New Boston Mayor Chris DeFrieze drove to Chicago Jan. 3 to accept a $400,000 grant package from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

New Boston Mayor Chris DeFrieze drove to Chicago Jan. 3 to accept a $400,000 grant package from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The grant will be used on improvements to the village of New Boston's campgrounds. New Boston earned the OSLAD (Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development) Grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"The total grant was the maximum you could get," said DeFrieze.

DeFrieze said the city applied for the grant back in July. "We were working on it until the last minute because the state kept asking us for more information."

DeFrieze said the grant was the largest ever received by the village of New Boston. "Our main source of income is the river," said DeFrieze.

Money from the grant will be used to bury the power lines at the campground, construct an eagle watch for visitors, heated restrooms, construct a pavilion with a fireplace for visitors to use, expand the campsite from 60 to 70 campsites, add electrical service to campsites and construct a mile and a half hiking path.

"We had to shorten the hiking path from three miles to one and a half because of the extra expense to bury the power lines,”said DeFrieze.

DeFrieze said the campground is traditionally open from April 1 until Oct. 31 each year but after the heated shower facility is constructed, the city council will revisit the possibility of opening the campground year-round.

Additional grant

DeFrieze said that in addition to the $400,000 OSLAD grant the city will also receive an additional $136,000 grant following a public meeting announcing the OSLAD Grant. DeFrieze couldn't announce where the $136,000 grant was coming from yet but was positive about the city receiving it. DeFrieze noted that the grant money would also be used to cover additional costs at the campground.

"We are going to be receiving more than half a million in grants at no cost to the taxpayers," said DeFrieze.

DeFrieze hopes to break ground in the spring. Once the village receives the OSLAD grant it will have two years to complete the project.

Campground

DeFrieze said an outside wall has already been built at the campgrounds and this spring two life-size wood statues will also be unveiled at the campground, one of Abraham Lincoln and the other of Chief Black Hawk.

"The statue will feature Lincoln in his younger years, when he surveyed New Boston," said DeFrieze, "not the older Lincoln you normally see."

DeFrieze said Chief Black Hawk was chosen because he visited New Boston many times and has a daughter buried there.

More than 300 people applied for the grant.  New Boston was one of 72 cities to receive the grant.