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Quinn to announce park reopenings

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Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to announce during a Thursday news conference that closed parks in Illinois will reopen.


Quinn told Gatehouse News Service reporter Ryan Keith he’ll make a major announcement about re-opening shuttered state parks Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the Department of Natural Resources headquarters in Springfield.


“I think anybody who likes the state parks of Illinois will like what we have to say,” Quinn said.


Still uncertain is whether Quinn will reopen all of the parks or some of the parks that were closed on Nov. 30 under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Those parks are:


  • Castle Rock State Park, Oregon
  • Lowden State Park, Oregon
  • Illini State Park, Marseilles
  • Hidden Springs State Forest, Strasburg
  • Moraine View State Park, LeRoy
  • Weldon Springs State Recreation Area, Clinton
  • Wolf Creek State Park, Windsor
Quinn did not elaborate on how the parks would be funded, but he did say that opening parks is particularly important during difficult economic times.


“I believe in this tough economic time, where families can’t take vacations in many cases, having our state parks open to families is very important,” Quinn said.


Quinn also said the state’s massive budget hole could be bigger than $9 billion by next year, creating a crisis unlike Illinois has ever seen.


Quinn, in an impromptu discussion with reporters after a meeting at the Capitol today with Senate Republicans, said the state’s budget picture could get worse as the world’s economy continues to falter. That could mean very difficult budget decisions facing him and lawmakers, although Quinn wouldn’t commit to pushing tax increases or other solutions.


“It’s no fun to talk about taxes, but we have to have a fair fiscal system that pays its bills,” Quinn said he told Republicans today.


The governor said he’s skeptical of raising the state’s motor fuel tax or fees on driver’s licenses and vehicle titles to help solve the financial problems but can’t rule anything out at this point.


There has been no word yet on the status of 12 state historic sites that were also closed under Blagojevich.






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