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Local park districts receive about $800K in grants

Sycamore and DeKalb park districts received about $800,000 in grants from the state Friday, which will support park development and open space land acquisition. Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday announced $29.7 million in grant disbursement for 85 projects throughout the state, according to an Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release.

The Sycamore Park District received about $400,000 for “memorial park development,” according to the release.

Ted Strack, commissioner for the Sycamore Park District Board, said the district submitted an application for a grant to help construct six new softball and baseball fields where the current soccer fields are at the Sycamore Park District Sports Complex, 435 Airport Road, Sycamore.

“We have more demand for baseball and softball fields,” Strack said. “This helps us alleviate the pressure. We’re trying to meet the needs of our clients better.”

Strack said it’s awesome that the Park District obtained the grant.

“We’re very excited,” he said. “That’s $400,000 less than we have to spend out of the funds we have. Our plan was to get a grant like this, and we were successful.”

The DeKalb Park District received $395,800 for Welsh Park, according to the release.

DeKalb Park District Board President Phil Young said the district will use the grant to rebuild Welsh Park.

“We haven’t done anything to that park in nearly 20 years,” Young said. “With the matching funds from OSLAD, it allows us to improve the park.”

Young said the park will get new basketball courts, expand its trails and get a new playground, a soccer and flag football field and a splash pad.

“I’m ecstatic by it,” Young said after obtaining the grant.

He said the grants don’t come all the time and he’s glad the district assessed the area before it had to present the park’s needs before its presentation to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in Springfield.

The grants are funded through the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program, then they’re administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The OSLAD program can provide up to half of a project’s funds.

The OSLAD program has invested $403.2 million in 1,729 local park projects after it started 33 years ago.

“Investments in local park projects are good for families and recreation enthusiasts, helping them enjoy outdoor activities and making Illinois communities better places to live and work,” Pritzker said. “Parks projects also boost local economic development efforts and spur additional investment throughout the state.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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