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News Coverage of Kane Open Space Referendum

WNIU Northern Public Radio
March 16, 2017

The Kane County Forest Preserve District Is Asking Voters To Let It Borrow Money To Buy Land

A referendum on the April 4th ballot will ask Kane County voters to grant the Kane County Forest Preserve District authority to borrow money. The money would be used for land acquisition and improvements.

Brook McDonald is President and CEO of The Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit which has worked with the District on the ballot question. He says voters in Kane County continue to support the District's growth:
“They understand that having forest preserves, parks and open space, a lot of nature around, helps improve and protect their quality of life,” he says.

Residents have approved similar measures in the past.  In turn, McDonald says, the District has tried to be smart with voters’ money.

The Forest Preserve District has done a really good job of being very strategic and very fiscally responsible in how they implement their open space and land acquisition programs,” he says.

McDonald says that’s one reason for calling a referendum now – when land and borrowing costs are still very low.

The referendum on the April 4th ballot would allow the district to borrow money and issue $50 million in general obligation bonds. Proceeds would be used to purchase somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 acres of open space in the county. It would also help pay for improvements to both new and existing preserves.
McDonald says the projected cost to homeowners works out to $1.83 a month for a $250,000 home. He says that will be more than offset by reductions from earlier bond issues that are being paid off.

The Kane County Forest Preserve District has scheduled an open-house style public information meeting on the referendum on Thursday, March 16, from 6:30-8 p.m., at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora.