- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Eleven schools, churches, mansions, courthouses and other historic Illinois sites highlighted on an annual preservation report are particularly vulnerable because an unsure economic climate in the state and the impasse over the state budget makes funding uncertain, the group says.

Local governments and institutions own many of the sites, Bonnie McDonald, president of the historic preservation group Landmarks Illinois said Thursday. But municipalities and counties are nervous about releasing any funding to save the buildings because they’re not sure if they will receive their state appropriations, she said. Illinois has been operating without a budget for the current fiscal year since July.

“We’re hearing concerns about the future of the state and the state budget,” McDonald said.

The group released its annual list Wednesday, which include schools in Rockford, Champaign and Highland Park, a YWCA building in Springfield and a youth facility in St. Charles, as well as St. Adalbert Church in Chicago, the Harley Clarke mansion in Evanston and more.

Landmarks Illinois’ report said the sites also face challenges because of the slow economic recovery in many communities and a lack of financing.

McDonald said the Massac County Courthouse, which is on this year’s list, is struggling because the county is seeing revenue declines from the state and lower property taxes.

“We’re seeing these really tough decisions that have to be made,” McDonald said.

McDonald said the group is trying to highlight opportunities to save the buildings and “raise the profile of the conversation about how the public-private partnership can help.”

Landmarks Illinois has been putting out an annual endangered historic places list since 1995. The group says that since then, a third of the listed properties have been saved and fewer than a quarter have been demolished.


Online: https://www.landmarks.org

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