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April 24, 2024

Township wanted to keep park “from being overrun by blacks and Mexicans” –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On July 16, 2019


I know the park is supposed to be free and for everyone,
but our thoughts were by charging [a] small amount and no sign on [highway] 102 we could try and
keep this park from being overrun by blacks and Mexicans because the Wilmington islands are…
we wanted it for us…the township

Nothing like telling everyone how you feel in print form…

Current Township Trustee Kathleen Kennedy was on the park committee when this decision was discussed and acted upon.

For the more than a year, there has been an ongoing dispute between several residents of Wesley Township, the Township Board, and a further dispute between different interpretations of the Township Code.

Within the past month, people who use the park for camping have refused to pay for camping – citing the Township Code, Section 120-5, Township Parks, which states:

(60 ILCS 1/120-5)
    Sec. 120-5. Power to acquire parkland; inapplicable to church.
    (a) A township, acting through the township board, may acquire lands … to be set apart and forever held and maintained and improved as public parks for the free use of the public.

Wesley Township officials are claiming a different section (85-10(j)) of the Township Code permits them to charge for camping, and they have a written opinion from their attorney – but only for “programs sponsored” by the township and programs that the township conducts. We believe the opinion is wrong on this and other points it makes as the quoted section applies and permits charging only for “programs” sponsored by the township, and not to the unsponsored general activities of the public (like camping and cookouts).

Since people have refused to pay the camping fee, Township officials has taken the following actions (without holding a meeting to take the actions):

  • posting “no camping” signs
  • removing a porta-potty
  • stealing firewood
  • entering tents without permission or warrant
  • shutting off access to water
  • shutting off electricity
  • calling police and making frivolous complaints in an attempt at harassing and intimidating the campers
  • suggesting that [other] people are harassing the campers at the park and causing trouble (we have reports of township trustees doing the harassing)
  • placing (or permitting by not removing) trail cameras to be installed to spy on park users

We have recently wondered why the township would shut down all camping at the park instead of simply following the law and quit demanding payment of fees. It appears this board would rather take the unnecessary action of closing the park for camping.

I think we found the answer in an unsolicited message from a former township trustee, who was in office when the fees were discussed, and the determination made to charge for camping and use of the boat launch.

This cannot be tolerated in any form.

A follow-up to this article is HERE.



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  • Vinron
    Posted at 20:07h, 16 July

    A government official said that? In writing? I am flabbergasted. Can you post the original document>

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 21:06h, 16 July

      Yes. It will be posted when we post the meeting video from tonight.

  • Perry Mason
    Posted at 22:35h, 16 July

    WOW-nothing like slapping a sign on your own back that says, “Please file a 1983 action against me” while simultaneously ensuring there is no government indemnification for yourself in said action since you have acted beyond the scope of your official duties. Did the trustee initially work with local law enforcement to enforce the existing rules, conduct pro-active walking and vehicle patrols targeting law-breakers, thereby creating a law enforcement omnipresence to convince the scoff-laws (of every / any color) to seek other areas to prowl? Also, please tell me that “blacks and Mexicans” were not the predominant target of the above noted privacy intrusions – were they ? Amazing…