Is McHenry Township Following State Law by Charging for Park Use?

From Illinois Leaks, reprinted with permission:

McHenry Township unlawfully charging fees to use park pavilions –


McHenry Twp. (ECWd) –

McHenry Township is located in McHenry County and has been in the news lately for its vote to discontinue the township senior bus service.

Recently, we have written about Wesley Township in Will County and their unlawful charges for use of the township park.

McHenry Township has the same problem, but on a smaller scale.

Section 120-5 of the Township Code states that the township park shall be set apart and forever held and maintained and improved as public parks for the free use of the public.

The words “free” and “public” have meaning in this statute: they mean just what they say; the park is free for the public (notice it does not mention residents vs nonresidents, nor security deposits).

With that being said, McHenry Township’s collection of unlawful payments for nonresidents to use its pavilion in the township park violates the township code and must be discontinued.

Additionally, the provisions permitting the township to keep some of the “deposits” for pavilion reservations could be considered unlawful, as could the collection of deposits to reserve the pavilion.

After all, if it is free, then deposits cannot be charged.

All it does is keep the not so fortunate people from using the pavilion if they cannot afford the $100 deposit fee.

We suggest the township reconsider this fee/deposit arrangement in the near future and discontinue them.

The Township discussed this issue during its August 8, 2019 board meeting (see here).

McHenry is using the same false thought process as Wesley Township is using.

Yes, they can charge for “recreation and educational “programs” – but using a pavilion is not a recreation “program” and is not an educational “program” sponsored or conducted by the township.

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Is McHenry Township Following State Law by Charging for Park Use? — 9 Comments

  1. OK McHenry Township voters, time to get to work and circulate those township dissolution petitions to get your referendum question on the March 17 ballot.

    Edgar County Watchdogs has taken an interest in your activities.

    For the taxpayers of McHenry Township, fix whatever may be wrong, or the lawsuits may follow.

    And vote to eliminate yourself in a March 17 referendum, before you become another Algonquin Township.

  2. FQS, why the concern over an organization citing irregularities in the application of IL law?

    Do what’s legal and the risk of accountability drops significantly.

    If ECW’s interpretation of the law is incorrect, explain why.

    Fix whatever is wrong…because it’s the right thing to do.

  3. The petition has a better chance in the Presidential election of Nov. 2020 rather than the Democrat heavy turnout in the March primary election.

    At least McHenry Township board is going to put it on the ballot.

    My township, Nunda, is fast asleep, and the crook -superintendent running the pig sty says he’ll never allow the board to put it on.

    Publicize the Petition and I’ll get 60 signatures myself for it!

  4. My take on this is why townships even have parks in the first place.

    Sell the land and get it back on the tax rolls!


    It’s true they are dens of complete corruption.

    Look at the Miller dynasty or Nunda township—- scene of so much juvenile idiocy.

    BUt the School Districts are the big tax hogs.

  6. The ECW is the interested 3rd party and wherever they arrive, lawsuits follow.

    Ask Algonquin Township.

    Each township in McHenry County is different.

    Nunda Township, to get the dissolution referendum on the March 17 ballot, a minimum of 309 signatures is needed, though you should try to get more, at least twice as much.

    County voters passed the referendum to combine the clerk and recorder office during a primary.

    Last year in the primary, the voters in the city of Aurora passed the referendum to consolidate the Aurora Election Commission into the county clerks in the counties that make up Aurora.

    Keep in mind, to place a township-dissolution referendum on the November ballot next year by petition, many many more signatures will be needed because it will be for a General Election, and you must use a comparable election to determine signatures minimum, meaning ballots cast last November for November of 2020.

    As I said in another thread, a voter-initiated referendum by petition is the best way to go, and the signature minimum is much smaller for March 17 then November 3.

  7. Townships are the government closest to the people. Is the dying old white GOP scared of a Democrat takeover?

    Too bad. Keep townships!

  8. ECW go get ’em!

    Townships are not above the law. But the township drudges think they are.

  9. Why not have a township laundry for free.

    Then it could compete with the coin laundries.

    People could get clean clothes, too.

    And the township would provide the detergent and dry cleaning services, too.

    Even do drapes, feather comfiters and suede!

    Bigger and bigger government.

    that’s why the taxes are so damn high here!

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