Shorewood board defends park plans
By Clare Walters For The Herald-News July 11, 2012 8:30AM
Updated: August 16, 2012 6:12AM
SHOREWOOD — Village officials extolled the benefits of public parks Tuesday on the heels of a resident’s criticism of a state-backed park project.
Tyler Gannon asked the village board to reconsider spending taxpayer dollars to fund improvements to the village’s Westshore Park. The park improvement project was one of many projects statewide to receive funding by way of an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant.
“This is spending more money that the state does not have,” he said.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed off on the parks and recreation grants totaling more than $12 million statewide last month. Shorewood is receiving $214,600 for an overhaul to Westshore Park. The grants, which typically are awarded in January, were delayed by six months.
Gannon asked officials to forego the grant and have lawmakers use the money to pay off state debts.
“This money can be better spent elsewhere,” he said, suggesting park projects could become the responsibility of a subdivision’s homeowners association.
Mayor Richard Chapman said he would contact Gannon to provide him with some background on the village’s master plan, which includes the development of the DuPage riverfront for commercial and recreation uses. Westshore Park is consider a crucial part of the riverfront plan.
“You might not agree with (the plan), but at least you’ll know why,” Chapman said.
After Gannon’s comments, the village board unanimously approved a proclamation naming July as Park and Recreation Month.
The grant program for Westshore Park’s improvements is administered through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The grant is funded by the real estate transfer tax. The projects associated with this year’s grant are expected to create more than 200 jobs, according to information from the state.