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News Coverage of Kane Open Space Referendum

Elgin Courier-News
April 7, 2017

Column: Kane County voters committed to preserving natural, historic resources

Linda McDaniel-Hale

The Kane County Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement referendum question passed Tuesday, with 52 percent of votes for it and 44 percent against it.

"The passage of the forest preserve referendum reaffirms my faith in voters' ability to collectively make the best decisions," Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain said.

The issue placed before the voters was whether Kane County should be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $50 million to be paid off in 20 years for the Forest Preserve District to acquire, restore and improve existing programs.

Proceeds from the bonds will also be used to acquire approximately 2,000 to 2,500 additional acres of open space in Kane County. The Forest Preserve District has said that open space improves the quality of life for residents as it increases property values, cleans our air and water, and provides healthy recreational and educational opportunities.

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen recently took a stand against the $50 million referendum question on the ballot. He said he feels that "property taxes are just too high."

"I recognize the value parks and forest preserves bring to our quality of life," Lauzen told The Courier-News. "But people have given up," referring to people leaving the state over high taxes.

The Forest Preserve District referendum will cost the owner of a $250,000 home $22 per year over the next two years, just $1.83 per month.

This is a small amount to pay for revitalization of the Nelson Lake Marsh within the Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia, the Helms Woods flatwoods and migratory bird habitat restoration in Carpentersville, a new wetland habitat in Pingree Grove, and habitat expansion and connection at Freeman Kame Forest Preserve in Huntley.

The continuation of open spaces will protect plant and animal communities within the Fox Valley. There is no need for every piece of land to be turned into residential, commercial and industrial uses. The need to preserve the natural habitat is of value to everyone that lives within Kane County.

"We should feel thankful that we live in a county whose residents can think past the short-term problems facing us all and think toward the long-term legacy we leave for future generations," Kaptain said.

The passage of this referendum question has shown that our Kane County community wants to remain committed to preserving our natural and historic resources and habitats.

Linda McDaniel-Hale is a Fox Valley resident who offers opinion on local topics.