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Local News

Joliet council to discuss Bicentennial Park future Monday

James Zahorick walks past a set of chairs while counting the music stands June 4 in preparation for a Metropolitan Youth Symphony performance at Bicentennial Park.  A township proposal for control of Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park is on the agenda for the Joliet City Council's workshop meeting Monday.
James Zahorick walks past a set of chairs while counting the music stands June 4 in preparation for a Metropolitan Youth Symphony performance at Bicentennial Park. A township proposal for control of Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park is on the agenda for the Joliet City Council's workshop meeting Monday.

JOLIET – A township proposal for control of Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park is on the agenda for Monday’s Joliet City Council’s workshop meeting.

Joliet Township Supervisor Dan Vera said he is ready to give a report to the council on what the township wants to do next. In September, Vera suggested making an intergovernmental agreement with the city, which owns the park, in which the township would take control and bring back events that were cut because of budget issues.

“We’ll have an announcement for the council and a report on what they’re looking for on Monday,” Vera said.

Vera declined to say whether the township plans to move forward with the proposal. He said he will discuss the matter with Joliet City Manager Jim Hock earlier on Monday and come to the council meeting that evening.

Councilman Michael Turk, also the city’s liaison to Bicentennial Park, said his understanding is that Vera is ready to make a proposal.

“He’s supposed to bring the proposal to Hock on Monday morning, and then Hock will discuss it with us in open session,” Turk said.

The item on the agenda is for a “Bicentennial Park Intergovernmental Agreement.”

Turk and Councilwoman Jan Quillman recently asked Vera have a proposal ready for February, saying that the matter was dragging out too long, creating too much uncertainty about the future for the park.

The council has had a mixed reaction to the plan, and there has been opposition from the St. John’s Neighborhood Association.

But the council in September gave Vera permission to bring contractors into the park so they could inspect buildings, including the community theater, and other conditions in the park in order for the township to make a decision on whether it wanted to take control.

What control would mean could be spelled out if Vera makes a proposal.

Vera has discussed a partnership with the city, but also has said that the township should have ownership because of the investment it would make in operations. He also has suggested that the city make a $100,000 annual contribution to park operations.

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