ventura 050724 2SPRINGFIELD State Senator Rachel Ventura led a new measure through the Senate Judiciary committee that would allow county boards to make county-owned property available for public use.

“Expanding the definition of public use to save future buildings can help protect historic, scenic, or architectural sites for the public,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). "The state should be assisting local governments with repurposing these sites to better serve the community in a new capacity."

Senate Bill 2651 would allow a county to maintain, restore or reuse places of architectural, historic or scenic significance and allows them to lease or license county-held property to public or private entities for up to 99 years including for athletic purposes or for a museum.

County boards currently have the authority to protect and preserve landmarks and preservation districts. However, under this legislation they would also be given authority to make the landmark available for public use.

“Giving power to local governments to make these decisions on their historic and significant county-owned properties is the right thing to do,” said Ventura. “By making it available for public use, it opens the door to new opportunities to curate old spaces to make new community destinations, which saves money.”

Senate Bill 2651 passed the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.