Mayors Letter in Support of Corridor Protection
Signed by18 Lake County Elected Officials
September 27, 2019
Dear Governor Pritzker:
As concerned State officials, Mayors and County elected representatives, we are writing to share our aspirations for the future of the 1,110 acres of land that the State of Illinois purchased over the past 40 years as part of the planning for the Route 53 Extension. With the termination of that project, these lands remain in public possession, and their fate will have a profound impact on the quality of life in Lake County - and particularly on the fabric of the communities in or near the Route 53 corridor that we represent.
It is in this spirit that we write to request a meeting with you or a representative of your administration to discuss a proposal to transform this land into a greenway trail and environmental sanctuary, as well as other Village-specific uses for this land. We believe this proposal affords the State of Illinois and local Lake County leaders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to link our communities with a non-motorized recreational pathway, while also improving our state and local economies.
These lands embody some of the most scenic, ecologically valuable open spaces remaining in Illinois. They contain treasures as diverse as a thriving wetland complex that serves as a critical safeguard against flooding in the region, a majestic heron rookery, and countless acres brimming with delicate flora and fauna. In short, they represent an opportunity to protect one of the landscapes that give Lake County its distinctive identity and reward its residents with some of Illinois' best escapes to experience nature. We also see additional opportunities for land use that could be extensions of our communities.
We want to work with you and your designee to collaboratively develop a roadmap for transforming portions of this land into a greenway. By unleashing this potential for conservation, recreation, education, and preservation, Lake County, in concert with the State of Illinois, could parlay these lands into a public asset that preserves the aesthetics of our communities, protects against flooding and other costly environmental threats, enhances local property values, lures eco-tourism dollars, and provides spaces for our residents to savor nature, play, and spend quality time with family, friends, and neighbors.
The first step toward seizing this opportunity begins with cooperation and collaboration between relevant state agencies (IDOT and the IDNR) and local Mayors, County, and State officials to develop a plan for highest and best use of this land to ensure that the public investment that was made over the decades to purchase these parcels culminates in a public space available for community health and enjoyment.
As our voices attest, this idea is resonating; but we view as a necessary first step, a meeting with you to further discuss this proposal. The results of a coordinated, collaborative approach will be a landmark achievement for our communities, for Lake County, and for the entire State of Illinois.
Please let us know your availability to meet to discuss our vision for this effort. We collectively appreciate your consideration of our request.
Joseph Mancino, Mayor, Village of Hawthorne Woods
Steve Lentz, Mayor, Village of Mundelein
Dale Sands, President, Village of Deer Park
Nandia Black, President, Village of Kildeer
Thomas Poynton, Mayor, Village of Lake Zurich
Bill Jacob, President, Village of Long Grove
Daniel Didech, Illinois State Representative, District 59
Adam R Didech, Lake County Board Member, District 20
Julie Simpson, Lake County Board Member, District 18
Jennifer Clark, Lake County Board Member, District 15
Steve Carlson Lake County Board Member, District 7
Rhett Taylor, Mayor, Village of Grayslake
Mary Edly-Allen, Illinois State Representative, District 51
Sandy Hart, Lake County Board Chair, District 13
Jessica Vealitzek, Lake County Board Member, District 10
John Wasik, Lake County Board Member, District 6
Sam Yingling, Illinois State Representative, District 62
Dan McConchie, Illinois State Senator, District 26