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Cook County forest preserve makeover may cost taxpayers

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Cook County’s long-neglected forest preserves could get a dramatic makeover in the coming years, under a new plan to be unveiled this morning by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

But it does come with a cost. And that could mean a property tax increase.

No firm plans to finance the 25-year project have been made.

The non-profit conservancy group Openlands estimates the plan will cost 40 million dollars a year. That would cost the average property owner additional 26 bucks.

In addition to improving the facilities, the hope is to restore the landscape, making the preserves a refuge for native animals and plant species.

Planners also want to increase 75,000 acres of county preserves by acquiring thousands of acres of nearby land.

The $300,000 tab for the plan was picked up by private organizations.

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