, Garfield, Grant, Greenwood, Jasper, John's Hill, Lincoln, Lions, Monroe, Nelson, South Shores and Spencer.
Deerfield Park District, $200,000, to develop Maplewood Park with a shelter, restrooms, baseball/softball/soccer fields, a fitness trail, parking, a pathway/walkway/in-line skating system wagon wheel half court basketball area, accessible playground area and landscaping.
Des Plaines Park District, $200,000, to rehabilitate an existing pool and develop tennis courts, a playground, half-court basketball area, sand volleyball and a sand play area.
Effingham Park District, $200,000, to construct a pool complex to serve all the residents of Effingham County. The proposed complex would include a modem 5,256-square-foot bathhouse with concession stand and mechanical room, an 8,856- square-foot Olympic pool (2-to-5 foot minimum depths) for area, wading pool with a giant mushroom sprinkler, and a play area containing a small water slide, waterfall and other water play items along with a lily pad area.
Fox Valley Park District (Aurora vicinity), $46,600 to develop Lincoln Park, a 20-acre site located in an urbanized, established neighborhood in Aurora. Site features include a walking path, an accessible playground, soccer/sports field, baseball field, a basketball court and sled hill.
Freeburg Park District, $86,200, to construct four new lighted ball fields complete with dugouts and fencing in a quadrant configuration to provide for the mutual use of a combination concession stand and restroom facility.
Freeport Park District, $53,000, to develop a donated six-acre site on the rapidly expanding west side of Freeport into a neighborhood park site. The development will include a baseball field, soccer field, playground, picnic shelter, shrub and tree planting, and a parking lot.
Geneva Park District, $80,100, to develop a neighborhood park in a newly emerging neighborhood west of Randall Road. Features include a picnic shelter, playground, half court basketball, soccer and baseball fields, an interior pathway and trail connection from the site south to Peck Lake Farm and the new junior high school.
Genoa Township Park District (DeKalb County), $200,000, to renovate the existing township pool and make it accessible to people of all abilities. Anew zero-depth children's pool also will be constructed. The township operates the only public pool within a nine mile radius.
Glenview Park District, $400,000, to acquire a minimum of 5.33 acres adjacent to The Grove National Historic Landmark. The parcel was part of the original "Kennicott Grove Farm" which has recognized ecological, historical, and cultural significance. Preservation of this property will provide habits for four rare and endangered species.
Grayslake Park District, $168,000, to develop five park sites totaling more than 34 acres. Each park site will be developed with similar amenities. Plans are to construct playgrounds, pathways, picnic areas, tennis & basketball courts, picnic shelters, open play fields, sand volleyball, purchase various park accessories (i.e. benches, tables, grills) softball/baseball fields, water fountains and to provide park signage. This park development will serve the 5,982 residents of two subdivisions that have no park or recreational facilities available to them.
Hoffman Estates Park District,$122,000, to develop Charlemagne Lake Park for recreation purposes by adding important active use features while also enhancing the natural features of the site. Recreation features include a playground, picnic shelter, fishing pier, basketball and tennis courts and a pathway system.
Kane County Forest Preserve District,$400,000, to acquire 178-acre site, which when combined with the adjoining Bliss Wood and Hannaford Woods Forest Preserves will create a more than 470-acre natural area site west of Aurora. The site is adjacent to the Waubonsee Community College Campus and the 12-mile Gilman Trail System which runs from Sugar Grove to Aurora.
Lake County Forest Preserve District,$200,000, to develop 2.2 miles of bicycle/ walking trails at the 265 acre Lyons Woods Forest Preserve on Sheridan Road north of Waukegan. In addition to the trail, support facilities will include a 35 care parking lot, a comfort station, drinking water well, fencing and landscaping. An additional 0.6 mile trail, located within the
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Commonwealth Edison right-of-way, will be constructed without grant assistance and provide access to the adjacent 27 mile North Shore Path.
Lockport Township Park District,$200,000, to develop the Romeoville Waterpark facility, an outdoor water park with a competition-sized pool. This water park would include a zero-depth pool, youth wading pool, bath house and concession deck. The facility will be constructed on property adjacent to Romeoville High School.
