Fox Lake awarded state grant to improve and renovate Lakefront Park building

Fox Lake residents will have a new place to play sports after the village received nearly $800,000 from a state grant to upgrade the Lakefront Park building.

Mayor Donny Schmit said the village received the $799,100 Parks and Recreational Facility Construction grant and will use it will fund renovations to the park building and grounds on Nippersink Drive.

The renovations will include new roofing, windows, siding and doors on the exterior of the facility. A new sports area with locker rooms and bathrooms will be created inside the rear of the facility, Schmit said.

The village will also install an elevator to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A new fire protection system will be added and the building will be hooked up to city water, he said. An upgrade to the heating/air conditioner unit of the facility also is planned.

"This grant will allow the village to move forward with a community plan that benefits everyone well into the future," Schmit said. "When it's done, the building will not look like a marina anymore. It will look like a community center."

The Lakefront Park building was purchased in 2002 and renovated from a pole barn into a large meeting room with some offices. Additional renovations were made in 2006, including creation of some community rooms and a small kitchen.

Schmit said the village applied for the grant this year to further improve the facility. He said the village operates the parks program through the village's general fund, and paying for the building upgrades was difficult.

State Sen. Pam Althoff was instrumental in assisting in obtaining the grant, he said.

"This is a very exciting time for our village and we extend our thanks to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Governor's Office and Senator Pam Althoff for their assistance in the process and awarding us this grant," Schmit said.

He was in attendance in Buffalo Grove when the grant was awarded Sunday. The money comes from $50 million available through the state program.

Mundelein Park and Recreation District received $2.3 million for its Chalet Recreation Center and Buffalo Grove Park District received $1.73 million to move to the next stage for its new Community Arts Center, through the same grant program.

The renovations in Fox Lake will convert a 2,900-square-foot garage area into new locker rooms and a multipurpose room with sports flooring, Schmit said. Site improvements will include reconfiguring the parking lot to increase traffic flow and landscape restoration work.

"This means we will be able to offer more programs," he said. "We will be able to upgrade the facility to not only make it more user friendly, but also make it more efficient."

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