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Seven IL Parks Closing Sunday

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On Sunday, seven Illinois parks will close.


That seems fairly certain, barring some last-second windfall.


Beyond that, though, this whole park-closing scenario remains remarkably muddled. After months of discussion and planning the Department of Natural Resources is still uncertain how many employee layoffs will be involved and has not issued clear guidelines on how closed parks can be used, if they can at all. Here’s a rundown on what is expected to happen this Sunday.



Parks remaining open

• Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Sheffield


• Channahon Parkway State Park, Channahon


• Gebhard Woods State Park, Morris


• Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood



Parks closing

• Castle Rock State Park, Oregon


• Lowden State Park, Oregon


• Illini State Park, Marseilles


• Hidden Springs State Forrest, Strasburg


• Moraine View State Park, Leroy


• Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton


• Wolf Creek State Park, Windsor



Historic sites closing

• Dana-Thomas House, Springfield


• Lincoln log cabin near Charleston


• Fort de Chartres, Randolph County


• Vandalia statehouse


• State center at Bishop Hill, Henry County


• Carl Sandburg birthplace, Galesburg


• Cahokia courthouse


• Hauberg Indian Museum, Rock Island County, but the adjacent natural area will stay open.


• Jubilee College, near Peoria


• Apple River Fort, Elizabeth


• Fort Kaskaskia, Randolph County


• Pierre Menard home, Randolph County



Sites kept open by local funds, volunteers

• Bryant cottage, Bement


• David Davis mansion, Bloomington


According to the Associated Press, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Monday it’s up to state legislators to free up the money to keep open seven state parks and 13 historic sites, as well as save dozens of jobs.


“There’s plenty of money in the special purpose funds to be able to open all of those parks that the Legislature can easily send us,” Blagojevich said in an appearance in Chicago.


Here’s the rest of the AP report on the subject


Lawmakers previously came up with $230 million to soften the blow from $1.4 billion the governor cut to deal with the legislators’ budget he said was out of balance. Those cuts last summer would have cost 325 jobs and shuttered two dozen parks and historic sites.


Blagojevich announced last week that the $230 million will keep four state parks open and hundreds of child-welfare workers will stay on the job. But with revenues falling, the state faces a $2 billion deficit, which will require further belt-tightening, the administration says.


“We are using the money to help us prevent future layoffs,” spokeswoman Katie Ridgway said. “We’re still going to have to make reductions so we’re using the money for the intended purpose with the understanding that we have a larger scope of $2 billion” in deficits.


Most of the $230 million came from state accounts set aside for special purposes. Of that, Blagojevich won’t use $55 million, saying federal rules restrict it.


Lawmakers expressed their disappointment. “I’m not certain what recourse we have,” said Rep. Gary Hannig of Litchfield, a Democratic budget expert.


“We tried to send him a clear message as to what our intentions were and to back it up with the money,” Hannig said. “It’s really now up to him.”



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