Governor Quinn Announces Over $12 Million for Parks and Open Space in Illinois Projects Will Create Park Space and Jobs

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Governor Pat Quinn recently announced $12.3 million to help communities build and improve parks. The Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant program (OSLAD) increases green space and provides more opportunities for outdoor recreation. The 42 projects announced today are expected to create more than 200 jobs statewide.

“Parks and green space within our communities are important to improving the quality of life for Illinois residents,” Governor Quinn said. “These grants will help make sure that families are able to spend time outdoors enjoying nature, especially in urban areas.”

The projects announced today will involve developing and constructing new parks and facilities such as picnic shelters and boat ramps. In some instances, funding will enable communities to purchase land to be used for future green space.

This year, the OSLAD program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), is funding 39 park projects throughout Illinois. Three additional projects announced today are receiving federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides matching grants to states and local governments to help acquire land.

“OSLAD grants are vital to communities in many ways and meet a core IDNR priority of leaving no child inside,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “These grants create jobs, help make local communities even more attractive to other potential businesses and residents, and provide important outdoor recreation opportunities to citizens and visitors alike.”

Grant recipients are responsible for contributing at least half of the total project cost. The $12.3 million awarded statewide this year combined with the grantees’ share will result in more than $26.4 million of local acquisition and development projects to enhance the quality of life in Illinois.

 The OSLAD program is funded through the Real Estate Transfer Tax, which is part of every property sale in Illinois. These projects demonstrate an investment on the part of local units of government to enhance the quality of life for residents, which attracts business growth and job creation locally.

The OSLAD program began in 1986 and, not including today’s projects, has provided approximately $352 million for 1,557 local agency park projects.