Gov. Blagojevich Announces over $5 Million in Park Development Grants

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Dollars to help fund 18 new park projects in central Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $5 million in grants for dozens of projects at existing parks and development of new parks throughout central Illinois.  The funds will be used for 18 projects in central Illinois, including land acquisition, construction of new trails and playgrounds, and the creation of new recreational opportunities including athletic fields and fishing piers.

“These grants will provide open space and recreation opportunities in communities throughout the state,” Gov. Blagojevich said.  “The great thing about this program is how state and local governments work together.  People in local communities envision the projects and we work together with them to make them a reality.”

“Whether it’s building playgrounds, pools, or park shelters, the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grants give so many kids in so many communities the opportunity to enjoy expanded recreational opportunities,”  said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood said.  “Expanding recreational opportunities for children and families is why these grants are so important to the fiber of each community.”

“The Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant program continues to be a valuable resource for Illinois’ parks and open spaces,” said State Representative Rich Brauer (R-Springfield). “I am pleased that this grant will allow for the continued development of Cardinal Park in the Village of Oakford.”

“I congratulate the Champaign Park District and the City of Danville on receiving 2008 OSLAD Grants. I’m glad to see OSLAD continue to help Illinois communities develop and improve their public parks,” said State Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign).

“The communities of Princeton and Kewanee take great pride in their parks and these grants will enable them to further enhance their local recreational opportunities and quality of life,” said Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Galesburg).  “I want to thank the Governor for his continued support of parks throughout the state.”

Money awarded each year for the OSLAD program is based on the conditions of the housing market and grants are solely funded through a percentage of the real estate transfer tax.  The $25.1 million awarded throughout the state this year combined with the grantee’s minimum 50 percent share will result in more than $50.2 million of local acquisition and development projects to enhance the quality of life in Illinois.

Central Illinois OSLAD projects
(A) Land Acquisition projects
(D) Park Development projects

(A) BANNER, VILLAGE OF (Fulton County) $11,750, to acquire 2.5 acres on South Bridge Street.  Future development includes a playground, shelter, park amenities, and a possible connection to Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area.  (Contact: Kenneth D. Fuller, 309/647-4605)

(A) BLOOMINGTON, CITY OF (McLean County) $131,700, to acquire 8.08 acres near the Eagle View subdivision east of Towanda Barnes Road.  An additional 4.6 acres dedicated by city ordinance will comprise a future 12.7-acre park.  The park will be developed with a shelter, playground, ballfields, basketball court, soccer field, an extension of the city-wide multi-use trail and a prairie area.  (Contact: Dean Kohn, 309/434-2260)

(D) BLOOMINGTON, CITY OF (McLean County) $400,000, to develop the 11.5-acre Gaelic Park north of Ireland Grove Road.  Facilities include a soccer field, baseball field, basketball courts, a playground, shelter, fishing pier, bocce ball courts, and an extension of the city-wide multi-use trail. (Contact: Dean Kohn, 309/434-2260)

(A) CHAMPAIGN COUNTY FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT, $543,000, to acquire 160 acres along both sides of the Sangamon River in northwest Champaign County.  Future development includes hiking trails with interpretive signs, a picnic shelter and a canoe access.  (Contact: Gerald Pagac, 217/586-3360)

(D) CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT (Champaign County) $375,000, to renovate the 3.5-acre Scott Park located in central Champaign.  The redevelopment includes a playground area, splash pad, basketball court, pathway, lighting, a picnic area with tables and grills, a pavilion and landscaping.  (Contact: Bobbie Herakovich, 217/398-2550)

(D) CISSNA PARK, VILLAGE OF (Iroquois County) $249,400, to renovate the 2-acre Pavilion Park.  Major project components include the painting of and structural/electrical upgrades to the 100+ year old pavilion, new baseball and basketball equipment, a new sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits, new play equipment, a restroom building, and a permeable access driveway to the pavilion area.  (Contact: Rick Baier, 815/457-2905)

(D) DANVILLE, CITY OF (Vermilion County) $373,500, to renovate and add new facilities to Carver Park on East Williams Street.  Improvements include a new picnic shelter as well as replacement of both the existing restroom/concession stand building and the playground.   A lighted multi-purpose field is proposed, existing basketball and tennis courts would be replaced in a new location, and parking will be upgraded. (Contact: Scott Eisenhauer, 217/431-2400)

(D) DECATUR PARK DISTRICT (Macon County) $236,000, to renovate the 80-acre Scovill Park in southeast Decatur.  Project components include a new playground and shelter, interpretive signs, and paved parking. (Contact: William Clevenger, 217/422-5911)

(D) KEWANEE PARK DISTRICT (Henry County) $67,000, to develop the 20-acre Windmont Park on Beach Street.  The project includes an accessible fishing pier, riprap to improve shoreline stability, renovation of an existing walking path, new fitness stations, a shelter, and additional playground equipment.  (Contact: Brian Johnson, 309/852-2872)

(D) LE ROY, CITY OF (McLean County) $400,000, to construct a new swimming pool and playground equipment at the site of the closed pool on East Street. (Contact: Jeff Clawson, 309/962-5201)

(D) MACOMB PARK DISTRICT (McDonough County) $400,000, to develop the University Drive Complex in northeast Macomb.  The project includes the construction of youth softball fields, youth through adult soccer fields, exercise and nature trails with interpretive signs, picnic areas, shelters, a playground, restrooms, landscaping, and parking.  (Contact: Raymond Peterson, 309/833-4562)

(D) MATTOON, CITY OF (Coles County) $400,000, to expand and complete the development of the 43-acre Roundhouse Multi-Sport Complex.  Project components include four soccer fields, additional walking paths, a skate park, and parking lot improvements.  (Contact: David Wortman, 217/235-5654)

(A) MINIER, VILLAGE OF (Tazewell County) $167,400, to acquire 38 acres adjacent to the western boundary of the village.  Future Phase I plans for the site include the development of a 1.2-mile walking/fitness trail, baseball fields, softball fields, soccer fields, a pavilion, playground, horseshoe courts, concession/restroom building, and parking.  (Contact: Robert Cremeens, 309/392-2442)

(D) NORMAL, TOWN OF (McLean County) $400,000, to develop the 18.2-acre Greenbriar Park on Hershey Road.  The project includes two baseball diamonds, a playground, basketball and volleyball courts, pavilion and restrooms, a nature area, a multi-sport play area, landscaping, and parking.  (Contact: Mark Peterson, 309/454-9501)

(D) OAKFORD, VILLAGE OF (Menard County) $23,600, to develop Cardinal Park on Center Street.  This will be the first park site in the village and facilities include a playground, shelter and a 2 basketball court.  (Contact: Karl Piepenburg, 217/524-3043)

(D) OBLONG, VILLAGE OF (Crawford County) $40,000, to replace outdated playground equipment at Oblong Park.  (Contact: Randy Rich, 618/592-3431)

(D) PRINCETON PARK DISTRICT (Bureau County) $400,000, to develop a 37.6 acre property adjacent to Zearing Park on Euclid Avenue.  Project components include the installation of seven full-size soccer/football fields, a 10′ wide asphalt pathway around the site, two mini-playgrounds, a recreational lake (to be constructed with park district funds), a fishing pier, picnic/band shelter, concession/restroom building, access road, vault toilets, and parking.  (Contact: Diane McCray, 815/872-0840)

(D)  SPRINGFIELD PARK DISTRICT (Sangamon County) $400,000, for Phase II development of Edwin Watts Southwind Park on South Second Street.  The project includes a water splash sprayground, a “TreeHouse” with picnic tables and climbing boulders, shelter with restrooms, a “multi-generation” recreation area with two shelters, game tables, lawn chess and exercise equipment, interpretive sensory gardens, and environmental “bio-swale filtering strips” and wetland/prairie retention areas to cleanse parking lot run-off.  (Contact:  Mike Stratton, 217/544-1751)

71 projects are being funded statewide through the 2008 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program facilitated through IDNR.  Of those, 12 will result in the purchase of new land and 59 will focus on outdoor recreation development.  They include 22 development projects for facilities that promote environmental and wetland studies, 19 projects that will provide initial recreation development of park sites for their respective communities, seven development projects that will include water play features know as “spraygrounds,” 31 development projects that will provide new playground equipment, and 14 projects that will create water based recreation by constructing access to lakes, rivers or streams.