Archive for the ‘Kane’ Category


Removal of lead contaminated soil that’s held up the completion of the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor is finally underway.

According to a Kane County Department of Transportation news release, the project started last week and will take 12 months to complete (follow the money), weather and work production schedules permitting.

Work hours will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and daily temporary lane closures will be required. Flaggers or cones may be needed to control traffic as construction vehicles enter and leave the work zone, the release said.

For more information, go to:



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LMP To Nowhere

Kane County officials are hoping their counterparts in Cook and McHenry counties will contribute toward the cost of the Longmeadow Parkway project and help avert charging tolls at the bridge over the Fox River. Daily Herald File Photo

Funding issues have dogged the Longmeadow Parkway traffic project in northeast Kane County virtually since its inception with a $4 million federal grant in 2005. As the $135 million roadway lumbers toward a late 2024 completion, one lingering, important question remains — how to pay off $35 million in bonds Kane County used to help with the construction and support ongoing maintenance.

The ultimate fallback has long been assumed to be to make the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge, the final leg of the project, a toll bridge, the only such local toll bridge in the state. Almost no one likes that option, though, and Kane County officials have said it might be averted altogether if McHenry and Cook counties, portions of which are served by the 5.6-mile roadway, will pitch in $1 million each in recognition of the fact that their constituents will benefit substantially from the traffic-relief valve running from Huntley and Boyer roads eastward to Route 62 in Algonquin.

McHenry County Board Chair Mike Buehler acknowledged the benefits in an interview with Shaw Local Media last week. While coming well short of agreeing to Kane County’s request, Buehler did note that some estimates have found motorists from McHenry County would pay $1 million a year if the bridge ends up charging a toll.

“If we’re looking at a scenario where a toll would be eliminated, I think that would be a pretty compelling argument,” Buehler said.

The argument may not be quite as persuasive in Cook County, where just a small sliver near Barrington Hills would be most affected, but then again $1 million out of Cook’s multibillion-dollar budget is substantially less noticeable than it would be compared to the much smaller revenue picture in McHenry.

And, in both counties as well as Kane, the new road is expected to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in new business activity. This, of course, in addition to the parkway’s primary purpose of alleviating long years of bad traffic headaches in the region.

Read more here.

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Bridge To Nowhere

McHenry County officials might consider a request to contribute financially to Kane County’s Longmeadow Parkway project. (Rick West | Staff Photographer)

While Kane County hopes its neighbors will help foot the bill for its Longmeadow Parkway project and keep it from becoming a tollway, some officials in McHenry County are hesitant about what’s being asked.

Kane County officials have asked neighboring McHenry and Cook counties to each front $1 million for the project, which spans more than 5 miles in the northern part of Kane County and passes through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills.

Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog recently told county board members she believes a combination of state money, COVID-19 recovery money and those contributions will pay off the bond the county issued to pay for Longmeadow’s construction.

McHenry County Board member Michael Skala, a Huntley Republican who heads the county board’s finance committee, said he isn’t sure where McHenry County would find that money.

“We’d have to figure out where to get it,” Skala said. “It’s a tough sell, especially when you have 18 board members.”

McHenry County Board Chair Mike Buehler, a Crystal Lake Republican, said Monday it wouldn’t be unprecedented for the county to contribute to projects outside of its boundary, citing the nearly $46 million Randall Road construction project from a few years ago.

More here.

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Chair, other leaders want to spend $240K


Kane County started experimenting with lobbying after the election of county board Chair Corinne Pierog. The result was millions of dollars in state funding for the Longmeadow Parkway project.

Perhaps spurred by recent success in wrangling enough state funds to wipe out the need for a toll on the Longmeadow Parkway, Kane County officials are contemplating their largest investment of taxpayer dollars toward lobbying at the state and federal levels.

Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog recently told county board members she believes a combination of state money, remaining COVID-19 relief money and cash contributions from neighboring counties will pay off the bond the county issued to pay for Longmeadow’s construction. But that’s only if $12.5 million for Longmeadow stays in the proposed state budget through the final vote.

“Fingers crossed,” Pierog told the board’s legislative committee. “I could not be happier.”

Getting that money into the state budget for Kane County is a result of lobbying efforts by Pierog, county board members and a private lobbying firm the county hired.

But the use of lobbyists by the county is a touchy subject with a history that goes back through at least the previous two county board chairs.

A previous board moved to eliminate lobbyists from the county budget in the waning tenure of former county board Chair Karen McConnaughay. Several board members didn’t like the political ties McConnaughay had with the lobbying firm the county used at the time.

Read more here.

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Illinois is home to 13 of the nation’s 50 housing markets that are most at-risk of a downturn. That’s according to a recent report by ATTOM Data Solutions, a company that provides comprehensive data on property values and taxes across the nation.

The Chicagoland area is, collectively, among the most “vulnerable to decline” property markets in the nation. Property in Kane County is the 6th most at-risk of a decline. Will County is 8th. McHenry is 13th and Cook County is the nation’s 20th most at-risk.

A look at a county-by-county graphic shows that no counties in Illinois’ neighboring states made the top-50 list. On the contrary, Wisconsin had six of the least at-risk counties in the nation (Brown County, Dane County, Eau Claire County, La Crosse County, Washington County and Winnebago County).

Other very at-risk U.S. locations include inland California, New Jersey, Delaware and New York City.

ATTOMs’ analysis was based on a variety of metrics, including an area’s general property costs, amount of underwater loans and foreclosures, and its unemployment rate.

More here.

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2023 Candidates

Top from left, Barry Altshuler, Katey Baldassano, Diana L. Clopton and Leah Collister Lazzari and, bottom from left, Nelda Munoz, Leonard Munson and Matt Sheriff

Football season is behind us, but instant replay can be one of the more agonizing and frustrating moments during games. During that period of time, referees must watch plays in super slow motion to review every millisecond of movement to get the call correct. The announcers always state that the officials need “irrefutable video evidence” to overturn the original ruling.

After review of Tuesday’s unofficial District 220 Board of Education (BOE) election results, we find ourselves in replay mode looking at myriad data points to assess the political science.

This year’s BOE election included two incumbents, Barry Altschuler and Leah Collister-Lazzari, as well as five first time candidates: Katey Baldassano, Leonard Munson, Matt Sheriff (collectively running on the Action PAC slate), Nelda Munoz and Diana Clopton.

Early voting was available from March 20th – April 3rd with election day voting taking place on Tuesday, April 4th. The unofficial Lake County election night results showed a striking disparity between those who chose to vote in person (either through early voting or on election day) compared to those who voted by mail.

The Action PAC candidates and Nelda Munoz all performed far better with those who voted in person while the two incumbents and Diana Clopton performed remarkably better with mail in ballots. The top three vote getters amongst those who voted in person in Lake County were the three Action PAC candidates. The top 3 vote by mail getters, as a percentage of their overall total number of votes, were the two incumbents and Diana Clopton. The data breakdown is seen here:

2023 Numbers

So what does this mean? Clearly, a considerable effort was made by Clopton, Altshuler and Lazzari to execute on mail in ballots. We also know that both Lake County and Cook County offer the option for voters to permanently vote by mail (since the 2020 general election).

We also know that Governor Pritzker promised to allocate $500,000 and other Democratic Party resources to school board races during this election cycle. We also know that Clopton, Altshuler and Lazzari claimed they were not part of a slate and instead self-identified as “independent” candidates.

Is it just coincidence that Clopton, Altshuler and Lazzari had nearly identical percentages of their vote tally to come from mail in ballots? Is it possible the Democratic Party of Illinois harvested the necessary number of ballots supporting Clopton, Altshuler and Lazzari to overtake the Action PAC candidates despite their claim of independence? Should the mail in ballots themselves be subject to a legal challenge flag?

