To the Editor:
It’s that time of year – I’m paying my property tax bill and looking to where my money goes.
For me, the best investment I make is the small part of the bill that goes to the McHenry County Conservation District.
I’m a hiker, biker, cross country skier, paddler and nature lover. I frequent sites such as Glacial Park, Coral Woods, The Hollows and Pleasant Valley. But even if I wasn’t a recreational user, I realize the district’s open space provides huge benefits soaking up floodwaters and recharging our groundwater.
It enhances property values and scenic views throughout the county. We also know that having regional trails and accessible open space is important to attracting and retaining millennials and supporting local businesses such as restaurants and bicycle shops.
The open space protection efforts of the district and other public and private open space agencies are directly supportive of the land-use goals that were wisely adopted by the McHenry County Board in its 2030 Comprehensive Plan and its Green Infrastructure Plan.
For its part, the district has proven to be a wonderful steward of the land and has a regional reputation of doing more with less. Its budget and manpower per acre of land are the lowest of all the conservation and forest reserve districts in the region.
We have a truly unique open space and recreational resource in McHenry County. I’m thankful every day for the hard work and dedication of district staff and board members to responsibly steward this resource.
Looking ahead, I sincerely hope that we will continue to support the district in maintaining our trails, visitor facilities and natural areas. These are wise investments that future generations will thank us for.