Metro-East News

County board approves donation for Cahokia Mounds national park efforts

St. Clair County Board members on Monday approved a $25,000 contribution toward the ongoing efforts to make the Cahokia Mounds a national park.

HeartLands Conservancy has been working toward getting the state historic site designated as a national park.

The $25,000 donation to HeartLands is set to help with community education and outreach, legal work related to property acquisitions, and updating databases, maps and parcel surveys among other things.

County Administrator Debra Moore said during a recent Property and Recreation Committee meeting this would be a “wonderful opportunity to integrate (the Cahokia Mounds) into the national parks system.”

“It takes away the responsibility for managing it,” Moore said. “It becomes a federal responsibility of the federal parks system.”

Moore added that having the Cahokia Mounds as a designated national park would help attract more visitors to the area and could generate revenue.

Other items

▪  East St. Louis splash pad: In order to help the East St. Louis Park District operate the Kenneth Hall Splash Park for the summer, the county board approved a $10,000 contribution to the park district.

Money would be used for supplies such as chlorine, muriatic acid, water testing supplies, and whistles for the summer.

Funding from the state is not available because of the ongoing budget impasse, according to a letter from Park District Executive Director Irma Golliday.

“Hopefully it makes a difference for the park district, and for the kids in East St. Louis and all the communities in St. Clair County,” St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said.

County Board Member Frank Heilgenstein pointed out that some property tax money that could go to the park district, is re-directed into a Tax Increment Financing District account controlled by the East St. Louis City Council.

“(It’s) money that could be used at that park, they need to make an arrangement, and some of that goes to that park, which probably needs a lot more money than what we’re talking about tonight,” Heilgenstein said.

▪  St. Clair County Housing Authority request: The St. Clair County Housing Authority makes an annual payment in lieu of taxes to various taxing bodies.

The County Board approved a request from the housing authority, whose $10,923 payment is scheduled to be made to the county be waived so it can be transferred to the Camp Jackson Fire Department.

The fire department serves a large percentage of public housing dwelling units, according to a letter from David Wagner, executive director of the housing authority.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter