Illinois Public Media News





WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 23, 2012

Prep Work for Crystal Lake Pool Demolition Underway

Four years after the closing of Urbana's Crystal Lake Pool, workers are preparing to demolish it to make way for its replacement.

The Urbana Park District's Tim Bartlett said demolition of the pool and related buildings will begin as soon as site preparation is completed. He added that he hopes that construction of the new Crystal Lake aquatic center can follow this summer, on the heels of the demolition. Bartlett said the construction plans have been sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health, and they are waiting for the agency's approval.

"They'll do a thorough review of what's being proposed," Bartlett said. "It's not uncommon for a number of a number of things to get listed or questioned. Those will get kicked back to the park district and our architects. And then we'll refine and revise as we need to."

The old Crystal Lake pool closed in 2008, and Urbana voters approved a property tax increase in 2010 to help pay for its replacement. The new aquatic center will cost an estimated $6.1 million. But Bartlett said it could cost more --- and include more features --- if a $400,000 state grant is approved.

In addition, the Urbana Park District is accepting private donations that could pay for other additions to the project.

But even without the grant and the donations, Bartlett said the new pool complex will be built.

"But the donations will allow us to add a few extra things, and make it extra special," he said.

The new Crystal Lake aquatic center is scheduled to open in May 2013.

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WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 23, 2012

Prep Work for Crystal Lake Pool Demolition Underway

Four years after the closing of Urbana's Crystal Lake Pool, workers are preparing to demolish it, to make way for its replacement.

The Urbana Park district's Tim Bartlett says demolition of the pool and related buildings will begin as soon as site preparation is completed. And he hopes that construction of the new Crystal Lake aquatic center can follow this summer, on the heels of the demolition. He says the construction plans have been sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health, and they're waiting for the agency's approval.

"They'll do a thorough review of what's being proposed", says Bartlett. "It's not uncommon for a number of a number of things to get listed or questioned. Those will get kicked back to the park district and our architects. And then we'll refine and revise as we need to.

The old Crystal Lake pool closed in 2008, and Urbana voters approved a property tax increase in 2010 to help pay for its replacement. The new aquatic center will cost an estimated $6.1 million. But Bartlett says it could cost more --- and include more features --- if a $400,000 state grant is approved. In addition, the Urbana Park District is accepting private donations that could pay for other additions to the project.

But even without the grant and the donations, Bartlett says the new pool complex will be built. "But the donations will allow us to add a few extra things, and make it extra special", he says.

The new Crystal Lake aquatic center is scheduled to open in May of 2013.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 31, 2012

Champaign Starts Up Minor League Baseball Exploratory Committee

An exploratory committee is forming with hopes of learning in about a year whether Champaign can support a minor league baseball team. A former minor league owner, sports enthusiasts, and someone who helped lure a collegiate team to town in the 90's were among the 15 people at the group's initial meeting Monday night.

Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert talked with committee chair Tony Johnston, who was tapped by Champaign Mayor Don Gerard to lead the group.

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AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 02, 2012

Chanute Air Museum’s Financial Picture Improving

Things are looking up for the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul.

After it looked like a bleak financial picture might cause the museum to close, the last year has seen an improved bottom line.

Nancy Kobel is president of the museum's board of directors. Kobel tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that the museum has enough money to cover payroll until the end of January.

She said that's a lot better than in August 2010 when the museum had only enough money to cover about two weeks of payroll.

Kobel said the board's efforts to promote the museum on the former Air Force base have been effective enough to allow them to stay open on Sundays, something they couldn't afford to do last winter.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 12, 2011

Danville School Integrates Health & Wellness Into Curriculum

Northeast Elementary Magnet School in Danville has earned national recognition for its approach to fighting childhood obesity --- by teaching its students how to stay healthy. It's the subject of the first report in our WILL-Connect initiative on health and wellness. Reporter Lisa Braddock paid a visit to the school to see how the program works.

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Categories: Education, Health, Recreation

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - October 17, 2011

Quinn OK with New Casinos, But Not Other Slot Machine Locations

(With additional Reporting by The Associated Press)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he can accept new casinos in Danville, Chicago and other cities. But he is drawing the line at allowing slot machines at racetracks, airports and other locations.

At a news conference Monday morning, the governor discussed his objections to a gambling bill (Senate Bill 744) passed by lawmakers, but not yet sent to him.

Quinn laid out a framework for gambling expansion that includes five new casinos that the legislation calls for, including Chicago, Danville, Rockford and two suburban locations. But he said he can't accept allowing slot machines racetracks, Chicago's two airports and other locations.

"I don't think anybody in Illinois wants 14 new gambling locations --- including the state fair, including our airports," Quinn told reporters. "When people get off a plane from another country or another state, the first thing they see are armed guards next to casinos? I don't think so."

Quinn also wants both suburban locations to be decided by the Illinois Gaming Board --- rejecting the Park City location named in the gambling bill for a new casino in Lake County. Quinn said cities should compete to host a new casino in the western suburbs, as well as another one in southern Cook County.

In addition, the Governor wants to change the rules for communities that don't want to host legal video gaming. Quinn said that with the expansion of gaming in other areas, communities should be able to choose or reject video gaming on an "opt-in," instead of an "opt-out" basis.

Quinn said the gaming bill passed by lawmakers has too many tax breaks and protections for casino owners, and fails to provide sufficient tax revenue for Illinois' education and infrastructure needs. He said the proposed tax structure in the bill would lower tax revenues from casinos, compared to existing tax rules.

Quinn urged lawmakers to craft a new gambling bill and not pursue the one they passed --- because he said he will veto it if it's sent to him.


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