The Chicago Park District issued $191 million in bonds to finance the cost of building, maintaining, and improving parks in the country’s third-largest city.
The district sold the bonds in four series. The Series 2023B bonds consist of $40 million; the Series 2023C bonds consist of $130 million; the Series 2023D bonds consist of $15 million; and the series 2023F bonds consist of $6 million. The securities received a rating of AA- from S&P Global Ratings, AA from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, and AA- from Fitch Ratings.
“The ‘AA-‘ rating is based on the district’s very high available general fund balance and its ability to reduce expenditures, which helped the district maintain stable finances throughout the pandemic,” according to Fitch.
The issuance comes as the district prepares its budget request for fiscal year 2024, which it will release in November. Last year’s budget of $540 million marked a 7% increase over the year prior.
The bond proceeds will finance the district’s capital improvement plan, which calls for $240 million in spending through 2025. They will also refund some previously issued bonds.
The Chicago Park District is the largest municipal park manager in the United States, owning more than 8,800 of green space in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Its assets include the Chicago Harbor and Soldier Field, the home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears. The bonds are general obligations of the district, backed by its full faith and credit.
Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc served as lead underwriter on the issuance.