For the first time since it was purchased by the City of Elgin in 2008, the Eastside Recreation Center will see some major renovations.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has pledged to reimburse the city for $1.76 million through the Park and Recreational Facility Construction Grant Program.
Parks and Recreation Director Randy Reopelle said the money will go toward upgrades to make the building more comfortable and functional.
HVAC improvements will mean air conditioning for a building prone to overheating in the summer and window upgrades to moderate the facility's temperature regardless of the season.
Reopelle expects the changes to make a big difference, even though the money won't allow the city to completely redesign the building.
"It will bring it up to a higher standard," Reopelle said. "More people will be able to take advantage of that facility with these improvements."
The grant also will help improve some of the plumbing and bring restrooms to Americans with Disabilities Act standards as well as give the city the chance to add walls to some of the larger rooms and create more programming spaces.
Statewide, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will reimburse municipalities and park districts for $50 million in renovation projects and land purchases. Besides Elgin, 21 other entities will receive funds with help from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program.
The state will reimburse 75 percent of most projects, but the most disadvantaged park districts or parks departments will get back 90 percent of the total cost.
Chris McCloud, communications manager with IDNR, said projects must be completed by June 30, 2014. Reopelle doesn't expect the upgrades to start right away, but some might begin next summer, when the facility enters its slow season.