McHenry County Conservation District, $378,000, to acquire 121.5 acres west of Crystal Lake which will allow the McHenry County Conservation District to preserve the habitat of two state endangered species (Cooper's Hawk, Iowa Darter) and six state watch list species.
Morton Grove Park District, $200,000, to develop the last phase of Harrer Park, a 22-acre site which is the park district's oldest and largest facility. Alterations must be made to the pool facility to meet accessibility and health and safety requirements. Additional new recreation facilities include a playground, an outdoor classroom, intergenerational activity area, hard surface play area and walking paths.
Mt. Prospect Park District, $88,800, to develop the old Busse school site into a neighborhood park. The park district razed the school in the spring of 1994 and now proposes to develop a park to include ball fields, tennis courts, a new playground, and shaded passive areas for picnicking.
Palatine Park District, $200,000, to develop a park that will function as both a neighborhood and community facility to this highly urbanized area of downtown Peoria. Proposed features are tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic shelter with restrooms, a soccer field, sand vol- leyball, senior activity area, interior exercise paths, and a connection to the regional long distance trail system.
Phoenix Park District, $199,900, to construct and install two rectangular 30 x 46- foot shelters with restrooms and two group grills and a drinking fountain. The project will increase recreational opportunities in a highly urbanized area.
River Trails Park District (Mt. Prospect area), $200,000, to increase recreation opportunities at Woodland Trails Community Park by adding volleyball and outdoor handball courts, a jogging path, playground, shelter, warming house, teen activity area, ice and roller hockey, and a nature center with paths, interpretive areas and habitat restoration. This park is the focal point of the district with its pool, community center, athletic field, mini-golf and maintenance compound.
Skokie Park District, $200,000, to initiate a comprehensive redevelopment of Oakton Park. Project components include two baseball fields, a soccer field, a warming house/shelter with restrooms, outdoor ice skating, sand volleyball, day camp shelter, basketball court, roller hockey court, parking, a playground and a senior walking path.
Springfield Park District, $46,500, to develop the new 10.26 acre East Side Park site. Project elements include the development of a nature trail, a playground, several picnic shelters, an observation deck, a fishing pier and prairie plantings.
Stockton Township Park District (JoDaviess County), $200,000, to construct a "zero depth" recreational pool and related facilities. The existing pool will be demolished due to health and safety standards.
Taylorville Community Pleasure Driveway and Park District, $25,000, to acquire approximately 10 acres and construct a softball complex with a concession stand. The site is adjacent to an existing park facility.
Urbana Park District, $200,000, to develop the existing Meadowbrook Park with a bicycle/pedestrian pathway system, a playground, a parking area and adjacent picnic/restroom shelter and reconstruction of native prairie and tree plantings.
Vandalia Park District, $200,000, to restore the Vandalia Swimming Pool which was constructed in 1953. Project elements include a new pool line, gutters, inlet system, and other work associated with the pools filtration system. Additionally, the deck of the pool and the bath house will be renovated to meet accessibility requirements.
Will County Forest Preserve District,$117,500, to restore, enhance and interpret an existing gravel surface mine and adjacent natural areas. Development includes a shelter, 1-1/4-mile nature trail, latrines, observation stations, a well, an information board and wetland restoration. The site is located west of Joliet and is a part of the Rock Run Preserve.
Winfield Park District, $82,200, to develop a 2.45-acre neighborhood park with a basketball court, two playgrounds, sand play surface, benches, interior paths and a connection to the Illinois Prairie Path.
Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, $378,000, to purchase a 539.93-acre tract which extends along the Pecatonica River from the Stephenson County line east 1.25 miles. This tract borders the Pecatonica Prairie Path and lies one parcel from the Winnebago County Fairgrounds and the City of Pecatonica's Sumner Park. The acquisition will protect a portion of the Pecatonica River flood plain corridor for passive recreational opportunities, waterfowl observation, canoeing and fishing, and floodwater storage while managing a complex of woodland and wetland natural areas.
Woodridge Park District, $100,000, to develop a 2.47-acre parcel into a passive recreation neighborhood park in northwest Woodridge. Facilities include a walking/ jogging trail, elementary and tot size play equipment, seating plaza areas, a pedestrian bridge, drinking fountain, site furnishings and landscaping.
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