What to do with gambling revenue in Island Lake?

 
 

As Island Lake officials await their first installment of video gambling revenue, trustees and residents on Thursday discussed what to do with the cash.

Street repairs, a new informational sign and parks improvements were just a few of the suggestions that came up during the discussion at village hall.

One business, Sofia's Mexican Restaurant on Route 176, has installed video gambling machines since the board legalized them in May 2014. A second business has applied for permission, too.

Under state law, villages and cities get a small percentage of the money the machines take in. In many towns, that has amounted to thousands of dollars.

Island Lake officials don't yet know how much the three machines at Sofia's have generated for the village.

"It's not a lot of money we're talking about, but we want to make sure it goes to good use," Mayor Charles Amrich said.

Amrich said he'd like an informational sign installed at Water Tower Park. He also suggesting setting some of the dough aside for roadwork.

"Our roads are in despair," he said. "We could use some money to freshen them up a little bit."

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Trustee Chuck Cermak suggested using the money to pave a parking lot at Converse Park on Route 176. Trustee Thea Morris liked that idea, too, especially since officials talked about using the revenue for families.

Trustee John Burke liked the idea of a new sign but said the talk is premature. Officials should create a special fund for the eventual revenue so it doesn't simply go into the town's general coffers, he said.

Trustee Mark Beeson suggested saving some of the money for village events, which would serve a large portion of the community.

Amrich asked audience members for ideas, too. One, former trustee Sam Cicero, suggested putting the cash toward playground equipment and the village's annual fireworks show.

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