Jesiel Sets Sail on Marina Revamp Effort

Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) has filed HB1515, which was recently assigned to the General Services Appropriations Committee for review, in an effort to revitalize the North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The bill looks to temporarily suspend the Marina’s required payments to the General Revenue Fund for the next four years, allowing the Marina to re-invest more of its revenue in marina improvements.

“Over the past several years, the North Point Marina has been in decline for a number of reasons,” said Jesiel. “The economic slump has been a major factor in this, along with a lack of attention from the state, which has left the marina in disrepair and caused jobs and boaters to flock across the border to Kenosha. While this bill is not a cure-all for reviving the marina, it is a starting point to help address some of these issues.”

Jesiel’s bill is seeking to put a four-year hold on quarterly transfers from the Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach Marina Fund to the General Revenue Fund. By suspending these transfers, the marina will have more funds at its disposal to work on long overdue maintenance and reconstruction efforts, a similar effort made by Jesiel’s predecessor, JoAnn Osmond. Freeing up the funds for use by the marina will allow it to repair and redevelop neglected aspects of the marina. This will lead to job creation in conjunction with the redevelopment projects and will encourage Illinois boaters who have left the state to return; with more boating comes greater revenue and potential for increased development and economic growth.

Jesiel said that she sees an opportunity for this legislation, and more, to move forward with the new Governor and head of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), former State Rep. Wayne Rosenthal. In addition to this effort, Jesiel also hopes to partner with both local leaders and the new IDNR head to work on implementation of comprehensive plans that explore ways to revitalize the nearby wetlands and redevelop the whole area to keep Illinois consumers and businesses from heading across the border to Wisconsin.

Local economic development leaders are working on a comprehensive master plan with developers that are interested in revitalizing the area, looking to add restaurants, shops, and hotels, which could lead to a major influx of recreation and beautification projects along the lake front, leading to a cascade of economic growth for not just Winthrop Harbor, but all the surrounding areas.