SPRINGFIELD -- Wildlife Prairie State Park near Peoria would be turned over to a private foundation under a bill now pending before the Illinois Senate.
SPRINGFIELD - Wildlife Prairie State Park near Peoria would be turned over to a private foundation under a bill now pending before the Illinois Senate.
The Senate Agriculture Committee gave unanimous approval to House Bill 3611, which would start negotiations to remove the park from the control of the Department of Natural Resources and turn it over to the Friends of Wildlife Prairie Park.
Wildlife Prairie Park became a state facility in 2000, "but the state's recent budget problems have taken their toll on state parks," said Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, sponsor of the bill.
"With the budget restrictions, every time we had a budget item for the park, it has been zeroed out," Koehler said. "The park has been struggling. There are $6 million in capital improvements that need to be done that the state cannot do."
Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, said the Friends of Wildlife Prairie has broad support and should be able to raise the money needed to operate the 1,500-acre park.
"It will help enhance the park, which is a tourism and cultural center for our area," he said.