JOLIET – Voters overwhelmingly backed a referendum to raise taxes for Joliet park improvements Tuesday.
The Joliet Park District referendum had support from 70 percent of the voters with all but one of 54 precincts reporting. There were 12,738 yes votes to 5,807 no votes, according to unofficial vote totals from the Will County Clerk’s website.
Park board President Glen Marcum said the additional funding will help make Joliet parks “state of the art.”
“I feel like it’s going to benefit all parts of Joliet: East Side, West Side. It will help older people and younger kids,” Marcum said.
The referendum was backed by a citizens’ group called “Vote Yes Protect Our Parks,” which posted signs throughout town.
Dominic Egizio, the park district’s executive director, said he was excited about the immense support the referendum was getting while voters were still being counted Tuesday.
“I think a lot of people have said what makes a great community is great schools and great parks, and I think this will be a benefit for every Joliet resident,” he said.
Park officials asked residents to approve issuing $19.5 million in bonds that would be used for capital improvements throughout the district.
The average taxpayer would pay $20 to $21 more per year per $100,000 of assessed value of property, on top of what is paid now to the park district.
The referendum was proposed because Joliet park officials noticed facilities have suffered due to the park district being subject to a tax cap for more than two decades.
Under the referendum the capital funds would be allocated in the following way:
• Park renovations: $6.2 million
• Pilcher Park roads and infrastructure: $2 million
• Tree restoration (emerald ash borer): $500,000
• Security improvements: $500,000
• Memorial Stadium lighting improvement: $300,000
• Indoor Training Facility at Inwood: $3.5 million
• Nowell Park Community Center: $5.5 million