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July 13, 1999

Ryan Creates New Metropolitan Park and Recreation Districts

GRANITE CITY -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation authorizing the creation of several new metropolitan park and recreation districts. The new districts will interconnect trails and parks for biking, walking and other outdoor recreational activities with similar districts in Missouri.

"This legislation will continue our conservation and environmental efforts," Ryan said. "We are preserving open space and improving the quality of life for the citizens of the entire St. Louis Metropolitan area.

"This action is significant because we are partnering with our neighbors in Missouri who are enacting similar legislation. I applaud the efforts of both state legislatures and Governor Carnahan."

The two bills, HB 702 from the Illinois legislature and SB 405 from the Missouri legislature, will create the Metro-East Park and Recreation District to improve, restore and preserve parks, natural lands and water supplies in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.

The legislation, which is subject to voter approval in an upcoming referendum, authorizes the creation of separate metropolitan park and recreation districts. The districts will be linked together by an inter-governmental agreement that will coordinate the planning and development of the overall system of parks and trails. The districts may extend into five Illinois counties and six Missouri counties. The Illinois counties that are included are: Clinton, Jersey, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair.

The new districts will have the power to contract with existing park agencies as well as other public and private entities, but will not have the power of eminent domain.

In the House, the bill was sponsored by Representatives Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) and Ron Stephens (R-Troy). In the Senate the bill was sponsored by Sen. James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis).


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