It seems like Chicagoans hear daily about the city's anticipated budget shortfall and new ideas on how to plug the hole: a city income tax, for example, a toll on Lake Shore Drive, slashing spending.
But apparently there's one cut Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some members of the Chicago City Council are not willing to make: buying 21 acres of the Rosehill Cemetery on the North Side and turning the land into a kind of nature preserve.
The City Council's Housing Committee passed a measure Tuesday that would earmark $7.7 million to acquire the land, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The plan goes to the full council next month.
Where's the money coming from? It's a combination of TIF (tax increment financing) funds, city bond money and $2.8 million Emanuel received as a federal earmark from his days as a congressman.
After the purchase is complete, the city would sell the land for $1 to the Chicago Park District, which would then be responsible for maintenance.
The nature preserve--or arboretum--would finally quell fears that land on the cemetery would be developed by retailers, according to Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th).