Sunday, October 16, 2005

Some things in the news this week:

From the Daily Herald:
City staffers are negotiating with a property owner to buy a vacant 7¨-acre site south of Willard Avenue and Villa Street to become the future home of the Elgin Recreation Center.
Why do they want to call it the Elgin Recreation Center? Aside from the confusion that will arise between this building and the Centre--often referred to as the Elgin rec center, "God's Gym" is such a better name. It's probably the best name every devised for anything in Elgin...

Dave Kaptain's proposal to charge developers upfront fees has passed:
The council agreed Wednesday to charge developers up front for impact fees, making Elgin the first city in the area to adopt such a policy.

“The developer should hold the risk for the future of a development, not the taxpayers,” said Councilman David Kaptain, who first proposed the front-loaded impact fee idea. “It’s their gamble to build, not mine and not my neighbor’s.

Well done, Kaptain. I think it especially makes sense now because we're heading into the tail end of the housing cycle, and the risks are rising.

Here's an interesting article on Toll Brothers from today's New York Times. Toll Brothers is building Bowes Creek Estates in Elgin, a stone's throw north of the proposed Stony Creek project.
If someone on Yearley's land-acquisition team is in charge of three counties, he has to know every piece of land in every desirable town in each of those counties. He has to know every elected official. He has to carry around a color-coded map of every town in his or her area so as to know where sewer lines and power lines run, since both can determine the viability of any potential subdivision. "Every parcel that's more than 50 acres that has not been developed," Yearley added, "has to be identified." In urban areas it can be even smaller.
You think the forest preserve district is as aggressive? Maybe if they split it off from the county board it would be. I think DuPage has a forest preserve district completely independent of the county board. Kane voters should explore that option.

Here's another article courtesy of the New York Times, about state funding of universities. It says that 25% of U of I's budget comes from the state.
"At those levels, we have to ask what it means to be a public institution," said Katharine C. Lyall, an economist and president emeritus of the University of Wisconsin. "America is rapidly privatizing its public colleges and universities, whose mission used to be to serve the public good. But if private donors and corporations are providing much of a university's budget, then they will set the agenda, perhaps in ways the public likes and perhaps not. Public control is slipping away."
Examples set at Cornell, Harvard, Columbia and so on in the 60s have shown that students and professors can be far more dangerous to the health of a university than private donors and corporations. If the state can successfully privatize parts of the University of Illinois system, that should free up resources to establish new campuses where needed, namely the Fox Valley. Elgin would be a nice location...


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