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Forest Preserve Plans To Borrow Money To Add Land, Upgrade Facilities

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Forest Preserve

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Forest Preserve officials expect to add more land this year, and also make repairs to some picnic enclosures.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, Forest Preserve Supt. Arnold Randall emphasizes in the Chicago Tribune that property taxes will not be increased to cover the costs of the land acquisitions.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports


The Tribune says the Forest Preserve plans to borrow up to $70 million for the additional land and planned improvements to buildings and picnic space, as well as possible renovations at Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

First, though, Cook County commissioners say they plan to continue to debate whether borrowing money is the best course of action, the Tribune reported.

Meanwhile, the County Board, which also meets as the Forest Preserve Board, has approved tighter regulations on the resident watchmen program, in which Forest Preserve employees are given housing on district property in exchange for a job watching over the land, the newspaper explained.

The county will now conduct inspections of the 40 resident watchman homes every year, and the superintendent will report to the board on qualification and activities for all watchmen, the newspaper reported.

A watchman was found growing marijuana on Forest Preserve property at one point last year, the Tribune reported.

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