State grants awarded to DuPage County park districts and forest preserves

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has awarded more than $5.3 million in state grants to improve DuPage County parks and forest preserves.

The grants were made under Illinois' Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program. It provides grants to cover up to 50% of the cost of projects to repair and replace outdated facilities and construct new buildings, paths and recreational spaces or equipment.

"These grants represent smart, long-term investments in the health and well-being of our residents that will yield dividends for years to come," state Rep. Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn said in a statement.

Costa Howard's office touted the more than $1.8 million in OSLAD grants set to come to the 48th District's parks and forest preserves. For example, two separate grants of $400,000 are headed to the Butterfield Park District's Glenbriar Park in Lombard and the Glen Ellyn Park District's Ackerman Park for improvements that include four new pickleball courts in each park.

Another $400,000 grant goes to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District's Willowbrook Forest Preserve. The money will help pay for a trail, an animal rehabilitation center and an outdoor classroom.

Villa Park also received a $400,000 grant, which will go toward Lufkin Park. The village previously closed Lufkin Pool in 2018 due to its age and repair costs. Though Lufkin Park will not get a new pool with the grant, the village has other improvement plans.

"This new project is set to include a spray pad, new accessible playground, accessible pier, band shell, ninja course, walking path, restrooms and natural areas," said Greg Gola, Villa Park Director of Parks, Recreation and Fleet Services.

Other OSLAD grant recipients include:

• Addison Park District, with $396,200 slotted for Lake Manor Nature Preserve

• Bartlett Park District, with $400,000 for Apple Orchard Community Park

• Bloomingdale Park District, with $250,000 for Stratford Park

• Darien Park District, with $400,000 for Community Park

• Itasca Park District, with $400,000 for Benson Park

• Lombard Park District, with $283,100 for Four Seasons Park

• Medinah Park District, with $400,000 for Thorndale Park

• Oak Brook Park District, with $400,000 for Autumn Oaks Phase II at Central Park

• Roselle Park District, with $400,000 for Turner Park

• Westmont Park District, with $90,000 for an expansion acquisition at 314 N. Grant St.

• Wheaton Park District, with $317,500 for improvements to Briar Patch Park

"Here in DuPage County, our extensive green public spaces contribute greatly to the quality of life in our communities," Costa Howard said. "With these grants, we can enhance these facilities and make them even more welcoming and enjoyable for our residents and visitors."

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