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Seven Illinois parks to close

November 22, 2008 at 08:25 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Seven state parks will still close next weekend, even though Gov. Rod Blagojevich and state lawmakers have approved money to keep them open, the Blagojevich administration said Friday.

Blagojevich originally targeted 11 state parks to close Nov. 30. Lawmakers approved $230 million in new spending to prevent those park closings and a variety of other cuts, and the governor approved most of that restored spending Thursday.

But Blagojevich spokeswoman Katie Ridgway said Friday afternoon that only four of those 11 state parks will remain open: Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park in Sheffield, Channahon Parkway State Park in Channahon, Gebhard Woods State Park in Morris and Kickapoo State Park in Oakwood.

Those parks were spared because they were in each of the three Department of Natural Resources regions affected by closures, three of them were connected to trails and Kickapoo offered several forms of recreation, Ridgway said.

A spokesman for the union representing state employees at the parks said layoffs should stop and parks kept open because money clearly is set aside for that reason.

“The sole purpose of these funds is to prevent the layoffs and closures,” said Anders Lindall of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.

But the Blagojevich administration says it’s not that simple.

Even though $2.1 million was set aside to keep all the parks open, poor economic conditions and lack of available money forced the other seven to be shuttered, Ridgway said. Shortfalls in other DNR funds for parks are forcing the administration to go ahead with closings.

“It’s just understanding the larger picture of a $2 billion deficit and still needing to find the places where we can make reductions,” Ridgway said.

Details for how the parks will be closed and workers affected are still being worked out, she said.

Other parts of state government were grappling with the outcome of Blagojevich’s budget action Thursday.

Layoffs were rescinded for state child care workers, but human services workers will still be let go Nov. 30. Thirteen state historic sites also will close that day.

Substance abuse treatment centers throughout Illinois celebrated the restoration of $55 million in state funding, but with some caution.

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, said centers are thankful after having to lay off workers and cut services since losing funding in July.

But it will take time to rehire workers and get the system back up to full speed, Moscato Howe said, and some concern remains about future cuts.

“It’s a good day for substance abuse treatment in Illinois,” Moscato Howe said. “We’ve still got our work cut out for us.”

Blagojevich stung his fellow constitutional officers by again cutting tens of millions of dollars of money for their offices. They’ve all used layoffs, furlough days, hiring freezes and other moves so far.

Ridgway said the governor had to cut those expenses because of a money shortage.

“We needed to focus on what the core services were,” Ridgway said.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office called Blagojevich’s veto “petty politics” because money used to restore the cuts is generated through litigation from the office and can only be used there.

“His explanation for the veto is false,” Madigan chief of staff Ann Spillane said in a written statement.

Secretary of State Jesse White did not expect the money for his office to be rejected and would need to take more action if further cuts are made, spokesman Dave Druker said.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy i got my kickapoo back for ice fishing…. honestly they should just do away with drug treatment centers. why should we pay for idiots who decide to do illegal drugs?.. save all the parks

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 09:48 AM

How about using this for a drug treatment center…..A PRISON CELL ! Isolate them in a prison cell.After a long while,they’ll either be milked off the drug, or will have gone crazy and smashed their head in against the wall, and then the problems solved….LOL

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 06:39 PM

So what parks are closing? It only told the ones that were staying open? I agree about the drug treatment center. Close them and keep the taxpayers recreational parks open for whom pays for them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 08:33 PM

So let me try to understand this…

Law breaking, non-contributing, drug using, dirtbags, get their treatment centers funded… while the rest of us hard working, law abiding taxpayers lose our parks (as well as many park employees losing their jobs.) Losing parks hurts everybody especially our future generations.

I’ll say it again, Blaggo has raped this state! And YES he IS responsible for this mess.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/25 at 08:36 AM

How about taking the funds to run the drug centers from the Governor, State legislators and other slugs, who are collecting double and triple pensions from the state because they had a couple of different featherbed jobs paid by the taxpayers.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/26 at 05:03 PM

Bladervich is an idot and should be sharing a cell with Ryan.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/26 at 06:06 PM

I KNEW Blagojevich WOULD BE A TERRIBLE GOVERNOR.NOW HE’S TAKING AWAY THE ONLY LAND ME AND MY KIDS HAVE TO HUNT.THE Blagojevich TERM IN OFFICE IS A TOTAL FAILURE IT WILL BE GOOD TO SEE HIM GO.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/27 at 09:58 PM

The guy is a piece of Sh*t. I didnt vote for the Moron either time and his time isnt coming to an end quick enough. IMPEACH THE JAGBAG

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/28 at 04:42 PM

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