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Rosehill Cemetery Could Turn into Nature Preserve

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Rosehill Cemetery Could Turn into Nature Preserve
Rosehill Cemetery Could Turn into Nature Preserve

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).

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