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Bill for parking fees at Starved Rock State Park: Stalled, for now

Looking downriver at Plum Island from Starved Rock at Starved Rock State Park; SB1310, to allow parking fees, was defeated Thursday in the Senate.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

The bill to allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to set up parking fees at Starved Rock State Park missed Senate passage by one vote Wednesday.

SB1310 needed 30 yes votes to pass and the vote was 29-9.

The sticking point was exempting LaSalle County residents from the parking fees.

I think the senators showed wisdom in balking at that exemption. It would set a complicated precedent.

Click here to read the bill and its progress.

Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris), the sponsor, put the bill on postponed consideration, something that was new to me.

Here is the word from Rezin,, via spokeswoman Ellie Leonard:

Starved Rock parking fee bill fails, concerns over exempting local residents

Rezin places bill on postponed consideration

Springfield, IL… State Senator Sue Rezin’s legislation that would allow the Department of Natural Resources to charge a minimal parking fee at Starved Rock failed to pass the full Senate on Wednesday, April 10 with a vote of 29-9. Senate Bill 1310 needed 30 “yes” votes to pass but fell short by one vote.

Following the vote, Sen. Rezin immediately put the bill on postponed consideration, which means she is able to recall the bill giving it another chance at passing.

“Unfortunately during floor debate, I heard concerns from my Senate colleagues about my amendment to the bill that would exempt LaSalle County residents from paying a parking fee,” said Sen. Rezin. “I added this provision to the bill because local residents are already on the hook to pay for the increased impact Starved Rock has on our roads and first responders.”

The intent of SB 1310 is to ensure proper safety and maintenance as the park has struggled to keep up with the millions of visitors it sees each year. Sen. Rezin said the fees collected would be very minimal and would only go toward helping the park stay clean, maintain its trails, and provide enhanced public safety.

Sen. Rezin also noted that Starved Rock State Park is the most visited state park in Illinois and sees well over two million visitors annually.

“We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful park in our region,” said Sen. Rezin. “We must do what we can to maintain this asset and keep it attractive so that visitors continue to want to come here.”