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August 9, 2001

Ryan Announces State Purchase of Northwest Cook County Balefill

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) has agreed to sell 283 acres of land known as the "Bartlett Balefill" to the state of Illinois as part of a future expansion plan for the Tri-County State Park.

"The state of Illinois is determined to increase our open spaces, and this purchase is another example of the success of the Open Land Trust program," Governor Ryan said. "I'd like to thank the members of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County and the citizens of northeastern Illinois for their patience as we've worked through these negotiations."

The members of SWANCC voted last night to accept a proposal from the state to purchase the land for $21 million. The Open Land Trust provided $14 million and an additional $7 million was allocated by the Illinois General Assembly specifically for the purchase. SWANCC is retaining 126 acres to sell for residential or commercial use.

SWANCC's members are representatives of local governments who collectively plan for the region's waste disposal needs. The land was originally purchased for a balefill or landfill but was never used for that purpose.

"I am pleased that the controversy surrounding the siting of a balefill in Bartlett has finally come to a conclusion. Since my earliest days in Congress, I have had grave concerns about a number of issues raised by this proposal," Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (IL -14) said. "I appreciate the efforts of Governor Ryan, the State Legislature, and local officials who worked tirelessly to develop a satisfactory conclusion. I am pleased that these communities can now move forward."

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources views the land as a key acquisition for the future expansion of the Tri-County State Park. The 283 acres will expand an outdoor recreation and natural resources complex that includes Tri-County State Park, the Illinois Prairie Path to the west and Bluff Springs Fen Nature Preserve to the north.


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