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May 5, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan's "Open Land Trust" initiative to acquire and protect open space for future generations was unanimously approved today by the House of Representatives.

"This legislation will significantly increase Illinois' ability to set aside land for conservation and recreation," Ryan said. "Illinois ranks almost dead last among the states in the amount of public land set aside for its residents. I applaud the General Assembly for overwhelmingly recognizing this need."

Senate Bill 1087, which now moves to the governor's desk, provides state funding for land acquisition, as well as a combination of grants and loans to local governments for open space protection. Local governments in rural areas where the state purchases land would be provided with community planning grants for capital projects. The program provides for partnerships with non-governmental organizations provided that lands acquired with state funds will remain under governmental ownership.

Under the program, land would be acquired by the state and local governments for conservation and recreation purposes. All land acquired through this program would be from willing sellers only.

The Illinois "Open Land Trust" is a $160 million program that will provide $40 million per year over the next four years. The Governor included the first year funding for the program in his Fiscal Year 2000 budget proposal.

Senate Bill 1087 is sponsored in the House by Representatives Andrea Moore, R-Libertyville; Mary Kay O'Brien, D-Coal City; Dave Winters, R-Shirland; Patricia Lindner, R-Aurora; and Ricca Slone, D-Peoria Heights. The Senate sponsors are Senators Doris Karpiel, R-Carol Stream; Steven Rauschenberger, R-Elgin; James "Pate" Philip, R-Wood Dale; Dick Klemm, R-Crystal Lake and Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville.


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