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Local News

East Siders evaluate Joliet parks at forum on tax referendum

Joliet residents talked about parks on the East Side at the second public forum for a tax hike proposed on the April ballot.

While some parks have been improved, others need work, residents said Thursday during the open house held by the Joliet Park District at the Hartman Recreation Center.

“How are you going to be appropriating money for the different parks?” Donald Stevens asked park officials, noting problems he sees at Forest Park. “There’s no water. There’s no bathroom. There hasn’t been for years.”

Faye Cartwright said she has noticed improvements at Pilcher Park, which has had new trails and roads as a result of a bond referendum voters approved in 2014.

“Being on the East Side and going to Pilcher Park, it has improved a lot,” Cartwright said.

The park district made upgrades at 20 parks with money from the 2014 referendum. But the district has 65 parks, park district Deputy Director Brad Staab said.

“We still have about 40 left that we’d like to get to,” Staab said.

The tax referendum seeks a 58 percent increase in taxes, increasing what home owners pay annually from $144 per $100,000 of assessed value to $229 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Staab said the increase amounts to $10 a month on the average home with a median value of $141,800.

Park officials said the increase primarily is needed to take care of aging facilities, including the 93-year-old Bird Haven Greenhouse.

“It’s a wonderful facility,” resident Nancy Fischer said. “But it will not continue to be a wonderful facility without some help.”

The next forum will be 6 p.m. March 12 at the Kathy Green Multi-Purpose Center, 3000 W. Jefferson St.

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