Storytelling garden, band shell, futsal court and more: Suburbs getting state grants to create, improve, renovate parks

Dozens of park districts and towns ‒ and one library ‒ in the West and Northwest suburbs are among 111 receiving $54.9 million from the state to develop or improve parks.

The governor’s office announced the annual Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grants this week.

One of the coolest-sounding projects is at the Lake Villa Library. It is getting $600,000 for its West Activity Commons area. The commons will have a walking trail, a lawn, a landscape and nature play berm with “The Hobbit” theme, three activity courtyards with shade structures, a storytelling garden and a picnic shelter and stage area.

It is the first library to ever get an OSLAD grant, according to Library Director Mick Jacobsen.

“The OSLAD Grant will play a pivotal role in our outdoor space project, which will benefit the community for years to come,” he said in a news release.

Elburn will receive $446,100 for adding a band shell and fitness stations, extending a trail and expanding a fishing outcrop at Prairie Park.

The Lake Villa District Library opened a new facility in Lindenhurst in 2019. It has received a state grant to help pay for construction of an outdoor space that will include a storytelling garden. Daily Herald file photo/2019

Elgin is getting $600,000 to spiff up Summerhill Park, including putting in a native garden trail with a stamped concrete path and educational signage.

The program is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“Since day one as Governor, it’s been my mission to support the health and well-being of Illinoisans,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release. “With funding from the OLSAD program, municipalities across Illinois will have the opportunity to expand and improve local neighborhood parks through sport and recreational space, plants, playgrounds, and more. All across Illinois, we’re enhancing our state’s natural beauty and creating safer, healthier, and happier communities.”

OSLAD is a cost-sharing program between state and local governments.

For example, Deer Park has been awarded a $600,000 grant to improve Town Center Park, officials announced this week. Overall, the project is expected to cost $1.2 million. The grant will help pay for building a new playground, pickleball courts, a shelter, an amphitheater and other amenities.

  The Vogelei Barn at Vogelei Park in Hoffman Estates. Eric Peterson/, May 2016

The Hoffman Estates Park District, which is also receiving $600,000, proposes to add an inclusive playground and splash pad to Vogelei Park., as well as a three-hole multi-golf course for disc golf, foot golf and park golf. It also wants to add ADA-accessible bocce courts and a BankShot Sports Court.

The St. Charles Park District plans to use its $600,000 grant to redevelop its East Side Sports Complex. The playground, skate park, basketball courts, tennis court, volleyball courts and softball fields will be renovated. A 40-yard-dash field will be added, plus a fitness course, pickleball courts and an electronic play area.

In Addison, the $600,000 grant will be spent on Centennial Park. The plan includes turning the current four tennis courts into one tennis court, four pickleball courts and one futsal court. Futsal is a soccer-like game with five players on a team and a smaller, harder ball.

Suburban agencies receiving awards include:

Cook County

Arlington Heights Park District — $600,000

Bartlett Park District — $600,000

City of Elgin — $600,000

Hoffman Estates Park District — $600,000

DuPage County

Addison Park District — $600,000

Bensenville Park District — $570,100

Bloomingdale Township Park District — $150,000

City of Aurora — $600,000

City of Warrenville — $600,000

Fox Valley Park District — $600,000

Lisle Park District — $600,000

Roselle Park District — $600,000

St. Charles Park District — $600,000

Village of Itasca — $600,000

Village of Villa Park — $600,000

Village of Willowbrook — $600,000

Westmont Park District — $228,300

Winfield Park District — $600,000

York Center Park District (Lombard) — $304,200

Kane County

Sugar Grove Park District — $600,000

Village of Elburn — $446,100

Lake County

Lake Bluff Park District — $600,000

Lake Villa Public Library District — $600,000

Lake Villa Township — $600,000

Lindenhurst Park District — $450,000

Mundelein Park and Recreation District — $600,000

Park District of Highland Park — $528,500

Village of Deer Park — $600,000

Village of Lake Zurich — $600,000

McHenry County

Crystal Lake Park District — $329,000

Huntley Park District — $509,500

Daily Herald staff writer Russell Lissau contributed to this report.

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