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Local News

Laraway gets new school, Plainfield gets rec center

Voters overwhelmingly approved referendums to build a new Laraway School and a new Plainfield recreational center.

Approval of the school referendum means the Laraway School District in Joliet can move students from the school on Laraway Road, a heavily traveled truck route.

About 81 percent of the voters approved the Laraway referendum, with the unofficial total being 558 yes votes and 135 no votes.

“It looks like the community really came through for us,” Laraway Superintendent Joe Salmieri said.

The next step is to complete the financing for the project with plans to begin construction in the spring.

“We are looking to open in fall of 2018,” Salmieri said.

Parents and schoolchildren, he said, can look forward to “a new state-of-the-art facility in a safe location.”

Meetings with the community indicated people were inclined to vote for the referendum, he said.

“From the community forums we had and from parents we talked to, we felt we had a lot of support,” Salmieri said.

Voters were able to support the referendum without expecting to pay more in taxes, since the school district expects to fund the school with corporate property taxes generated by the large amount of industrial development in the school district.

The school is estimated to cost $25 million.

Laraway will build the school on a 26-acre site on Rowell Avenue.

Plainfield Township Park District

Voters in the Plainfield Township Park District strongly supported a referendum to build a new recreation center and make park improvements.

The referendum was backed by a large margin with 24,459 yes votes and 18,347 no votes.

The park district sought approval to issue $10.5 million in bonds.

The biggest single item in the plan is the recreation center that would cost $6.5 million. The center is to be built at Bott Park on Renwick Road.

White Oak Library District

One local referendum to lose was the White Oak Library District’s attempt to get support for a tax increase.

About 59 percent of the voters turned down the referendum with a 11,848 yes votes and 17,137 no votes.

The district has libraries in Lockport, Crest Hill and Romeoville.

The library sought what officials said would be about a $16.50 increase in the tax bill on an average home to return to weekday hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and set up a digital media lab.

Homer Township

In the Homer Township Fire Protection District, 87 percent of the voters supported a referendum that will allow them to elect fire trustees. The trustees have been appointed by the Homer Township Board.

The vote total was 6,337 yes votes and 933 no votes.

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