One of the smallest and oldest parks in the Grayslake system will get a complete makeover this fall or next spring with the help of a state grant, officials announced Monday.
Cullen Park, south of Route 120 and west of Lake Street, essentially will be rebuilt with a handicapped accessible playground and a half-court basketball court replacing aging facilities. A picnic shelter, sidewalks, and baggo area also will be added.
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"We know the park is heavily used. It's one of our older parks, that's why we kept submitting the grant," said Jeff Nehila, executive director of the Grayslake Community Park District.
The grant is for $105,000 or half of the $210,000 cost of the project. The park district will be reimbursed that amount once the work is complete. Awards of more than $12.3 million to 42 agencies were announced Saturday by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The project originally was submitted in 2010 for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, but it didn't make the cut. It was resubmitted last year, and Nehila last fall made a three-minute pitch to an advisory committee overseeing the process.
According to census figures, the quarter-acre park at Alta and Glen streets also is among the lower median income and higher density population areas of Grayslake, Nehila said. That may have been a factor in the approval for the highly competitive funds, he added.
"The park was acquired and then it was slowly developed. The playground equipment I think was 25 years old or so," he said.
That portion of the project, which will allow those with disabilities access to the various features, will cost about $120,000.
"We'd like to start as soon as we get the project agreement from DNR, then we'll bid it out. We might be able to do it this fall," Nehila said.
Cullen Park is one of 33 parks in the Grayslake Park District system. Twenty-three of those have playgrounds. The largest is Central Park at 70 acres, although Alleghany Park will be 90 acres when complete.