The answer is we do not know and do not have irrefutable evidence to say otherwise. What we can unequivocally state is that we are an evenly ideologically divided town when it comes to overseeing our schools.

The so called “independent” candidates – and let’s be honest, they are the left leaning candidates – gathered 6,507 (50.35%) votes in Lake County as of election night and the center/right leaning candidates collected 6,415 (49.64%) votes. We don’t see a mandate in those numbers, and it would behoove the new BOE to recognize this chasm and respect the wide range of community perspectives. After all, the next football season is just a few months away.

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Click on the county below to view county election results:


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Early voting will be available to voter starting tomorrow. For locations and times, visit your county’s information at:

To obtain expanded information, visit Cook County, Kane County, Lake County or McHenry County early voting sites.

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Bag Lady

Kane County Chair Corinne Pierog says she will focus her near-term efforts on pushing for a combination of state and county funds to eliminate a toll for the Longmeadow Parkway.

The next few months may decide the ultimate fate of the toll portion of the Longmeadow Parkway.

Kane County Chair Corinne Pierog said during a virtual state-of-the-county address Friday she will focus her near-term efforts “with fire in my belly” on pushing for a combination of state and county funds to eliminate the toll before the entire parkway opens to traffic.

Soil contaminated with lead is the only remaining delay in finishing the 5.6-mile corridor on the northern end of Kane County.

Kane County Division of Transportation officials have a new plan to clean up that dirt and finish the project by the fall of 2024. If more money for Longmeadow is found by then, it will become the only locally operated bridge with a toll in the entire state.

The toll was planned because Kane County officials couldn’t get enough state or federal funds in the ramp-up to construction to avoid borrowing money, via a bond, to fund the project. The total bond payment is about $35 million.

The bond seemed to make the need for a toll to pay off that debt inevitable after county officials failed to squeeze any more cash out of the state to pay off the bond as construction began. But state lawmakers included $17.5 million for Longmeadow in the current budget.

Read more here.

Related: “$14 million lead contamination plan would open Longmeadow Parkway next year

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A bison grazes in 2013 in a forest in eastern Poland. Kane County Forest Preserve Commissioners approved a plan this week to bring bison to the Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve. (Associated Press)

It’s been 200 hundred years since bison roamed the prairies of Kane County, but a new plan to reintroduce them into a local forest preserve may turn back the clock.

Kane County Forest Preserve commissioners approved a plan this week to bring a handful of bison to the Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve. The plan centers on one of the main ecological goals of restoring tallgrass prairie to the county’s preserves. Before the surrounding area developed, fire and the grazing habits of wild animals, such as bison, provided natural management of the grasslands. Preserve officials reintroduced controlled burns to the preserves many years ago.

Executive director Ben Haberthur told commissioners now is the time to reintroduce bison to restore the grazing aspect of grassland management. Up to 90% of the diet for bison is grasses.

“The grasses evolved with grazing,” Haberthur said. “So it actually promotes the soil microbiome to grow more. Bison are native to Illinois, and they are definitely native to this county. They will bring a big component back to the ecosystem, namely fertilizer.”

District officials experimented with the benefits of animal grazing in the preserves with cattle in the Aurora West Forest Preserve. That experiment resulted in the flourishing of the restored grasslands in the preserve. Officials see bison as the next step in returning the grasslands to their most natural state and care.

The Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve is in the Pleasant Valley Conservation Alley north of Huntley and in the northwest portion of the county. The plan calls for two paddocks of 30 acres each with an additional 89 acres seeded for pasture. For the safety of the animals and the public, the areas containing the bison would be fenced, which accounts for the bulk of the initial cost of the project.

Read more here.

Editorial note: As we’ve suggested before, there is ample acreage at Horizon Farm for the Forest Preserves of Cook County to consider such an endeavor.

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